Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hanging on to Summer

It's becoming futile to leave these plants standing.
Okra, it's time to go, even though I am sad I did not freeze any, nor make pickles. And you are so impressive at your 8 feet.
Tomatoes, you were killer this year. I will always grow heirlooms because I love their unusual forms and great flavor, but this fourth of July hybrid was uber reliable, as were the favorita and sun gold cherry tomatoes..

Eggplant, we'll keep trying, but I am proud you grew so well from seed under lights way back when.

 Squash, your reputation as a basket filler cofounds me.
I have more hot peppers than I will ever be able to use (know me? you'll be getting a can soon). I wish I had such success with your tamer cousins.

These are the summer holdouts, and their days are numbered, along with some truly sad looking basil.
While it is sad, I like the change, and the way the beds slowly go to rest and disorder becomes order.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oops I did it again

I have a knack for mixing up greens seedlings. In my haste to use some seeds I had saved in spring, I created a new round of "mystery Brassica."
I had spinach, broccoli, and arugula seed heads. None of these look like spinach seedlings. So, either I will have the arugula patch of my dreams, or I will have a lot of overwintering broccoli.
These mystery seeds are growing among my lettuce transplants:

And in this bed I planted tat soi, which I hope these babies are:

The white powder is diatomaceous earth, as port of operation Destroy All Slugs. I also lined my raised beds with copper tape to keep the slugs out. I've been lazy with the beer traps, but I think I have removed enough to minimize the damage.

Rounding out the winter greens are collards, which desperately need dividing:
More arugula (these were purchased plants):
must. have. arugula. pesto.

And more purchased starts, spinach (note squirrel holes):
I also seeded mache here.
I got a late start with all of these, but I expect them to endure the cold temps just fine, especially if I manage to bust out my season-extending plastic greenhouses and row cover.
The garden will be looking very flat soon, especially once the 8ft okra and tomato plants come down.

What happened to October?

The garden is actually doing pretty well, but you wouldn't know it from the blog. In addition to finding a roofer (ugh) and doing some canning (more on that later!), here's what I've been up to in the glorious mid-Atlantic fall.

Back to the garden soon!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rainy Day Respite

It's all gloom today, but I'm still sustained by the gorgeous weather of the weekend. Winter is not here yet, as these flowers attest!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Slugging It Out

...with slugs.
My beautiful rows of lettuce seedlings have been decimated. Well, not really--still plenty of lettuce going on. But my perfect rows--it was like ombre lettuce--have been marred! A cold and bad weather kept me from getting to the problem sooner, but now I am on slug patrol nightly, hand picking them and setting out beer baited trays, which really work! Thanks for leaving the PBR in the fridge, Gilly.

I have not had this problem before, and I have two theories:

1) My new raised bed is a couple of inches shorter, a more appealing climb for the slugs.
2) The straw mulch has created the perfect habitat for slug city.
Either way, ewwwwwwwww.

But I digress. All is not lost. If I can't get it under control with hand picking and baits, I will try diatomaceous earth. I will also be clearing out as much of the straw as I can and adding some copper tape around the bed. If garden supply companies would sell copper tape that is actually wide enough, this would be a better option, but the stuff is expensive.
Maybe the seedlings that were eaten will bounce back if the roots were established enough, but luckily I did not plant them all and have replacements waiting.

 The other slug food of choice in the garden is black eyed pea leaves, but those will be ripped up soon anyway. They are also the culprit behind my chewed up collard and pea seedlings. They have not bothered the radishes,  but they slither right through to the other seedlings in here.
 I have a new appreciation for large scale organic farmers every day.