Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Today it's 68

Now that it seems like Mother Nature is pushing fall weather upon us, I'm starting to reflect on this season's gardening exploits. It was a funny year (again) with an early summer, a VERY hot July, and almost no rain. Now we're near the end of August and it feels more like the end of September. It's been rainy, windy, and no warmer than 70 the past two days. I can't help but think about pumpkins. In fact, I think they're going to come sooner than expected this year as well. When we were out and about looking for cars last week (actually two weeks ago) we passed several pumpkin fields and in all of them I saw orange peeking out from beneath the leaves.

My own squash pursuits failed again this year. First the squash vine borers chewed up my plants and then an army of pill bugs took over the destruction. I pulled out my last plant last week and called it quits. No home grown squash for me. I will need to move my operation to some fresh land for that dream to come true.

Tomatoes have also proven to be a struggle this year. Hot and dry conditions in July really beat up my plants. I got a few Mortgage Lifters a month ago and then the plants began dropping their buds. Now everything is rebounding slightly, but the cool weather may prevent them from doing very much. And once again, the cherry tomato situation has been a disappointment: very few buds have survived and when they do turn into a tomato, they ripen so sporadically that my harvest is usually 1 or 2 half inch fruits at a time. I should also mention that a nice Boxcar Willie tomato that I was waiting for to ripen was stolen at some point. Since I'm doing a little complaining, I mind as well mention that I have some late blight popping up now with a couple green fruits rotting from the bottom up. Two years ago I had more cherry tomatoes than I knew what to do with. Those were the days.

I should mention that the eggplant gave me two delicious little eggplants last week that we cooked up for dinner so it isn't all bad news. The hot peppers are also doing fine and I've managed to give away many of the ultra hot specimens. I've got a happy looking escarole and two happy musk melon plants. Last week I threw in a row of cucumber seeds and peas under the trellis. Maybe I'll get something out of them before frost. Another round of radish and bush beans also went in. I might try some more lettuce if this cool rain continues.

My plans for the fall are to amend the soil and to see if I can't find a way to treat the pill bug situation. I will try to plant garlic at the end of November for next season but other than that, the soil will be thoroughly worked and improved in time to rest over winter. Next year I might do all flowers over the summer. I seem to have the most luck with spring vegetables anyway. We'll see. If I get an impressive late season harvest of tomatoes I might change my tune.
Cha Cha Hard at Work

Eggplants, Peppers, Greens, and Basil

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