What would gardening be without some mishaps, failures, or faux pas to keep us humble? The mysteries of “why did this happen”? So, I am offering a sort of “comedy of errors” to keep us amused while the main part of the garden hangs in a sort of suspended equilibrium.
You’re looking at a 2-pound harvest of new ‘Cranberry red’ potatoes there in the next picture. An exceptionally good amount considering nearly 1 pound of eyes were planted! And the Yukon Golds and Banana Fingerlings each yielded the same amount. This is almost worthy of a booby prize!
'Cranberry Red' potatoes being dug up from growing bags
I definitely don’t have potato production down (taking place in my house yard in deep, black, breathable “growing bags”). I had a better crop last year, when I didn’t know much of anything except to keep adding layers of soil. After reading up on some of their preferences, it’s possible that really hot weather hit at an early stage in their growth, which they don’t like, and I may not have kept them as moist as they like, given their well-drained soil mix. If I were a grower I would be calling this a loss. The potatoes are disease free and good looking, just tiny; the vines seem to have thrived early on, but after the really hot weather in July they started floundering. My suspicion is they were nutrient-starved as I probably forgot to put in some fertilizer in first.
Upper left: Fingerlings (well maybe fingernail-lings); upper right: Yukon Gold; lower: Cranberry Red
Then, there are the “little peppers who could” or my “comedy team”. Three little bushes pushing out orange peppers as if their lives depended on it (which is what a stressed plant will do). Two of their neighbors grew out of their stupor and are each pushing out 2 or 3 full-sized peppers. Hey, at least the nearby basil took off. Actually, the stunted pepper syndrome has something to do with light availability, too, as they were shaded much of the day by tomatoes, come mid-July.
The comedy team peppers barely hanging in there 10 weeks after planting!
The comedy team peppers 17 weeks after planting-still hanging in there, now orange!
The weather continues to yo-yo by 10-degree increments for the daily high temperatures. The lettuce, basil, tomatoes, and chard are growing well, while cucumbers are putting out their last fruits, and the summer squash pushing out their last little groups of flowers where the newest growth is free of mildew. The now-giant kale is robust and still sweet, but is succumbing to aphid egg infestation, and difficult to clean. I think our resident ladybugs scattered away some as the old corn stalks were removed. A short row of purple bush beans survived the deer-browsing from 2-weeks ago and are delivering the goods, although their green bean companions got hit again last weekend, and aren’t long for the world after being half pulled out while still small. For anyone unfamiliar with deer browsing on beans, they don’t want the beans, they want the leaves, which is great if the plants are fully matured and no longer producing. (Time for a bigger piece of netting, now that our deer is getting more daring.) Next it’s time to start sampling the spaghetti squash! We humans, that is, not the deer.