Early Evaluation

The garden is yielding well and the heirloom tomatoes are just peaking. Here are my first thoughts.

The cucumbers were done in early September. Likely I didn’t get enough water on them during the drought, but it could have been fungus or something else. I need taller trellises, the 4-foot ones are nowhere near enough. The lemon cucumbers did well, but you need a lot of plants to get a good yield. Goebbert’s cukes were okay, but they got big and seedy way too quick. The long “Summer Dance” cucumbers from Countryside are by far the best. I will stick with them or and English cucumbers next year. Possibly I should move the patch because of disease. Maybe I’ll do a bed along the back fence next year, or some trellises on the west side of the house.

The Roma tomatoes did well, as i indicated in one of my previous posts. I planted Roma, Roma II and Rome III plants from Countryside but really couldn’t detect any difference among the varieties. I just picked a second batch and got about 1/2 a colendar-full.

In general the heirlooms did well, the ones planted over the old compost area did extremely well and the one farthest away did worst. I don’t know if this is a coincidence and due to variety or do to the soil. Definitely need to do some enriching of the tomato bed to the west and south.

The shishitos did extremely well, twelve plants is enough, and all peppers performed somewhat okay. The jalapenos and hot hungarians were slow to get moving, and I could probably use 3 more jalapeno plants. The old beds could use some soil enrichment. Green peppers did okay, but I could use more plants.

The zucchini did okay, the cocozelles from seed were slow to come and didn’t yield very well. The Peter Pan squash wasn’t worth the effort, it’s really just repackaged zucchini. I’ll probably plant “Mashed Potato Squash” instead, next year. I probably should do a second crop of Zucchini from seed around July 1.

The eggplant did terribly, I probably didn’t water it enough and maybe it needs really fertile soil. Four plants is enough.

The okra did very well, but I’m not sure what to do with it. It is not fussy and there are no insect problems. I’ll try freezing some for soup.

I didn’t get greenbeans in and a couple short rows, succession planted would probably be good.

The container garden worked as planned. I had Jalapenos almost from day one and the first tomato on June 23. There was a daily supply of tomatoes after that. I think bigger containers would be in order for next year as some of them required almost daily watering. All of the soil in the pots needs enriching. It was good having the extra cherry tomatoes. The cucumbers in pots got me some early cukes but the quality wasn’t that great. They were bush cucumbers, likely from Goebbert’s. Two tomato pots is the right number.

Kale and Swiss chard are doing well, but I probably won’t be using them until fall. At least, I’ve been giving some of the Kale away.

Fava beans were a fail as was the arugula and spinach from seed. Spring greens from seed need absolutely perfect even weather and that rarely happens in Illinois. The new beds will need enrichment this fall and next spring since they are mostly clay. Peat moss, sand, compost and as much organic matter as I can possibly work into the soil. Hope we have a nice fall.

The new herb garden is doing well, I need to add organic mater to the area where the basil is. The parsley bolted again this year, whereas the curly parsley didn’t. Maybe I’ll buy from Countryside next year. I need to plant some basil later in the summer, because my plants were in bad shape by mid-august and the plants will need to be replaced.

I need a “mint-garden” next year for weed water. I am thinking of doing that in the area at the northwest end of the garden. Maybe I’ll plant ornamental grasses at the back of it. Three types of mint. Chocolate mint, lemon balm, and another, maybe spearmint. Some flowers along the front would be nice.