2017 Harvest

Friday, August 29, 2014

Race with weather

 Autumn is already here. 2 months too soon. It's raining almost every day. The amount of rain this month has been 130mm. Morning temperatures are below 10°C and daily temperatures are around 20°C.

This is making me change my gardening habits. I'm used to being the garden every day. Now I'm happy if I can get in the garden once a week.

Because of this my garden is filled with weeds. 

All this rain also destroyed my chances of second tomato blooming. All of my tomatoes are almost over.

I'm still harvesting some of my tomatoes as soon as they start turning red. When the soil gets stiff enough I'll be pulling out my tomatoes.

I also had to harvest my beans earlier. My beans were rolled on the floor and now the ones that are touching the ground are rotting(Botrytis cinerea).

This is why I harvested all my Trešnjevac beans. I still have some Slavonian old variety beans that aren't still ready for harvest but I'll have to harvest it soon if rain continues.

The rain ruined my lettuce seeds. I left many lettuce stalks to collect seeds but rain and wind already did that job. Many stalks  have rotten and the ones that were good already seeded themselves.

To much rain is causing my cabbages to burst so I collected my 3 cabbages.

 Since the temperature is below 10°C my peppers have stopped growing so I collected all good peppers. I also had some reddish tomatoes that will ripe on the sun in my front yard. Now I have enough vegetables to make sour mixed salad for winter.

I have also collected my broom millet. I'll collect seeds and dry them for next year and with millet I'll make myself a new broom.

I just love little brooms.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cosmos fizzy mix

                                         Cosmos fizzy formula mixture
                                            (Kozmos, Mexican aster)

 This spring I bought Cosmos fizzy mix. A mix of regular cosmoses and "fizzy variety".

Cosmos is Mexican native plant that belongs to family of Asteraceae. Over the centuries it spreaded all over the world. This plant was in our granny's cottage garden for many years ago.
Cosmos is annual half-hardy plant that in good conditions can self-sow for several years giving the impression of a perennial plant.Height of cosmos plants varies from 0,60m to 2m. Height depends on variety of cosmos and weather and soil conditions. It can come in almost every color, they can be double-colored, with simple flowers, double flowers or  they can be picoteed.
Cosmos can be attacked by aphids and since they don't like too much moist it's possible they get infected with gray mold or powdery mildew.

Fizzy formula mix is cultivated variety of a herbaceous plant Cosmos Bipinnatus(garden cosmos).

Mix contains simple "regular" shaped flowers and flowers with fizzy picoteed petals. 
Leaves are also simple, pinnate and very delicate.

Sowing cosmoses depends on hardiness zone. Fizzy mix can be planted outside only after the danger of frost has passed(in my case middle of May). To germinate plant needs 7-14 days and need temperature of 24°C. That is way I plant my cosmoses in pots in early April (4-6 weeks before transplanting them outside). They are kept in frost free environment  in greenhouse. In beginning of May I start accustoming them to our normal weather conditions. They spend every day outside and nights in greenhouse. Few days before transplanting pots stay outside overnight and then they are transplanted to the garden.
Fizzy cosmoses like sunny beds, with well drained soil. They don't like too much rain or their leaves start rotting. They also don't like drought, plants starts drying.

Fizzy cosmoses usually grow from 60-90cm. I wrote usually because my cosmoses grew 1,3m and some of the flowers go another 10-20cm higher.
This plant is very delicate so it doesn't tolerate wind.The best way to keep them from getting damages is sowing them in groups. Sometimes when winds are too strong even this is not enough so I had to place support poles to keep them from falling down.

First flowers blossom 60 days from sowing. They bloom from early summer till fate fall and first frost. Flowers can be used for bouquets, or left to brighten our gardens. To prolong flower season remove dead flowers.

If you want to collect seeds let them dry.
To collect seeds leave flowers to completely dry, loose petals and turn brown. Pull the seed heads off and place them on a seed drying rack. If you don't have one place them on a tray with paper towel to prevent water condensation. Leave flower heads on tray for few days to completely dry. When they dry separate small brown/black seed pods from the rest of the flower head.
Store seeds in paper bags till next year. Only when seeds are completely dry they can be moved to plastic zip bags.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chili peppers

Almost every garden has at least one variety of chili peppers. Mine is no exception. I love chili peppers. I love spicy food and almost all of the food I eat has a touch of spicy peppers inside.
Finding chili peppers in Croatia is not an easy job. There are no seed stores that sell them. Only variety of hot peppers that are sold in our stores are pepperonchini(0-500shu) The only way to get hotter chili peppers is trading seeds with pepper enthusiasts or buying them from other countries.

This is why I started collecting my own chili pepper seed base. My start was slow. Last year I only managed to get Red Basket of Fire chili pepper. I was really pleased with it. They are nicely hot(80 000shu) an last year I got 10 small jars of peppers from 2 plants.

This year I planted them again. This time I planted 4 seedlings in big pots/buckets(there is never enough pots) and 2 in my garden.

What I love about RBoF is that they are very colorful. They have green,yellow, red and purple peppers and their hotness depends on time when they were harvested.

This year I managed to get Jalapeño, Tabasco and Brown Habanero.
I was a bit late with this seedlings.The seeds came in late April so now my plants are smaller than Red Basket but they are progressing.

Jalapeño plants are on my balcony. They were attacked by bugs so we moved them to safer place.

We sprayed them with milk and this week they gave me first pepper. I'll leave it to ripe and take seeds to have enough for next year.

Jalapeño peppers are mild chili peppers(5000shu). I bought them to make stuffed peppers. I love chili peppers and cheese.

Tabasco peppers are bigger and have more little peppers. There will be enough for eating and storing seeds.

Tabasco peppers are hotter than Jalapeño peppers(50 000shu) but when looking at them they are very similar to Red Basket.

I'm very proud I managed to get Brown Habanero. Since we had a bit cold summer and I sown them too late my peppers are still a bit small, but I'm not worried about them. Habanero pepper is a perennial pepper so as soon as it gets too cold this peppers are moving inside the house.

Brown Habanero is one of the hottest chili peppers and it has 450 000shu. Normally people can't eat it. Still I bought it and I will dry and make a chili powder.
There are only 6 hotter peppers than Habanero and I'm trying to get 2 of them. I would love to have Bhut Jolokia(900 000shu) and Trinidad Moruga Scorpion(2 000 000shu).
Only I have no idea who of my family would be brave enough to eat them. :)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Another rainy week

After few days of warm and sunny weather we are back to this years "normal" weather. Temperatures are below 20°C and it's raining every day.
This change came with very strong rain that flooded parts of North Croatia.
Our hill was helpful again so there are no floods but this 80mm of water we got certainly did some damage.
There was no wind so I thought my garden would be safe but still my garden was hit hard.

Every tall plant fell down from the strength of the rain. All my corns were on the floor.

I managed to tie them back up. Some of them got a stick to hold them and others are supported by corns that weren't damaged.

millets were already tied to a stick but they still got rolled on the floor.

Water damaged my new lettuce seedlings. They just got out this week.

My lettuce stems were also on the floor. Some of them were broken and there will be no seeds this year. Others were just on the floor so I got them back up.

Beans I planted few weeks ago just started blooming.

And now they are on the floor, many of them are broken and I don't know if they will rise back up again.

Rain finally stopped but temperatures aren't rising. It's really cold. We are back to sweaters and jeans. This kind of temperatures are great for my Ipomea that is blooming whole day.

But it's also great for blight. It's ravaging through my garden. Last victim are my cucumbers.
I don't think we will harvest any more and we harvested only 2 kilos this year.

By the looks of it this year autumn will come very soon.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August harvest

Despite the fact that our weather looking more like middle of October I'm still harvesting.
My harvests are a bit different but still good.
For example in normal years my carrots aren't ready till late fall. And this year this is second carrot harvest.
It seems I'll have to harvest 2 more times to get all my carrots. Another thing is that this year carrots burst from too much rain.

This time I harvested 4 kilos of carrot roots. Of course every root has it's leaves but this will be a treat for my bunnies and not me. My bunnies will also get some forage kale. I also harvested 4,7 kilos of tomatoes. They still haven't ripened. But I collect them anyway to prevent them from getting blight and from ending in my orchard (downhill garden everything that falls ends in orchard).

So far I'm having good tomato harvests. I harvested 15 kilos so far. my problem will be second tomato harvest. Or better said as it looks I will not have a second harvest. All my new flowers were eaten by blight so I have no new tomatoes. Only the ones that were already there before blight.

My cucumbers have started growing. I'm harvesting my first fruits. This was my biggest harvest so far 1,3 kilos. My cucumbers are also stuggling with our weather. I have millions of flowers on my plants but instead of making fruits they fall down.

This year even my beans have to much moist. I had to pull out all of them. There is too much water in soil and pods started rotting. I got last 0,7 kilos of beans, together with 3,7 kilos from previous two harvests I got 4,5 kilos of roman beans.

 I also got some parsley leaves. But only leaves. I haven't managed to grow decent parsley root in years.
Blackberries seem to have stopped ripening. My net if filled with red blackberries but every couple of days I harvest only 1 kilo. By this time in normal years my blackberry harvesting is already over.
Peppers seem to like this weather. I got another 1 kilo.

I don't really know what will happen with my harvests this year. It could end up being a good year. Except for tomatoes.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What's wrong with this picture?

 Every person has it's favorite flower. The one that they would pick out from millions of other flowers. The one that makes them shiver when they see it and it's smell brings smile on their face.

For me that flower is lily. I love their smell, colors and delicate flowers. I love how they color your nose in yellow when you try to smell them. For me lilies are even more elegant flowers than roses.

I still remember the first lily I got 10 years ago. My own Stargazer lily. And I still have it.It blooms every year, giving me 3 beautiful gorgeous smelling flowers.
My lily was blooming this year too.

 This year it had only 2 flowers, one got damaged from the wind. Still they managed to produce enough aroma to fill my room every morning with gorgeous scent.
Over the years I bought or got many lilies and none of them survived. They just disappear. Still I'm happy for every new bulb I buy.

It was the same thing this spring. I got 2 new red lilies. I was so happy about them. Until it was time to see the flower. Only one of them bloomed, and it wasn't what I expected.
I still don't know what to think.

The flower I got doesn't even look like lily. It's small, with 6 normal petals. There is no stigma or stamens. It's doesn't smell. Nothing.
My lily is just not a lily. So I'm back to my only fateful Stargazer lily. At least he never fails me.