Thursday, September 29, 2016

Weekly Garden Update - September 29, 2016

I almost started to call my weekly garden update the Wednesday Weekly Update with this post, but even though I started writing the post yesterday, obviously it didn't get finished until today which is certainly not Wednesday.

Dazzling Blue Kale
Here's a look at the well recovered Dazzling Blue Kale, so well recovered that I harvested a half pound from one plant just after the photo shoot. The other plant had funky aphid damaged leaves that were a gathering spot for aphids again so I removed those leaves and put them in the compost. It's interesting to me to note that one of the plants is more susceptible to powdery mildew and the other is more attractive to aphids. You can see one of my latest critter protection projects under way also. More on that in a future post.

Broccoli & Brussels Sprouts
I'm still finding aphids in the broccoli and haven't checked the Brussels sprouts lately, but no doubt they are there. The Brussels sprouts have lost a lot of leaves in the past few days, the older ones are yellowing and dropping of. I'm not sure if it is stress from heat, not enough water, or perhaps from powdery mildew, perhaps all of the above. I gave them supplemental water during the heat wave, sprinkling it from above.

The plants in the tunnel on the other side of the bed are mostly growing well. The parsnips which you can glimpse on the left side of the carrots had sparse germination and are slow to grow (as usual). The carrots performed the opposite, better than expected germination and lush growth.

The kohlrabi has grown like crazy and is ready to start harvesting.

Kongo Kohlrabi
You'll see that Kongo kohlrabi next Monday.

Tronchuda Beira Cabbage
The Tronchuda Beira cabbage and Russian Hunger Gap kales are growing well and should (fingers crossed) provide some nice harvests this fall.

Russian Hunger Gap Kale

Jericho Romaine Lettuce
The Jericho romaine lettuce was slow to get established but seems to have settled in now.

Romanesco zucchini and Other Curcurbits

It's turning out to be a mixed year for the curcurbit family in the garden. The Romanesco zucchini has done well but has not been as crazy productive as in the past. I'm not complaining, it has produced no less than what I need. The cucumbers, not in the photo, have been disappointing, producing less than what I need. The Tromba d'Albenga squash (on the trellis behind the zucchini) have been slow to get going and are producing less than expected but I'm not left wanting.

My experimental patch of Kiwano Horned melons and Vine peaches has been a total disappointment. Do you see the sowing date on the tag above? And there's the vines (2 plants) below. Not much action for 3 months in the garden.

Kiwano Horned Melon
I've spotted perhaps 2 flowers on the horned melon and the Vine Peach has 2 fruits. These plants are obviously not suited to my cool climate, even though the Kiwano Horned Melon is supposed to be adapted to the Netherlands, but I guess their summer weather must be warmer than mine. Anyone want my extra seeds? They're perfectly good, just not suitable to cool summers.

Vine Peach

Crane Melon
One Crane Melon has set. I thought the recent heat wave was going to be the start of our typical "summer in fall" season, when we usually get our longest stretch of reliably warm weather. I count on that long warm fall to have success with things like melons and to extend the tomato and pepper harvests. But perhaps nature has a different idea this year, the weather is doing an about-face and it's going to get unusually cold. The next few days will see highs in the 60ºF's and lows in the 40ºF's. And this is the second cold front to come through in a couple of weeks, the first one dry and this one with a slight chance of rain. I wonder if this is a trend that will continue into or through winter. We could use the rain but too much would cause a lot of erosion and damage in the areas burned by the Soberanes fire.

Discus Buttercup Squash
I don't recall seeing a sunburned winter squash in my garden before, but that's what it looks like on these Discus Buttercup squashes. I think they will be ok, the skins were hard and still seem to be so but not yet to the stage where I would harvest them.

Blasted Peppers
The pepper patch is still a mess and I need to go through and clear them out. I started that yesterday afternoon after doing the photo shoot.

Baby Aji Amarillo
The Aji Amarillos are still the bright spot in the patch. The Baby Ajis are starting to ripen and the Grande Ajis are developing some good sized peppers.

Aji Amarillo Grande
Aji Amarillo Grande
Do you see the little patches of red in the lower left background in the photo, it looks like confetti because it is pepper confetti, the rats got in and started to shred the long Turkish peppers to get at the seeds inside.

Greek Gigande Beans
There are drying Greek Gigande beans on the vines. I'm not going to get a lot of beans but I will at least have fresh seed stock to try again next year.

Blue Speckled Tepary Beans
The Blue Speckled Tepary beans are starting to produce mature pods as well.

Blue Speckled Tepary Beans
They are just starting to dry, the beans in this pod were still soft.

Blue Speckled Tepary Beans

I'itoi Onions
Wow, the I'itoi onions are happy! I nibbled one blade from a plant and like it. It could be a nice spicy substitute for chives. The leaves will become much larger as the plants grow.

Hopi Chinmark Corn
 The pillaging rats continue their work.

Hopi Chinmark Corn
Snap traps seems to be useless. But yesterday evening I went through and wrapped each individual ear with a piece of Agribon fabric. I don't know if that will deter the rats and I'm afraid it will give the aphids a cozy spot to proliferate. But I don't know what else to try other than just ripping out all the plants.

Zuni Tomatillos
Zuni tomatillos are disappointing. I don't know if they are supposed to produce such small fruits, but this is ridiculous, that's one of the best in my hand. It has been afflicted by powdery mildew also. I'm about ready to give up and rip it out.

Zuni Tomatillo

The pole beans are trying to put out some new growth. There's a chance for a second crop if they can regrow so I'll leave them for now.

Monarch Caterpillar
To finish on a high note, one of my favorite critters is back!


  1. Excuse me, but it is so funny, that you have one or two days of warmer temperatures and it burns your winter squash??? A cold spell coming for you? Omigosh your daytime high is predicted to be lower than my nighttime low. But you have many brassicas that will not be bothered. The gigantes (yum-yum) and tepary beans look good.

    1. What does that say for our "summer" weather this year? It's hard to believe that we're only 300 something miles apart, your summer has lived up to its name.

  2. Lovely garden! Your pepper and brassica patch make me so jealous.

  3. The Tepary beans are particularly interesting to me (I had to look them up the other day), because we don't get them here. It sounds as if they would not like our climate. Mind you, climate everywhere is completely unpredictable these days, so who knows?? My brassicas seem to be less affected than normal by aphids and Whitefly this year, which is possibly due to my having given them a couple of good dousings with diluted washing-up liquid. I wish I knew for sure!

  4. You have some lovely looking greens there, and that Kongo kohlrabi looks like it is getting too big for its jug! I'll be looking forward to see what you think about it. Your I'itoi onions look like mine about now, splitting into lots of little onions. I haven't tasted the greens yet but after your report I guess I need to give one a nibble! I set out about a dozen in the greenhouse where I hope they will give me some edible bits throughout the winter.

  5. Your carrot & parsnip story is the same as mine - in fact, I had such bad parsnip germination that I've ended up with a whopping 2 plants. This is my first time growing them, so at least I'll get a taste. But you are definitely having great success with your greens - that Tronchuda cabbage is actually about the same size as mine is now...and it's been in the garden since spring! It was a bad decision to plant it behind the kale, I guess.

    Oh, that's so sad about the peppers - I'm sure all of the cool weather isn't helping matters either. Hopefully this is just a blip in the season for you and it goes back to seasonal warmth.

    Those dang rats are really doing a number on some of your veg - argh! Just makes you want to pull your hair out when you are trying this, that and the other thing and nothing seems to work. Fingers crossed those agribon cob covers will do the trick. Hurray for the Monarch caterpillar! That just makes me smile :)


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