September 17, 2010

Summer Garden In September

I love autumn.  The nights are cool, the days are warm, and the air is dry.  The only sad thing about it is the waning of the summer garden.  Mine is producing less, some plants having finished their annual purpose, others are slowing down, and I have a few things yet to be harvested.

Through the dying leaves of my amaranth plants, you can see sweet potatoes still thriving in the foreground.  Behind them, are fading but still producing bush beans, with my sweet pepper plants sprinkled with yellow cosmos in the back.

The peppers are ripening and I'm just starting to freeze some. We've had stuffed peppers once, and have been enjoying them on Friday night pizza for weeks.

Here's a question for you tomato experts. Do you remember last month's garden post, when I thought I'd lost all of my tomato plants to blight? Well, look at this...

Both Romas and Rutgers have amazed me by putting out fresh new growth, complete with flowers and...

... tomatoes. Are they supposed to do that with blight? I mean, isn't blight supposed to kill them dead?

Whether or not these have time to ripen before first frost (probably mid-October), remains to be seen. What I'm really curious about, is whether or not they'll rot from the inside like most of the others did.

My cucumbers finally succumbed to mosaic...

... so I didn't get nearly enough for all the pickles I wanted to make.

The cantaloupes and summer squash are done, and I may have one or two small watermelons yet to harvest.  I confess that I let a lot of the melons go. There seemed to be a point where they were ripening so quickly that I didn't keep up with them. It's not like we didn't get our fill however.

Besides the sweet peppers, I'm still harvesting okra, green beans, Swiss chard, and occasional Buttercup winter squash, and black turtle beans.

The black turtle beans have been pretty neat. They are a bush bean that produces a pretty little purple flower. Some, but not all of the bean pods turn purple.
The two photos shown here were taken two months ago, but even in mid-September, I'm finding a few new blossoms. I wait until the pods are dry to pick them, and have been getting a steady stream since about the third week in July. Shelling them makes a nice mindless activity to keep my hands busy while I talk to Dan on the phone of an evening, or listen while he reads to me.

Something I haven't mentioned in awhile has been my front yard herb garden.

I've harvested rosemary, oregano, thyme, and sage regularly from this bed. Lavender is there too, but it has been pretty stunted this year, probably due to my lack of regular watering. One thing I definitely need to do is to border this bed as the grass has consistently tried to invade it. That will probably be a task for later this fall. Amazingly the pink petunias have refused to die.

In the other bed my butterfly weed and calendula are finished flowering, but my yarrow has finally started to bloom.

My echinacea hasn't, but it's alive and growing, and should bloom next year.

Even though I'm no longer doing the Independence Days Challenge, I'm going to continue some parts of it for my own record keeping. I will probably be tweaking it as I go along, but here is this month's (so far):

Planted: nothing. I wonder it it's too late...

  • green beans
  • okra
  • watermelon
  • black turtle beans
  • eggs
Purchased locally:
  • apples
  • froze okra
  • froze sweet pepper
  • froze eggs
  • canned apple pie filling
Seeds Saved:
  • okra
  • cucumber
  • sweet pepper
To Do:
  • harvest sweet potatoes, amaranth, popcorn, and sunflower seeds
  • pull out cucumber and cantaloupe vines
  • prepare for wintering over
Rainfall: none
I'll post a report on my fall garden soon.


Anonymous said...

What lovely garden areas! I love the fall it's my favorite time of year too! Made some Raspberry jam yesterday....heaven! Hugs!

Benita said...

One thing nice about the purple bean pods is that it makes it so much easier to see them to harvest them.

Now what are you going to do with yarrow? As a dyer, I use them to dye with, but I never thought of them having another use, except to look pretty.

Anonymous said...

The tomato thing is interesting - if it was blight I would think the plants would be dead so perhaps it isn't. My plants had it one year, beautiful one day, black and dead the next and I had to pull and burn them.

Mama Pea said...

Looks to me as if your garden is still producing a good amount. Much more than mine. But then our first frost is expected end of this month which is a couple/few weeks earlier than yours. Sigh.

maggie said...

You know, your rotting-from-the-inside tomato problem has been on my mind since you first mentioned it. That doesn't really sound like blight to me. Most tomato diseases that affect the fruit appear on the outside of the fruit- often as dark or greasy looking spots. The only think I've heard of that starts inside the fruit is gray wall, and I really don't know anything about that. Also, I think that affects- well, the fruit wall- and not the core. I would talk to your local extension agent and see if there is something common to your area that fits the symptoms you've seen. And next year definitely don't plant tomato relatives where they've had problems this year.

Leigh said...

Pam, I can't wait for our raspberry plants to get big enough to start producing. Jam sounds lovely.

Benita, I harvest the yarrow for medicinal uses: fir digestion and fever. I can't recall if I've dyed with it or not. I'll have to check.

Evelyn, well that's what I would think too. The other thing I'm wondering about is watering. I was inconsistent with that an know it can effect the plants. I need to do more research.

MamaPea, that is one advantage of living in the South, a longer growing season!

Maggie, that's a good idea. A lot of the fruit was bad on the outside, but whether that started on the inside or was from something else, I don't know. At first I thought it was all from blossom end rot, but the problem persisted even after that continued. The cooperative extension agent would be a good start.

Mr. H. said...

I have a couple of tomato plants that did the exact same thing this year...very interesting.

upinak said...

Leigh ...

sounds like worms. Pin Worms. ACK! Or Blossom End Rot.

Now, did you SEE any little worms about the size of a grain of rice? If you have them, and you are completely organic... you won't have many tom's this year. You have to spray them.

For Blossom End Rot, you won't be able to save them either. It is that lack of calcium thing. I would save a bunch of your egg shells, bake them and crush them to a fine powder to add to your garden next year. OR, you can add a tum's antacid to the bottom of your hole per tom plant.

I am sorry to hear about that. But you don't have blight... I had blight... and it was HORRIBLE!

Nina said...

Pretty garden despite the waning weather. Ours is nearly done for this year. Only a few pumpkins, leeks, beets and a few dye plants left to harvest. I didn't get around to planting a fall garden. Of course that needs to be planted in early to mid August, and we'd only really get a few greens out of it where we are located.
Our cucumbers had mosaic really early on. I had no idea what it was having never, ever had diseased cucumbers before this but the leaves had the same mottling. We got only one meal from them.

Leigh said...

Mr, H, well, that is curious. It's something I need to diagnose and resolve next year, if possible.

Upinak, I had blossom end rot with both my toms and peppers earlier this year. I have found a calcium spray to work wonders for it. I use EnzRot from GardensAlive!, though I imagine there are other brands. The effected tomatoes are a loss, but the remaining crop is just fine after treatment.

The other cause of blossom end rot is inconsistent moisture in the soil, which inhibits delivery of calcium to the plants. This is a problem for me, due to our rain patterns.

I haven't seen any worms, either on or in the tomatoes. Most of the fruit have developed soft spots, but some have bad spots inside. I'm assuming the two are related. This will be one of my research projects this winter.

Nina, I'm sorry to hear about your cucumbers. Disappointing, isn't it? Next year I need to plant more, just in case I run in to another problem like this!

Tami said...

I'm so jealous you're still producing! Lucky you. I'm curious to see what your sweet potatoes give you. I didn't plant any this year but am thinking about it for next. Like those purple beans too.

I don't think it's too late to start your fall garden, Leigh. Take a chance. I was amazed that my direct sow seeds came up in 4-5 days! Of course we're still in the 90's for the next week, so the trick will be keeping the seedlings alive. Wish me luck!

Blue bird said...

Hello Leigh! I am happy to come back to the blogger world fantastic communications. Your very productive garden is a delight. I don't have such a living "dream".
Except one: I have a Texas Fig tree and a bushel of dark and very delicious figs. I had to cook some for jam and with breakfast cereal is the best I can think of! Julia/Blue bird :)

Woolly Bits said...

I had to laugh about your first sentence. mine would be: I love autumn. the days are cool - the nights are cool to. it is extremely damp, in fact, it's been drizzling for two days now ....and so on:)) obviously this time of the year is very different over here - but it doesn't matter, I still love the time. I like the change of colour, I like the different "taste" of the air, I like the shorter days and longer nights - and esp. that I have more time now to do all my favourite textile bits:)) I do like filling my shelves with jams etc. - even though productivity of the garden goes down a lot. but thanks to my polytunnel I can still cut greens for some time and later in the year I can pick lamb's ear lettuce etc. yep, I love autumn!

Leigh said...

Tami, hopefully we'll get to those sweet potatoes in the next day or two. From what I've read, they need to be harvested before frost.

I noticed last year that some of my fall garden went dormant over winter and then produced the following spring. I may try planting more, so see what happens.

Julia, I love figs. A wonderful tree to have! Mine produced some in August, but I'd love to have a variety that produced later too. Good for you for that fig jam!

Bettina, I had to laugh at your autumn description. So true about it being different in different parts of the world. Of course, dormant time for we fiber artists is productive time!