Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Kanagawa Garden Update: June

The garden from the west side.
Now that our move is over and the kittens are, for the most part, settled in, I've been able to return some attention to my garden. It's a further walk now - about 30 minutes versus the previous 10 minutes - but I plan to keep it for the foreseeable future. I'm attached to my fellow gardeners, and I've put a great deal of effort into building up that soil. It isn't perfect, of course, a subject I'll write more about soon, but it is pretty wonderful.

The North Bed - West to East

As the temperatures and humidity rise, things get a bit wonky in the garden. Everything starts growing like crazy, and keeping up with that level of enthusiasm is challenging. My tomatoes have sent runner branches hither and yon, something I suspect is normal for heirloom tomatoes. This is perhaps the third or fourth year that I have grown them from seed, and I am suspicious that as an American tomato they may prefer not to be pruned. They seem very happy in their chaos, and a little research tells me that they would like to be staked or supported in their endeavors only. Messiness seems to be the American way in this case.

My habit of letting my greens - kale, norabo, etc. - go to seed and then laying those branches on the soil to compost resulted as always in an abundance of baby plants. We are still eating and enjoying them, although the humidity, aphids, and cabbage worms are getting the better of them. However, those plants made a nice carpet mulch for the tomatoes and later offered some protection from the weather. I'm now pruning/eating the larger greens to allow in more light and air.

The onion harvest is done, and that bed is in good shape. The soil is rich with worms and critters, and will be a happy home for a fresh round of greens come the fall. I'm giving serious thought to carrots or some of the soramame gifted at the seed saving workshop. I've grown neither of them before, but I am sure it will be an interesting endeavor.

The arugula has gone to seed, and a bundle of the branches now hang under the eaves of our veranda to dry for next year. I still have some purchased seed left over, but I'm hoping to develop a strain that is particularly happy in this region.

Bergamot blooms in full swing.
The yakon, bergamot, and swiss chard are in good shape, too. The latter, of course, is winding down, but I'll let it do it's thing until it sets seed. Everything grown this year is from seed saved last year, which feels like quite an accomplishment. I also noticed yesterday a Lacinato kale plant adding its lush greenery to the scene in that corner of the garden, which also made me quite happy.

I've also seen young shoots of tsurumurasaki here and there, the great-great-great-grandchildren of a couple of plants I bought a few years ago. I welcome them, too, as we enjoy their tender leaves in salads, cold soups, and sandwiches.

The South Bed - East to West

The popcorn plants stand shoulder high now and have yet to tassle. I always forget just how tall these plants get. I'm always impressed at the strength of their roots and how the shape themselves to the wind. Granted, the unseasonal typhoons that are now the norm are a challenge, but I remain hopeful.

The popcorn standing tall.
 At the base of these, too, I laid the tall branches of greens gone to seed, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens. You can never have enough greens, if you ask me. I'm also letting the strawberry runners wander here and there on this side. I won't let them take over as they did a few years ago, but I'm still happy to see them and feast on them in the spring.

Finally, at the far west end of the south bed are the potatoes and what I believe is myoga. The potatoes are ready to be harvested as the branches are dying off and falling over. That will be Friday's big job, and the myoga will remain where it is until I sort out in more detail what I am supposed to do.

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