It’s been a while since I did a garden update, so today I’ll share a quick progress report on how it’s doing. We’re in the busy period where summer veggies are coming on, and it’s also time to plant the fall veggies. I’ve been planting quite a few things lately, starting with some late bush beans. These should start bearing in late September, and give us more snap beans for a month or so until the first frost.
The pole beans are starting to bear now. The vines are growing lush, what with all the rain we’ve been getting. The first to bear have been Musica and Robe Mountain, with Rattlesnake not far behind. I’ve made a note to myself to leave more space next to the peppers, tomatoes and pole beans.
I planted a double row of pepper plants next to the pole beans, and the two have grown so well it is hard to navigate between them! My scaled down garden plans for next year will idle at least 40% of the rows/beds, which will let me give more room to the veggies that need more space.
I pulled the rest of the summer squashes to make room for fall brassicas. The winter squashes are beginning to mature, and it looks like it will be a decent year for them. Trellising really pays off for the vining types, as it makes use of vertical growing space plus keeps the squashes up off the ground. This one is Thelma Sanders, an heirloom acorn squash we really enjoyed eating last year.
I have Tromba d’Albenga growing on a trellis also. I have to keep rearranging the vines to keep them on the trellis, and I may have to prune the vines eventually to keep them in check. That strategy worked well last year. Trellising also makes for straighter fruits for the tromboncino, though they can still get caught on the vines or trellis and wind up twisted.
I used a remesh tomato cage to confine the vines of the 898 butternut squash. This variety from Row 7 Seed came about when Chef Dan Barber and vegetable breeder Michael Mazourek got together a few years ago to reimagine the butternut. They weren’t kidding when they said it “fits in the palm of your hand!” They aren’t quite ready to harvest yet, but should be in about 2-3 weeks time. The cage has worked well to keep them up off the ground.
I set out transplants for collard greens last month, and they have taken off quickly. Last year I set the plants out too late and they didn’t have time to size up before cold weather set in. They are already as big in August as they were in October last year! I have high hopes for adding collards to our usual harvests of fall and winter greens. I planted a mix of heirloom varieties and modern hybrids, and we will see what performs well and how they all taste in the kitchen. I also hope to make collard kraut if there are enough leaves for it. I got this idea from an episode of A Chef’s Life that was all about collard greens.
I also set out broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi plants this week, and sowed seeds for turnips and radishes. The white material on top of the soil is a dusting of organic fertilizer I added along with more that I worked into the soil before planting.
The brassica seedlings all had 3-4 trues leaves each, and are about 5 weeks old. That’s the size I like them to be, before they get rootbound and the growth slows down. I set these out directly from the 72 cell plug flats I sowed the seeds in. I plan on setting kale out tomorrow, and that should get me caught up with my planting of fall veggies.
There’s always more to do though, and I need to work on the compost bins next. The corner posts have spread out and let the removable slats fall away, which lets the contents fall out! It doesn’t help that we have nighttime visitors rummaging through the pile, likely possums or feral cats. I spread blood meal on top of the pile which seems to deter them. What I need to do is fix one side, then shovel everything over to that side while I fix the remaining side. That should give me a good workout!
And the next big project will be getting the new greenhouse installed. It’s been ordered, and should ship in a couple of weeks. I’ve got the site cleared and in pretty good shape, so not much more needs to done until it arrives. I do need to keep the weeds beat back since some of that area will be used to make planting beds inside the new greenhouse. I have a contractor who’s going to do most of the difficult work for me, including hauling off the old greenhouse after the new one is finished. I’ll share more about that project as it progresses.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief update on the state of the garden here in August. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!