Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cleaning up for Fall...

Two things happened this week to bring back my general optimism about gardening.  The first is that I talked with an old friend who is a much, much more experienced gardener than I am.  She lives in the same area that I do, suffered through the same weather this summer, and reports that she got less than 12 tomatoes.  We commiserated over how it was such a bad season, and it made me feel better.

The second thing is that I remembered it is time to plant garlic!  Even the garlic this year was kind of a disappointment - I didn't even document it on the blog, since the yield was so lackluster (and what I did get was kind of small, both in quantity and actual bulb size).  I didn't want to risk planting cloves from such a lame season, so I went to the garden store the morning and bought a few new cloves to plant.  

Even though it was rough work in hard, dry soil, I enjoyed digging the 48 holes for this year's crop.  Here's hoping that we get enough to eat and give away to family and friends (which I did 2 summers ago, and this summer, when people asked for more, was each time reminded of what a yucky season it was).

In addition to digging all these holes, I completed last week's cleanup and pulled up all the remaining plants (and weeds).  Here's our very last summer harvest (sorry it's such a crappy photo):

I don't know that anything positive will happen with the green tomato, but the chiles are at least close enough to ripe that they might make it on the windowsill.  You're also looking at the only eggplant of the entire summer, out of 4 plants total.  It had better be tasty!
I also feel optimistic about the beets I planted - I forgot to take a picture, but some of them have nice green tops about 4" tall.  Not feeling quite as hopeful for the cauliflower and cabbage that I planted (something is chewing on them), but we'll see. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Season's End

I'd like to say that I'm not quite as negligent a gardener as I am a blogger.  I've been taking care of my plants, but there hasn't been much to write about.  In all honesty, this summer was a big bummer and I've spent the past several weeks trying to figure out what went wrong.  Sure, the weather was a big factor -- the "cold" spell we had for much of August was the worst possible timing for the hot-weather plants that I'd filled my garden with.   Also, the soil -- I had set out for this to be a "re-building year" of sorts, but I still expected things to grow.  I probably harvested less than 2 dozen tomatoes from 10 plants.  I will maybe get one eggplant.  

This year's artichoke experiment was a failure as well.  The plant was neither pretty nor contained artichokes (but it did grow to be HUGE).

But, as down as I feel about this now, there were some successes and a few surprises.  The cucumber plants started out shaky but in the end they were my highest-producing plant, and we now have plenty of pickles!

I also harvested enough cayenne peppers to get us through several football seasons (my favorite use is to dry them and use in chili), and the mystery squash turned out to be a spaghetti squash. 


Over the next week I'll work on cleaning out the garden and then throwing down a nice layer of compost before I research cover crops to plant.  I'll take whatever measures I can now to ensure a better season next year.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lesson learned.

Quit stressing about the plants!  They will come around.  The tomatoes have, and now the cayenne peppers are turning red with plenty of time to be dried for chili season!