Monday, November 1, 2010
Gardening for this year is about finished. But it was an outstanding gardening year, a cool, wet spring, and little evidence of curlytop, provided us with an abundant harvest.
I just finished a great green bean harvest, we ate, canned, and gave many away to family and friends. I planted the beans on August 15th, began harvesting the first of October, and finished the harvest on October 27th.
I finished my corn harvest on October 4th, and we canned (freezer) much of the harvest.
I still have tomatoes producing in the garden (Ropac and Columbian), along with spinach. I have been very impressed with the Ropac and Columbian tomato varieties. These varieties produced early, heavy, through the summer, and into the late fall; easily the best producer in my garden. I like their flavor, they didn't crack, and didn't contract curlytop. I will plant these varieties again next year.
The cool, wet spring made for an excellent spring and early summer garden, and the summer wasn't too bad either. The fall has also been nice. The lack of too many violent winds has helped all growing season. My pecans, maturity wise, are behind prior years, but my trees are loaded with large, plump pecans--they just took a little longer to mature due to the cool spring and early summer. But I expect a huge crop. The wind only blew off a small percentage of the pecans, so my losses are small.
I had a wonderful pomegranate crop, we juiced most, got about 5 gallons of juice. I have both sweet and sour pomegranates and I juice them all together, it makes a nice tart, but not too tart, blend of pomegranate juice that we will enjoy until next October. I have three sour pomegranates and five sweet. Three trees are the original, old Toquerville pomegrantates (whatever variety that is). They are dark red and sweet. I planted three sour varieties, and two sweet varieties. All trees produced fruit this year, though the two sweet varieties I planted are still quite small. The sour pomegranates obviously grow faster than the sweet varieties. Just interesting.
I experimented by planting some late beets and Great Lakes lettuce, in September. I don't think the beets will make. The lettuce may still make, if not, it will be ready to take off when spring comes.
We pretty much lived off our garden all summer long (June through October). It was the best eating we've had in years. I believe Americans will be forced to grow more of their food in the future--if they want to eat. Agriculture in this country is in trouble, government regulations and price controls have made agriculture marginally profitable. Most dairymen are on the verge of bankruptcy, the government continues to punish farmers, environmentalists have all but declared war on agriculture and are determined to eliminate large scale agriculture, which means there will be food shortages in the future. I don't say this to be an alarmist or to sound like a political rant; but we all need to understand that growing our own food will be critical in the next few years, at least. Gardening is not easy, you can't just throw the seeds in the ground and come back later and harvest the crop. Gardening takes a great deal of knowledge, patience, work, good timing, a little luck, and a lot of faith.
It's time now to begin preparing your garden for next year. Till in all your leaves (except for walnut leaves), grass clippings, and other compostable material. By spring, it will all be decomposed and ready to grow you a great garden.