Friday, 20 August 2010

A New Phase of the Garden

Things have changed a lot in the garden since I last wrote about it. It looks a much different, much less lush place. Partly this is because of a major error we made, but partly it's because a number of things are ready to harvest and we have been harvesting them. Potatoes, for instance.

Digging potatoes is a lot of fun - it's like digging for pirate treasure, only better because instead of digging up stupid gold and jewels you get something really useful: potatoes!

I'm still waiting - oh so patiently (well, kinda) - for our first ripe melon. They're looking good so far!

We have only one enormous Rouge Vif d'Etampes pumpkin vine, with only two pumpkins on it, but the pumpkins are large and absolutely beautiful. I expect they'll be ready soon.

We have some smaller pumpkins, Small Sugar, which have sprawled well out of their bed and produced about a dozen pumpkins. They should have produced more, but for our major error.

Little Ping Tung eggplants are coming along beautifully, and Little Fingers eggplants are not far behind.

My Sweet Pickles peppers are so weighted down with fruit that they have toppled over. They seem fine though, so I'm just letting them topple. Other peppers also doing well, although there seems to be some mild, leaf-wrinkling virus working it's way through the patch. No composting the plants this year.

We've started harvesting the short corn on the left (Quickie is the variety) and the mid season corn (not really visible behind the late season corn in front) will start very soon, within the week. We've managed to keep deer and raccoons at bay with electric fencing, but we are starting to see minor damage, either from crows or squirrels. Everybody loves sweet corn!

The tomatoes are now a semi-impenetrable, semi-collapsed jungle. We will need a better support system for next year. Meanwhile, we have been eating lots of ripe tomatoes and canning season will probably start next week. Uggh. Love the finished product, hate canning in August. September is so much cooler and better.

Carrots look big and leafy and we have even pulled out several very decent carrots, although I sure wouldn't say we have the knack for them yet. Beets have been harvested and replanted behind them, and the last bed there is full of potatoes waiting to be dug up.

Okay, now here's the big change. All those leafy peas and beans are gone, mostly because we killed them through our big error. We were using water from our deep well to water, and it was full of salt. We had tested it on a number of plants in the spring, and it seemed fine. But once the really, really hot weather hit in mid to late July, the combination of poor weather and bad water did in a number of plants, including almost all the peas and beans. (Lima beans just kept on trucking, amazingly enough.) You can see my Mammoth Melting we liked so much hanging dead at the back there. They were the last to die, and we will be able to save some seed from them, which is good.

We've planted more peas and beans in the hope of getting a second crop. We still have more to plant, including some short ones (Tom Thumb peas) that will go into the cold frames, and which we hope will keep us supplied until Christmas. We'll see; gardeners are incurable optimists!


Anonymous said...

I was just wondering if the season is long enough for a second crop of beans or peas? I was trying to think what to plant for the fall, and I have lettuce, spinach, and radishes, but was wondering if there were other things that would work. I just love the pictures of your garden!

Ferdzy said...

Well... maybe. We're going to find out. We're pretty optimistic though, because we have done some math. In general, early peas take 55 to 65 days to maturity from germination. So, planted at beginning of august, that would take us to the beginning of October. First frost date for us is Oct 15, and we often don't have serious, lasting frosts until middle of November. We have a set-up where we can cover our beds with plastic film, so that will keep things going a little longer if we want. That's in addition to the glass coldframes. Peas in general are very frost hardy. Beans not so much, but we are growing a couple of early beans that are also quite short, so we will definitely cover them. They may slow down as the days get shorter, but still, we'll see. We're hopeful.

The young leaves and shoots of snow peas are edible and tasty; the Chinese cook them and serve them as "dau miu". If we get no peas, we can at least eat the leaves!

CallieK said...

I love snow pea leaves in garlic, yum!

My gardens have been hit and miss this year too. My tomatoes on the roof have suffered from the heat- when I watered them enough all the nutrients in the soil washed away, so they are the saddest looking plants ever. Still producing tomatoes tho they look nothing like their counterparts in the ground. However everything in the ground except the tomatoes has bee neaten by one pest or another- powdery mildew took out all my cucurbits again - I got a few pickling cukes but not a single squash, summer or winter. We've also had a bad year with sow bugs- they've eaten my beans, eggplants and totally decimated my potatoes in a bucket.