I typically keep my posts information oriented but I would imagine it’s hard to find a source credible if you don’t know anything about their personal experiences. So, I’m going to give you a brief overview of myself as a gardener and then give you the rundown on how my garden is doing today.
This little munchkin, digging in the dirt with her dad, holding a handful of seeds, is me. My name is Megan Rice (@earthymrsrice) and I have been gardening my whole life. I grew up out in the country, 7 miles from the nearest gas station, surrounded by farmers and homesteaders alike. My grandmother was a Master Gardener and some of my earliest childhood memories include weeding her gardens in the hot summer sun with my cousins. Gardening is a part of who I am and I am proud of my green thumb. That being said, there isn’t a gardener on the planet that would tell you that 30 years of gardening makes you a magician. We all struggle to overcome hurdles and learn new ways of adapting to Mother Nature’s challenges each and every year. This year has been no different…
This is my fourth year gardening in the Mid-Atlantic. We moved here from Denver and the transition from the arid climate of Colorado to humid, fungus infested Maryland was difficult to say the least. The first year I lost my tomatoes, cucumbers and peas all to blight. Ouch! On the flip side I learned that some things thrive in this climate. Melons, peppers, potatoes, beans; many of my favorite crops. This forced me to be resourceful and put a little effort into my gardening strategy. Remember — they’re not losses, they’re lessons! I started looking for disease resistant varieties, exercising companion planting methods and I’ve moved some items from the disease breeding ground that is our local community garden, into containers in our small back yard. This year I even built a ground-level raised bed to fit more things in the back yard so that I could continue to garden later into the season and overwinter vegetables. (i.e. garlic) All of these efforts have helped, yes, but they’ve each presented their own challenges. Needless to say it has been a continuous learning process and I honestly would not have it any other way.
I began this season by starting tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cantaloupes and various flowers inside. Our community garden opens March 15th and potatoes, onion plants (not sets), carrots, radishes and lettuce all went in the following weekend. The rest of my plants were all in the ground or their respective containers by the first weekend in May. This included peppers, tomatoes, melons, corn, cucumbers, beans and squash. Full transparency — I should have waited another two weeks on my beans and corn. We had an unusually long, cool spring and they both really struggled to get going. That long, cool spring also led to some nutrient deficiencies that I wrote about in my post, “Magnesium & Phosphorus: A Colorful Conundrum”. Everything else is right on time and seems pretty happy, with the exception being my squash. They have suffered from both flying pests and powdery mildew. I was able to cut off a number of affected leaves and they seem to be battling, but if they cannot overcome I will attempt a second crop. If you’re interested, there is more information about this ongoing battle in my previous post, “Squash: Planting, Pests, Pollinating, Productivity & Pasta Substitutions”.
I’ve included a few recent photos of some of my plants to give you an idea of where things currently stand. If you have any questions about what you see feel free to comment below or reach out via my contact page. I hope that you’re gardens are thriving and you have been able to overcome all of the hurdles that Mother Nature has sent your way. Cheers, friends!