Welcome to the first day of Fall! I am typing this as a steady rain is falling, and it really feels like Fall has arrived here in Minnesota. We have cooler temperatures, leaves have started to change, and farmers have started harvesting standing corn in their fields. Can you believe it? Where has our growing season gone? Unfortunately, that means I am way behind on a number of things including my Harvest and Putting Up efforts, preparing beds and planting fall greens (yikes, it hasn’t happened at all). Time does not seem to be on my side, but these are thoughts are for other future blog posts. My focus on this blog post is another garden update!
I will have two Garden Updates this week: the main garden and the Hybrid Rain Gutter Grow Systems/Wicking Beds. I want to separate the two because these posts get pretty large, and I want to use a lot of my photos that I have been taking. As always, you can get almost daily garden updates on Instagram, which feeds Twitter and Facebook, and I have done a couple garden updates on Periscope as well. Please check those out.
Garden Bed 1
Garden Bed 1 continues to produce cucumbers and tomatoes – 9/23/16
At the start of the 2016 season, Garden Bed 1 had four varieties of tomatoes, red onions, basil and cucumbers in it. This is my longest bed, and it has traditionally been my tomato planter. As the season wore on, some plants were removed due to blight (basil) or critters (red onions). More recently, I have been harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers out of this bed, and it has been productive. I have a ton of tomatoes on the vine yet, and I can’t wait until they ripen up. Below is an assessment of the plants in this raised bed.
Opalka Roma Tomatoes
I have harvested 24 Opalka Roma tomatoes this year
3 plants continue to produce a lot of fruit
The transplanted volunteer is growing well I am not sure we will get much fruit before the first frost in a month
Amish Paste Tomatoes
I have harvested 9 Amish Paste Tomatoes this year
These plants are my tallest plants and are over 13 feet tall
San Marzano Roma Tomatoes
I have harvested 7 San Marzano Tomatoes this year (from all over the garden)
Plants have several clusters of tomatoes; they just need to ripen up!
I have harvested 28 Cherry Tomatoes this year (from all over the garden)
Good production for being in the shade; I have taken some lower hanging fruit from this plant
I have harvested 6 cucumbers from these vines, and they are still producing cucumbers
Still not as productive as the cucumbers in the wicking bed, but the plants look more healthy at this stage of the season
Surprise! Onions popped up in this bed once the pine tree was removed from the yard
Garden Bed 2
The chaos of Garden Bed 2 seems to be working; tomatoes and beans are working together to produce! 9/23/16
Garden Bed 2 is a mish-mash of climbing plants including pole beans and tomatoes. Pole bean plants continue to grow like crazy, and they have been productive! Properly managed, pile beans are clear winners in the garden and will produce and grow like crazy. It is interesting to see the tomato plants interact with the beans, and they actually are doing quite well and are quite mixed up with the bean plants. Below is a summary of this garden bed.
I have harvested some beans from these plants; not as productive
These plants get lost under the pole bean jungle
I have harvested 3 pounds of beans so far this season
I have another 3-4 pounds ready for harvest in the next day or so
These will be productive until the frost in mid-October
I have harvested a cluster or two from the tallest cherry tomato plant (part of the 28 cherry tomatoes harvested this season)
I have two cherry tomatoes ringing this bed
These cherry tomato plants are very productive
One Amish Paste tomatoe was planted on the north side of the bed
I have harvested 1 Amish Paste tomato from this plant (part of the 9 tomato count)
Not as productive due to being shaded by pole beans
San Marzano Roma Tomatoes
Two San Marzano Roma Tomato plants outside of the raised bed
They were planted late, but have tomatoes on the vine
Garden Bed 3
Garden Bed 3 is empty for the most part. The potatoes and tomatoes from the bins have encroached on Bed 3. 9/23/16
Garden Bed 3 has not performed as I anticipated. This is my fault since I should have installed a fence around the perimeter of the bed. I have not planted anything new in this bed, even though it would have been great to plant greens and install a hoop over it. Maybe next year! Here is a summary of this garden bed and bins next to this bed.
Two voluneteers growing in the bed
All onions have been removed from this bed
Transplanted late after the garlic was harvested
Rabbits have eaten most of the leaves on these plants
Starting to bear fruit; we’ll see if I get any from this bed
I have a bin with two tomato plants in it. I do not know the variety
Both plants are growing well after being tied to a conduit
I am experimenting with a Pinterest watering method
I have one bin with red potatoes
I do not know how many potatoes are growing in this bin
We have had a lot of rain; chances are good the potatoes might be rotting in the soil
Garden Bed 4 and 5 and Vertical Garden
Garden Beds 4 and 5 are doing quite well with onions and parsley. The vertical garden is empty for now. 9/23/16
Downy mildew wiped out my basil plants in August, and I did not come back around to replanting the Vertical Garden. That is my fault. I just had too much stuff happening. Based on some decisions Julie and I have been making about our future in this rental house, I will be using the Vertical Garden a lot next year. When I say a lot, I do mean A LOT. I also made a decision to plant greens indoors, so I will move ahead with that plan.
Beds 4 and 5 do have plants in them. I planted parsley in Bed 4, and it has gone crazy! I had a great harvest from this bed, and I cut it down the soil. The parsley laughed at my efforts, and it is growing back rapidly. I am pretty pleased about that. Some of my urban gardener followers asked how I was able to grow so much parsley, so I will be writing a post about my parsley experience this year.
Bed 5 had basil until blight hit. I was frustrated with critters digging up my onions this season, so I took what was left and planted them into Bed 5. I have been pleasantly surprised that they have started to grow again, and they look pretty healthy. I am pretty excited about that!
Plants are extemely productive and healthy
Cut them down, and they come back stronger! I am pretty pleased so far!
Transplated remaining onions into this bed
Started to grow again!
The zucchini in the Guerilla Garden were spared from squash borers; can they be spared from the frost? 9/23/16
The three zucchini plants in the guerrilla garden took off once I eliminated the squash borers. All three plants look really great, but I have not harvested any zucchini yet. The female blossoms are just not being pollinated and are rotting on the vine. Friends like Pam at Growing North and The Garden Voyeur have both recommended hand pollination. I have never tried it. However, it is late in the fourth quarter, and I would love to grow some of my own zucchini. Let’s see what happens!
Male and female zucchini buds. I will have to make the love connection. 9/23/16
Here is a summary of the three zucchini plants in the guerrilla garden.
Three plants planted in this space
Added compost around the stalks on 8/15/16 in an effort to assist the zucchini to grow new roots
Female blossoms have not been properly pollinated; time to hand pollinate!
I posted a Garden Update video on the Small Scale Life YouTube Channel (which you should subscribe to and share with your friends), but you can watch them right here.