Posts filed under ‘September 2011’

Impressive potatoes! Gardener’s Journal 9/26/11

I finally dug my potatoes this weekend – I was concerned about them rotting with all this rain, but they were fine and I was surprised to uncover several really large ones – both Red Pontiac and Russets. I haven’t weighed them all in yet, but I think the yield was pretty good – I have them curing in the garage since they were so wet and muddy.  I am planning to store them in an improvised root cellar – more on that later!  The beds I pulled the potatoes from will be used for the garlic planting in a couple of weeks or so – I need to add some more compost to improve the drainage and add some nutrients.  Once planted, I will mulch the bed with pine needles from a friend and leave it to go over the winter.

With the exception of the snake gourd (which I was growing for my son’s birthday party – which was this weekend but they weren’t ready – maybe they’ll make good Christmas presents!), the squash plants are all but dead – the powdery mildew took them all out really quickly and effectively!  Luckily, most of the fruit had set and was pretty mature, so the pumpkins are turning orange and the butternut squash seem to be ready – I didn’t harvest them since they still seem to be firmly attached to the stems – maybe they are still getting some sustenance from the stems, who knows?  I do have them all resting on wood so they won’t rot on the ground.

The raspberries are doing very well – now that the rains/cold weather has killed most of the wasps, the fruit is much safer to harvest!  I am told they are very tasty – unfortunately I am not a fan of raspberries so I harvest them (with love) for my family (and some special friends)!  I am hoping to get enough for jam (my youngest son likes to have it on his morning piece of toast), the homemade strawberry jam was sooo good I hope the raspberry jam is too.

The garden & I are awaiting the first frost with bated breath – just before it arrives I have to rush out and pick all the remaining tomatoes and peppers, and dig up all the sweet potatoes – it will be interesting to see how they big are since the groundhog enjoyed their leaves at various times this season.  I can tell you with confidence that row cover & dog hair doesn’t help too much at keeping him out! (Big holes to prove it!)

My leaf hunting will begin in earnest pretty soon – I have a new electric leaf vacuum/mulcher that I can’t wait to put into action.  I am going solicit all neighbors and friends to get their leaves and mulch them up for compost.  I was hoping to get one of my sons to do it, but so far not a lot of interest has been shown in the hard work department!

September 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

The Rain is Back – but the Bounty is Good (so far)! Gardeners Journal 9/6/2011

How time flies when you’re busy gardening, getting the kids back to school and generally trying to catch up with life.. I can’t believe it is a month since my last post..

Anyhow, things are a little wet today (3.5″ of rain so far since yesterday), so no gardening for me – just sorting out house things and maybe a little harvest preservation.. I have the last of the Marinara tomatoes to process – I’m thinking of combining them with the yellow peach tomatoes and making salsa, then I also have to make some more pasta sauce to add to the stocks.  The tomatoes are suffering from Early blight and it is taking its toll on the productivity now, plus all the rain probably doesn’t help either – I was planning to remove all the infected leaves over the weekend, but didn’t quite get to it and now it’s going to be wet for a week.  The other thing I didn’t get to was re-spraying my squash (pumpkin, butternut & delicata) with a dilute milk solution (1:10) for powdery mildew that they all came down with.  Hopefully the fruits will survive, normally they seem to.

Well the peaches seem a long time ago now, but we had a total of 60lbs which was great for the three-year old tree – about half were eatable whole, but since they didn’t keep long and the harvest was over such a short period (10 days), most were processed – made into freezer jam, used in hot pepper sauce, eaten as salsa, baked peaches or peach crumble, the rest were frozen in light syrup for later use.  The apple tree didn’t fare so well, it is a sad-looking thing – badly infected with cedar apple rust, plus the birds and the wasps enjoy the fruit, so I picked most of the apples early and made apple crumble and apple cake with the meager harvest – tasty nonetheless!

This is definitely a good year for green beans – the ones I planted in spring are still producing and a second succession has just started producing prolifically!  I must admit I’m getting a bit fed up of chopping, blanching and freezing them, but since it is one of the relatively few vegetables my boys will eat, I’m doing it gladly – we’ll be eating green beans well into the fall and hopefully through the winter.

Talking of winter storage, I have harvested some potatoes – still got a few to do – I probably better get on them since they might start rotting with all this rain.  Not a bad harvest so far though – they are drying off in the basement before I store them for the winter.  Another storage crop – kidney beans and cranberry beans have done well – we harvested them just before the hurricane last weekend since some were already rotting – we netted about 6lbs before podding (~3lbs after) and there are still quite a few left on the bushes (I probably need to get out there again soon).  They tasted great in a veggie chili and in a lasagna I cooked yesterday.  (Not so popular with the boys, but good protein source if I can sneak them in without them noticing!).

We ate our first cantaloupe melon yesterday – they seem to be pretty late this year, I have to go back and check on my planting dates for them.  The watermelon fruits stopped growing due to some disease – I have to identify the problem with that, the cantaloupe also has a disease, but one of the two I picked (actually they picked themselves – by falling off the vine) was a good size – bigger than I’ve grown before with the same seed.  It’s funny how things vary from year to year.  Like my onions were a relative disaster this year (compared to last year when they all did really well) – I planted a whole lot of sets – red, white and yellow – the red and white hardly grew – they were in the new part of the garden outside the fence – maybe it wasn’t very well-drained or needed more organic matter, or I planted them too late – anyhow they weren’t good and even the yellow onions were small compared to last year when they all did really well.  I’m going to try growing them from seed next year.

I have my fall/winter vegetables in the ground – the brassicae I grew from seed didn’t look too healthy but I transplanted them anyway but I also bought some cabbage and brocolli plants for insurance and they are thriving so far.  The root crops – rutabaga and turnips are coming along – hopefully they will be good – I love root vegetable soup!  My second sowing of romaine lettuce actually germinated so I have some baby lettuce coming up – I have to plant some more mesclun to get some variety.

This week I want to get on with building my larger raised bed close to my house, which will be double covered in the winter with row cover and plastic –  I will sow some lettuce, kale, etc. in it, but mainly it will be for early crops next Spring.  I would like to get an earlier harvest of peppers and cucumbers in next year.

September 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment

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