Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Garden in November 2012

I have been really lazy of late about documenting the garden, this is, after all, supposed to be a garden journal of sorts. Fortunately, I was taking photographs at times through the month of November so now I can do something of an overview for the entire month.

At the beginning of the month the powdery mildew had pretty much taken over the cucumbers and zucchini.

It's the 7th of the month and there's hardly a green leaf left to be found. Pretty yucky looking.

Here's the last of the uninfected growth and the final squash about to be harvested before the plants hit the compost bin. I had two plants this year and that seemed to be just right, I harvested 14 pounds of squash  from July 11 through November 10. Not too much and not too little.

Here's the garden on the 26th. The green beans, cucumbers, and zucchinis have been cleared, the soil prepped and about 1/4 of the bed planted with garlic.

The garlic is already sprouting. I planted 2 varieties this year, Red Janice and Lorz Italian. I didn't grow any garlic for 2012 because I was rebuilding the garden beds through the garlic growing season, but I probably wouldn't have planted it in any case because the rust in 2011 was horrific and completely ruined my crop so I wanted to try to reduce the reduce the chances of another crop failure by taking a year off.

I had harvested the last of the dried Greek Gigante beans by the beginning of the month and trimmed back the vines which you can see on the left. I'm going to experiment with overwintering these beans. Runner beans can be perennial if they can build up a good fat root. The plants are still growing a little bit but not blooming so I'm hoping that they may be able to put some energy into their roots before the top growth gets knocked back by a freeze or some sort of fungal disease. I have had Scarlet Runner Beans resprout for me in the past so I think it will be interesting to see what happens with the Gigante beans. In the far end of the bed are various plantings under the protection of lightweight row cover for various reasons.

My attempt at growing a fall planting of sugar snap peas was set back by gnawing rodents. I fenced in the surviving plants with row cover and a few of the plants recovered but there won't be more than a few peas from this plot. It's too late to replant and too early to start a spring crop, but I'll leave these to see what happens.

I also had to enclose the Fagiolo del Purgatorio beans to keep the rodents away and then I kept them under the row cover after they became less interesting to the rodents because I was concerned that the leaves would get sunburned when we finally started to get some hot days. The plants were beautiful and full of beans and then the spider mites hit. The mites started at one end of the patch and quickly took over...

...until it looks like this. Fortunately, I was able to harvest enough dry beans to at least fill a pint jar.

I planted out some Red Salad Bowl lettuce in September and it was coming along beautifully, unprotected and unmolested by critters or weather. And then we had a series of heatwaves and the poor babies were wilting every day and I was certain that they would all bolt. So I covered them up (it's a good thing I invested in a big roll of rowcover), and they recovered quite nicely so I removed the protection.

And then the weather turned wet and wild this week and the last time I managed to get out into the garden between storms I found flat lettuce.

But it looks like they should get through ok. Its interesting how much the color seems to have faded, perhaps it's just the difference in the light.

Over in the (primarily) pepper bed - here's the soggy view on Friday. I put up some hoops so that I can cover the pepper plants in case of frost, this is about the time that we've had the first hard frost the past few years. But instead of frost what we've been getting is a series of warm soggy storms. The temperatures have been staying in the high 50ºF to low 60ºF range and yesterday it got up to nearly 70ºF when we had a sunny break. Very weird for November, um, it's December now.

Here's a peek at a few of the pepper plants. There are still green, and ripening peppers on many of the plants and they haven't succumbed to any yucky diseases yet so I'm going to see just how long I can stretch out the harvest...

There's still Pimento de Padrons.

And this is a sweet Capsicum chinense from Brazil called Pimenta Biquinho (Bird's Beak). I've been trying to grow this pepper for three years now and for the first time I've finally coaxed a couple of plants into producing peppers

Here's a ripe one. In Brazil these are typically pickled whole, but like to just munch them whole, fresh from the garden. They have a typical complex fruity chinense flavor but almost no heat. They are delicious. My plants are covered with green peppers and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I might be able to protect the plants long enough to be able to harvest more ripe peppers.

Here's the side view of the bed during a break in one of the storms. We've been fortunate here and not been as inundated as the more northerly parts of the state.

This corner of the bed is in transition from summer to fall/winter. There's chard which is just getting to be big enough to be harvested in quantity, celery root which is nowhere near large enough to be harvested at all (if ever) and Lacinato kale that produced the first good harvest about a week ago.

The basil plants aren't dead yet, not growing, but there's a bit more that might still be good if they aren't suddenly felled by a fungal infection brought on by the warm wet weather.

There's a few more baby eggplants hanging on some of the plants. But the plants are getting to be more and more sad looking by the day. When the weather clears I must get out there and clean them all out.

And there' a tough old bitter Sicilian eggplant, full of seeds - I hope!

This is my new favorite chard, back for a second year, the very aptly named Flamingo. I've also got a couple of Golden Chard plants going, my old #1 fave and only relegated to second position because I'm so enamoured of the pretty pink stems of Flamingo. I think that both varieties are equally delicious and both  varieties also seemed matched for productivity and hardiness. I guess I'm just a sucker for a pretty stem.

On to bed #3, tomato central. The view back on November 7 after I had plucked out all the ripest tomatoes for the week. The plants are all looking ratty, but I did eke out almost 54 pounds of tomatoes for the month.

And on November 26. Before...


I didn't have the heart to pull out all the plants. The incredible Martian Giant, looking ugly but still sporting ripening tomatoes. I hope they're still edible after the deluge. Nyagous, Jaune Flamme, Wheatly's Frost Resistant, and Sunshine are still standing as well, but not for long.

At the other end of the bed, the Fiaschetto plants are gone. The Dorato di Asti celery plants have had a growth spurt and I do believe that they are enjoying the wet.

The Lark's Tongue Kale is without a doubt the most prolific kale that I've ever grown.

They look like little trees, but only because I've been removing many of the side shoots that sprout all along the trunk. You could put a row of these babies in and end up with a hedge if you don't harvest enough. One plant would probably be enough to meet the kale needs of this 2 eater family. But I'm sure that if I tried to grow only one plant that it would be perverse and turn out to be a runty little unproductive thing. Maybe just 2 plants next year...

Yay, I have Tronchuda cabbage again! My plants refused to grow last year, they bolted before they ever produced a leaf big enough to harvest.

The only problem this year is that the cabbage worms have been feasting. It seems like every time I check, which is at least 4 or 5 times a week, I find another worm or 2 or 3 munching away. Well, at least they've left me a little - I'm not tossing this out just because it's lacy.

I'm trying a new brassica this year. This is Purple Peacock Broccoli (yet another avian named veggie) which is actually a broccoli/kale cross. Unfortunately, my poor little seedlings have been struggling to grow in the shadow of the huge Lark's Tongue kale on one side, and a wall of tomatoes on another side, and they've stayed about the size of seedlings. This is the biggest of the plants and you can see how small it and the rest of the plants are a couple of photos below.

It surely is pretty though and I will have to try growing it again in the spring in a location that will give it a better chance to show me it's stuff. Maybe these will put out some more vigorous side shoots when the tomato plants aren't shading them anymore and perhaps I'll take out one of the Lark's Tongue kale plants too.

Here's an oddball radicchio that's growing from a piece of root that was transported when I moved the soil from one of the old beds to the new one. There were a few plants that volunteered from root pieces but this is the only one that I allowed to grow. I had no idea that it was capable of producing a head, and this was in the shade of the Lark's Tongue kale. I wonder what it might have done in an ideal location?

Ah, the last of the romaine. All my plants did a quick leap skywards when the weather turned hot back in October. This will be treats for the chickens this week. I'm really sorry that I don't have a supply of romaine lettuce to get me through the winter. I can usually put in a fall planting and have it "keep" in the garden through the winter. The fall planting this year just couldn't stand up to the repeated heat waves that we had through October and early November.  I suppose I should have planted them later. I know that it can get hot here in October.

And the tour comes to an end with the Apollo broccoli. This was earlier in the month but looks just a bit less leafy now. I've been harvesting a few ounces of sprouts here and there. My spring grown plants were far more productive, but I'm hoping that these will produce a bit more now that the tomato plants aren't shading them as much.

OK, the rain seems to be letting up a bit. I think I might be able to get out to the garden without getting soaked and see how things fared.

1 comment:

  1. I planted Scarlet runner beans last year and they came back this year - but a lot later than i expected. Now i'm just waiting to see when they will flower and actually produce beans - something they didn't actually manage last year. Hope your Birds Beak peppers ripen.


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