The garden is flourishing and the harvest has started. We are quickly closing in on our first average frost date (hard to believe!) and are gearing up to deal with that when it comes. We decided it was time for a garden update.
The Herb Garden
After the hail severely damaged all my herbs I bought a few seedling herbs from the farmer’s market. They are doing well and we have been able to harvest and dry quite a bit of herbs so far.
I have been trying to get comfrey going for three years now with no luck. But finally I have a nice big comfrey plant going in the washtub of the container garden. We can bring that tub indoors to overwinter so that it will (hopefully) survive and thrive and we can have a constant supply of comfrey.
The Tomato Experiment
The tomato experiment is coming along. We are very anxious to see the final results. Here is the current status:
The outdoor plants are huge and jungle-like. Each plant has 20-50 green tomatoes on it. And….we are REALLY excited because we have our first ripening tomato outside!
The indoor/outdoor ones are actually doing the worst of all. They are small and have very few tomatoes on them.
I have been using tomato food in the water for all the ones in pots (the indoor ones and the indoor/outdoor) but have not fed the ones in the garden anything.
It will be interesting to see how this all turns out and have some answers about growing tomatoes in our climate. We have heard so many people with so many different answers, most of which say it is impossible without a greenhouse, that we are looking forward to knowing for ourselves.
The Vegetable Garden
The first round of turnips, harvested a few weeks ago, was full of root maggots. We were fully expecting the last half to be the same and we were right. All of them were tiny and full of maggots.
While harvesting we saw a turnip that was growing in the gravel walkway, right along the edge. A seed must have accidentally fallen there during planting. When we pulled it up we had a nice surprise!
It was a big, healthy, beautiful turnip! The root maggots didn’t get to it in the walkway. This one turnip made us even more eager to figure out how to fight against the maggots. We are hopeful that our experiment box helps us solve this problem. Time will tell.
Lettuce & Spinach
We have happily been harvesting enough lettuce and spinach for the whole family to eat fresh salad 3-5 times a week for several weeks now. We have even been able to share with neighbors and friends!
We left several lettuce plants of two different varieties to go to seed. We are hopeful that we can save a lot of seeds off of these before frost kills them.
The pea harvest is over, although some of the plants might put more flowers on in the cooler fall weather. We did not have a very good harvest since the weather was unseasonably hot early in the season. But we did get to eat some fresh, as well as save 2.4 oz (approx 360 seeds) of seeds for next year.
The carrots are doing EXCELLENT this year. We are very happy with them. We are about half way through the harvest and have harvested 10 lbs of them so far. It made for 26 cups of frozen sliced carrots.
We have chosen to save a total of 14 of the best carrots to over-winter in the garden and go to seed next year. We re-planted them in a specific section of the garden after choosing the best ones. The volunteer over-winter carrots from last year are looking good and we are hopeful we will be able to collect seeds from them before the first frost.
Green & Purple Bush Beans
The beans are coming on really well and it is looking to be a great harvest. We just began the first part of the harvest and had 4 cups of them after the tips were removed and they were snapped.
Cabbage and Brussel’s Sprouts
The wood ash we put around the base of the cabbage and Brussel’s sprouts was a great deterrent to the cabbage worms for the first 3/4 of the season. But now they are completely infested. We pull off 20-30 worms each morning, and the plants still look terrible. I don’t think we will be able to save the cabbage, but I am hopeful that we can harvest some sprouts.
Onions and Garlic
The onions and garlic are coming along and we are hopeful to harvest them in the next few weeks. This was our first year planting the garlic in the fall. Normally it is suggested to plant in the spring in our climate, but we had no luck with that so decided to try fall. We are interested to see how the fall planting turned out. So far they look OK. The soil in that garden bed hasn’t been amended though, and I think it has been detrimental to them. After we harvest this fall we are planning on building the bed up and adding a bunch of compost before we do the fall planting.
Cucumbers, Winter Squash, and Pumpkins
The hail destroyed the Winter Squash and Pumpkins early in the season, so the pumpkin patch is not going to produce anything this year. There is, however, a volunteer pumpkin coming up in the garden that has one small pumpkin on it that might make it in time to harvest.
The cucumbers have not been doing very well. I didn’t even give them anything to climb up because the plants were doing so poorly. Something happened to them early in the season, right after their transplant and they never really recovered. We have harvested a few little cucumbers off of them though.
Considering the fact that our currant and gooseberry bushes were transplanted this spring, we were surprised with the harvest they gave. Not enough for jelly making or anything, but we have all been enjoying snacking on them the last couple months. The honeyberries struggled with their transplant more than the currants and gooseberries did, so they didn’t provide anything. But we are hopeful for next year!
We expanded the strawberry patch slightly due to some landscaping we did (will share more on the landscaping in the future). The berries gave us a nice harvest of snack amounts over 2-3 weeks this year. Now they are sending out their runners like crazy, and I am happy to have them filling in not only the sparse areas in the current patch, but also spreading into the expanded area. In the picture you can see, where the wood chips are was the previous border of the patch, where there is dirt with no mulch is the new expanded area.
We are really looking forward to future year’s strawberries because it is looking like we will get enough for more than just fresh snacking.
We are so grateful for how well the garden is doing this year. The addition of our own black gold (compost) from the barnyard, and the new drip irrigation system, plus the fact that we are getting the hang of the micro-climates in our garden at this location have all added to the success. We need to get a better handle on the pests, but overall we consider it an excellent garden year.
It is hard to believe that we are likely just a few weeks from the first frost, and thus the beginning of autumn here. But we are so blessed with how this year’s growing season went for us.