Saturday, September 20, 2014

What's Happening in the Garden - Mid-September - Part 1

The garden has been winding down – REALLY winding down – in the last week.  Our days have been cool & our nights have been cooler – many in the mid-single digits (less than 50°F).  As the weather channel put it – it's September but it feels like October.  I guess that’s about right, considering we had September weather since early July.  We have not had a frost yet, but I’m sure it is just around the corner even though our official last frost date isn’t until October 3rd.

Many of my beds are either done or almost done.  I originally thought that I would be planting more fall crops, overwintering spinach, etc., but I have decided to let those ideas go for this year.  I still have a ton of general maintenance work to do in the garden - things that I have been meaning to do all summer but never got around to - like moving the rest of the triple mix & mulch from our driveway onto the hill area (where I plan to place a few more raised beds next year).

So on to the garden tour.  Firstly there is the small vegetable bed section with 4 raised beds – all new this year.  This is where the onions, beans, cucumbers and most of the squash were placed.
The two onion beds are pretty much empty now that the storage onions have been pulled.

Onion Bed
All that green is bindweed – my weed nemesis - which requires a whole other discussion, including the reason why I haven't pulled it out yet.

The only remaining inhabitant of these two beds is the perennial bunching onions.

Perennial Bunching Onions

I’m up in the air as to what to do with these because of the leek moth* issues I had this year.  I read that onion maggots do not favour green onions, but I did find one in the only green onion I pulled so far.
I was hoping to establish the perennial bunching onions this year but now I’m not sure if I should be keeping these are starting over again next year, this time covering them with netting.  Since the pupae overwinter in the soil & not the plants themselves, I’m leaning towards leaving them, and then digging them up in the early spring (assuming they survive the winter) and replanting them in another bed before the first generation of onion maggot flies emerge in May.

UPDATE:  I have since discovered that the pest attacking the alliums was leek moth, not onion fly.  I decided to relocate the perennial bunching onions to a separate part of the garden (an unused section of the asparagus bed) where they could remain indefinitely without needing to be moved each year.  I did not cover them and will see how it goes - if I find that they sustain a lot damage over the season, I may forgo growing them altogether.

The two other beds in this area contained the beans, cucumbers and squash.  The beds are looking much the worse for wear.
The majority of the beans, Trail of Tears, have been picked& are drying.  There are only a few stragglers left on the vines, the last to mature.  I have not been waiting for them to dry on the vines but picking them when they are mature and spreading them out on a screen in the garage to dry, which seems to be working quite well.

Bean Bed - or what's left of it

The Garden Sweet cucumbers were finished last week and there are three Suyo Long cucumbers ready to pick.

Last of the Suyo Long Cucumbers
There are also a few Lemon cucumbers but I am finding that they are getting tougher & smaller.  I likely won’t be picking any more of those.

Cucumber vines on the right & middle;
Zucchetta Tromboncino on the left
The summer and winter squash are finished.  In the past month, powdery mildew has basically taken over all of the cucumber and squash plants.  You can see in the above photo that the Zucchetta Tromboncino vine, although also affected, looks much better than the other vines.  So it appears that it is somewhat resistant, although unfortunately there are no squash on the vine that have a chance of maturing.
I had planted borage in the squash beds as pollinator attractors.  These plants were pulled out a few weeks ago as they were huge and, quite frankly, getting in the way.  I recall hearing others complain about how readily borage self sows.  And they were right:

Tons of borage seedlings have
emerged in the squash bed
In the bean bed, the contender bush beans came out weeks ago after the bacterial brown spot spread through them like wildfire.  I transplanted Dark Green Curled kale & Munchkin broccoli into the empty spots back in the 2nd week of August.  The transplants were fairly old at this point (having been sown indoors in the last week of June) as I had been planning on placing them in the onion beds.  But the onions took much longer to mature than I anticipated, so I had to eventually find other spots for all of the fall brassicas.

Dwarf Green Curled Kale - or is it?
The curly kale looks nothing like I thought it would – I expected it to be exceptionally ruffled.  I'm actually thinking that I may have messed up and sown the wrong seeds.  The Munchkin broccoli was transplanted much too late - I see no evidence of a head yet.

Munchkin Broccoli
And lastly the peppers.  The pepper plants in the main veg bed area were scrawny & I pulled them a couple of weeks ago.  The plants in the bean bed, however, are still looking fantastic.  All of the mature peppers have been picked but I'm mulling over whether I should pot up one of the plants to overwinter (even though I know that this wouldn't be practical especially with all of the other work I have to do at this stage).  But I hate to get rid of such healthy looking plants.  There are even a few baby hot peppers on one.

Pepper plants still green and lush
These will be hard to get rid of
So that’s it for the 4 beds in the small veg area.

Till next time...

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

10 comments:

  1. I did plant a tiny amount of spinach and lettuce and kale lately. Just tiny amounts. We are trying to get things done up around the yard and gardens too. Need to be two people with loads of energy I guess! Good luck. Nancy

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    1. You got that right - two people would make things infinitely easier. I do love working in the garden but unfortunately, other responsibilities often take priority.

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  2. The Tromboncino squash seems to be resisting powdery mildew in my garden as well, which is great because PM runs rampant here and I can't grow anything that isn't resistant. Your garden certainly is winding down in a hurry, so sad.

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    1. This is the first time I've documented the decline and it's definitely surprising how quickly things went from green and lush to brown and shriveled. I'm not sure if it is like this every year or if our cool weather has sped up the process.

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  3. As much as I love growing and harvesting, I also look forward to the ritual cleaning out of the various beds at end of season ... and planning for next year! I had massive borage this year also but hadn't noticed any self seeded. Will check although I suppose they won't overwinter?

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    1. I'm with you on the cleanup and planning - I so enjoy them. I think this will especially be the case this year as I feel as if I have been playing catch-up since early August so am looking forward to actually getting caught up! I don't think that the seedlings will overwinter, but ungerminated seeds might, so you may very well have them pop up next year.

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  4. I grew the dwarf curly kale, and I can tell you--they gave you the wrong seeds! Funny thing , though--is that next year I am switching to a less frilly kale. It was productive, tasty, good stuff ---BUT--too frilly for me. Itty, bitty bugs LOVE to hide in all that frilliness!

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    1. I thought that they didn't look right. I'm not sure if I got the wrong seeds or if perhaps I messed up when I sowed them. One of my neighbors stopped growing the curly stuff because of the bugs as well - but I just love it in salad so I figured I would give it a try. I'll probably switch back once I find something crawling across my fork ;)

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  5. I agree with Sue it is something else. And she is right about the bugs hiding in the frilliness. I wouldn't grow the frilled type except they overwinter here. The smooth kales aren't hardy enough for that. So I'm stuck very slowly washing the kale to get it clean of bugs.

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    1. I don't think I would mind having to do a bit more on the washing front if I could get some early greens on my plate. But since this is obviously not the right variety, I guess that will be something to plan for next year.

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