June 17th, 2010

Test Garden Update, Barbara Jane Miller, Boulder, CO

barbara_tnOur garden on the eastern slope of the Rockies is having an unusual spring: lots of wind, tornado warnings, massive thunderstorms and extremes of hot and then frigid nights. We’ve had three hail attacks, chewing up leaves, and that has done the most damage.

Right now, peppers and eggplants are growing in the ground inside the greenhouse. That became a slight problem after four days of rain plus heavy melting snow in the mountains resulted in standing water about 3″ deep in the greenhouse! Happily the water has receded and the soil is now sticky muck, the kind that sucks your shoes off. Within days it will bake into hardened clay again, I suppose.  We live right by South Boulder Creek, which is in flood now, and the greenhouse is built in the rich alluvial soil of the floodplain—but usually there is no problem with flooding. I don’t think the water was there long enough to damage roots.

The ‘Shiny Boy’ watermelon is also in the greenhouse. I’m experimenting with growing it in huge black plastic pots on top of 55-gallon drums, so it stayed safe from the high water. Outside, the ‘Apollo’ broccoli is growing beautifully and I am so impressed with the ‘Lime Crisp’ cukes. All five seeds were amazing in germination and growth and took to transplant much better than my favorite ‘Orient Express’ cukes, planted at the same time but now only half the size of ‘Lime Crisp’. Can’t wait to taste them.

The ‘Magnolia Blossom’ snap peas are the funniest peas I’ve ever encountered. They put out a myriad of tendrils but will not grasp the trellis, just wave around in the breeze. My beans planted at the same time are over 6 feet high. The peas are looking pretty with their blooms and although I read that they grow to 6 feet, mine are still at 3 feet. 

Funny to be wishing for no more rain as we’re usually way too dry, but what a crazy year all over the U.S.!

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