Sep 05 2009

Long-Overdue Garden Update

I’ve been meaning to do a garden update for a long time, but I never seemed to have pictures of everything handy when I could sit down and do it.  So let’s see if I can remember everything that’s changed since the last time.  Comments after the pictures.

Our Extra Garden

Our Extra Garden

This is our community garden spot down by the Friary.  It’s not quite as woolly as it looks.  Everyone’s got fence around their plots, and it’s hard to keep the grass from growing up in a fence, and some people’s vegetables are growing across the fences into other plots, so it’s a bit messy.  We’ve gotten a lot of produce out of it, though.  The bluish stuff in the foreground is red cabbage.  We haven’t picked any of those yet, but at least one is very close to ready.   To the cabbage’s right, the green and yellow stuff is green beans.  We’ve picked a ton of them and frozen five gallon bags full so far, on top of what we’ve eaten, but they’re still producing and setting on new blooms.  Between the beans and the cabbage is sweet potatoes, but I don’t think you can see them.

Behind all that is the summer squash.  We grew about 12 squash plants in four hills, and we probably should have had two plants in two hills in the same amount of space.  They just got out of control, and tried to overrun everything else in the garden.  I had to keep laying the vines back on themselves, and I think that was hard on them.  We still picked way more squash than we needed, though.  Now they look like squash bugs are working on them, so they probably won’t last much longer.

Sad Tomatoes

Sad Tomatoes

The tomatoes are pretty sad, but we have gotten a few gallon.  We’re saving them up in the freezer to make one big batch of sauce.  Somehow four of our paste tomato plants turned out to be cherry tomatoes, which don’t pile up nearly as fast as paste or slicing tomatoes, but the plants are a lot tougher, so at least they’re still bearing fruit.

Freshly Picked Cabbage

Freshly Picked Cabbage

I picked this cabbage today, the fifth green one so far.  It’s smaller than the others we’ve gotten, but in good shape.  It’ll probably go to kraut.

West Garden Bed

West Garden Bed

Back at the ranch, things got a little woolly too, but they’re improving.  The last time I took a picture of this bed, the garlic was still growing on the far side.  Since then, the garlic has been harvested, and the dog and chickens have scratched out some more beans.  Except for where the garlic was and where the herbs are on the right, this whole patch was supposed to be solid beans, but you can see there are a lot of empty spots now.  On the positive side, the beans that survived have grown to fill some of the space and are producing a lot of beans per plant.  It’s still disappointing, but not as bad as it looks.  The herbs are doing great, producing way more than we need, so we should probably dry some soon.

Black Spanish Winter Radish

Black Spanish Winter Radish

After we pulled the garlic, I planted peas in this spot for a late pea harvest.  About three came up.  So I replanted the spot to Long Black Spanish radish instead.  It’s a winter radish, which is something I’ve never grown before.  They’re supposed to get a lot larger than the spring radishes we’re all familiar with, and you’re supposed to be able to keep them a long time like a potato or carrot.  I hope there’s still time for them to mature; this cool weather hasn’t sped things up any.

Late Peas and Poor Cabbage

Late Peas and Poor Cabbage

We also planted late peas in the other garden bed, where the peas and carrots were in the spring.  They came up much better than the ones that followed the garlic, for some reason.  The fence posts are an attempt to keep livestock out of them.  Behind the peas are the cabbages that I never got around to transplanting somewhere else.  They were ridiculously crowded all year, by each other and the Swiss chard on one side and the carrots on the other side, so they never had a chance to develop much.  We’ll probably get a few tiny heads off them, and shred them up for sauerkraut.  I probably should have pulled them as soon as they were past the transplanting size, to give the carrots room to grow.

Late Peas and Swiss Chard

Late Peas and Swiss Chard

The other end of the bed is more late peas.  Behind them is Swiss chard, looking fabulous as usual.

Volunteer Tomato and Dill

Volunteer Tomato and Dill

Moving on to the compost bin, I pulled up that huge squash plant that was growing in it—and composted it, of course.  We left the tomatoes and dill that were growing around it, though.  The tomatoes are finally starting to put on some fruit.  They get a lot of shade in this spot, so I think that’s slowed them down.  The dill is the yellowing stuff behind the tomato plant.  It won’t be too long before we can harvest it.

Volunteer Tomato

Volunteer Tomato

This tomato is growing at the other end of the bin.  For some reason it looks healthier than the other one; maybe because it’s not shaded by the bin itself, or maybe because the compost on that side is older and less intense.

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