Monday, December 13, 2010

Frustration is Building....

My garden is stagnating. I've heard from gardeners all around town who are having the same problem. No rain plus weird inconsistent temperatures is stalling our veggies' growing patterns. Broccoli and other crops put in around September did their thing and are setting their second batch of crowns, but it seems that everything put in after that is just sitting. Waiting. Germinated then stalled. My garden is plagued with snails, which do their best to eat up all my germinated kale seeds and beet greens.

What is a gardener to do with weather doesn't do its part? Get frustrated, for one. And make due with what you have and what does work. And, add some fertilizer in hopes of making your plants happier. Seaweed is a great tonic to add to plants any time they need a little extra boost. You can buy powdered seaweed that you add to water and feed the soil and foliage for a little boost. If your crops are nice and green but lacking crowns or fruit, add a fertilizer with a large middle number. If your crops are just sitting there doing nothing, add some high nitrogen (first number) fertilizer. Side dressing with compost is always a good idea: make your own or purchase some from an organic nursery. No rain means you'll need to water a little more than you'd like, but cooler temperatures should keep the garden from drying out. Highs in the 70s aren't going to make your broccoli or cabbage any happier, so be sure and water on those mornings.

And at the very least, eat up what is available. This strange 'indian autumn' is at least providing more tomatoes and peppers, so have a nice hot bowl of chilly! Broccoli greens are edible, so even if you aren't getting the prize winning crowns you hoped for you can have a nice saute. And if you just can't stand watching your seedlings sitting there in a coma - head out to your local nursery and buy some lettuce and chard starts. They'll fill up the empty spaces, act as living mulch, and be edible in no time. Hopefully! You can also provide water and seeds for the local birds that will bring some welcomed color back to your desolate landscape.

Here in Austin we're lucky to have mild seasons great for growing veggies all year long. Sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate and things don't go as planned, but that's part of being a gardener: there's always a new challenge and something new to learn. At least the garden isn't covered with 3 feet of snow!

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