Friday, August 15, 2008

Fall Planting - woohoo!

Well, the weather this year has been down right weird. It rained and rained and rained in June. Then it got normal - hot and scorchy in July and most of August so far but the past week it's been around 80 degrees and overcast with some rain. Portland weather!

In the midst of the cool down I decided to start the fall garden with a first sowing of green beans and romano beans. The spring beans did well until the spider mites nearly obliterated their numbers. I'm hoping the cooler fall weather will spare them of this menace since heat seems to send spider mites into heat (the reproductive kind). I also tucked in some more winter squash (Chicago warted hubbard, black futsu, and jumbo pink banana) since the last round got decimated by squash vine borers. Not sure I'll get anything off of them but I'll try. Today I followed up with a mix of fish emulsion, hot pepper spray, and insecticidal soap to get the heat-oppressed garden back up to par. The peppers till look good, as does the okra, sylvetta arugula (that stuff is amazing!) and cherry tomatoes. Everything else looks sad and will probably come up soon.

Several weeks ago I also started some fall tomatoes (a pink Israeli tomato I received as a thank you from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - it's a trial tomato not for sale, so we'll see), shallots, leeks, and beets under lights inside. I plan to plant out the tomatoes tomorrow and hold off for cooler weather for the other stuff. I've been trying to decide what and how to plant everything for this fall. I just got a big order of seeds from Pinetree that included three kinds of kale (konserva, dinosaur, and dwarf blue), rutabaga, brussel sprouts, daikon, spinach, collards, cabbage, miner's lettuce, salsify, and some seeds for next spring (banana legs tomato and the bianco lungo cucumber). Garlic should be arriving from Territorial soon. I already had some carrots, broccoli, leeks, favas, turnips, and peas that are relatively cold hardy so we should be good. I need to get a few more frost blankets, though. Between that and some salvaged windows we should be able to make several things last through the winter. Okie winters involve a lot of ice but aren't typically ridiculously cold.

In terms of putting away the harvest, we've been busy on that end, too. I've made 14 large batches of pesto (anyone want some???) which are currently in the freezer. Dried and froze some tomatoes. Dried habaneros and cayenne for Pizza Flakes from Hell. Pickled peppers. Pickled cucumbers. Canned salsa and jam. Made homemade tabasco sauce. Canned tomatoes and green beans. Stewed and froze some tomatoes. Dried loads of dill, rosemary, and cilantro. Tonight I'm canning up loads and loads of chicken stock with homegrown onions and carrots and herbs. Oh, and the crazy volunteer butternut squash has just provided number 17! I've got them stored in an old bread box until it cools down enough to clear a space in the (largely uninsulated) garage. I checked my calendar and I first noticed it had come up on March 29 which is ridiculously early and cold. I didn't bother to cover it when it froze two more times after that, so it was one hardy bitch! :)

And lest it sound like its all roses here, it's not. Absolute failures in the garden included the aforementioned winter squashes and the chartenais melons (nice vines - no fruit!). Largely failures included the broccoli, red onions, and white onions (the yellows did great). Somewhat failures included the damned Opalka tomatoes! I'm so disappointed about them!!! I'm going to do some more research to see if I can clarify the problem...

Well, I suppose that's it. I need to work on the course I'm teaching starting in...10 days...Au revoir summer. You were one belle soeur if only for just a little while...

8 comments:

Hausfrau said...

Pesto order numero uno!

Thanks for all the seed references.

Tara said...

Mmmmm...pesto. Wish I had something to trade! :)

Tara said...

Also, I am STILL envious of your butternut squash. I'll be trying some next year, though, now that I have the space.

Anonymous said...

I made the best beets today. I wrapped the raw beets in aluminum foil and placed them in the grill just adjacent to the coals while I cooked some ribs. The beats roast perfectly right on the coals. When they're done you can just rub the skin right off using the aluminum foil you wrapped the beets in.

-Tony

Lisa said...

Wow! That's an impressive amount of stuff in your garden, going into your garden and being preserved from your garden!

Tricia said...

Sounds spectacular! I need to dig up more grass...

Last weekend I made my first-ever batch of chicken stock. It was so easy and smelled so good!

Lewru said...

I seriously believe that gardening keeps me sane. It's like a cheaper, more natural, organic form of Paxil. Go dirt!

Meryl said...

Good for you! I always kind of think about planting a fall garden, but it seems like the time slips away from me. And it's already been chilly in the mornings here (I know, in August!) so I think I may have missed my chance for yet another year. Somehow I'm never as serious about it in the fall as I am in spring.