Garden Produce Winding Down

The garden is beginning to dwindle with production – and it seems a bit early.

The weather has been extremely odd this year.  We had a couple of weeks of 90+ degree weather early on in June – and then the rest of the year has seen between high 60's to mid 80's for the most part.  There has also been a lot of rain very often – so there was an abundance of disease this year as well.

Many people believe that they had some kind of early or late blight – or a fusarium wilt fungus on their tomato plants this year.  In reality, it was most likely Septoria Leaf Spot.  This fungus kills the leaves and stems of plants by working up the plant.  So, it will look as though there is dead leaves and stems from the bottom up.  Luckily this fungus does not effect the fruit so we still got a decent number of tomatoes.  However, Septoria devestated our two cherry tomato plants.  In years previous, I've harvested a half-gallon buck of cherry tomatoes every three-four days.  This year, we probably didn't even get a half-gallon buck full all year long.  These tomato plants were then dug up early and composted.

The Dwarf Grey Sugar peas also began to get a bad case of downey mildew all over the plants just a couple of weeks before they stopped producing as well.

On a side note, there are still several things left in the garden to harvest.  While most of the tomatoes have been pulled, there are still just a few more Roma tomatoes that are ripening on the vine.  The Best Boy tomato plants have all quite producing and those will be pulled up shortly.

The Marketmore 76 cucumber plant began wilting and leaves dying several weeks back – and we haven't had any cucumbers from this plant in just that amount of time.  A few days ago I did get another cucumber off of the Burpee Picker cucumber plant – although that one is also yellowing and dying as well.

The potatoes in the ground are all dying back now as well.  However, the potato in the potato bin is still growing strong and is doing very well.

The California Wonder peppers are also growing strong and continue to put on new peppers!  We have now been waiting for the peppers to turn red before picking them – so we'll have a variety of green and red peppers in the freezer.  I've been pulling a couple of red peppers a week – but there are still at least three dozen peppers on the eight plants.

The green beans in the front bed have about given up.  We are not getting too much production out of them any longer, but I keep them in place since they shade the raised bed and keeps the soil moist.  Since green beans are a nitrogen-fixing plant (meaning they put nitrogen back into the soil), I keep them going.

The green beans in the newest raised bed on the back driveway are now giving us most of the production.  A few days ago, the wife picked about three pounds of green beans – but that did include the front garden.  Most of them all came from the newest bed though.

The lettuce that was planted several weeks back are doing well – although there have been many that haven't made it or are looking sickly.  There are about five good-looking heads of lettuce that are forming, a few smaller heads that are recovering from their leaves falling off (don't know why that happened), and then a few others that are just about fully dead – they have a small leaf attached and that is all.  It doesn't seem like the lettuce is growing near as quickly as what it did in the spring time.  The weather has been between 60's and lower 80's throughout their time in the ground so it hasn't been too hot for the Black Simpson Elite lettuce.

The corn – very strange behavior for the Peaches & Cream corn.  The Sugar Dots corn only grew to about four – five feet high, but the Peaches & Cream corn is all well over 9 feet tall now and is almost touching the gutters on our house on the overhang. 

The Sugar Dots corn also began putting on silk from the ears of corn a few days after the pollen began emerging from the tassels.  So, I didn't have any problem having enough pollen to pollinate the Sugar Dots corn.  All of the Sugar Dots corn only put on one ear of corn – except there was one stalk that has two.  The ears are also smaller than normal – but again that is because they were in tiny planters that made them root-bound for three weeks.

Now – the Peaches & Cream corn…. The ears on these stalks are quite a bit larger than the Sugar Dots corn.  There are even a few stalks that have put on two ears on one Peaches & Cream stalk.  I was a little worried about this orignlaly and said I would stick with Sugar Dots for that reason – two ears of corn from one stalk.  However, after experiencing some trouble with Peaches & Cream, I do believe I am going to stay wth the Sugar Dots variety.

The Peaches & Cream corn began shedding pollen way before the ears were even emerging on the stalks.  It has now been at least two weeks since pollen began falling from the Peaches & Cream corn – and there are STILL some stalks that are just beginning to have their silk emerge.  Over the past holiday weekend, I marked another 20 stalks where the silks were coming out nicely.  Unfortunately, I do not have any pollen in order to pollinate these ears and these most likely will be bad ears of corn.  I don't know why this happened either.  The only thing I can attribute this to is the amount of nutrients in the compost that was used to make the bed the Peaches & Cream corn are in.  It seems the corn put all of its energy on making the stalk shoot 9 feet up, started to shed pollen, and then decided it was time to begin making the ears.

Overall though, we should get around 40 – 50 ears of corn this year although many of them will be small from the Sugar Dots corn.