What’s Been Going On

November 14, 2008

I’ve been slowly emerging from my gardening depression this year.  It started with striped cucumber beetles at the beginning of June:

Continued with some black spot on my apple tree at the beginning of July:

And capped off with devastating early blight on my tomatoes (it was so bad I couldn’t bring myself to take photographic evidence).

On a semi-happier note, I managed to harvest one overflowing bowl of tomatoes (though it was all at once instead of my envisioned continuous seasonal harvest):

Not that I know which tomato is which in this photo, or even my garden.  The Sharpie marker had worn off the plastic label and I didn’t care enough to dig out my vegetable garden grid:

Here’s what it looked like back on July 2nd when I was still trying and before it all went to hell:

There’s my bean pole trellis, my soaker hose that’s since busted and my handy twine grids that I think I’ll do next year.  Next year I’ll grow tomato plants in my satellite garden or in large pots on the deck – no more in this garden above as the soil is now diseased.  I’ll also be taking down the concrete reinforcement grids next spring to set up a twine trellis for beans and peas.  Yum, yum, 8′ of beans and 8′ of peas.

So, what have I been up to lately?  Well, there was Halloween, a day that I’m crazy about:

Where we carved up these great little pumpkins that I grew called “Jack O’Lantern”:

I loaned a herb book to my favorite local restaurant that I’ve offered to start herbs for.  I prepared their herb garden out back for next spring by topping it up with a blend of organic sheep manure and garden soil.

I brought in some herbs and plants from the chilly outdoors to overwinter inside.  Left to right is Vick’s Plant, a white datura, lemon oregano, rosemary, and a poinsettia from last Christmas.

I bought a couple of books, one called Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman (who coincidentally is married to Barbara Damrosch, who’s book, The Garden Primer, was one of the first few gardening books I bought) and The Heirloom Tomato by Amy Goldman that made me salivate and wish it was spring so I could start a new batch of tomatoes.  Truly, that book is gorgeous!

I’m getting interested in extending my growing season, the reason why I bought Four Season Harvest, so that I could learn more about building a cold frame and the types of vegetables I could grow in it.  I’m now being exposed to new and exciting vegetables I’ve never heard before or know little about:  chicory, endive, mizuna, salsify, mâche, and claytonia.

I’ve also purchased another 4′ wide chrome shelf for my gardening activities as my previous one was re-assigned as storage in the kitchen.  I want to start growing some lettuce and mustard greens in my basement for the coming winter months and still need to find the chains for my fluorescent lights.

I saved a lot of seeds this year: cucumber, pumpkin, tomato (not from my diseased crop), coneflower, dill, garlic chives, and butternut squash.  Somehow, my pole beans were crossed and 95% of the seeds I saved were white instead of the Cherokee Trail of Tears true-to-type black.

And my worms have been indoors in the basement for the last two months and they are happily munching along.

Looking forward to winter sowing and 2009 catalogues!

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4 Responses to “What’s Been Going On”

  1. DJ Says:

    Oh, brother, it sounds like you could stand to borrow one of my favorite mottos:

    “Things always get worse before they get better.”

    LOL!

    I love your garden fence. That’s like what I want to put around the garden in front of my chicken coop.

    (BTW, I love your blog name. I think I may have even mentioned it in one of my blogs as one of those things that made me laugh during my travels around the Internet.)

  2. Amy Says:

    My tomato attempts were devastated by blight last year. This year I had healthy plants, but they took forever to ripen and many were ruined by frost. It’s a never-ending learning experience, isn’t it?

  3. sammyqc Says:

    It’s nice to see you’re back! Been wondering where you had got to.

    I had a pretty bad tomato year as well, you’re not alone there, lots of others did too. The gardening depression hit me this summer too. One of the tomatoes that did fairly well all things considered was the ‘Cannabec Rose’ that you shared with me.

    Here’s to hoping next year will be better.

    I’m going to try ‘Guido’ again (didn’t this year) because people have been bragging about the pounds of tomatoes they got from one plant, and the hardiness and disease resistance. I tried it two years ago, but don’t remember if it was great or not, because all the plants did pretty well that year. If you would like some, let me know.
    Also, trying to remember, was it ‘Black Plum’ or ‘Black Pear’ that you gave me? It did okay, I think I got about 12 tomatoes from it, before the blight smacked it down along with many of the other plants.

    Good to see you posting again!
    I’d love to check out that tomato book, but I really don’t care for its author. Various reasons, and some nasty, underhanded stuff that went on at the SSE. Do you have Carolyn Male’s book too? That’s on my list to buy!

  4. Kathy Says:

    Thanks everyone for your kind words! Amazingly, now that the main gardening season is done, I’m started to get really excited about next year. Oh, the possibilities!

    Sammy, I think it might have been Black Pear as I sort of remember you telling me that you didn’t want any plum tomatoes. I could be completely wrong though. I have Carolyn’s book too and it was a great starter read on the different heirlooms. Goldman’s book is more extensive and covers a lot more varieties. I don’t really know anything else about the author and just want to use the information. I was so bummed that the Mer de Noms one you gave me died under the blight! It really wasn’t a good year for me.

    My father-in-law has a great southern-facing wall with an overhang that protects his vining tomatoes from rain and he had yet another successful year. I really need to re-think my tomato location for next year.


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