Thursday, October 1, 2009

Winding Down

Yikes! It has been awhile since I last posted a garden update! September is always such a busy month with the start of school and other activities. Now that I've more or less been back into a routine, I can once again focus on the garden.

Things are definitely starting to wind down in my kitchen garden. I don't think we have experienced a frost as yet, but the nights are definitely getting colder. Thinking back to my seed starting last spring, i seem to remember the average last frost date falling between oct 10-15. So the inevitable is coming. Hopefully the raised beds help protect a bit from the colder weather. Here is a run down of how things are growing starting from the most successful to the least:

Wow. If I do say so myself, I'm impressed with the wall of green beans! Despite being a victim of a rogue deer attack about a month ago (when a full 1 metre square of leaves were eaten in the middle), the plant has recovered nicely and and all the leaves have filled in once again. I have been picking beans quite frequently and there continues to be a lot of blossoms promising more to come.

The yellow beans, which I had to replant (again!), are now starting to show some signs of growth. Three time the charm, I guess. Now it is a race against time, I suppose, to see if I get any beans out of it.

The carrots have produced very well throughout the season. I pulled the last of the carrots today.
There are a lot of green tomatoes still left on the vines. They continue to ripen, albeit slowly. The colder nights are definitely starting to take their toll. I wouldn't say that I've had a bumper crop- certainly not enough to store/freeze for the winter months, but just enough to enjoy a tomato or two here and there with dinner.

The Swiss Chard has finally grown big enough to eat! Since I am the only lover of the chard in my family, there has been just enough for me to have a few meals. I'm hoping that this will extend a couple more weeks as i understand this plant is tolerant of the chillier fall weather.
Moving on, we now come to the failures, um, i mean "learning experiences" of the garden this year. First on the plate (or not on the plate it would seem) is the peppers. While the plants themselves looked good and seemed to grow blossoms, i only had one tiny pepper appear. After a little research, i think one of the main problems was the cold, rainy weather at the beginning of the season. Peppers, apparently, do not produce if exposed to cooler temperatures at all during the growing season. While i waited until after the suggested planting date to set them out, I do recall there was an evening in July where they actually called for frost. Next year, I'm planning to build some sort of polly tunnel/greenhouse around the peppers to keep things nice and warm.
The zucchini and cucumbers fared no better. Each only managed to produce one minuscule vegetable- hardly big enough to eat. One of the main problems was the soil itself. I definitely have to work on more fertile soil next year. Also, as the colder weather set in, I think that the zucchini suffered from late blight. I have read a lot about blight being a major problem for gardeners this year and that it can spread like wildfire. I made the decision to pull the whole thing so that it wouldn't move to other plants.
The cucumber plant was started too late in the season, and I think it simply ran out of time. Just when it seemed to finally start growing, the weather turned colder.
Stay tuned for "My Kitchen Garden Party" 2009 post mortem report, where I try to figure out what went wrong, what I learned, and what I'm going to do differently next year.

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