Monday, May 16, 2016

The Sad State of Affairs at Mar-Duke

First, a note of optimism.  These guys have NOT been in my plot.  The fence is thankfully, working.  Birds this size can do a lot of damage. I have watched them merrily ripping out the seedlings in other plots but mine are untouched by fowl.  Mother Nature on the other hand has not been so kind.

In this area our springs can be a little wild.  50 degree temperature swings are not unusual.  Nor are 50 mph winds, tornado warnings, snow advisories or rain totals of 3, 4, 5 inches in a week.  In the last week my poor little seedlings got hit with 4 inches of rain, 30 mph gusts and temps that went up to 80 and then crashed down to 35.  Needless to say, the babies are not thriving.  The images below sum up the carnage and disarray currently in place in my plot at Mar-Duke.  Tomorrow night is another temp crash and fingers crossed that hopefully, after that, recovery begins. 

This first plot isn't so bad.  Its the first plot I did at Mar-duke.  It contains Bok Choi, Peppermint celery (red stem), two kinds of spinach including Montreux , and chinese kale.  Everything is growing.  The celery started as teeny tiny seedlings and I can already tell I planted it way too close but to be frank I only expected 30% survival. So 100% are alive!

 Bed 2:  AKA tomb of cukes.  This bed is in rough shape.The fennel in the background is struggling.  In front of that is a row of cylindra beets, that did sprout and then stopped.  In front of that are the carcasses of the lemon and other cukes, killed by cold, despite the wall of water that was around them.  Also of note the inch of fine leaf mulch is mostly blown away or eaten by worms.  This bed had a ton of them.  In the very front row is some sporadic sprouting of some watermelon radishes and a lot of weeds.  I threw a few lemon cuke seeds in the bed after the first kill but I'll be shocked if they sprout.  They have been really wet and really cold.

Bed 3:  Peas and edamame
Apologies for the tilted photo.  I was trying to avoid mud.  Not much success to report in the Pea and edamame bed.  The couple of pea plants are pale and not growing.  The pea seeds and edamame seeds have not sprouted.  The entire bed I suspect is not happy with all the rain we have gotten and how wet everything is. I also cannot find my pea inoculate, which I really need to do soon.
Bed 4: Potatoes
Aren't all the pictures of straw fascinating?  This is the potato bed.  Purple potatoes and red fingerlings. Chitted weeks ago, nothing has sprouted.  Not even weeds.  I planted a couple of cosmos in this bed yesterday to make it a little less pathetic.  Fingers crossed they survive tomorrow.
Bed 5:  Beans
The pretty kale and mizuna in this bed are hiding the bean tragedy that has occurred.  On the left are the beans that got hit by the 35 degrees and the winds and rain.  They are mostly dead.  In the ground are all the bean seeds that have not sprouted.  Two varieties, Kew Blue and a yellow pole-they are probably rotted but I will give them another  weeks.  On the right are the new plants I planted this weekend before the forecast changed to more cold.   Hang tough little beanies, its only one night!
Bed 6:  Onions
While clearly unhappy about all the rain (note the yellowing)  This bed is still looking mostly OK.  On the right is a variety called Candy.  On the left is Spanish utah (much younger plants).  In the far back left is a lone artichoke that is looking pale but alive.  In the center is a mostly mushy french marigold that I don't expect to make it.
Bed 7:  Purple tomatoes
Tomato plants turn purple when they are cold.  Their leaves curl when they are too wet.  These eight plants are purple and curled. They are so purple they are blending nicely with the color of the landscape fabric.  If the warmth comes quick enough they should turn around.  If not, I have 9 others in reserve.  I never plant all the tomatoes at once.  Behind the tomato row is the other half of the plot not yet planted and full of weeds  In the very back corner is the strawberry popcorn under landscape fabric. It has not sprouted-too wet and cold.
Bed 8: Cold Cauliflower and Sad Shiso
This bed contains snowy cauliflower. I put them in this weekend to replace the armenian cuke carcasses>  They are looking rather pale. I give them a 50:50 chance.
I give the Shiso seedlings to the left even less.  These clearly show frost damage and they were so little when they went in, I will be shocked if they recover.  Oddly, these two marigolds have no damage at all and the one 6 feet to the right is mushy.

 More cauliflower:
Here is the cauliflower that went though the storm.  Orange and Purple cauliflower seedlings.  They were very small when they went in and are now almost invisible between they hay.  They clearly have some cold damage.  Survival chances not looking so good for most of these.

 Bed 9:  Leeks, Carrots and Arugula and Black Peanuts
I thought if anything was going to croak it was going to be the black peanuts and the basil.  The basil did not disappoint.  While not completely dead, its mostly there.  The black peanuts on the other hand are totally fine.  Huh.  Go figure.  Carrots (Romaine-F1 via seed tape) have not sprouted. 
Of course everything is so small you are mostly looking at straw but gorgeous close ups are for things that look good.  Carnage is best viewed standing back and squinting over a steaming cup of tea.
Bed 10:  Purple Cabbage and Shallots
Purple cabbage, very purple and growing!  Shallots very tiny and disappearing.  There are some monster night crawlers in all these beds that I mulched with leaves.  I wonder if they are eating my shallots?  This bed has some beet seedlings coming up as between the weeds.

Bed 11:  Peppers
This bed looks pretty good.  Primarily because other than the 5 peppers planted in the straw, all of these in the landscaping fabric I planted yesterday.  They were all planted in pretty wet soil so fingers crossed there.  The pepper varieties are "fooled you" Jalapeno, Purple Beauty, Sweet Orange, Yellow banana, Cubano, something that began with an M that sounded big (sweet red) and I think there is an ancho poblano in there too.
When I check these today the surface soil was already dry so that is a good sign related to drainage.  Fingers crossed!

No comments: