Monday, September 10, 2012

Reminders for next spring

 Unless I write things down, I won't remember. There is only a slim chance that writing it down will help, but it's at least done.

Needless to say, this isn't one of my agonize-over-every-phrase, reach for Deep Meaning posts. It's more me, nagging my way through the garden:

Plant more butternut squash. In fact, plant only butternut squash. I don't like any other one much. Even pumpkins are only okay. I'd rather buy them, or at least grow them out front as neighbor-entertainment, but not for eating.

Make a stronger, more permanent staking arrangement for the asparagus. It's been listing since May, and I'm only waiting for its total die back to make a much, much stronger support.

Four Padron pepper plants is, in fact, the perfect amount. Enough to eat,without getting sick of it, and enough to give a bag a week away. They are such nice peppers!

Two jalapeno plants are actually two too many. I'm going to do one or two more pickling runs, and then it's going to be friends and food bank, I think.

In other pepper news, eleven (11!) bell pepper plants is Not Nearly Enough. I don't eat the green ones, since my discovery of the Pizza My Heart variety from Territorial or Renee's or Shepherd's, which are a tasty bell taste, although pointy in shape. Instead, I wait impatiently for them to ripen. But with only a few plants, miserliness rules the day. I eat some, stir-fry some, and roast and freeze the rest. If I doubled my planting, I could gobble and roast and make roasted pepper soup and and and... you get the picture.

No more hot peppers. I know why this plant is here. I was filling holes for the garden tour. [Should have put in another bell.] The variety is called "Mura" but I can't find any information on it.Supposed to be very hot. Not at all my style, bu tit would make a cute pepper wreath. Food bank?


In fact, no more hot peppers at all. See this innocent hot banana?

They travel in herds:

Time to pickle, I guess.

Late blight, or underwatering, has killed or is killing a lot of back garden tomatoes. I have almost enough put up, but more care would have helped. Actually, not going away on vacation and then having trouble getting back to the garden would help, too.

Stay on top of the weeds. Digging established Bermudagrass out of beds is no fun.

Plant more, many many more, winter veggies in July, rather than.. . oh, three kale plants. They're doing well, though.

More flowers! More flowers make everything lovely. A dedicated, cared-for cutting bed would be nice, too. Cosmos, bachelor's buttons, snapdragons, they all would be welcome. It's difficult to go back to buying cut flowers, but I do love flowers in the house.

Grow more of those Italian pole beans. Take better care of them. Don't grow the bush ones again. Eat those.

Sad, though, in order to grow a lot I'm going to have to forego eating as many as I'd like this year. These big beans are tasty.

In the category Cucumbers, winners, the Persian Baby variety is a clear leader. They would have been enhanced with a constant pairing of hummus, but I didn't always keep it made.

Fortunately, I get a second (third, fourth, fifth?) chance. They're the only variety still standing and producing.
Lemon cucumbers, not again. Even one was too many this year. Two Marketmore were about perfect. They would need to be coaxed into tomato season for Greek salads, though. Or succession planted.

The jury is out on the pickling cucumbers. I definitely like making cornichons better than full-size pickles, although some year I'm going to have to try naturally-fermented full sours. But the cornichons were overwhelming, so I'd probably need to plant many more and harvest in big bunches, then pull the plants when I'm really done. That would also do away with the piddly jars of refrigerator pickles situation.

One pickle was an unqualified success, which alas makes me think I'm going to have to plant a lot more (a LOT more) yellow wax beans. The beans with Meyer lemon and garlic were out of this world. This jar shows only Rattlesnake beans, because we ate the other jars. Sigh.

Another must-do task for next year AND this year is to get on top of the fruit trees. The back yard Blenheim apricot is constantly under attack from aphids, then whiteflies, and even though the ladybugs are trying, they aren't enough. Also, molds and fungus are bothering them. I guess some autumn fungicide is a first step. The apples and plums need something -- starting with consistent composting and watering. Bad gardener, bad gardener!

Things I don't have pictures of but need to do something about? Plant more popcorn. That was great. Consider making a plastic dome for basil. I'm sick of not having success with it. One Early Girl tomato is perfect -- we only use them and Cherokee Purple for salads. No cherry tomatoes in the back yard, and trellis the front one much better. Make a bigger "help yourself" sign for the neighbors. Succession-plant summer squash to avoid them dying of powdery mildew. Water the raspberries more. Prune harder over the summer.

I could get metaphysical and say swim more, take the dogs to the beach more, camp more...but I won't. That's enough for one think.


el said...

I had (yet) another horrid year for squash/banner for squash bugs year and so the only thing that is thriving is butternuts. I got smart though! I planted more than one variety. Look up Long Island Cheese and Tahitian Melon for next year. The latter may just take over your garden but the squash in my garden are each over 30" long AND gigantic. Think toddler sized. So if you really like butternuts...go with Tahitian melons, long keepers and great sugar content.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

There must be something in the air. I started scribbling notes this morning for things to improve in the garden next year too. I feel your pain on the fruit tree aphid front. Our cherry tree looks all frazzled at the tips because of them, and we were slammed with an epic outbreak of pear blister mite too. For that I think I'll need some sort of dormant oil application.

I agree with you on the pepper front. Love the padrons, but the blasted bells and bull horns seem to take an eternity to color up. I actually might skip bells next year, the bull horns seems to produce better here.

For squash, you're like me. Butternut is king of the kitchen. Last year, during our great winter squash experiment, I actually decided I liked the flavor of Greek Sweet Red even more. It's just not as prolific. Very similar looking, but larger, with darker flesh than butternut. Baker Creek isn't carrying seed anymore, but I have a few seeds left, and next year plan to save seed from that variety (wasn't organized enough to prevent cross-pollination this year). Once I get some seed next season, I'd be happy to send some your way if you want to try it alongside your butternut.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Not sure how to reach you by email, but if you're curious this is a Greek Sweet Red we grew last fall:

GrafixMuse said...

Reminders are good especially this time of year. I probably should note some things myself. Funny thing about Jalapeno plants…I agree that two plants are probably enough, but this year I have one plant that hasn't produced a single pepper. It is the same size as its sibling, but not a single fruit. Luckily the one plant that is producing supplies us with what we need.

I think you need to plant more kale :)

Stefaneener said...

el, I looked them up and they sound intriguing. Possibly overwhelming, but intriguing nonetheless.

CVS,It's that time! Oh -- I'm at, if that helps. The squash sounds great. Sand Hill Preservation Center had some, according to their website. I'd love to try it. I'm still sticking with bells, though. Yum. I want to roll in them.

GrafixMuse, that's one of the stranger things I've ever heard. Want some pickled ones? That gives me a good idea for a post -- things I've canned that are new to me. I just don't eat the dratted things. At all.

Daphne said...

I've got to go with planting only butternuts too, but for me it is because they can grow through anything.

I never remember if I don't write it down either. My blog is a good reference, though sometimes it is hard to find where I wrote things. I used to do a little tag, "not to self" so I could just search on it and find all them. But I haven't been doing it recently.

Stefaneener said...

Daphne, you could CLAIM it's for love, not limitations! Tags are my friends, but I'm a little lazy. I have some ideas for making my paper plans more useful, but it would take time.

Julie said...

I'm completely inspired to write a similar post, because I know that next spring, I will still want to plant 80 tomatoes, 50 hot peppers, and ten zillion cucumbers. Seriously, I can't give away the hot peppers fast enough. And I've made a vow to stop planting for the visual appeal of the garden tours. From now on, I'm only planting what we like. Plus, I'm going to start following my own advice that I give new gardeners and stop crowding tomatoes. Honestly, as much as I want every beautiful and delicious variety that I grow for my nursery biz, I just don't have enough sunny space in our garden to support 80 plants. I just ask for disease and pests by crowding them. I completely agree about the bell peppers--they are finally doing well, and I should have planted twice as many! Great post...I wish I had done this last year about the fall/winter garden, because I'm planting it tomorrow!

Stefaneener said...

Julie, back away from the pretty. Really... You will be so happy.

Although I'm one to talk; I still overcrowd stuff at the same time I'm leaving beds fallow. No easy answers!