Tuesday, 2 October 2012
End of Summer Garden Update
So, ugh, where was I? Not so much in the garden, although there has been a lot going on there. Also, Dad came and stayed with us for a week to visit and to give his caregiving partner a break. It's kept me too busy and distracted to post anything.
We did finally get this little formal garden in front of the garage completely dug and edged. Good thing, as I had ordered 19 (19!) peonies to go in this fall. Not all in this bed, but it is known as the Peony and Iris Garden, as that is what is mostly to be there. Along with a row of colchicums to give a little interest in the fall.
Now that the addition to the house is finished, it was time to do some landscaping. Originally it was just going to integrate the addition into the rest of the space, but of course we expanded on that. One thing we did was to get rid of the weedy overgrown "orchard" that the previous owners had planted. It's now a formal strolling garden, and all it needs is a few plants... off to a start with 7 peonies, some camassia and a handful of martagon lilies.
In the vegetable garden, things are winding down. These are Red Noodle long beans. They are not really hardy here, but I tried growing them last year. They did extremely badly, but I did get a couple of dozen seeds out of them. This year they did much better. They were still rather late to produce, and gave it up as soon as it got even a little cool at night, They would be worth growing again if we loved them, but I think we decided they are more of a novelty and are going to save the space for something else next year.
Regular beans are mostly still going pretty well, although there are some signs of cold stress in the leaves. We planted a number of these quite late, after we pulled out early determinate peas, and it worked out quite well. Of course, the long hot summer helped. In more normal seasons if we wanted to do this, we would probably have to get those peas in as early as possible by covering the bed with a hoop house.
In spite of the long hot summer, tomatoes and melons are pretty much done. Powdery mildew arrived right on schedule, and on top of the septoria spot on the tomatoes was a game ender. Peppers are chugging along churning them out. Those bushy things in the front are borage plants. I put them in to help attract pollinators to the melons. Next year I will do it again, but put in a lot fewer. I forgot how perfectly enormous they get.
Sweet potatoes are still in, although we are watching the temperature every day, and keeping them warm under a hoop house. The soil cannot go below 55°F or they will be seriously damaged. We intend to pull them at 60°F. Right now seem to be getting down to 62°F at night, but as long as days are reasonably sunny and temperatures are steady we can leave them in. I hope. The potatoes next to them are dug, and onions are just about ready to come out too.
I actually took this photo last week. The corn is now out. We have decided not to try growing any next year. I think we got about 6 cobs out of that patch this year. Raccoons, squirrels and rats got all the rest, in spite of the electric fence. I think it was too dry for the fence to work well, and the drought also made the animals pretty desperate, but still, corn is just so much work for so little return for us. We're sad about it, but no more corn.
The grass needs cutting, I am way behind! This bed was late planted potatoes (in the end of July we threw in all the old sprouty ones in the basement from last year) and beets. Beets are plainly doing well and the potatoes look much better than expected. We will leave them to the last possible moment... whethere there are actually any taters under there remains to be seen.
Soy beans are out, peanuts are persevering and Arikara dry (yellow) beans are just reaching maturity. This is another bean bed planted late, after having had peas in it in the early spring.
Every year we swear we will support our pepper plants. Every year we look at them and think they are growing so sturdily and well, and don't get around to it. Every year the ripening peppers reach critical mass and the plants start toppling. Every year we swear we will support our pepper plants next year, for sure...
This is where the corn was planted. It is now out, and spinach, lettuce and a few other quick growing greens have been planted to overwinter under a hoop house, and be harvested in the spring.
Still have the tomatoes and cucumbers to pull out. They are almost dead, but still putting out the odd fruit. However, by the end of next week I suspect they will be gone. Time is getting short to get everything cleaned up for next year. Coming up (I hope) this week as well: canning a batch of tomatillo salsa and a batch of green tomato chow-chow. Okay, time to get busy...