On into the next season . . .

I had the best of intentions, that of regularly updating this garden blog, and you can see where that went. Well, here it is past the end of the season, and I’m hopefully getting back to it.

The garden’s been buttoned up for the season, I’m not going to try to deal with any fall/winter type veggies this year; I’m putting all of my energy into properly planning and laying out for next year. Which means that even though the garden looks a bit sad as there’s naught in it save for the last dregs of the summer’s peppers, there is much going on behind the scenes. I’ll have to finalize at least the early veggies really soon, since some of them should be started inside by the middle of December or so for a February planting. I’ve decided to try English peas this year, I’ll probably try both, direct sow and starting under lights; they’ll need to be in the ground by the middle of February, likewise the potatoes I’ll be planting. I planted potatoes this last season, not many,  and they were severely neglected. Even so they still managed to produce some potatoes , enough for a couple of meals which has inspired me to try again.

Tomatoes were very nice this year; I even managed to cook up some of the roma type (Burpee ‘Fresh Salsa’) into some tomato sauce and freeze it. That’t the ticket right there, growing enough to have extra to store. It gives a feeling of, well, independence, like we actually have at least some control over our food source. We probably could have done even better with our tomatoes, we’re still having problems with blight, but I don’t know that there’s anything we can really do about it. I’m going to try to get at least a couple of beds solarized next season and we’ll see if that helps the blight problem any.

The summer squash was disappointing. Nothing we’ve tried has kept the squash borers away except for a barrier method – keeping the plants under row cover and hand pollinating. While the pollinating chore really wasn’t a very big deal, the row covers kept in the moisture and stopped any airflow so that the plants eventually succumbed to mold and other similar disease. After discussing it, I think we might try to just boggle the little bugs’ minds with so many squash plants that they can’t possibly kill it all. In other words we’re going to plow up some ground outside of the garden proper and plant a LOT of squash and see if that works. The reasoning behind this is that apparently squash borer is not a problem in commercial fields. At least it’s something to try. This year’s squash only produced for about a month or so, and the best I can tell it should really last until frost. I’ve never had any plant to produce much longer than the aforementioned month.

So, I’ll be doing some serious planning in the next month or so, and doing some serious ordering after that. These are the things that I’m definite on, or at least considering:

  • Tomatoes (several varieties, beefsteak, roma, cherry, heirloom slicing)
  • Peppers (hot: Mariachi, Jalapeno; Sweet: California Wonder)
  • Corn
  • Okra
  • English Peas
  • Lettuce – leaf and semi-head
  • Broccoli (fall crop didn’t do well, so trying late winter, early spring)
  • Brussel’s Sprouts (ditto Broccoli)
  • Potatoes (the Red ones did best)
  • onions – globe and bunching
  • basil
  • thyme
  • Cucumbers – slicing and pickling
  • Carrots (did REALLY well, must have more!)
  • Beets (haven’t done well for me, but I think I know why)
  • Parsnips (a first, just an experiment)
  • Summer squash
  • Winter squash (the borers leave it alone as it has a solid stem)

This isn’t written in stone, I’m sure it’ll be tinkered with over the next month or so. I’d like to have the garden in continuous production, at least that’s my goal. There should always be something I can pick out of the garden, I would also very much like to have a surplus that can be put up.