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