Garden Update: Early June

Bees!
Bees!

I’ve got a few things to cover here, so it may get kinda lengthy…  The first thing that bears mention is the bees!  We don’t have chickens here (yet…), but for the time-being, bees will be our means of extending this homesteading venture beyond growing stuff in the ground.  Brooke ordered some bees a few months ago and they arrived in early-May.  Since that time, we’ve largely left them alone, aside from giving them copious amounts of sugar water to keep them happy until more flowers are blooming.  The hives are in the yucca plants underneath our maple trees near the garden, providing them with a decent amount of protection from the elements (more on that soon…).  They don’t get a ton of sun, but I’ve trimmed the maple trees a bit to make sure they get it for at least an hour in the morning and in the evening.  We’ll see how they do there, but right now, it seems like they get especially active in the early 10:00 hour and remain that way until the evening.  In the picture above, Brooke was opening up the hive to make sure the queen was doing her job and, at least a few weeks ago, it seemed like comb was being laid and brood were present, so thus far, the bees appear to be doing their jobs!

Now, speaking of “protection from the elements…

Our ocean of bean plants...
Our ocean of bean plants…

A pretty big hail storm came through just before Memorial Day weekend.  And by “huge,” I mean some pretty big hail.  It was over golf ball size at our house, but larger stones fell just north of us.  Thankfully, Brooke’s new car was on the other side of the state at the time and mine was in the garage…

Them's big...
Them’s big…

The house is mostly undamaged, but we’ve got a few estimates coming in to see if we need to do anything.  The garage roof needs to be replaced, but we need to look at just how much work we want to put into it right now.

Again, the bees were fine because of their placement under the trees, but the garden got hit pretty hard.  Brooke had just planted green beans, soup beans, and soybeans in the garden plot above, where you see a small ocean forming.

Oh no! Tomatoes!
Oh no! Tomatoes!

Our tomatoes were mostly spared, but many of the milk jug covers were blown off as the storm came in.  The unprotected plants were mostly decimated, but the ones that remained covered were fine.  We lost a few plants, but the rest of them have bounced back pretty well by now.  The peas got hit too, as they were probably the largest plants at the time.  Since then, Brooke has harvested all the peas and pulled up the plants so we can make room for planting popcorn.

The entirety of our pea crop.
The entirety of our pea crop.

We still don’t feel like we’re getting all that many peas.  This is the third time we’ve done it and it seems like we’re always getting enough peas for one or two meals.  We can make green beans and soup beans like nobody’s business, but peas are always difficult for us.  They tasted great last night!  We just want more…

Carrots...
Carrots…

The carrots are looking good and probably need to get pulled soon. Again, the peas and radishes were to the left of the carrots, and we’re going to put some popcorn over there today or tomorrow. The weather looks to be getting pretty hot this week (highs in the low 90s), and no rain chance in sight, so we’ll get them planted and I’ll need to water them in the coming days.

Watermelons and pumpkins!
Watermelons and pumpkins!

We’ve been gone for the past few weekends, and any available time during the week has been taken up by Brooke traveling, or by rain, so we hadn’t planted the rest of the garden yet.  Finally, yesterday, Brooke made some mounds next to the tomatoes where the pumpkins are going to go.  This is a section of the garden that flooded last year, so we’re hoping the mounds keep the pumpkins out of the water better than the corn seeds were last year.

We’re also trying watermelons for the first time, but considering they were planted in early June, we probably won’t actually get any until September.  Not exactly “prime watermelon season,” but hey…we’ll see what happens…

The beans survived!
The beans survived!

Thankfully, the beans survived the hail and flooding from last week! Since then, the green beans and soup beans all popped up and are looking great.  The soybeans are moving a bit more slowly, but I think nearly all of those seeds popped out of the ground, too.  We’re adding fewer green bean and soup bean plants than previous years because we’ve still got green beans canned from two summers ago.  If the soybeans take off, we’ll probably keep using those in the coming years for edamame.  Soybeans are good nitrogen-fixing plants, so we’ll rotate them around the gardens to maintain good soil health.

The herbs I planted in the plot in the background are kinda growing, but not all that well.  Many of them got hit hard by the hail and a few of them weren’t looking great when we put them in the ground.  We’ll just have to see how they turn out.  In the extra patch to the right, Brooke planted some sunflowers yesterday.  The bees will like them, too!

Hops!
Hops!

Lastly, I wanted to mention the hops we’re growing in Hannibal.  Clearly they’re doing as well as they usually do!  Mark and Diana got us a nice new vacuum sealer for Christmas this past year, so we’re looking forward to harvesting and saving some of these hops once they’re ready, hopefully earlier than we tend to harvest them.

...something's eating my hops...grrrrrr....
…something’s eating my hops…grrrrrr….

Unlike previous years, though, it looks like somethings chewing on the leaves.  I didn’t see anything obvious on them, but the evidence is pretty clear.  I’m sure Mark will keep an eye on them, as he planted some new fruit trees near the hops, so he’ll be out there checking on everything frequently.

I think that’s about it for now!  Lengthy post, lots of pictures…you know how it goes…

One thought on “Garden Update: Early June”

  1. Isn’t it amazing how quickly the beans bounced back after all the rain and hail. That section looks really good!

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