“It’s not discouraging, it’s just impossible!”
That was a direct quote made by me after a particularly challenging week on The Farm. After the weeks of steady rains, we continue to be overrun with weeds and eradicating them has consumed the majority of my time. I decided to institute a new rule of laying down landscape fabric on any rows that haven’t been planted yet. After watching a few Urban Farmer Curtis Stone videos on this method I was so inspired by him saying he spends maybe 4 hours a year weeding. Per year. I’ve been spending that PER DAY over the past few weeks and it’s a huge waste of time. I made my own wood template to suit my bed widths and have been busy burning holes in the fabric, then transplanting my seedlings into the holes. I’m also mulching heavily with old straw now that most plants are established, so I hope that helps.
We also suffered a complete crop loss of the first plantings of beets, chard & spinach. Introducing the leaf miner, new to the garden this year.
These plants were healthy and vigorous just last week and I was looking forward to our first beet harvest in a few weeks. Initially I thought the plants were suffering some sort of sun scald after I removed the floating row cover, but no such luck. The leaf miner lays eggs on the underside of the leaves and when they hatch they burrow INSIDE the layers of the leaf and the paths of destruction begin. In a matter of days all the leaves were infested and I wept silently as I cleared out at least 30 row feet of plants. Fortunately I have trays of seedlings ready for transplant which will be planted elsewhere and kept under row cover to protect them.
On the bright side, a lot of our crops are doing well. Carrots look great, along with lettuces, radishes, kale, broccoli, onions. Everything in the hoop house appears to be happy and the tomato & cucumber plants are really taking off. A few pepper plants already have fruit so I’m looking forward to having a variety of peppers this year.
All I need now is MORE TIME. There’s just never enough of it!