Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Veggie Garden Update October 2009

Tina's Veggies:
The last of the summer vegetables have been harvested and the garden has been cleaned up. Yup, it's sad but true, summer is over. But don't worry there are cool weather crops to fill in for the long gone summer veggies. It is always nice to get a fresh start in the garden and living in Tennessee allows many fresh starts for the vegetable garden. The above picture shows 'Nest Egg' gourds and the last of the green peppers. Note: Tomatoes are notably absent as they did not do well this year. The beans were left to go by on the vines and the zucchini and cucumbers just never did materialize for me this year. Sigh.

I wanted to comment on the next egg gourds and also on the butternut squash. Mom and Lola we finally ate the little Waltham butternut squash and I found them delicious! Most easy to stick in the microwave too. Speaking of gourds and squash I was a bit overwhelmed with all the gourds I grew last year so I decided to try a different kind this year. These 'Nest Egg' gourds were most easy to grow and quite prolific. The seed package said these gourds are called nest egg gourds because farmers sometimes use them to fool a hen into laying eggs by placing one in the nest. Interesting note. I will dry them and figure out something to do with them that I may post about later this year. In the meantime if you'd like to see last year gourds do check the archive under gourds for several posts on gourds found here.
I have cleared most of the beds. The bananas have not yet come down. Even with a hard freeze this last weekend the garden is still standing tall and looking good, but I know its days are numbered. My only goal for the vegetable garden this winter is to be able to grow lettuce throughout the season. In order to achieve this I have done a few things. First of all I scraped about 8-12" of soil from the above bed and added a 2" layer of horse manure to the bed then backfilled with the removed soil. I also added a coldframe to this bed. The coldframe is equipped with glass windows that can be ventilated. It is oriented to the southwest and I hope it and the rotting manure will provide enough heat to allow lettuce to be successfully grown all winter. Wish me luck. In addition to lettuce I planted: beets, white radishes, two types of spinach, kohlrabi, Broccoli Raab, and Chinese cabbage. Some of the vegetables are planted in the coldframe and some are outside of the coldframe. We'll see what comes of my coldframe/manure experiment during our monthly updates.

If you have not yet planted your fall crops you need to get going. It is not too late to plant garlic and onions but most fall crops need to be in and growing by now for a successful harvest.

Prepare all of your beds you are not using for fall crops by applying a layer of compost to each bed. I always lay out next summer's garden at this time of the year too. I find that come next year I may have forgotten where I grew the tomatoes so I label each bed appropriately this year. Rotating is very important in order to avoid a build of harmful pests in the soil.

Regular readers will know I am usually not too organized with planting my vegetable garden. I can never tell you which is the 'Bradley' tomato or which is the 'Beefsteak' tomato because I am bad with labeling and paying attention to cultivars. That is beginning to change. I have labeled all fall crops with the type and cultivar of vegetable and have resolved to only grow what I enjoy eating most. For example growing pole beans in my garden makes no sense since I can't stand beans. I can surely use the spot for something I will enjoy more-like zucchini. This year has made me see that as much I love growing things I will need to prioritize for next year or suffer with very few veggies again. Therefore the variety of vegetables I grow next year will be pared down quite a bit.

Not much more going on here in my Tennessee vegetable garden. Now let's see what Skeeter has going on in her Georgia garden.

Skeeter's Georgia Veggie Garden:

I am happy to say that I did indeed find one more cucumber hiding amongst the mess of the gourd vine in the veggie garden! We picked Sweet Yellow Peppers, Hot Jalapeno Pepper and Tomatoes from the small planter.
Did I mention we picked tomatoes? Wow have we picked tomatoes this year! The Roma tomatoes really do love our soil conditions as they thrive for us each year. I have many containers of maters frozen for soups and sauces this winter.
I am pulling these 5 from the pile to show them a bit more clearly. These are the Cherokee Purple Tomatoes! I am still watching 6 more on the vine in hopes they grow a bit larger before picking them. The birds are getting to the tomatoes for the first time this year.

I had a rash on my face and I think it was from eating so many fresh tomatoes. When I stopped eating them, the rash went away. I have not tried eating them in sauces but Restaurant ketchup, pizza and spaghetti sauce don't seem to have an effect on me. I hope my frozen tomatoes made into sauce will not make me break out again as it was itchy and unsightly too!

I should have some more peppers to talk about next month as they are continuing to produce as are the gourds. The gourds will be the main topic next month for sure!

in the garden....


  1. Lucky for you all to get so many gourds!

  2. Hi Tina and Skeeter, lots of entertainment here, and education too! Thanks for telling us about your lettuce experiment, Tina, we look forward to seeing if it works. Year around lettuce would be fabulous! Skeeter, so sorry to hear about your rash, but you win the prize for best tomatoes across the country! What beauties you have produced. :-)

  3. Hi Skeeter, nice to hear someone got a good tomato crop this year.

    Tina, good luck with your lettuce. Unless you have an unusually cold winter I bet you can grow lettuce all season in the cold frame. Be careful of fresh manure around leafy vegetables.

  4. Wow, Skeeter, I am impressed by those Cherokee Purple tomatoes! I tried to grow some this year, but they never matured. But the other tomatoes were a success; I had plenty of romas, too, which are great for making sauce. I hope you can eat a few more fresh ones without getting a rash, Skeeter!

    Tina, My veggie garden is done for the year, too, but I don't bother with fall planting--our window of good weather is just too unpredictable. Like you, though, I've been evaluating what worked and what didn't. Of course, you never know how the weather will affect the garden. Three years ago I had zucchini coming out of my ears, and this year I had just a few. It will be interesting to see how your cold frame works out.

    I have a veggie update post today, my last until next spring!

  5. You could dry them and then sell them to people who need fake eggs to add to their nest boxes to trick chickens into laying. I looked high and low for them and only found plastic ones. Just an idea!

  6. Skeeter those tomatoes look good! I wish we were still getting some. Long gone from my garden.

    Tina I've been too busy to pay much attention to the veggie garden. Maybe I can take a few photos and post a late update. The sugar snap peas are blooming and the lettuce is still growing. I need to put up a hoop over the lettuce to keep them going this winter.

  7. Good morning all! Another beautiful day today so I'll be in the garden-cutting trees down:( My experiment will be interesting and I am using great caution with that manure. I worked real clean it is buried quite deeply and no root crops in this area. Many of the fall seeds have already sprouted and it is looking good.

    Skeeter, A rash on the face from eating fresh tomatoes is so not a good thing. I hope it does not come back when you break out those frozen tomatoes. Looking forward to seeing your gourds.

  8. Wow Tina and Skeeter, great produce! I too am bad about keeping track of which variety tomato is which in the garden...even worse once they come in to the kitchen counter.
    I put my lettuce in planter boxes on the deck, keeps the bunnies out and easier to harvest just a little each night for dinner.
    Love the nest egg gourds, they really do look like eggs.

  9. Tina, I will have to try the nest egg gourds. I've never heard of them. Once dried I think they could be used for decorations.
    This seems to be a perfect time to amend our gardens. Looking good girl.

    Skeeter, I can't believe you are still getting tomatoes. Mine bit the dust long ago. Wasn't much use planting them as they didn't do good. I don't think I'll mess with the little ones as they are too thick skinned. I may try Roma again even tho they didn't produce much.

  10. Good Morning everyone! Burrrr it is cool in Georgia now but sunny and expecting warmer temps today.

    I plucked the last of the tomatoes yesterday as I feared the cold weather may harm them. I have yet to snap a pic but will then show you as I am thrilled we had more crops this late in the year. We shall talk more on them with a post at some point....

    Tina, your eggs are so neat! I bet you can come up with some type of neat craft for them. Like say paint an Easter type scene on them for a Spring project. Paint them up for an Egg Tree. Hum, I bet Dawn could think of a wonderful use for them. :-) Your experiment sounds exciting and cant wait to see how it unfolds…

    I have to get a Halloween Costume together for the Humane Society Fur Ball this weekend. So today I will have the sewing machine out and busy as time is running out. Argggggg, unexpected houseguest for a week sure does put one behind schedule....

  11. Tina - can never get the year round lettuce thing organised - I can never get the timing right.
    Skeeter - I'm allergic to lots of raw fruit but once it's cooked or frozen the problem goes away. Hope it's the same with your tomatoes. Not that it helps if you like eating them raw.

  12. Tina, those nest egg gourds could've fooled me! What beauties! Never seen them around here. And Skeeter's veggies are enviable! Great combination of colours in that harvest!

  13. Tina,
    I like those nest egg gourds.. they are such a nice white. I will curious to see what you do with them. And Skeeter has some monstrous tomatoes there! Wow!
    Do you ever plant a cover crop?

  14. Wow girls. Good harvesting job. The gourds are really neat. We had fresh potatoes outta my garden last night and oh they were soooo good.

    Skeeter my mother used to get a rash from the raw tomatoes when she really ate a lot of them so she would slow down on them and be okay and with the exception of a lot of raw ones nothing else bothered her. Hope it works that way for you also.

  15. I know a lady who paints Santas. She would put Santa Faces on every one of those dried gourds.

  16. Tina - Good luck with your cold frame. I hope you have great success and will be interested to see how it does.

    Skeeter - I hope you aren't allergic to your tomatoes!

  17. Hi Tina, thanks for stopping by my blog. Good luck on your winter garden! I'm hoping for some salad greens this winter as well....though I'm sure your chances of success where you are are a lot higher than mine here in Massachusetts. I'm looking forward seeing how your lettuce turns out!

  18. Good evening everyone! I have my costume ready for the Fur Ball and my fingers are full of holes as I sewed by hand instead of using the machine! Argggg, my fingers are sore and typing is not fun either... LOL...

    I do hope I am not allergic to the fresh tomatoes as I enjoy them on a burger and sandwich. I think we were eating so many that it may be the reason for the face rash. I have been laying off them and thus far, no more rash. Hum.... Easygardener, I hope my little rash was only the fresh tomatoes as I would miss way too many tomato things cooked. Pizza is my favorite and I would just die without my pizza with tomato sauce fix weekly! lol...

    My eyes are blurry from all the sewing so off to bed I go...

  19. Look at those beautiful Cherokee Purples! Congrats on growing them from seed to fruit, I knew you could do it!

  20. Hi Tina and Skeeter,
    I have had places I needed to go the last couple of nights. Now, I am even farther behind in my blog reading, and struggling to stay awake. I started my update last night, and finished it this evening.

    Those gourds do look like chicken eggs. Skeeter, your tomatoes look good.

  21. Thanks for the explanation. I thought that the white figures in the first image were eggs, as in, actual eggs. Great post.

    Greetings from London.

  22. Dan, Thanks for the seeds and encouragement! It was a bit stressful babying the Purples but we got a good crop in the end. I picked 5 more a few days ago! Will post pic soon...

    Sue, you slow down and get some rest and dont worry about catching up :-)

    Cuban, I thought that Tina had gotten some hens and did not tell us. hee hee...

  23. Ok, you're just too busy for me. ha
    Veggies are fun but did I read you have bananas also?
    I see a lot a empty land behind your property...maybe it's yours.
    Anyway, I like the view.