Picking up lumber for the new accessible front gate and raised beds.
July 26, 2015
July 23, 2016
July 22, 2017
July 21, 2018
What’s different in 2018?
- Regular fertilizing per instructions (Espoma TomatoTone)
- Hay mulch vs red plastic
- Less pruning – only suckers below the first fruit set, and allowing multiple leaders. Also by hand, not with a clipper
- Early spray with copper fungicide (Bonide)
- Some new varieties
- Pretty good weather
You’ve harvested bunches of lovely garlic…now what? How do you prepare them for storage?
This from Karen Chrisman, Master Gardener (http://www.wmassmastergardeners.org/0708.html):
“CURING Brush the dirt off the plants and bulbs and lay them on a screen or a flat basket in a warm, dry spot with good air circulation, such as a well-ventilated room or covered porch. Most sources recommend shade for this. Curing is complete after three to four weeks when the skins are dry and the necks (stems) are tight.
The dry tops and roots can be cut off. If you further clean the bulbs by removing the outer skins, be careful not to expose any cloves. Although hardneck varieties are more common in the north, growing some softneck garlic gives you a chance to make a hanging braid, created the same way a French braid is done with hair. Braiding is easier before the stems are completely dry.
STORING Only store well cured bulbs. Garlic stores nicely under a wide range of temperatures, but produces sprouts more quickly at or above 40 degrees F. Mature bulbs store best at 32 degrees F with low humidity. Cloves should keep for six to seven months; I usually have garlic right through the following harvest.”
We grow Georgian Crystal and Russian Red, both hardneck varieties.
We still have some surplus seeds available for the asking. Here’s the list Steven has compiled:
Garlic: very good, do again
Leeks: very good, do again
Onions: sets did well, seed varieties did great, but lost a few Walla Wallas to rot, start picking them earlier
Scallions: did well, try broadcasting for higher yield or give more real estate, thin assiduously
Shallots: very good, do again
Walking Onions: did well, don’t forget to replant bulblets next year without Melissa
Broccoli: both crops were good, better color than last year
Brussels Sprouts: did better than last year, early sprouts hit with some sort of slime, later sprouts were great, some aphids in crowns at end of season
Cabbages: green variety did well (even in bed after spring broccoli), savoy variety needed a few more weeks, red variety was slow & small
Cauliflower: seedlings eaten by bunnies, reseeded & those that survived did great (were not transplanted), Snow Crown slightly earlier (and more purple) than Denali
Kohlrabi: both varieties did well, but should have been planted a week or two earlier
Carrots: 1st crop had poor germination (pelleted seed) & small carrots. 2nd crop did well (regular seed), plant in warmer soil, consider a single crop, keep volunteer dill and fennel out of bed
Celeriac: did well, find out how to get larger bulbs
Celery: very good, do again
Parsnips: yow za!
Basil: did great, even late into season, grow fewer plants? Intersperse with cilantro?
Cilantro: crowded between rocks and squash, 1st seeding failed, later seedings did well, was very hardy
Nasturtiums: did super well until hard frost, no aphids
Okra: seedlings did well, most survived transplanting, consider transplanting later or covering with plastic, experiment with pruning to increase yield
Popcorn: some bunny damage, but did reasonably well, good harvest
Rhubarb: did well, look into long-term maintenance requirements
Sunflowers: few plant with small flowers, try moving away from Jerusalem artichokes
Sweet Clover: transplanting worked well again
Arugula: crowded between rocks and squash, all plantings successful, early plantings bolted
Bok Choi: both crops did well, transplanting into failed soybean bed worked well
Collards: single row worked well
Cress: 1st planting did well, 2nd planting mostly failed, try something else next year?
Kales: did well, but only after several plantings and caging due to bunnies eating seedlings
Malabar Spinach: good seedlings this year, not as tall as last year
Lettuce: Pirat, Little Gem, Sandy and BSS/Nevada good, replace Red Salad Bowl with New Red Fire
Mustard: 1st planting mostly bombed, 2nd planting did well (lasted into November)
Perpetual Spinach: did well in bad location (lasted into November) no screening required!
Spinach: both seedlings and seeded crops did well, grew in the same space, screen cover a success
Swiss Chard: slow start, bad germination, reseeded… use Rainbow Mix next year, start in warmer soil?, fertilize more heavily, screening worked well (removed mid-season)but remay might have been better
Beans (bush): green and yellow varieties hit bad by bunnies, only Dragon Tongue did well
Beans (dried): bunnies hit seedlings hard and repeatedly, few survived to produce beans
Beans (pole): bunnies attacked seedlings (most recovered after caging), Blue Lake outperformed Kentucky Wonder
Fava Beans: did great, caught aphids early
Peas: 1st crop had poor germination, but highly productive. 2nd crop timed well, both plots produced
Soybeans: destroyed by bunnies, even with disco decorations
Eggplants: plants not robust, wormy fruit, poor yield – too much water? soil too cool?
Peppers: similar problems as eggplant, but not as bad, try growing a few in pots?
Potatoes: very good, do again
Tomatillos: did very well, some potato beetle damage, harvest later than usual
Tomatoes: not a great year, Green Zebra, Garden Treasure & Rutgers died early, Juliet & Sun Gold did well, leave more of the suckers? Try some plants in pots? Fertilize more?
General: keep volunteer dill and fennel out of beds
Beets: 1st crop (started indoors) did best, covering with screen helped, hit with ants & moss, just grow seedling crop & replant with fall peas?
Jerusalem Artichokes: did really well
Sweet Potatoes: slips started well, decent crop, but fewer full-sized tubers than usual, soil too cool? keep volunteer dill and fennel out of bed
Turnips (cooking): Golden Globe did well, Gilfeather didn’t have nearly enough time to mature
Turnips (salad): 1st crop did well, 2nd crop didn’t, try planting in onion bed with radishes next year?
Butternuts: Metro PMR wicked awesome, good spacing. Butterbush (3 sisters) bombed
Cucumbers: renegades did well, main planting did even better, picking and slicing types easier to tell apart
Delicata: best yet, good yield, less mildew but hit by borers
Pumpkins: grow Baby Bear (single plant did great), start seeds in sterile soil, be vigilant about borers
Watermelons: tasty, but stunted and unproductive
Cousa squash: wasn’t as special, and didn’t do as well, as we hoped. Just grow zucchini next year?
Zucchini: did well (one plant produced into November), 2nd crop should be started earlier (almost had time to produce)
The grass is always greener…
Our seventh year of gardening year began with the January seed meeting, followed by some excellent research for new varieties in February. March saw the first seedlings started indoors and opening day at the garden. In April, the final 2 (of 12) main garden beds were double-dug, and our first seeds (and seedlings) went into the garden.
In May, we discovered a rabbit's nest in some knee-high winter rye, causing a delay in planting our bush beans. (All bunnies successfully fledged and eventually graduated out of the garden.) For the first time, we started sweet potato slips from our previous-year's tubers and experimented with row cover on the Swiss chard.
Drought was significant for most of the season. Watering seemed relentless, especially in early summer when many young seedlings were getting established. Our carrots suffered, tomatoes were once again a target for thirsty wildlife and (for the first time) our eggplants were targeted.
June saw a bountiful crop of peas, our earliest cherry tomatoes ever, and the best-looking spring broccoli and bok choi to date. Sadly, our okra seedlings struggled… and the seedlings purchased to replace them didn't fare much better. In July, we harvested our best-ever garlic, along with our earliest summer squash and full-sized tomatoes.
August was abundant, and graced us with another beautiful crop of bok choi. Yet, we suffered disappointment when our onions died off before reaching full size. September (always our most productive month) saw the additional payoff of our pelleted seed experiment, with our best crop of parsnips to date.
October saw our last harvests of tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, and our first harvests of cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Garlic (reserved from our June harvest) was replanted in November, which also saw the last harvest for most crops. We enjoyed lettuce and arugula (under plastic) through mid-December and hardy collards and kale through the end of the year.
Garlic: best ever (see journal post)!
Leeks: did well, despite drought
Onions: less impressive than 2015 (due to drought?) – try mid-season feeding, more compost, increased spacing? Sets did well
Scallions: bad year, poor germination on both plantings – try more vigorous variety? try switching location with Shallots? add nitrogen fertilizer?
Shallots: plants from seed did better than sets – try 2 seed varieties?
Walking Onions: 2nd planting of bulblets did well (1st planting mostly failed), harvest of previous year’s plants tasty
General: buy more shade cloth to cover late-season broccoli, cabbage & cauliflower transplants
Broccoli: best early crop ever, late crop did great too (especially single plant left in nursery bed) – leave more seedlings in nursery bed next year?
Brussels Sprouts: both varieties strong (see journal post), but hit with cabbage worms and aphids
Cabbages: early crop slower & stunted w/bad cabbage worms, late crop did well, but some savoy didn’t mature – try row cover in spring? transplant savoy earlier in fall?
Cauliflower: good varieties, but small & late (needs more time than broccoli & standard cabbage) – transplant on 1st week into potato bed next year, leave some seedlings in nursery bed? start in pots?
Carrots: difficult year due to drought, early crop slow, stubby & multi-rooted, fall crop needed 2 plantings, many didn’t mature – try pelleted seed next year
Celery: best ever!
Fennel (bulb): first seeding failed, second seeding plants small again – try slow-bolt or heat-tolerant variety? try replacing with celery root?
Parsnips: best crop to date, timing good, pelleted seed rules! – thin better next year
Basil: another strong year, but with some leaf predation
Cilantro: not a good year – try a better planting schedule, more robust variety? rotate into a main bed (with arugula)?
Nasturtiums: nearly wiped out by aphids, some recovered later
Okra: seedling problems (due to transplanting and/or watering?), bought seedlings didn’t thrive either
Rhubarb: did well, except for leaf damage (by beetles?)
Sunflowers: healthier plants, less mildew, but not enough – try in new or additional location (Philosopher’s Stone)?
Sweet Clover: transplant into tomato beds worked well, collected seed planted in fall (more for spring)
Three Sisters plot: did well, pretty good balance, very good corn, good beans, squash small and leggy – try larger squash variety w/bushier habit & borer-resistant?