A personal record of what's going on in my Northern Michigan zone 4 gardens. I use raised beds and grow organically. Nothing fancy--just trying to garden with nature in mind.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

2013--Part 1--The Losers

                        The terrible drought we had all August shows in our crispy lawn.  
                  My wonderful Hubby hauling an exhausted Me after a day with the grandson.

I always like to get the "Losers" out of the way first.  I like to make note of it, then move on. Life is too short to dwell on the bad--especially in a year like this when most of it was weather related.  I can't change the weather.  So, on that note --

2013 started out cruddy.
We had snow on Mother's Day and the last frost was June 3......though June 4 wasn't much better at 34 degrees.  So, right off the bat, we were dealing with COLD soils at planting time.  The temps stayed very cool in June--plenty of nights in the 40's.   July was a bit better, but even then we only managed one warm week.  August was the same---3 cool weeks and one warm.

Overall--it was the year for cold weather crops--broccoli, carrots, peas, potatoes, onions, and garlic.  The only failure on the cold weather crops was cauliflower--they constantly got eaten. I gave up on them after the 3rd planting.

Warm weather crops were a disaster.  Who ever heard of green beans not germinating??????????
I didn't think it was possible, but three separate sowings only yielded about a six foot row's worth of plants.
With only 8 quarts to freeze, I had to turn to the farmer's market and BUY THEM.   Think about that---BUY GREEN BEANS.  I never thought I'd see that. Cripes!

The corn was the same thing.  The cold soils just caused the seed to rot.  Another sowing yielded just 12 stalks from 120 seeds.  Disappointing , to say the least.  The dozen ears we had we delicious.  I will try the "Bodacious" variety again next year. I would have loved to have enough to freeze.

Pumpkins were also a no-go this year.  The vines did start out nice, but within a few weeks, just died.  I have a real problem with BUYING pumpkins--I refuse to spend $3 or $4 for one---when I know I usually use at least 20 in my fall decorating.  I am not spending $80 for something that is usually (in a normal year) so easy to grow.  I guess the fall décor around the house will be ...different.

The peaches did not bear this year----they got hit with the late frosts.  I have stocked the freezer, however, with lots of them from the Farmer's Market. Unfortunately--I was unable to find organic ones.

The grapes were very late in leafing out this year with the cold weather, and though they did make a herculean effort to produce, it was too late for them to mature and ripen.  I'll give them an A for effort though.

The strawberries were mixed.   The Cabots and the San Andreas bore very well.  The Cavendish, Record, and Northeasters--though LOADED with berries, just sat and rotted.  That was odd. We didn't have ANY moisture. I don't know what happened with them. 

As for the flowers--the biggest problem that cropped up  was some enthusiastic munching by the local deer herd on my sunflowers by the house.  A little more vigilance with soaping them down cured that problem.

                                                    A Goldfinch Enjoying the Sunflower Seeds

I did lose all my mums this year.  Most of them were 4-5 years old.  From what I understand, even "hardy" mums don't always make it, so I'll count myself lucky I had them that long.  It did, however, leave some mighty big holes in the plantings and I miss their beautiful blooms.

I also need to be a bit more thorough with watering.  I despise watering and usually do not do it--even though it would certainly be benenficial.  This year was particularly droughty and I lost a few plants just because I was lazy.  I'm working on that---I've started a watering "schedule" and it's helping.
I don't like anything that makes gardening a "job".  I LOVE gardening and look at any time spent outdoors enjoying the sun and wildlife as fun, not work.  But watering--well, I just don't like it.