Saturday, October 01, 2011

Dirt Watch - End of Season Recap

The garden is beginning to wind down now that Fall is here. Today I harvested a half-dozen cherry tomatoes, three Roma tomatoes, the last small handfull of green beans and two green peppers. There are still many tomatoes on the various plants, but now I'll pay close attention to overnight lows and bring in the greenies before the first freeze hits.

Overall, the garden broke even or maybe saved us a few bucks. This was primarily due to the fact that tomatoes cost a fortune at the grocery store, and I had (still have) tons of them. My neighbor has greatly benefitted from the excess.

Here's a rundown of what worked, what didn't, and next year's ideas.

Tomatoes - I need better cages for the beefsteak and cherry plants. You may recall that I grew these two in large flowerpots and they did great! It's no exageration to say that I harvested over 100 cherry tomatoes and more than a dozen each of Roma and Beefsteak. The Roma tomatoes loved the net trellis set up.

Cucumbers - Some insect devastated my cucumber plants. Slowly. A gardening friend at work had the same happen to his and claims that it's a leaf borer. Still, I harvested almost 20 cukes, some were enormous. All were tasty. There are three left on the vines, but I don't know if they'll ripen enough to harvest. If not, into the compost pile with them!

Green Peppers. Badly shaded by the cucumbers (will relocate to sunnier spot next year), I only got two medium sized peppers, with two or three small ones in progress that may or may not make it to harvest.

Basil - Still going great guns! I shall be making a huge batch of pesto in the very near future. I only planted one plant and it was enough.

Parsley - did great. I harvested from the single plant a few times for cooking and to give the bunnies an occasional treat.

Green Beans - I got two crops in this year from the bush beans I sowed. Not overwhelmingly prolific, but got enough for several side dishes. Incredibly easy to grow.

Onions - did nothing. Not a single onion plant grew from the sets I planted. Next year I will find a different source.

Carrots - Meh. Managed to get several smallish carrots out of all I planted, and they took forever to grow. The bunnies adored the huge masses of fresh carrot greens.

Radishes - fail. Like the carrots, I strongly suspect there just isn't enough sun during the day for them. I got a few. As in three.

Swiss Chard - fail. Supposedly chard is the easiest crop to grow, but I got nothing more than a couple of sickly leaves.

Lettuce - fail. Enough for a small salad and some bunny food. More sun needed.

Broccoli - fail. Worm food, you may recall.

So that's it. I learned a few things and have a few ideas for next year. The cucumbers are going up against the fence. They worked entirely too well as a sun shade over the lettuce. I'm also hoping that more spiders along the fence will reduce the chances of leaf borers killing the plants.

Something else Liz and I talked about is to build a few deeper but smaller boxes for carrots and maybe potatoes.

I'd still love to have that Maple tree removed from the yard, which would really open up the sunshine. Right now, I'm not sure I want to spend the money on it. We'll see how the job situation goes over the next few months. I've got time to decide.

Bottom line: the Square Foot Garden idea works, and works well. I'm looking forward to next Spring.


LeeAnn said...

I'm thinking of doing an homage to your Dirt Watch, only celebrating my black thumb. I would document my effect on a plastic plant, which I have honestly been known to kill in the past. We could see if it dies or thrives. Then the CDC will come take me away in the last episode.
I think I should call the reality show people.
But cherry tomatos? Yum.

sheri said...

We're just starting veg gardens here in Hell. I'm trying tomatoes, cucs, squash, broc. cabbage, sweet banana peppers, carrots. Of all the items listed, I really only like tomatoes. Pretty neutral on the rest, so I won't shed a tear if they are eaten by critters or insects or the just die of whatever. It's all sort of an experiment.

Anonymous said...

My tomatoes? pfft. I suppose it was my turn to turn out crappy crop (say that 10 times!) The last few years my tomatoes were perfection. This year? Something was eating them from the bottom and it was the only tomato plant in the ground. I did, however, manage to get one section (out of 3) of squash that was decent.


And your maple tree? Find the tree guy and barter -- can't hurt to try that route, right?