Monday, June 13, 2011

June Happenings

June has been a weird month as far as weather. We've had several days of rain and howling gales that are more common for early spring. The rain hasn't been too unwelcome as it has kept the greens producing without watering, but we are already seeing signs of powdery mildew on the peas and the apple trees have white fuzzy fungus growing on them. It's not a lot of damage. The wind, however, is driving me nuts. I've always had a strong aversion to wind. It makes me irritable. Highly irritable. And it's pulled my bean plants out by the roots, bent the chard plants that I am trying to save seed from, and nearly ripped off the corrugated roofing on the animal pen that had been glued on with Sikaflex. Damn, that's an angry wind. No wonder I feel like I'm being rubbed the wrong way.

Aside from annoying weather, the apple tree is bursting with fruit. The bees have certainly done their work and it looks as though we will be heavily laden with apple pies, applesauce, apple whatever, and hopefully cider and cider vinegar. The husband is planning to make an apple press, but I'm not sure if he will be able to get to it in time. We should be wading through barrels upon barrels in less than two weeks.

Ethel says I need to repair this fence as the chicks keep escaping through this hole.

Speaking of the chicks, they have graduated to the big girl coop though are not so happy to spend their days with the full grown ladies. Sweet Pea is showing her not-so-sweet side by giving each chick a bit of what for. So they have taken to wandering under the apple tree for some daytime peace and weed munching. Today five of the six made it back to the pen while one of the Dark Cornishes cowered behind a piece of plywood. I think her legs are too big for her to get airborne. Two of the chicks even made it into the coop. That's a first and a good sign that I will spend less time in the evenings chasing recalcitrant chooks around the yard trying to get them to bed.

I'm really proud of the hoop house I set up in my neighbor's yard. Using only rebar, 1/2 inch PVC pipe, 6 mil plastic sheeting, and rubber-tipped clamps, I built the thing for less than $100. The neighbors only use the space to dump trash so I struck a deal with them that if I could use it to grow vegetables, I would keep the area neat and tidy. Thus far it's been an ideal arrangement and I plan to give them a good portion of the harvest.

The plants are absolutely ecstatic to be out of the wind and in some heat. The temperature is usually at least 10 to 15 degrees warmer than anywhere else on our lots. I've even rigged up the drip irrigation in there.

Look at these tomatoes! I was concerned that I might have to buy transplants again this year as I had left the seedlings out in the wind a few too many times. But once I popped them in the poly tunnel, all changed their tune.

I'll keep you updated as to how it works out. I've got more than a dozen varieties of tomatoes, several types of squash, a few cucumbers, beans, and melons growing in there. To think, I might produce a melon in San Francisco! If I'm successful, I will have defied the bounds of growing in a cold, foggy summer micro-climate. Good luck to me, eh?

Baby Bird Update - I'm pretty sure he found his mother. He flew out the window and has not been heard from since. I wish him the best.

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  1. Melons! I wish you all the luck in the world! What kind are you growing?

  2. I've been seeing those handled "Buckets" everywhere. Did you use the blue one as is or did you drill some drainage holes in it?

  3. @ Rachel - we're trying Blacktail Mountain watermelon, Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon, Charantais, Minnesota Midget, and some little melon that I saved seeds from last year. unfortunately, i didn't label anything so i have no idea what is what. ha! we'll see what we get in the fall. if i grow a melon in sf, do i win a prize? i really want a prize.

    @ Crafty and Crap - all of my containers are either self-watering or have drainage holes in the bottom. a regular old drill will do the trick. Here are my posts on container gardening: . i'll post some more about containers in the next couple weeks so stay tuned!

  4. Maybe you were joking about chasing birds around the yard, but it brought back a childhood memory of myself doing exactly that, trying to get the chickens back in the coop before nightfall and safe from any stray dogs. I finally found that if you wait until just after dusk, the birds would settle down somewhere for the night, and you could just walk right up to them and grab them. No chasing necessary!

  5. Not really joking Kris. Even after nightfall, the chicks get all crazy about going into the coop. I think Sweet Pea is terrorizing them so badly that they are desperate to stay away.

  6. I am totally impressed and ashamed!! You are growing way more tomato varieties in your little yard, than I am in my big old yard! You rock! And, if you get melons, I will send you a well deserved prize!!!

  7. I am experiencing hoop house envy.

  8. Wind? You don't like it? Why ever why? You grew up on the Nebraska prairie!

  9. Hoop house envy here too. Sigh.

    We are experiencing the wet cold weather here in the Kootenay region of BC for the second year in a row. I am thinking that I need some 'growing stuff in the Pacific Norhwest' books that would give me some good ideas for growing when it is so cold and wet. Any suggestions??

    I've heard that putting row covers over your beans as soon as they are planted gives them just enough temperature boost that they germinate rather than rot. We personally have put row covers and cloches over our cucummbers and a few of the tomatoes. Whatever helps!

  10. @ CM - I have found row covers helpful with both growing and keeping pests out. worked great for me last year. as for gardening books, i would suggest checking out pam pierce's golden gate gardening. it's specifically for the sf bay area cold foggy summers, but i'm assuming that BC has cool summers like we do sans fog. hope that helps.