July Produce tally: August W 2 Update Blossom rot, leggy plants, rats in the compost bin and more!

By JULIE - 9:00:00 PM

One of our cauliflower is finally starting to turn into a head: Back Yard Aug 3 2013
I usually post often about our garden in the summer, but I must admit I haven't been in our garden much these days so I don't think to write about it.  Our garden has been doing good, just a little slow to get going due to colder temps and a late planting, so I've had no need to garden at all.  Nothing like last year!  I've only been occasionally harvesting kale, beans, tomatoes, basil, jalapenos, broccoli, beets, and cucumbers.  I've actually only watered twice this year because it's been cooler and partly cloudy most days, even when it hasn't rained.

Our first cucumbers of the year!  Garden B taken Aug 3 2013
Warm Weather Plants Are Just Starting to Produce
Overall our garden looks about the same as the pictures in this post taken August 3.  Our warm weather plants are just starting to be harvested and soon will take a lot of time to harvest and preserve, so I'm enjoying my leisure time right now. We had our first tomato (cherry tomato) on August 7th and today I just started my first batch for dehydration to turn into sun dried tomatoes.  I've started to just need to pick beans every day (I get about a handful of beans a day lately).
Our Purple Basil grown from seed turning green Taken Aug 3 2013

Highlights of Our Garden August Week 2

Compost Bin
I was talking to our neighbour recently and he informed me that he saw a large rat in our compost bin.   Yuck!  Not cool!   I saw one last year by our compost bin about this same time (luckily that one was small), so I did a post concluding my research of simple things to do to keep critters out of there, and I must admit I did not do all the things in my post.  So I added leaves on top of our compost bin and have decided to stop adding kitchen scraps to it for the rest of the year.  In the spring we will start transitioning to a new more rodent resistant compost bin. 

This is our first year planting cauliflower, and we planted it in our backyard. It has not done well, while our broccoli has all been harvested now, only one cauliflower shows any sign of possibly growing a crown (pictured above).  I think it's just not a good space for it and plan to plant it in our main garden next year or just not plant it at all.

They are doing great.  Two years in a row Woo Hoo!  Our first year gardening it was one of the only things that grew and did great, but the next couple of years I couldn't grow any.  Last year they did great so I doubled the space in the garden for it and I'm glad I did.  The only thing I would change is to not plant kale in the middle of the square next to it.  I planted in two squares (we have to sections of our garden we call garden a and b that each have 4 sections), one in garden a and one in garden b.  The square in garden b, was planted next to kale, and even though I kept harvesting the kale to not shade the cucucumbers, it sometimes did.  And you can tell the difference.  The cucumbers in garden A (that weren't shaded at all).  Were growing bigger sooner and produced sooner as well.  The cucumbers in Garden b have still not produced but have the little starts of one when I checked yesterday.  I would also plant sooner than I did this year.  If they die of frost I figure I can always replant!  So all in all I plan to harvest a lot of cucumbers but already know we could have harvested more.

Our beans are finally producing about a handful a day.  Last year was our first year planting purple podded pole beans, and I learned from last year that you want to pick them very young.  They get much bigger than green beans and get tough and dry when they are fully grown.

We have harvested all of our broccoli now, but are still getting the occasional side shoots.
Our leggy Dinosaur Kale shaded by our tomato forest, Garden B closest to our house: Aug 3 2013
We planted 3 kales per 5 foot square row, in between rows of tomatoes in our Garden B.  Strangely the section closest to our house hasn't grown much and is very leggy(pictured above: obviously they aren't getting enough sun with our tomato forest), but our section away from our house that is planted exactly the same is just fine (pictured below).  So I guess the section away from our house is just sunny enough to pull off the way we planted.  Every year we learn little ways to tweak our planning for the next season.  I plan to plan next years garden soon, so that I don't remember all these little details.

Our Big Healthy Curly Kale planted the same as above but planted away from our house Garden B
As said before we had our first cherry tomato Aug 7, and soon we had a Roma tomato, then our early girls, and now our larger varieties are finally ripening. I just started my first batch of dehydrating tomatoes.  We've had a few Roma tomatoes get blossom rot, but the rest seem fine (just a few with cracks).  I've actually forgot why that happens so I plan to write a post on that soon so stay tuned for that!  Have you had any blossom rot with your tomatoes?  What do you try to do to prevent it? 

Our first little bell pepper.  they are all small and struggling Garden A: Aug 3 2013

Bell Peppers
It seems we've replaced good luck cucumbers with not having good luck with bell peppers.  Ironically the years we couldn't grow cucumbers we never had problems growing bell peppers.  Last year our transplants never really grew because they were too crowded.  This year I think we did the same thing.  Even though it has more space, we had a helper cherry tomato plant grow by it and I think the other tomato plants are shading to much, even though it's a few feet away.  Next year I plan to not plant anything near peppers that would grow to taller than 2 ft. 
Aug 3 2013 Garden A: Roma tomatoes Left, Purple Basil, Bell Peppers Right
Back Yard

Concrete Raised Bed
Our cherry tomatoes are doing well and producing heavy now.  I love having them in salads.  Are arugula and mustard greens are close to done now and are going to seed.

Back Yard Aug 3: our blue podded sugar snap peas
Blue podded sugar snap peas
We have only gotten an 1 oz of peas this whole year!  This is compared to the pounds we got last year.  We planted in a new spot,  I replanted our 2nd crop alongside our peas planted in Spring, which are dying but still producing a little. Some are coming up and joining their buddies, although I think some of the seeds I planted were dug up by squirrels.  Stupid squirrels!  They're always causing problems for us from stealing our corn, to digging up our containers that were just direct planted last year.

Our July Produce Tally
  • Strawberries 15 oz
  • Raspberries 2 1/2 lbs
  • Broccoli  3 1/2 lbs
  • Mustard Greens 9 oz
  • Jalapenos 5 oz
  • Kale 1lb 13 oz
  • Lettuce 1 lb 11oz
  • Beets 6 oz
  • Beet Greens 6 oz
  • Peas 1 oz (all we've harvested all season!)
  • cilantro
  • basil
Total July Produce Tally = 10 lbs 2 oz
Total Produce Tally for the Year =about 22 lbs (10 lbs 2 oz+11lbs 7 oz) 10 lbs short of last year so far.

July Produce 2012 9 lbs

This Months Harvest Compared to Last Year 
As you can see above we harvested just a little more this year than last year in July.  This  year we harvested some things we did not last year like raspberries and strawberries (last year we were all done with our berries by July), kale (I always could have but was too lazy to harvest it), lettuce, mustard greens (we might not have kept track last year), and jalapenos.  There things last year that we harvested that we did not this year like radishes (we didn't plant this year), tomatoes (had not matured yet this year), cucumbers (had not matured yet this year), and sugar snap peas (didn't produce much at all this year).  We produced broccoli in July last year and this year, we harvested about 3 lbs more this month than last year. 

How is your garden doing? What have you been harvesting?  I love to hear your comments!

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