Monday, August 17, 2015

Garden Update - August

The heat of August is in full swing and much of our garden is coming to an end as we prepare for October where we will be planting fall/winter plants.  When we started our garden in February, it was more of an experiment then anything else as the kids were studying basic botany and I wanted to try our hand at gardening.  Through the process we realized we made a number of mistakes that we will correct but overall, I would have to say that the garden was a success and is something we will continue with for the future.

The onions we planted in Feb have finally gotten big enough to harvest.  One mistake we made was planting them a bit too close together and so a few are smaller than others as they were crowded. Next spring we will plant two rows and space them further apart to allow them to grow to their full potential.  The necks on these onions were flopped over so I went ahead and harvested them. They will be cleaned and cured for storing.

We weren't sure how our tomatoes were going to do over the course of our vacation, especially with the high heats that we have had (it's 105 today) but all plants have done really well.  The solar fire plant really took off these last few weeks and it has started to produce some really nice sized tomatoes.  The Purple Cherokees are finally starting to produce as well but the Big Boy hasn't produced anything at all. I'm not too worried about the Big Boy as it was a plant that I bought from Walmart but the other three plants were grown from seeds and seem to be much better plants.   Once the hot summer temperatures begin to cool off, I will be thinning out these plants and start the process of sapping, staking and making these plants grow vertical.  I will probably also start cutting and rooting plants from the Solar Fire to add addition plants to the garden next year.

It's almost time for us to begin the harvest of the Brussels Sprouts that Ashleigh wanted to grow.  We prefer our sprouts to be smaller as they are less woody that way and the bottom sprouts are about the right size.  This will also allow for the sprouts on the upper portion of the plant to grow larger.


We will probably not continue keeping sprouts in our garden as they are extremely large plants and our garden area is on the smaller side.

I had pretty much forgotten that I had planted a cucumber vine and was very surprised to see that we have a few cucumbers growing at the moment.  I had thought that the plant had died (from being too close to the Brussels sprouts).

Originally we had planted three pepper plants, however, one of them was too close to the Sprout plants and suffered because of it. However, the other two plants have done really well in producing and we are having to go out and pick peppers a few times a week.

Plans for the future

Right now, my husband and I are in discussions as to how we're going to proceed with the garden.  We're in the process of ordering bulbs and seeds to start for the fall/winter which will include garlic, collards, kale, zucchini, turnips, leeks, lima beans, peas, possibly asparagus, herbs and of course the tomatoes.  We're also talking about renting a tiller and actually tilling the soil to expand our garden to a much bigger plot of land to prepare for the spring.  We've decided to stick to buying mail order heirloom seeds as opposed to plants/seeds from Walmart or the Home Depot as we seemed to have had much better luck with them. We are also thinking about trying to grow potatoes in a large container to see how that goes.

Fall Garden Layout

We learned a lot from this first garden and will be making many adjustments for the future.  As far as we know, we are the only people here on base who have successfully grown a garden from seeds in ground and we have no doubt that this is because we prepared the ground first by adding manure, topsoil and other nutrient rich elements to the soil before trying to plant. (Others on base have only been able to grow in raised bed gardens).  We also learned that the soil is way too rocky for slender varieties of carrots and will instead be planting thicker/shorter varieties such as oxhearts.

One thing we will be doing is setting up a permanent irrigation system for watering, most likely by running trickle hoses through the garden and staking them in ground to deliver water directly to the roots.  This seems to be the ideal situation for watering in this dry/hot climate.

Way too many flowers in the garden. 
Another mistake we made was planting flowers inside the garden.  They grew so fast and took over a large amount of space that the strawberries were competing for sunlight.  However, we still want the flowers in proximity as they bring essential insects and hummingbirds to the garden. I will be removing the flowers and instead planting them along the back border of the garden against the fence.

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1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful garden! Those Brussels sprouts look incredible. You have had amazing output.

    I must admit, I am envious that you can grow so much in the fall & winter. Good for you! :)


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