Thursday, September 6, 2012

Harvest 2012

The squash vines are dying back, the tomatoes are completely dead from early blight, both signs that the harvest is coming to an end.

The onions were disappointing. Lots of them, but small. Partly from a drought at just the wrong time, and partly because I'm a lazy bum, and didn't do enough weeding. They're proving to be susceptible to fungus, too, so I'm trying to use them as quickly as possible, since they obviously won't last long in storage. I did plant the Bridger onion seeds a few days ago, an experiment in starting onions from seed, with a variety that over-winters. Maybe.

The butternuts were particularly prolific. Just three plants, but we have eleven good-sized fruits. Might be a couple smaller ones hiding somewhere.

The summer squash hit the "just right" level for once. Two yellow crookneck plants and one zucchini plant. They produced plenty for the gardeners' needs (made into casseroles and zucchini bread and half-zuke-half-cabbage cole slaw), and a few to give away to the garden-impaired.

Garlic was fairly average, which was disappointing only in reference to early high expectations. We got around 60 heads from the main crop, assorted cloves from the ones growing wild, and very unimpressive bits from the early variety. We're definitely not bothering with the early variety again. Except, I think there are a couple of the early cloves in the kitchen, and they've started to sprout, so I may end up planting them. Also planning to improve the soil where the garlic goes in, to see how much of a difference that makes in size.

Tomatoes were excellent until the blight hit. Juliet (halfway between a grape and a paste tomato) and Jetstar. Also a yellow variety, but it was late ripening, and most were lost to the blight. I still don't know why the tomatoes succumbed. The summer wasn't particularly cool or wet, and we had plenty of heat, which is supposed to kill the blight. Our garden wasn't alone in succumbing, though, so it wasn't a micro-climate thing, as I'd first suspected. (Trees are shading the garden more than I'd like.)

Peppers have been late and less prolific than usual. This, I do think is attributable to the increased tree shade and reduced number of full-sun hours. The purple peppers were magnificent (although not as prolific as the Ace variety). Photo tomorrow. Banana peppers were in the shadiest part of the garden, and were a bit anemic. Still managed to pickle 3 pints of them. Might be enough for a fourth before the first frost.

New rhubarb plants are hanging in, but I'm not entirely sure they'll survive the winter. Asparagus is looking less bushy than usual. The bed may have been exhausted, or, again, it's the effect of too much shade.

Swiss chard did poorly. Seeds didn't germinate well (not the variety's fault; they were five years old, I believe), then the seedlings were a bunny favorite for a while. Only one plant is still making an effort. Cucumbers always seem to succumb to some sort of virus, and this year was no exception. Growing them on a trellis to get them up off the ground did seem to help a little.

Basil did quite well in a planter in the garden's annex (next door). Lettuce lasted further into the summer than I'd have expected, through a couple hot spells. The fall crop of tatsoi is growing now, but got a bit battered by a recent heavy rain.

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