The “Glass Gem” corn is now taller than I and just beautiful. All this rain has created a great year to trial corn for the first time. And I am definitely seeing the benefits of all the soil building I have done during the last three years. Thus far the insect pest load seems lighter than in years’ past, which is a good indication that the plants are healthy enough to defend themselves. Running the chickens in the garden during the winter probably helped too, as they no doubt ate up overwintering eggs and larvae.
I had a moment of sheer joy the other day when I went to transplant a dahlia into the veg garden. My shovel blade sank all the way into the soil without any effort from me. This is nothing short of a miracle given the solid, almost impenetrable clay soil I began with. Now if only the soil in the ornamental garden around the house was in such good shape. I still need a pickax to plant in it, and my plants suffer for it.
Corn and beans and cosmos
Several of the dahlias are now blooming. Starting them in March really gave me a huge jump on the season, and I think the second-year tubers are also quicker to get out of the ground than first-year tubers. Makes sense. When I dug some of my first-year tubers last fall, what began as a piece the size of my thumb had, in some cases, become a clump so large I needed two hands to hold it. All that stored energy has got to go somewhere, and thus the big, early plants I am seeing this year.
I love being able to have beautiful cut flowers whenever I want them. It’s one of the best things about summer.
Finally, I am starting to see progress with the plantings around the front of the garden, where I haven’t developed the soil. I stuck some lavender in there last year. It’s horrible soil for lavender, straight clay that holds water all the time. I lost several lavender plants over winter to these poor growing conditions, but a few came back and have bloomed. In the holes made by the dead laveneder I planted some of last year’s bee balm, just chunks I hacked off a main plant that overwintered in a bucket behind the shed with no love from me. Well, each hunk has turned into a good-sized plant and they’re blooming. Everything planted out here needs to be unpalatable to deer and attract more pollinators. I definitely am on the right path now with the lavender, bee balm, and a bit of cat mint. Soon the sunflowers planted within the garden, just in front of the tomatoes, will bloom and join the party.