14 September 2010

fall garden update

Hi friends!  Sorry to disappear on you for a week, but I had a quick jaunt to New York City for some quality family and friend time.  I've returned to find that it is indeed early fall here in Minnesota and my garden is slowly beginning to close down for the season.  I had really hoped to get myself in gear to plant some fall crops but, once again, I didn't make it.  I think that late summer heat wave and then our big road trip really took that motivation right out of me.  That's okay.  I'm still really happy with what I've ended up with.  

This year I had some exciting successes and disappointing failures (isn't that the story every sesason?).  But I'm happy to report that I think I had more successes this year than ever before, so I'm taking that feeling with me into fall and winter.  

:: Potatoes were a moderate success.  I planted six burlap sacks with four or five seed potato pieces each.  I ended up with just over 3 pounds of potatoes.  I think I'll modify my method next year, but I definitely want to try again.  I had hoped for more, but realistically knew I'd be happy if I grew enough for one meal.
:: Squash of all sorts were abundant this year.  Zucchini (black beauty and cocozelle) as well as yellow summer squash were just gangbusters.  I froze a lot, including three quarts of Stephanie's curried zucchini soup (which I highly recommend). I also have harvested two butternut squashes and have two more that are just about ripe.
:: Cherry tomatoes were quite prolific, and early this year.  The best being Matt's Wild Cherry and also Sungolds.  I tried Peacevines, but I don't think any of those survived the great squirrel and/or raccoon massacre.  
:: Dry beans were probably the most exciting thing I grew this year.  I'm not sure why it had never occurred to me, but one of my community garden-mates mentioned it to me early on in the spring and I got so excited that I added them to my Seed Savers order at the last minute (one of the many reasons I love community gardening).  I planted 50 seeds each of October Beans and Hutterite Soup Beans and harvested about 2 cups of each variety.  I'm saving 50 seeds of each for next year and hope to grow additional varieties as well.

In addition to my successes, I did have some failures this summer too...
:: Tomatoes.  I'm slightly comforted to learn that almost everyone I know (all across the country, I might add) has had a down tomato year.  But it still bugs me.  Many of my plants barely produced fruits, and those that did mostly got eaten by critters.  I'll have to come up with a solution for next year.  I did get one large delicious brandywine tomato though...
:: Green and purple string beans.  I was all excited about these as well, but I think the slugs attacked and they got some kind of disease as well.  I'm not quite sure, but it was a big disappointment.
:: Cucumbers.  For some reason they just didn't really grow many fruits and, again, most of the fruits got eaten by critters of some kind.  

There were a lot of other things that I grew that I would put in the moderate success (or failure) category including: bell and jalapeno peppers, red russian kale, japanese eggplant, and carrots.  Spinach, blue kale, and swiss chard were also total failures for various reasons.  

I hope to have another late-season update before I put the garden to bed completely (I was also quite successful with many herbs this year, but I'll save that for another post soon).  I just got my garlic bulbs in the mail from Seed Savers, so there's still more planting to do!  How has your garden been growing this early fall season?


  1. i love these updates. i have some big ideas to propose surrounding this topic! xo

  2. Here in Middle Tenn tomatoes were not that great. We had heat- massive flooding- heat- more rain- heat- even more rain! Last year I had a bumper crop, this year many plants grew, but did not produce. The only person I know who had great success has a soaker hose buried in their soil + so their tomatoes got consistent watering, no cracking + an abundant crop.
    I was thinking about burying soaker hoses in my raised beds, moving my rain barrel closer (to gather water off the garden shed) + using a hose to attach to the soaker. But for now I'm still working on making compost to fill the beds