Sunday, September 21, 2014

What's Happening in the Garden - Mid-September - Part 2


In Part 1, I talked about the 4 beds in the small veg area.  Now on to the 9 beds in the main veg area, 5 of which were new this year.
 
The tomatoes are done, done and done – I have cut down a lot of the vines but many still need to be removed.
 
Tomato Bed
Harvest is finished & only the final cleanup is left
 
The relatively lush looking plant on the left is Mountain Magic – the only plant that completely escaped the late blight that plagued every other tomato plant this year.  Even Mountain Merit, another early and late blight resistant variety, did not come away unscathed with several branches having to be removed.

The only two survivors in these beds are the Mountain Magic
in the left bed and Mountain Merit in the right bed
 
Surprisingly, the tomato plants in the slightly shadier bed did not get as severely affected as those in the sunnier area.  I would have thought it would be the reverse.  Regardless, a mass cleanup is going to happen in the next few days and all this will be gone.
 
Tomato Bed in Shadier Area
Not great but surprisingly better than one would expect
 
The 2nd seeding of carrots was a dismal failure.  I planted them way too late and, as you can see in the photo, they are barely an inch high. And on top of that, germination was spotty.

Carrot Bed
If you squint, you can barely make out the carrot seedlings
among the scattering of bindweed
 
So much for early varieties.  Of course, this bed also gets limited sun, especially now as it is lower in the sky, and I’m sure that our cooler than usual weather didn’t help the speed at which the carrots are growing.  That big one in the middle, by the way, was a weed - of course THEY have NO trouble growing.  I keep thinking that I should have just left the spring planting in place – I could have harvested carrots that were twice as large and not bothered with the 2nd sowing.  Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve – there is a lesson in every bed this year!

The strawberry bed looks lush but the supposedly everbearing Fort Laramie variety never did end up giving me a 2nd crop - not one flower after that first flush in early summer.
 
Strawberry Bed
 
But I may get a couple of berries - and I do mean two - surprisingly, from a June bearer that originally came from my neighbor.
 
Rogue Strawberries
 
Most of the herbs in the herb bed are doing really well.  The cilantro and dill from my 2nd sowing are still babies – these should have been sown at least two weeks earlier.  But the original sowings, which I have been leaving in order to gather the seeds, are huge.  Even though I saw other bloggers with huge dill plants, I still didn't believe that those tiny plants would grow into such monsters.  Next year, the dill & cilantro will definitely have to be planted elsewhere.  Perhaps I’ll plant the 1st sowing in a separate bed as these will be left to go to seed, and then do the 2nd sowing in the herb bed.
 
Dill Going Wild
 
The tomatoes basically took over the focus of the harvest for the last few weeks and the cool season veg were left more or less unattended.  Not that I can harvest much for freezing at any rate since our current freezer is full – we have another larger freezer that is on order so I’m looking forward to getting it and doing a massive re-organization.

The Swiss chard is still going, although it likely could have done with some fish fertilizer a few times in the last couple of months.
 
Swiss Chard
 
The slugs were having a field day in the lettuce bed.  This bed was badly ignored for a while, creating lots of nice, shady spots for them.  This is what it looked like before I cleaned it up a couple of weeks ago:
 
Lettuce Bed Before Cleanup
 
All of the Pinares & Simpson Elite lettuce had bolted and were ripped out.  The Sierra MI was  still hanging in there with no signs of bitterness, so that one was simply trimmed.  As I ripped out the plants, I interrupted a little party:
 
Slug Party Interrupted
 
Sue gave me the suggestion of using eggshells in the bed since our weather had been so wet that the diatomaceous earth I normally used was not being very effective.  I had tried using eggshells last year but didn’t get great results as I was likely too spare in spreading them on the bed.  I had only recently started to save them so didn't have that many at the time.  Now I have an entire stash of eggshells.  Since we are so close to the end of the season, I have decided not to bother this year.  Next year, however, I will give this method another try only this time, I will give the beds a much more liberal application.
 
Lettuce Bed After Cleanup
Collards - front left; Joi Choi Hybrid - rear left; Lettuce - right
 
The Joi Choi hybrid is chugging along and I did quite a large harvest when I cleaned up the bed.  The 2nd sowing of collards is still very small.  Next year I plan to place the collards at the end of the bed so that I can cover the individual stalks (which get very tall as you harvest) while still being able to cover the rest of the bed with regular netting.  Then I could simply harvest from my spring sown collards for the entire season without having to worry about a 2nd round.

The next bed (which originally held the peas) has Russian Kale, Packman broccoli and spinach that I was supposed to pull a couple of weeks back.  Well, I never did end up pulling the spinach, but just left it and now it is starting to get a new flush of leaves.
 
Spinach
A bit chewed up but I'm hoping for more new leaves
 
The Russian Kale is doing well, but the Packman broccoli shows no evidence of  a head yet.  The transplants in this bed were one of the last to be planted, just like the broccoli in the bean bed, and it really set them back.
 
Russian Kale
 
Packman Broccoli
Transplanting too late will likely mean no harvest
 
The last bed (originally the garlic bed) was sown with kohlrabi, Mei Qing choi and more Packman broccoli. 

The aphids have finally left the building on the Mei Qing.  I planted them a bit too closely, as it turns out, and they are now doing much better since I pulled out half of the plants.

Mei Qing Choi
 
The Packman broccoli in this bed was the first to be transplanted - if I’m lucky, I may get a small head.
 
Packman Broccoli
This small bud was a welcome sight
 
And lastly the kohlrabi is doing well & sizing up.  I will be picking some of these in the next few days.
 
Vienna White Kohlrabi
 
I do love tomatoes, but I’m kind of glad that their season over.  With so many new things to learn this year, I felt as if I was in a constant state of catching-up since tomato season started.  Now I can start paying attention to all of the other lovely crops that have waited patiently for me to take notice.

Till next time…

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tour. My baby choys are still so small. I hope they get to it and size up before it gets really cold. I think they will though.

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    Replies
    1. My timing was definitely off on a bunch of the fall crops. The cool weather has not helped with how fast things are growing, that's for sure. I hope that your choys make it to a good size.

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