Fire Mountain Garden Exchange


October Rant by Editor
October 3, 2011, 3:46 am
Filed under: Fruits, Vegetables

What a simply gorgeous start to October, might have been the nicest day of the year, we are in the transition zone, the end of struggling tomatoes (some are always better than none) and the need to clean up the summer garden and prepare your beds for fall/winter and spring. I was away a good part of September, coming homing to diminishing returns from the eggplants, tomatoes and watching the green beans whither. I must have pulled 40 or more pounds of beans from these plants, I have already overloaded you with the canning stories, but there is one more step. We have a huge amount of beans that eluded picking and are now drying on the vine. I collect and shuck them when the husks are dry and crackle. They provide a couple of pounds of dry white beans (my plants were Kentucky Wonder) As a cost saving, probably not worth it, but as a finish to a wonderful crop and a great instruction event for kids, shelling beans in a family and friends group is a great occasion. It’s nice to make a soup or pasta and bean concoction to finish out the year.

Of course we toss the vines into the compost.

We have already posted the planting recos separately, but let me recommend as always, peas, beets and lettuce, they grow like gangbusters here and you can be in salad heaven all winter (plus you get to send pictures of fresh veggies to family and friends back east while they are buried in snow!!!).

This year I changed one of the raised beds to overhead watering. I have tried drip, laser tubing, soakers and hand watering.Each has its place and each type of planting works better with a different type of watering system. I would love to use soaker hoses on my entire garden, but tomatoes and cukes, beans and eggplant need more water. I don’t have enough sprinkler stations and valves to split my garden up so I have always had to compromise. This year I tested one of my 8’ x 8’ raised beds with a new system. I have timed water to the entire garden. In this one I put 18” risers with ¼ spray heads at each corner, I can dial down the flow with a manual gate valve at each bed so there is very little overspray. I have a killer beet crop and have had lettuce all summer. I keep 50% shade cloth in frames over the lettuce and let the beets free range. I am very happy with the results and will be expanding the method into the next roto of beets and lettuce. This would work well with spinach, kale etc.

After the result that I had with my beans and tomatoes, next week I am heading back out to Escondido to the mushroom farm to pick up a couple of loads of horse/compost mix. I am going to dig in a bit and let the rest age and leach in what I hope is another wet winter.

Let’s hope for rain, cleans up the garden and start planting.

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