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The KICC Gitigaan Update

I apologize for the lack of updates on our KICC garden. Truth is, there hasn't been much to tell. For the first time in all of my 52 years I have a nearly empty garden in spite of efforts invested to plant and nurture it. This year has been controlled by the weather and that has been very different than our normal. This year's garden is a loudspeaker to alert us that "normal" no longer exists so now is the time to enact changes to accommodate these new challenges.

Weather was not our only challenge this year. As I mentioned to a friend earlier, "I planted carrots this year and they came up wonderfully... and then the caterpillars came. First they ate just the leaves and left the stalks, so I had hope. Then they returned to finish the stalks so I thought we were done for this year... and then...

I was out to inspect our garden totes this past weekend and counted 6 new carrot sprouts peeking up at me.

So we're going to continue to nurture these and see what happens.

In other totes I'm afraid we don't have much better news to share. The watermelon, after a 2nd planting 2 wks after Father's Day (because nothing came up with the first planting), here we are at the end of July and this is what they look like...

I am not expecting any melons this year.

I want to note that I have been growing watermelon since I was about 6 yrs old. I have never had a problem growing these before... until I moved here. I have tried over the past 15 years to grow them in a garden bed, container pots, aquaponics tote setup, and now the soil, mulch, fertilizer totes, and this is the largest they have ever grown here over all these years.

I cannot claim to understand it but not much grows well here. Even grass struggles to grow well here. Succulents grow well, but are more often food for the squirrels than allowed to stay put and grow. Lilies normally grow well here, but this year they were bloomed and gone within 3 days. Iris's used to grow well here, until the neighbor's pine trees grew up and completely shaded out their bed. Cattails grow well but were destroyed by the caterpillar invasion this year, so there will be minimal waving materials to harvest this fall. I grow 2 small stands of cattails in my small ponds. The caterpillars stripped one stand bare and left the other stand untouched, not more than 15 feet between the 2 stands. I have some suspicions about why 1 stand was allowed to go untouched but lack the time and funding to test it out for next year. The stand that went untouched sits in the center of our herb garden. Those herb plants were also untouched. Since it is my husband's garden I don't have a full inventory of what is in it, but I recognized the various species of thyme that were unbothered and grew well this year. With enough funding I would like to build a 1 foot container bed in front of the other pond and fill it with thyme plants before the caterpillars return next year. I would also like to surround our container garden with thyme plants too.

Lettuce and spinach both suffered the same fate. They were barely sprouted before going to seed, not once but twice already since Father's Day. The lettuce was mostly allowed to reseed itself, though I did collect a handful of seed pods to plant next year.

You can see the few spinach plants that did sprout were barely breaking ground before going to seed.

The lettuce appears to be coming back but we will see if it gets large enough to harvest before going to seed again.

The butter lettuce has done a bit better, not going to seed but still very small and growing very slowly...

And then we get to our last bed and see what we had hoped to see in all of them this year... the 1 plant we put in that seemed mostly unaffected by the weather and was left untouched by the caterpillars... the green beans!

This past weekend we were distressed to see our only viable crop turn up bug eaten, and discovered japanese beetles munching away on the leaves. My husband removed them, checked all of the plants, and we haven't found anymore since. We are hoping that will be the end of that threat. (we've really had enough of the bug problems this year!)

We do have a handful of baby beans starting to grow and are hoping to get a small harvest enough for 1 meal. (better than nothing!)

This has been a distressing growing season. I have heard from others who live 15 - 30 miles away who are having great success in their gardens and others who are struggling in many of the same ways we are here. The neighbor garden that is also usually very lush and healthy has struggled too.

When can we have a serious conversation about surviving climate change???

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