Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Today was all about sweet potatoes at PAR Davies.

Hi Everyone,
Today's Harvest 109 lbs.            YTD 1465 lbs.

If you weren't at the garden today, you missed a lot of fun. Gardeners today were Susan, G.A., Barbara, Steve and myself. In my opinion, the most fun thing happening in the garden this season has been harvesting the sweet potatoes. It was like digging for gold!

G.A. and Steve pulling back the vines. Boy, were they tough!

Our one bed contained 79 lbs. of sweet potatoes, and we feel that there are some we missed. We loved finding odd shaped ones. Another very good thing we found along with the sweet potatoes were WORMS....lots of them and huge. It has taken a lot of work, but our soil is finally getting good.

G.A. with some whoppers.
(I especially like the star filter effect upper left, which just happened.)

Susan and I took boxes of sweet potatoes home to cure; then the dirt will be dusted off for next week's delivery. I just read online that if possible, cut the vines two or three days before you plan on digging to toughen up the skins. We'll know better next year....if we remember.

Sweet potatoes curing in my garage.

There were actually other things harvested today....tomatoes, peppers, okra, green beans, one yellow squash, basil and a jug of zinnias....which were all delivered to the women's shelter.

When we got to the garden we saw that Bob had been working more on the irrigation system and now our in-ground bed has irrigation lines. Thank you Bob! We continued hand watering all the newly planted seeds and seedlings to make sure none were missed. Everything is growing nicely.

Cabbage and broccoli and zinnias and sunflowers.

G.A. and Steve pulled out more tomatoes and Susan sowed vetch in the sweet potato bed and where tomatoes came out. We noticed a small cucumber and lots of blooms on the late planting. Other late summer crops starting to produce are pole beans (5 lbs. today) and one yellow squash with five more on the plant.

We will continue planting either vetch, radishes or spinach in any empty beds until the garden is planted full. One sad note, voles have gotten several of our heads of romaine. Dang!

I wish you all could have been there today to help dig taters, but you will have another chance next year.

'Til later,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The fall/winter garden is up and growing strong at PAR Davies.

Hi Everyone,
Today's Harvest 20 lbs.       YTD 1356 lbs.

I believe fall is the perfect time for working in the garden, and today was no exception. Our gardeners today were G.A., Susan, Barbara, Steve, Cathy and myself. Our fall garden is now pretty much planted except for sowing the vetch when the sweet potatoes and few remaining rows of tomatoes and peppers come out. The beds are full of fall crops that we have been planting since the latter part of August.

Savoy cabbage bed with radishes planted on both sides.

The harvest consisted of tomatoes, peppers and okra, which was taken to the women's shelter by Cathy.

G.A. pulled out another row of tomatoes and planted turnip greens in their place. The turnip greens that he planted last week are coming up. Susan and Barbara planted what is to be our winter covered bed. They seeded in several varieties of lettuce, some carrots, beets and dwarf blue kale down the center. Steve hand watered most of the garden.

Cabbage on the left, turnip greens peeking on the right with some basil still hanging on.

We put in a whole bed of spinach, hoping it does as well as last winter; although I didn't have the seeds to soak last night to speed germination. Soaking ALWAYS helps with spinach germination.

There were no signs of the cole crops being eaten, and since time was short, we elected not to spray today but concentrate on other things. I will check Friday and spray if necessary.

Romaine down the center with broccoli and cabbage on either side.

There wasn't time to check the sweet taters since we really needed to get everything planted, as fall planting time is near an end. In fact, everything planted in the winter covered bed is about past time to get in the ground. But since it will be protected, we went ahead and put it in, with about 50 days to get up and going.

Late planted summer squash.

There are three summer squash that were transplanted out the end of August. Here you see a few little squash starting. The bugs have not bothered these as much so late in the season. I wonder if we will actually get any squash?! This is the end of our squash experiment, with results yet to be determined.


There is quite a bit of sage that has taken off, looking really nice in the cooler weather. I know it deters bugs and is good for Thanksgiving dressing, but does anyone have any good recipes using sage? Martha Payne gave us a recipe using butternut squash and sage made into kind of a tart that looks really good. Sage seems to be an underused herb.

All our workers have been extremely pleased with our fall crops so far and the looks of the garden, with most of our beds full. 

'Til later,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Summer crops not ready to give up yet.

Hi Everyone,
Today's Harvest 85 lbs.               YTD 1291 lbs.

We are definitely on the downhill side of summer. Our gardeners--Susan, Jamie, G.A., Steve, Barbara, Mary Elizabeth, Martha and myself--had an excellent cool morning in the garden. There was an abundant harvest of tomatoes, bush beans, black beans, peppers, chard, okra, melons, butternut squash and two sweet potatoes.

Pablanos standing like little soldiers.

G.A. checked the sweet potato patch and pulled two. The verdict was "not quite ready, but we should have a nice crop soon." We have been waiting on our peppers all summer, and they have finally come through. Susan had a big bucket full and then some....bells, pablano, jalapeƱo, serrano, banana and shishito.

Butternut squash, Charentais cantaloupe and Minnesota Midget cantaloupe.

The cantaloup has done fairly well, but I think the Charentais melon has a better flavor than the Minnesota Midget. Suzanne told us that she tasted the most delicious melon ever and thought it was called Savor. I discovered that it is actually the hybrid of the Charentais, and I hope that we can plant this one next year. The Charentais takes a little longer to mature, but we have the time, especially for a better tasting cantaloupe. The hybrid is also supposed to resist powdery mildew and wilt, which is always a problem with melons.

Jamie and G.A. hauling the monster back to its home.

Jamie and G.A. got the monster shredder out and cranked up. Jamie shredded all those bean vines that we pulled out to add nitrogen to our compost. G.A. pulled out another row of tomatoes in anticipation of planting cool weather veggie plants Saturday. I will pick up several flats of romaine, cabbage and whatnot tomorrow or Friday. In addition, there are still some things that we want to direct seed that will take precedence.

One of two 'writing spiders' found in the garden today.

The squash bugs, cabbage worms and assassin (we think) bugs are plentiful. I will be glad when the weather cools and they die out so we don't have to spend so much time squishing and spraying. I hope that big guy in the pic above is eating some of the bad bugs.

Asparagus bed mixed with sunflowers, zinnias, cleosia and lemongrass.

Our okra plants are still only about 5 feet tall, unlike in the past towering over our heads at this time of year. They have been extremely productive, and we will definitely save some of these seeds.

Steve pulled out two rows of green bush beans that had given up, and Mary Elizabeth planted lettuce in one of the vacant rows. We chose 'Oakleaf' and 'BJ's Lettuce' which we got at the seed exchange at Lichterman this spring. It is supposed to be very cold tolerant. More lettuce will be planted Saturday, direct seeded in addition to Romaine seedlings.

Bumble bee on one of the dwarf sunflowers.

Gradually our summer garden is disappearing and cool weather crops are going in. If it doesn't rain Saturday come prepared to plant.

'Til later,