Archive for August 20th, 2010

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Summer to Fall: making the garden transition

August 20, 2010

Since the weather has turned cold in the evenings and early mornings, vegetable yield and maturity has slowed down. The plants have lost their healthy charm and now look frail and tired with a dying-off appearance. A new season is coming.

As I reflect on this summer’s crop I review it with disappointment. The raised bed that my husband built appeared large, and it is for a raised bed (4 x 22 feet). However, after gardening in it for the first time, I find the space insufficient for what I wanted. The melons took up half the bed and the zucchini plant covered a 6 x 8-foot area. There wasn’t room to grow carrots, radishes, Brussels sprouts, herbs, mush melons, or a succession of fresh salad greens. No space for corn and not even an inch to plug in sweet potatoes for a November harvest. (They require fours months to mature.)

Although I was hoping for more crop variety, preserving again wasn’t part of the plan, just a modest array to feed two adults with a little excess to share. There’s plenty of ground to direct grow, but I prefer the raised-bed method, and right now, I have only one. For a short period, a surplus of zucchini filled the refrigerator trays. The zucchini and three wonderful watermelons, one cantaloupe, a few green beans, cherry tomatoes, and eggplants sum up this year’s summer harvest.

There were other problems to take into account for the modest yield:  Planting a month late, and an unusual weather pattern. The lettuce crop and a tomato plant were lost to insect and disease, cantaloupe to voles, and the cucumbers to overcrowding. If a pest hasn’t wiped out a vegetable plant, critters and disease will. The odds just seemed to be against my little veggie patch this year.

Next summer will be better. A new season is coming.

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