August Update

Looking at the garden right now you would say it’s doing great – if it was earlier in the summer! It actually is doing good though, even though it’s running late. I think Mother Nature has a way of catching up under the right conditions, at least to a point.

Yukon Gold Potatoes – 11 lbs

I dug up a row of potatoes – mostly the Yukon Gold. At the end of the row there was a few feet of potatoes grown from last years leftovers. I can’t say the potato harvest so far was a huge success but I did get 11 pounds of small to medium sized Yukon Gold and they are delicious. The remainder of the row is mostly a red variety, Pontiac maybe. I didn’t weigh them but I’d guess maybe one and a half to two pounds.

The second row is Kennebec, which isn’t ready to harvest yet. The containers I used last year, which are the barrels from a rear bagging setup of an old riding mower, are also growing Kennebec. The little tractor tire is growing more of last years leftovers.

In the nice soft soil of the harvested potato row, I planted carrots and beets. We’ll see what happens. I have never grown succession crops before so this is new to me.

Another first this year is Kale. All I can say at this point is that it’s growing. It’s not doing great at this point but seems like it’s gaining momentum. Hopefully we’ll get a harvest and I’ll know if I want to continue growing it in the future.

I planted more peas in the TP rolls and now they are in the garden, and I finished planting that row with more peas from seed. They are just starting to come up.

More Summer Squash on the way!

The squashes and pumpkin are slow going. I think the patty pan squash will be mostly a failure. The plants are very small but they do have blossoms. I don’t have much expectation of a harvest from them. I will get the grass up that’s growing with it. I have only a little more hope for the butternut squash.

We recently had fresh straight-neck squash and zucchini with our supper – one of each fruit, combined. It was very delicious. This is my first time growing zucchini. I will grow it from now on. There are more on the way too, of both summer squash and zucchini.

The spaghetti squash has one fruit growing. So we’ll maybe get at least one. The one pumpkin plant has a couple small pumpkins on it. The acorn squash have small vines but look pretty healthy so it remains to be seen what will happen.

I recently planted 10 hills of cucumbers. There’s technically time for them but I don’t know. I had the unused space and seeds that needed to be used up so it was worth a try. They are starting to come up!

One little spaghetti squash so far.

I laid out some cardboard (that has actually been in the garden all along, helping me keep the weeds in check in the unplanted areas). Every couple feet I punched a hole in the cardboard, then covered each hole with some compost and topped that with a little soil. Then I planted the seeds in that. I need to come up with some kind of mulch to surround the hills with and cover the cardboard.

The fence project was mostly a success. I only had a few early attacks and they were before the fence was completely done. The Sunchokes never did recover though. They’re gone.

Some of the beans got munched early on but most of them recovered and I replanted some that didn’t. There are a couple blank spaces though. But thanks to the fence enhancement, I have two rows of pole beans and one row of bush beans. The first pole beans are climbing the trellis and blossoming but some of the plants haven’t gotten there yet. The second row is just starting to send out runners.

Squash, 3 rows of beans, scrawny peppers and in the upper right you can see a couple hills in the cardboard, where I planted cukes, now sprouting.

The bush beans are a Burpee variety called Heavy Harvest I think. Promising to be true to their name, they are loaded with blossoms and tiny beans. I guess we’ll be picking soon!

Tomato plants are doing ok. Again, if this was earlier in the summer you’d say “Wow”. They have some small fruits on them and they are very healthy looking plants but not very tall yet. Part of the reason is the early munching attack that caused them to grow bushy instead of tall. In addition to the Homestead and Black Krim, there are two cherry tomato varieties, one at each end of the row. I can’t recall the names. One I think is Black Cherry and the other has a similar name.

The Ornamental corn is doing ok. The sweet corn didn’t germinate. I wasn’t surprised  though, as they were old seeds.

Tiny “ornamental corn” patch. Not a great photo of it. It IS tiny but this makes it look even tinier!

The Swiss chard fizzled and the few plants that did show hope got overwhelmed with grass. I might have trampled some when I was tying up the tomatoes too.

Onion sets seem to be growing ok but again, late start. I planted some large top-sets of Egyptian Walking onions but the dang sparrows must like their dust baths to be onion scented, so they’re all disturbed and not doing well. I waited way too long to transplant the Walla Walla onions to the garden. They’re alive but still very small.

The garlic plants had mostly disappeared but the few that remained I harvested cute little tiny garlic bulbs from. Aww. I’m still new at growing garlic. I now believe I planted them too early. I’ll try a little later in the fall this year.

Basil plants are not loving the intense sun and heat I think, as they are just tiny seedlings still.

The pepper plants are small but healthy looking (which is the general theme of this update) except the Jalapenos which were leggy and sparsely leafed when I bought them and still are). So far the only peppers I’ve harvested is some Dragon Cayennes in the Bathtub Garden.

Part of the reason for the mixed results may be because I ran out of leaves for mulch and while I did spread some clippings from the lawn mower and other various materials, some of the rows didn’t get completely mulched. Things could still improve if I get the rest of the garden mulched, even if I have to buy some straw. I just worry what could be in the straw, for seeds and possible chemicals.

Just a different view, with peppers, beans, squash, and potatoes

I think the last time I bought straw it went well. But the following year was not good, probably in part because I didn’t mulch and I had some other issues. But I wonder if it could have been something in the hay that didn’t affect anything until the next season, when the straw broke down over the winter. Probably not, but it did occur to me. I also found out a neighbor used some herbicidal spray near the fence. It was far away from the garden but if it was windy it could have drifted. I just remember a few plants were strangely distorted and one pepper plant just simply collapsed, like it was shot. I chalked it up to my using too much fertilizer and that’s probably what it was but I do have to wonder.

By the way, no 10-10-10 this year. I haven’t completely ruled it out yet but so far I haven’t used any and probably won’t. I did use ‘Stinking’ Nettle tea which I’ll write about in a later post.

Happy Gardening!


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