Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Slowing down...

Things have certainly slowed down here. The corn plants (now empty of corn) are turning brown, the sunflowers as well. The cukes are nearly done. The lettuce continues, kale, cabbage and broccoli, though the broc and cabbages have been chewed up (I've never seen the culprit), and I'm not expecting much from them. We have some new sprouts--turnips growing quickly, little baby lettuces and spinach, baby onion sprouts, radishes. I'm not sure that the peas are going to do much. The snap peas are spindly and I am beginning to think that's just how they grow, but I always picture a big, bushy plant. Only a couple of the replanted peas have come up, and one of the original planting died, so there are maybe four plants.

The solstice is near. Today is cool. Lows are predicted in the 40s tonight. I don't know how far out we'll get without frost, I am hopeful, but not counting on much from here on out. I harvested all but one of our second planting of carrots, gathered enough scarlet runner beans for tonight's dinner (this took about a week, LOL), and pulled the last few little ears of corn left. So, that's pretty much the end of it. There are still the seedlings, but it will be some time before we see anything from them. The rest of the scarlet runner beans will be allowed to mature, and I'll throw them in soup or something. The beans are pretty and the kids will enjoy that even if they don't eat them. There may still be a few cukes left, definitely some salads, one beautiful rainbow chard plant that I haven't brought myself to harvest anything from yet, plenty of kale. Soon, we will take down the sunflowers and corn. I hope to make a shock with our corn for decoration. I will save some calendula seeds, though I am betting I won't need to plant any since they have been so prolific that they will probably reseed themselves.

We also have to prep for blueberries, lingonberries, strawberries, and bamboo coming in October. At least I think I do. I placed an order for some things, and some of them will come in the spring and some this fall. I did not keep track of what was coming when. So, I guess it will be a surprise. :0P

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


We have harvested all of our corn--there wasn't a lot, maybe 24 ears altogether. It was delicious! Perhaps due to the amount of real estate required, it isn't worth it for us to grow our own, particularly because our family eats that in about 2 meals. Especially because there is a local farmer that sells absolutely delicious corn at his stand near Ben's work. Now, ours was just as good as theirs, and it is awesome to know that we can grow it here. If we could not buy corn that was just as fresh and tasty, we would likely plan to grow it again soon. And, maybe since cukes are out for another year or two, we will anyway; I don't have definite plans for next year yet. The neighbors were entertained by the corn sticking up over our fence though, and we very much enjoyed the harvest!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

New Friends

This year, our garden has attracted some new friends to our yard. We have always had our share of wasps, but this year, our oregano made some honey bees very happy, and as Ben noted, probably made for some funky-tasting honey. Joining the honeybees at the oregano were plenty of bumble bees, which have also been quite pleased with the presence of lots of sunflowers. We have also watched several goldfinches perched on the sunflowers. And, we have had a tiny hummingbird visiting our scarlet runner beans in the late afternoons. I have only seen a hummingbird here once since we moved in about 8 years ago!


Well, the container tomatoes are quickly succumbing to the fall blight. Only a very few tomatoes will be salvaged from them. I did "harvest" two lovely tomatoes, one with only a small bit of blight, from my cardboard boxes in the garage on Wednesday, which I added to a double batch of Roasted Tomato Sauce. Aside from those that were ripe when I pulled up the plants, I've managed to harvest about 17 additional pounds of tomatoes that ripened on a table outside and on my windowsill. There are still quite a few in the boxes. Of course, I cut blight from these tomatoes generously, so quite a lot less than 17 lbs. was actually usable.

After a little peeking around, I see the cucumber problem looks more like this. It turned the cucumber plant in our "original" garden from a healthy-looking plant to a crispy pile of leaves and stems in less than two weeks. There are now spots showing on the pickle cukes planted up on the hill along the fence, but I, again, hesitate to pull them up as they are producing well. From the description, this can apparently affect melons, too. So far, our melons appear unaffected (all three of them, LOL). I'm hoping they will be ripe before that happens, or maybe it won't happen at all. In the meantime, we're munching on cukes as long as they keep fattening up in our garden.

It is suggested that we do not plant things in the cuke family for a year because this remains in the soil.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fall Crops

So, I've been a little discouraged and unsure of whether I should even be putting seeds in the ground this late in the season. The last few nights, we have been just south of the frost line. It will be warming up, and I don't expect to see frost again until the usual time, which could be only a month away. I am late getting things in the ground, but hopefully the covered wagon feature on our bed will buy us a little more time.

This weekend, the new bed was moved next to our first, and in an effort to shake off the lazies that overcame us with days of rain and gray, we ventured out in to the sunny Sunday afternoon (still unseasonably cold, but very pleasant) and made a family project out of filling the bed with bags of peat, composted cow manure, and mushroom compost.

Tonight, I finally got seeds into the ground. In the new bed, spinach, romaine, and salad bowl lettuce, a couple rows of purplette onions, and a couple rows of turnips. I don't know if I've ever even eaten a turnip, but I thought them worth a try.

In the old bed, where the tomatoes were, I planted a number of rows of carrots, with radishes mixed in to mark and "hold" the rows while the carrots germinate and come up. The radishes will be grown and harvested before the carrots get very big. There is also a row of diakons. I had planned on two, but distracted by kiddos fighting over a butterfly net, I dumped most of the package of seeds on the ground. Such are the hazards of distracted planting, I suppose. ;) I planted a mix of carrots, one was an actual mix of purples, yellows, and oranges, the same that we planted earlier this spring, a couple rows of purple haze carrots, a couple rows of three different orange varieties. For radishes, easter egg mix, regular mixed radishes, and red meat radishes.

So, that's it. I left space on one end of the new bed for another planting of lettuce in another week or so. I'm not counting any chickens (or carrots) just yet, but I had the seeds on hand, space to put them, and am hopeful we'll have something to show for it.

I've made 3 quarts or so of roasted tomato sauce this week (it is yummy!), and tomorrow, I think another group of tomatoes should be ripe enough for another couple quarts. I'm planning on making a lasagna from one of them this week, but the rest will go in the freezer. The greens in newspaper aren't moldy or rotting or anything, so maybe they'll ripen up yet. I also made some roasted green tomato salsa with the greens, and, while Ben thought it was sour and didn't care for it, I thought it was good and ate most of it myself, LOL.

I don't know if planting in the tomato bed was the best choice after the blight, but it seemed like a safe bet since nothing I planted there was related to the tomato. I almost forgot--I replanted peas on the end of the bed next to carrots that are just maturing. Three of about 18 seeds I planted last month came up. I should have replanted a little sooner, but I guess it just adds to the excitement, eh?