Friday, August 23, 2013

My Garden 20 August 2013

My garden keeps putting out bucket after bucket of fresh, organic food. Weeding is not much of a problem since the vegetable plants cover most of the ground. 

I planted a second smaller patch of green beans a couple weeks ago and they are doing very good. At the same time, I just picked a gallon of green beans from the original patch. If you picked early and often the plants will continue to produce but at a slower rate. This picture is actually from two weeks ago, before I left for my camping trip. The patch is completely filled with flowering plants now. I should start getting beans from these plants in about two weeks.

I have already picked seven nice cucumbers from these vines. I trained them up three ladders to save ground space. I have always raised my vine fruits above the ground. They stay cleaner, have less pests, and it is easier to see the fruits.
This picture shows the last of my fifty onions still in the ground but they are all picked now. For best storage you should always wait until all the foliage is brown and the bulb is loose in the ground. Then, set them out where it is dry with the roots facing the sun and any breeze you have. It is important to dry the roots quickly to stop growth. That takes about 3-5 days. Once that is done the bulbs need to be further dried on all sides. I usually use some sort of screen or net so that warm dry air can get to all sides of the bulb.  Dry them this way for two weeks and then put them away in a cool dry place and they will last for weeks.

The three blueberry bushes got completely out of control. We picked about four gallons of berries and they just kept coming. I will prune these bushes back hard this winter to make them more manageable and easier to work around. If I had been home more than on the weekends I could have picked at least another four to five gallons of berries. I opened up the netting and let the birds have a feast.

My strawberries produced a bowlful of berries, very tasty too. But the main activity this first year is to send out runners and produce "daughter plants".  In this way, you can triple the number of plants you have for the next year, the main year for producing berries. This is an earlier picture, the bed is now full of new plants. The plants will do this with no help but I find it useful to place the daughter plants where I want them, properly spaced apart, and held in place with small twigs stuck in the ground.

I got peaches for the first time in five years. My father-in-law had planted this tree at least 15 years ago and it did well for him in the early years. But it was over grown and plagued with pests and hasn't produced full-sized fruit in many years. Last winter I pruned it pretty hard but you should never remove more than one third of a tree's branches in any given year. This winter I will cut it back some more and give it a more "open" form. Peaches need to be open on top for sunlight and air flow. So hopefully next year it will do even better.

This has been a good year for my garden.  I have plenty of produce, berries, and cut up peaches in my freezer to feed me later in the year. I should probably harvest my potatoes in about two or three weeks. I am expecting at least a bushel from the ten seed potatoes I planted. The foliage is huge and must have been feeding the tubers (fingers crossed).