I’ve been busy the last few weeks planting veggies for fall and winter harvest. First in the ground were bush beans. I pulled the spring planted beans which had slowed down considerably, and sowed more in their place. I also sowed another short row where the bush squashes were growing. In addition to my long-time favorite Derby, I’m also trying Mascotte (a 2014 AAS Winner), Castandel, and Jade 2. I’ve got small plantings of each of the four beans, about twenty feet total, to see how they perform in the fall garden. I grew Derby last fall and it did great, so I am hoping for a repeat this year. The bean plants are growing nicely now, though bean beetles have been munching on the leaves. I was hoping the leaves would outgrow the damage but I may have to spray some pyganic to set the beetles back.
Next in the ground were radishes and turnips. I sowed them two weeks ago, and they are ready to be thinned. I’m growing several daikon radishes, including Alpine, KN Bravo and Mini Mak. I’ll use them for fermenting as well as for fresh use and in cooking. We got a good rain yesterday and all the plants have perked up nicely. Of course it will also make the weeds grow, so I need to work on them too! I planted the radishes in a triple row to maximize the space available.
I’ve got a mix of turnips planted, including ones grown only for greens like Topper and Nozawana and ones grown for the roots like Hakurei, Oasis and Mikado. I’ve also planted Scarlet Ohno Revival, which makes hot-pink roots and tasty strap-shaped leaves. I know plenty of folks who like the roots but don’t like the greens, or vice versa, but my wife and I like all parts of the humble turnip! I planted the turnips in a double row, each row about a foot apart. I’ll mulch with straw once I get them thinned out, and they should fill in the space between the rows. As you can see in the below photo, I will need to keep pointing the sweet potato vines back to keep them from running all over the turnips.
Speaking of sweet potatoes, I set the slips out in early June, and the vines are growing lush now. One variety I’m growing for the first time, Murasaki, is covered in lovely purple blooms. I’ve seen the bees working the blossoms too. I think sweet potato vines are ornamental anyway, and the blooms are an added bonus.
Last week I set out seedlings of broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi. I started these indoors back in early July, and hardened off outdoors for a few days before planting. The seedlings are still quite small, but they have taken off quickly once they got into the ground. I set these plants out in a double row too. Then I set out another row of kale and collard greens. We love our greens here at Happy Acres, and these should keep us well supplied into early winter.
I need to get this area mulched soon too, and I will likely use shredded paper and straw. I had a little damage from cabbage moth caterpillars but a spraying of Bt and neem oil took care of them. I’ll need to reapply it after the rain, since the white cabbage moths are still flying around.
The last things I planted this week are truly an experiment. I set out plants of cucumber, squash and tomatoes in a 4×8 foot bed that was vacant after I pulled up a dead squash vine. I forked in compost and organic fertilizer before planting. We’ve got plenty of pickles already, so I planted three slicing cucumbers (Diva, Corinto and 7082). I’m using remesh cages to contain the vines.
For squash I set out one plant each of the yellow crookneck Tempest and Spineless Beauty zucchini. I also set one plant of Astia zucchini in a 15 gallon Smart Pot. I’ll have to work to keep that one watered, but I have successfully grown the more compact varieties like Astia in large pots.
I set out two different short vine determinate tomatoes. I grew Red Racer last fall, and this 2018 AAS Winner gave us our last taste of salad sized tomatoes in 2017. I’m also trying Defiant, a short vine slicing tomato that is blight resistant and did well for me this spring. The main crop tomatoes are still producing but slowing down, and it will be nice if these fall planted ones give us some fruits. We don’t generally get our first frost until late October, so there is plenty of time for them to bear.
I still need to work up the cold frame beds and get more kale and kohlrabi planted there. Then it will be time to start other greens like lettuce and pak choi. I hope you have enjoyed this update from Happy Acres, and I’ll be back with more happenings soon!