Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Fall Garden

The garden is winding down to a close. At the end of the season, it is always nice to look back and decide what needs tweaking for next year, and what did well. 

Pumpkins did great. I had pumpkins all over the place. I also had pumpkin vines all over the place. They wanted to take over the entire garden. I was hacking back the vines and tossing them over the fence where they took root and continued producing more pumpkins. It was interesting to me that these pumpkin farms just let the pumpkins sit in the fields, and families pay money to wander through said fields and pick the pumpkin of their dreams. In my garden, pumpkins had a tendency to rot. We set them on a pallet, but still we lost about half of them.

I was discussing this situation with my daughter in law who reminisced about the time they went to one of these pumpkin farms. It was warm, and the pumpkins were literally exploding in the field. So...I guess we were lucky. Nothing exploded. 

We did have one not so funny experience with the pumpkins. Tim was headed up to the retirement property to do some recon work (deer season is coming). I asked if he would mind picking up a few pumpkins for me to deliver to my grand daughter. Later, when he was home, he said, "I got three nice pumpkins for them." I asked him where he put them, and he said that they were in the car. I said, "Let me grab those out of there." He said that he would take care of it. I thought no more about it. 

(Morgan Freeman voice-over: "But he did not take care of it." ) 

Three hot days later, the pumpkins had baked nicely, and let me tell you, the car did NOT smell like pumpkin pie. Tim was outraged. I was bewildered. "I thought you said you'd take them out of the car." and he replied, "I didn't think that it would get that hot." 

I swear. 

Anyways, carpet cleaner and febreze finally took care of the awful smell, although it took days. 

So pumpkins were a success. Well. At least the growing of them. Take-away lesson number one: figure out how to store pumpkins. Also maybe give them their own designated pumpkin patch and let them go nuts away from everything else. 

The tomatoes were a success as well, although we know now that we need to build wooden cages. The wire cages are just not sturdy enough to hold them up once they become heavy with fruit. So that's take-away number two. I found some simple ones that we can build using one bys from the Amish. They fold up for the winter, which will be very nice. 

This should at the very least, double our tomato harvest. Another thing I learned? More beefsteak tomatoes.  And...ain't NOBODY needs as many cherry tomatoes as I planted. 

I planted navy and black beans for the first time. They went nuts as well. They were fun. William enjoyed shelling them. Take away, quadruple the black beans, double the navy. 

Potatoes. For the past two years we have been planting in tires. Our friends swear by this method. They just flip the tires, harvest the potatoes, reset the tire, and shovel the dirt back in. This has not been a successful thing for us. Next year, we go back to planting them the old fashion way. We are also going to try planting our potatoes in the fall, as well as planting our onions then as well (thanks for that tip, Northsider.  It would not have occurred to me.) 

Cabbages are the unexpected success. I had planted two cabbage plants last year, but they were nibbled down. I planted two more, but they were also nibbled down. This year I planted two more, without any real hope. Quite amazingly, we did not have a problem with groundhogs this year, and the cabbages grew. So did the other cabbage plants. I had cabbage everywhere. I harvested my first one, and it was wonderful. It was amazing to me that you can leave the roots winter, and they will set up for next year all by themselves, so we will be planting them near the place where we planted 18 asparagus roots in the spring of 2020. (I am keeping the faith, Ed.) They will be part of the permanent garden. 

The pepper plants continue to produce abundantly. Chiles, jalapenos, and sweet bell peppers. The bell peppers grew chest high, which I have never seen before. They were from seeds I got from an Amish pepper, and I have more. I picked half a bushel of peppers yesterday, and as long as it doesn't frost, I will have that many again next week. 

Zucchinis were great. I think we'll plant one summer squash plant next year instead of multiples, and plant more zucchini. 

Corn was, once again, an abysmal failure. We cannot grow sweet corn to save our souls. Next year I'm going to try planting it in a square patch instead of 3 or 4 rows. 

The great vegetable harvest is winding down and the great meat harvest is gearing up. I'm pleased with the garden progress.  

Any gardening suggestions for next year? Leave a comment!



17 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

It seems that you did well and that it was an overall success.

Steve Reed said...

I am not a veggie grower, so alas, I have no tips. I've heard that pumpkins can run rampant, though, so your experience verifies that!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I don't grow veggies either but reading through what you grow you seem to have had a good year and many of the things you grow just would not do well here in the UK - oudoor tomatoes this far North for a start,

Tasker Dunham said...

We tried butternut squash for the first time this year (gardening encyclopedie for butternut squash says see pumpkins). They certainly ran rampant across the lawn but I've just pulled them up with only 3 small squash that aren't going to grow now. Compared with courgette (zuccini) which overwhelm us with fruit from July onwards.

Ellen D. said...

My brother's the gardener and I eat his extras! This year he did do a separate plot for his pumpkins and he got 27 nice pumpkins! Unfortunately, thieves made off with about a dozen but we did get to split up the rest! He just leaves them on the vine and we picked them around the end of September. These are for jack-o-lanterns and they keep 'til carved around Halloween. (we live in Illinois)...
Sounds like you are terrific gardeners! Well done!

Pixie said...

I think I'll get my husband to make me some of those wooden tomato cages as I find the same thing, the wire cages are not strong enough when there's a lot of fruit on the plant.

Sounds like you have a very productive year. My neighbor grew her pumpkins up and they hung nicely and didn't rot on the ground. Just a thought.

gz said...

Those tomato frames do look sensible..I must work out now the size we will need for the greenhouse!

The bike shed said...

I just picked our quinces - one small bush and yet kilos of fruit. I love quinces - you get a shrub, flowers and then fruit - and quince jelly is just the best!

Kelly said...

I much prefer summer squash (yellow crookneck) to zucchini, but didn't grow any this year. I use to grow tons of it and pickle it. (delicious piled on purple hull peas!)

My son-in-law had a great start with some pumpkins. I'll have to ask how that panned out...

Kay said...

I'm always so impressed with your harvest. Ouch on the hot pumpkins though.

Red said...

Interesting post. Your gardening is very different from my gardening in Red Deer Alberta. I could never plant potatoes or cabbage in the fall.

Andrew said...

There is such a thing as too many cherry tomatoes? I eat them like fruit, a huge number of them.

That's a good semi baked pumpkin story.

Debby said...

I imagine so Red. You winters are a heck of a lot colder than ours.

jeanie said...

I grew up with pumpkins stored in the downstairs bathroom - cool and shady - they lasted for ages. Very hard shells on them though.

Silverbeet and beetroot are favourites here.

Jessica said...

Sweetcorn should always be planted in blocks or it won't be pollinated as this is done by the wind. I used to grow it every year and got a great crop and I'm in Scotland.

Debby said...

Jessica, that is interesting to me. I never thought that planting 3 or four rows of corn wouldn't be okay, but then I saw Ed's popcorn patch, and it was a big block of wonderfulness. I'd made up my mind to plant it like that, next year. We've got the space to do it. Thanks for that.

Ed said...

Used to grow and sell pumpkins as a business when in high school. They certainly grow well.

I am reminded of a time my wife spilled octopus stew in the back of our van and didn't tell me about it until many hot days later. We never did get that smell fully out and it played largely in our decision to accept the insurance check after the hail storm and total it out.

We just use the wire cages and let them topple over. At least it is easy to flip the tomato plants from side to side that way to pick their fruit. Back in the day, we uses ones out of welded re-rod.

Dried beans, black and navy, are on my list of things to grow next year for the first time.