Sep 8, 2014

September Garden Update

September is always the beginning of the end in the garden. While some of the cooler weather plants will make it through to October (chard, lettuce, beans, herbs, zinnias), it's the end of the road for so many of the heat lovers (tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, etc.). That said, I am really surprised by how good the garden looks for this time of year. Usually it's half dead by mid-August and even worse by mid-September, but thanks to some usually dry (our summers are normally very humid) and mild weather we've had a really great year in the garden.

The bottom half of the tomato plants did suffer from some nasty blight, the tops are still green, flowering and growing tomatoes. The plants have been so prolific this year. Last year at this time everything was so dead I pulled them up early (last year was a really lousy year), so this is a nice change!

I said it during previous months and I'll say it again, this has been a stellar year for cucumbers. I've never had so many, we're drowning in them. We eat them nonstop and give them away to family, friends and neighbors and we still can barely keep up. I can't believe how healthy the vines still are - they are just starting to brown which usually happens to me in July! The melon vines are also doing well - I have 2 little watermelons growing that I'm hopeful will ripen any day now. The musk melons are blooming now - way too late to produce melons! I think next year I'm going to try pre-starting those indoors as an experiment to see if we can actually get melons. Also the random carrots I put in here are also looking good - we'll pull those up in a few more weeks.

The flowers have been a mix. The zinnias have been doing amazingly, we have huge bouquets all the time in our house. The sunflowers grew taller than our garage, we could see them from the house over the garage roof. It was so cool! The dahlias did okay, but I don't think they got enough sun or something, because they didn't grow very large or produce a lot of flowers. The snapdragons barely took at all and the two that came up look half dead.

The green beans have been growing and producing, though I don't love this strain of pole bean as much as the one we've grown previous years. I bought a new packet of seeds and these beans are much stringier and don't have the same flavor. Next winter I have to find more of the old ones. I finally pulled up the lettuce that went to seed and I reseeded the lettuce area - it's starting to sprout too! The swiss chard is doing beautifully and we constantly have way more than we could ever eat because it's growing so fast (luckily it's pretty too). The oregano and thyme are doing well but our basil completely died last month so I pulled it up. Last year was a great year for basil and a bad year for everything else. This year is a great year for everything else and a bad year for basil.

Fruit Trees & Bushes
The last of the blackberries were just picked! We had a really long season because of the cooler weather. At first they were so sour but these last berries are actually palatable which is nice. The brown turkey fig tree (the one I thought was dead) is now covered in little green figs which I'm hoping to enjoy if the birds don't get them first. The lemon and lime trees have a few ripe fruits as well, though these will have to be moved in very soon as the nights get cooler.

The bell peppers have ripened into several beautiful orange peppers and a few more small green ones - I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we might get a couple more before a frost in October. The jalapeƱo pepper plants have produced a ton - if I don't use them I freeze them for later.

Overall the garden looks more like August than September because it's doing so well, but it's also been a strange year. We've really enjoyed it though - the unusually great weather and the usually great garden. Before I know it the weather will be cooling down and we'll be wrapping things up.

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