Late Summer 2019 Garden Update

Sugar baby watermelon

Though the growing season comes to a close in the next month, we get more produce in August and September than any other time of the year.

Large green cabbage

Zucchini has been producing mad as always. I purposely grew extra plants this year to feed most to the chickens.

My cucumbers and acorn squash turned out to have been mislabeled mini pumpkins. We were disappointed to not have cucumbers or acorn squash, but on the bright side we have maybe a dozen decorative pumpkins for fall.

Strawberries are still producing strong, and some of them (especially the Hula berries) have sent off a ton of runners. Next year should have a monstrous crop.

My onions are not very big yet. I harvested a few early to see and they are only a couple inches in diameter. I will probably leave them until mid fall.

Garlic produced an abundance of seeds and bulbs again. I am planting them farther apart this fall for bigger heads next year. I have probably given away a few hundred mini bulbs for others to plant.

Garlic bulbs

My second planting of artichokes has resulted in two coming up a few inches. I hope to transplant them before winter or bring them inside if necessary.

The watermelon plant has put on one small melon. I am checking daily for when it is ripe.

Tomatoes started on an Early Girl start that I bought to make sure we got tomatoes this year (I planted them too late last year to get any). My Siberian tomatoes have also put on several tomatoes, but they have yet to ripen. I plan to bring some plants inside again this winter to try to get tomatoes all year.

My avocado tree has had leaves eaten quite a bit by bugs or slugs, so I am moving it inside. I had another one sprout too in case this one does not make it.

My pomegranates are doing great planted from seed back in January. One I transplanted to the food forest and the other in a pot so I can move it inside. It got scale inside before, so moving it outside cured it.

Potatoes are mostly finished while some have sprouted for a second time. Several could have used some water to be more productive as some hardly grew any tubers. Others are still growing them and mulch has to keep being reapplied to cover them.

I harvested Chard, Kale, and Carrot seed off last year’s plants. I ended up with about a quart or two of seeds from each variety. More than enough for several years of plants.

Carrot seeds

The Blue Lake Green pole beans are producing several gallons. I did not get a trellis on them in time, so they are growing wild again like last year. Maybe next year I will finally trellis them for easier picking.

Sweet potatoes have taken over the lane I gave them. I plan to harvest them in a couple weeks then cure them. The purple organic ones grew much faster than the few white non-organic ones I planted shortly after. The plants all must be pretty happy because they have blossomed like crazy and the vines grown wide.

Sweet potatoes taking over their row
Sweet potato blossom

Lettuce has not been successful so far. I did have a couple plants bolt which I harvested seed from, but an animal or bugs/slugs keep taking new lettuce seedlings out faster than I can plant them. I have planted several in our raised bed instead to give them a chance this winter. I also planted some cornsalad greens to try.

We have harvested a couple cabbage already. One was a giant. Peppers have also been producing like crazy. I used several Big Berthas for some fajitas.

Peppermint has filled my largest pot. I plan to transplant some into an area where it can take over and keep some in the pot as well.

My corn did not get enough water, so they are all stunted. I did get several small ears though. One runner bean came up of the several I planted again because they lacked water. I hope to setup a much more productive irrigation system next year for my garden to prevent the irrigation issues.

The food forest gave us a couple apples, raspberries, and currants this year. The pink flesh apple we tried so far was not quite ripe, so we are letting the other couple ripen up a bit. Otherwise it tasted like a Granny Smith.

Pink Pearl Apples

My grape vines and kiwi have taken off. Fig trees that I thought were dead have put on quite a few leaves for only being around 6 inches tall. My honey berries are not looking too good, so I may have to transplant them.

A deer got into my food forest due to the electric wire being grounded out at one point to a metal fencepost. They pruned my apple trees, mulberry tree, ate a few first year apples, and ate all the leaves but 4 from my cherry tree. It has since put on more leaves, so I am hopeful they all will be fine.

The Yacón and Hopniss are growing about as tall as me. I am waiting for frost before clearing out the forest of weeds that have also overtaken the area. Then I can also check out the tubers these two plants have left. I decided to try a more popular and savory relative to Yacón, Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) and have planted 5 of these in pots for now. I plan to move them far away from the garden when transplanting to allow them to take over a whole area. Even if we do not enjoy them, I have read that chickens do. One small tuber can produce 25+ pounds of tubers in a single year from what I have read. So this is a great survival food as well.

Now we are planting the winter garden. More on that soon.

Early Summer 2019 Food Forest Update

The food forest has grown some. After late frosts, one of my mulberry trees and my Hardy kiwi lost their leaves for good. I got replacements for both and the replacements are doing well. My black and red currants put on some fruit while my honeyberries have quit for the year. Raspberries are slow as they are just getting established. I have gotten maybe a dozen berries from them so far.

I still have not finished mulching the food forest. I am low on wood chips, and have considered buying my own chipper. But for now I am focusing on mulching thickly around the trees themselves and weed whacking the weeds down in the rest of the area.

I am still waiting on the thimbleberries to get tall enough to put on fruit. While pulling up some weeds around them, my dog and I got into an underground wasp nest. Only each got stung once or twice though. I might wait until fall before venturing over to this part of the food forest again.

One of my peach trees seems to have gotten a fungus or bacteria, so I might spray it as peaches usually die around here if not sprayed.

Hopniss is growing well. The yacon is getting big. Both are growing among weeds as I did not have enough mulch at the time. Come fall, I plan to get rid of the weeds when I do not have to worry about hurting the good plants.

My grapes are around a foot or two tall now. I hope they get tall enough for the trellis this year.

Two of my apple trees have a few apples in them. We are excited to try the pink fleshed apple especially.

Some bugs are eating some pear leaves.i hope they recover. Some small worms we’re eating some cherry leaves. I picked them off.

Hopniss growing up a basic trellis among weeds

Yacón growing among weeds

Spring 2019 Garden Update

With my perennials and biennials, my garden grows at least something year round. But it is not until late spring and summer that the garden truly comes alive.

Strawberries starting to ripen

Strawberries are starting to ripen though ants have beat me to a couple. My partial shade strawberries are late as normal, but my full sun patch I planned last summer have already grown some berries.

Purple Majesty potatoes

My potatoes I planted last fall have all come up. I planted some more varieties a few months ago. My kale, chard, arugula, and onions are all bolting.

Chard bolting
Assorted greens from seed

My asparagus have yet to show signs of life. My peppers starts are doing pretty well. We also purchased some curled parsley, thime, and basil starts along with a new variety of kale and red cabbage.

Red cabbage starts

Some late frosts set my potatoes and food forest back as well as killed my basil start.

Everything is slowly recovering from the frosts in the food forest. My grape and kiwi vines just barely have leaves. Same with my mulberry trees. The other trees seem to be doing well. My gooseberry bush is leafing out. Red and Black currants are just forming. Honeyberries have been ripening already despite the frosts.

Hopniss and one of my yacón have come up.

Though I thought all my thimbleberry transplants were dead, a couple just sent up new shoots from the roots. Wild strawberries are just ripening. No cattail pollen yet, but salal and Oregon grape blossoms are forming.

Lettuce from last summer

I planted zucchini this week with cucumbers. Some of my artichoke starts did not make it through the transplant shock, so I will have to plant more from seed.

I am planting corn, quinoa, beans, and squash in the drain field this year. We will see if it gets enough water to produce a good harvest.

That is all for now. This summer should be our biggest and most successful garden yet. 🥕