September came and went without a single update here. We have nearly a dozen pumpkins sitting in the basement waiting for halloween. I thought this one was all the way orange — the bottom half was hidden in a thick jungle of leaves.
We have been using basil throughout the summer, but it was finally time to pick it all. Well, half of it. The other half ended up being lemon basil which isn’t what I wanted for pesto.
I picked all the leaves off and blended them with a little bit of olive oil and a little bit of salt. It’s delicious! We didn’t add the garlic or pine nuts yet, since it was headed for the freezer and the nuts supposedly don’t freeze well.
For a while we’d pick about this many tomatoes twice a week. We only got one ear of corn.
The garden is now all but done. There are some big fat mortgage lifter tomatoes still green on the vine but it’s anyone’s guess if they’ll ripen before the frost gets them.
Mostly I’ve just been studying and working. I did take two days last week and went duck hunting for the first time ever. I didn’t get any ducks, but I had a nice time. I went up to the Carlos Avery wetlands management area near Wyoming, MN. Duck season re-opens next week, hopefully I’ll get a chance to go out again and actually get something.
As part of getting back on top of my gardening, I took a tour of the garden tonight and looked closely at how everything is doing. Despite my neglect, some things are doing pretty well. Here’s the rundown.
Apples: The bagged apples that didn’t fall of are doing well. Looking nice and bug-free and growing well.
Basil: The basil didn’t sprout after planting the first time, but the second round of planting has sprouted strong
Beans: The pole beans I originally planted are doing great, and the bush beans planted recently have sprouted too
Squash: I hadn’t intended to plant any squash this year, but ended up with several volunteers from the compost. They appear to be doing well, and have no signs of vine borers yet.
Beets: I’m nearly positive that the beets have grown since we thinned them. They seem to be happy about the new space
Blackberries: We don’t have a lot of blackberry blossoms, but the bushes have grown a lot this year and the blossoms that did appear have large green berries in them.
Carrots: The carrots are doing OK since being thinned.
Horseradish: The horseradish is thriving. I look forward to making homemade horseradish sauce next year.
Marigolds: Planting marigolds instead of strawberries was a good choice for the driveway strip was a good choice. They’re hearty and don’t mind little feet and bikes running over them
Onions: Adequate growth
Peas: We’ve been eating peas as fast as we can. The new peas we planted after weeding have sprouted.
Radishes: The seeds for these radishes came from an emergency seed pack from 1996. They were packed in an airtight #10 can. Someone gave them to us when they cleaned out their basement.
Raspberries: It looks like this will be a banner year for the raspberries. Hooray!
Tomatoes: The tomatoes seem happy to be out of their starting cups and into the dirt.
Peppers: (No picture) Caroline and I planted the peppers outside last night.
Wildflowers: Many of them are blossoming. The ones that haven’t blossomed might be weeds. I can’t tell.
The Bad Stuff
Every year of gardening has taught me about one more type of bug or pest that will undo my hard work. Here’s what’s been a problem so far this year.
Black Rot on Our Grapes
Our grapes are looking sick. About 1/3 of the bunches look like this.
Turns out that it’s Grape Black Rot (Guignardia bidwelii). The fruit rots and turns into hard shriveled black things called mummies. According to this PDF from OSU if I trim the bad bunches from the vine, that will reduce the spread. The UMN says “Many organic growers utilize fixed copper or sulfur products to control black rot. Chemical methods include ferbam, mancozeb, captan, or nova.” with notes that the organic methods are much less effective.
I’ll head to Bachman’s tomorrow and see what they have and recommend.
The spinach isn’t as good as it was last year. There are lots of yellow leaves, and it has gone to seed already. The leaves still taste good, but there aren’t nearly as many as there were last year.
Strawberries Under Attack
Something has been eating our strawberry plants. Google suggests that it might be slugs or snails. I’ll probably pick up some slug/snail killer when I go to Bachman’s tomorrow.
And with that, I think I’m back on top of what’s going on in my garden. There’s lots to do (more weeding, for instance), but at least I know what’s going on, and knowing is half the battle.
I was gone last week at a conference for work, and I feel like the garden is getting away from me! There is weeding, thinning, planting and other work to do as soon as possible. It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks here.
I love horseradish sauce on my meat sandwiches, and decided that it would be a good perennial addition to the garden. Caroline picked up a horseradish root at the grocery store, and the boys helped me plant it in the garden the next day. I forgot to take pictures before and during planting. The root was about 1 foot tall and already had some small green buds on top. as can be seen in the picture.
We planted the same Purple King pole beans as in previous years. The boys helped me take back the bean patch from the creeping charlie and cover that had popped up this spring. We only finished planting this one little strip so far. I’ll get to the rest this week.
The garlic I planted last week is now 3 or 4 inches tall. Hopefully it will get along well with the rhubarb.
These sunflowers sprouted from the seeds I collected from the sunflowers we grew last year. The seeds seemed so small I wasn’t sure if I had collected them too soon, so I planted extras in hopes that some would sprout. I’ll need to thin these out this week so they’re not competing with each other.
Spinach and Peas
The spinach and peas are both coming along. The spinach is coming in nice and thick.
Not all of the peas sprouted (possibly due to squirrels?) so I’ll sow some more pea seeds in the bare spots this week.
One of our rhubarb plants is flowering. This fall I’ll collect its seeds and start them inside next spring. Most rhubarb related websites seem to discourage planting rhubarb from seed saying that most rhubarb these days are hybrids and that the seeds won’t be true to type. That may be the case but I’m willing to see what will sprout. I’m not picky about the color or size of the rhubarb, as long as it tastes good. This rhubarb plant was grown from seed and the stalks are good. Hopefully its seeds will also produce something good.
If your rhubarb is flowering and you aren’t collecting seeds, you should cut the flowering stalk so that it doesn’t waste energy on flowers and seeds. Cutting the flowering stalk will give you more edible stalks.
For the curious, the rhubarb flowers smell like some kind of unpleasant industrial soap.
Tomatoes and Peppers
The tomatoes and peppers are still under lights in the basement. The tomatoes are starting to reach the lights. I need to start hardening them off so they can live outside, or raise the lights some more. 4 of the 18 tomatoes didn’t sprout.
6 of the 18 peppers are coming up. This week I will replant in the cups where they didn’t come up yet.