Monday, October 3, 2011

Busy Gardener

I've been way too busy to write about what I'm doing.  I've picked and preserved almost 300 lbs of tomatoes.  I've canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, marinara, mexican sauce, salsa, bbq sauce, ketchup, tomato chutney, taco sauce, tomato butter, and I'm sure something else I've forgotten.  I've also dried several batches of the tomatoes.  There are still some tomatoes on the vine and I'd like to make more salsa.  Other than that, I'm about done.

I've picked, frozen, refrigerated or dried other things, too: corn, beans, peas, carrots, onions, garlic, basil, thyme.  I didn't get much summer squash this year.  One by one, all the plants died after a slow start to begin with.  They had trouble starting due to cold weather, then cucumber beetles.  They were finally growing ok, but the squash bugs got them one by one, then some powdery mildew on the last two survivors.  I pulled them up and trashed them, as they were also being eaten by the squash bugs that wouldn't die from the organic pesticides I tried.  I guess next year I'll be more proactive with bug control!  After working to get cucumbers to grow I had two plants, until one shriveled up and died.  The last plant produced two cucumbers before its end.

The raspberries and blackberries are giving us their first fall crop of nice berries.  I got ONE honeyberry off one of the two plants--hopefully next year they will bear more!  The older strawberry plants have been producing a fall crop after a midsummer rest, but the newer plants (planted this year from starts I bought from the nursery) haven't produced at all.

I did more beans to dry this year, and they are hanging up drying--ready to shell now, I'm sure, but I'm too busy to do that just yet.  After I see how many I get and cook them, I'll decide whether I want to do that again.  They are so cheap to buy, it may not be worth the bother, unless the quality is much better.

Soon I'll be digging up potatoes and sweet potatoes.  The butternut squash is still on the vines, although I suppose I could pick it any day.  For all the vines, I only got about five delicata squash, which are picked and curing.  The buttercup didn't make it at all, I fear they also suffered from cucumber beetles and squash bugs.  Dang!

I'm already beginning to sketch out next year's garden, deciding what to grow and where to put each thing.  I'll be planting onions and garlic soon, so needed to know where I will put them.  I've planted a few things in the area that will be a fall cold frame.

Tim is beginning to construct our greenhouse, and I've begun some seedlings in the house that will go out there for the fall.  Hopefully I can grow some salad items, kale, leeks, beets and kohlrabi for an extended period of time.  Then, I should be able to start a few things early in the greenhouse, and use it for growing seedlings and hardening things off before going outside.

Whew!

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