Garden this and that

I’ve been out in my garden puttering around getting a few thing done. I planted some fava beans and peas along with some more garlic. Hopefully they will all come up. My winter broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, pac choi, and rutabagas all seem to be doing well. I am having to do a lot more slug baiting as the cool weather is bringing them out in hordes. Somehow I don’t think Lee believes me when I tell him the lacy leaves are how they are supposed to look.

I pulled all my winter squash vines and was a little disappointed with our results. It looks like I only got about one squash per plant. Not only that, but the pumpkins were much smaller then last year. I’m wondering if the weather could have affected the size some? I was surprised that I only got one squash per vine as I did see a lot of bug activity out there on the flowers. One of my pumpkin plants didn’t set any. I did do some hand pollination before I realized that all the flowers I was sticking my fingers into were the same shape. Could the weather also have some effect on how many males flowers were sent up?

I pulled out my melon vines which seemed to have done fine on the pollination front. I actually had a better harvest of melons this year then I did last year. I was still disappointed, because when I tried to eat one it didn’t taste good. The texture was grainy and they weren’t sweet. I know they were ready to pick as they were practically falling off their vines. When my mom and I were having a veggie garden chat I told her about the taste issue with them and she said she thought it was the weird summer weather. According to her, the raspberries, blackberries, and tomatoes all didn’t taste as good this year. I’m thinking that the melons I harvested will just go to the pigs. They will enjoy them more then I would and they won’t go to waste.

Along with all my other weird weather garden issues, here is a funny one. I planted one eggplant ridiculously late in a flower bed by our house. About the first of September it put on one fruit. The one fruit still seems to be going along fine.

The funny thing is that it is still blooming in October.

One of the frustrating things with this wonky weather is that while my tomatoes are all croaking, forcing me to use them as fast as I can, my peppers are taking their own sweet time on ripening. I guess I should just pick them all as I don’t think they will ripen any more on the plant with the cool weather.

I decided that I was going to do at least one batch of salsa (the tomato canning project this year) with some of my peppers regardless of whether they had hit their fully ripe spicy potential. It’s been annoying buying peppers in the store because mine weren’t getting ready.

Lastly, yes, I am still stuck in salsa canning mode. I shouldn’t complain because so many people locally have had rotten luck in the tomato department. My mom has already ripped her plants out and is just letting the green ones ripen up inside. My niece told me that her tomato plant is person-sized and yet there is not one red one to be found.

I know that I have complained a lot about the weather this year: what I didn’t get to plant and the weird plant behavior in my garden, but I have to say that it was still fun. Gardening is so addictive because you never know how each year will turn out. What will be your successes? What will you do different next year? There are the high feelings of giddiness as you watch a vegetable grow and ripen, the lows of frustration as some pest devours a plant overnight, and the anticipation of flavor as you bite into something you grew and it is 1000 times better then anything you could buy in a store. I’m already looking forward to next year’s garden and the new things I will try. Here’s hoping for better weather!

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3 Responses to Garden this and that

  1. totallyTacoma says:

    ..I Know what you mean..My garden was not as successful this year as last. We only had 2 4×4 raised garden beds last year and this year we had 6 raised beds..it was unusually hot here in Aug and Sept..the tomatoes did great but the zucchinni was terrible..the lettuce and spinach in the spring was great and is replanted and doing well..broccoli did well as well as the peppers and all the beans. I think we are going to try to do a full on garden next year with things like potatoes and such and keep the garden boxes for seasonal growth..I want to try to do a coldframe/pex frame lettuce this year too..in april there was snow on top of the lettuce growth for a week and afterward it thrived. My pumpkins sucked too..none came up..same with squash..I need to do some pH research as time allows.

  2. Benita says:

    Our weather went from extremely hot, humid with rain interspersed to hot and very dry. One day of rain since sometime in July. We are under a fire ban because of it which has caused all sorts of frustrations. I think the hot, humid weather of earlier in the summer was good for our tomatoes because we did very well this year and they were very sweet to eat. Hoewver, my poor herbs all croaked because of the high temps. Nothing would save them.

    Here’s to something more seasonable for both of us next year.

  3. lee says:

    Tacoma – I’m a big fan of potatoes. It’s certainly the easiest of the “staple” crops to grow (and harvest) in any quantity. I think our harvest this year is more than we’ll eat .. unless we give up pasta. ­čÖé Cold frames are also on my ToDo list, but I don’t think we’ll get to them next year.

    Benita – Crazy year for all of us. Definitely hoping for a better gardening 2011.

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