Fire Mountain Garden Exchange


September Rant by Editor
September 5, 2011, 8:32 pm
Filed under: Fruits, Vegetables

So here we are again in the terminal days of the summer garden and the start of probably our best growing season.

Right now I am at the end of my first tomato crop, a few Green Zebras and Blacks from Tula for salads.  One of my green bean towers (Kentucky Wonder) fell over while we were in the mountains last week (makes it much easier to pick!) but I have to say that this has been the best year for beans in my memory. I put it all down to the mushroom/horse manure compost (see last several rants). I have put up over 20 quarts of dilled beans and another 10 of cukes. As long as you pick regularly you will have unlimited supply. Since I missed a week + I have a lot of beans that have passed the eating stage.  These are perfect to let mature and dry, then harvest and shuck. Last winter we were making soup out of the white beans from the Kentucky Wonders. There is something magnetic about sitting with friends with an adult beverage shucking beans and shooting the bull. Must have gone on for tens of thousands of years and I think it is a genetic memory, plus a load of fun for young and old.

So I have two more of my sequential tomato crops coming in, each five plants only the next producing crop is of Black from Tula and German Green and they are producing. I have five more that I planted a month ago, just what ever good looking heirlooms I could get from Green Thumb.  I have never heard of “Manitoba” as a tomato, although it is the birth place of my Mother. The last five are thriving, 3 set all have abundant leaves which sometimes masks non production. Don’t forget to pull plants from their containers to see how root bound they are before you buy, a totally root bound plant is going to take a long time to recover and we don’t have much summer left. Beets are bootin’ as is the first preliminary lettuce crop. I still have a ton of egg plants of multiple varieties.

I bought a couple of basil plant from TJ’s  two months ago. I planted one in a 5 gal container and keep it near the kitchen. The other I planted in the garden. Oddly the garden one is dying and the pot is cookin. With plants like you get from Trader Joe’s they could have been stimulated too much for one of them to make it but 50% is pretty good in gardening.

My herbs are doing well, chives (had for dinner on boiled potatoes w/butter), French Tarragon and two types of struggling parsley.

So this is now the time to think about October planting, go back and look at my comments on the compost. I am planning on getting two pick ups full and piling them near the garden , let the rain leach them this winter and then slowly dig into the garden all year long as I move from planting bed to bed. Look back on the September and October rants from last year.  I wish we had a place where we could dump ten big 10 wheelers of this stuff to cure and then have the locals come and buy some on the cheap, but that’s another story.

For those of you with a canning history, I urge you to share it with your friends and family. The methods and the stories and the equipment need to be passed along. I have had an exceptionally abundant crop of cukes, beans and beets this year, I used up al the canning jars I had. I acquired many of my jars from my dear friend Esther Bandy, who had a remarkable collection. When I filled those, I asked her if she knew where could I get some more. She turned to a friend from Valley Center who no longer cans but had a great stash of jars, lids and rings. I will of course reward them with fruits of my harvest, but I think the bigger point is to share the growing, harvesting and preserving tradition with your children and your friends. If you have family that canned and they have stocks of jars and lids, get them, if you don’t want to use them, give them to someone who does. My last bean canning, I am sure that the jars were 50 years old plus, the lids easily from the ‘40’s and the rings the same. If you have family that used to can, pick their brains, if not get on the net and start, it is cheap and rewarding, it is however hard hot work so understand that eating the best green beans you ever ate in January is not without a cost.

Prune, compost and prepare for your October garden!

-Jay

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