Pretty Pathetic Pumpkin Plants
The pumpkin plant above should be far larger by now. Almost all of our beans, peas, corn and sunflower seeds rotted in the ground. The tomatoes look like transplants. My father told me this weekend that his garden is also doing poorly this year. I’m glad we are not dependent on just vegetables. The gardens are horrible this year, much like the crop failures of the mid-1800’s that cause emigration from Ireland (Potato Famin) and from our area westward.
I think that a lot of the problem is the soil didn’t warm up. This let the seeds rot rather than germinate. Even those that I pre-soaked didn’t do well. The lack of sun also probably didn’t help with warm up this spring. I stopped measuring the ground soil temperature in mid-June when it was still below 50°F – discouraging. Interestingly, the plants that are in tubs around the cottage are all thriving. They’re drier and the soil is warmer. Possibly the warm stone walls of the cottage and cliff also helped to create a micro-climate for them. A lesson. Eventually I plan to make raised beds around the cottage.
Lili with Burdock Leaves
The wild things are doing well. The burdock and thistles seem to thrive on this wet, cool weather. I’m seeing lots of wild berries including blueberries, raspberries and thimble berries. Lili poses above to show how large the leaves are.
Burdock are a disaster around sheep. If you are ever incline to frustration, run your flock through a patch of the sticky burdock fruits after they’re dry and ripe. They are virtually impossible to get out of the wool.
On the other hand, Pigs love thistles and burdocks so there are none in our pastures. I wish I could turn the pigs loose along the roads to clean out the ditches too. With their deep roots they bring up moisture and minerals from far down in the soil making them an excellent forage even in the dry years.
The turnips and beets we planted in the fields are also doing poorly. This past week with more sunshine they’ve started to perk up so there is hope. We have several acres of them. Most will go to the livestock after we harvest what we need.
Without long distance transportation and pill popping a vegan or vegetarian diet isn’t sustainable in our climate. One can’t count on vegetable crops every year. Winter’s a long, hard six months until the next growing season even with canned and cellared foods. Successive years of crop failure were a disaster in the past that caused mass emigrations and deaths.
Livestock, animals are able to graze the pastures, turning sunshine into high quality lipids (fats) and protein. They’re are what would get us through a year like this if we didn’t have stores to run to. While the gardens are soggy from all the rain and not growing from the lack of sunshine the pigs, chickens, ducks and geese are thriving. With meat and eggs plus some wild foraging one could make it through many years like this until the harvests improve.
Still, I have hope. With a long indian summer, what they now refer to as global warming, perhaps we’ll get a few extra months of growing season. I keep planting more every week – maybe it will grow and save the season.
Outdoors: 76°F/51°F Partially Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 75°F/69°F