Gardening. End of the Summer thoughts.

6 08 2013

IMG_1633

Our very first harvest! Promising!

I started my garden in May, a couple of killer frosts came by and hurt some plants. So I started over with those plants. As a first time gardener, I am learning that gardening is dynamic, that you can continue working on it through the summer for a fall crop, and I really like that.

harv2

One of our midsummer harvests. That night dinner was awesome.

So, what have I learned from this season? Some plants are extremely sensitive to low temps, it does not need to freeze for them to be lost. Okra and cucumbers are in this group, next year I’ll wait until the temperatures stabilize, even if that means waiting “too long”. Likewise, high temperatures can be damaging for plants, even those that like it hot. We had a two week period of very high temperatures that did not even let go through the night (86 F at 9 PM!?) and this stopped production, blossoms fell, new flowers did not show up. Now that the summer is cooling off my plants are starting to make some more flowers. It might be profitable to find a mixture of varieties that can tolerate different temperatures in the future, to get fruit all through the season.

zuc

Diseased zucchini, powdery mildew… boo!

I am disappointed at my zucchini. I’ve heard so much that you get so tired of eating zucchini, that they produce so much! That I was really excited about eating zucchini all summer long. Sadly, I only got two very small fruits. Looking around the other plots, they also got either very little or nothing. Asking other gardeners in Pittsburgh, they agree, this year they didn’t get anything much. I guess it was either the very high temperatures or the too abundant rains we got in mid summer. On top of that, my plant got a case of powdery mildew, so I removed it to free up some space.

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Bacterial wilt. My cucumbers never filled in.

My cucumbers also didn’t fare well. The first plant got killed by a late frost, the second had a slow start because of low temperatures, but then it started to grow nicely, set blooms and produce fruit. But then it started to wilt, and no matter how much I’d water it, it would wilt again after not too long. I looked around and again I saw that other plants in other plots were suffering a similar fate. It happens that they got bacterial wilt, likely transmitted by cucumber beetles. So I removed that plant too.

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Cucumber beetles. Pretty, but harmful.

The tomatoes were an interesting bunch. I got an Early Girl, a Patio and a grape variety. Though the Patio and Early Girl started to bloom and produce fruit at about the same time, the Early Girl was ripe and ready sooner, the fruits are good, sweet tasting, they mature quite uniformly and are juicy! The plant is a little sick to judge for those yellowish leaves, though. But it is a plant I would consider planting again. The Patio variety was disappointing. The plant looks robust and beautiful, but it produced very little and small fruit, and the fruit bruises easily, I’ve even had a couple of tomatoes that rotted before being ripe! I understand its charm is that it can be planted in a container, but I will probably not plant it again. The grape tomatoes are still blooming and going strong. I love to have a bunch in the kitchen to snack here and there while I cook… my little guilty pleasure 🙂 Next year I would like to experiment with a second crop to have some fall tomatoes too, I don’t think I have enough time this year to do so.

Now I am about to plant my fall harvest. I am excited about it and I hope it works out well. We got some lettuce (which did really bad through the summer indoors and outdoors), spinach, arugula, radish and peas. So much learning to do! This is seriously a lot of fun!

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22 09 2013
Gardening: preparing my fall garden | Sensibly Green

[…] dropped, days became shorter and plants started to struggle, I decided that it was time to plan the fall garden. So I set to research about what grows in colder temperatures, what do we like and what seeds I […]

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