Garden Journal - August 14, 2016

I have to admit that I have a backlog of half-written blog posts. Things have been so busy lately, but a good busy. Between gardening, work, family and taking part in fun things like learning to ferment at The Brooklyn Grange, I wish I had more time to write and post, but for now, I thought I'd at least do an update on how things are going in The Wine Box Garden.

I recently came across an article about "Celebrity Gardens" and just had to laugh a bit. They're so well manicured....beautiful, but highly stylized and unrecognizable compared to my garden. They clearly have a "staff" to take care of things. Me? Well, as you can see in the video, I would never make celebrity status. I kind of like a messy garden....it just means things are happening.

See the quick updates below or take the Video Tour to see:

  • How Indigo Rose tomatoes (those purple ones) ripen.
  • My beets, peppers, eggplant, yellow squash, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and more that are coming in nicely (if not slowly).
  • What Blossom End Rot looks like (not everything is growing nicely).
  • How my potatoes are looking (it's not good above ground, but I have high hopes for what lies beneath).
  • New plantings of zucchini and beans.
  • And more... (I know - the suspense is killing you.)

Video Correction Note: I stated in the video that it was August 19th...it's only the 14th....

Fixes

Since my recent post about What Causes Deformed Cucumbers, I thinned out my cucumber plants to make more room to allow for better pollination and things are looking so much better. I actually have normal-looking cucumbers now. Pollinators weren't even able to get to the cucumber flowers to do their thing before. Now - they're doing what I need them to.

Patio Snacker Cucumbers

Patio Snacker Cucumbers

Harvests

It's been slow-going on my tomato and eggplant growth...I think. When I look at pictures from last year though, I see that the bulk of those harvests came as late as October, maybe it just seems slow. Other things are starting to ripen and grow, which is something I won't complain about. I have been getting a steady flow of cherry tomatoes - Sun Gold, Supersweet 100s, and Black Cherry.

Sun Gold, Supersweet 100s, and Black Cherry Tomatoes

Sun Gold, Supersweet 100s, and Black Cherry Tomatoes

I harvested a couple of the sacks of potatoes. I got about 3 lbs of Yukon Gold Potatoes. The others, I'll pull in the next few weeks. For now, these are being stored in the basement in burlap and I'll dig into some of them soon. (See How to Store Potatoes.) I also finally got around to making pesto with my basil (Recipe here). Looks like I can make a few more batches with what's out there.

My Yukon Gold potatoes and a batch of basil pesto

My Yukon Gold potatoes and a batch of basil pesto

I have some things that are ready to eat, but I'm not ready to eat them. They're root veggies though, so they can stay in for longer without an issue. Right now, my Rainbow Carrots, Nelson Carrots and Beets are looking good, but I'll keep them in the soil to "cook" a little longer.

New Plantings

I got rid of my zucchini plants. Unfortunately, Squash Vine Borers killed them. I was so ticked off by this, that I decided to make the bold move of planting zucchini plants in early August. (This is typically very late for that.) The Squash Vine Borers are no longer a threat this time of year and the heat will help the plants grow fast. So, I planted a few by seed. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Zucchini plants

Zucchini plants

I have kept the zucchini planters covered to keep the squirrels from digging them up and keeping the tree debris out of the planters, which has worked well. I also wanted pots for these that were close to the ground to allow them to spread out, but didn't want to pay much for another pot. So, I just took a couple of plastic storage bins that weren't too deep, drilled holes in them and wrapped them in burlap to make them more attractive. So far, that's been great...and inexpensive.

Tunnel Net over Zucchini Plants

Tunnel Net over Zucchini Plants

I also planted Blue Lake 47 and Royal Burgundy Beans where the zucchini used to be. Beans can be a good fall crop, I planted them along the netting so they can vine nicely.

Rows of beans

Rows of beans

Royal Burgundy & Blue Lake 47 Beans

Royal Burgundy & Blue Lake 47 Beans

I also tried planting lettuce seed tape again. I haven't had much luck, but thought maybe third time would be a charm, but as you can see in the video above....no go. I may just do a direct sow. Now that I think about it though, I may plant some spinach instead. That's a good fall harvest crop.

I hope to post more of the gardening and recipe posts that are sadly unfinished right now, but hope you are enjoying your garden or the benefits of a CSA or Farm Market near you.

I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).

I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)

This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.

In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself. 

With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix  DMC-ZS15 compact camera.) 

I hope this blog inspires you to grow, create, explore, and try something new. The best way to stay up-to-date is to follow me using the social buttons above, or click Subscribe and sign up for my email newsletters.    

Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!

- Catherine