So far, gardening has been a mixed bag this year. I planted everything relatively late for me. While I could have put my cold-weather vegetables in at the end of March, I didn't actually get them in until early April. Similarly, I probably could have put the tomatoes and peppers and seeds in earlier than I did. Part of this was difficulties finding the time to do it. Part of this was the knowledge that planting things too early does not necessarily mean that you'll get to harvest early. A lot of times the plants get stunted if the soil is too cold or you get cold weather after planting. In past years, I've just been so eager to get out there and garden that I planted things very early. Although I was happy to get outside, the eagerness to start the garden just wasn't there, at least until I really started working the soil and getting things ready.
Cucumbers, which I've always had an easy time growing, have not been cooperating. Although I planted 12 seeds, only 2 germinated. When I went to put in a second planting, I noticed that many of the seeds did germinate, but the tops of the plants had been eaten. I don't know by whom. Two years ago, I engaged in a losing war with cucumber beetles, but I thought they attacked later, once the plants were more established. I suppose it could be an animal, except Solomon and the other cats on the street chase those animals within an inch of their life. Plus, the leaves are so small that I don't think most animals would be bothered with them. So I doubt it's an animal. The second planting went in about a week ago, and I think I spotted two plantlets, just breaking out above the surface. So we'll see how they do.
The zucchinis have not had stunning growth either, although they all have finally germinated. Zucchinis usually grow like crazy for me. I wonder how it'll be this year.
I'm trying cantaloupe again this year, although this time I bought plantlets instead of trying it from seed. They are still alive but don't seem to be getting any bigger. I've heard they have a long growing season so I hope they start growing! I don't think I've ever had fresh-picked cantaloupe.
Most of my lettuce failed to germinate, aside from some arugula, which has been delicious but has now completely gone to seed, with these pretty white flowers. I'm still waiting for the beets and carrots to come up. I seem to think they take a while to germinate.
The tomatoes and peppers seem to be well-established. There are even some flowers on the pepper plants. The parsley plant is not doing great and the basil seems a little shocked by its new surroundings. I think they'll do better once we get more warm weather.
I just started harvesting peas today. I really should have staked them or trained them on something. They are just all over the place, and it's hard to find the peas when you have to wade through all the stems. I opened up one of my tomato cages and put it next to the peas, so hopefully they'll start growing up that.
I haven't had to water nearly at all. I probably should have watered the lettuce more - I have a feeling that this is why it never came up. But I've been pretty good about watering since I put the rest of the garden in. It's just that I really haven't had to do much since it has rained a lot.
In flower land, all my sunflowers have germinated - I planted four varieties this year, all along the drive way. One of the varieties, Mammoth, supposedly reaches 12 feet in height. I don't know if I believe that, but wouldn't that be cool? I planted a bed of pansies around the new hydrangea that we planted for Annika. They're doing quite well, as is the tiny hydrangea, which is blooming in purple this year. In between the pansies, I planted more sunflowers (the mammoth variety). I also re-potted my Chinese elm bonsai tree and it is looking much healthier. My lemon tree has a few flowers on it and lots of new growth. It's amazing how well it does once it's outside. It lost a big branch this winter, probably due to spider mites. But it's definitely making a come-back now.
I think it'll be an interesting gardening year, with hopefully some nice surprises and no cucumber beetles!