04 Sep

Garden Report, 2014-09-03

It’s been a short long summer (short on days, long on heat). In short, the keyhole gardens have done well overall, with the kale, chard, and tomatoes highly productive (pounds upon pounds of healthy tasty maters from three plants), the single eggplant has delivered twice what we usually get, and the purple bush beans were reasonably but not overwhelmingly productive. (They would have produced more if had I layered organic materials closer to the surface).

Note: The keyhole gardens are too ugly now for photos. One must retain appearances. I’ll return later and add a few from their halcyon days of mid summer. I planted some late season carrots that almost took off–until the weather cooled, re-energizing Chloe, our young golden lab, who until that point kept out of the gardens. The carrot patch is now a DMZ. Straw hats on chests, we let it lie.

In the front yard garden, the long peppahs have been minimally productive (but also sunburn resistant and sweet fresh and cooked); the zukes overwhelmed then, thankfully, died fast; the sneaker pumpkin produced three little sugar babies and then sunk back with the zukes; and the corn tried real hard. Two to three bicolor cobs per plant, for a total of about 32, but disappointingly bland. We grew it in our “experimental bed”–our “grow it for fun” bed. Next year we’re going to try turmeric and ginger there–I’ve heard there are varieties that are possible to grow in the PNW. And the bed is in direct sun all day.

Nice surprises: The basil (about 14 plants) rallied for a strong second showing–we’ve had fresh basil in salads all summer. And we grew stevia for the first time–just one plant. I know many people don’t care for it–it’s easy to go from sweet to bitter with stevia. But it’s like growing a sugar plant. Leaves are nice to chew on my way out the door and they also work in tea without leaving an extra herby taste. I’ll grow it again.

Related to the garden, our mason bees filled all their tubes with larva and packed them with mud, so next Spring we’ll have another set of little pollinators ready for work.