Now that autumn is upon us, what were your winners and losers this summer and things you just want to do different next year? Here's my list:WinnersGolden of Bacau Beans - These are a lovely yellow pole bean that is absolutely one of if not the sweetest bean I have ever tasted. Heirloom.Tangerine Tomatoes - These are a favorite in our house. they are a bit less acidic than red tomatoes and have a lovely flavor.Lemon Boy Tomatoes - Lovely yellow tomatoes that are shaped like a lemon. Grew well, and produced nicely. Heirloom.McIntosh Apples - Our tree did gang busters this year! I had no less than two bushels of apples. I'm still making stuff.Yellow Patty Pan Squash - Another favorite in the house. Always tastes wonderful and if I can keep the SVBs away long enough, a great producer.Basils - I planted several kinds of basil this year, purple ruffles, another purple (I don't remember the name), Genovese, Sweet, Lemon, and Cinnamon. All did very well.Blueberries - We are still getting blueberries. We had some that have ripened very slowly and are rather small, but taste wonderful.LosersTree Tomatoes - They grew like crazy, but produced very little. More annoying than anything.Bell Peppers - They are always annoying because just as they get ripe enough to pick, something else gets them. Green Patty Pan Squash - Blasted things did not produce even ONE squash! I had two plants and neither produced anything.Purple Pole Beans - I think they may have sent me the wrong beans. I planted them in between the tomatoes as I usually do with pole beans, but they never grew above a foot tall. I think they sent me bush beans instead of pole beans. I think I got a total of 8 beans off 40 seeds I planted. Things I Want to Do DifferentWe planted our rows of tomatoes very close together this year. They grew well, but it was a real hassle trying to get in between the plants to get the produce. I think I want to expand them a bit next year. I want to plant corn. This will take some coaxing with Hubby. He isn't fond of planting corn because it takes so much room, but I really love fresh corn on the cob.I want to start my plants earlier. I'd like to put up a cold frame so we can start them in December or January. I want to plant one less row of bush beans. Nobody int he house likes picking them, and I wind up being the only one that will care for them so only one row next year. Kathleen
I've just started expanding beyond herbs so here is my short list:Winners--celebrity tomatoes.Losers--zucchini, bell peppers.What I'll try next year--okra.I might try a fall/winter garden, mostly greens.JLC
McIntosh Apples - Our tree did gang busters this year! I had no less than two bushels of apples. I'm still making stuff.Did you all plant the apple trees? If so, how long ago? If not, do you know how old the trees are? How big are they? Do you have any trouble with deer or any other critter eating them?
I've only been here for 1.5 years, but this is my second crop year of tomatoes.The slicing tomatoes have been a bust... most had spots and were rotten before they were ripe enough to pick. I might get a few more but the Early Girl tomatoes in particular have all gone onto the compost heap. The tomatoes got too much sprinkling in the spring, and never looked very healthy... this came from my neighbor's watering my newly sodded lawn, provided by my neighbor as part of a remediation program to fix up the damage done by his construction equipment. The little tomatoes have been great though ... but those too seemed like small plants and I should have planted more. Super Sweet 100 and Sun Sugar were great, plus mismarked yellow grape tomatoes that were just yummy. Still not sure what the variety is.I also have basil, chives (2nd year), yellow crookneck squash, acorn squash and small sugar pumpkin. Pumpkins and acorn squash are doing fine except for some powdery mildew (very wet and humid here in July), but the yellow squash were disappointing. The vines rotted and fell over - maybe squash borers? I had a few nice squash but they never made it to table due to a refrigeration mishap (frozen solid!)Fall is the time to prepare beds, and I want to plant berries and grapes next spring. Apples would be great too, but I doubt I'll have the time to prepare for a tree planting this fall. I'd also like to expand my beds so I can have more space for crops like carrots and greens.
Not a good year here. I planted too late because of heavy rains, and then it got dry. Too dry. I probably should have watered more.Losers:nasturtiums, supposed to be for decoration. Eaten by birds or animals? Never germinated? Never saw anything. This despite scoring the seeds and soaking in water overnight in a clean ashtray before planting.Not exactly winners, but hanging in there:basil (three varieties)curly parsleyEarly Girl tomatoes (only a few fruits, but good)Super Chili chili pepperscoleus in front flower bedhostas (five are doing OK, the sixth is looking sick.)Winners:Some kind of mint. It came with the place, is volunteer and I don't need a lot of it.Bishop's weed (decorative, in flower beds.) Again, came with the place. It is invasive, but what the hey.Creeping charley, bindweed, thistles, poison ivy, two kinds of woody plants I haven't identified.Hopefully next year will be better.
Winners-Better Boy, Roma and cherry tomatoes, yellow squashLosers-Bell peppers-nary a one,little pumpkins-just got one,and zucchini-maybe a handful grew.Planted cherry tomatoes too close to squash plants, but the tomatoes are all still producing.I need to expand my tiny patch. I want to plant more squash next yr.LuckyDog
Did you all plant the apple trees? If so, how long ago? If not, do you know how old the trees are? How big are they? Do you have any trouble with deer or any other critter eating them?We did plant the trees, I think it was about 4-5 years ago. They are about 20-25 feet tall. We have two, one is a Mac, the other is a Rome. for some reason, the Rome rarely does much. I think there were 3 apples on it this year. The Mac goes gang busters, and makes up for the Rome not doing anything.We occasionally have to fight the birds for them, but otherwise, no problems. Actually, I'm very surprised none of the deer came by this year. We had a lot of very low hanging fruit, and the front yard is wide open.I still have apple jelly, apple pies, and apple walnut bread to make.Kathleen
We did plant the trees, I think it was about 4-5 years ago. They are about 20-25 feet tall. We have two, one is a Mac, the other is a Rome. for some reason, the Rome rarely does much. I think there were 3 apples on it this year. The Mac goes gang busters, and makes up for the Rome not doing anything.Thanks, Kat,I planted two apple trees this past Saturday. One is a Liberty and one is a Red Fuji. I'm worried the deer who frequent my city yard will find them attrative. I used 4 stakes per tree, 2 to hold them straight and then put a plastic netting all the way around the trees, including over top.I want to do my best to protect them while they are new in the ground. How do you pick the apples? Do you use ladders? I hope these trees survive as I really want to be able to pick apples off of them.Do you remember how long it took for the trees to have their first apples?How big were they when you planted them?Do you prune them annually? Spray them? Fertilize them? Thanks, my old friend from the stocks for poor people board in years past. :-)
I want to do my best to protect them while they are new in the ground. How do you pick the apples? Do you use ladders?A lot were low enough to simply grab. For the higher level ones, I got a ladder and rake and pulled them down before the birds got them. We had a couple of really huge apples in that second batch.I hope these trees survive as I really want to be able to pick apples off of them.Do you remember how long it took for the trees to have their first apples?We actually had I think 3 apples the first year. They were miniscule and not worth doing anything but looking at and admiring, but they were there. How big were they when you planted them?Maybe 6 feet tall.Do you prune them annually? Spray them? Fertilize them?I don't think you really know me. I'm a lazy-a$$ gardener. We haven't done anything for this tree other than occasionally dumping the fish poop from the pond onto the base. Very occasionally. Like once every couple years. I might have to actually break down and prune it this year as the lower branches were on the ground. Course, we said that last year, too.Seriously, the only ones really working on the apple trees are the honey bees.Thanks, my old friend from the stocks for poor people board in years past. :-)You're always welcome. Let me know if my less-than-active gardening advice helps <grin>.Kathleen
How do you pick the apples? Do you use ladders? Use one of these pickers.http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=25008...
Kathleen:Where did you get your apple trees? Stark Bros? What time of year did you plant them?We have 4 or 5 small apple trees. They're semidwarf, I think; they were here when we bought 9 years ago. I think I posted a while back about how they had lots of small apples several years ago, but had not been pruned and seemed to just stop bearing. I pruned them severely 2 years ago, all verticals, etc., opening them up per the books. Last year, they had no blossoms or fruit. This year, they had plenty of both -- but the fruit is still small. (I did NOT spray at all or thin.)By the way, the deer HAVE been munching our apples! In fact, we had THREE stags out there a couple of times - an 8-pointer and two 4-pointers.Questions:Should I have THINNED the apples early on, to encourage LARGER apples?Would spraying them often help keep them nicer and healthier? (I assume that is obvious, but I'd like to know how you got "big" apples.)Thanks!Vermonter
This is our first year with a veggie garden and I owe its success to the compost we put down last fall.Winners:1. Yellow cherry tomatoes, taste like candy, not sure of the real name, the plants were a gift without much information2. Red Cheery (same as above) not as prolific as the yellow.3. San Marzano (sp) tomatoes for sauce, Heirloom. FANTASTIC SAUCE and prolific fruit.4. Eggplant: got 6 of our first try, probably won't try again, it was an experiment and not that big of an eggplant fan.semi-winners: 1. I now understand why red peppers are so expensive in the store, we had 4 total from 2 plants and they took forever to ripen (good flavor), low production for the effort.loosers (maybe)1. German Red Strawberry tomatoes, 1s attempt not so good flavor, next batch taking forever to rippen. 3. One other tomato plant, maybe 6 total.
3. San Marzano (sp) tomatoes for sauce, Heirloom. FANTASTIC SAUCE and prolific fruit.I'm so jealous.Those are the most recommended maters for making pizza sauce.I buy them canned and just squish them up in my hands and add some salt and pepper for near perfect pizza sauce.But don't cook it. It cooks on the pie.bigpix
1. I now understand why red peppers are so expensive in the store, we had 4 total from 2 plants and they took forever to ripen (good flavor), low production for the effort.Try tabasco chilies next time. They take forever to ripen but we end up with an incredible amount per plant.We were not growing them this year, but some of the fruit fell off before we picked them so we let some volenteers grow by themselvesFordStill trying to figure out when to pull up the carrots
Winners - container Romas, cucumbers, sugar snap peas. Picking some each day.Semi Winner - mini watermelon. Only planted one. Lots of flowers but only 1 melon. I will plant 2 next year to see if it helps.Loser - Container beefsteak tomato. Poor performance from start to finish. I will try this in the ground next year.Lessons learned - since it is just the 2 of us I will only plant 1 cuc and 1 sugar snap pea. Friends have taken all they care to and are now avoiding us :) But, you can never have too much of the Romas.Kath
Where did you get your apple trees? Stark Bros? Uh, either Lowe's or Wally World, I've forgotten which.What time of year did you plant them?I think it was in the fall, but really did not pay attention.I pruned them severely 2 years ago, all verticals, etc., opening them up per the books. Last year, they had no blossoms or fruit. This year, they had plenty of both -- but the fruit is still small. (I did NOT spray at all or thin.) ......................Should I have THINNED the apples early on, to encourage LARGER apples?Would spraying them often help keep them nicer and healthier? (I assume that is obvious, but I'd like to know how you got "big" apples.)I was not kidding when I said I'm a lazy gardener. We haven't done ANYTHING for this tree. A occasional bit of fish poop was it. We didn't thin, at least not intentionally. The girls have kicked soccer balls at it, and the birds have attacked the fruit, but nothing to actually help it.That being said, the bees have worked hard at pollenating it.Sorry, I'm not much help,Kathleen
3. San Marzano (sp) tomatoes for sauce, Heirloom. FANTASTIC SAUCE and prolific fruit.We had the San Marzanos, too. They were very tasty, and nicely prolific.Kathleen
1. I now understand why red peppers are so expensive in the store, we had 4 total from 2 plants and they took forever to ripen (good flavor), low production for the effort.Try tabasco chilies next time. They take forever to ripen but we end up with an incredible amount per plant.Tabasco chiles are hot, red peppers are sweet. Kathleen
i had 4 roma plants and had about 3 bushels from the 4 plants. i have been making salsa for several weeks now. i heard at my dentists office that i could freeze them. can i freeze roma's?thanks!fred
Tabasco chiles are hot, red peppers are sweet. I know, I was just thinking of our freakish chiles out front. They get hotter the more they are stressed as well, so a 'lazy' gardener should be able to do a good job with them. I, too, am a lazy gardener. The tabasco chiles do have a fairly large crop when they do ripen so there is the sense of doing something.Ok, I'm more heat adverse than anything. I take a step out when it is over 90 and I end up thinking everything looks ok, and a straw lawn is fine.Ford
Tabasco chiles are hot, red peppers are sweet. I know, I was just thinking of our freakish chiles out front. They get hotter the more they are stressed as well, so a 'lazy' gardener should be able to do a good job with them. I, too, am a lazy gardener. The tabasco chiles do have a fairly large crop when they do ripen so there is the sense of doing something.----------------------THis doesn't work so well if you are not a fan of hot chilies and are a fan of sweet red peppers. But thanks for the informationNicole
This was my 1st year putting veggies in the ground -- usually I do containers:Winners:zucchini -- yummy and huge! Have harvested 5 so far.eggplant -- yummy and nice size -- only harvested 2, but it was worth it.Meyer lemon tree - has 6 green lemons and still waiting for them to ripen -- it's taking forever. We got about the same number last year. We overwintered it in the house.Losers:blueberry bushMaybes:pepper plant -- looks like we're finally getting A pepper.
Winners: Cantaloupe, cucumbers, swiss chard, green beans, german johnson and chocolate cherry tomatoes (though they both turned out to be indeterminate).Losers: All things squash, eggplant (only one so far), carrots and radishes. I did make one pint of radish relish though.Losers that are turning into winners: Okra, and all peppers (green, jalapeno and habanero), and I am hopeful with the eggplant...Fall planting that looks good so far: Romas and 5 other tomato varieties, banana peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and strawberries.We shall see...LJ
For reference, I am in WA state on the Kitsap peninsula, zone 8b. WinnersStupice, Christmas, Oregon Spring, VF100 cherry and Roma tomatoes. I planted 'em where they got full sun all day long, and they just produced a ton for me. In fact they still are, and if I can keep them dry during our early fall rains they might keep going through the end of this month. The kids were popping the cherry tomatoes like candy, something I always appreciate from a veggie.New England Sugar Pumpkins. I have at least ten on the vine, with more blossoms. Some are starting to turn orange, so I expect I will get a good amount of pumpkin for freezing or canning.Little Marvel peas. They produced so many peas I could not keep up with them, and the kids loved popping them straight from the pod into their mouths. Kandy Korn, Early Sunglow, and Peaches N Cream hybrid sweet corns. They all did very well and we have eaten some tasty corn fresh from the garden, with more to come. Blue and Yukon Gold potatoes!! I got potatoes that were as big as any you'd get from the store! They were absolutely delicious as well, so I will be planting more next year with an eye toward storage.Imperator and Rainbow carrots. The carrots have been sweet & gorgeous, especially the Imperator carrots. The rainbows have been slower to come along but are still quite tasty and I have really enjoyed them. Delicata squash. This plant keeps producing for me, and has done far better than the Sweet Meat squash which was recommended by other gardeners. I will try Sweet Meat again next year in the hope that it was my poor gardening skills that caused it to do poorly.Parris Island Romaine lettuce, 'cut and come again' lettuces. These all did so well I have had an over-abundance of lettuce. I will definitely grow lettuce again next year, it was so successful! LosersRed Scandia potatoes. They took much longer to cook than the other two types of potatoes and were really only good as a boiling potato. I will not be giving them garden space again next year.Fava beans. Nice taste, but the added work of shucking them again after cooking really is a turn-off for me. I think I'll try other cool weather suitable bean varietals next year.Red & yellow onion starts & seeds. This is the second year in a row I have gotten bumpkus from onions. I had starts & seeds, and got nothing from either except for a few spring onions. I am starting to think that it's not worth the bother to try them again, but I might succumb again to seeds next year. Eclipse peas. These peas did not perform well for me at all. They did not climb up the trellis nearly as high as the package advertised, and I got scant few peas off the plants. They are a definite YANK from my list for next year.Sugar Baby and Moon & Stars watermelons. I did get two Sugar Baby plants early on, but they both petered out at various stages. Moon & Stars took far, far too long to sprout up and I think it is just a hopeless case for watermelon with our cool soil temperatures. I am shelving this until I can get some cold frames.What I Will Do Differently1. I will stagger my plantings of peas, beans, and lettuces. Although it's a pain to keep the beds clear of weeds to achieve staggered plantings, I think it's worth the bother. I would prefer to get staggered crops of those things that do not freeze or keep well.2. I will expand my master watering system with soaker hoses and timers. Boy did all that work pay off!! My timer & soaker hoses have performed absolutely brilliantly, and it has paid off handsomely in a really great bounty from the garden.3. I will put down some sort of barrier in the aisles between the raised beds to keep the weeds at bay. The corn gluten worked well but it really needed to be reapplied in July, and we were gone. I could do without picking through weeds in the aisles, as I have my hands full enough just keeping weeds down in the beds.4. I will devise a better trellis/support structure for the tomatoes. Ideally I want this to include a means of attaching a shelter at the top to protect the tomatoes from the rains that cause early & late blight up here. 5. I will attempt to get fruits higher off the ground, and encircle potato plants with chicken wire underground. I have had something eating my potatoes and now my tomatoes, and it's something with teeth. I suspect rats, as several of our neighbors report seeing more mice & rats than before this summer in garden sheds and the like. I lost too many good tomatoes & potatoes and I wish to avoid a repeat next year.6. I will try to start off with a clean slate in the springtime by tilling the soil this fall, and top dressing with a thick layer of shredded leaves and compost. Hopefully this will keep the weeds at bay while providing natural amendment to till in come spring. 7. I might attempt to make the raised beds permanent fixtures, but have not decided if that is more work than recreating them each spring. It is somewhat appealing to just have a large plot so that I can re-design the boundaries of the beds each year to accommodate the spreading vines (squash) while maintaining a rotation of crops in various locations. I will think about it some more over the winter.StB. (happy gardener)
I had a fairly good crop of tomatoes that ended early due to early hot spell, a late frost and an outbreak of bacterial wilt in my main tomato bed. Winning varieties include Bush Celebrity, Sunmaster Hybrid, Tormenta Hybrid, a Roma-type tomato that resists several viruses, and Juliet Hybrid, a grape tomato that resists cracking. The loser in the tomato collection was the “Giant Tree Tomato”. Other winners were the zucchini, chili peppers, snow peas, bunching onions, Thai basil and the long green oriental eggplant. The loser was the bush pickle cucumber. It got too hot too soon for them. The pineapple crop was fairly good this year. We had a small tornado come through the area in late June that caused a number of the fruits to bend over in the high wind (See; http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/ff266/cjvoelkel/IMG_1068.... and http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/ff266/cjvoelkel/IMG_1147.... ). We were out of the highest wind but it did uproot an old orange tree next to the house, etc. One of the green pineapples broke off during a later thunder storm. I had one that a critter took a bite out of (See; http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/ff266/cjvoelkel/IMG_1061.... ) and another one that had two big bites taken out of it on one day and only the top and a bit of the core left the next day. We had a total of ten fruiting pineapple plants this year, one which I gave to our neighbor Joanne. Of the others, the critters ate one and one broke off early, we ate six and there is still an unripe one outside. I picked one just before Gustav that had just a touch of green on it and wasn’t quite as sweet as the ones picked at their peak of ripeness. I sacrificed this one to the little Kahuna and the Mayan god Quitzacoonia (See; http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/ff266/cjvoelkel/IMG_1153.... ). I sent some of its “meat“ across the street for Von‘s kids, grandkids & great grandkids. ;-)I put in 9 tomato plants in a new bed just before Onkil Gustav’s visit. They came through the storm ok and 8 have blossoms on them. The chilies are doing ok and, although the plants have a 30 or 25 degree list, the eggplants survived.C.J.V. - still cleaning up the yard, me
Your pineapples are beautiful - even with a bite taken out of the one!! Big bite too!! Deer??My 13 romas are now starting to bud. Can hardly wait to do some canning! By then my arm should be healed... no more pears for me this year!Hope your yard cleanup is accomplished quickly, and that there will be no need for future cleanups this hurricane season!LJ
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