It’s still warm enough to wear T-shirts, but it is definitely fall here in Olympia. Mornings are chilly and days are in the 70s. You can feel it in the air and see it in the light. Days are getting shorter. I could use a bit more summer!
Last week I thought I’d start slug patrol again since another planting of lettuce seedlings got devoured. I found hundreds of those pesky little slugs. Then I started counting. Yesterday there were 61; today 58. Most were on the Portuguese kale and ‘Little Jade’ Napa cabbage (the fall crop that is growing very quickly), followed by ‘Ozette’ potatoes and kohlrabi. I also found some on arugula, beans, and peppers.
A brief report on some of this year’s trial varieties: ‘Black Cherry’ tomato is starting to ripen and taste quite fine. ‘Indigo Rose’ tomato plants are still filled with large cherry tomato-sized shiny black balls. I let a Portuguese kale grow without harvesting its leaves, and it’s starting to form a head! Got small ‘Purple Peacock’ broccoli heads, one off each plant, and the side shoots are quite slow in coming. ‘Jester’ acorn squash is putting on squash and they look beautiful. I had high hopes for the ‘Chersonskaya’ winter squash, which were starting to make a number of squashes, but they look like they probably didn’t get pollinated—they’re drying up while only a couple inches across.
Here’s a picture of the ‘Yellowstone’ carrots. They look great but don’t taste so great fresh; it’s a good carrot to cook with. The ‘Atomic Red’ carrots are about an inch tall. I’m growing them for the winter season. —Debbie Leung, Olympia, Washington
It appears global warming is at work in the Northeast. As of today, we still haven’t had a heavy frost in southern New England. Usually we have a hard frost by the middle of November. Yesterday I harvested carrots, peanuts, and a really nice broccoli.
Regular readers of this blog may recall the giant head of ‘Green Goliath’ broccoli I picked last July. The broccoli head shown above is actually a side shoot from that same plant! The head is over 7 inches across—bigger than many main heads. I have been picking broccoli side shoots since August and it looks like I may actually be able to keep picking into 2012.
Although the carrots didn’t get planted until early July and were never fertilized or weeded, I’m pretty happy with them. I planted them under my tomatoes and they really didn’t start to grow until the tomatoes died in September. The variety is ‘Big Top’, an Asian type of carrot. I planted ‘Scarlet Nantes’, a variety we are trialing this year, at the same time but they did not germinate (maybe too hot or dry?).
The last photo is of something I have never tried to grow before: peanuts. These were planted very late, in mid-July, but due to the warm fall they produced a small crop. Now I know if I plant them a bit earlier and fertilize I can get a good crop of peanuts.
I still have tons of kale, collard greens, celery, as well as Brussels sprouts in my garden to harvest. I also have to check the celeriac to see if they produced roots. It used to be that after November it was just garden cleanup, but now it seems gardening is a year-round job in New England. —John Lewis, Newport, Rhode Island