The budding urban food forest has a recent success: the fig tree is alive!

In case you missed the earlier post, we transplanted a 15+ foot fig tree into our backyard in early June. Not a great time to transplant a fruit tree, and the fig was none too pleased with us. However, we kept at it by burying a thick layer of mulch on top to keep it cool and stayed consistent with watering which all seems to be paying off.

Here is a picture of some small green buds peeking out of the branches – a very good sign!

The small gain comes at a good time, since I’ve been feeling like my food forest is pretty pathetic for it’s first year. We have come a long way though. The backyard had no landscaping when we moved in – just endless grass. I kept telling myself I had a lot to show for the last few months with the herb garden, raised beds, fruit trees, etc. But between the chickens eating all my seeds and two weeks of garden neglect while I was in Korea… I just started feeling like a bad representation of permaculture on a urban-scale.

Okay, the pity party is done. The fig lives and it will be so gorgeous next year. I planted new seeds after sequestering the chickens back in their coop and for the most part they all popped up. I still have not seen hide nor hair of the many melon seeds I planted, but maybe it was just a bad batch. But the tomatoes are outgrowing their cages, the eggplant seems happy, beans are in a growth spurt, lettuce is out of control, and zucchini is ready for picking.

Along with the growth outside comes some concerns I am seeing with other plants:

Beets: the leaves are drying up and crinkling. I snip them off and added some straw, hoping to keep the ground wet and cool, but I’m not sure it’s making any impact. Are beets only a cold weather thing? Are they just too hot? How do I tell when they are ready? Just pull them out and hope there is something attached?

Swiss Chard: the leaves get wilty, but it almost looks like mold of the leaves. The problem began a few weeks ago, I thought maybe the plants were drying out so I put a layer of straw over them hoping to retain moisture and keep them cool. Am I missing something?

Green Peppers: The plants don’t seem to grow taller, but they are getting loaded with a few peppers. Leave well enough alone?

Zucchini: Although I’m getting zucchini, there are white spots on the leaves. Is this mold? I don’t think it’s hurting the development of squash, so I’ve left it alone.

I am willing to take the good with the bad in the garden, but I’m hoping to solve these little mysteries and not repeat them next year. It’s always something though, right? Hope you are having some good luck in your backyard!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson