Garden Update 08/22/15

Tomatoes in the Small Scale Gardening raised beds
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Tomatoes in the Small Scale Gardening raised beds

Garden Update 8/22/15

August is always a great time of year for gardeners: the fruits of late winter and early spring planning, cultivating and planting come to bear.  All kinds of vegetables ripen and are ready for harvest, and that usually means that gardeners have more produce than they know what to do with.  Food preservation skills come into play as we scramble to can, dehydrate and freeze everything in sight.

August has been a different experience this year at Small Scale Gardening.  Even though it was one of the top items on my 2014 Lessons Learned, many of my beds were planted much later than I wanted and planned due to circumstances outside of my control.  For instance, I didn’t plant my peppers until July, and they have yet to bear much of anything (the cayenne peppers are actually starting to come now).

“Life will throw a sucker punch at you sometimes; you have to roll with it” – Tom at smallscalegardening.com

Garden Update

Garden Update - Overview of the Garden

Overview of the Garden on 8/22/15

For this Garden Update,  I will talk about each of the raised garden beds and how the plants are doing in each bed.

Potato Patch

Raised Bed with Potatoes

Raised Beds with Potatoes on 8/22/15

I built this raised bed and planted these seed potatoes late in the season (planted on 7/25/15 to be exact).  The seed potatoes took off and are growing like weeds!  I have a 3’x8’x1′ raised bed (my biggest bed) and two re-purposed bins.  For the raised bed, I made three long mounds and planted the seed potatoes in those mounds.  In the bins, I spaced out the seed potatoes like I did last year.  I have been pleased so far with these plants, and we’ll see how they produce in early October.  I do know that there are potatoes growing away under the soil, and they look good!

Climber Bed

Raised Bed with Beans and Cucumbers

Raised Bed with Beans and Cucumbers on 8/22/15

The climber bed has been interesting to watch this year.  I originally planted this bed with sugar snap peas, green beans, and cucumbers.  I will talk about each plant variety below:

  • Sugar Snap Peas – I was hoping to get a decent crop of sugar snap peas this year, and I was disappointed with their lack of production.  I got a few peas, and I promptly dried the pods and harvested the peas for seed.  I will try again this fall.
  • Green Beans – I feel like Jack and the Beanstalk: the pole beans have climbed into the lilac and started climbing higher.  I think I have bean plants that are 14′ tall (I posted a picture of that on Instagram today)!  Even though these plants are so tall, I would prefer to have shorter, more productive plants.  I have only picked a handful of beans so far this season.
  • Cucumbers – I have been impressed by the sheer number of female blossoms on these plants, but I have not been impressed by the uneven growth!  I have a couple cucumber plants that are over 7′ tall, but there are some that are only 6″ tall.  The frustrating thing is that all of these were planted at the same time!  I have harvested and eaten some cucumbers already, but I would like to make some more pickles this year from these plants.

Tomato Box

Tomatoes and Onions

Tomatoes and Onions growing on 8/22/2015

The longest box in the garden has tomatoes (again) and onions this year.  Here is a summary of how those plants are doing:

  • Tomatoes – Once again, my tomatoes are growing like mad and exceeding my expectations.  Several of the plants are over 7′ tall, and there are good amounts of tomatoes growing.  I have 4 varieties of tomatoes growing right now: Amish Paste (heirloom), Opalka Roma (heirloom), Endless Summer (hybrid) and Summer Salsa (hybrid).  All are indeterminate and all have tomatoes on the vine.  As I discuss in my videos and in one of my more popular posts on pruning tomatoes, I hard prune my tomatoes.  That means I am remove any low branches up to the first fruit (and I go a little beyond that).  That forces growth to be focused on the fruit.  I want productive plants, not bushy ones!
  • Volunteer Tomatoes – I do have two volunteer tomato plants that started growing.  One is along the Tomato Box and looks like a Summer Salsa type tomato.  The other is along the Climber Box and appears to be a cherry tomato plant.   Both are bearing a lot of tomatoes, so I can’t wait for them to ripen!
  • Onions – I planted three rows of yellow onions in the bed this year, and they grew fairly well.  I am about to the end of the line with most of them, so I will be harvesting them soon.  Recently, I did plant some new red onions in a new row in the middle of the bed, and they are doing quite well!

Peppers

Peppers on 08/22/15

Peppers on 08/22/15

For those of you that have been following me this year, I have had my share of trouble with peppers!  I had trouble getting them to grow, and when I tried to warm up seedlings his winter by putting them in the oven, someone turned on the oven and cooked them.

Nevertheless, I planted peppers in late June/early July, and they have been ridiculously stubborn!  I have 7 green pepper plants that are finally starting to grow, 3 cayenne peppers that are doing quite well, 2 wax peppers that are growing slowly and 4 jalapeno peppers that are the slowest growing plants I have ever seen.  I am not sure what I will harvest this year, but I will remain patient.  I am hopeful I will get something this year.

Garden Update Videos

While my last post on the blog about Using Eggshells in the Garden was dated July 10, 2015, I have been creating weekly video updates and posting them on the Small Scale Gardening YouTube Channel. It has been a learning experience with the new GoPro I received for Father’s Day.  I have been experimenting with the device and creating a ton of videos, but I have found that the microphone does not work well.  If you are a GoPro geek like I am becoming, you will notice that there isn’t a lot of talking with cool GoPro videos.  You’ll get cool action with sweet music.  I have been experimenting, and I am starting to get into a good rhythm for making these videos work.

Due to pressures at home and work, I have not been diligent in posting these videos here on the blog.  That was dumb of me, and I apologize.  I am going to do much better about that.

I have pulled together my videos for August and July and posted them here.  In separate blog posts, I will write about the Hybrid Rain Gutter Grow System and my new Guerrilla Garden.

Your Turn

Freshly harvested tomatoes and cucumbers

Tomato and Cucumber Harvest on 8/22/15

I know I am posting a lot of videos here at the end of this Garden Update, but it is fun to see my progression in the garden and with the quality of the videos (at least in my opinion).  I would love to hear what you think of these updates.  What is working?  Does the new format work (i.e., an introduction with me, video without narrative, and closing discussion with me)?  Let me know what you think.

How is your garden going as we close August?  What is your plan for the remainder of the year?  Will you have a fall crop?  This will be a topic of a future post (considering I feel like I am a month behind right now)!

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4 Comments on "Garden Update 08/22/15"

  1. Great update on your small garden! Your beds look like they are thriving!! I better get out and take some pictures today if the rain stops!

    • Thanks, Saucy! I enjoy your blog as well (http://saucyroots.com/), and I will be trying your cucumber salad recipe as soon as I get (pick or acquire) some more cucumbers. Check out the recipe here, everyone: http://saucyroots.com/2015/08/cucumber-salad-pinterest-spicy-danger/.

      How is your garden doing these days? I honestly feel like it is early July rather than almost September. Just started planting too late…. I am hopeful everything will ripen up before the frost hits in October!

      Tom

      • Oh the garden was a challenge this year with over 12 different squash plants we ended up creating a couple of new ones without knowing it! It’s all fun though.

        Our season for growing usually starts in May and on occasion we can get it to last until late October. So much for HOLY OCTOBER being the time of rest and parties! 🙂 We will be having our “harvest” party anyways around Oct. 2nd this year so watch the blog we will post photos and a story behind the making of a Dragin’ Slayin’ Hoshana!

        Thank you for following our blog. We are having a great time writing about our challenges in life and the challenges of gardening in a small space. That too will be changing if I can get my hands on the rest of the five acres!! Muahahaha! (insert evil and conniving laugh here!!)

        Hope you enjoy that cucumber salad! We love it!!

  2. Very cool, Saucy! We do not have a big harvest party, but like last year, we are having a Homemade Salsa Contest. This will be the 2nd Annual Small Scale Gardening Salsa Contest, and this year we have 5 entries so far. I am putting my crown on the line and a $25 cash prize up for grabs too. One of the entries is a “professional” homemade salsa maker, so this will be good. Can I beat this guy?

    I am happy to pass along great information, especially from people like you that are doing cool and fun stuff. I will be trying your cucumber salad once some of these little cukes get bigger. I had one of size, but I threw that on a salad yesterday. You just have to have enough to make it worth the time to do a batch!

    Maybe I can send you some questions and we can post an article up here that describes your garden and what you are up to. I think that would be fun. We can cross post it! Just a thought!

    Take care! Thanks for interacting!

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