I haven’t posted in a while. The last couple of weeks have been really rough. The last 10 months have been really rough, but since July 4th it has been impossible. I don’t like to talk about work here. This is part of my escape from it. But since September 2009 they have been working me 6 different shifts, often in the same week. I could have been going to work at any time of the day or night. My circadian rythm has been totally screwed. I am always tired, and I never sleep right anymore. Hopefully that is coming to an end.
I also haven’t posted anything on the garden in quite a while because we’ve been neglecting it. Between my work schedule and a dozen other things going on (but mainly my work schedule), we just haven’t been able to get out there as much as we would like. We can only garden during the day, if it isn’t raining. But I can do the activist stuff any time of the day or night, from any location where I can access a computer. That’s why I was able to do the activist stuff even when I couldn’t get to the garden. And when we did get to the garden I didn’t take pictures as much as I should have.
The first thing we harvested were the radishes back in June. We left them in a little too long, so they got hotter than normal and were a little fibery. But they were certainly OK. We felt good to be harvesting something. If we had done all of that initial work only to have it go to hell we would have felt really bad.
We planted two more rows of radishes which we will hopefully harvest in the next week or two. We won’t leave those in as long. But with the first set we almost couldn’t distinguish the radishes from the weeds. In fact when I cultivated the rows to plant more radishes I found some in the ground that we had missed.
Back in May the orange pepper was doing well. It even produced a couple of peppers which did turn colors, but never got big enough to be good. My wife kept asking me if we were going to put it back in the ground, and I kept hesitating. If we did put it back in the ground it would die back before growing again. And at the end of the season it would die completely. So I held off, and then it got dropped along with all the other balls as I ran out of steam. So it’s still in the pot. If I can nurse it through another winter then next year we’ll plant it again.
It has produced 2 or 3 peppers, though none of them ever got big. I think light is part of the problem, and I know water was part of the problem. There were times when I didn’t get to water for 4 or 5 days or more. We lost a lot of the stuff in the greenhouses too. The strawberries never sprouted. All in all it’s been a screwed up year. I have a plan to rig up some plant lights if we can ever afford it so maybe over the winter and next year we will do better. A lot of our stuff got leggy due to reaching for the sunlight, even with big windows.
Well, here is the garden as it looked July 1st. This is AFTER extensive weeding. The weeds come up so fast that if we aren’t out there at least twice a week (and we weren’t) then they take over. All of the clear spaces looked just like the section on the right. You can see the rows of cabbage, black simpson lettuce, brussel sprouts, and broccoli. To the right in that mess there are peppers. In the rear on the left are the onions and radishes. Somewhere back there should be potatoes.
Here is a closer look at some of the rows. Bugs have gotten to some of the plants, but they are mostly doing OK. The broccoli bolted to seed because the temperature has been too high for it. We have hope that if we cut it back it will grow more heads before winter. Some of the lettuce bolted as well so we harvested what could, pulled out the bolted lettuce, and left a few that were still small.
Looking from the rear gives a better idea of how long the rows are. Despite our lack of attention they are doing quite well. If nothing else, we’ll get plenty of cabbage. The cabbage were originally given to me by a friend at work. He had started them in his basement under grow lights, and they looked better than any of our stuff. And they have done better than any of the stuff we started. That’s why I’m really thinking about a small grow light set up for over winter and for starting plants next year. He just has some small ballasts with cheap full spectrum plant lights hung from chains so he can adjust the height. They are in a basement with no windows, so the grow lights are all they get. And yet his stuff looked great. Our stuff, in windows with full sun for half a day got leggy.
This is a Fordhook zuccini. It was one of two that survived the cats. By this time it’s partner had died, but we had high hopes for this one. unfortunately we had a run of about a week with 95-101 temperatures, and I dropped the ball on watering. He didn’t make it. Or she didn’t make it. It didn’t make it. We put a yellow Crookneck Squash in it’s space. Hoepfully that will do better. We’ve been getting plenty of rain lately, but another dry week is coming up. Hopefully I can keep up with it.
My Baxter’s Bush Cherry tomatoes seem to be doing OK. The tomatoes have been a little slow this year and haven’t produced like we had hoped. But a few days ago they had a lot of green tomatoes on them, so we may still get a decent amount. We’ve harvested a few so far, but nothing like last year.
We planted quite a few Yellow Pear tomatoes, and a lot of them survived despite my neglect. They have started producing, though as of a few days ago all of the tomatoes were still green.
But like the others, if all of the green tomatoes survive we should start getting quite a few in the next days. These were the only Roma type tomatoes we had planted. Lesson learned there. We started too many seeds because we didn’t know how many would take, and then I didn’t cull out all but a few really good ones. For the fall harvest plants we are planting fewer total seeds, and will save the best of each type.
The rainbow Hierloom Mix also seem to be doing pretty good. The problem with rainbow mixes is that you don’t know what your getting so green, yellow, or orange may be the final destination of the fruit, and you have to try to figure out which one it is. We have harvested a few orange tomatoes so far, but many more are coming. We also planted some more seeds in mid July. I don’t know if anything will come of them, but we can hope. As my friend at work says “Every year is an experiment.”
This the corner. Here the row of Yellow Pear tomatoes meets the Hierloom mix and the Super Sweet 100’s in the front row. The super Sweet 100’s have done pretty well, and we have harvested a handful. But more green tomatoes are waitng to ripen. Honestly, despite all of our problems so far we could do really well with tomatoes in August. I’m really hoping we do.
Back over on the other side of the garden here are the onions. They were red onions grown from sets. Once the tops fell over we waited a bit to harvest to toughen them up for storage. Unfortunately they were all small so we used them all already. They were good, mild slightly sweet red onions, just on the small side.
And here is the BioFactory on July 20th, rebooted for the fall crop. After several failures to water for a week at a time we had to throw out a bunch of stuff. What survived? The Orange Pepper, the Purple Basil, and I kept the strawberry pot which never showed any signs of life. I thought maybe if I kept it moist it might sprout, but no luck so far. From the greenhouses we salvaged some celery, and a few other thing swhich I have hardening outside. Everything has been cleared out of our bedroom, and the cats are allowed in again, which they are very happy about.
We reloaded both greenhouses for a fall crop. Unfortunately I can’t recall a lot of what we started in them. But we tried fewer seeds of each thing, and we will save th ebst plants from each type. I know we strated several varieties of beans, peas, more broccoli, and cauliflower. Anything with a 3-4 month time to harvest. I’ll try to post a complete list soon, both of what survived and what we started for fall.