Monday, October 03, 2011

First Frost!

On Saturday night we had our first frost—2 weeks early! I wasn't ready, but it wasn't a heavy frost, so almost everything came through. I did cover the raspberries, peppers and green beans; they're a bit touchier than the others.

Needless to say, I spent most of Sunday getting the garden ready for fall. I cleaned up the watermelon, the cucumbers, and the earlier plantings of beans (I succession plant my beans&mash;a new crop every 2-3 weeks). I also pulled the last of the San Marzano Roma-style tomatoes. They did really well this year.

So, how what worked and what didn't? This year we tried containerized gardening on some corn. It grew really well, but I should have side-dressed it with nitrogen earlier than I did. Also, we didn't get to eat any because the raccoons got it. The day before I was going to pick it, they climbed the fence, then the corn stalks and got all the corn. Bummer!

The watermelon were very good this year, but there weren't very many. Maybe that's why they were good? Anyway, I need to get access to some high quality manure to have good flavor and quantity. I probably won't do them again, although I might try cantaloupe there next year.

The turnips didn't germinate, nor did the rutabaga. That's ok; I prefer kohlrabi anyway. I can't get beets to grow very large in this garden. I'm pretty sure it's a mineral balance thing. Next year I think I'll add some boron.

The cabbage needed to stay under row cover—the cabbage butterfly caterpillars got to them. Same for the late broccoli and the Brussels Sprouts—although they recovered and I will get some. I need to plant more cucumber plants for the first planting and forget about a second planting.

On the whole, the garden was a success. I like planting earlier under row cover and in the hoop house. The plants get a head start and are pretty much done by the time the bugs catch up. I used to can more in August/September than any other month. This year, because of the row cover and hoop house, I canned more in July/August. That was nice; it left September freer for apples :)

Speaking of apples, I canned 23 pints of apple sauce over the weekend and we have dried about 2 bushels. I also canned 6 more quarts of rhubarb sauce. We're about out of jars now. I'm going to need to buy another dozen wide mouth quarts for the remaining dried apples.

So, how did your garden do this year?

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