Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Late Planting

Went a little nuts and planted some green beans, cucumbers, and yellow crookneck squash. I think there's little chance the squash and cukes will provide much in the way of a harvest, but I expect the green beens have time emough before the first frost to give us a load of beans.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What have we learned this year?

We had some rough times this year:

  • Hail storm
  • Zucchini vine borers
  • Zucchini white leaf fungus
  • Set some plants out too late
  • Squirrels munching tomatoes
  • Squirrels and birds eating all the corn
  • Cucumbers dying off
  • Winter Squash/Pumpkins dying off
  • Barley is too much effort
  • Tomatoes don't do great in buckets
  • Our upside down tomatoes didn't do too great, and the fruit had extremely tough skin
  • Our lettuce was bitter
  • Peas need to be planted crazy early, then pulled to make way for other stuff
  • Cucumbers being eaten by something - maybe deer?
So for next year we'll make some changes.

  • Tomatoes and corn will grow in cages, but these cages need to be accessible. Our current cage system is a pain, too much effort to get into it (small access ports, which we wire up).
  • We need to plant several different kinds of winter squash. We have gotten a decent amount of squash, but it's all butternut. Woulda been cooler to have several varieities.
  • Don't plant onions and carrots under landscape fabric, not many of them came up.
  • Don't bother with tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets, they didn't produce much. However, peppers in buckets did well. Next year we try more peppers in buckets.
  • Tomatoes need some better trellising. Next year they get tomato cages when young, and when older get a pvc trellis (covered with chicken wire, with easy access ports).
  • Zucchini will be started much, much earlier. We'll put out traps with yellow buckets of soapy water to catch the vine borer bugs. Also we can put row covers over the zucchini to keep the vine borers out. I don't know what we can do about the white fungus (mildew? mold?). if we start the plants much earlier, we'll get a lot more zucchini, so maybe we won't care as much when mold kills the plants in late August.
  • Potatoes are pretty cool, we should do more. We should also start them much earlier and try a few different types/colors.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Magic Beans

Well, the beans are up, and the Mrs. has been grazing. Today I did a real pick and came up with 14 oz of them. It was enough for a meal for 5 (ok admittedly the kids ate all of 5 of them). And we have another meal left over. Or possibly two. These were from the seed leftover from last year, I was pleased that it even came up. I think the output was a lot more than last year - suspect that's due to the compost they were sewn in.

Oh, must mention that a week ago we salvaged 2 ears of corn that the squirrels and birds. They were pretty starchy, I think they were overripe (Lego brick shown for scale).

Also two new types of tomatoes from the garden - Big Boy and Cherokee Purple. Still haven't seen Mortgage Lifter, Summer Choice, and Steak Sandwich.

Cucumbers are dying out. One of the dills I planted is coming up. Next thing on the agenda is picking the peppers and doing something with them. Going to try drying some and making some hot sauce. Tonight we make amber pickles from the yellow cukes we picked recently.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back from Vacation

Just before we left, we had approximately zero ripe tomatoes, and a seeming handful of green ones. Yes, the squirrels were even eating the green ones. So we built an impregnable wall of steel around the tomatoes (ok, chicken wire...). The squirrels were DEFEATED!

We even have some red tomatoes in there. Tomorrow we work on extraction.

The peppers that were turning red have now actually turned. Very nice looking.

Beans are thriving, flowers all over the place. Suspect we'll have a decent harvest.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Crab Apple Weekend

Spent much of the past weekend processing crab apples into apple butter and jam - about 3 quarts of each. 18.75 lbs of crab apples!

But these aren't actually from our garden, so it's just a side note.

The squirrels are pure evil. What they don't eat of the tomatoes and corn they still destroy. Oh well. The current plan is to tie the tomato vines up (they've collapsed under the weight of the vicious evil squirrels) and surround them completely with chicken wire. Like completely encased. While it will make it difficult for us to harvest tomatoes, it will make it hard for the squirrels to get at them as well. Here's a sad hint of the devastation.

But wait! It's not a complete loss, that is a winter squash (butternut I think) in the background. We've got quite a number of them coming along.

And we've had a trickle of zucchini, a steady flow of peppers, and a firehose to the face of cucumbers. A few carrots. Reminded myself that I don't care for carrots.

The side plot is overflowing with spinach and lettuce. Sadly the lettuce is kind of bitter.

Pepper candelabra.

EDIT - Attempted some hot sauce. 4 oz chilis, 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt. Blend. Boil. Skim foam. Put in hot jar. Cover with cloth. 

Skim off vinegar in three days and pop in the fridge.