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.


  1. 9 pounds of chard! That makes me laugh for some reason.

  2. I'm on my way to doing fall cleanup this weekend....looks like it was fun

  3. That is such a cheerful bed of zinnias. Looking at it puts a smile on my face, thanks.

  4. Beautiful flowers! and we're also starting cleaning up beds for fall.

  5. The chard looks lovely! I am envious because the deer ate mine before I had a chance to harvest some to preserve. Although the temperatures are not reflecting it, it is beginning to feel like fall. Even though our days are still hot and humid, our nights have been pretty chilly.

  6. Good old chard, ever reliable... Its interesting that your body has adapted and you don't like the smell of tomato plants anymore - self preservation I guess.

  7. That chard looks amazing! It is generally such a dependable vegetable through all kinds of weather.

  8. The CP tomato does look like a healthy specimen - such a shame you cannot enjoy them anymore. The garden clean up is going well. I need to rip out the dead pea vines but have not worked up the energy to tackle it yet. There are still some vines producing peas so that is my excuse (for the moment).

    1. They get local organic tomatoes at my health food store I go to. Omg are they ever red and juicy. MMMMM