Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Walking through what's left in the garden
Side note, the Lady of the House is now 36 weeks pregnant, and at any time we may go radio silent for a few days to a few weeks to address, well, having a child born. But for now, we're still here, and focusing on the final stages of the garden and winter prep.
So we still have a few things on plants, and the weather has shifted from near frosts to 70 - 80 degree days. Soon we'll be looking at cold weather again, but we're taking advantage of what weather we have to let the plants do their thing a little while longer. Left as you can see some of what we still have going is eggplants, a favorite of the Lady of the House. I think I've figured out what the brown on the skin is, I think that's where the slugs have gone by and munched the outer skin. I can say that it doesn't affect the flavor, but I think every single one of our eggplants would be called an ugly even at a farmers market. That doesn't take away from the fact they taste good. I was making some rabbit pasta sauce last night, and the Lady of the House mentioned putting some in. I should have done that, but I was home late and hadn't prepared before hand for doing so, thus we'll have to add in the eggplant later, but before we freeze the sauce since eggplant doesn't really store well. We also had the surprise of having a couple cucumbers left on the vine, I'd searched a few times and could have sworn we didn't have any cucumbers left, and that the vine was on the way out. I need to get better at spotting cucumbers, and green zucchini because a number of times we've let them get too far along because we didn't see them.
On the other hand, our squash are doing great, and we know exactly where they are. I think we are at the point we should be harvesting them, I need to do a bit of research though to be sure. I don't remember if I've mentioned this before, but our squash plants have spines, and if you reach in to grab a squash not expecting it, spines are a bit of a rude awakening. Not crazy harmful, just a bit startling. A consideration I have about trellis vs non trellis next year is that the squash went everywhere. In our system we're trying to do crop rotation and make sure that crops aren't in the same area year to year so pest and parasite loads don't build in one area. The conventional wisdom is 3 - 4 years between the same type of crop being in an area. The trouble is that with the squash spreading a long, and relatively uncontrolled way they touch a lot more area than they were actively planted in. Given that it puts roots down where ever it goes, I feel that we have to not plant in those areas, which means that for the 4th year we'll have to not do squash, or (as we plan to) expand our growing area. But at a certain point we have to stop expanding our growing area which means getting better at predicting or limiting squash growth area.
Last but not least for today, our peppers are doing very well. I never seem to have photos of my favorites the Limon Peppers which are looking great. I'm really glad that our peppers are doing well, but the reason for the warning of Crabapple Farm that they do Limon peppers because they are the most productive is clear now. We were hoping to make spice mixes and save seeds for some of our stranger peppers. Unfortunately most of them set half a dozen peppers, or 3 - 4 in the case of the Czech blacks. While I am not going to begrudge the flavors and colors of the peppers, when you compare that to the 30 - 40 peppers a plant of the Limon peppers it's a very different proposition. I think we're going to do banana peppers again since that's working well, and definitely the Limon peppers, but of the others I need to look closely and try to quantify which ones are worth devoting the space to in a non hobby, fun to grow way. In the future I'm going to want to do more work with trying to do lots of cool peppers, but for now we need to maximize our yield in our limited area, and productivity over fun needs to be the focus. Next year, we'll probably do cool peppers again, but do expect us to have a more limited run of other things than this year. That will probably be accentuated by the fact that we're going to be adjusting to the whole infant/toddler (depending on how fast critter takes to his feet) thing during next spring as we're planting. It may take a lot of time and attention.