Thursday, September 30, 2010

September Gardening Report

Gardening has slowed down considerably. I did harvest my O'Henry peaches, as pictured here. I also harvested our Asian pears in September. These are wonderful, round, crisp and juicy pears. My final grapes were harvested and juiced (concord). We are currently harvesting my final corn crop. We canned (froze) about half the harvest, and continue to eat this wonderful sweet corn from the garden. My fall green beans are about ready to pick, and I still harvest some tomatoes, bell peppers and Anaheim peppers.

Because of worms in the peaches the past two years, I sprayed my peaches three times after they began showing color, and did not have a single worm. The harvest of both the Elberta and O'Henry peaches was excellent for me. The only remaining fruit for me are a few Golden Delicious apples, and pomegranates. My apple tree is small and set only a few blossoms and apples.

My pomegranates are also about ripe. Last year we juiced most of our pomegranates and have enjoyed the juice all year long. I have both sweet and sour pomegranates, and when mixed with Fresca, makes a wonderful and healthy drink. I mix both sweet and sour pomegranates together, and it makes a wonderful blend for zesty drinks.

I'm looking forward to the pecan harvest this year. My trees are loaded heavily with large pecans (my harvest was quite light last year). The winds have been light, so not many have fallen prematurely to the ground. I also noticed the pecan aphids were very light this year, very little sap and drippage from the leaves.

I am already tilling my garden, tilling in corn stubble, grass clippings, chicken manure and other compostable material. All my fall leaves will also go into the garden, if tilled in, they will be completely decomposed by spring.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August Gardening Report

August has been a heavy production month for me. Tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupes, casabas, watermelon, corn, and peaches. In terms of weight, August is easily the heaviest production month of the year (those melons add up in a hurry). My melons are about done producing, though I have a few cantaloupes and a few watermelons still on the vine.

A few observations and conclusions:
1. Moving my drip lines away from the base of the melons clearly helped keep the squash bugs down; I had some, but they were never much of a problem.
2. Placing a couple of drops of vegetable oil on the corn silk early in development, clearly keeps the bugs and worms out of the ear of corn.
3. I planted Striped Klondike, Crimson Sweet and Green River watermelons. The Striped Klondike were easily the best flavor, they were so sweet and delicious. Even the small Klondikes were tasty. The Green River melons were a disappointment, though I did plant them late.
4. The Ropac and Columbian tomatoes easily out-produced the Celebrity and Better Boy varieties--and they're still fairly loaded with tomatoes.
5. The casabas were disappointingly small, but good flavor, and we had more than we could eat.
6. In the past, I have not sprayed my fruit, but both previous years nearly all my peaches had worms. So this year I sprayed, only at the first sign of color. I sprayed three times, two weeks apart--and I have no worms this year. I used a vegetable safe Spectracide product.
7. My peaches (elberta) were a couple weeks later this year than last, but we did have a cool spring. But it's a great peach crop for a three year old tree. My OHenry variety ripens later, but they look good too, and I sprayed them also and see no signs of worms.
8. My pecans are also maturing later than last year. Last year in mid-August they were completely filled out, this year on September 1st, they are still not completely filled out. I have a heavy crop, and hope they still fill out large.

I planted spinach today (Sept 1st), planted green beans on August 9th, and fall corn on July 20th.

If you have empty space in your garden (have taken out completed crops), begin tilling in mulch, compost, manure, etc. The ground is a great place to compost, from now until Spring planting.