Tag Archives: kale

Fall…ing fast

Fall…arrived in lightning speed, so it seemed; preceded by a few cooler days of decent rain to relieve some of the stress of excessive smoke and thirsty trees all over the region, both urban and forest. The precious rain was a bit precocious in actually arriving as anticipated; taking itself further north for a few days, but it did finally arrive in time to help with the forest wildfires and start cleaning out the smoky air that kept recycling itself over the state.

The smokey skies, hot temperatures, and strange humidity initiated a very early onset of powdery mildew, ensuring the end-of-squash-and-melons in a very abrupt manner. With the return of some sun and a bit more warmth, the nasturtiums, lettuce, and kale are more vigorous, however. As the first rains arrived it was a dash to clip melons, spaghetti, and delicata squash from their deteriorating vines, and gather in any ripe tomatoes.

Winding down those squash, winding up the greens. Where’s Juni?

A first-year learning experience in a new garden; it was very productive in most ways, and less than anticipated in other ways, seemingly more related to sun and shade patterns than anything else. A few ideas are now being tucked away for reference for next year.

In some ways this “new” garden seemed easier to care for, compared to the former one, with seemingly less watering needed, although the overall bounty was a bit less. Whereas the high amount of loam in the old community garden was well drained and easy to dig, more clay in the present yard helped retain moisture longer, even if it made the ground a bit harder to work to start with. And, more shade trees overhang this yard, keeping the area a bit cooler.

Tomatoes were later producers here, in spite of being next to the house, which is turning out to be an asset as we cool down. What wasn’t foreseen was the amount of shade they would be in until the sun shown on them (after 12:30pm), and then for the remainder of the day. And they weren’t particularly early-ripening varieties, but now they’re doing well, with some extra plastic over them as the temperatures cool down. Maybe a different spot next year, or else an early ripener.

Enjoying the current 2-3 days of warmth before we see a longer stretch of rain settle in. That delightful flip-flop transition of early fall.

Hoping your bounty has been generous this year!

Advertisements

On the driest day of the year…..it rained…

Yes….the garden is growing!  In spite of very inconsistent spurts of summer! The almanacs show that on July 12, typically the driest day of the year (.001 inch of rain in the records) we received about 0.7 inches overnight, setting a record.  Didn’t need to water for a few days!
Tomato jackets came off July 3rd….and they are now doing wonderfully; many blossoms and a few small fruit on one plant.  A plethora of beets, spinach, and lettuce have been pulled, and the inconsistent warmth we have seen has allowed a prolonged lettuce season.

July 4: starting to kick in for biomass

A bright sunrise....tomatoes love it!"

Oodles of Chiogga beets (red and white interior; almost like radishes)

A most inconsistent corn stand emerged, and there was no way that the corn was knee-high on the 4th of July; but now there are some plants that are waist-high, while others are shin-high.  Crows picked off some squash seedlings, so had to replant at a late date, and slugs knocked off a couple of melons.  So, we feel behind in some aspects, and yet catching up very quickly during this last week.  An overnight rain just left us 0.5 inches of rain, when we normally see none at this time of year; everything is different!

July 16: Lush greens

July 16: Growth in full swing!

June harvest tally:

  • Beet shoots: 3.25 pounds
  • Kale: 9
  • Lettuce: 14.25
  • Swiss chard: 4.75

Total: 30 pounds
And on we go….with gratitude to all Beings involved!

Solstice solitude

Solstice greetings of increasing Light to everyone!

Whew!  November and December have flown so fast!  Some well-meaning friends are already asking if I have ideas for next season.   No, not yet; it is really the season of rest right now, for both humans and plants, and soil.

Although I do think it is time to consider a cold frame of sorts to help weather some lettuce and spinach a bit longer.  If California starts to have climate trends tending to flooding (or interspersed with droughts), produce prices will skyrocket.  Fortunately our local producers are doing well, given their newer methods of winter gardening, but demand sometimes exceeds the supply in our locally-supplied markets.

The older kale plants are looking a little wobbly from wind and soaking rains a couple of weeks ago.  Some of us will probably pick off one plant at a time and pull it out when used up.  The crop planted in fall is surviving very well, as is the chard, but they are both small.  Older chard seems to have survived the cold frosts of earlier December, but is in a “holding” pattern, not looking particularly anxious to grow!  Who would, on the shortest day of the year?

But now, the life-stimulating energy of the sun starts to expand just a little more each day, though our coldest days have yet to come.

Happy holidays!  I’m hoping that some magical elf will bless me with the gift of a hori-hori knife (Japanese multi-functional gardening tool, meaning did-dig).

Yule-tide resting time....Where's Aspen?

Fall Glory

It is amazing how one can stay so busy caring for a garden that is essentially moving towards a long nap.  Maybe it is my sense of  “clean management” that spurs me on to remove the decaying matter, though not so much in the house yard.  Actually for the CG it comes down to removing the dying, so that a blanket of leaves can be put down, to be turned over in spring, and to help insulate the remaining veggies.  Slugs will probably love it, as there are quite a few lurking in the lovely lettuce, but that’s just something we’ll have to deal with as necessary.

A lovely spurt of unseasonably warm weather delighted us gardeners a week ago, also prompting all the weeds to put forth new energy, and teasing a couple of strawberry plants into producing a few berries.  Of course, the bees were very happy with it, too.  Pineapple sages and Japanese anemones are still actively blooming, much delighting the hummingbirds.

Fall splendor; a little sun, a little fog....

This week heralds the onset of a few colder nights, between rainstorms, but no frost.  It won’t be as easy to see our pollinator friends and hummingbirds now, with shorter days, colder mornings, and barely light by the time I get home from work.

Still trying to ripen picked green tomatoes, but after last month’s rain, it’s not so easy, as many want to rot before turning any tint of orange.  Drying them down if they show any color is turning out to be a better option.

Our October bounty was exceptional, now that the tomatoes and squash were all pulled in:

  • Basil: 0.75
  • Cucumbers: 8.5
  • Kale: 1
  • Lettuce: 3
  • Melons (combined): 8.5
  • Acorn squash: 22.5
  • Delicata squash: 8.75
  • Spaghetti squash: 119
  • Swiss chard: 2.5
  • Summer squash: 10
  • Tomatoes: 44.5

Month’s total: 229 pounds (rounded)
Season total: 629 pounds

And this season’s total bests last year’s total at this same time by about 61 pounds, and it surpasses our final 2009 tally by 37 pounds!  Hooray for all the superb contributions from the plants, devas, pollinators, and human caretakers!

Last Tomato Standing

….for the moment.
It has been a time for progressive clean-up, given the cool, but vibrant fall weather of the last two weeks.  After hard rains on Oct. 10, it was time to remove the thrashed summer squash, cucumbers and melons, and harvest the nearly 150 pounds of winter squash.

Our beautiful mild fall weather since has helped ripen more tomatoes, wrapped in their red jackets, while a few more cucumbers have eeked out their full figures.  Basil is now typically spotted and un-pretty, especially after a mild frost.  The mixed lettuces are very happy, being the perfect size for gourmet greens as they are thinned.  Kale seedlings are poking along.  Hoses are finally put away for the season….alas.

A favorite for kitties: over and under the deer netting!

With impending heavy rains, all the tomatoes were removed, save the “yellow pear”, which still has a few fruit, and more blossoms.  It’s always good to have a sentinel for awhile.

Prepared for fall rains beginning in earnest

 

They really exist!

Thanks to one of our natural pest controllers, who decided to quit being so shy, we had beautiful bounty, even if the tomatoes are still slow, and the summer squash are slowing down!

An elusive friend mantis making a brief appearance

September bounty:

  • Basil: 6.5
  • Bush beans: 2.75
  • Cucumbers: 6
  • Grapes: 2
  • Charantai melons: 16
  • Margarita melons: 8.75
  • Delicata squash: 8.5
  • Spaghetti squash: 6.5
  • Spinach: 2
  • Swiss chard: 2.25
  • Summer squash: 26.75
  • Tomatoes: 41.25

Month’s total: 125 pounds (rounded)
Season total: 400 pounds

Spaghetti squash near harvest

Transitions

Labor Day already?!  Wait a minute, we’ve only picked 3 red tomatoes (this last week)!  I check last year’s entry, and like I thought, I was drying them, there were so many.  C’est la vie.  Three weeks of a cycle in which each week contains 2 days of above-average temps, followed by 15-degree drops to below-average and drizzle, plus mid-40’s at night, just doesn’t cut it for ripening tomatoes.  Still, the plants look great.

Mildew on the squash; always a good seasonal transition symptom.  The acorn, spaghetti, and delicata squash are doing very well.  The zucchini, yellow, and patty pan summer squash are also yielding well, but not overabundant, since they prefer more consistent heat.  The charentais melon has proven very prolific, and we await ripening fruit, now that their skins are roughening.  The margarita melon is not as prolific, but the plant has a few healthy specimens ripening.  Cucumbers are finally cranking out.

Little charentais melons roughening up their skins

More breathing room for squash & tomatoes

A magnificent corn harvest again this year (see tally below); the stalks were pulled to get more light into the tomatoes and squash, and to make easier picking.

Ears of corn sized for big people & little people!

Chard and kale plants are marvelously large,  just starting to get bitter.  Seeds for a fall crop went in last week, as well as a mix of lettuces and salad greens.

Attempts at growing potatoes in the breathable grow-bags proved more productive than last year, but still not what I’d hoped.  The plants looked good, and putting more fertilizer in initially helped, but I’m suspecting there’s an issue with not enough moisture during hot weather, even though they were watered daily much of the summer.  I’m of the mind to only plant Cherry Red and All-Blue varieties next year, since they’re not typically available anywhere else.  The Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn, and Banana Fingerlings are usually available for less money than I put into growing them.  At least they’re proving to be deletable morsels, and it’ll be easy to make some potato salad without having to chop much.  Now, if I was to make raclette or fondue, these are the perfect size!

(left) Yukon Gold & All Blue potatoes; (right) Cherry Red & Banana Fingerling

We could not have planned it any better for plant arranging, as the dying nasturtiums in the front/lower tier were replaced by squash vines migrating down around the them and the lavender.

Thanks be to all gardeners, pollinators, and devas, visible and invisible, for a bountiful harvest!

August bounty:

  • Basil: 5.25
  • Bush beans: 18.5
  • Corn: 46.5 (40 ears)
  • Cucumbers: 9.5
  • Kale: 3
  • Lettuce blends: 4.25
  • Parsley: 0.75
  • Scallions: 4
  • Spinach: 2
  • Swiss chard: 4.25
  • Summer squash: 57
  • Tomatoes: 1.5
  • Blueberries  4
  • Potatoes: 14

Month’s total: 174.5 pounds!

A sea of melon leaves! Where's Juniper?