Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 13, 2017

Garden Report for 170814

Summer continues. No rain for over a month. Highs in the upper 90’sF, lows in the lower 60’sF. Next week we’ll have highs around 80F with lows around 55F. Possible rain, but not enough to keep down the blowing dust.

The tomato harvest is starting. Thirty this week, totalling 4kg. Champion and Lemon Boy are producing some nice ~200g tomatoes, while First Lady and Arkansas Traveller have smaller ones. Cherokee Purple and Beefmaster still bothered by BER.

There’s more where that came from

In other news: Two more cucumbers. Two medium summer squash. One of the Buttercups will be ready to harvest soon.

Week
Ending
17/08/14
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 31 4030 130  49 6.0
cabbage  2 0.25
cucumber  2 240  120 8 1.5
summer
squash
 3 1000 333 6 1.35
zucchini 1 0.15
winter
squash
Grand Total  9.25

Last year at this time we had 5.5kg of non-cabbage produce. This year, roughly 9kg.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 6, 2017

Garden Report for 170807

Summer continues. No rain for over a month. Highs in the upper 90’sF, lows in the lower 60’sF. They were forecasting 100F, but we didn’t make it, thanks to a smoke blanket that made our air worse than Beijing’s.

Big Boy gave a couple of 150g’s, and the Beefmaster gave a 100g tomato (the first that wasn’t et up with BER), and there’s more buckets of cherry tomatoes of various types. Meanwhile, the Pink Brandywine by the house isn’t doing anything. Maybe the shock of almost drowning made it reluctant to reproduce. I note, though, that the one in the main garden is only now producing flowers, so it might just be a (puts on sunglasses) late bloomer.

Unproductive Pink

In other news: Two cucumbers, one big, one small.  The Bush Buttercup is trying to produce something, but it really needs to be in a bigger pot. Harvested two of the purple cabbages. Trimmed, they are fist sized, and about 125g each — and were very tough, even when shredded and cooked with Spam, peas, and carrots . There’s three left, and we’ll see what the heat does to them.

Still Life, With Cabbages

 

Week
Ending
17/08/07
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  5 600 120  18 1.9
cabbage  2 250  125  2 0.25
cucumber 2 420  210 6 1.3
summer
squash
3 0.34
zucchini 1 0.15
winter
squash
Grand Total  3.9

Last year at this time we had almost 4kg of non-cabbage produce. This year, just over 3kg.

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 30, 2017

Garden Report for 170731

Summer continues. No rain for over a month. Highs around 90F, lows around 60F, limited watering restrictions continue. Next week the same yet again, except highs near 100F. Glad I’ve got the drip water timer.

Sub-Arctic gave three small tomatoes, as did the Siletz. Better Boy and Big Boy gave one each. Or rather, a third of a one each. Blossom end rot. Late breaking news: At the last minute, Big Boy came through with a 150g non-BER. Yay!

Sub-Arctic Plenty is a “determinate that gives hundreds of small tomatoes”. Mine gave three, and I don’t mean three hundred, and then pooped out. The container is on the south wall. Have never had any luck on that side. Maybe it’s too hot. Well, let’s try planting some heirloom Rutgers tomatoes. The ones sold today are derivatives of the original. Some are determinate, some are not. Mine are indeterminate (it says here). The packet says 10-12 weeks, which means end of October/early November. We’ll see if we can beat the frost.

In other news: two small summer squash and one small zucchini. Four warty cucumbers. Half a kg of cherry tomatoes of various types. They come in clusters, and some are still green, so it’s not worth tracking them. Handful of shell peas, and handful of pea pod peas, harvested just ahead of death-by-powdery-mildew. Not enough to track. Barely enough for a salad.

Week
Ending
17/07/31
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  7 550 78  13 1.3
cabbage
cucumber 4 870  217 4 0.87
summer
squash
2 240 120 3 0.34
zucchini  1  150  1 150 0.15
winter
squash
Grand Total  2.7

Last year at this time we had over 6kg of produce, but 4kg of that was cabbage, so the rest of our produce is on track. Our cabbages have not bolted, yet, but they look to be about tennis-ball sized. Since temps have been running 90F and up, I doubt we’ll get much out of them. We’ll see what they look like at the start of next week

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 16, 2017

Garden Report for 170717

We are now in full summer mode. No rain for a month. Highs around 90F, lows around 60F, watering restrictions on due to city water pump casualty, fire alert for much of the weekend. Same for the coming week

First harvest of the season. Six tomatoes: Siletz and Sub-Arctic, ranging in size from 40 – 140g. One small summer squash. One puny purple pepper. Bag of about-to-bolt lettuce, bag of chard. The chard seems to be winning the fight against the leaf miners. The trick is immediate and unmerciful pruning. Your chard will thank you.

Week
Ending
07/17
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  6 600 100  6 0.6
cabbage
peas
summer
squash
 1 100 100 1 0.1
zucchini
Spaghetti
squash
Grand Total  0.7

This time last year and in 2015 we had a grand total of 3kg. Fewer tomatoes, more cabbage and squash. In 2014 we had enough heat, and I hadn’t installed the automatic waterizer, that we had nothing but lettuce.

For some reason it only just now occurred to me that the shoulder-high jungle in the SE corner of the yard is actually burdock. On the one hand, that will give me some roots to try cooking. On the other hand, their thistles are nasty. I’m buying a machete.

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 22, 2017

Garden Report for 170522

Cool and rainy during the week, warming to 75F over the weekend, with a couple days of 80’s in the forecast. Should have a good crop of mosquitos.

Planted some more stuff over the weekend. Two Juliet tomatoes on the deck, Lemon Boy and Siletz tomatoes in Section 1. Section 4 got two Acorn and three Zucchini squash, and one each of Yellowneck, and Butternut. The east side of the house got two cucumbers a Pink Brandywine and a Siberian tomato.

Having done all that, I moved the Sub-Arctic Plenty and Patio tomatoes from the deck to the south side of the house, next to the hops, and added a yellow cherry tomato to the deck.

Section 2 is reserved for greens and my ever-hopeful cabbage. Right now the weeds are doing well where the lettuces ought to be, and the cabbage will probably bolt by next weekend.

The local stores didn’t have anything in the way of peas or beans, so I’m going to have to plant them by seed, in Section 3.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 5, 2016

Garden Report for 160905

No report for three weeks, due to travel, and more travel. Weather, I am told, was pretty much NENW standard for August — hottish and dryish.

The deck sugar pod peas gave one final half cup — enough to mix with one salad. The deck tomatoes have pooped out, after delivering a few final handfuls of cherrys. The garden tomatoes never did much at all. The Big Beef tomato out front yielded its final 136gram monster. The summer squash were much damaged by blossom-end rot and gave us only one medium. The zucchinis did much better, turning out 8kg of the stuff, but it looks like they’ve come to the end of their rope, as well. Finally, the pie pumpkins did equally poorly, turning out three small things better suited to the production of tarts than pies.

Week
Ending
9/05
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 1  136 27 1.13
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.67
summer
squash
1 560 560 5 1.41
zucchini 8 8800 1100 12 10.7
pumpkin 3 609 203 3 0.61
Running Total 19.5
Little punks

Little punks

Week
Ending
8/15
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  4 216  54 27 0.99
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.67
summer
squash
1 486 486  4  .85
zucchini  1  1500  1500  4  1.90
Running Total 9.43

We’re getting to the end of the garden. I suspect there’s only one more weeks worth of news. Pretty depressing, given that most years the garden report runs into mid- or late-October.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 15, 2016

Garden Report for 160815

The weather this week was warm and dry. The deck tomatoes seem to be recovering. I got three smallish tomatoes out of Section 4, and one biggish one from the front container. The squashes are producing at just the right rate for us to keep up with them, if we eat a lot of squash soup.

Week
Ending
8/15
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  4 216  54 27 0.99
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.67
summer
squash
1 486 486  4  .85
zucchini  1  1500  1500  4  1.90
Running Total 9.43

 

Week
Ending
8/08
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 23 0.775
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.675
summer
squash
3 .36
zucchini 1 500 500 4 1.400
Running Total 8.93

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 8, 2016

Garden Report for 160808

The weather this week was reportedly clear, hot and sunny, with heavy rain at the end. I say reportedly, because we were off on a handbell cruise, of which more in a later posting.

We have the KHG plants on a water timer, so they got watered throughout the week. The deck plants didn’t do so well. We’ll see if they recover. The deck parsley managed to survive.

How dry I am

How dry I am

Only one zucchini was ready when we got home, but that was because our neighbors were encouraged to pick what they wanted. As you can see, the squash in Section 3 are all doing well, while the tomatoes (Section 4, in back) are really hurting. I think it’s lack of sunlight.

Some plants do well, others don't

Some plants do well, others don’t

Week
Ending
8/08
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 23 0.775
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.675
summer
squash
 3  .36
zucchini  1  500  500  4  1.400
Running Total 8.93

 

Week
Ending
8/01
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 3 358 120 23 0.775
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.675
summer
squash
2 240 120 3 .36
zucchini 1 200 200 3 .900
Running Total 7.73

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 1, 2016

Garden Report for 160801

The weather this week was clear and sunny, just brushing mid-90’s at midweek.

Harvested two Big Beef tomatoes from the front pot, a New Girl from Section 4, and some miniature peppers from Section 1 of the KHG (4 peppers, 64g total, not worth adding a row for). The BBs are supposed to come in at 400-500g, but these were both 110g. The New Girl was 140g, exactly as advertised.

The squash in Section 3 were badly hit by blossom-end rot, not sure why. Watering has been consistent. I hit them with some calcium mix and they seem to be doing OK now. Got one summer squash and a Zucchini.

Meanwhile, the rest of the KHG tomatoes continue to meander on, with few fruit and nothing ripe. The pie pumpkins outside the KHG are doing OK, but I only see one pump.

I am trying an experiment in the newly-cleared Section 1. Remember the big thistly plant from a couple weeks ago? Turns out it’s burdock, the roots of which are used in some Japanese cooking. First and second year growth is best. So I clipped some of the thistles off a few nearby plants, and planted them in the garden. Remember kids, the best way to get rid of pests is to turn them into gourmet food.

Week
Ending
8/04
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  3  358  120 23 0.775
cabbage 4 4.02
peas 1.675
summer
squash
 2  240  120  3  .36
zucchini  1  200  200  3  .900
Running Total 7.73

 

Week
Ending
7/25
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato 20 0.418
cabbage 3 2750 917 4 4.02
peas 1300 1.675
summer
squash
 1  .120
zucchini  2  .700
Running Total 6.93

Interestingly, this time last year I was about even with this year’s harvest, and in 2014 it wasn’t until mid-August that it was even worth building a harvest table. That will change by the end of the month.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 17, 2016

Garden Report for 160718

The weather this week started cool and wet, and ended warm and thundry, with highs in the low 80’s.

Peas are ripening well, and it’s going to be a stretch to keep up with them, particularly since they seem to be having some sort of powdery mildew problem. Harvested another cabbage and made a nice soup with it and the leftover cabbage water from last week. So far, the only tomatoes that are producing are the Stupice’s, and we get a couple of sub-ping-pong-ball-sized ones every few days. The summer squash is languishing, just like the tomatoes, but I found two nice sized Zucchini, hidden away.

Week
Ending
7/18
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

tomato  14  268  19 20 0.418
cabbage  1 650  650  2 1.27
peas  –  270  –  0.645
summer
squash
     1  120  120    1  0.120
zucchini  2  700  350  2  0.700
Running Total 3.16

 

Week
Ending
7/11
Vegetable Count Weight
g
Unit
Weight
g
Total Total
Weight
kg

 tomato 6 150 25 6 0.150
 cabbage  1 625   625 1 0.625
 peas  –  375  –  –  0.375
 summer
squash
 zucchini
Running Total  1.15

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 4, 2016

Garden Report for 160704

No reports for a while on account of as how I was out of the country. While I was gone we moved into our standard summer weather pattern — hot and dry, and sometimes windy. We had a couple days in the upper 80’s, and no rain, and the temperature one foot down in the KHG was 70F on July 1. Fortunately, I had a timer on the soaker hose for the garden, and MJ got the deck plants. Unfortunately, the wet spring and the long absence meant that the weeds have kindof taken over.

The weedy back yard. There are five tomato cages hidden in there somewhere

The weedy back yard. There are five seven tomato cages hidden in there somewhere

The KHG is in much the same shape:

The weedy garden. Cabbages in front, tomatoes at the rear

The weedy garden. Cabbages in front, tomatoes at the rear

And this is The Weed.

The weed. This guy produces lots of horrible thistly seed pods.

This guy produces lots of horrible thistly seed pods.

If your dogs get into this one, come Fall, you’ll be picking burrs out of their fur for a week.

Next week will be a little cooler, and better maintained.

It’s not quite time to start the scoreboard, but I probably will next week. We harvested a handful of deck snow peas for salads, and a couple of deck tomatoes about the size of a bocce ball pallino. About time to harvest some of the garden peas. The lettuce I planted before the trip didn’t come up. I think it was too far away from the soaker hose.

The cabbages are doing surprisingly well. I guess the situation is more complex than I had been led to believe. Previously, hot weather would cause them to bolt. Right now, I seem to have four good cabbages, perhaps softball sized. That’s probably because we had cool wet weather at a critical point.

The KHG tomatoes, in Section 4, are looking surprisingly puny. Possibly because Section 4 gets less sunlight than any of the others. I may have to modify my rotation scheme. The big pumpkins didn’t get any water, and so are stunted and bug-bit. The small pumpkins got some water, and more sun, and so are doing reasonably well. The squashes are doing well, but the one zucchini that was starting off when I left decided to die before dropping its flower instead.

Replanted the deck snow peas. Planted more lettuce.

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

June 20, 2016

Garden Report for 160620

Lots of shade by the 4th

Lots of shade by the 4th


So it’s been almost a month since my last garden report, and there’s still not a lot to report. Weather was mostly of the June Gloom sort, with a frost warning just last week. But now it looks like we’re headed into the 80’s.

Things continue to slog along. The cool weather means that most plants haven’t grown very much, but it also means that the cabbages have not yet bolted. I’m pleased with the growth of the hops. They’ve filled in a lot since last month.

We have a couple of early deck tomatoes just starting to break, and a small finger of a zucchini coming along. Harvested two volunteer butterball lettuce, and had some of our snow pea pods in the resulting salad.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 3, 2016

Garden Report for 1600502

And here it is, May already. Steady warming trend, from a high of around 60 on Sunday, to a high of around 70…on Sunday.  Lows hit 33F on Sunday night, but the plants seem to have weathered it, even the ones not in the whitehouses. Forecast is for even more warming, into the 80’s, which I suspect will finally bolt my cabbages, and it’s not even June yet. Cliff Mass, the NWWx guy, says we should consider 1 May to be 1 June for gardening purposes this year. Temperature a foot down in the garden is already 60F.

Planted some more squash in Section 3 over the weekend — spaghetti, butternut, summer squash. Put some asparagus roots in to Section 4.

The hops are doing well. Tried a new way of providing them with growth support. Pix next week.

Planted two new tomatoes in deck containers — Christmas Grapes (I hope that’s not a indicator of when it ripens) and Stupice. That one was in a planting bag. I’m thinking it might be better than the decaying plastic containers I’m currently using.

Hillbilly Hydroponics

Hillbilly Hydroponics

And of course, no sooner had I written about the joys of hydroponics last week than my lettuce started to wilt. I think all the moving around to take the pictures may have broken the threadlike root or something. So I drilled a hole in the shoulder of the bottle, big enough for a small funnel, and added a few cups of water, just enough to bring it an inch or so up the side of the sock. Back to firm and crisp-looking. So it’s not a fire and forget, it’s more like plant it and set your calendar.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

April 24, 2016

Garden Report for 160425

The two week wrapup is just like the one week wrapup preceeding: cool, followed by warm, followed by stinking hot, followed by cool again. Outdoor thermometer (12ft up the North side of the house) peaked at 84F. Today it peaked at 64F. Next week will be cool again.

Cabbage seedlings seem to be doing OK. I took the whitehouses off, figuring that their shade wouldn’t make up for the increased heat load. Couldn’t think of any other brassicae worth planting in Section 1 this late in the spring, so I stuck in a couple of pepper plants — Bell and Banana.

Cleaned up sections 3 and 4 and did some early seedlings. Section 3 got a whitehouse and two zucchini seedlings. Section 4 got a whitehouse and a bunch of tomatoes — I figured I’d take a chance and plant them out six weeks early. The usual: Early Girl, Better Boy, Beefsteak. If the NENW reverts to type and we get a killer frost in May, there’s still time to replant.

Read an interesting article on a fire and forget hydroponic setup. A half-gallon jug filled with special hydroponic solution, into which you stick a special plant-retaining-sleeve  filled with special hydroponic soil and some small plant, like lettuce.You set it up in a sunny window and leave it. The water slowly evaporates through the plant, and the plant slowly fills up the soil with roots. When the water drops below the level of the plant-retaining-sleeve, the roots will keep growing, down into the water.

Not being a hydroponicist, I took the hillbilly approach and used an old sock, potting soil, and a half gallon of water with a half-teaspoon of plant food dissolved in it. The picture shows the result, six weeks or so in:

Hillbilly Hydroponics

Hillbilly Hydroponics

I couldn’t get a good shot of the bottom, because my phonecam kept focusing on the plastic bottle, but there is indeed a thin thread of root hanging down half an inch into the water. The lettuce looks like it will be ready for harvest in another couple of weeks. I may just trim a couple of leaves at a time, because a good lettuce like that, you don’t want to eat all at once.

This was a proof of concept experiment. It says that next winter we can have fresh greens from November to May, assuming we get the timing right, and don’t mind having a sun room full of bottles. And going barefoot.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

November 8, 2015

Garden Report for 151109

We are in full autumnal mode here, with ten hours of frost on Tuesday night and twelve hours on Thursday night. Wednesday was originally forecast the same, but clouds moved in and gave us twelve hours at 33F. Next week is more of the same (except when it rains), and by mid-month we will hit the point at which every night will see frost.

Scarfed up a handful of late zucchini and summer squash, plus one baby butternut and a pie-pumpkin-sized jack-o-lantern. About the only thing left in the garden is the peas and carrots and chard (oh,my).

Harvested the Santa Maria Beans (pinquitos). Got half a basket from half a section of the KHG. Spent a happy hour standing in the cold wind separating the beans from the non-beans. Harder than it looks. Beans don’t want to be picked. It’s like paper towels — the seam is stronger than the towel. I figure I lost about 20% of the pods, because they were too small, too well hidden, too attached, or too far out of reach. My half-basket included a lot of attached non-bean stuff, and the total weight was ~5lb.

Beans and non-beans

Beans and non-beans

I’m not sure the SMB experiment was a success. A couple accounts I’ve read said they just left the beans in the garden until they dried on the vine. Twenty weeks in, only a quarter of the picked beans looked mature enough to have beans inside them, and none of them looked to be drying out. I might run them through the dehydrator and see if that helps. Meanwhile, the 75% that are young and tender might be cookable like regular old green beans.

It may be that pinquitos are just not suited for the NENW. I may have to give up and order packages of the dried beans from Amazon, the way our forebears did. We’ll see. I’ll report.

Here’s the final scoreboard.

Week Ending 11/09 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato  573 68
Bush Buttercup  5  5
Zucchini  1 3  3  23 31
Summer Squash  7 7 1 9 2
Butternut 1  11  11  5  4
Cuke  39  8
Spaghetti  7  14
Pumpkin 1  38 38  5  7
Beans  –  –  5lb  –  9
Peas  –  –  – 1
Bell peppers 4  1

Grand Total 150 pounds. Maybe not the largest harvest ever, but it’s among the top two. Next week, Lessons Learned.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

November 1, 2015

Garden Report for 151102

Forecast frost forestalled by rain. Lots of rain. Half an inch in 24hrs on Friday, and another half inch on Saturday and a quarter inch on Sunday. The forecast for next week, once the clouds clear, shows lows of 37F, 29F, 24F … Do we see a trend here?

Meanwhile, I dashed out in between showers to bring in the crops. Twenty pounds of tomatoes from the main KHG. Lots were small, but a dozen were the big yellow Brandywines, running 8oz. each. The regular Brandywines, grown right next to them, are a quarter that. Our total for the year is 68lb, well down from our first KHG season (2012), which saw near a 100lb of tomatoes. A couple of medium-sized spaghetti squash. Half a dozen white radishes.

In 2012 there were five boxes like this

In 2012 there were five boxes like this

I don’t think the amaranth will make it. There’s still no seeds, and Thursday night is forecast to be 24F. But there’s still the Santa Maria beans to bring in, plus whatever peas make it. This may not be a record year, but it’s among the top two.

Here’s the semifinal scoreboard.

Week Ending 11/02 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato  135 344  2.5  573 68
Bush Buttercup  5  5.0
Zucchini  1 10  10  22 30.8
Summer Squash  1 15  15 2 1.65
Butternut  4  3.7
Cuke  39  7.65
Spaghetti  2  28  14  7  14
Pie Pumpkin  4  5.6
Beans  –  –  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  –  – 1.0
Bell peppers 4  1.13

Grand Total 143lb, not counting the late stuff.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 25, 2015

Garden Report for 151026

Did it or didn’t it frost this week? Depends on where you ask. For example, the weather boffins predicted it for 32F on early Friday morning, out in the Turnbull, and 35F at KGEG. WeatherSpark had 32F. What was the actual? WeatherSpark says 36F, Turnbull said 36F, KGEG said 38F. My house thermometer said 35F (and Nest said 27F, not sure what planet they’re on), but the meat thermometer (hey, it’s digital, it’s portable) said 35F at the KHG, and 32F ten feet up on the deck. A similar story was told Saturday night. So far, nothing has turned black. Forecast for next week says we’ll take another run at it on Tuesday. Here’s Cliff Mass, the NWWx guy talking about the two week forecast.

Nevertheless, I’m starting to get serious about shutting down the garden.  I figure that even if we get another week or two with no frost, the chance of getting any new squash or tomatoes is essentially zero.

Pulled all the tomatoes off the 32F deck, just over five poundsworth. I was going to harvest the last of the squash from the KHG and pull them up, but there’s a few that might grow some more. Trimmed back the KHG tomatoes, and we’ll see about when to harvest them. I’m leaving them for now, in hopes they do something besides hang greenly from their stalks. Harvested a bunch of chard, before it got too big. We’re overstocked on greens, so likely will lose some. MJ is away and I have this tendency to just eat big chunks of meat, standing up at the sink.

This week's haul

This week’s haul

Meanwhile, the Portable Garden did pretty well, producing three banana-sized summer squash total (harvested one this week). This is more and bigger than the KHG squash did. I suspect the reason is that the garden squash was in the shade of the tomatoes. Something similar is going on in Section 3, where the peas, which by rights should be ready for picking this week, are still in the six-inch-high phase because of heavy shade from the Santa Maria beans. In systems terms, this is gardening under constraints.

Chasing the sunny spots

Chasing the sunny spots

The amaranth has all headed out, and has produced little white flowerlike things amongst the red  … flowers. Nothing that looks like seed. The big one headed first, and then fell over, just like the YouTubers say, but no seeds.

Here’s the latest scoreboard.

Week Ending 10/26 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato  60 88  1.5  438 46.25
Bush Buttercup  5  5.0
Zucchini  1 10  10  22 30.8
Summer Squash  1 15  15 2 1.65
Butternut  4  3.7
Cuke  39  7.65
Spaghetti  5  12.75
Pie Pumpkin  4  5.6
Beans  –  –  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  –  – 1.0
Bell peppers 4  1.13

Grand Total 119.53lb, and we haven’t touched the KHG tomatoes yet. I think it’s a record year.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 18, 2015

Garden Report for 151019

Yet another Gorgeous Week, with highs around 70F and lows in the low 40’s. Why does this always happen right after school starts? And why does it go away so soon? Depending on which forecast station I look at, by the end of the week we’ll either be in the mid 30’s, or we’ll have frost. The 30’s forecast is for KGEG, which is further away, but equivalently urban. The frost forecast is for the Turnbull Wildlife Sanctuary Ranger Station, which is closer, but out in the basalt scablands. I’m hoping we can make it through the week frost-free so I can start closing down the garden next weekend.

Started shutting down the deck containers this weekend. Cut the plants off, dump them on the compost pile, then dump the dirt from the pot on top of them. The roots have so filled the pots that it’s like dropping a cast of the inside of the pot. The two plants (Patio and Celebrity) between them had about six small to medium tomatoes. OK small to really small. Got almost four pounds of tomatoes, total, including a pound of greenies. Another handfull of lemon cucumbers. Lots of chard, and a little lettuce.

Not much else coming along, despite the pleasant weather. I guess we’ll end up like we did a couple of years ago, with four or five flats of tomatoes ripening on the living room floor.

I’m not into monster vegetables, so I only get one if something escapes me. Like the 7lb zucchini that was hanging vertically into the shadows of Section 1. I cut it into sections and gave them away to friends at the libraries Oktoberfest party.*

Hard to fit into a salad

Hard to fit into a salad

Here’s the latest scoreboard.

Week Ending 10/19 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato  22 60 2.7  378 40.75
Bush Buttercup  5  5.0
Zucchini 1 112  112  21 30.2
Summer Squash 1 0.65
Butternut  4  3.7
Cuke  6 12.8 2.1  39  7.65
Spaghetti  5  12.75
Pie Pumpkin  4  5.6
Beans  –  –  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  –  – 1.0
Bell peppers  1  4.5 4.5 4  1.13

Grand Total 112.6lb. That’s about 12lb behind last year at this time, but last year at this time I had just closed out the garden. In 2013 the garden had already been closed for a week, and we had 76lbs, not counting the 40lbs of jack-o-lanterns.

*Since it was a Hawaiian-themed party, I got to wear lederhosen with an aloha shirt. Nobody picked up on the Heinlein reference.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 11, 2015

Garden Report for 151012

Gorgeous week, with weather mostly around 70F, with strong winds Saturday night, followed by rain. We look to be set for a cooler version of the same, with highs around 65F, but a warming trend could put us into the mid-70’s by next weekend.

Harvested a four pound spaghetti squash and a bunch of Section 1 tomatoes. Several were in the 6oz range, which is where I’d like them.  Amaranth is heading like crazy, and the big one has fallen over from the weight, but no actual seeds. I tried cooking up some of the leaves anyway, and they were OK, if you put enough garlic and cumin on them. Santa Maria beans are chugging along. Hard to see them going dry before November. Our buttercrunch lettuce has bolted, but we have some baby romaine and such just coming in. No zucchinis and no summer squash, but a couple of summers are doing well on my transportable garden.

It looks lonely, but it gets a lot of sun.

It looks lonely, but it gets a lot of sun.

Here’s the latest scoreboard.

Week Ending 10/12 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato 17 65  3.8  356 37
Bush Buttercup  5  5.0
Zucchini 1 22  22  21 23.2
Summer Squash 1 0.65
Butternut  4  3.7
Cuke 3 13.7  4.6  33  6.85
Spaghetti  1  64  64  5  12.75
Pie Pumpkin  4  5.6
Beans  –  –  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  –  – 1.0
bell peppers 3  0.85

Grand Total 100.6lb

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 4, 2015

Garden Report for 151005

Gorgeous week, with weather mostly around 70F, with one peak at 80F. Lows in the low 40’s, with a spot of rain at the end. Forecast for more of the same, with peaks in the upper 70’s.

Not much harvested. Tiny banana peppers that I’m not even counting. Tiny summer squash. Tiny butternut squash. Couple of midsize zucchini.  The amaranth is heading, but nothing that looks like seeds yet. Main garden tomatoes are still thinking about turning, but so far have only managed a brownish pink. High hopes for next week.

Other than the camo-pattern, I can't tell Italian Zucchini from the kind that comes from Italy

Other than the camo-pattern, I can’t tell Italian Zucchini from the kind that comes from Italy

Here’s the latest scoreboard.

Week Ending 10/05 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato 13 22.5  1.7  339 33
Bush Buttercup  5  5.0
Zucchini 2 13.2  6.6  20 21.8
Summer Squash 1 2.5  2.5 1 0.65
Butternut 2 9 4.5  4  3.7
Cuke 1 2.25 2.25  30  6
Spaghetti  4  8.75
Pie Pumpkin  4  5.6
Beans  –  –  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  –  – 1.0
bell peppers 3  0.85

Grand Total 90.4lb

This time last year we had 95lbs of produce, including twice the weight in tomatoes. A revised look says 2013 gave us 76lb total, including a bunch of tomatoes that were ripening on the living room floor, but not including 40lb of jack-o-lanterns.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 28, 2015

Garden Report for 150928

Weather mostly around 70F, with one peak at 80F. Lows in the low 40’s.

The main garden tomatoes are starting to come in, as are the second wave zucchinis and the first of the summer squash (one good, two with BER). Blossom End Rot is rearing its head in a couple of places — some zucchinis have also succumbed, as have a couple of the deck Italian zucchinis (isn’t Italian zucchini a redundancy?). Pretty much all the amaranth is in blossom mode, but I might harvest a bunch of leaves anyway. Continuing closeouts. Took down the hops. Having them grow on a bird net worked out well. I didn’t even have to get up on a ladder. Just took the long branch-trimmer and slipped it off of the soffit hooks.

The main garden tomatoes are coming in larger than the container ones — 3-5oz each, instead of 2-3oz. I can see lots of green ones back in the jungle, so if the frosts hold off we shouldn’t have to hunt for a red October.

I think the high heat in mid-summer killed a lot of blossoms, and the more moderate temps of late August have re-started the process. Which is why BER is still a problem, and we have about six, thumb-sized, spaghetti squash developing.

Finally, the tomatoes.

Finally, the tomatoes.

Here’s the latest scoreboard.

Week Ending 9/28 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato 36 92 2.5  326 31.75
Bush Buttercup  5  5.0
Zucchini 1  22  22  18 21
Summer Squash 1 8 8 1 0.5
Butternut  2  3.2
Cuke 1  3.7  3.7  29  5.9
Spaghetti  4  8.75
Pie Pumpkin  4  5.6
Beans  –  –  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  –  – 1.0
bell peppers  3  0.85

Grand Total: 87.6lb

This time last year we also had 87lbs of produce, except by now we had twice the weight in tomatoes, but very few squash. In 2013, we peaked out at 51lbs in mid-September, not counting the 20lb jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Our current jack-o-lantern is starting to turn color, but it’s very small. As in, we’ll do better hollowing out a lemon cucumber.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 20, 2015

Garden Report for 150921

Weather similar to last week. Cool start (~62F), warm and windy end (~74F), cool forecast (~60F). Lows in the low 40’s.

Harvested one each pie pumpkin, spaghetti squash, and hanging bush buttercup. Another couple of lemon cukes, and not a lot of not very big tomatoes, and the remaining bell pepper from out front, and that was it.

The three summer squash still haven’t progressed much beyond fat finger size. Ditto for three Italian zucchini on the deck. Some of the tomatoes in Section 1 are starting to break color. Hoping for some ripe ones next week. Amaranth keep on keeping on. Meanwhile, we have the start of some Santa Maria beans. Harvest isn’t for another three weeks or so.

First Beans

First Beans

Closed out the golden cherry tomatoes on the deck. Not impressed. The hanging tomatoes will go next week.

Here’s the latest scoreboard.

Week Ending 9/21 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato 26 24  0.92  290 26
Bush Buttercup  1 13.2 13.2  5  5.0
Zucchini  17 19.5
Butternut  2  3.2
Cuke  2  3.2 1.6  28  5.7
Spaghetti  1 20  20  4  8.75
Pie Pumpkin  1  30  30  4  5.6
Beans  –  –  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  –  – 1.0
bell peppers 3  13.5  4.5  3  0.85

Grand Total: 79.6lb

This time last year we had 78.85lbs of produce, almost the same as this year, except by now we had twice the weight in tomatoes, but very few squash. In 2013, we only had about 51lbs, not counting the 20lb jack-o-lantern pumpkin.

MJ brought home some tomatoes from friends in the dog club. Their smallest were about the size of our largest. Their largest weren’t beefsteaks, but they were of a size suitable for slicing onto a hamburger bun. Not sure what our problem is. More sun? More fertilizer? More water?

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 13, 2015

Garden Report for 150914

Cool start (62F), warm and windy end (92F), cool forecast (62F). Lows in the low 40’s.

A rogue zucchini turned up in the jungle, right after I put three of its siblings in the dehydrator. Another handful of lemon cukes, and not a lot of not very big tomatoes, and that was it.

Meanwhile, there’s one each pie pumpkin, spaghetti squash, and hanging bush buttercup getting ready for next week or so. Three summer squash that haven’t progressed beyond fat finger size. Ditto for three Italian zucchini on the deck.

Trimmed a bunch of leaves off the non-flowering amaranth and stir fried them with garlic. Not bad, in a collard greens sort of way. As with the other greens, these cooked down to a tenth their volume. Another few weeks and some of them will be producing seeds.

Here’s the latest scoreboard, such as it is.

Week Ending 9/14 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato 17 24  1.4  264 24.5
Bush Buttercup  4  3.2
Zucchini  1 40  40  17 19.5
Butternut  2  3.2
Cuke  4  13 3.25  26  5.5
Spaghetti  3  7.5
Pie Pumpkin  3  3.7
Beans  –  –  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  –  – 1.0
Cabbage

Grand Total: 72.1lb

This time last year we had 74lbs of produce, and in 2013, as near as I can figure out, we only had about 38lbs, due mostly to the lack of pumpkins.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 6, 2015

Garden Report for 150907

This week was positively autumnal, with starting highs in the 60’s and a cold, rainy end. Saturday saw 24hrs at 50F+/-1 and about a third of an inch of rain, followed by a low of 44. Next week is supposed to be back in the 80’s. Temperature one foot down in the KHG was 65F.

Amaranth photobombs beans

Amaranth photobombs beans

Another small harvest: handful of lemon cucumbers and a couple pounds of tomatoes. No zucchinis, but that’s OK because we still have three or four monsters in the fridge. Our summer squash finally looks like it will be producing. Should call it autumn squash. One of the tomatoes was a proper-looking 5oz yellow brandywine. Tons of green tomatoes still in the garden, so mid-September should see an avalanche.

The Santa Maria beans are doing OK, as you can see. No actual beans yet, but harvest isn’t due for another month.

Planted two kinds of peas. Both mature in about 70 days (mid-November). Sugar Snap Pole for pod eating, Wando for mature peas.

Here’s the latest scoreboard, such as it is.

Week Ending 9/07 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato 26 33  1.3  247 23
Bush Buttercup  4  3.2
Zucchini  16 17
Butternut  2  3.2
Cuke  4  11 2.75  22  4.7
Spaghetti  3  7.5
Pie Pumpkin  3  3.7
Beans  –  –  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  –  – 1.0
Cabbage

Grand Total: 67.3lb

This time last year we had 59lbs of produce, and in 2013, as near as I can figure out, we only had about 20lbs, due mostly to the lack of pumpkins.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 30, 2015

Garden Report for 150831

Warm start (upper 80’s) but an autumnal end, with lows in the low 50’s, rain, and gusty winds that blew away the smoke from the burning WA.

Light harvest this week. I think it’s because all the blossoms that would have created the squash and tomatoes were killed off in the heat wave earlier. Things are still flowering, so I have hope for September. There is one young spaghetti squash coming along, about the size of a Nerf football. Sunday afternoon I found another pie pumpkin, still green, hiding in the jungle, but that’s a harvest for a latter day.

The lone amaranth is head-high and just starting to flower. The rest are still knee-high, in leaf harvest/stir fry mode.

One Big Amaranth

The big amaranth is protected by the beans and the shade trees, but the knee-highs on the deck are being beaten about by the winds. I can see where growing this stuff is a lot like growing corn — one good storm could wipe you out.

Amaranth Flower

Harvested three big zucchini and a handful of lemon cukes, plus one lone curved regular cucumber that I don’t remember planting.  A bunch of small tomatoes. Enough lettuce for salad every day. MJ has gone wild with her veggie noodleizer. It’s really a good way to do zucchini. I find if I slice them and cook them, the way my Zucchanite grandmother did, then the seedy interior gets overcooked and the outer bits are underdone. Or the outer bits are overcooked (easy to do), and the centers are way overcooked. The noodleizer pushes the unwanted center bits out the bottom, and the z-noodles are easy to get just right. We’ve been having them raw in salads, or fried with tomatoes (ours) and onions (boughten).

Here’s the latest scoreboard, such as it is.

Week Ending 8/31 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato  27 33  1.2  201 21
Bush Buttercup  4  3.2
Zucchini 3 64 21  16 17
Butternut  2  3.2
Cuke  7  23  3.3  18  4.0
Spaghetti  3  7.5
Pie Pumpkin  3  3.7
Beans  –  –  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  –  – 1.0
Cabbage

Grand Total: 64.6lb

This time last year we had 58lbs of produce, and in 2013, as near as I can figure out, we only had about 14lbs, due mostly to the lack of pumpkins.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 23, 2015

Garden Report for 150824

Warm start (upper 80’s), cool end (upper 70’s), Beijing levels of air pollution in between (AQI 287). Don’t know if it helps plants to get their carbon in the form of airborne ash from 100 miles away, but if it does, the rest of the year should be great.

Did a major harvest sweep today. The spaghetti squash and the buttercupnuts seem to have stopped growing, so I harvested them, plus all tomatoes with any color to them.

Rounding up the squash

Rounding up the squash

Once again, I neglected my long beans, and they’ve gone all dried-beany on me. Found another monster Zucchini, so MJ wants to make more Z-spagh.

Harvested a bunch of Amaranth leaves and stir-fried them with garlic. Very earthy taste, as in “it tastes like fried dirt”. I’ll make one more effort, adding a bunch of unintelligible Indian spices, and then we’ll wait for the popcorn-like seeds.

Here’s the latest scoreboard.

Week Ending 8/17 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato  36 52  1.4  201 21
Bush Buttercup  4  51  12.7  4  3.2
Zuccini 3  44  15  13 13
Butternut  2  51  25.5  2  3.2
Cuke  5 21  4.2  11  2.5
Spaghetti  3  120  40  3  7.5
Pie Pumpkin  3  3.7
Beans  –  –  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  –  – 1.0
Cabbage

Grand Total: 59.1lb

This time last year we had 28lbs of foodstuffs, about a third of which was cabbage, which didn’t do well in this year’s heat. In 2013, there was not enough to report on.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 16, 2015

Garden Report for 150817

Hot start but a cool end. Two days at 100F, and then the front passed, with 40kt winds, and Saturday peaked at 77F.

Big harvest this week. Picked 64 tomatoes, totaling over 6 pounds. Turns out I was wrong about last week’s mulimato. I got another one this week — 12oz — so I dug down into the jungle to check on what it was (I am of the age that if I want to remember something I have to forget something else, and what I planted where doesn’t make the cut). It’s a Yellow Brandywine, well known for large fruit. Except I’ve never had a Brandywine of any kind actually produce large fruit. I may be forgiven for last week’s mistake, because this one also looked like six small tomatoes fused into one. So far the flesh has been a little mealy and the flavor only so-so. The yellows on the deck are Lemon Boys. They are normal sized, and tart. No more Yellow Brandywines for me. Interestingly, the standard Brandywines, right next to the Yellows, are coming in at about 3oz each.

Speaking of monsters, I found two monster Zucchini hiding in the jungle, almost two pounds each. I realize that isn’t monster as far as Zucchini go — gardeners in the UK are proud of growing ones you can live in, if you don’t have a lot of possessions — but it’s way bigger than I want. Sliced them up and stuck them on the dehydrator for my famous Z-dust oatmeal. A third one was more normal, and we’ll probably salad that one.

Also harvested several feet of long beans, some of which had already started to mature into their dry bean state. Looks like I’ll have to keep after them on a daily basis. On another note, we haven’t been eating our green beans fast enough, and some of them have gone off. The usual advice is to freeze them, but the freezer is so packed we’d have to freeze them individually and poke them into the crevices. Everybody’s out of town for pre-Labor Day vacations so I can’t even give them away.

Planted some more amaranth and greens in Section 3, plus a bunch of thyme in Section 4. I’ll use that as a cover crop into the winter.

Here’s the latest scoreboard.

Week Ending 8/17 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato  64  132  2.1  165 17.8
Summer
Zuccini 3  86  29  10 10.3
Delicata
Cuke  6  1.22
Spaghetti
Pie Pumpkin  3  3.7
Beans  –  –  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  –  – 1.0
Cabbage

Grand Total:30.5lb

This time last year we had 26lbs of foodstuffs, about a third of which was cabbage, which didn’t do well in this year’s heat. In 2013, there was not enough to report on.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 8, 2015

Garden Report for 150810

The weather was warm but not hot (83F +/-5), but high winds and low humidity kept us in a Red Flag warning for fire the first half of the week. Temperature 12″ down in Section 1 was 75F at the start of the month.

Long beans getting longer

Long beans getting longer

Finally cleared out the green beans, harvesting about two poundsworth. I’ll replant with peas, and maybe amaranth. The long beans are coming … along …. About ten inches now, 26″ or so to go. Zucchini are doing well, but still no sign of summer squash. Don’t know what happened to them. I’ve planted a couple in a new container, so we’ll see if we can’t get some late summers out of them.

Our banana pepper struggles valiantly on, producing one pepper per month. The yellow bells out front are still green.

Tomatoes are hitting their stride, both in the garden and the containers. I’m going to have to shore up the tomato cages in the garden, they are starting to tilt.

Multimato

Not A Multimato

What I thought was the yellow tomatoes in the garden having a fit of lycoperscian solidarity and all banding together in one 20oz fruit turns out to be one largish Yellow Brandywine. It still looks like six small ones. As for the rest, we’re averaging something under 2.0oz each, with six 3oz monsters harvested this week.

 

Here’s the latest scoreboard.

Week Ending 8/10 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Total Total Weight lb
Tomato  37  59.88 1.7  103 9.5
Summer
Zuccini 3  41  13.7  9 8.41
Delicata
Cuke  5  19.3  3.9  6  1.22
Spaghetti
Pie Pumpkin  3  3.7
Beans  –  23.6  –  –  4.0
Peas  –  – 1.0
Cabbage

Grand Total: 27.8lb

This time last year we had 26lbs of foodstuffs, about a third of which was cabbage, which didn’t do well in this year’s heat. In 2013, there was not enough to report on.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 12, 2015

Garden Report for 150713

The weather this week was mixed: mid 90’s the first half of the week (hit 100F one day), and low 80’s with one day of light steady rain in the second half.

The first Zucchini of the year is always a big one (23oz in this case), because I don’t think to look for them until they become obvious. The yellow tomato finally ripened, and came in at 8oz. Also harvested 10 or so Champions, at about 2oz each, and another 8 Celebrities at 1.5oz each. Since almost 50% of each had to be discarded due to BER, the reported weights are a little misleading.

Planted some radishes in Section 2. Iceicle (long and thin) and Watermelon (red centers). 28 days for both. Afterwards, I’ll plant true daikon for harvest in late Fall.

I guess it’s time to start the scoreboard again.

Week
Ending
7/13
Vegetable Count Weight
oz
Unit
Weight
oz
Total Total
Weight
lb
Tomato  19  41  2.1  20 2.6
Summer
Zuccini  2  33  16  2 2.0
Delicata
Cuke
Spaghetti
Pumpkin
Beans
Peas  –  16 1.0
Cabbage

Grand Total: 5.6lb

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 5, 2015

Garden Report for 150706

More blistering heat, with three days over 100F.  Next week is lower 90’s. Watering limits still in effect, so if it weren’t for the weeds my lawns would be totally dead. I’m reminded of a drought they had back when we were living in the UK — much talk about playing cricket on the old village yellow. Sunday was quite a bit cooler than forecast. I think it was the smoke from the British Columbia fires, drifting over eastern Washington.

Harvested all the peas. One pound unshelled. Two servings shelled. Waited too long, so they were a little mealy, and a little underdone. Given that the peas were planted across about one third of a section, that means we could get three meals out of a KHG section planted totally to peas. Meanwhile, the Santa Maria beans are doing well.

Beans and the new plantings grill

Beans and the new plantings grill

The clean sweep I made of the lettuce in Section 2 cleared out all the kholrabi as well. I planted some more on Saturday. Theoretical harvest in mid-September. Also planted some chard, as well. Planted chard and lettuce in Section 3. I have two more open spots that I’ll put lettuce into mid-month or so.

Cucumbers continue to grow, every plant component but cucumbers. I had to extend the tomato cages they were on, by inverting a second cage on top of them. The trouble is, the heat keeps killing the flowers. Fifty feet of vine, no cucumbers. On Saturday morning, none of the tomatoes were ripe enough to pick. Sunday, five of them were, but four were badly BER’d.

Rickety cages.

Rickety cages.

I picked a couple and cut off the blossom ended end. They were a little short of ripe, but tasted good.

So, the current state of play is:
Section 1: Tomatoes and Squash. Doing well, but nothing near ripe yet
Section 2: Harvested everything. Planted kohlrabi and lettuce and chard (oh my). One panelsworth still open. Plan to plant lettuce there in a couple of weeks
Section 3: Bush beans. Doing well. Due mid-July (except I think the heat has retarded them). Santa Maria beans, doing well. Lettuce and chard.
Section 4: Cleared out. Asparagus in part, but no signs of life. Three panelsworth available now.
Note: a ‘panel’ is one of those shelf grids I use to keep the squirrels off.

Now, all I need to do is decide what to plant. Section 4 has already had peas in it, and they were looking a little diseased (or heat killed) at the end, so I don’t want to do peas or beans there again. I already have two panels of greens just planted, and another panel that I’m planning to plant later. That leaves essentially one small panel in Section 2, and two large and one small panels available in Section 4. Looking at my seed collection, and leaving out squash (Section 1 is full and the other sections are resting), peas/beans/and greens, my seed stock looks limited to various radishes, and some out of date carrots. And of course, our local stores are out of seeds for the season. I guess I’ll put the radishes in Section 2, with the Brassicae, and the carrots in Section 4.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

June 28, 2015

Garden Report for 150629

A warm week. A hot week, ere the sun rises. Plants shall be withered, records be splintered. 80’s to start and 100’s to end. Watering restrictions imposed for the first time this Century. How far above average was it? This week last year the highs were lower than our current lows.

Pulled the rest of the lettuce from Section 2. We are now grazing our way through three bags of the stuff. As usual, we’ll be done with the lettuce before the first of the tomatoes are ready for a salad. Will plant more, but not this week. Peas are almost ready in Section 4. Not sure what the heat will do to them.

Over in the containers, the cucumbers are trying to take over. Evidently, these weren’t a bush variety. The Asian long beans are just starting to climb. I have a number of Champion VNFT’s coming in, and all seem to have blossom-end rot. I’ll spray them this evening to see what I can salvage. Not sure what VNFT stands for. I think it’s their Myers-Briggs personality type.

The big pumpkins are in a sunny spot under the trees and are doing OK. The pie pumpkins are in a shady spot and are not. The other pumpkins, next the unkillable rhubarb, have already produced a nice, dark 4″ diameter globe.

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

June 21, 2015

Garden Report for 150622

Warm and dry and windy. Highs around 80. Lows around 60. Dried out the plants such that I had to water the containers twice a day.

Lettuce is well on its way to bolting. Pulled up about half of it (and about half of that was edible). One small plastic bag’s worth (the kind the supermarket gives you to put wet veggies in). Will do the second half tomorrow. Harvested our initial bean crop. Blue Lake bush beans. Six plants gave us six beans per plant, except that not all the plants had beans, so figure four per plant. Looks like we need to plant lots more beans to get a proper crop. Next increment is peas, in about two weeks.

Theoretically, our Early Girl, Champion, and Sugarsweet tomatoes begin producing this week. Right now, it looks like the yellow tomatoes will ripen first. Everybody’s getting water stressed, with the heat and the wind — a number of them have lost their blooms.

Planted accacia and chard last week. So far, nothing’s sprouted. Planted a mix of accacia and radishes in one of the long deck containers. Planted some shiso in the bell pepper container out front.

A little constrained in what I can do in the garden because of my cataract operation. Next week the shields come down, and I’ll be able to go back to bench pressing 30lb again.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

June 7, 2015

Garden Report for 150608

Two weeks of not much going on. Wx cycled between 60F and 80F on a three-days-cold, four-days-warm basis. Due to hit the mid-90’s this week.

The heat will definitely bolt all the remaining cabbage and lettuce. Harvesting bags of the stuff. MJ got in very late from a dog show over in Seattle on Saturday, and so didn’t go to church on Sunday. That means we didn’t have a chance to run around tying bags to people’s door handles in the parking lot.

Stopped at Huckleberry’s and got some seed. It seems late in the season to be planting seed, but we’re really only a week past official last frost. Put melons in on Friday, also one banana pepper plant. Back ordered some amaranth. Should have it by Wednesday.

I ordered some pinquito beans last week. Got them in on Saturday. Planted them Sunday. In the Santa Maria Valley, they plant in May and harvest in early October. I guess I’ll harvest in late October.

 

Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 25, 2015

Garden Report for 150525

Last week was a warming trend, peaking at 80F before plunging to 70F today. Next week will be a warming trend, peaking at 84F on Sunday.

Plants are going somewhat wild. The Lemon Boy yellow tomato has produced a couple of 1/2″ tomatoes already, and several others have blossoms. The lettuces are growing like mad, and may bolt on me, right after the rest of the cabbages do. BTW, we tried last week’s bolted cabbage leaves in a salad. Blanched, chilled in icewater and dropped in whole. Didn’t taste particularly cabbagy.

KHG tomatoes are big enough that I had to take off the ASW (Anti Squirrel Webbing) gear and put up the cages. Regular peas, snow peas, long beans and regular beans have sprouted. Cucumbers have suddenly spead to cover the whole pot.

Harvesting lettuce like mad, but it doesn’t taste as good as it did last year. Growing too fast? Too much water?

Surprisingly, this isn’t too far off what last year was like, and in fact, last year’s cabbages were bigger than the current ones at the end of May.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 17, 2015

Garden Report for 150518

Warm last week, cool and rainy this week, warm and partly cloudy next week.

Made another couple of passes through the hardware store. Butternut squash, Zucchini, lemon cucumbers, pumpkins, herbs. Beans, yellow tomatoes, white carrot-shaped radishes (they were out of daikon seed). The lettuce I bought last report took a while to set up. The Purplestuff is doing OK, but about half the buttercrunch  just laid there for a week before perking up. Fortunately, the lettuce I loose planted earlier this year has started to come up, and I think we’ll have a good harvest there before the current crop runs out. I have lots of seed and will plant more every few weeks.

All the bedding plants are now in, and the greenhouse is down for the season. Planted some seeds in sections 3 and 4. Section 3 got bush peas and spinach, and Section 4 got bush beans and chard. Snow peas in a deck container. I have enough greens seeds for succession planting, but I need to get back to the hardware store for some more peas for Fall. If I don’t buy it now, they’ll have shipped it back. On Friday, I planted some seeds for zucchini and summer squash and spaghetti squash and acorn squash.

Two weeks old and already it's trying to reproduce.

Two weeks old and already it’s trying to reproduce.

 

Speaking of bedding plants. Two weeks ago I bought some cabbage seedlings. Not large plants, but nicely developed. Not quite as far across as a beer coaster. Planted them. This Friday, I noticed that the purple cabbage was starting to bolt. Yes, bolt. Four days above 70F (just), three days below 60F (easily), six days in-between, and the suckers are a foot high and putting out yellow flowers. Deb Tolman says the leaves should still be good, even if we only get one salad out of it. We’ll see how the replacements go.

For some reason the squirrels aren’t digging as much as they usually do. There’s still scads of them about. I have ASW gear (anti-squirrel webbing) up over Sections 1 and 2, but haven’t done the others yet. Instead, I just laid the metal shelving from last years composter failure flat on the ground on top of where the seeds are planted. That will keep the critters from digging until I get the rest of the ASW gear up.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 3, 2015

Garden Report for 150504

May the 4th
( be with you)

This weekend marks the start of gardening season — a month early. Last frost isn’t supposed to be until 1 June, but this was a warm Spring.

Repaired and recored Section 1. Recored Section 2. Finished laying new irrigation hose on all four sections. Went mad at the garden section of the local hardware store. Put the anti-squirrel covers on Sections 1 and 2. Hung the netting for the hops.

Section 1 had a decided droop on the SW corner, an artifact of the original garden wall. I pulled off most of the cinderblocks from that end, and made an attempt to improve the lay. It sortof worked. The only way to get it right would be to tear down the whole wall. I found some interesting things during the repair work.

Droopy, weedy

Droopy, weedy

What, you were expecting Frank Lloyd Wright?

What, you were expecting Frank Lloyd Wright?

First of all, pretty much everything I had dumped into the KHG during the construction phase, three years ago, had rotted into nice, black soil. There were a few exceptions. First, while almost all of the phone books had rotted, the spines and clumps of pages of the thicker ones remained. So get a strong friend to tear those phone books in half before using them. Second, mettalic paper seemed to last — the sort they make teabag packets out of. Finally, I had dropped a couple of 18″ long quarter-rounds of pine into the mix, as a kind of makeshift hugelkultur. They were leftover from the wood for the fireplaces we never used. After three years in the soil, admittedly only one third the time needed for a tanner, they were as good as new, with no signs of rot. So much for Herr Hugel.

Second, there was a major difference between the Section 1 basket core and Section 2. Two was filled with lovely black soil, easy to dig out and mix into the main garden. Section 1 (with a smaller basket, closer to the tree, no liner) was full of roots and grass and detritus. As you can see from the pictures, I enlarged it, and added a liner, that will probably rot over the years.

Core 1 Roots and trash

Core 1 Roots and trash

Nice, clean, dirt

Core 2 Nice, clean, dirt

I wanted to look for some new sources for seedlings, but wasn’t successful. Google maps gave different results for a “plant nursery” search, depending on if I centered it on Spokane, or on nearby Cheney. This, despite the fact that the coverage areas overlapped. Second problem was, all the plant-nursery/greenhouse outfits I found were either a long ways away, wholesale/ornametals only, or out of business. So, I gave up and went back to our local hardware store.

As can happen when one is in a hurry — I go buying, not shopping — it’s easy to lose track of what went in the cart. So I came home with three Patio tomatoes, instead of two, plus two Brandywines, and a Zebra. Also four Bok Choy and eight Savoy cabbage. The cabbage into Section 2. The tomatoes went into Section 1, the deck, and the two hanging baskets (one Zebra and one Patio).

Went back to the hardware store on Sunday. Didn’t find any non-hot peppers, didn’t find any peas/beans. bought a flat of lettuce — buttercrunch and purplestuff. Put those in Sunday afternoon (divided more or less equally between, Section 2, Section 3, and a couple deck containers). Planted the squash seedlings what I grew earlier (two buttercup and two spaghetti) into Section 1. Also put the remaining patio tomato into a patio container and set it on the …. deck. There’s still space left for some other things, but that’s for next weekend.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

April 20, 2015

Garden Report for 150420

Other than two nights of frost and a day of high winds, the weather’s been nice.

Visited friends of MJ’s, who run a small truck farm on the edge of town. Got some pointers on starting seeds and when to plant and so forth. They said I shouldn’t put anything out until after Mother’s day, say three weeks from now. I didn’t tell them I’d already put out six tomatoes — three on the deck and three by the house. Early Girl, Sugarsweet, and a mildew-resistant hybrid.

If I’ve got another three or four weeks, I might as well start repairing Section 1. Straighten up the NW corner, and recore the basket.

Started a new set of seeds: cucumber, zucchini, buttercup, spaghetti, summer squash

Decided to make another attempt at pinquito beans. Soaked a handful in water overnight and spread them on a wet paper towel. We’ll see.

Put new irrigation hose in Section 3. I’ll do a writeup with pictures next week.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

November 2, 2014

Garden Report for 141103

This is the next to last report for the 2014 gardening year, unless something untoward happens. The last report will be a “lessons learned”, in a week or so. Meanwhile, the gardens are well and truly closed out (except for the remaining greens). I will be ripping up the irrigation hose and stacking the tomato cages as time goes by. One container of iceberg is still producing, and one container of cabbage is hanging in there and may sometime do something useful.

It’s the third of November and we have yet to see a frost this gardening year (UPDATE: we’re forecasting a low of 13F on Veterans Day). The composting thermometer says it’s a toasty 55F, eighteen inches down.

I’m trying something new in the compost line. Back along the south fenceline I have a bare spot that’s shielded from esthetically offendable eyes. When I shut down the garden, I dumped the greenstuff there, raked a bunch of leaves over it, and covered the leaves with dirt from the containers. Come Spring of ’16 it should be suitably compostized, and ready for gardening uses. Meanwhile, the container dirt from last year is still settling in, next to this year’s.

The tomatoes I harvested at the end of the season filled four 10×20″ boxes, mostly green. Now, we’re down to two boxes of green tomatoes, and one box of ripes (UPDATE: a week later, everything is ripe, and we’re making soup). There’s a number of largish ones, Brandywine Pinks, that I’ve sampled. Not impressive. They are the ones that were so soggy when first picked. A month of ripening of the green BPs has allowed most of the water to evaporate, leaving us with a mass of dense, pink, flavorless, flesh.

Meanwhile, here’s an interesting item on nitrogen in gardening.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 18, 2014

Garden Report for 141020

Final Score: 97lb of Tomatoes, 125lb Total

The weather this week was about like last week’s. No frost (in fact, unseasonably warm lows), but not suitable weather for tomatoes, either, even if it’s great on the coast. Their unseasonably warm lows are 50-55F, our unseasonably warm lows are 38-45F. I decided that as long as it was unexpectedly nice I’d close out the tomato part of the garden. I wouldn’t expect to get more than a couple of cold weeks out of the end of October anyway, El Nino or no El Nino, and this way I can do it on my own time. Beets and greens will be left to their own devices.

The deck containers yielded six pounds of tomatoes, but four poundsworth were green. None of them were big enough to bother weighing, and some were positively tiny. MJ wants to experiment with chopped green tomato recipes. I mean the tomatoes are chopped and green, not the recipes. I have one container with four cabbage plants in it, that I hope will produce something before the snow falls.

The yard containers produced nine pounds of tomatoes, seven of which were green. The five ounce “Beefsteaks” were finally starting to turn. I’ve left the two lemon cukes to hang out for a while, and see if they get any growth.

In the KHG itself, I got 15lb of tomatoes total, including 2.5lb of ripe ones, and a handful worth measuring. The heaviest was a 6.5oz Marglobe. The Beefsteaks didn’t make the cut. Also harvested were just over half a pound of unshucked lima beans. I’ll let you know how that works out next week. Unlike last year, I didn’t find any errant squashes while doing my tomato-whacking.

Total tomatoes this week: thirty pounds, only six pounds of which were ripe…ish.

I haven’t emptied the containers yet. My plan is to dump the greenery into a back corner of the yard, add leaves, once they are done falling, and cover with container dirt. Meanwhile, last year’s container dirt is composting nearby.

 

Week Ending 10/20 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Season Total Total Weight lb
Tomato  many  240  336  97
Summer  3  2.0
8-Ball / Zucchini  2  1.9
Delicata / Buttercup  2  1.5
Cuke  3  0.5
Spaghetti  3  2.3
Pumpkin  6  7.25
Beans  –  9.5  –  –  0.75
Peas  –  –  –  3.0
Cabbage  5  7.5
Carrots  8  1.5
Radishes  7  0.45
Onions  ~50  1.3

So, we round out the year with 125lb of veg, including 97lb of tomatoes. That’s two-thirds more than last year, and probably about the same as in 2012. Of course, if the cabbage and the beets come through, there will be a little bit more.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 12, 2014

Garden Report for 141013

The weather turned Autumnal this week, but in a good way. Off and on cloudy and breezy, with spotty rain. Eighty F at the beginning of the week, and 62F at the end. Still no frost in the forecast, but cold and rainy.

Some of my bigger (6oz) tomatoes are ripe, so that’s nice. Harvested those, some smaller ones, and a pound and a half of some big cherry-sized. Beefsteaks are just beginning to show color, so we’ll have those to harvest in a week or so, plus a bunch of green ones, pre-frost. Harvested my ten bean plants, and got about 4.0oz of pinto beans out of it. We soaked them overnight and MJ did them in the pressure cooker. We had them with Santa Maria BBQ, and they were superb.

Container peas still haven’t sprouted yet, so I expect there’s something about using a former tomato pot that they don’t like. Neither has my last planting of lettuce. Not sure what the problem is.

Since this is my last nice weekend, I decided to start closing out the garden. Section 4 onions had all fallen over, a sign they weren’t going to get any bigger, and the white radishes in Section 2 were a week past their harvest date. So I pulled up all of those, plus some carrots that wandered by. I still have the red radishes, the beets, and whatever greens decide to keep growing. Also pulled down the hops. I wanted to get them down while they were still green, and before the berries started falling off (hops berries are poisonous to dogs). I’d put up some plastic bird netting for them to climb on, so it was just a matter of unhooking the net at the roofline, then cutting everything off at the groundline, rolling up the net, and putting it in the trash (can’t compost nylon).

Week Ending 10/13 Vegetable Count Weight oz Unit Weight oz Season Total Total Weight lb
Tomato  8  33.0  4.0  336  67.5
Summer  3  2.0
8-Ball / Zucchini  2  1.9
Delicata / Buttercup  2  1.5
Cuke  3  0.5
Spaghetti  3  2.3
Pumpkin  6  7.25
Beans  –  4.0  –  –  0.25
Peas  –  –  –  3.0
Cabbage  5  7.5
Carrots  4  8.0  2.0  8  1.5
Radishes  7  7.24  1  7  0.45
Onions  ~50  21  0.42  ~50  1.3

This time last year we were fully done, with frost on the way and all the tomatoes cut down for indoor ripening. Total harvest was 47lb of tomatoes, and 76lb of veg overall, not counting the 40lb of jack-o-lanterns. I don’t have an overall total for 2012, but we closed out the tomatoes this week, for a total of around 100lb. So far in 2014 we have 67lb of tomatoes and 28lb of otherstuff, for a total of 95lb. Shows you what kind of uncertainty farmers live with.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 24, 2014

Garden Report for 140824

The weather this week was variable, with highs running from the low 90’s to the low 70’s, and thunderstorms (mostly) in the distance.

Three baskets like this. And you thought the "Crimson Tide" was a football team

Three baskets like this.
And you thought the “Crimson Tide” was a football team

Harvested twenty pounds of tomatoes, about half from the containers, the other half from the KHG. The KHG tomatoes, where I can tell (it’s a jungle out there!), were mostly Early Girl and 4th of July, with a couple of deeply buried Super Fantastics.

Here’s how the containers are doing:
Containers, Deck:
4th of July— Mix of medium and small. Pretty much tasteless, and nowhere near ready on the 4th…even of August.
Marglobe — n/r
Northern Exposure — n/r
Husky Red — One medium, the rest small. Good taste, sweet.

Containers, House:
Brandywine Red — All are small. Taste is good.
Super Fantastic — The only really large ones. Excellent taste
Early Girl/Best Boy (2 pots, not sure which is which)  — n/r
Beefsteak — Appears to be a bush version, or maybe mislabeled (it’s the store label). Small fruit. Good taste.
Red Cherry — Big, for cherries. Good flavor. Maybe use these in the hanging bags next year
Crimson Cushion — n/r

Hangers, or ought to be:
S-100 — Lots. Small. Taste OK. Mostly skin.
Napa Grape — Not a lot, but this is the plant that was blown off the deck. Taste OK. Skin.
Glacier — Determinate, so it’s done for the year. Not a lot, but good tasting.

So far, only about 20% are what I call supermarket size — 5oz or bigger — and less than half of those are of the big, slicing size. The skin on all the tomatoes so far has been very thick. As in, chew up a tomato quarter and spit out the skin thick.

I decided to not include a Last Week this week. Fiddling with the HTML was just too tiresome. So last week was the last Last Week as well as being the first Last Week. This week there’s just a This Week, and next week will also be just a This Week.

Week
Ending
Vegetable Count Weight
oz
Unit
Weight
oz
Total Total
Weight
lb
8/24
Tomato 93  330 3.5  160 28.7
Summer  1  0.5
8-Ball
Delicata
Cuke
Spaghetti
Pumpkin  6  7.25
Beans  –  –  –  3.0
Peas  –  –  –  3.0
Cabbage  5  7.5

Looks like we will have an El Nino Winter this year*, which means warmer and dryer (all our water is going to California). That said, I think I’ll take a chance on some late plantings. A couple weeks ago, I ripped all the non-performing (i.e. all) brassicae out of Section 3, and replanted some cabbage and Brussels sprouts. That left a lot of bare ground, and KHG farmers hate bare ground. So, on Friday, I planted a bunch of lettuce, some beets, radishes, and carrots. Not much of a risk there** — they are all about 60 days to harvest, so only pushed the last harvest into mid-November. I also reconnected the drip hose that had come off. This is the fourth time I’ve had to fix a blown connector. Next year, new hose all around!

*And of course, no sooner do I act on this, than they downgrade the probability from 80% to 65%. If we do get a visit from The Kid, it could move the date of the first frost from mid-September to mid-October.
**Except that the squirrels went mad digging in the fresh dirt. I could drag out the chicken wire covers, but I think I’ll just let the plants take their chances. The cabbage, et al., are each in their own water-bottle cloches, so they should be OK.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

August 11, 2014

Garden Report for 140810

The weather this week was dry, mid-90’s to start, mid-80’s in the middle, climbing back to the 90’s at the end.

This is turning into a very depressing season. Powdery mildew has killed the pumpkin plants — with only a couple of full grown pie pumpkins to show for it — and has kept the other squash from producing much at all. Second planting of container sugar peas didn’t do well. Strawberries were eaten by birds, despite the covers. Beans and snap peas both produced two meals each.Lettuce is doing OK — I think I’ve figured out the best way to thin it. Tore out the container beans and ate both pods. Replanted with 4 cabbage. Tore out the Chioggias — they were so small I thought they were radishes but my notes say they’re beets (I checked, after MJ complained that the salad had an ‘earthy taste’). Replanted with iceberg lettuce. It won’t head, but it’s nice and leafy.

Container tomatoes are starting to come in. The Super Fantastic (I think, the tag is lost) is producing like mad — three giant 8oz globes so far. The Beefsteaks aren’t doing as well, but some look to be as much as 6 or 7 oz. These are the ones on the sunny side of the house. The deck containers are still thinking about it, and the KHG tomatoes are still being green. A lot of walnut-sized/ 1oz stuff, that pulls down the unit weight.

I gave the pumpkin plants a chance to recover from the powdery mildew search and destroy, but they never did. Harvested the pumpkins. Only two were what I was expecting as a mature size.

Mouse to show scale

Mouse to show scale

So, now it’s time to start the scorecard. Since this is the first pitch edition, some of the data points summarize previous weeks. Also, for tomatoes, the weekly totals won’t match the running totals, because the running totals will include the count and weight of the “big cherries” (around an ounce each). The weekly totals are only for “supermarket size” tomatoes. Next Week there will be a Last Week.

Week
Ending
Vegetable Count Weight
oz
Unit
Weight
oz
Total Total
Weight
lb
8/10
This Week
Tomato 10  68 6.8  35  5.3
Summer
8-Ball
Delicata
Cuke
Spaghetti
Pumpkin  6  116  19.3  6  7.25
Beans  – 24  3.0
Peas  –  24  3.0
Cabbage  24  5  7.5

I suppose I shouldn’t complain. This time last year the corn had been destroyed by squirrels, the summer squash were struggling, and there were no tomatoes except cherries, while in 2012 we also had no tomatoes (at all) and were getting sick of summer squash.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 6, 2014

Garden Report for 140707

I suspect that no-one in Known Space noticed that I missed a garden update last week. Just part of the OS Upgrade Saga – or is it Epic? There’s a difference, I know because I got yelled at on the Beowulf mailing list some decades ago. Or maybe Black Hanekawa stole a chapter.

The weather these weeks was mixed, with June gloom hanging on thru the end of the month, and Summer roaring back in the upper 80’s.

In any event, not much happened. My early lettuce is about ready to bolt. My later lettuce (planted last week) is just barely visible. The icebergs I planted from sets turned out very well. Let’s see if I can do the same with seeds.

Speaking of bolting, the two daikon I planted in a container have both bolted, so I dug them up. Waste of time. One was about two inches long and an inch in diameter. The other one was small.

Lessons Learned: Daikon are not container plants, not even in big containers.

A couple weeks ago I got a bunch of elderly onion sets from the hardware store on a ‘buy one, get three free’ basis. Stuck them in the ground where the carrots aren’t coming up, and many of them are doing well.

Harvested two of the remaining three cabbages — stripped of the big leaves they were about grapefruit size, and weighed in at 24oz each (I guess I’m going to have to start posting a scorecard again). At the suggestion of my barber, I had pinned a couple of the bigger leaves up over the cores to keep them from sunburning. It seems to have worked, as the outer leaves had blanched and the inners dint. Also harvested the shell peas. I planted eight, which wasn’t nearly enough. We ended up with about a serving and a half for our 4th of July cookout.

Lessons Learned: First pick of one pea plant gave about five pods, with four or five peas each — call it twenty peas per plant. One serving seems to be about 80-100 peas (I’ll confirm next dinner time), so we need 4 or 5 plants per person per meal. Which means I plant at least 20 plants next time.

All of the tomatoes are blossoming, many have nascent fruit, and one looks like they are turning. The only varietal not producing yet are the 4th of July’s. Not sure what the name means. “Don’t even look until this date”?

Did some late season seed-buying. Several packets of nonberg lettuce (bibb and buntercrunch mostly) for late planting, and an impulse buy of lima beans. Opened it up and there were 12 beans in the packet. I felt like I’d just traded my cow. Planted them (ready in early September), and planted some pintos (ready in mid-october).

Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 18, 2014

Garden Report for 140519

The weather seems to be falling into a pattern: cool and wet on the weekends, above average warmth in midweek. Same is forecast for next week.

Finished building the garden this week — two weeks ahead of the recommended date. Let’s see if that was successful derring-do, or brash adventurism.

Section 1 is coming along fine. The early lettuce is overcrowded and tall. The late lettuce is still recovering from the squirrel predations (I say predations like they were after the lettuce. They were actually putting craters in the garden for their own purposes, like Predators). The icebergs are big and green and not at all iceberglich.

Section 2 is fully planted. I had one tomato die of, I think, cold. I’d tell you what it was, but it was the one from the Rainbow Blend, AKA I don’t know, either. Maybe it died of confusion. I replaced it with a Marglobe.

In Section 3, the Brassicae are doing well, I think. Theoretically, I should be harvesting some cabbage and broccoli in two weeks time. We’ll see. The peas and beans I planted earlier have settled in. I had three daikon that sprouted indoors OK, and I planted them out.

Section 4 is mostly asparagus and strawberries, neither of which seem inclined to do anything. The carrots I seeded at the north end might be sprouting.

In what can best be called the ground cover portion of the yard, I’ve marked out some circles and planted two eating pumpkins and a Delicata.

The containers are all doing OK. I’ve planted out the remaining seedlings — lemon cucumbers, beets, and radishes. There was one empty container, and I swung by the hardware store and bought another tomato for there — Brandywine Red. There being no seedlings left, I moved the coffin greenhouse to a sheltered spot under the stairs. I’ll load it up with all the gardening impedimenta I won’t need until next spring.

I haven’t had a chance to fix the hops yet. Maybe this coming week.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

April 13, 2014

Garden Report for 140314

The weather this week was best described as “brisk”, and I don’t mean like a cup of tea. Highs around 50, lows around 40, with, er…brisk… winds. The greenhouse stays nice and warm and humid during the day, but doesn’t seem to hold heat at night.

On Friday, I went slightly mad in the plants department of our local hardware store. In the tomato section, I bought one each of Early Girl, Best Boy, S-100, Napa Grape, 4th of July, plus one labeled “Rainbow Blend”. I can see that in a seed packet, but I’m not sure what that translates into for a single plant. Probably “your guess is as good as mine.” For the Brassicae, one six-pack each of Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, and Cauliflower. Plus a single spaghetti squash plant, because, reasons. And finally, three flats of Iceberg Lettuce, in honor of RMS Titanic, which went down with all heads on this date in 1912.

Most of it went into the gardens, but a third of the lettuce, some of the 4ths, the Napa, and the S-100 went up on the deck. I put the Napa in a small container, and an S-100 in one of the hanging baskets.

Then, on Sunday, the madness struck again — two Beefsteak, two Super Fantastic, one each of Glacier, and Northern Exposure. The BS and SF will be split between garden and containers, the Glacier is going into a hanging pot, and the NX is in a smaller pot on the deck.

So, of course, we’re scheduled for 29F tonight. Last time they forecast 29F, it turned out to be 34F. But still, everything is covered up. All the small pots, of things that I’ve seeded, are out in my PRC greenhouse, with a seed-tray warmer inside. I figure that’s all the heat they need.

Here’s what the hops looked like on their second Sunday:

Doing quite well

Doing quite well

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 14, 2013

Garden Report for 131013

I left the container tomatoes wrapped up for a week, and uncovered them Sunday afternoon. No change. Tomatoes that were orangish going in, were orangish coming out. I suspect it’s just been too cool for them.

We have a bunch of cold clear nights coming up, with minimums down to 33F, which is reallyreally close to 32F, with highs that are all below 60F. So in between crashing on projects on the computer, I harvested everything. I know I’m supposed to pull up the whole plant and hang it somewhere warm, but when I got into the master bathroom MJ said she didn’t really want that, for some reason. What’s the harm? I mean, she hangs her underthings there.

So I have about half a basket of almost entirely green tomatoes. 12 pounds, total. I left the big-cherry-sized ones go, so all of them are over an ounce, but none of them are over about five. Average size for the season is just over two ounces. Total tomato take was just under 50lb, compared with last years’ just over 100lb. Counting the pumpkins (which is still kindof cheating), we got 117lbs of foodstuffs. I don’t think I’ve spent as much as $120 on the garden this year, but I’m sure it was over $60.

Here’s the final tally:

Week
Ending
Vegetable Count Weight
oz
Unit
Weight
oz
Total Total
Weight
lb
10/14
This Week
Tomato 100+ 192 ~2 333 47
Summer 10 2.0
8-Ball 4 7.6
Crown 2 5.5
Cuke 5 3.0
Beets 22 1.4
Delicata 3 6.0
Corn 18 3.3
Pumpkin 2 (41)
Final Total 76lb

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 7, 2013

Garden Report for 131007

As has become traditional, the publication of last Monday’s report was immediately followed by two days of wild weather, with sustained winds of 40mph gusting to 50. When it wasn’t winding it was raining, about half an inch worth.

Despite the lack of frost, the long beans didn’t survive. By Monday afternoon they were all wilted, and the beans were still only 3″ long. The lemon cucumbers didn’t survive. There was only one worth picking. As a precaution, I harvested the KHG tomatoes and squash. Less than half a basket. I also harvested the just-breaking pumpkin, and found it quite orange on the ground side (22lb).

The projected lows were in the lower 30’s with one night of light frost, so I harvested any tomatoes with color from the container plants, and then watered them and wrapped them all in plastic. I don’t plan to open it up for a week or more. I don’t expect to get more than 5lb of tomatoes there, bringing the total to maybe 40lb or so. This time last year I had close to 100lb.

I harvested the KHG corn, 10 ears of corn, 30oz worth (when husked, but not stripped from the cob), two were six inch long monsters. It tasted much better than the deck-grown, but I still think it’s too much trouble.

In KHG Section 2, where I planted lots of lettuce two weeks ago, almost nothing has come up. Well, a mass of seedlings came up in one corner, then disappeared. I suspect slugs. On Sunday, our last really warm day for a while, I replanted, and then liberally dusted with diatomaceous earth. I used that heavily earlier in the year, and am down to my last 40lb.

Cooked up one of the Delicatas. They’re a lot like Acorn squash, with a slightly sweeter flavor and a slightly different texture. We will do them again next year. Note that they were nothing like the picture on the packet. The packet squash are long things, like pie pumpkins. Our Delicatas were the same size and shape as an Acorn squash, but the packet-depicted Delicata coloring.

Week
Ending
Vegetable Count Weight
oz
Unit
Weight
oz
Total Total
Weight
lb
9/23
Last Week
Tomato 80 288 3.6 188 29.5
Summer 0 0 0 3 1.2
8-Ball 1 39 39 3 7.0
Crown 0 0 0 1 2.0
Cuke 0 0 0 4 2.7
Beets 0 0 0 22 1.4
Delicata 2 64 32 3 6.0
Corn 8 22 2.75 8 1.4
Pumpkin 1 19lb 1 (19)
Running Total 51lb
10/7
This Week
Tomato 43 93 2 233 35.3
Summer 7 13 2 10 2.0
8-Ball 1 10 10 4 7.6
Crown 1 57 57 2 5.5
Cuke 1 2 2 5 3.0
Beets 0 0 0 22 1.4
Delicata 0 0 0 3 6.0
Corn 10 30 3 18 3.3
Pumpkin 1 22lb 20.5lb 2 (41)
Running Total 64lb

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 22, 2013

Garden Report for 130923

And just like that, we’re autumnal and I’m doing some shutting-down-the-garden things. The weather this week was cool and intermittently rainy. Highs in the mid-60’s (with a couple in the 70’s) and lows in the mid 40’s. The forecast is for a continuation of the trend — lows around 40, highs around 60, with intermittent rain.

We’ve got some men coming round next week to cut the excess bits off our trees, the ones the pumpkins are growing under. Harvested the ripe pumpkin (19lb), and moved a crown squash vine with one adolescent squash out-of-the-way of the boots. I’m not going to count the pumpkins in the weekly weight totals, that would be like piling on.

Great Pumpkin

Great Pumpkin

Harvested the deck corn. 16 plants => 8 ears in the 4″-6″ range. 22oz total trimmed ear weight. I suspect I didn’t grow enough plants for them to pollinate properly. 15-20 plants left, over in the KHG, but they went in later.  Given all the problems I’ve had, for such little gain (the flavor was good, but it was tough, and stuck to my teeth), I’ll probably not plant corn again.

All that work for this?

All that work for this?

Originally we were forecast to hit 34F next Friday night (now the predicted low for the week is 39F), so I trimmed the tomato plants way back, to try to get some ripenizing in before then. On Saturday I harvested everything that had any color. I’m hoping the real frosts hold off, because much of my garden production last year was at the end of September and beginning of October. A little disappointed with the KHG tomatoes. 14lbs of ripe or ripening or green-but-my-shears-slipped. Almost all under 2oz, or less. Almost all Early Girls. The two biggest were 6oz. Some didn’t produce at all –they were long leggy things that were just now starting to flower. Another two months of warm weather — say, into mid-December — and I’d have a bumper crop. Also picked the two Delicatas that I’d been letting grow. Except that they didn’t. They came in at 2lb each, about the size and shape of an Acorn squash, only yellow. There’s half a dozen summer squash that I decided to hold off on, plus maybe a dozen KHG tomatoes. So far, the container tomatoes have outproduced the KHG, but I think that’s because they got a lot more sun.

Also made a first pass through the deck containers. About 30 ripe, etc, totalling 4lb.

My foot long beans are now up to three inches. I doubt they make it.  My lemon cucumber (container) produced a myriad of blossoms, and no fruit – it was planted late, as a cabbage replacement. My dwarf watermelon produced one grape-sized melon that I doubt will have a chance to get to be plum sized.

Week
Ending
Vegetable Count Weight
oz
Unit
Weight
oz
Total Total
Weight
lb
9/16 Last Week
Tomato 44 75 1.7 108 11.5
Summer 0 0 0 3 1.2
8-Ball 0 0 0 2 4.5
Crown 0 0 0 1 2.0
Cuke 1 9 9 4 2.7
 Beets  22  22  1  22 1.4
Delicata 1 33 33 1 2.0
Running Total 38lb
9/23
This Week
Tomato 80 288 3.6 188 29.5
Summer 0 0 0 3 1.2
8-Ball 1 39 39 3 7.0
Crown 0 0 0 1 2.0
Cuke 0 0 0 4 2.7
Beets 0 0 0 22 1.4
Delicata 2 64 32 3 6.0
Corn 8 22 2.75 8 1.4
Pumpkin 1 19lb 1 (19)
Grand Total 51lb

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 9, 2013

Garden Report for 130909

The weather this week started out showery, then rainy, with t-storms. Temps were in the low 80’s, but plunged to 65 by the end of the week.

Here come the tomatoes. Harvested 13 early in the week, with an average weight of 1.7oz. That’s a little misleading, because there were four that ran close to 4oz each, with the rest being cherry-sized, despite not being cherrys. Later in the week I got another 13 tomatoes, totalling 33oz, including a giant 5.5oz one.

Harvested one of the Delicata’s, possibly too soon. It was about two pounds, and the grooves were just turning green. I guess you’re supposed to treat them like pumpkins and let them grow until first frost.

Speaking of pumpkins, I just found a second, bucket-sized one, hidden in the ornamental weeds along the fence. It’s still green all over, but the original one is just starting to turn. I guess it will be ready by Samhain.

For some reason, none, as in zero, of my lettuce replants have come up, as haven’t any of the container beans. Did I plant too greedily and too deep, or did I just not water enough, or too much? One bean came up in my container replant, so I’ve re-sown. Harvest date should be around the first of November.

I think the squash are winning the perennial battle with the tomatoes. They’re spilling out on both sides of the KHG, and on the South end. Over on the North end, one adventuresome vine looks to have grown a couple of feet in a couple of days, headed for Section 4 and the strawberry patch.

The squash were planted on the other side of the tomato bed

The squash were planted on the other side of the tomato bed

The corn is hanging in there, despite having one of the containers tipped over by the t-storms, again. My red pepper spray seems to be helping against the squirrels. I peeked into one ear, and there’s still an inch or so of kernel development needed. Maybe the middle of the month.

The hops are coming along nicely. I figure they’re covering about 15% of the area I want shaded. I have started fertilizing them with the remains of my making of dashi from scratch — a 2×2″ square of seaweed and a quarter cup of shaved bonito (with all the taste gone) per batch. The seaweed gives lots of minerals, and the bonito is a slow release fish fertilizer.

Week
Ending
Vegetable Count Weight
oz
Unit
Weight
oz
Total Total
Weight
lb
9/2
Last Week
Tomato 10 20 2 27 3.4
Summer 0 0 0 3 0.8
8-Ball 0 0 0 2 4.5
Crown 0 0 0 1 2.0
Cuke 2 20 10 3 1.6
9/9
This Week
Tomato 26 56 2.5 53 6.7
Summer 1 7 7 4 1.2
8-Ball 0 0 0 2 4.5
Crown 0 0 0 1 2.0
Cuke 0 0 0 3 1.6
Delicata 1 33 33 1 2.0

If my addition is correct, we’ve gotten almost 20lb of harvest so far. I don’t think that’s as much as last year, but it’s more than I thought we’d done. And I’m not even counting the pumpkins.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

September 1, 2013

Garden Report for 130902

The weather this week was very warm (upper 80’s) and dry. Typical for late August. Now we are at the beginning of September, and we start our race between late ripening tomatoes and early killing frost.

Harvested a handful of tomatoes, mostly Early Girls, but a couple of the yellow Husky Golds. Still running about 2oz each. Some of them seem a little watery, so I’m cutting back on my watering schedule. I’ll do the KHG plants once a week. The container plants will still get watered daily, but at half the amount. If they droop in the afternoon, I’ll give them the other half of their ration.

I also harvested a couple of cucumbers, the two shown in this photo taken from the top of a step ladder:

Maybe he won't find us if we hide back here

Maybe he won’t find us if we hide back here

I sliced up the small one for miso-cucumber salad.

Meanwhile, the hot pepper spray seems to be keeping the squirrels off the corn. We’ll see what it does to the taste.

Week
Ending
Vegetable Count Weight
oz
Unit
Weight
oz
Total Total
Weight
oz
8/26
Tomato 13 26 2.0 17 34
Summer 2 8 4 3 12.5
8-Ball 1 40 40 2 72
Crown 1 32 32 1 32
Cuke 1 6 6 1 6
9/2
Tomato 10 20 2 27 54
Summer 0 0 0 3 12.5
8-Ball 0 0 0 2 72
Crown 0 0 0 1 32
Cuke 2 20 10 3 26