Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hilltop Update - Early October


The hilltop garden contains a variety of beds including 5 regular raised beds (one of which the kids are using), 3 asparagus beds plus one new bed for the blueberries.

This spring, berry canes were planted along the side of the hill - the blackberry canes run up the east side of the hill and the raspberries are on the west side.  These were only planted this past spring so the few raspberries we have been harvesting every couple of days or so have been a real treat:

Looks like we will be getting a few more in a day or two
 
Also on the hill are the straw bales, all of which hold squash.  The plants are rapidly dwindling as powdery mildew takes over the vines:

Straw Bales
 
But it looks like I am going to harvest at least one or two more zucchini before the season is done:

Sure Thing zucchini is just about ready to pick
 
The asparagus is still green and beautiful:

Asparagus ferns 

Asparagus ferns looking in the opposite direction 

Close-up of asparagus stems
 
I’m supposed to cut the foliage back once it turns brown, but no signs of that yet.  I'm guessing the first frost will take care of that.

I have had two blueberry shrubs sitting in pots and waiting to be planted since this past spring.  Well, they are finally in the ground in a specially prepared bed that I only recently finished.

Blueberries
Blue Crop (left) & Blue Ray (right)
 
I had been meaning to do a post on all of the new fruit trees/bushes/canes that I planted this year, but time has not been on my side.  I guess that is what winter will be for ;)

Our soil is very alkaline - around 7.5 - which is why the blueberries are in a raised bed in which I used only compost and peat moss.  I found a bit of an oddity in one of the bales of peat - I had no idea what these were and when I looked them up, my best guess was magnolia pods:

Mystery pods in peat moss - possibly magnolia seeds?
 
The potato bed is done as are all of the beans.  The peppers and eggplants still have a few fruits left on them that could do with a bit more growth, so I’ll be leaving them for the time being.

Smaller peppers plants in bed #14

Larger peppers plants in bed #16

Eggplants are hanging in

These small Slim Jim eggplant will hopefully
put on a bit more growth in the next few days
 
The butternut squash vines are on their last legs due to powdery mildew.  I'll be harvesting two of these today, but the rest I’m leaving as they still need to harden up a tiny bit more:

Butternut Squash
 
All of the warm season veg - peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, squash - will likely be pulled by next week.

And lastly, I have not yet pulled the sweet potato plants as I am also opting to give them as much time to size up as possible (I'm sensing a theme here):

Sweet potato vines - or what's left of them
 
I’m not expecting good results from such tiny plants but I do think that their lack of growth is, in large part, my fault as I haven’t been very diligent about keeping them watered this summer.  You may notice that the plants actually look smaller than in my last update.  That's because I’ve clipped off some of the vines and placed them in water.  Once they produce some nice roots, I’ll pot them up – then it’s just a matter of keeping them alive until next season.  Easier said than done ;)

Till next time…

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

14 comments:

  1. I grow my blueberries in containers. I've got three plants but it's easier to control the growing medium with them preferring acid compost than it is in the ground. They're a gorgeous colour at the moment, their leaves turn the most beautiful crimson red in autumn. Your butternut squash look to have produced really well.

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    1. I've heard that some people plant blueberries mainly for their ornamental value - since we have such alkaline soil in our area, I don't actually know of anyone that has blueberries in their garden, so my growing them in a raised bed it a true experiment. I'm very excited about the butternut squash - this is the first time I've grown them and they have done much better than any other squash I've ever tried. Hopefully they taste as good as they look!

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  2. When I moved to my present property there was a Blueberry bush in the garden, but it never did well. However, the ones I have growing in pots of ericaceous compost have done much better. The main challenge of growing in pots is remembering to water them! I don't think I'm going to try growing Sweet Potatoes again. I'll stick to conventional potatoes, which always seem to do well for me.

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    1. I haven't yet given up on sweet potatoes - just as you said the biggest challenge to pots is watering and I simply dropped the ball on that. I'll be changing things up next year including the container that I grow them in. I've even been toying with the idea of building some sort of brick bed for heat lovers like Daphne has done with her circle garden. Not that I need any new projects on my plate...I just can't seem to help myself ;)

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  3. That asparagus is sure looking good! Did you plant that from seed? Ours doesn't really die down here until December most years, after it has been frozen several times. We usually wind up cutting it down in March.

    I think you might be pleasantly surprised with those blueberries. They are shallow rooted, and much of the feeder roots should wind up in the peat moss. At any rate, they are ornamental for sure and it looks like the leaves have turned color on them.

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    1. Yes, the asparagus was grown from seed this past spring. I wasn't sure what to expect (or what to do) half the time as most information out there is on growing it from crowns. So far so good! I often see others cutting down brown stalks towards the end of the summer so I was a bit worried about what frost would do to the plants as they were still very much alive - good to know that I don't have to be concerned about that. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on the blueberries - they are a favourite at our house and it would be nice if we could grow at least some of what we consume.

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  4. I did poorly with my butternut this year but I think it was just the squash bugs - normally butternut do produce more than other winter squash plants. Yours look great, I'm envious. In fact, everything still looks great, and we've got a bit of nice weather ahead of us still.

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    1. Thanks Susie - that's why I keep holding out on pulling a lot of stuff from the beds...the weather is just too nice to call it quits yet.

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  5. It is amazing how much harvest you are still getting for this time of year. I am glad that you are getting a few raspberries to whet your appetite for next year! We love them! My asparagus is still tall and green too. I wait till spring to cut mine back. Have a good week! Nancy

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    1. I can't wait for a much larger raspberry harvest next year - they are soooo good! Since I have zero experience with asparagus, it's great to see what other real world gardeners do - there is often quite the difference between that and what the "how to" books and sites say.

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  6. Your garden looks awesome, and I hope next year you'll have a lot of raspberries and asparagus.

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    1. Thanks Jenny - you can never be sure about these things, especially when it comes to their first winter, so I have my fingers crossed!

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  7. Your asparagus is amazing, I remember the tiny cute plants earlier in the year, well done for growing it from seed.
    I like the idea of having a hotter brick bed like Daphne's. I must remember that for the future. At the moment, with the allotment having sandy soil it's not too bad as that heats up quicker than some other soils, but at some point if / when we move I might have to start again somewhere.

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    1. Thanks Lou! I've been toying with the brick bed idea for a while now and when I see Daphne's melons and sweet potatoes my determination to get one in sooner rather than later increases. I've already said that I'm not doing any more beds next year as I want one year where I am not constantly falling behind because my "to do" list is so large...we'll see if I'm able to hold to that.

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