Saturday, October 6, 2012

Rounding out the end of the season

A few weeks ago, it started to reach the low 40s at night. We were seeing highs in the low 70s, but it was a little horrible for the tomatoes and peppers. As a result, I did the right (but horrible) thing and snapped off all the new buds. This way, the plants could concentrate on ripening the fruit they already had rather than setting new fruit that probably doesn't have enough time to ripen before the temperature permanently drops below 65 degrees and then freezes. As a result, we got three more, gorgeous black krim tomatoes, and two more pints yellow cherries. The jalapenos gave 6 more little beauties, and we squeezed another bell pepper out just in time.

Tonight, however, we have a freeze warning. It may sink below 32 overnight. This means we need to prep. Pineapple plants and rosemary all come indoors for the winter. I pulled up the basil, which was really past its prime anyway since garden snakes have been using its root system as a house for about a month. That became one last bit of pesto. In fact, even the hardy herbs I took i big chunk from, since you never know.

This seems like a good time to reflect on the productivity of different varieties so I don't forget entirely by next year.

The two big shocker producers were both yellow: the yellow cherry tomatoes and the lemon cucumber. I had only one plant each, but got dozens of pints of yellow cherry tomatoes. The tomato plant was taller than I am. The lemon cucumber gave me at least 30 lbs of veg. I had two russian pickling cukes in there, and they gave me about half the volume of the one lemon cucumber. Good to know. All cucumbers did succumb to some kind of disease at the end, and I think they would have appreciated more scaffolding to increase air flow.

Corn, broccoli, onions, and beets were a wash. I tried to get some beets and broccoli this fall, but the broccoli is 4 feet tall without any flowers and the beets are still as big as a pea.

The french climbing beans had only 3 square feet, and produced twice what the purple dove beans produced with 4 square feet. HOWEVER, I love the purple beans  a lot more. I also suspect the purples were a little light starved due to the yellow cherry tree.

We ended up with only one Black Krim tomato bush. It stayed too close to the ground, so I need to be more diligent about staking and pruning. We only got a few lbs from it, but there is another whole crop, green on the vine, that would be great if they had another week or two. Bummer. This is why I'm not just pulling them now. I'm gambling that it won't freeze, and that we'll get red tomatoes soon.

Amish paste tomatoes were slow to produce, but I got another 2-3 lbs this week. From 3 plants I wanted the yield to be more like the insane Early Girl. Not sure how much total that one gave, but we have 20 lbs frozen whole in the deep freeze.

The potatoes in the first barrel were a little disappointing - about 5 lbs worth. On the one hand, this only came from 1 potato, but it's not really enough to warrant the space. The second tower had about double that, so that's encouraging. Next year I need to stack the towers higher and plant a few different varieties.

Our squash vines were unhappy. We got one Blue Banana and one Butternut before things went down hill. However, we have two more little fruits on the vine now, so we'll see what happens in the next month or so.

The brussel sprouts gave us about a gallon, but attracted many pests. And unless I'm seriously mistaken, neither Alex nor I love them anyway, so it seems silly to try them again.

I want twice as many beds next season, so wahoo! And production isn't over by any means. We're trying to grow greens behind the retaining wall and will set up a cold frame in one of the beds in the next 2 weeks for more greens.

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