First taste of fall

The storm that came through over a week ago, also brought cooler weather. The temp gradually fell until we had lows in the fifties, but just for a few days. That really made one think of fall and the coming of winter. Other signs are dwindling cucumber crops and vines starting to dry up.

This is a busy time, both in the garden and in the kitchen. Although tomato production has also slowed, I get enough to can a batch a week. Last Saturday, I canned both spaghetti sauce and pickles. I may get just enough pickling cucumbers for one more batch.

I am getting full-sized melons now, a few a week. Even though I have a lot of vines, many are seeds of volunteers from last year, and they are not very big or tasty. I did get a Kansas melon that I look forward to tasting, as well as a big Ambrosia. More are coming. Fortunately, the leaves seem to be more revealing than back in July, and a glint of ripe melon, as well as the distinctive aroma, usually allows me to find them in time. Some I had located when they were still green, and kept track of their growth.

I plan on replacing the fading cucumber vines with snap peas by next weekend. I also have to remove some tomato plants that dried up. They will yield even more space for peas. Since there are bush bean seeds in many of the same beds, I will not till them up before planting.

The bush beans in the beds on the side of the house are doing well. They came up in two days with plenty of water. I am trying a different watering system this fall. I use flat sprinkler hoses to replace many of my soaker hoses. These latter hoses have dried up and do not allow the passage of much water. I place the flat hoses on their sides in the square beds, oriented so that the mist hits the seedlings. I also have all these hoses on Y connecters so I can control the force of the water. They work very well and give good coverage. I will try to take some pics.

I was able to plant one of the long beds in the side yard to Romaine lettuce starts. Only one half is currently planted, with more seedlings coming up inside. I use a sprinkler hose in the flat position in this bed. The mist is quite fine, but if allowed to spray long enough, will keep the soil moist. No puddling.

I used a sprinkler hose wrapped around the base of two rose bushes to supply moisture to bushes that had originally had soaker hose loops. The loops stopped working and the bushes didn’t get enough moisture to bloom or grow. I have the hose flat and with the holes facing down between the bushes. Garden staples keep them flat so I can mow over them without tearing them up.

You can get sprinkler hoses from Gilmore from right now for leas than $11.00 for 25 feet. They were closer to $15.00 earlier in the summer. I like the Gilmore version because they are very flexible and last for years. Many stores now carry recycled rubber sprinkler hoses. These have the same problems as soaker hoses: they dry up and stop providing water. I am all for recycling, but I have to continually replace these. I have a Gilmore hose that was purchased 5 years ago. It still works, despite being out in all weathers. I have purchased almost 20 of these to replace the soaker hoses in most of the beds. Like everything else, they are an experiment. I will keep you informed.

Aker’s Plum is in hiatus. San Marzano has been productive, and I hope that Amish paste makes use of all that foliage. I still get Principe Borghese, a handful a day or so. Really more of a salad tomato, but I throw them in sauce anyway. One Saucy plant remains, but not producing at the moment.

I have a lot of work in the coming week: remove dead tomato and cucumber plants, plant snap peas, and make spaghetti sauce and pickles. After the cukes are gone, Picking each night will take less time. However, I did have to start buying lettuce last week.

Happy gardening!



~ by suscrofa on August 30, 2010.

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