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...
Blight is such a devastating disease, I hope you manage to salvage your tomatoes. It's sickening to grow the plants all year and have no crop to show for it. Hopefully, you might be able to keep the plants with early blight going for a while by removing some foliage. I'm really surprised by my tomatoes this year, they've ripened much earlier than other years and I'm getting a great harvest. I thought my cucumbers had had it when we had a cool spring, the plants didn't like the conditions and have never really recovered but I'm getting a decent harvest from the Mini Munch. The lemon cucumbers are another story.ReplyDelete
Last year was the first time I had blight (both early and late) and it was pretty bad, especially the late blight. I'm considering pulling the Costoluto Genovese as it seems to be the only one afflicted by late blight so far. I had really been looking forward to testing this variety as a sauce tomato (it's supposed to be great for that), but I don't have enough tomatoes for that yet. I could let it go on for a bit in the hopes of giving me a few more tomatoes. But if I pull the Genovese, I may prevent or at least slow down the progress of this disease on the other plants. Still debating on that one.Delete
I'm glad you are having a good tomato year & your Mini Munch cucumbers are holding their own - every year presents different challenges, doesn't it?
Those yellow pear tomatoes (and the brandywines too, let's face it!) catch every disease known to man. But the taste forces me to grow them both every year. Mine have blight, hornworms and gawd knows what else, but once I FINALLY get one, it will be all worth it!ReplyDelete
And you're so correct on those darn willows---they'll put out roots 2 miles long if there's moisture to be found. Get rid of it, and be prepared for a hellish battle with the roots!
Each year, the diseases that come up surprise me. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the whole notion of not EVER ever having a disease free year.Delete
Oh boy - I hope I don't end up having to dig up that bed and replacing the soil - that's one expense and backbreaking chore I can do without.
Your Tomatoes look great--I hope the blight holds off a bit until you have a chance to harvest them. My Cucumbers didn't produce much this year, but they're in a weird spot, and in a garden that only gets sun for about five hours of the day. I don't think I'll plant them again next year--maybe if I ever have a sunny garden again. That Baby Bok Choy looks tasty!ReplyDelete
I was just doing a walk through of the garden this morning and my cucumbers are pretty much on their last legs. Bok choy is one of my favourite Chinese greens. You should give it a go sometime - it would do quite well in a spot that received part shade.Delete
So many tomatoes!! Your garden really is impressive. I'd whack that tree down, too. :o)ReplyDelete
We love our tomatoes - or at least I love our tomatoes. They are one of those veg where you spend hours agonizing during the winter over which varieties to grow as there are just so many to choose from. And that tree is comin' down in the next few days - I just hope my rabbit fencing doesn't get smushed in the process.Delete
I am hoping that when we next visit the plot that blight hasn't struck as the past few days has been conditions that blight thrives in.ReplyDelete
We are mini cucumber converts one thanks to Jo.
I'll have to try mini-cucumbers. I grew a small, gherkin variety this year - Correntine - but I'm not overly impressed. To be fair, I'm not impressed with any of the cucumbers this year other than the Lemon; it's just been a bad year for them, so I don't think I'll write off any of the varieties just yet.Delete
I'm glad you can get that tree out ... I'm stuck with the neighbouring yard's poplars and the roots grow all through my garden space. I'm constantly cutting and digging out huge roots. Your variety is impressive! Not just the many tomatoes you have on the go, but everything! How do you like the fordhook giant chard, by the way, as I was thinking of trying that myself?ReplyDelete
I also have some type of mildew on my squash plants and will be pulling them soon (just waiting for a couple more squash to mature).
I really like Fordhook Giant - like it's name, it does produce giant leaves & has a nice, mild taste. That's one of the reasons I continue to grow it even though there are prettier varieties out there too. I'll probably be pulling some of the cucumber vines this week - the last thing I need is for whatever is on the cucumbers to cross over onto the Romanesco squash & further reduce what small harvest I may get.Delete
It's funny isn't it how year to year different varieties do better than others.ReplyDelete
I've had really bad powdery mildew this year as it's been so dry. I did try a milk spray early on but didn't keep at it. The plants have still continued cropping but probably not as well as if they'd not got it.
I was thinking that with the willow you might need to look out for new shoots coming up once you've cut it down, depending on the particular species. The cherry tree in the plot next to mine has been sending up new trees quite far from its main trunk. But hopefully that won't happen for you!
I think that the milk sprays help - I didn't get around to doing any this year, but I did last year, although, like you, I wasn't very consistent.Delete
We did have another similar ornamental tree gone wild that we got rid of last year as it was a wasp magnet & it had loads of suckers coming up from the ground, even before we cut it down. This one doesn't have any yet, but we will definitely keep a watch out for that. I've heard that a possible, non-toxic way of dealing with that is placing a heavy duty black garbage bag over the stump, securing it with zip ties - haven't tried it but it's something they are attempting in an old growth forest near us where buckthorn (an invasive species) is a real problem.
That sounds like a good idea. You could always cover a slightly wider area with a bigger bit of plastic and weigh it down with bricks or something, which might prevent any reshooting directly near the trunk. You might need to watch out for slugs hiding underneath though!Delete