Skip to comments.Weekly Garden Thread - September 16-22, 2023 [Successes, Failures & Lessons Learned in 2023 Edition]
Posted on 09/16/2023 5:53:12 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
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Took a trip Thursday to the Shenandoah Valley - love all the fall displays we saw ... pumpkins, mums, etc. One if the places we went was an apple orchard - nothing beats an apple fresh off the tree - the apples in the grocery are tasteless, don’t smell like apples, either.
Back at home, the ‘must do or it will spoil’ canning is done ... hallelujah! I have some specialty jellies/jams to do, but the fruit is in the freezer, the wine is in the bottles, so nothing will spoil until I can get to it.
BIG projects to do - moving lumber out of the garage, fixing the pole barn so I can drive through with the PU, getting huge & heavy metal shelves from the barn to the garage & put together (currently in original boxes on sawhorses), moving the firepit (the huge slab of rock it sits on), replacing all the battery wires on mom’s golf cart, taking down tarps & putting up metal siding on the lean-to shed, and the garden .... taking down fences, cleaning out raised beds, etc. I have to get the place mowed somewhere in between - just enough rain to get the grass growing again.
The weather is spectacular - low humidity, yesterday was a high of 78 & overnight it was 55. The projects piled up because of the brutal heat last month in particular ... the current conditions, if they stick around, are great for working outside.
We picked well over 100 tomatoes last week, glory to God, mostly large ones. Most plants started from seed at beginning of April.
2nd wettest summer on record.
Season puttering out, and the yearly blight required much pruning - more than I did - yet the plants that were pruned have been coming back while overall most plants keep on producing new growth. If this was down South much more produce could be realized, but here in MA cool temps slow growth, and the first frost usually comes before the end of Oct.
The Beautyberry shrubs we planted in June all have their berries turning purple now! They are lovely and get prettier each day. The weather this past week has been absolutely gorgeous. Sunny mild days with highs near 80, lows in mid 50s. I feel the crispness in the air in the morning and evening. Perhaps it’s time for a fire pit night, and hopefully hear the Barred Owl call out.
Our first frost of the year happened at the golf course last night. I’m a bit higher in the valley, so no frost here yet, but all the soft produce has been brought in. Potatoes, carrots and beets are all still in the ground, but frost won’t harm them.
The sunflowers are all going like nobody’s business, after spraying them with deer repellent. The bees don’t seem to mind too much.
I’ve learned to NOT plant nasturtiums in front of my animal sensor/sprayer deterring device.
My garden is being overrun with weeds, but I have not been able to tend to it as usual.
My bucket potatoes have died back and the volunteer ones are still going. How long can I go without harvesting the potatoes? I have no intention of losing them to a freeze, but Id like to dig them as late as possible, thinking that they would keep in storage later in the year if I harvested them later.
Brothers and sisters...the raccoons finally found my garden.
“How long can I go without harvesting the potatoes?”
Usually you harvest them when the foliage has completely died back. If your potted potatoes still have foliage, wait for the foliage to die. Stop watering if the foliage has already died back.
You could possibly go a month after that, leaving them in the pots, but don’t go too much longer because if it stays warm by you into the Fall, they may re-sprout and you don’t want that!
Cooler weather, Thank God.
My 9/11 memorial this past week:
I do a lot of container plants, and you’re right, geraniums do very nicely in them! Impatiens for the less sunny places are good, too.
My successes this season were tarragon and oregano in the ground instead of in pots. They look very healthy still, and I hope they will make it through the winter.
A bit of a wrap up for the year. In zone 6B in Eastern Kansas. This year given my limited garden size, I trial grew potatoes and sweet potatoes in buckets and a couple in bags. (I have grown both in the past when I had a large garden.) I have one black bag filled with compost and soil that has some butterballs in it that I did not dig up. One of my unproductive squash put down roots in it and I have not disturbed it.
Notable Failures. This is the Second year for my Korean Golden Sweet potatoes. Tasty, but like last year not enough production when grown in pots in my garden. (Pots were painted white to avoid excessive temps in growing medium.)
The Clancey "from seed" potatoes worked better than the German Butterball potatoes, but The 5 gallon buckets held too much water, and the medium that I used in growing in the 10 gallon buckets did not retain water and were too dry. We had extended periods of 100 + heat which is not good potato weather. Someone mentioned that potatoes would not grow if the temp was over 80 degrees, which might account for this. I
probably do not have the climate for potatoes. The result of this year is that I have some seed potatoes and tiny sweet potatoes for next year (If I decide to plant!) The photo in the link back is my approximate size of my harvest. Diana Grew these so maybe able to provide info regarding her harvest in Wisconsin.
I started the Clancey seeds in 4 x4 pots and transplanted them out. I think they would work well in a cooler location in ground. Do not expect large potatoes. Sweet potatoes will grow in my climate with all the heat. I might need to start earlier and use a fast growing variety like Covington.
NOT grown in pots/buckets; Results for squash were also marginal. 1 Red Kuri squash (A most excellent squash!) one Butternut squash, some patty pan and a few zuccini. (Cocozell and Italian Striata Grow Striata if you want lots of squash blossoms....It produced tons of blossoms. ) I Planted 2 pumpkins types with no results to this point and none really expected. (Rouge vif d Etamp, Muskee de Provance.) Had very good results with parthencarpic Beit Alpha types of cucumbers Artist and Diva, mostly because I was able to grow them under a cover which protected them from squash destroying insects. National Pickling Cucumber did well and was productive, but since it could not be covered and needs insects (bees) for germination died a slow death from cucumber beetles and bacterial wilt. (Anticipate this...use staggered plantings and cover them when young.)
I think I started some cabbage this spring, but it was not a good year for it. They need room and an early start and to be covered with garden fabric to protect them from loopers. (Kaitlin IIRC, a good looking sauerkraut type cabbage.)
Limited success; I grew some beets and turnips very early in the Spring, hybrid Boro Beet and Heirloom Golden Ball turnips. Both good varieties that were productive. (But would be better in a larger garden with more sun and room.) I did some fall plantings which are being destroyed by the pill bugs.
Success. High yield and good taste from my Romano type pole beans Helda and Golden Gate which lasted until the cucumber and bean beetles arrived. ( Blue Lake pole beans were devoured at the seedling stage by sow bugs and pill bugs.) They were a favorite place and food for the Green June bugs that also came at the same time as the Japanese beetles. I sprayed for several weeks with Neem / peppermint oil / Gardens Alive's beetleJUS!® Beetle Control and achieved some success control in extending the season, but at a certain point there were just too many! I grew my beans along a wall, but I think that it is better if you can grow them on a trellis that you can access from both sides.
Tons of Basil!!! I inter planted Johnnies Seed Prospera Compact DMR (PL4)and Thai Basil and some Gypsy Marigolds in my Tomato Rows in the late spring (April?) and provided I kept them topped and watered, they grew the entire without any problems with fungus or wilt, even with a period of 100 degree weather! It is mid September and the bees are still visiting the the plants (Especially the Thai Basil with pink Flower spires). I had no real problem with aphids on the tomatoes this year. I will keep using these varieties which have a big recommendation.
I had a good harvest of and Multiplier / Potato onions and Baker Creek bought Estonian Garlic earlier this year. The Baker Creek Japanese Multiplier green onions and leeks are doing well. I just added some of their Catawissa Top Setting red onions which are growing.
Successful High producing: Tomatoes and Shishitos, I will try to find and repost an earlier discussion of the tomato varieties.
So, I have a good salsa garden! Tomatoes and Peppers and Onions! (Not a cool weather type Oktoberfest garden with potatoes and cabbage and beets.)
The fact that they are cute and wash their hands does lessen the desire to violently destroy them.
(I see a pack of fur coats. )
Brave search summarizer gives:
"Electric fencing is the only truly effective fence against raccoons, and most gardens need only two strands of wire, one at 6 inches and the second at 12 inches, using PVC poles since raccoons can climb wooden posts holding electric fencing. A combination of chicken wire and electric fence is also an effective deterrent."
Ern, We all wish you success with this problem!
I got a loaner live trap from the hot chicks I work with at the dog pound.... and I bought an arm trap from the feed store.
I put the half a cantaloupe the loaner trap right next to the plant.
This is the 2nd cantaloupe he has attacked so I am confident he will return for it.
My. Marlin 22LR I’d prepped and ready to go.
“Diana grew [German Butterball Potatoes] so may be able to provide info regarding her harvest in Wisconsin.”
I grew one raised bed of them, 8x4’. I put the potatoes in whole, as I only needed 12 hills. I planted them about 4” down, then loaded on the straw. Watered occasionally as we were (still are!) in a drought.
Harvested about a 5-gallon bucket full. Even though they’re in a raised bed that has been amended, by base soil is still rather clay-ish, so not the best for growing taters.
That said, I think my tater-growing days are over. Potatoes, onions, carrots, all root crops are so CHEAP in my state, they’re really not worth the growing space when I could’ve put in more flowers (Food for the Soul!) or tomatoes or bush beans. ;)
I’m still canning tomatoes and apples (sauce, jam, pie filling - tall friends picked another two, 5-gallon buckets for me, this morning!) but I’ll have a full tally for you all in the near future. Suffice to say that I have fully HALF of the dining room table covered in pints and quarts as of today...plus freezer jams and butters in the freezer.
I’m tired, LOL!
They’ll need to come up by mid October anyways so I can get the garlic in. I just am not going to be home much for the next few weeks.
I’m praying for a late fall.
We caught one a couple of weeks ago - in 2 nights, it massacred 6 chickens. We used a Havahart live trap & baited with a raw chicken wing - the culprit was in the trap the next morning. We did ‘catch’ but there was no ‘release’.
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