Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Garden on November 4 - Part II

Part two of my posts about the garden on November 4 covers what I call the Bean Bed (hmmph) and the tomato bed. The happiest plants in the tomato bed are the basil. They're starting to look a bit scraggly but still have plent of lovely aromatic leaves to harvest. We've had a nice run of warm weather which has kept the basil happy and healthy. Once the weather starts to stay cool and we get some rain the plants will succumb to something fungal. I better hurry up and make another batch of pesto.

Next happiest is the Galinas Cherry tomato. It is growing over the top of its cage and is covering the neighbors. This was my favorite cherry tomato this year. I think the flavor rivals Sungold, if not its production. You can see plenty of green tomatoes are still left on the plant.

The rest of the tomato bed is looking rather forlorn. I've taken out the Paul Robeson, Chocolate Stripes, Marmande, Caspian Pink, Todd County Amish, and Aunt Ruby's German Green plants that were occupying the empty space. The plants were put out beyond the garden where the deer can dispose of them for me.

Looking down the other side of the bed you can see the remains of the tomatillo plants on the left and the Galinas cherry tomato down at the end of the row. The Isis Candy and Black Cherry plants are still in there producing a few tomatoes also. The Blue Beech paste tomatoes have been removed.

The bean bed, hmmph, what a crappy summer for beans. The stars here, at the moment, are the amaranth. I grow these for the delicious leaves and can never bear to pull them out once they race for the sky to form seed heads. There's a glimpse of the Chaco Canyon runner beans on the left side of the photo. I got about a cup of dried beans off those plants. It bloomed like crazy and hardly set a thing. Runner beans can form fleshy roots that overwinter and regrow the next year so I'm leaving those plants to see what will happen. The water bottles are covering Golden Chard seedlings. I'm not sure that those plants will ever grow enough to produce a harvest, but I'm willing to give it a try.

Look how pretty these amaranth seed heads are. Perhaps I'll be able to harvest enough seeds to actually try eating some. The amaranth is a mix of varieties and each variety ripens its seed at a different time. I've cut back one variety already and have the seed heads drying in a large paper bag.

Here's another vegetable that I've been trying for the first time this year and haven't had much succes with - celery root. I had a difficult time keeping this bed adequately watered this summer and these guys seemed to resent that. When I started giving this bed more water the celery root finally started to grow. There's two varieties shown here, the larger plant is Diamante, the only survivor from 6 seedlings that were started way back on April 27. The smaller plants are Dolvi, which were started in July. Well, I don't need the space over the winter so they get to stay also. I suspect that if they survive the winter they will bolt without forming much of a root by spring. But, this is how I learn, try try try, make plenty of mistakes, get lucky sometimes, repeat... Another problem, all the plants had spider mites, which I did nothing about.

Carrots! Here's the second planting in this bed, the first planting was harvested ages ago. I think they're doing ok, other than the ubiquitous carrot aphids which the ants farm on the carrot stems. The aphids don't affect the quality of the roots so I'm not very agressive about keeping them under control. And climbing the trellis - Petaluma Gold Rush beans - an heirloom bean first brought to Petaluma, California by Chilean immigrants during the Gold Rush (1849). So far, I've picked enough beans that dried on the plant so that I can try again next year, sigh... And on the trellis that you can see a bit of on the left - Tarbais beans - nothing to harvest yet, crap. The Petaluma Gold Rush were planted at the end of June and the Tarbais at the beginning of July. I was expecting to harvest beans by the beginning of October, hmmph. First I had problems with critters eating the seedlings (trapped 4 rats) so I covered the plants with row cover. That may have slowed them down. They all get infested with spider mites. They weren't getting enough water. Oh well, next year.

Next up, the chile pepper bed. But I'll work on that post tomorrow.


  1. The garden is still looking great!

  2. I'm so glad I don't have rats in my garden. Well I do that the striped variety with furry tails - the chipmunks. They can be pretty annoying, but I've never had them eat my seedlings at least.

    It is too bad your beans didn't do better this year. My Kentucky Wonder did OK this year, but not as well as in previous years. My dried beans seemed to do well but I have nothing to compare them to since I haven't grown them in decades.

  3. flowrgirl1, thanks! Much of it is still hanging in there.

    Daphne, chipmunks are one of the few critters that haven't bothered my garden. It think it's because there is no quick and easy escape route for them and there are plenty of hawks in the area. I did get a good bean harvest from my spring sowing of bush beans, but those plants eventually succumbed to spider mites.

  4. Watering -- such a constant issue. You're still growing impressive stuff. I love how varietally adventurous you are. You learn, I get to learn from you.

  5. Stefani, Hmm, I guess there's plenty of things to learn not to do around here ;) But that's a lot of the fun of gardening for me, trying new things and sometimes getting it right or eventually getting it right!

  6. Your garden's still going strong. My basil died about three weeks ago, as soon as the cold winds started, but I've got lots of leaves frozen.

  7. Hi Michelle! Wow mahalo for commenting on my new blog!!! I found your blog when I was searching for information on growing capers from seeds. Your garden and your photos are just spectacular!!! I'll check out Daphne's blog as you suggested. Aloha! Jane


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