Thursday, August 3, 2017

July 2017 - gardening in Alaska

Everyone is talking about what a weird gardening year it is.  It's the end of July (okay, beginning of August), and there is not a local tomato to be had.  Anyone who's had success in growing tomatoes this year is hording them because they don't have very many.  Many experienced gardeners have pulled out their tomato plants (some more than once) and started over or given up completely on 2017.  And tomatoes haven't been the only lack-luster crop this year.

It sure makes me feel better about my garden.  It's definitely not as successful as last year's garden, but I'm not sure if that's because we had more planted last year, or if it's because of the cold start to the summer, or because we don't have the high tunnel buttoned up tight like we did last year.

So far this year we've had lettuce, zucchini, and sugar peas.  While I had visions of bumper crops in my head, the royal burgundy beans (basically green beans, but purple), are very slowly growing their beans (4 days and still only an inch long!), while the yardlong beans, a runner, are less than a foot tall.

The carrots are looking good on top, but who's to say what's going on under the soil?  According to the packages, they should be ready mid-August, but the last one I pulled "just to check" was still just a fat root.  I planted 4 envelopes of carrot seeds; I really want them to grow!  Last year I had people tell me that if I had extra carrots, they would take them.  If even half of the carrot tops have good carrots attached, I will definitely have enough to sell.

I still have just the one pepper on the 2 pepper plants that I bought, and none of the pepper seeds that I planted had the courtesy to sprout.  If that one pepper grows to full size, it will be the most expensive one I've ever eaten = a $9 pepper!

The squash plants are stunted and I feel like they haven't made any progress in a couple weeks, no matter the fact that they look like they have new growth in their centers at all times.  What I've figured out, based on the squash and last year's results, is that I need to NOT plant at the outside edges of the high tunnel.  Three of the big beds use the high tunnel as one of their sides.  Next year I need to pull the soil in, have the high tunnel side of the beds be a walking path, and maybe something will grow?
according to the package info, the squash plants should be mature NOW!
After impatiently waiting for more than a week, the zucchini plants finally started putting out male flowers.  This after I twice harvested baby zucchinis to saute up.  I've heard from so many other people that their plants started with female flowers only, so I was very happy when the male flowers opened!  Now it seems I have more male flowers than female, and just this morning I asked Jeff to ask a coworker if they could use some zucchini.  While we don't have enough zucchini to sell at the farmer's market, if we don't eat some every day, we will have too much.  AND I still haven't used all the zucchini that I froze last summer.  I'm seriously contemplating putting last year's zucchini in the compost, and being methodical about freezing this year, counting out how many loaves of zucchini  bread I might make over the winter...

baby zucchinis never had a daddy in their lives...

The variety of peas that I bought this year were supposed to be bush plants; the envelope says that they would grown 24" - 36" tall.  They're taller than me now.  Luckily they look to be doing well.  I put some in my turkey & cheese wrap the other day, for some crunch, and I put some in the fried rice I made the other night.  The variety is Dwarf Gray Sugar, so they're supposed to be picked before the peas develop, which means I'll need to harvest some today, as yesterday there were about a dozen that were getting fat.

Decisions so far:  I will not plant peppers nor broccoli again....

What will come of the garden in August?


  1. My garden has been lackluster at best down here in the lower 48, also. :( I, too, have some very expensive peppers and tomatoes...tho the tomatoes I have had so far so VERY DELISH! As for zucchini...we can't grow it anymore because of the abundance of stinkbugs (squashbugs) that we have now. :( :( :(

  2. Not that we have a big garden, we did get a few zucchini on 1 bush. Onions didn't want to live. The tomatoes are starting to come on. I think Cheryl will have to get them from time to time over the next few weeks.