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Friday, October 2, 2015

Veg & SpaRRows - end 2015 season

On the 9/23 I cut down all the fence veg: cukes and tomatoes.

SpaRRows got another week before it, too, and on 10/1 was shut down for the season.

I picked all the green San Marzano tomatoes  (9#) and gave them to a friend to make green salsa.

I picked all the green/blushing Bush Goliath tomaotes and brought in to ripen in newspaper.  

The last of the peppers came in too (bell & med hot block).

I even found another # of green SMs when cut down.

I cut everything down, left the pine needle mulch and covered the big deck pots with cedar boards to keep out squirrels and hold up to the annual major snowdrift there.  To keep squirrels out of the cart pots, I used the cover for the now defunct glider.  It fit like a glove.  These pots will be moved later, but for now the pots won't become a mess of black walnut and hickory nut excavation.

Still a lot of color from the annuals up by the deck.  And even though I was pooped, I felt I needed to get all the clippings over to the depot before the next big rain coming. Did that.  


Final harvest totals (approx):

Cukes (2 plants): enough -- picked from 7/1 thru 9/16 (a late record)
San Marzanos (2 plants): 30.15# (green ones went to compost)
German Green (2 plants): 13.25 (1 plant lost early)
"Mystery tomato (1 plant): 11.5# (green ones went to compost)

San Marzanos (4 plants): 33.8# (8.4# green at end - given away)
Bush Goliath (4 plants): 22.1# (4.75# green at end - saved)
Red Robin (2 plants): lots !

Contender beans (12 plants): 10.15#
Blue Lake (in ground): 6.5#

Bell Peppers (5 plants): 4.6#

White onions: 2#
Red onions: 3#

Deck cukes: not worth mentioning

Volunteer butternut: 30.5#


Bottom line, I CAN get enough tomatoes & beans from SpaRRows.  I can do better with peppers and onions.  The cukes at the fence are fine.  I even had enough to give away a couple pounds of beans and an armful of cukes.

I really enjoyed the lushness up by the deck, the convenience for watering, the lack of weeding, the protection from the deer.  I will definitely keep SpaRRows going again next year.  
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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Onion harvest and more

Yesterday I decided it was time to start shutting down fence veg and spaRRows. It's supposed to rain over the weekend and it's easier to work with dry plants than wet.

Headed over to pull out the fence cuke vines but oh heck.  Lookit all those cukes hanging.  How are they filling out when there is so little foliage right now?  And in the middle of September??? I've never let vines go this long before.  Let's see if any of these babies fill out. I let them be. For now.

The pot onions, however, had been laying down for some time so I pulled them up.  Not a bad batch of whites and reds for growing in pots and planted out way late.  Both had at least one bigger than a baseball.

The fence toms had to come down.  A quick pick and I had over 4# of San Marzanos.  And there were lots more green.  *sigh*  Okay.  Maybe one more week.  I DID harvest 4 large German green toms and then cut down that plant.  

Finally, knowing I had far more beans than I expected/needed I felt it was time to pull the pot Contenders.  Oh look, more to pick.  Got almost a pound.  Good grief and there are more hanging.  Ok ok.  One. More. Week.  Then the veg are gone.

You hear me?  GONE!

I'll have final totals in the next post.  But, truly,  I think that even if I give up the fence toms next year, I CAN get enough beans, tomatoes, cukes even some onions from the container garden.

One thing I might change - growing Blue Lake beans in the pots instead of Contenders.  While the contenders went gang busters and they are tender and blanche quickly, I find their cooked flavor is entirely too much like commercial canned green beans.  Not happy about that.  I miss the 'big beany' taste of the Blue lakes.  We'll see how soups etc turn out with the contenders this winter.

Next up: how much of a pain will it be to take down / winterize spaRRows?

Stay tuned.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Note to self ...

... use TomatoTone organic fertilizer on bean plants.

I have never fertilized bean plants.  I never wanted them to have too much nitrogen or get burned.

But I've never grown bush beans in a pot before.

When I planted the Contender beans in the pots in June, I had originally thought I'd be planting cherry tomatoes there so both pots had a good handful of TomatoTone fertilizer.  Oh well, I thought, what the heck.  Plant the beans anyway. (update 9/16: those pots were always slated for beans, hence NO FERTILIZER used on the beans when planting)

The unfertilized Blue Lakes in the ground and the unfertilized potted Contenders were samo samo all summer.

About 10 days ago, I top dressed the tomato plants and wondered what would happen if I top dressed the pot beans with TomatoTone (low nitrogen).  What the heck.

Within the past 10 days I've gotten a huge flush from both varieties.  Both rebloomed after a clean picking.  The Contenders got daily water in the pots.  The Blue Lakes, every couple of days in the ground.

The pics show 4.5# total from just 2 pickings.  From 2 pickings!  It's 80% of the total I'd harvest previously to date.  Sheesh!

So I learned 2 things.  I CAN grow enough beans in pots alone, IF I toss in some TomatoTone over the course of the season (not just as an experiment at the end of the season).  Yay. :-D   

OH another thing,  I CAN get probably enough tomatoes growing in pots.  But a couple of plants in the ground would really top off the tomato tank.  Food for thought next year when SpaRRows ramps up.   


9/16/15 - clean picked pots & ground beans - over 2#
Decided time to pull the plug on the Blue Lakes.  The Contenders have been spared - they are still making beans.  Gotta love that TomatoTone!


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