Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Garden Update - October 19, 2016

Just a quickie update this week since I covered the garden fairly well last week and not a lot has changed since then.

The biggest change is that I harvested most of the remaining peppers from the garden, cut down the plants, and sowed a row of Robin Hood fava beans in that space. This is a first for me, getting fava seeds sown before the end of October or even generally November. I usually cut down the pepper plants around the end of November when the peppers finally stop producing or the first frost hits. I left the roots of the peppers in the soil and then scattered my usual amendments over the surface and scratched them into the top few inches. Then I sowed the fava seeds and put down a thick layer of composted oak trimmings over the surface of the soil as a mulch. I also sowed a row of Kodiak mustard on either side of the row of favas. If they survive the sowbugs and birds then I can cut them down and dig them in later.

One of the biggest problems I have with growing favas is that the emerging seedlings get attacked by sow bugs (woodlice). There's always masses of sowbugs in my compost so I have to protect the seedlings from the bugs that I've introduced to the garden with the compost that I spread around. I've found that the sowbugs don't or can't crawl up plastic so I'm using protective sleeves made from old plastic water bottles to keep them out. Birds are also problematic so I hope the sleeves will discourage them from attacking.

I mentioned before that the rats discovered how delicious my large fruited tomatoes are and now that most of those have been harvested the rats have moved on to the cherry tomatoes. So I moved most of my vast collection of snap traps to the area beneath the cherry tomatoes and even perched a few traps up in the foliage. I don't even bother to bait the traps, the mice usually clean out the bait without setting off the traps. My strategy is to just make an obstacle course for the rats and hope that they step in the wrong place. Sometime that works.

And so it goes for that tomato thief. It's not the first that I've caught this way. I may have to set a bunch of traps around my car. The damn critters just cost me a few hundred $$ to replace a hose line in the window washer system.

You can see that it's still worth the effort to fight the Damn Rats. There's still lots of life and tomatoes left there.

One of the Mareko Fana peppers was poking out of the swaddling cloth that I've place around the base of the plant and of course it got nibbled by a passing rat which didn't set off any of the traps that are set there. I hope the nibbler was the deceased tomato thief. But I'm sure there's still plenty of tomato thieves still out there.

That's the space that used to be occupied by the powdery mildew infested tomatillos. Do you see the bungee cords that I had to use to secure the corn? There was just enough wind accompanying the rain that came through last weekend to make the corn start to lodge so I had to tie it up.

Puhwem Corn
I don't think I'll grow this corn again, it's just too tall for my little garden and it's taking too long to mature.

I'itoi Onions
But I think the I'itoi onions will be a regular in the garden.

Hestia Brussels Sprouts
The Hestia Brussels Sprouts are still producing blowsy sprouts, one plant in particular. Perhaps I'll cut some off and see if they taste ok and if they don't I'll pull the plants out.

Gustus Brussels Sprouts
The Gustus Brussels Sprouts are doing much better. I'm hoping, nay anticipating some for Thanksgiving. I hope...

That's the latest in the garden. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Hooray, one less rat. Leave him there to show his friends. Using bungees on the corn is a good idea. I've had good results from Gustus Brussels sprouts, and your look good too.

    1. I would leave it there to scare off its friends, but they do tend to get a little stinky. Gustus is a great variety, I think it's a keeper.

  2. Scratch one more DR! How about getting a Jack Russell terrier? I hear they're excellent rat-catchers.

  3. Bravo one less rat!!
    I do admire your perseverance and diligence. Your ingenuity overcame many obstacles. Thanks also for the sow bugs idea. I eat about 2 pounds of vegies a day. What do you do with your enormous harvest besides sharing with the rats.

    1. We eat a lot of veggies around here too! And some get preserved for the leaner winter months. And I only eat tomatoes from the garden, in whatever form, fresh when they're producing, dried, canned, frozen sauce and puree and paste. The dehydrator is going full tilt right now and I'm stuffing the freezer.

  4. Wow - that's crazy with the rats...I can't believe they are eating car parts now! I have a question - why do you leave the pepper roots in the ground? I usually only do that to legumes but it would certainly be easier to snip off the pepper plants rather than pulling them up. And I LOVE the bungee cord idea - I may use that next year on my asparagus ferns which lean over so much that the pathway gets completely blocked.

    1. The rats are a plague this year. I found another one in a trap up in the tomato foliage this morning! And this is the second time they've munched on a car, they got the wiring harness in my last car (expensive!).

      I leave the roots to retain organic material in the soil. It gives the worms and other soil critters something to feed on when they rot and I speculate that it helps to retain the beneficial fungi and bacteria that I inoculate the plants roots with. Basically, it's just good for the soil to leave them in there, except of course if they are infected with some sort of soil borne disease or problem.


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