Mid-August Update - Main Garden Beds
This past month was about mulching. I finally finished doing the paths in area #1 and the front of the house and now I have to move on to the paths in area #2, which I hope to finish this weekend. But even with lugging all that mulch around, I was able to get some work done in the beds and start some fall crops.
I’ve picked all of the main broccoli heads and am now relying solely on side shoots. Most are fairly tiny, but there is one plant that is producing huge ones:
|Broccoli Side Shoots|
|Just Right Turnips|
|Yellowing Bean Plants|
I'm leaving these to mature so that I can harvest the seed for next year
The rest of this bed held the spring planted favas & sugar snap peas, both of which were pulled a while ago, so I decided to sow the fall lettuce here. I scattered seed for 5 different varieties in strips on half of the bed. I'm crossing my fingers that they germinate, but with this recent hot spell, I'm having my doubts. I'm also going to pre-germinate some spinach seed to see if I can get some fall spinach happening.
The cucumbers are not doing that well this year – dribs and drabs is all I’m getting. I once again made the mistake of spacing the plants too closely as I had more seedlings than space - one of these days I'll learn.
|Lemon cucumber vines have already|
reached the top of the trellis
|Suspected downy mildew on cucumber leaf|
|Romanesco Zucchini - 4 weeks|
The carrots are doing well, but I do need to get out there and do some thinning:
These photos were taken a few days ago and since then, I have seen ripening tomatoes on almost every variety except for Brandywine & Opalka.
The tomato bed is not without it's bad news, however. I have early blight running through the beds especially on the Brandywine, Yellow Pear and Costoluto Genovese.
|Early Blight on Tomatoes|
|Septoria Leaf Spot on Costoluto Genovese|
I’ve been cutting off the yellowing leaves and I gave the plants a good feeding of fish emulsion. I’m hoping the plants stay ahead of the blight, but since it's still so early & the plants are not as vigorous as they were last year, I'm not overly optimistic that they will last into mid-September.
The 3 allium beds were empty except for the perennial bunching onions & four leeks in bed #6.
|Perennial Bunching Onions|
This past weekend, I planted up the other empty allium beds. I had a couple of cell packs with transplants (Komatsuna & Joi Choi), but most of the beds were direct seeded with rapini, baby choy, kohlrabi, turnips, tatsoi, mizuna and radishes. I haven’t grown most of these as a fall crop before, so I’m considering this a bit of a test to see how my timing is for each variety.
|Some of the recently seeded brassicas|
have already come up, such as these radishes
I transplanted the Bright Lights seedlings that survived into the vacant spring spinach spot.
|Bright Lights Seedling|
|Peppermint & Fordhook Giant Chard|
I ended up with only a handful of lettuce seedlings:
Why does my camera always want to focus on the drip rather than the plants?
Not exactly impressive, are they. On a positive note, my lettuce seedlings often look pretty pathetic when I first transplant them but they usually recover quickly and end up giving me a great harvest.
I normally do a big cleaning & disinfecting of all my trays, pots, etc. in the fall & purchase fresh seeding mix in the spring to help with damping off (I had BIG issues with it a few years ago). If I purchased new seeding mix now, by the time spring rolled around it would be “old”, so I didn’t want to do that just for a few cell packs of seedlings.
I definitely needed more lettuce than those few transplants which is why I decided direct seed some in the fava/pea bed using the scatter method. I prefer to harvest larger leaves of lettuce rather than baby leaves, so this method is a bit of a pain for me as it requires a lot of thinning, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
The weather hasn't exactly been conducive to cool weather crops this week with highs in the 90's, but things are supposed to get back to seasonal as of today. Hopefully I'll see some germination from the lettuce patch soon.
My shady bed # 8 has been stagnant for the last couple of months, so last week I finally decided to rip everything out & salvage what I could of the veg in that bed.
|Bed #8 - Beyond pitiful|
This time round I noticed that the ENTIRE bed was covered in these roots and it was extremely dry, even with all the rain we had recently. Every other bed I worked at that time was still moist an inch or so down. And that’s when I realized that my issue with the bed may not be solely about light. I have a feeling that these roots are from the same renegade willow tree that is shading the bed - it is sucking all of the nutrients and moisture out of that bed.
My plants strong growth in the spring followed by absolutely no growth during the summer all of a sudden makes complete sense. The spring rains & the amendments I worked into the soil before transplanting gave my seedlings that initial burst of growth. But within a couple of months, the willow would take over and suck that bed dry of both moisture and nutrients and my plants would languish.
The tangle of roots is so bad that it has made the bed essentially unusable:
|Bed #8 - Nothing but clumps of matted roots from end to end|
And lastly, a bit of good news - it looks like both my red and yellow spring planted raspberries are going to give me a tiny bit of fruit this year:
Till next time...