Monday, October 20, 2008

Vegetable Garden Update-October 08

Tina's Veggie Garden Update

The vegetable garden is in a serious state of transition. The summer crops such as tomatoes, peppers, basil, and gourds are still producing, thus leaving me a dilemma. Do I pull them now or wait until a hard frost takes them all? I really need the room but hate to pull plants when they are producing. My one and only cucumber vine has gone by now. That can come out, but since it was already under planted (below the A Frame) with garlic, it doesn't give me the space I need to grow broccoli and lettuce. I am sure I will be pulling all summer crops soon. Once all summer crops are pulled and the garden is cleaned, I will replenish the soil with a good layer of compost on all beds. This is a vital step in vegetable gardening as vegetables are heavy feeders and need lots of nourishment in order to produce well.

While on vacation I had no idea what I would return to and really was in a quandary as to what to do with the vegetable garden prior to leaving. I am very happy I left everything in place because I came to a bunch of surprises! The eggplant above is a treat and unexpected this late in the season.
This sweet banana pepper REALLY shocked me as I had no idea sweet bananas would turn red. Just look at how pretty it is!
I had about a dozen and a half purple/black peppers. They were sure pretty on the plant and nice and shiny too.

The 'nose' knows on this tomato. I don't 'know' what caused this type of growth and couldn't resist a bit of fun with it.
Don't forget to pick all green tomatoes prior to a hard freeze. If placed in a double paper bag in an unheated room, garage or basement, the green tomatoes will slowly ripen. I will be doing this to mine.
It is time to plant garlic! I love growing garlic because it is so easy and so rewarding. I find it to be one of the easiest vegetables to grow. I purchase grocery store garlic and separate it into cloves; which I then plant about 1 inch deep in good enriched soil in the garden. You can also mail order special garlic, or go to a nursery for starts, but in my experience of growing garlic, the grocery store garlic has never failed to please me by rewarding me with lots of fresh grown garlic. The cloves will send up a bit of growth before the hard freezes sends it all into dormancy until late winter to early spring. Once the warmth arrives again new leaves appear on the garlic and the magic of life begins again in the garden. The garlic will not be ready to be harvested until late May or June.

The gourds are still hanging tough and the vines are busy putting out new baby gourds too. Once they are all harvested, I will post a picture of them all. Not all of them are this type, but most. It will be three more months before these gourds are fully dried and ready to be made into crafts.
It is really very near time to clean up the veggie garden and I will be doing it soon, but for now I am enjoying a bit of summer and winter crops in the garden....

Mom's Vegetable Garden Update My mother tells me she has harvested most of her vegetable garden now. And what a harvest she has had for the first vegetable garden in MANY years.
Lots of vegetables AND lots of marigold seeds. My mother believes these marigolds have really worked to keep the critters out of the vegetable garden as she has NO problems with deer, raccoons, skunks and who knows what else wonders around Maine at night! The seeds in the top part of the basket are iris seeds. I brought some home with me and can't wait to see how they do.
And what kind of post for October would be complete without gourds of the zucchini type AND the orange (or soon to be orange) type-called pumpkins!
While in Maine recently we had the pleasure of picking some fresh grown carrots for dinner. Gee, and here I am trying to figure out how to grow carrots and my mother just sticks seeds in the ground and out come super great carrots! What is the secret Mom?

The Jimster and I picked all the carrots then my precious 18 month old grandson got to sort them all out for us. He is the sweetest, happiest boy and just a pleasure to be around. He also LOVES vegetables and fruits (Watermelons!) from his Mimi's garden. Can you tell?

Skeeter's Vegetable Garden Update:
As luck would have it, the black peppers came through and formed into sweet peppers for us to enjoy! We picked the green one too early as it is a Red Pepper. Oops, we figured that out when it turned completely red while on the counter top! We picked our first banana peppers and just look at the last of the funny shaped cucumbers. This one took the shape of a small ball. Tasted good though. The Jalapenos were good in the chili the Saint made us this past weekend.
We are still getting cowhorn peppers on the plant. The Saint has enjoyed his hot peppers this summer. Although we will plant less next year as we had way too many for our needs.
More red juicy tomatoes for salads and sauces.

We still have tomatoes on the vine for picking in the days to come. The Roma tomatoes have really done us proud this year and they continue onward with their production.

Here are my two pride and joys in the gourd patch! I do believe I will be making birdhouses out of both of these big guys! I have a total of 6 gourds of various sizes still on the vine. And just look how the gourds keep on blooming! If all the blooms had produced gourds, we would have bird houses for everyone we know and then some!

Look at this surprise. Two Eggplant blooms! I don't expect them to become eggplants but we will keep our eyes on them just in case we have something fun to report for next months VEGETABLE GARDEN UPDATE, In the Garden...

*Stay tuned to Vegetable Garden update Nov. 20, 2008


  1. Hi Tina and welcome back. I hope you are getting back to normal after your trip. Your veggie garden is looking real good. I've had tomatoes grow noses before but I don't know what causes it either.

    Tina's Mom - Your tomatoes, squashes, and carrots all look great. I'm going to have to try marigolds with the veggies next year.

    Skeeter - Those gourds are awesome. I can't wait to see the bird houses you make from them.

    I hope to have a veggie update post up later today :) I must wait for the sun to come out so I can get my pictures.

  2. Wow--you all have such great veggie gardens! I only have a tiny little bed, with only banana peppers remaining. And Tina--some are red!!
    Do you ever grow loufa gourds? I think they would be fun to give as gifts.
    Great gardening post and pictures!

  3. Good morning all!

    Cindy, Thanks for my welcome back! I am happy to be home. Not happy I have to drive to Nashville to take an "online" midterm as I had plans to garden all day. I see a new daylily bed and garden renovations in the future. Urrrr! I will look for your veggie garden post later today and can't wait. Frances put one up this morning and hers looks delectable.

    Meadowview Thymes, I wonder why these banana peppers turn red? I never had this before and suspect it has something to do with the cold. They are pretty aren't they? I would love to grow loufa gourds but have not done so. I might try them next year. I think they would be cool too! Very different.

  4. Very nice post to include everyone's veggies. All look very yummy looking!
    I've got to grow gourds!

  5. Hi Tina, thanks for the link to your A-Frame trellis post. Those are some clever contraptions for growing vining veggies. Looks like you, your Mom & Skeeter are still getting a nice crop from the vegetable gardens. I can't wait till next season when I have my raised veggie beds to post about. :)

  6. Good morning, Tina and Skeeter! Your vegetables are all doing great. I was hoping to participate this month, but my computer (with the last veggie pictures) is still in the shop--over a month now! Oh well, I'd love to know the secret to red peppers. I usually just grow the typical green bell peppers, and some of them turn red if I leave them alone, but is there a specifically red variety?
    Thanks for the tip on the garlic, Tina; I might try that some time. And Skeeter, can't wait to see your birdhouses!

  7. You're so fortunate to be able to garden. I was just at Fairgarden admiring the veggies of Frances, too. Squirrels, rabbits, deer and the home owners' association restrictions pretty much keep us from having a veggie garden. When our screening shrubs and trees eventually block the view from my neighbors, perhaps I can sneak in a veggie patch! Cameron

  8. It all looks very tasty! Our garden has been winding down and doesn't have a whole lot left to show. The tomatoes were still producing but I'm afraid most of them will need to be fried green. Hopefully I can get out and plant some garlic in the next couple days. The work on the patio took much of my attention so my fall vegetable plantings are few and far between.

  9. Good morning Tina. You really helped me out today with your veggie garden report. I had nothing to talk about, but I did have a photo I took yesterday. Your garden looks great. I only have tomatoes left.

    In the process of adding onto my beds too. Next summer I will certainly ask myself WHY did I do that?

  10. Good Morning All,
    Tina that was an excellent post. You, Your Mom & Skeeter have the most delicious looking veggies. Isn't it nice to find surprises. My banana peppers are still going like gang busters. And some of them have turned red. I have some new tomatoes-hope they get ripe before the first frost. I noticed the other day that the gourd I planted is just now putting on fruit---way up on the rose arbor. Tina I will have to send you a pic of this. I was shocked when I saw them. I thought the vine was dead.

  11. Tina, Good morning and to you too, Skeeter. What a wonderful bounty you have in your gardens! You must all feel good each time you eat a vegetable that you grew! I know I would! Tina your grandson is so adorable, a great gardener in the making. I know you loved every minute you got to spend with him! Have a delicious day! Gail

  12. Thanks Cindy, I sure have enjoyed it all. The marigolds have worked very well and it adds a lot of color with the framing of the garden.

    Thanks perennialgardener but it is coming to a very quick halt except for the carrots and the marigolds.

    Tina, your grandson sure has enjoyed the garden. I think his favorite was the peas right out of the pod but he also loved the tomatoes and watermelon. He was down yesterday and we ate half of a watermelon and I have one more left that I will save for him. I will stew up the last of the tomatoes this week for freezing and keep a few for eating and they will be gone till next year. :(

    Skeeter those are going to be awesome bird houses!!

  13. Hello,

    Love gardening! Great photos and lovely little helper.

    ~ Gabriela ~

  14. Hi, Tina and Skeeter--I'm still in Arizona, so no update this month--it would be identical to last month's anyway (figs, herbs, maybe one last pepper). I'm so jealous of all of your peppers,especially--but I think I am going to plant some garlic this fall. Do you rotate your vegetables or plant feed covers (like vetch?) or do you just use compost? Anyway, funny thing about your mom's marigolds--I think they do repel bugs, but here, the deer eat them! Back home tomorrow, and then I'll get to work on the vacation posts!

  15. Hi Tina, Jean and Skeeter, you all have real veggies to post today, I am jealous. But we have had a good pepper year, I see you have too. I know it is time to pick those green tomatoes, but I just can't make myself do it. They might ripen still on the vine, right? If you say no I will go pick them. It was cold but is supposed to warm up a bit later this week, and maybe RAIN! We sure need it.


  16. Those delightful little surprises in life are so affirming. Glad to see that your gardens are still full of life and vigor. Tina, it looks like your adorable grandson is well on his way to continuing the family tradition of master gardening. Your mom might not have gardened in years, but she must not have lost her green touch. Skeeter, you should hold a contest next year with the gourd-birdhouses as prizes. Thanks, all of you, for sharing your autumn garden bounty.

  17. tina ... you have given me 'vegetable ENVY" girl !
    I am seriously thinking about planting my store garlic bulbs around my roses as a jump start to next season and warding off the bugs ... I love that 'nosy" tomato and I'm thinking to follow through with my first attempt with the sweet banana pepper that very bad raccoon dug up on me ..
    BTW .. hit hubby a few more times for me for the Canadian knickle comments AGAIN ! haha

  18. Dawn, You NEED veggie garden period.

    Racquel, The A frame is one of the best gadgets in the garden. The other is the concrete reinforcing wire. I just wish I had them way before this year. Can't wait to see your raised beds. I love mine.

    Rose, That is no problem on the veggie post. Many bloggers don't even post on veggies so it is fine. I hope your computer comes back soon! Sometimes you can buy 'red' peppers but I think given the right conditions all peppers will turn red. I suspect (and not sure if Meadowview Thymes thinks this too) the cold has caused these to turn red rather fast. I hope it tastes sweeter. At least it will go well in the spagetti sauce.

    Cameron, I couldn't do it if I had a critter problem. Thankfully large fences and big dogs prevent this problem. I do understand though for sure. I planted a great shrub border to block my neighbors and the road, Silverberry. I love these shrubs. What did you plant? I did not notice a shrub border in your garden pictures. I hope yours helps so you can plant veggies. I think I would put some in the ornamental beds like Paul James. Maybe they can be disguised.

    Dave, Don't feel bad. Since I still have summer crops I have been negligent on garlic. I do have several heads growing from last fall but not sure how they'll do. It is not too late to plant it. Isn't it great to still have maters?

    Marnie, Thanks! I think next summer you will love the expanded beds. I always make the mistake of not going large and have to go back and enlarge the bed. Once I do I am happy. You'll love the area to plant.

    Lola, Do send me a picture as I'd love to see it and will find a spot to post it too. Can't wait to see your gourds!

    Gail, I do so love the veggies but give way more away than I eat. My pleasure is so much more in growing them. My grandbaby is a sweetie for sure. I only wished we could visit longer. I think he'll be moving down here next year so it will be great. For now my mother can enjoy and spoil him and I know she enjoys that.

    Mom, He really did love that watermelon. I got it on video too with him reaching for more. Peas are good and even I love them. Spoil him while you can as he is growing so fast and talking too!

    Gabriela, Thanks for dropping by! Gardening is great. My little grandson (the first) is a sweetie for sure.

    Cosmo, Hi there. Have a safe trip back. I am still kind of recovering. I have never cover cropped. I add as much compost as possible once I clean the beds. I have enough this year to do the whole garden, problem is I'm making new gardens and may run out. I rotate crops every single year. What happens is once I pull the summer crops I already have the winter markers in place for this planting time, then I put the summer markers in beds they did not grow this summer. Confusing I know. But I use the marker stones and just move them around. You see next summer I may forget where I planted something this year so if I do it now it works best. Quite convenient. My mother HOPES the deer don't start eating her marigolds as she is certain that is what has saved her garden from the critters this year. I also think the marigolds and garlic repel bugs. I have to do a post on companion planting one of these days. I have too many now and don't know if I'll ever get them all posted. Didn't mean to write a book (okay-so I always do). Anyhow, ttyl. Safe trip. I haven't mailed the seeds yet but will soon.

    Frances, I'll trade you anything you want for some of that beautiful Swiss chard:) Anything! I really must grow some. Of course I said this back in the spring when you initially posted on it. I would leave the tomatoes until a killing frost comes. Then you know there is no more chance for them to ripen as the vine will be blackened. Some people pull the vines and hang them up-maybe under your deck if it does not freeze for a while? And the tomatoes will ripen there. I am planning to make some green tomato pickles that Linda (Garden Girl) posted about plus store some. I am hoping for rain too. I have not been in the garden since the last rain and now things are dried out again. Urgh! Will it ever end?

  19. Walk2Write, Hello there! I have plenty to share and you are not so far away at all. Can you email me sometime? My grandbaby will be a gardener if I have any say-at least he has the genes.

    GardenJoy4Me, Yes! Do stick some garlic in the ground. I would think it would do well for you as it is not usually bothered or killed by winter freezes and comes back like a gangbuster in the spring. Yup, I'll get the hubby. It is a southern/northern ongoing battle fighting the civil war between him. Him being the southerner he can't stand it they lost the war so he has to get in digs. All in fun.

  20. tina - I was surprised to find out that banana peppers turn red too when mine turn later in the summer.

    Nice black peppers, I will have to look for these next year. I grew brown peppers this year and although they seemed interesting they are not so nice looking in a salad. They look more like rotten peppers but do taste good.

    tina's mom - looks like some very happy pumpkins.

    skeeter - You are very lucky to have so many tomatoes coming on still. Beautiful gourds, my mom would be in her glory to have gourds like that.

  21. Mimi I was wondering how the yield for all those tomatoes came out. Good thing that you had it all harvested (?) before this mornings frost.


    Have to say, that while I lurk on this blog, this is the first time posting. It's included in my morning reading material. Cheers!

  22. Dan, Do you think it is a cool weather thing? I wonder as I had no idea and it has been cool. Gee in the summer we WISH they would turn red. Those black peppers are sweet. They almost look like eggplant but the color can be unappetizing just like you know. Oh well. Have you planted a fall/winter crop?

    Jay, I HAD NO idea you blogged. You never mentioned it and now that I know I will add you to my sidebar. Emma is growing fast and the pictures of her look super. I bet it helps with the family to be able to keep up with her. Do you see Josh? Isn't he big? Talking too and I was quite surprised at that. I love your moniker. Glad you explained it as I thought you were in Japan and had to put two and two together. Good thing I am pretty sharp tonight and figured it out. Now if you are not the Jay I think you are then I will really look the fool, huh? ttyl

  23. I did not know the eggplant blossem was so beautiful, great veggie pics.

  24. A late note Tina. Have you tried growing the white eggplant? I have & they look a lot like an egg. I've planted 2 plants in the gate garden where the volunteer asparagus is growing. I had one in a pot last yr. to see how it did. It didn't make until very late in the season--only 2 & I got them the afternoon before it frosted & killed the plant. Sadly I didn't get to taste it. I will this yr. if I get the chance.

  25. Iowa Gardening Woman, Yes, eggplant blossoms are a pretty light purple. Now if we could just do something with the flea eaten foliage-at least on my eggplants the leaves are so full of holes.

    Lola, Nope, never grown white eggplant. I would love to try it sometime if I can find it in stores. I have been so happy with the one plant I have this year that I'll do it again next. Why didn't you get to eat your eggplants that you harvested? You must let us know if they are different tasting than the black. Which reminds me, I need to pick my veggies and cook them up. Too much going on this week. P.S. Did GREAT on my midterm though I had to travel to Nashville to simply take it on the computer:(

  26. tina - I think the black would defiantly look much nicer then the brown ones I grew. Funny how all these funny coloured plants have came out lately whether veggies or flowers.

    The only thing I have put in lately is radishes and lettuce. The broccoli I planted late aug is just starting to flower and the brussels sprouts are still slowly growing. At the rate the sprouts are developing I hope they like snow...

    have you heard from DP, she seems to be missing lately?

  27. What a pleasure, to come back from a trip and find such surprises! Love that variety of egg-plant you have. And Skeeter's gourds? Would love to see them in a future post in their new avatars.
    Your grandson is adorable! But the most enviable of all the harvest is definitely your Mom's.

  28. Tina, didn't get to eat as I wanted it to dry for seeds in case I couldn't find them this yr. I will send you some seeds. I hope they will come up. I'm not to good at drying seeds up for the next yr. Maybe if we plant seeds in Spring they will have time to make before frost kills the plant. If these make this yr. I will try to find out if they taste different.
    Congrats on test results. I knew you would do good. Sorry you had to travel to the big city.

  29. Hi Frances and thanks. Tina is right about pulling your green tomatoes. One year when Tina was in high school we had tomatoes still in the garden and we had a freak, unexpected snow storm in late September or October (senior moment as I can't remember when) so we were in the garden with flashlights after dark. We pulled all the plants and hung them up upside down from the rafters in the basement and we had fresh tomatoes right up till Christmas time. It was GREAT!!! I had them tied to stakes back then. This year I used cages (made by Jay from an old wire fence) and I planned on pulling a couple of plants and doing it again but they were so big and tangled in the cages, I could not get them out in one piece. Next year I will stake a couple of plants for that reason.

    Dan, thanks and they have now turned orange and look great on my deck.

    Tina, when I saw the question from what I also thought was someone in Japan, I thought, how funny is that? Someone I don't know calling me Mimi and then I thought it kinda creepy. Then I read what you had to say to "Japan". Good thing you figured it out!!! Neat.

    HI JAY AND WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME!!!! Good to see you on here and I did'nt know you blogged either and will check it out later. Gotta get off here now as I am headed to Portland today as it is MDA meeting night and Tom and I go early to get in some big city shopping and supper before the meeting. The tomatoes did great. Think I have frozen around 25 quarts of stewed tomatoes and have eaten at least that much. Nothing left now but carrots in the garden. :( Still have one watermelon and a few tomatoes and 2 summer squash. Cheers to you also and come see us anytime. We miss you and Emma!

    kanakhagjer, Due to taking care of ederly parents and grandkids and working 2 jobs, all with a very bad spine I have not had a garden for about 15 years so that compliment is super nice. I must look funny in the garden in my electric wheelchair but my harvest sure made it all worth it!! After Tina started her blog and I read it, along with others, I just HAD to have a garden again!!!

    That is it for the ole wind bag for now.

  30. Dan, Your Brussel sprouts will love snow! I have not heard from DP but will email her and let her know everyone is missing her.

    Kanak, Thanks! I had no idea what would be there when I came back and shocked at it all. It pays to leave the garden for a bit.

    Lola, Forget about the seeds-eat the plant and worry about the seeds next year. Do let us know how it tastes. Yup, one test down, one more big one to go.

    Mom, I looked closely and always investigate new blogs. Jay was keeping it low key but he is now in the sidebar. He also got a letter from Christine.