Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fall planting for 2016

Planted over 100 garlic cloves today: 33 Russian and 75 German. That's in addition to the 20 or 30 rounds (Russian) that were planted a week or so ago. And I missed some of the rounds when I dug them up for transplanting, so there's probably another dozen of them growing in the old bed. And then there's garlic that grows wild.

Yeah, that should just about suffice for our two households.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Harvest 2015

Shortly after the last post, we headed into a drought that continued, more or less, until the end of September. As a result, the harvest was severely reduced, especially the butternut squashes.

Still, I think we got our $100 worth out of it (with comparisons to last year):

Onions: they got hit the worst by the drought (and my lack of attention), only about a dozen small ones and another hundred or so tiny ones. Compared to last year: 300 or so small ones.

I didn't bother planting cucumbers, and last year we only got 4 or 5, so it wasn't a big loss. I did get a good number of zukes (12) compared to only 8 last year. I made several jars of Bread & Butter pickles with the zukes, one batch with hot pepper flakes and one batch without. Also made several batches of zucchini bread and froze the shreds for three more batches. The yellow crookneck squash produced more than we could eat, about 18 large fruits. I didn't bother to freeze the excess, because I really only like them fresh.

Green beans: about the same, freezing about two gallons and eating or giving away another gallon. Total, about 7 pounds, I think.

Tomatoes lasted later without the rain that spreads blight, but then the drought killed them, so the total harvest was about the same as before. About 65 Jetstars and more Sugary cherries than we could eat.

The kabocha only produced two tiny fruits, and there were only 11 small-to-medium butternuts. Last year, there were 7 kabocha and 38 large to HUGE butternuts. Part of the difference is that they were planted in the less sunny section of the garden this year.

Good crop of sugar snap peas, and last year's crop was pitiful.

The pepper crop wasn't great, and I blame it more on the variety (Ace wasn't available) than the drought, but I could be wrong. We did get about 65 bell peppers in the end, plus 2 tiny purple peppers and about 54 banana peppers. That's more than last year, but last year was a bad year for peppers (40 Ace and 42 bananas).

The swiss chard was planted too close together and also was affected by the drought. It's starting to come into its own now (mid-October), with brilliant colors. Last year wasn't much better.

The new rhubarb plant in the asparagus bed is doing GREAT. Hoping it will produce significantly next year. Strawberries are taking over the world with runners, but I'm not really wild about the flavor.

Garlic was good, as usual, and this year we had our first substantial crop of the Russian variety. Over a hundred German and 16 Russian (most of which were saved for seed stock). Also, more than 60 rounds from the Russian bulbils planted last fall, to plant again this year.

The shallots suffered from the drought, so I'm hoping I can plant the 18 little bulbs produced by the seeds next spring.

We also got about a pound (not including those eaten while picking) of black raspberries, far more than usual, thanks to some netting and perhaps the feral cats' protection.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Early status 2015

We've been experiencing wild temperature swings plus chronic drought. Everything is ahead of my usual schedule, with several tomatoes and peppers set, and it's only June 10th. Should have ripe fruits by early July instead of August.

Scapes are fully formed on the Red Russian garlic and are just starting to form on the German Extra-Hardy. Bean and pea plants are thriving, newish rhubarb plants are doing better than any other variety I've tried, zucchini and yellow squash have germinated well, onions are a bit puny from lack of water, and not many butternuts sprouted (and I don't have more seed, but there are a bunch of volunteers that I think are butternuts, but could be cantalope or a hybrid of butternut and Kabocha). Oh, and we have strawberries. I'm not really enthusiastic about the variety. Not terribly flavorful.

The semi-feral cat, Clare, has taken to joining me in the garden, lounging in sunny spouts or chasing imaginary prey. She and the completely feral cat, Carl, have apparently been doing a good job at keeping the smaller critters out of the garden. Very little nibbling on anything, except what bugs do. The gypsy moths were bad this year. One pepper plant did get pulled up and the top eaten. I haven't figured out what might have done that.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Costs 2015

Johnny's seeds (onion plants, 27.25, Conservor shallot seeds 7.10, Sugar Ann pea seeds, shipping): $45.35

More seeds (dill, nasturtium): $2.83

Local nursery plants: $12.45
6 sugary grape tomatoes
6 JetStar tomatoes
12 Big Bertha peppers (no Ace available. Sigh.)
6 banana peppers

Different nursery:
4 purple beauty pepper plants: $2.99

Manure: $18.46
Straw: $20 (estimate)

TOTAL: $99.25

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Early planting 2015

After the coldest winter (and latest cold) in decades, we're now having a week of 80 degree temperatures in early May. I'm half tempted to go ahead and plant the tomatoes and peppers a good three weeks ahead of schedule, but it's probably not a good idea. I did throw some bean and zucchini seeds into the garden, figuring it would be ideal germination weather.

Also planted the shallot seeds (Conservor, 110 days to harvest, then sun cure for a week before removing tops; 250 seeds!) and Sugar Ann snap peas (less than 60 days to harvest). Weeded the strawberry bed (no idea what variety; they were a gift from my tenants), and noticed the first bloom.

The Crimson Red rhubarb is doing nicely. (Shhhhh, pretend I didn't say that. I'm afraid of jinxing them, given the bad luck I usually have with rhubarb.) And the asparagus is getting out of control. Must harvest it tomorrow when my co-gardeners will be home to eat it for dinner.

I need to make a list of the plants to get at the local nursery, and look up what I spent on stuff from Johnny's. Will be getting manure and straw later this week. What a glamorous life I lead!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Belated spring

It's late for the weather to just start to settle, and I've had the onion plants sitting in a box in a sink for the past week, but it's been either too wet or too cold (29 degrees the three nights before last night), which I wasn't sure the onions would survive.

But I planted 150 of them, plus about 25 tiny ones closely spaced for scallions. Much more manageable number than last year's 400+. I think the plants were smaller last year, so we got more to make up for the size.

The garlic is progressing nicely, including a row that's right were last year's crop grew. I must have missed a lot more of them during harvest than I'd realized. Fortunately, they're right on the edge of the bed, so I can plant the tomatoes and peppers around them.

I have shallot seeds, and I should plant them this week, but I've got too much on my agenda. They'll have to wait until Sunday or Monday.

Oh, and a few asparagus spears have popped up.