Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Today's Garden Update

But first, check out my portrait! I made it at Portrait Illustration Maker. It's remarkably similar to how I actually look in real life. I couldn't find hair that was accurate, but this one is close on a humid day. I've been meaning to put a picture in my profile...I like the cartoon drawing. (Hey, it was that or my Simpson's character.)

The garden has been...a learning experience. I'm learning all kinds of things that I have done wrong and will have to either correct for next year, or just remember for future gardens. The biggie being the soil. I didn't work it enough. My root vegetables have not been able to grow down- beets and turnips poke out the top, which is great for knowing when they're ready, but they really need more root room. The carrots in Abigail's garden have grown very fat- but not very long. There's still a few out there and she'll pick one every once in a while for a snack. Last night we did enjoy broccoli with our dinner. My problem with the broccoli is timing. I should have waited just a little while before planting. The broccoli was ready to push heads just as the big heat wave of summer hit, so they suffered a little. Now I'm getting some broccoli, but it would have been better to wait another month before planting. Same with the brussels sprouts.

I'm not even touching the sprouts until it frosts several times and everything else is dead. That's when brussels sprouts are best- but it just doesn't look like they're getting very big. My late planted butternut squash is dead- my zucchini at the very end had the dreaded SVB, so I wonder if it spread before I pulled the zucchini. I did plant the butternuts pretty late though- next time I'll do it earlier. Right now what I still have growing is turnips and the second round of beets. The greens suffered with the heat, but the turnips and beets will be a welcome way to finish the garden this year.

Total I think we ate 5 baseball size cantaloupe. The rest of the melon patch did awful, and the cucumbers planted with the melons produced enough cukes for about 10 jars of pickles before dying. Not as well as I'd hoped. Turned out I had ground squirrels underneath that patch eating all the roots. When I finally ripped the plants out, there was nothing left and dozens of tiny burrows. We did manage to eliminate the ground squirrels, and if someone needs help getting rid of them, let me know and I'll send you an e-mail.

Peppers did very well in pots- that surprised me. I have five jars of pickled peppers in the pantry, but the peppers had been intended for salsa- which is made with tomatoes. The tomatoes did not do well in pots. At all. And they were even potted varieties of plants. I won't do that again. Maybe cherry tomatoes or the tiny yellow pears, but the tomatoes that did come off the potted plant vines are very small- like golf balls. My basil has done very well in a pot as well. The rosemary not so much, but I planted them together in one pot, and the basil just took off. So next year all my pots will be for peppers and herbs. I love having the fresh basil and rosemary right out my patio door.

Overall, it was a so-so year for the garden. I learned a lot about pests- from the cabbage leaf moth to ground squirrels. I was able to get rid of most of the cabbage leaf worms thanks to the birds in the area. It didn't take long for the birds to discover the feast I had in my garden, and every day a whole flock would descend on my broccoli and brussels sprouts and feast on worms. It was great. I had a plenty of zucchini. Ugh. Too much zucchini of course, but I have tons of it shredded up and in the freezer for zucchini bread throughout the year. Next years garden I plan on trying completely different vegetables. It's a learning process, and I'd like to learn what grows really well in this area, and what it's quirks are to growing it. As an example, this year I did bush beans, which the kids love, but it takes a lot of plants to get a substantial amount of beans. Next year I'm going to do pole beans- which are supposed to be very prolific. I also hear that tomatillos are very easy to grow, and that fennel bulb does surprisingly well. Swiss chard will go in, as well as succession planting of salad greens, so we can enjoy them longer.

Anyway, that's it for the 2007 garden. I'll be hitting the farm stand in the next week or two for my butternut squash, pie pumpkins, and potatoes and carrots.


Deborah said...

My rosemary didn't work in a pot either - I replanted it in the garden and it took off! It's huge now!! And I did basil both in a pot and in the garden - the one in the garden is huge, and the one in the pot is just now starting to flourish. I think that the one in the pot did not like the heat...

Erika W. said...

I always worry about herbs taking over when actually in the ground. I know thyme, parsley and mint will completely move in if you let them.