Saturday, July 28, 2012

Updates and Lessons for Next Year

Things are going pretty well. The dried Calypso beans are ready, though a combination of deer, rabbits, and being shaded out by other plants means there will only be a very few of them, which sucks. 

I've been pickling things little by little. Above we have a HUGE cucumber that got away from us, which I turned into sandwich stackers, and two batches of lemon cucumbers I pickled with a jalapeno and onions. All from the garden. Hooray! I think cucumbers and rutabaga are really the only two things we'll truly have enough of to get through the whole year. Tomatoes will be close.

This is what a typical daily harvest looks like now. There are always tomatoes, and either beans or cucumbers every other day. The beans are gorgeous, but we aren't putting any by because we eat them faster than we can pick them. The soy beans did pretty well, but I'll need quadruple the amount next year if I want edamame for the year. I have a serious soy habit.

 The ladies are growing pretty steadily. They are trying to cluck now, which comes out more like a honk, which is pretty hilarious. They are much more comfortable with being petted, and a few days ago one of the girls hopped up onto my arm to perch unsolicited. I didn't even have any treats!


1) French intensive planting is pretty awesome, but for beans the productivity of the plant is lowered since they are so dense. Plant fewer beans per square next year, given them more trellises, and don't do the sisters planting with corn. I need 4-5 times as many bean plants as I planted this year to be set for the year, which is probably not going to happen. I'll try though.

2) Rutabagas are huge, and should be planted much later than I planted them. Same with brussel sprouts.

3) Beets need protection when they are just seeded, because both times, birds ate all the seeds. The few survivors were overshadowed by other plants and then died.

4) Tiger Stripe tomatoes are yummy, but grow too close to the ground. They need to be in a pot so the ripe fruit doesn't rot before I can get to it.

5) I need to start my tomatoes sooner, and not plant cucumbers so close. The cukes are using the tomatoes to grow up, which is great for the established plants, but not great for the little ones I started from seed.

6) Speaking of tomatoes, I need double the amount of Amish Paste tomatoes to make my year quota. The early girls are huge producers, and I want another one next year, even though the tomatoes themselves are not the best, they are still good and I've gotten 30 so far from one plant, no where near done producing.

7) Although the squash worked really well in the raised bed and aren't messing with other plants the way the cukes are, I think I will put them in a separate area next year just for the sake of space. They can go in the new melon mound.

8) Caterpillars are the big April scourge, but now that I have neem I am ready to rock and roll. But the deer have eaten 3/4 of the bean plants, across the board. And all of the Kale. I need to think of a solution for this. More plants they don't like. More of that horrible garlic/egg spray, and maybe a mechanical deterrent, like a motion-detector sprayer.

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