Monday, September 22, 2014

State of the Garden, start of fall 2014

My little bucket-garden is starting to wind down.

Looks a little sad, huh? I had four tomato plants and got maybe 20 or so cherry tomatoes, one big tomato that rotted the  next day, and nothing off of the other two plants. Those are looking pretty sad, but the cherry still has a few green babies on it and is still looking pretty good. Leggy, but it always did look leggy. Next year, I'm growing more, more varieties, and I'm growing tem in bigger buckets to see if more dirt = more fruit! These were all supposed to be small ones, but they all got big!

The pepper made a few flowers but not fruit, and didn't like the heat of the hottest part of summer much; I read recently that peppers can live up to ten years if the cold doesn't kill them, and that the fruit will be best in the second to fifth years, so in going to experiment with bringing it in next month or so, and seeing if I can overwinter it. Our house is dark, but maybe a lamp will make up for it enough.

This is the one that's still fruiting.

The other side of the garden: the crepe myrtle there in the front is doing great, the jade plant is fantastic, the little rescued cactus there behind it struggled most of the season but looks mostly settled now (and it's a fruiting one, so in excited about that!), the crabapple and the hawthorn are doing great. I'll definitely bring in the succulents, and maybe the trees. They overwintered last year when I didn't have pots for them, so I might just leave them all winter with wrapped up pots and hope they've grown strong.

Strawberries are mother one that apparently can be perrenial; I've never had any survive relocation to my garden, so I didn't know. I'll be bringing that one in, especially since she's making new leaves now!

I think it's these peat-pots; the ones I bought at te nursery with them did the best.

This is the only one of my wild walking garlic that I stole from school in PA that survived, and I hope it has enough strength to keep surviving. I have a few more I can plant, but that's it, and school has been rooting them up to get rid of them, so I don't know if I can get more!

The new Immortal Lettuce. This space apparently is only big enough for one at a time, and that one that flowered all summer was apparently one of those bastardy patented ones that doesn't make seeds so you have to keep buying new seed. Hundreds and hundreds of flowers and no seeds! Next year I'm growing open-pollinated ones in wider, lower pots, and having more greens to munch on before they go bonkers!

And these are the day lilies. They came up crazy-crowded this year, so as soon as everything dies off and I'm closing out and reclaiming pots and dirt, I'm dividing them up and letting them rest over the winter to come up next spring in maybe three pots instead of one! This was a good present my sister picked--it multiplies!

The Plan:
- I'm currently waiting on a few seed-swapping attempts. I've never swapped before and I really only have a pile of muscadine seeds to share, but I've found some generous folk with seeds to spare online. I'll post about those when they come in, and talk about how I found them.

- I've decided this winter will be about trying to start as many things from seed as possible. I have apple and pear seeds from the grocery store (unlikely, but who knows), those muscadines and a very few scuppernongs from the farmers market, peaches both from the market and the store, Italian Prune Plums from the store (that look like the ones we used to eat in the wild when we lived in Italy), and a wide selection of acorns. Did you know Raleigh was packed with oaks? You do now!

- I'm also going to seek out seeds. I tried an avocado, but I think it got damaged getting it out because it isn't doing much and it's been sitting there for months. I'm going to find a mango or three next paycheck and save those big ol seeds. I'm keeping an eye out for chestnuts and raw, in-shell hazelnuts and such. I'm keeping all my pits and seeds. Whatever sprouts when I stratify all this stuff next month gets to go in the garden next spring!

- I'm going to do my best to get to the nurseries earlier next year; I missed out in replacing my roses and getting berries because I started too late and couldn't afford pots and dirt as well as plants, but now I have some pots, the compost is finally turning into dirt, and I'm looking forward to expanding!

My tin ultimate goal is to have, like, a mini food forest, one I can take with me if we have to move. I want as much variety of as many kinds of edibles as I can, so that I can minimize the expense of getting healthy veggies at the store--have you seen how expensive organic stuff is? 

Plus, I like lots of exotic and non-local stuff, and that stuff, in the store, comes with more gas-use and transport-cost than I'm happy with. I think the trick to eating locally is to make everything you want to eat local!

So that's my garden. How is yours doing?
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