Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Garden Update

So far I have failed to provide a garden update. Now that we are leaving in a week I thought it time to do so since we'll be leaving almost all of it behind. What started out as this now looks like this:

The tomato plants have done extremely well. We've probably had two dozen cherry tomatoes. The Purple Russian has given us 6-7 tomatoes already with more on the way. They haven't been purple but they have been delicious. The Amish Paste has given 2 tomatoes so far, but there are many big green ones just turning right now.

The red bell pepper plant has been interesting. The plant itself didn't get very big. It gave one small red pepper early on. It sprouted four peppers all at once recently but three have been lost to rot.

The jalapeno plant was slow to start. The three weeks of rain early in the summer delayed it. Once this got hot it start growing. Right now there are probably 20-25 jalapenos growing. They aren't very big, maybe one to two inches long. I don't think they are going to get any longer as some are already starting to turn red. I plan to make jalapeno jelly with them in the next couple of days.

The radishes have come and gone. We got a few good bulbs, but they mostly just sent down an long root and then flowered. The green onions were delicious but are now gone. We went through two zucchini starts that both died before I randomly saw a seed sitting on top of the dirt. I planted it and hoped. Nothing happened for weeks. Then a little sprout came up. We went on vacation for a week and came back to this:

So far we've had eight huge zucchinis off it. There are two more currently growing on it. It's amazing that something that large came from a seed the size of a dime.

The Swiss Chard has grown fantastically. Too bad it's not one of our favorites, but it's been fun to share. We wait until the leaves get nice and big then pick them back until there are only two little leaves remaining in the middle. We've done that four times now and they keep growing back.

The green beans and pickling cucumber plants have done surprisingly well. Especially considering we planted them in a spot where nothing else would grow. The bean plants have gotten tall, but no green beans.

The pickling cucumbers have taken a while to get going and are just now fruiting. Just a tad too late for us to take advantage before we move.

The strawberry plants gave us maybe five tiny, delicious strawberries. Next year they will do better for someone else. They are sending off many shoots to propagate for next year.

The cherry tree in the yard doesn't give very good cherries. We picked them anyway and made some cherry jelly. It's surprisingly delicious!

We just picked a bunch of pears off the pear tree (once again not very good product, but we are hoping it turns out as good as the cherry jelly).

Things I have learned this year:

  • Self-watering containers are amazing

  • Tomato cages don't work too well in self-watering containers (at least not how I put them in)

  • Ski poles make excellent posts for running plants...just make sure you don't have to unwind the plants because you need the poles because you are moving

  • Don't put fertilizer that should be concentrated directly on the plants, undiluted - I made two of our indoor plants limp and destroyed the red pepper plant with it...oops

  • Only ever plant one zucchini plant

  • Take all the free fruit you can get and make jam, jelly, sauce, or rollups with it

  • Don't miss harvest dates - we missed apricot picking season and now won't have homemade jam for the next year

  • Berry plants typically produce on wood that is at least one year old

I am bummed to be leaving everything behind, but at least it'll be in good hands.

I am already looking forward to next year and already have some plans in the works.

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