Saturday, September 3, 2016

Garden Update: Late Summer 2016

Photo courtesy of my partner.

We've had some challenges this year, but our garden is coming along really well.  We don't even have half the beds tilled in yet, either.  I think this garden will produce really well, and I don't know what we will do with the excess yet!

The kale and collards we initially planted did not make it.  They were ravaged--I mean destroyed--by insects, mostly Japanese beetles. We have multiple traps hanging around the yard, but I guess that wasn't sufficient. We got a few meals out of them, but my partner ended up digging up what was left and planting carrots in that plot.  That was a few weeks ago.  They are slow to come up.

He has replanted some greens in different beds, and he no longer has the beds planted side by side. He's mixed up the crops in the hopes that maybe that will help with the problem.  He also has started using a jalepeno pepper spray on the plants, which seems to be keeping most beasties at bay...for now.

The tomatoes are doing very well.  We have been having a problem with stink bugs eating them and causing them to rot on the vine. Our solution--besides the spray--has been to pick them early. We pick them when they are just starting to turn yellow, and we are ripening them in bowls in the house. They are yellow Best Boys, and they are delicious!

We messed up at first with the okra.  We didn't know when to harvest it, so the first harvest was a little late.  Only a few pods were edible, but we got some seeds from them.  The plants are very prolific, though, so now that we know what we're doing, we'll have plenty, and it's also delicious!

Today, we had a huge harvest of jalepenos and bell peppers.  My partner's been pickling the jalepenos, but we'll probably dry some, too.  He isn't growing other chiles right now.  We harvested our first bells today and had one for lunch.  Yummy!

Today, I am focusing on weeding around the outside of the house.  It's a huge job, and some areas are going to have to be completely tilled under and replanted.  Right now, I'm trying to save what's left of the fern bed along the west side of the house.  I want to preserve that in my mom's memory.  We're also planning to plant herbs in these beds.  In the process, I'm also rescuing, repurposing, or getting rid of various garden ornaments my mom had.  There's a bird bath at the base of the porch steps, which will get moved out to the edge of the garden.  The birds will use it more there, I think.  A large piece of quartz I brought from Maryland and a rabbit statue will decorate the southwest corner of the house.

I have finally started to research the process of growing corn, and I've learned that it's pretty involved.  I'm planning to start my corn in the spring.  My partner and I are going back and forth on whether I should till in the beds before Winter or wait until Spring.  I'm inclined to get the beds laid out now and maybe mix in some compost, so that the soil can season a bit.  I also want to make sure I have enough energy to follow through on the plantings, because it's something that requires a lot of attention.  With my health issues, it's better for me to do things in smaller pieces.  If I lay in the beds now, sure, I'll have to clean them up in the Spring, but that much more work will already be done.

We are now producing our own mulch, as well as our own compost. If our harvests keep to our current levels, we'll be well stocked for Winter!  :)


Gayle said...

I don't know how cold your winter gets, but out here in Utah we don't start corn until Mother's Day weekend. Its a warm weather vegetable, cold kills it pretty easily.

As for the collards & Kale, I've not grown either, but my Dad has mentioned that they are both slow-germinating seeds, and you need to keep soil evenly moist (but not too wet or they rot).

=) Gayle

Jen said...

Hi, Gayle! Thanks for stopping by!

Our winters are...variable, especially in recent years. Today, it was easily in the 60s here! (!!!) We've also had it get as cold as several degrees below zero in the past. It's crazy.

What I've read is that the soil needs to be 60 degrees F before planting the corn. I'm guessing it will be March or April, and of course, that depends on how the weather acts. Here in WV, it can be very erratic.

The kale and collards DO take a while to germinate, but they are super-easy to grow. When it's very hot, we water the garden daily for about an hour. They both grow really well for us, and we usually get a really good crop (unless the deer eat it, like they did this year!)