Thursday, August 30, 2012


Yesterday I wrote about what I'd been doing in the garden and I totally forgot that I planted some fall brassicas. I had a bed reserved for the quicker Asian greens and root vegetables. It has peas on one end of it. I planted one half of the bed up. Some Chinese cabbage, bok choy, Fun Jen, baby bok choy, radishes, and turnips. In a few weeks I'll plant up the other side.

I only remembered when my sprinkler decided to attack the bed. I put it on top of an upside down garbage can to make sure it gets up and over the row covers. Well it came off. I've never had that happen before. And sadly this bed was covered in Agribon. Oh how I hate how fragile Agribon is, but I only have enough of the better stuff to cover three half beds (currently covering carrots, chard/broccoli, and the earlier planted brassica bed). I cut out another section from somewhere else and did a little sewing to cover the hole.

Sadly that wasn't all the damage it did. The sprinkler fell into the bed and dug some holes in dirt and the newly sprouting plants. I tried to fix it up, but I don't know how successful I've been. If they are all dead in a week, I'll resow.

I don't know how well this bed will grow things in the fall. As you can see from the first photo which was taken at 2pm, the bed gets a lot of shade right now. It does get some decent morning sun and a tiny bit of afternoon sun, but at the height of the day it is in shade. I usually plant up my fall/winter Asian greens in the rock wall garden. It is the only place that gets decent sun during the day in winter. This year I'm going to do it in this bed and in the rock wall garden. I might get way too many greens, which is fine. Or this bed might not produce at all. It will be interesting to see. I'd much rather grow my fall/winter crops here. The section of the rock wall garden that I use has my zinnias and I hate pulling them out at the beginning of September. This year I'll wait until mid-September to do it. I've always thought I started a bit too early in past years. Even at the start of September some of the plants have time to bolt.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More Cleaning Up

I think I've lost my last bin of the compost pile. And the monster is trying to take over the next one too. I just can't bear to cut it back though. I keep thinking I should grow a squash up the compost pile, but the volunteer morning glories make me smile too much to rip them out.

I always wonder what neighbor gave me the seed for these. The seed came, I'm sure, in the leaves I pick up from the curbs in the fall. They grew last year and came back this year.

Well enough of flowers, this post is really supposed to be about what I've been doing the last couple of days. Monday I got out and chopped down most of the corn stalks in this patch. This was so I could find the small ears that were left. A lot of the ears in this part of the patch were small. Since they had to be resowed so many times, the squash plants had time to overtake the corn before it got big enough. The corn struggled to get tall enough for sun. Most did, but the ears are tiny. Tasty but tiny. All the stalks got chopped up and tossed on the compost.

I chopped most of the basil down. This is the after photo. I know it still looks like you could pick from it, but it got a very server haircut so it would keep growing.

I wanted to take out all the bush beans and most of the pole beans. The Kentucky Wonder was dying and the Trail of Tears were done drying out their pods. There were not more flowers on the plants. Some years they do a second flush, but they didn't have time this year. I found the bush beans had put out a second flush of flowers and had set pods. None were dry yet. So the bush beans got a reprieve.

This is the after photo. I left my Tarbais Alaric beans to grow on. They are very late beans. They have set their pods but only a few pods were dry. They will dry in September then I can take them down. I was going to put in a cover crop, but since most of the beans are still in the bed, I left it.

Since I had extra time this morning I spent it cleaning up one of the squash patches. Powdery mildew was taking over and there were a lot of dead leaves. I cleaned it up and reclaimed my path. I've done a bit of path reclaiming over the last couple of days. The squash and the sweet potatoes really like to take over if they are given half a chance.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Harvest Monday, August 27th, 2012

This was a good week for one of my favorite harvests. I harvested three melons, but this was by far my favorite. It was the perfect melon. It tasted like ambrosia. And no it wasn't one of my Ambrosia melons. I'm still waiting on those. It was a Halona melon. The other Halona melons were decent melons, but not perfect. They were all struggling with wilt except this plant. It has a tiny melon starting to form too. I don't think it has time to make another melon, but the one it gave me was perfect. I took the photo on the scale hoping to get the weight of it too. But my scale won't do anything over six pounds. This one weighed over seven.

In unphotographed cucurbit news, I also harvested one single cucumber and two zucchini. The zucchini are small. The plant is still struggling a bit from the borer attack, but it recovered rather nicely considering. If all I get are four once zucchinis, I'll still be happy.

My other favorite harvest this week was the corn. We basically ate corn every day we ate in and even one we didn't. We brought six ears to a bbq that a friend was hosting. I had a couple of friends that are real corn lovers and I made sure they each got an ear. And this variety is called Ambrosia. I love the taste. Very sweet. I'm still debating whether to grow it next year though as the germination was such a problem. I'd like one just as tasty, but with good germination.

I did a major haircut of all my chard. The harvest basket was way too small, so I used a large cooler. I'm supposed to cut it every two weeks. Then I get about four pounds. But when you don't for weeks and weeks the chard still keeps producing. I know I say this every time I harvest it, but wow it produces. I've harvested 45 pounds from this patch so far. It has a 16"x8' double row. And half of that double row was almost totally shaded out by the broccoli before I cut it back a couple of weeks ago. I wonder what the final total will be. I had been giving most of it away, just keeping a pound when I harvest. This week I kept two pounds as my broccoli and beans have mostly stopped producing. Nothing this week. I have new beans in flower, but they aren't ready yet. I cut the broccoli back severely in hopes it will rebound. But for now chard is my veggie of the week. The rest went to my townhouse mates to freeze. They had a friend over to help them process it all.

My townhouse mates and a neighbor got these beauties. There won't be anymore for a while. Though the plant seems pretty healthy, the first flush of tomatoes has all been picked. I think in a couple of weeks more might be ripe, but just in ones or twos.
  • Corn 10.00
  • Cucurbit 13.39 lbs
  • Greens 9.67 lbs
  • Tomatoes 5.74 lbs
  • Weekly total 38.72 lbs
  • Yearly total 441.38 lbs
  • Tally $737.12
Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Last Bed

I have eight beds all in a row. This is bed number eight. The last bed. It is the runt of the litter. It can be shaded at the end even in high summer. There is a tree at the other side of my neighbor's yard that is about 70' tall I would guess. It towers over the triple story houses. In winter those houses block light from from every bed, but in the summer that tree is what provides the shade. With the shading I was shocked at how well the onions grew. They really like full sun.

The end of the bed is in a cover crop that is growing by leaps and bounds. The front has three rows of kale, each a different kind. From left to right there is Winterbor, Red Russian (technically it is a mix, but mostly it is Red Russian), and Dwarf Blue Curly Kale. They were growing under a row cover, but this morning I uncovered it. The cover had holes in it. I'm hoping the kale can survive the onslaught of the cabbage butterflies which are always dancing around the yard. I usually don't uncover any brassicas in my yard. Too much caterpillar pain. But with the lack of sunshine here, I figured it might give them a better chance to grow. Then again maybe it will just be caterpillar food. Time will tell. The last time I grew kale uncovered it was just the Dwarf variety. In the fall it was eaten down to the numb. But in the spring it made a comeback and gave me a good crop. I've got my fingers crossed.

In the cove crop I was weeding out a bit of wood sorrel that I'm shocked can survive in that mess of oats, vetch, and peas. It is a thick cover crop. I found one dragonfly hiding out in the cover. It really blended in well. I always love seeing the bees and the other pretty insects sleeping in the garden.

I should be out planting my fall Asian green bed. I really should. But I just can't make myself do it this morning. My allergies are beating me down. I get a little of the drippy nose and itchy eyes, but the main symptom in the fall is always fatigue and headaches. Maybe I'll get out tomorrow and plant them. I need someone like Granny here. She is such a good worker bee. And I'm just not being one right now.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fall Cleanups

Yes I know it isn't fall yet, but since I'm pulling out dead and diseased summer flowers and crops it sure seems like it. Well except for the sweat pouring off brow even in the morning. And I only work in the garden in the mornings. We had a brief time in the 70s now we are back in the 80s with nasty humidity. I'm looking forward to the real fall weather.

The first order of business on Wednesday morning was to take down the cosmos behind the zinnias. The cosmos had two sections. One that had bloomed and turned brown. The other that never bloomed and just got a bad case of powdery mildew. It looked ugly. So now the zinnias are all alone. BTW those black things are to keep people from running into the rock wall. We already had to pay $500 once to fix it. I don't want to do it again. The turn from the driveway into the street (which the rock wall garden lines) is too sharp. If you don't do it just right you will hit the wall.

The other clean up chore was the lone Cherokee Purple tomato in the garden. Since I can't even touch the foliage on these plants anymore, I was finding it hard to pick the fruit. So a lot of fruit was rotting on the vine. This plant was about three times the size you see here. It was about six feet wide along the fence and came out into the garden a bit along the bed. So I covered myself head to toe. I used nose filters combined with those white dust filters. And I went at it. I harvested what was ripe and what was knocked off. I also disposed of at least 5 rotting tomatoes. The plant is amazingly healthy for being right up next to the fence. The fence is on the southwest side of this plant so it sees some significant shading. Of course now most of that foliage has been removed. I was way too hot after completing this chore so I retreated into the house and took my shower.

I used to love the smell of tomatoes. But weirdly I don't anymore. And yes I could smell them through two filters. Now they just scream poison at me and make me cringe. Oh how our perceptions can change. If only peppers and tomatoes in food didn't smell so good. I wish there were a way to make me hate that smell too. Or maybe not. My husband still eats them.

My urban melon patch before cleanup

This morning I wanted to get two things done. I wanted to clean out the melons that were done and cut out the corn stalks that have been harvested. Only the former got done. It took longer than expected and I also did the cukes that were next to them.

I only have three melons left on two plants. I had to leave up four of the cages though since they had spread to their neighbors. Hannah's Choice didn't survive the wilt. Halona has put out three melons so far and has one left on the vine. Ambrosia has put out one melon and has two on the vine. The Ambrosia melons are small and the ones left are pretty green still. They may or may not have time to ripen. The Halona melon is almost ripe. So this is the second year I haven't been impressed with Hannah's Choice. I won't grow it again. I will grow Halona. The jury is still out on Ambrosia.

When I cleaned out the cukes I found all the plants dead except one small one trying to resist the wilt. Go plant. I miss my cukes. Cross Country resisted the wilt better than Calypso, but Calypso put out so many cukes early on that its yield was probably better over all. They are both nice cukes. I might keep them both. I'm glad I way over planted cukes this year as I had very few to spare. I did get all the pickles made that I wanted. I just wanted the fresh cuke season to last longer.

Once they were pulled out I put in a cover crop of mixed peas, vetch, and oats. I'm going to have to figure out where my garlic is going to go. If it is here, I'll have to turn it under in September. But maybe I'll put it where one of the two sisters plantings are. They ought to have been pulled out by then.

I have been neglecting my chard. I'm supposed to pick it every two weeks. But this hadn't been picked for weeks and weeks. I did have one small harvest last week, but not much. Just enough for my pizza. So I picked it all down to what you see here.

This is what was taken off. Over nine pounds. I really need to pick more often. Nine pounds is hard to get rid of. Four pounds is easy. I'm hoping my townhouse mates want most of it to freeze. They would like it frozen, but I'm not sure they are up to processing 7 1/2 pounds. I kept 2 pounds for myself for the next week. My beans seem to be done. My broccoli has slowed down. So I'm in need of veggies to eat again. Chard will fill the gap.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Harvest Monday, August 20th, 2012

Both the cukes and beans are getting to the end of their life. I think I have one cucumber plant that doesn't have wilt. Half the bean leaves are brown.

The first melon harvest was exciting and as usual one was split at the end. I seem to either pick melons unripe or they split on me.

Another case in point. This one had a smaller split so I had to cut less off. It however was much smaller than the other two. I'm happy to get any melons though. I always am. Usually our summers aren't very hot so they don't grow well. This year was hot enough, but I've had plants die due to wilt. They don't seem as affected as the cucumbers but they aren't resistant like the butternuts either. And as you can see I'm picking corn again. This is from the one solitary plant that came up in the first sowing of the bed. It set two ears since it had no competition. I was hand pollinating every morning so I did get reasonable pollination, but there were gaps here and there. I think this coming week the last sowing will be ready to start picking.

The last of the onions were braided. These were the Copra onions, a very good yellow storage onion. About four or so tried to flower for some reason. I've never had that happen before with onions raised from seed. But I had some do that from most varieties this year. These of course won't keep so will be eaten first. I wonder if the hot early weather in March and April combined with the cold weather in early June caused it. I've always thought onions bloomed due to light, not heat and cold. I'm very careful to keep the plant lights on for no more than 12 hours every day when they are seedlings. And they usually get planted right after the Vernal equinox, so they are planted with daylight of about the same length that they were grown. For those that live in other areas, we are at 42 degrees of latitude so I grow long day onions.

I now have all my storage onions hanging braided in the basement. All in all it is about 45 pounds of onions for the fall and winter. In addition I still have about half my sweet onions left so maybe 8 lbs there. Last year my storage onions started sprouting in March. I really hope they keep longer this year. They might. I had a lot less rot problems while they were growing. I also separated the Varsity from the Copra. The former will be used first as Copra keeps longer. I was also careful to feel the necks. Any that felt thicker were put in braids to use first. Necks that dry down better will keep longer. So I've got my fingers crossed that they will keep into spring. I certainly have many more onions this year than last year. I'll share some with my townhouse mates, but once we get to a certain point, I'll stop. I'd rather share than lose the onions due to rot, but then again I'd rather have my onions to use than having to buy store bought onions.

And in big news, I broke the 400lb mark and I'm about 10 pounds behind last year's totals. So I'm still doing well. The melons help since they are heavy. I try to make about a pound per square foot in the garden (570 sqft in the raised bed section). Though I don't choose what I plant based on that. Certainly planting 6'x4' of mustards for mustard seed isn't very productive in pounds. Nor are my precious dried beans. I really can't eat all that comes out of my garden by myself anyway, so I plant what I'll use even if it isn't productive. But for some reason I still like to see the weights add up. And speaking of weights here are the totals for this week.

  • Alliums 18.7 lbs
  • Beans 0.50 lbs
  • Broccoli 0.38 lbs
  • Corn 1.25
  • Cucurbit 11.94 lbs
  • Greens 0.45 lbs
  • Weekly total 33.22 lbs
  • Yearly total 402.67 lbs
  • Tally $641.18
Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Last year I saved the zinnia seed from my mixed batch of zinnias. The flower shapes were different, but the only ones I saved were from the bright pink ones. I so love the color of their fluorescent petals. I wonder if next year I'll get more mixed colors. I did get some reds in this batch. Fire engine reds that clash a little with the pink.

I have zinnias in two places. Inside my garden fence by the chamomile and along the rock wall garden just as you come into our yard. This year in the second spot I put in some Sensation cosmos. I've been very displeased with them. They look ratty and mildewy. One section bloomed nicely but now has stopped as it is setting seed. Another section hasn't bloomed at all. I'm contemplating ripping them out, but the weather has been so humid that I just can't seem to get myself to work in the garden at all.

I did do one little chore this week. I weeded the above kale. Yes there is kale lost in there. The kale gets ignored way too much. I can see into my other row covers, but the Agribon is too opaque really. So I don't see the weeds.

I finally got around to taking care of them. I weeded both sides and thinned the kale to about 8" apart. I have some dwarf kale that I'll leave at 8", but the others will have every other one thinned out (and eaten). There are just three rows going down this 4' wide bed. Each row has a different kale.

Most of what I've been doing is avoiding the garden. With the humidity so high this week it has been hard to be outside. Yesterday it broke a little and I took advantage by biking with a friend. Next week they claim it will be much nicer. The temperatures will be lower and the humidity won't be as oppressive. Maybe I spend more time in the garden. That chard really needs to get picked. It has been three weeks already. Usually I pick it every two weeks. Luckily not much is happening in the garden right now, so I don't need to do many chores.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Preserving and Organizing

I was going to preserve my rhubarb in the morning, but I kept getting distracted. The first problem was finding my Ball Blue Book. I hate that book. It is so thin and doesn't have any writing on the end so you can't tell what it is. If it were just BLUE like the title suggests I'd be fine. Instead it is very nondescript. So I was tearing out my bookshelf to try to find it. I made a pile of books to go upstairs in the attic room. I never use them so they don't need to be very accessible anymore. I cleaned out my whole bookshelf.

One of the things I found was my old exercise sheets. Since January Caroline (townhousemate) and I have been exercising together. Lifting weights is hard for both of us. Neither of us like it, but it really does help you age with less aches and pains. Doing it together makes it easier. Sadly for me, but good for her, she starts a new job next week and won't have time to do that with me. We talked about it and decided that we would do it by ourselves, but do it six days a week, but just ten minutes a day. It ought to be easy to make yourself do ten minute workouts. It is what I used to do years ago. And hence my sheets that I found. So I spent the next block of time redoing my exercise routine plan. I've got four exercises each day. I even typed up a different one for Caroline as I'm really hoping she keeps it up.

I talked with my husband about getting it set up. I told him I wanted to keep it up because I had a good role model. My MIL. She is the epitome of aging gracefully. My husband thought about it and has decided to try to join me. My husband has never lifted weights in his life as far as I know. So I'll believe it when I see it, but I hope we both keep it up.

Anyway that bit of organizing was done. Then I had my Blue Book in hand and went to look in the spice draw to see if I wanted to add any spices to my preserves. I decided not to, but the spice draws have annoyed me since I moved in. I put the spices in drawers because there are so many little tiny drawers in this kitchen. Little tiny drawers aren't really useful for much. Spice jars are thin so easy to fit in them. The jars were just tossed in. There was no way to keep the jars in their spots and they always got mixed up. Ick.

So again my preserving was put on hold. I went into the basement to look for something that I could tack to the bottom of the drawer to keep them contained. I found some old balsa wood. I cut it in one foot sections and tacked it to the bottom of the drawers with tape to see how it would work. I liked it a lot, but I needed smaller wood.

The next day I got out to the craft store and picked up some 3/16" bass wood and glued it down. Now at least the bottom part is all tacked down. The left side has my "sweet" spices and some random things. My right drawer has my savory spices.

As you can see my savory spices are mostly from my garden. But they weren't so pretty earlier. They used to have the old labels on them that had been relabeled and relabeled. I went on a label cleaning kick. Dang those sticky labels were hard to get off. Used scouring powder and a scrubby to do it. And lots of elbow grease. But they are much prettier. I wish I had the pretty oval labels for all of them, but they came with my most recent canning jar purchase and only had twelve.

You see the powdered garlic? Well that was done that morning too. I had the dried garlic slices from previously. I hadn't processed them. So of course they had to be done right then.

And I don't even know why my upstairs freezer got cleaned out, but I'm sure there was some minor distraction that made me do it. I'm not sure what came over me that day. Really I'm a messy person and not usually obsessive compulsive. I leave that for the rest of the family. It must be catching.

Those preserves were finally made. One jar didn't seal. That is the first jar all year that didn't. I really wish I had a pan that could process one jar. Then I could just try it again, but no way am I going to heat the whole huge canning pot up to process just one jar. I don't like the green of the rhubarb. Shouldn't rhubarb be red and pretty? I'm going to have to replace the one I tore out with another. Anyone know a good red variety? The one I bought was supposed to be red, but of course it wasn't.

Head on over to Robin's place at The Gardener of Eden for other Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard posts and link up to let others see what you've been using or preserving from your garden and pantry.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Plants-1 Gardner-6 Undecided-4

The fight for the paths is on in my garden. Certain paths like this one is still undecided. The sweet potatoes are trying to take over, but I can still get though.

This is a huge 3' path in the garden. Or was. But again I can walk down it all the way to the shed.

Though this battle looks lost, if you look closely you can see the path down there.I can get to all the herbs on the left in the circle garden. The sweet potatoes have been cut back just enough to make it accessible. I wanted to pull that dill as it is all in the path. But I can't. My regular dill patch died this year so the volunteer dill was left to grow where it could. Even in very inconvenient places. But this and the matching path on the other side is still a draw.

This battle however is lost. And yes there is supposed to be a path right down the middle there. The squash got away from me. I usually turn the squash runners into the middle of the bed when they try to escape. But if you ignore it for a couple of weeks you lose the battle.

That plant has escaped over the flowers and over the fence and has set its mind on driveway domination. I just can't bear to cut it back since it is setting squash. Who needs a driveway? I don't own a car. My husband is getting worried though as it is his car that gets parked there. He mentioned it to me I think so that I would cut it back and deal with it. But I didn't. I left it there. Frankly I'm rooting for the squash.

This Godzilla of a plant is one of my butternuts. I'm guessing it is a Waltham Butternut, but that side was an Early Butternut, which has more of a bush habit. The other side was the Waltham. But I wouldn't put it past the Waltham to travel 16' to the end of the bed and then escape out the fence. As you can see the squash is part of one of my two sisters beds. Squash is perfect to run under the corn. It needs space, but I'm not going to give it space just to run. That wouldn't be productive. I let the corn grow and set on top of it.

Sadly I mistimed this bed. I usually plant the corn and the squash at the same time. This gives the corn time to get tall enough to be above the squash. But I was doing four blocks of corn each 2 1/2 weeks apart (May 1st, May 17th, June 4th, June 21st). The problem with this bed was it was the later bed and I planted the squash on the June 4th planting time with the first set of corn in the bed. The corn didn't come up. It finally came up with the last planting date of June 21st after several tries. This gave the Waltham way too much time and a lot of the corn was swamped by the squash. On the other end I planted the Early Butternut at the same time as the Waltham. I figured it was not as aggressive so the corn would have a chance. That worked out better. Some stalks did get swamped, but not most of the bed. Right now that set of corn has most of the silks just starting to dry out. So hopefully they pollinated well.

This is the other three sisters bed. As you can see the corn is gone. It had the earliest planted corn. I had germination problems here too. But the squash was all planted in mid May so I had time for resowings before the squash took over. I got about 25 ears of corn out of what ought to have been 40 plants. I didn't have that many as some never came up and a few didn't set any corn. A few got taken out by the microburst. But 25 is better than I've done in the past, so I'm going to count it a success. And as you can see here, I can get down those paths. The leaves might be reaching for the paths, but the vines are contained (mostly) in the bed.

The saddest part about that bed is the Tetsukabuko squash. It set one squash really early and is maybe 6" in diameter. Then it never set another one again. It had lots of female flowers, but they never set squashes. And it isn't resistant to wilt. The plant is dying from it now. So I won't ever grow that one again. The butternuts all seem resistant to wilt and immune to the borers, so butternuts will be my only squash next year. I'm only complaining a little about that. I do love butternuts, but sometimes variety is nice.

This year I gave the third sister - beans - its own bed. I've found that bush beans get mowed down by the squash. Pole beans overwhelm the corn. So I've quit growing a three sisters bed. I keep thinking though that if I plant pole beans really late it might work. I might try one bed that way. I don't know if we would have enough time to get the beans to crop, but it would be fun to try. I always love to experiment.

One thing I didn't like about giving the beans their own bed is that I had to plant bush beans so the beans wouldn't get shaded by themselves. I don't like bush beans nearly as much. They are hard to harvest and I lose some of the beans to mildew as the pods sit in the damp earth. The pole beans are easy to see to harvest and they don't mildew nearly as easily. Next year I'd like to see if I can grow pole beans in the whole bed. I would also like to see if I can find a rotation with the bush Tiger Eye beans. They are such an early bean that I could harvest by pulling the whole plant out. And they could be in the rotation with the spring and fall crops. I could grow the first one early in the summer and they would be out by August. And I could grow the second after the spring crops get out at the end of June. I'd have to experiment to see if I could grow them near the fence or they would always need to be in the better sun by the path. But it would be good to grow beans in a bed before my heavy feeders the brassicas. I'll have to think about what goes where this winter.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Harvest Monday, August 13th, 2012

Corn was still queen of the garden last week. I picked ten ears one day as the last of the corn in one of my beds ripened up. I'm getting better at picking them at the correct ripeness, but I'm still not perfect. There is a huge difference it taste between perfection and a couple of days over or under ripe. I was going to be mean and never give my townhouse mates any as before that last day I was picking in twos and threes. But with 10 ears in one day they got a couple and I even got to freeze some. My husband who doesn't appreciate much of the rest of the food that comes out of the garden was joking with me about being mad when I gave "his" corn away.

Almost all of the rest of the bush dried beans were picked before the last bit of rain. And Kentucky Wonder is putting out another wave of beans. You can't see them in the last photo because they are buried under the dried beans. I still haven't weighed any of the dried beans. I'll get to them once they are picked and the plants torn out.

My onions were dry and were braided and weighed. These are the Varsity and Redwing onions. I haven't gotten to the Copra onions, so you will see those next week. Last year I planted a bit less and got 17 lbs total. This year it will be about twice that poundage with only a third more space. So it was a good onion year. I was afraid of where I planted them. It is in the shadiest portion of the garden. I hate planting anything there, but they still performed. Well all except the Varsity onions. Half of them were tiny and some never grew at all. Both varieties of onion were given the same amount of growing space and you can see the difference in yield. I won't be growing those again next year.

I picked some rhubarb to freeze for the winter. One plant got pulled out as I decided that I hated it. The other is a nice rhubarb and only got lightly harvested. Even with that I got more from the rhubarb that I left. Most of the other was full of rotting and hollow stems.

It was a good week for brococli. Many of the side huge side shoots were ready. The plants are very stressed now and getting diseased. I had to cut the centers out of some of the heads before weighing. Some were black. Some brown. Earlier in the week I had taken down the Windsor plants that gave me ounces to try to save the Fiesta that were giving me pounds. They need more air in there as mildew sets in. I also took off all the diseased foliage of the Fiesta. It may or may not save them. If they don't survive, well, they have been great producers so far. I can't complain at 1.5 lbs/sqft they have been stunning. My others only gave about 0.5 lbs/sqft. Usually broccoli doesn't pull its weight in terms of production but this did.

I warn you if you want to try it though. It is not a wussy broccoli. It has a lot of flavor. I went out to eat the other day and my side dish was steamed broccoli. After eating Fiesta I found your typical steamed broccoli to be tasteless. It is kind of like eating free range chicken versus regular chicken. The taste difference is striking, but some prefer the milder taste. Not me, but some do.

I totally forgot to take photos of my tomatoes. It shows you how much I care about them anymore. But they were nice if ugly Cherokee Purple tomatoes. A bit cracked from the changeable dry to wetter weather. I gave four to my townhouse mates that weren't going to be around for the weekend anyway. And seven to another neighbor that lives right next to the garden fence.

I was a bit worried about not having my main bed of tomatoes in the garden. Typically they are such good producers. They produce over 2lbs/sqft of space for me. But at this point I'm only 20lbs behind last year's totals and by this time the bulk of the tomatoes had been picked already. So I'm doing fine. I think the huge greens harvests this spring really made up for it. Plus the tomatoes were replaced with sweet potatoes. Those haven't been harvested yet. I'm not sure what I'll get as I've never grown them, but I'm hoping.

  • Alliums 26.80 lbs
  • Beans 1.16 lbs
  • Broccoli 3.49 lbs
  • Corn 8.09
  • Cucurbit 16.26 lbs
  • Tomato 6.52 lbs
  • Weekly total 49.58 lbs
  • Yearly total 369.45 lbs
  • Tally $574.13
  • Fruit:
  • Raspberries 0.14 lbs
  • Rhubarb 3.39 lbs
  • Yearly total 29.47 lbs
Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Catch Up

I'm having trouble figuring out where to start after not really blogging about gardening for two weeks. I've done my harvest and cooking posts, but not any gardening posts. Above are my sweet potato vines that are taking over the world. Isn't it funny how a morning glory self seeding itself in my vines? I kept thinking that I needed two zinnias in the middle to make it a very pretty bed, but it turns out all that I had to do was let this one "weed" grow. I didn't even know it was in there since the leaves are close enough that I didn't notice.

As you can see there are two different flowers in this photo. The small pink one is from my Garnet sweet potato. It has a morning glory like flower as it is in the same family, but it hides under the foliage and is smaller.

The second bed of sweet potatoes has no flowers at all. That bed has my purple sweet potatoes that Norma gave me. All the sweet potatoes are intent on taking over the world. They are in the circle garden. The center circle is my herb garden. The vines were quickly encroaching on it. So I hacked them back. I thought about just turning the vines in as I'd done in the past. But it was just too much this time. So off with their heads. Many had already rooted into the ground and I had to rip them out before cutting them off. Sweet potatoes are very aggressive. Not as bad as a squash plant, but they are persistent.

It looks like a lot of bare soil doesn't it? Well only one half bed is bare. The one with the upside down trash barrel (I put the sprinkler on it to make sure it gets over the row covers) is empty, but the half part closer to the fence has newly germinated lettuce and beets. The bed to the right near the fence (next to the single row cover) should have carrot seedlings. I tied to get them to germinate but they just wouldn't. Luckily this was my second bed I was putting in carrots and my first bed is up just fine. I weeded and thinned it the other day.

The small patch of fall peas that I planted are up and doing well. The pole beans also germinated. A handful in one section died to damping off in the heat, but the rest are growing well. The bush beans germinated spottily, but are up. The fall brassica bed is growing well. I might get to harvest some bok choy soon. Oh and that empty bed that hasn't been planted, well it is going to have my quicker maturing Asian greens planted there. I might put some kohlrabi in too, but I don't usually plant that one until the end of August or the beginning of September once the weather cools off.

My cover crop came up well. Both the section I put soil over and the section where I just raked the seed into the bed.

Each of my beds are 16' long and divided into two 8' sections. This is the same bed that has my cover crop but it is the other 8' section. I can't use the 8' section near the fence for fall crops as it is in total shade in the fall. The front section at least gets some sun - for a while. This bed was seeded in kale as you can see. It all came up well and has been thinned once. It really needs to be weeded soon.

I've done a lot of weeding in the last couple of weeks. It has been hot and I've been watering so the weeds are in abundance. The crab grass is trying to go to seed so it has been a challenge to keep it down before it seeds all over the garden.

Do you remember from earlier in the year when I told you about my monster rhubarb? It insisted on going to seed even though I kept trying to cut off the flower heads. As summer progressed it became even more unruly and very ugly. I think of rhubarb as a pretty plant. But half the plant rotted out and it was right in front of my air conditioner during a hot summer. So I decided to kill it. I took it all down. I'll be pulling it out for months I'm sure as it tries to regrow. The nice rhubarb that was next to it was harvested by half, but otherwise left. Though that rhubarb won't produce as much as quickly, it is a much prettier rhubarb and won't block the air flow to my air conditioner. Let that be a warning to my plants. You get out of line and out you go.

Usually I like big plants. I had a huge sunflower with over 20 flowers on it. It was probably just under 10' tall. I loved its monstrosity. Though it did attack me when I was trying to turn on the spigot. I had to keep it propped up with five bamboo poles it was so heavy. It made me smile every day as I bumped my head on its heavy flowers. But sadly it broke under its own weight. Not even during a storm either. It just got too heavy. The lower part and a few flowers are left. So sad. But I'm not at all sad about my rhubarb. It was an ugly thing. Now I have to keep up on pulling the leaves to kill it. I haven't yet taken a shovel to it. I really ought to dig out as much as possible, but it has been too hot for that kind of work.