Wednesday, 9 September 2015

GREEN FINGERS: On the End of Summer and Fall Crops

Veg Patch

With summer drawing to a warm close, I thought it was high time to work on a little post reflecting about our first summer attempt in our vegetable garden. As other crops start to fade, some still offering their treats and space being cleared for new additions, it's time to take note of what worked and what was a bit of a fail. 

The successes;

Basil - perfect for throwing into curries (our favorite being a green basil curry) and making home made burgers. Basil turned into a great little herb, it pretty much looks after itself and it gets limp enough to give you a heads up when it needs a water. For someone with a tendency to kill plants, it worked out great.

Cliantro Seeds

Cilantro - I would have loved to have picked more leaves for curry making from the cilantro but it sadly bolted while we were away. Fear not, letting the flowers turn to seed I have row upon row of bags of dried cilantro seeds which I'm looking forward to crushing and turning into coriander powder. 

Hot Peppers - I have more hot pepper then I know what to do with. Pretty easy to grow, keeps itself to itself and doesn't need that much water. Happy times.


Raspberries - we inherited these with the house, always a winner.

Rhubarb - granted you can't eat it in the first year, but one of the two bulbs grew and it's happily entertaining itself.

Carrots - mentioned previously, the carrots turned out pretty decently, certainly colourful.

Zucchini - Mmmm all the curries and breads. Love me some zucchini. It pleases itself, kinda taking over it's corner of the veg patch and something likes to try and eat it before I can get my hands on it to pick it. Certainly to growing it again next year.

Hit and Miss;

Salad Greens and Radishes - being British a summer salad is one often filled with salad greens and radishes, but Michigan heat in the height of summer is too warm that they turn to seed. Lesson learnt.


Cucumbers - we started off with 12 plants ended up with five living - cold snap and not enough water. Then we had more cucumbers then we could ever eat and cucumbers don't appear to be something you can hold out to grateful friends (until basil and peppers). Then they got all mildewy. I'm on the fence about trying them again.

Tomatoes - perhaps because they are a heirloom variety but our tomatoes have been a little picky and something likes to eat them. What I'm not sure. They also take forever to change to red. I think I'll try them again next year, but a smaller or cherry tomato for sure.

The Fails

Sweet Potato - not for the want of trying, the groundhog dug it up.

Strawberries - one of the three original plants were again dug by the groundhog, the replacements were perhaps brought too late for this season. Hopefully they'll make it through the winter with a bit of luck.

Bell Peppers - Michigan throw a late cold snap in March (or it might have been April, I forget) but it was just after the bell peppers were planted. The result was stunted growth, few flowers and zero peppers. We'll try again next year.

Veg Patch

So more hits then misses and a couple of who knows. Pretty decent for a first go. I've learnt a lot of things along the way - that groundhogs are evil, wire fences are excellent things to constantly trip over and that bees really love veg patches. Eastern Market will be our go to place for buying crops next year and I'm a bit of a whiz at constructing trellises.

My head is buzzing with ideas for next year. Planting wise, I've learnt the need to spread seed planting out across a couple of weeks so everything isn't ready all at once. We're off to construct some kind of wooden fence (with a gate for no more tripping for Rayray), thinking of planting either some apple or cherry trees.

But before next year, there's fall and some cooler weather for getting some new crops started - broccoli and carrot seeds are already in the ground. I have some salad greens and radish seeds to finish off and I'm going to attempt at growing garlic.

 How did your garden grow this summer?

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