The garden really started to produce in July. The peas (snow, snap, and shelling) produced very well. We were able harvest and freeze a dozen packages each of snow and snap peas. The shelling peas just got ahead of us. The zucchini and summer squash continue to produce. The excess of these have gone to the food bank. Green and yellow wax beans are coming on and will be canned soon. We harvested the first of the potatoes. I planted these plants very deep and filled in around the plants as they grew. Now that I have started the harvest, of course I have to dig a deep hole to get down those potatoes. Hmm, I have to think about this strategy a bit more. I am getting good looking potatoes but not in large quantity.
The melons are doing well with enough fruit for our use, but the plants are not looking great. The corn is starting to tassel out, but I am not seeing any ears. This could be a lack of nitrogen, possibly water, or maybe it is just not time for the ears to form. I have increased the amount of water in case that is the issue. They are both growing in the newly created garden where the soil is less than ideal. Lime, nitrogen, and lots of compost should put it right for next year or maybe the year after that. It takes time and lots of work to get garden soil to where you would want it to be.
I have beans and winter squash growing in the new garden are as well and they could not be doing better. Great looking plants and lots of fruit. They seem to be doing just fine in this soil.
The main crop of tomatoes and peppers are just starting to get ripe. The tomato plants look great; just starting to top their 4 foot cages. They have a reasonable amount of green fruit and if the warm weather holds for another 30 to 60 days, we should have a good harvest. The pepper plants are another story. The plants look weak and although they are producing good looking fruit, the harvest will be less than what it could be. I am not certain what the problem is, but I hope that loads of compost, nitrogen, and some lime will sort this out for next year. These plants are in the well-established portion of the garden so I know the soil is in basically good shape. I plan to double dig the rows that will grow tomatoes and peppers next year as well as the rows that are growing them now.
Double digging is a process of digging out the soil about 2 feet deep and breaking up the soil below that with a digging fork to get a root zone that is about 2 ½ feet deep. The soil from what was the top of the garden now ends up at the bottom of this dig. In the process of this dig I will be working in a lot of compost. The goal is to create a deep, well composted root zone. The down side of this effort is the soil structure is complete disturbed, upsetting the biological balance of the soil. It is better to get this done before fall rains get going. This will give the soil all winter to sort things out.
Something odd is going on with my broccoli, cauliflower, and romanesco. The plants are large and robust, but there are no florets. I was expecting to at least be seeing small heads beginning to form but there is nothing. This is very odd. I have never seen or heard of that happening before and have no idea what is going on. I will have to research this to come up with a theory/plan.
Fall and winter vegetables.
I have started, onions, broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce. They are germinating very well and are off to a great start. The rows that grew peas, kohlrabi, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, and parsnips this year will grow tomatoes and peppers next year. As I clean up these rows, I will be double digging them and then planting the winter cabbage and broccoli on these rows. Even though the double digging will disrupt the bio-balance of these rows, I do not think that will cause these vegetables too much trouble.
Growing winter broccoli and cabbage in rows that will grow tomatoes and peppers the following year:
There have been a handful of field studies that show that if you grow these type of plants and dig the waste of these crops into the soil compounds in the plant will kill some of the bacteria that cause tomato problems. I have done this for years and am convinced it works, but I do not completely understand the science behind this or know if really works.
Apples, pears, and plums.
The Red Gravenstein apples and the Italian prune are just starting to get ripe with the Moyer prune not that far behind them.
Plan review: July
• Get winter vegetables started. (done)
• Reseed Parsnips (done)
• Harvest Garlic and shallots (done)
• Harvest and preserve the garden vegetables and fruits(on going)
• Organize to have the excess produce provided to the needy in Roseburg (done)
• Start to work on building a walking path around the property( no progress, I am going to drop this project until later in the fall)
• Harvest tomatoes, peppers, green beans, potatoes, melons, and sweet corn.
• Up pot winter vegetables
• Double dig at least one of next years tomato rows, maybe two if the zucchini and summer squash finish up in time.
• Plant sweet corn in the area of the new garden where the potatoes are now growing. This area has been deeply dug and will be amended.
• Plant all legumes and squash in the new garden area. They seem to grow well in this soil and the legumes fix nitrogen.
• Finish out the new garden area with potatoes and melons.