More of this, less of that.
Posted on August 25, 2010
Leave a Comment
I have lots of cucumbers right now – long english, pickling, and round lemon cukes – but very few tomatoes ripening in time for the perfect late-summer salad! This really hasn’t been the best tomato year, nor am I really an expert at them in the first place (I’m starting to agree with my neighbour that they are more trouble than they are worth to grow).
This time of year in the garden is really one of reckoning, though isn’t it? As I walk through every couple of days pulling up old plants, harvesting food, keeping an eye out for the fall aphids – I’m mentally noting failures and successes – making a catalog of what I won’t do next year, and what I’ll do more of.
For the record, here’s some of what I won’t do again:
- Edamame. According to at least one person, this needs a special kind of bacteria to grow well. Apparently we don’t have it in our yard and these are the saddest bean plants I’ve ever seen.
- Peppers without cold frames. I put some in the cold frame, and some in the regular beds thinking that my raised beds would be warm enough for them. No way! My cold frame peppers are putting out fruit, but nothing at all has happened in my garden beds. We just don’t get enough heat for long enough most years.
- Strawberry spinach. I really didn’t like the taste of this, it’s too bitter.
- Upside down tomatoes. While it’s true that this was the the first plant to produce fruit and then ripen, the limited space in the upside down tomato bag means that the plant doesn’t put very much fruit out at all. Plus, it looked to me like the plant was being tortured, and the damn thing dries out no matter how much you water it so the leaves look pretty punky by July.
- Too much kale. I’m not sure why I planted three kale plants when I know only one is necessary. But there you go. Next year I’m planting less kale.
- Zuchinni. I only planted one plant (a space saver which I love), but it hasn’t done particularly well because I’ve got it in a large planter bucket and I think it wants more nutrients. I’ve gotten a few fruits from the vine, but otherwise been beset with blossom end-rot. My patty-pan squashes have more than made up for that though!
- Melon. Even in a cold frame, my melon did nothing in my north-facing yard. To be expected I suppose.
So as not to be too negative, here’s what I would do more of (or some of).
- Corn. It’s space intensive but really rewarding and I’m sorry I didn’t plant any this year. I’ve decided to clear a portion of one of my beds for a small corn patch last year. I’m also going to plant some winter squashes in there since I’m not sure about the location I planted them this year in terms of hours of sunlight.
- Beans. More green, yellow and purple beans! And I’m going to plant some pole beans in front of my house out of the porch box to see if I can get a nice effect on the front porch.
- Fava Beans. More space for favas!
- Garlic. Tons more space for garlic!
As usual, I’ve got more plans to move things about – to create a single raspberry zone, and a blueberry zone back where the top-bar hive is going to go – and I’d like some kind of greenhouse against the side of the studio where my herb garden currently sits. This would help with overwintering the herbs and also give me a place for the pepper pots. I’m experiencing the gardener’s frustration of getting to the end of August with all sorts of thoughts about what next, only to have to wait another eight months to start experimenting grandly again – though I’ve still got to see how the winter veggies are going. I’m putting a few more turnips and radishes in this week, some more greens and scallions. It’ll just have to hold me over until I can start the front yard project, which I’m hoping will happen in October. More on that possibility later!