By Roger Erpelding
During three evenings this week, I headed out to pull weeds and some early crops from the east end of the garden. My first task was to weed the area west of the carrots and east of the green beans. The plants had grown tall enough to present two excellent marker rows, which made this task easier. The carrots have fine and ferny leaves, while the green beans have large leaves. In addition, beans were hanging from these plants. The only plants that would not be weeds between these rows were the vine crops. I was amazed at how short and spindly the vine crops are; then I remembered that I did not plant them until mid-June. So, perhaps they are all right anyway. The vine crops (cucumbers, squash and zucchini) have fuzzy leaves, and as they mature, their leaves will get larger. I worked from the north fence moving south, and by the time I was tired out, I had reached the south fence. In addition, along the south fence I had planted several voodoo lilies in late April. They have a stem as thick as my finger, and huge fan-shaped leaves.
The second evening I proceeded to the south fence and worked westward along the voodoo lilies until I found potato vines. They are standing proud and tall. Their thick, square stems and abundant leaves make them easy to find. Once I found potatoes, I began working northward with the potatoes on the west, and the beans on the east. My task was complete when I reached the portion of the fence that runs along the north side of the potatoes and the west side of the beans.
My third night’s weeding was also quite easy. During the first night, I pulled all of the spinach. It was done, beginning to “bolt” or sprout seed stems, and not very plentiful. On this third night, the carrots were on my west, and the fence along the east. I brought a bag, as I did pick lettuce as I moved northward, pulling all of the plants. Kohlrabe and beet plants presented their smooth leaves which are rather large. Their leaves are similar, except the kohlrabe are beginning to produce knobs near their roots. In a few weeks I will pull them, and Beth and I will enjoy these bulbs. I did not dig any beets to see how they are doing.
I must count the lettuce and spinach crops a success. We were the beneficiaries of many tasty salads. The cool and rainy weather in June prolonged their season.
To the east of the lettuce were the onions. Again, I must regard this crop as a failure. Not the right kind of soil, not enough light, and too many grassy weeds. There will be a few small onion bulbs I will dig, and I’ll fry them up for dinner. The sweet potato hill I planted near the south fence has simply disappeared–better luck next year.
The deer have been enjoying my garden again. The green beans have all been clipped off. Fortunately, they just ate all the tops off, so many of the beans are undisturbed. They must be picked this weekend. In addition to this, I am ready to plant a second crop of beans where the spinach once grew. The vine crops may encroach later, but I will direct their vines south and west, as by that time the potatoes will be ready to harvest, and the green beans will have given me their best.