Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Day 100 A garden report from Ashley in Edmonton
I have a friend in Edmonton who has created a 'end of gardening' log or report. It was fun to read, and I especially liked that they planted their potatoes in their alley. It was also great to hear about her compost cucumber volunteers. I mentioned in an earlier post that my friends Annie and Dana have had some (crazy huge) butternut squash volunteers (the plant itself must reach over 20feet)...it seems squashes have a desire to come back (probably because their seeds take longer to compost, but it could be they have unfinished business to attend to : )
I will do up a report like this regarding the Boulevarden.
Ashley's garden report:
I guess I need some closure to the end of gardening season; so I thought I would just share how everything went, and encourage you to all do so as well. Perhaps we can compare garden notes, recipes, and stories!
This year we planted tomatoes, beets, carrots, onions, lettuce, beans, potatoes, herbs (cilantro, basil, rosemary, dill, chives, mint), peas, zucchini, spinach, and an assorted spring mix. We did follow "carrots love tomatoes" companion-planting style gardening, and had an abundance of compost, that sprouted many volunteers, including acorn squash, tomatoes, sunflowers, and cucumbers.
Tomatoes: The tomatoes were first planted in the garden, then moved into pots and put on the south facing side of our deck. We had a variety including yellow grape, roma, and some weird hybrid that didn't grow very big, but grew lots of tomatoes (and some had weird brown bottoms?) This is the first year that I've done well with tomatoes. They took a lot of water and attention, but it was worth it. One thing that I will invest in next year are more tomato cages. Tiki torches and random sticks, along with twist ties and twine did the job, but the tomatoes could have use a little more support! Oh, and Aaron's dad bought us "muskie" which is an organic, natural fertilizer made out of fish guts (it really stinks) but I think that made a difference too. Many tomato salads with tomatoes, chives, boccocini cheese, basil, olive oil & balsamic..mmm!
Beets: they did very well. I canned a bunch of borscht last night.
Carrots: we planted 2 kinds, some turned out short and stubby, the others were long and slender. Not very sweet, so many of them are still in the garden. I learned this year that thinning really does pay off.
Onions started out very well, and we enjoyed many of their greens as they grew. But then the green part kind of slumped over, and the onions didn't get much bigger. They turned out to be about the size of a golf ball.
We had an abundance of lettuce (as I'm sure many of you can attest to) It recently has bolted, and I think I'm going to try and keep the seeds to plant next year.
Beans: they did fantastic. We planted yellow beans, and I've picked beans atleast 5 times now. But I am getting sick of them. Thanks to Lise who suggested sauteeing them with butter, orange juice and sliced almonds. that was yummy!
Potatoes: Aaron created his own little garden in the back alley. We didn't have enough compost to add to the dirt back there, so it wasn't the greatest soil. But still, we planted potatoes (just the ones we had from our kitchen that started sprouting) and we ended up with a fair number. The red ones got "the scab", which i am not too familiar with. But we just peel them and they're fine. Most plants produced little babies, while one plant produced 2 monsters! Seriously, about the size of a melon!
Herbs did well, I grew them all from seed except the rosemary, chives and mint. But damn, cilantro goes to seed fast, but I guess you can always use the seeds, as they are coriander.
Peas: did ok. didn't put much effort into getting something for them to climb on. But a nice snack when I'm in the garden. They all started to turn white about 2 weeks ago. Not sure, it seemed like a mold. anyone know? (side note - although we harvested many zucchini...about two weeks ago they also got a mildew and production stopped, as well partially grown zukes went soft...so I am curious as well).
Zucchini: this was probably the biggest disapointment of all. We had a separate bed for it and everything. Perhaps it should of had more compost in it. But zucchini flowers would bloom, little zucchinis would start growing, and then they would start rotting from their ends. Sometimes we could chop the rotten part off and they would continue to grow. Other times not. Any ideas on what this could be? Also, plants had this strange white mildew on them as well. The zucchinis that we did have were the beautiful striped Italian variety.
Spinach: obviously did well, but soon bolted. Made blue cheese and spinach soup.
Spring mix: was planted after spinach gone. Was eaten by slugs. eck. But beautiful bits of baby kale, collard greens and spinach. Slugs had a lovely lunch.
Volunteer acorn squash: was exciting, 3 plants kind of took over, and never really amounted to anything. I have one good sized squash in the pantry now. But same story as the zucchini. Many little, rotten squashes, lying in the dirt.
Volunteer tomatoes: wow, i have grown tomatoes from seed, and i can't beleive how they have grown all on their own in my garden. They are just starting to produce now, I may get a few tomatoes off them.
Sunflowers: who doesn't get volunteer sunflowers? thank you, sparrows and nuthatches.
Volunteer cucumbers: these were probably the most successful volunteers. Grew up right between 2 rows. kept in a straight line. Produced lots of cucumbers. Very exciting. I have never grown cucumbers before. I thought they were a type of squash until I saw cucumbers!
Overall a great garden, probably our best. Compost really pays off. Especially when it has stuff in it that grows you more food. I like gardening in central alberta more than southern alberta. Better soil, and you don't have to water as much.
Posted by Sure at 11:13 AM