2017 Harvest

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mystery continues

Few weeks ago I was writing about mysteriously eaten lettuce and beans  in that post I've accused blackbirds of ravaging my garden.Well this post will be official apologize to those lovely birds. This week after the storm when I went in to the garden I saw that my garden has been ravaged again,my beans have been eaten .

I thought it was the birds again until I saw my carrots. Not only were they eaten but also pulled out of the soil. The strangest thing is that they weren't eaten at all. They were just pulled out with eaten leaves but the carrot was intact. I inspected each carrot and there's not a single tooth mark on them.

The soil around the carrots was full of small feet marks. When I first saw the soil and my carrots I thought maybe my 2 pests were busy playing and pulled them out. But they wouldn't eat the leaves. Especially bean leaves. I mean I have dogs now cows at home.
Prints seem a bit small but don't have the shape of birds marks. I'm pretty sure that those are not rabbit marks either. They are missing the longer back legs prints.

Now I'm guessing it's either a deer or cats. But why would the cats eat my carrot leaves? Also I've checked my whole fence again and I can't find a place where the fence would be torn so deer could enter in the garden. My only reasonable answer is that I have a Pegasus that visits my garden, flies over the fence and then leaves hoof prints while he feasts on my plants.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tangled up

As I'm sure even the birds on branches know that I love climbing annual flowers, especially Ipomea, so I know there's no need to say that I've sown it again this year. This year I've sown it on three different places, on my wire, in front of the house and in front of my window. Last year the best Ipomea was in front of my bedroom window was the best and the biggest one. This year it's not the case. This year is my window Ipomea is very poor. Almost giving no shade, lately after the last rain and colder weather it started growing again but it's still very poor.


The one on the wire is looking much better and greener. Wires are full of pink flowers.

One of the Ipomea seedlings started growing on the opposite side of the wire and I thought it would be a good idea to leave it there and let it cover my doggy fence. I was so wrong.
I always keep forgetting how vigorous it can get.

Even the most vigorous plant in my garden Canna Lilly got tangled up in Ipomea. It took me ages to free it from all the vines. 

Brown spot is doggy pee spot :D

Third Ipomea is also looking very nice and green, it has filled all the strings I've placed and is providing shade for our house plants which are outside during the summer.

Vines  have started going on the other side of the curtain, they are blooming and I don't have the heart to cut it off.

All this tangled plants and jungly look ends up forgotten when I see delicate flowers it opens every morning.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Seed madness starting

Beginning of August is a wonderful time to start thinking about seeds. Flowers have usually already dried their first flower heads and they are ready for collecting, early tomatoes ripe just perfectly to gather their seeds, lettuce stems are ready to be collected and placed in dark place to dry.

I've started to gather my first seeds, right now the only things ready to collect are some tomatoes, cosmoses and cornflowers. Every year I have problems with the best way to dry my seeds. I use small plastic cups, plates, paper cups...this year I tried to use old egg boxes.

Seeds in parts without egg cups dried wonderful. The ones that I placed in cup also dried but I had a small problem with them...how am I supposed to get them out of the box now??? :D I'm not using the egg cup parts again.

There are lots of seeds I need to gather this year. I have many pepper and tomato seeds I need to collect because I have only one or two seeds left. Luckily collecting tomato and pepper seeds is easy. One pepper and you get enough seeds for next two years. I need 20 varieties of tomatoes and 14 pepper varieties.

So far I managed to gather Green Zebra, Mona Lisa, Malakhitovaya and Cherokee purple tomatoes. The seeds are ready to be packed but just to be on the safe side new seeds will stay in paper tissues until spring.

New seeds in paper bag, old seeds in plastic bag

While I was putting away my new seeds I noticed that my seed boxes are a bit empty. Ok not empty but empty for my concept of full seed box.

What bothers me the most is the amount of empty plastic bags. I have 50 small bags that are completely empty.

That can lead to only one thing...seed shopping!!
I've already started buying some new seeds from my favourite seller. I bought different packages of flowers for next year (Vendium, Nemesia, Mission bells poppy, Tagetes crackerjack, Calendula orange king, red Bellis, Tomato Roma gold and Firecracker, Pepper sweet banana, Mexican Zinnia, Aster blue star/ unicum/ chinchilla, African daisy, Cleome, Single Alba, Sunflower magic and Mexican and Livingstone daisy).

I still plan to buy new pepper varieties and try new cabbages...and maybe try Rhubarb next year.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Weeks harvest

With the beginning of August my harvests got a bit bigger, the affect of cold spring is very noticable and everything is ripening almost 2 weeks later than it should. Also the amounts I'm getting are much smaller than I would get if we had normal spring, but still each fruit is a pleasure to harvest.
I harvest my fruits every day or every other day depending on the amount that needs to be harvested. Some may notice that none of my tomatoes fully ripe. That's because in downhill garden leaving tomatoes to ripe would mean the need to collect them in my orchard. as soon as tomatoes start getting softer they start falling down and rolling around the garden.

This week after the waiting period of 4 days tomato harvest was fairly good. On Tuesday I harvested tomatoes, some cucumbers, peppers, watermelon and some carrots. I should mention that I harvest carrots only the amount I need for making dinner, that's a few carrots each couple of days. Rest of carrots will be harvested in September.

There was also a nice collection of cherry tomatoes.
From upper corner: Violet Jasper, Zloty deszcz, Balcony yellow, Black cherry, Koralik, Weird Tiny Tim and Pokuska

Small tomatoes always have a strong taste so they are the best ones for sun drying. Conditions for sun drying are ideal right now. Temperatures are back to 30+°C

On Wednesday, like I already wrote in previous post, we've dag out some of our potatoes. This time we got 20kg of potatoes.

I have also harvested  some tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, blackberries, 3 heads of Kalibos cabbages, corn, beans and shallots.

Shallots will be left to fully dry. One kilo of this shallots will be saved for next year to use them again and other will be used for cooking.

Disgraceful amount of beans will be left to dry and used as dry beans. From 1 kilo of beans this is all I got.

 This is the first corn harvest of the year. They are a bit small and unevenly filled with seeds but still taste nice.

 Yesterday again I have harvested some tomatoes, few carrots and a baby vegetable spaghetti squash.

This is the first squash I got this year, actually it's the first fruit of all my squashes and zucchinis.  This year has been difficult for all my zucchinis. They grow nicely but have only male flowers, the small amount of female flowers that turns into fruits dries up when fruits are the size of thumb. The situation is the same in whole village. My neighbor has a big garden with only zucchinis and all she gets are big male flowers. No fruits.
That's the reason I harvested my squash while it's still young. I'm afraid it will start rotting.

I've also harvested my first chili peppers. Some Red basket of fire peppers, Explosive ember, Cayenne purple and unknown variety. It was supposed to be Naga Jolokia but instead I got small pepperoni peppers. They have similar hotness like Red basket so I'll use them for pickled peppers.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Weed battle

Now that the rain has finally stopped and we got some dry weather I was able to clean 70% of my garden from all the weeds that gathered during the last 3 weeks. While we had high temperatures it was impossible to pull the weeds out because the soil was like concrete, then we got rain and there was too much water to even walk on it, so now when it finally dried weeds were already taller than some of my plants.

Most of my chili peppers are in pots in front of the house, but I had some extra plants which I planted in my garden. They are the best example of the amount of weeds in my garden. When the heat started I placed some hay to mulch them and prevent weeds from growing but last years mild winter and lack of freezing didn't destroy the seeds in the ground and even mulch doesn't help much in preventing the growth. Weeds grow through every small crack.

In my downhill garden weed control plastic covers are not an option so I'm left with good old weed puling. Definitely not something I enjoy doing.

Since my leg hurts again and this years soil is a disaster my dad helped me to dig out most of our potatoes. When I was planting potatoes soil was so hard we couldn't dig the rows so we just placed them under hoe. Now when we harvest them we noticed that the potatoes went really deep, in search of good soil.
So far we harvested around 80% of our potatoes, there are still around 5-10kg inside which we will pull out this weekend.

I've also harvested my beans, or should I say the disgrace of beans. The spring sown beans germinated almost after 3 weeks and  very poorly due to the lack of heat and the ones that did germinate were eaten by the birds later. I got a ridiculous amount of beans, which I left to dry and use as dry beans. I didn't even get the 1 kilo I planted back. I the same place yesterday I've sown second batch of peas, spinach and some leftover shallots. I doubt shallots will have time to dry but I'll use them instead of green onions.

My second batch of beans is looking way better than the first one. If it continues like this I'm hoping to recover the lost amount of beans from the first batch here. Again I've sown Trešnjevac beans like always but it seems that this year it's much taller than before. still as long as it doesn't need sticks or net I'm ok with it's height.

It seems that the spraying helped my tomatoes. Still I'm worried that I will lose at least two of my varieties (Viva Italia and Kuma). The other tomatoes started growing healthy branches and growing in height again. There are even some new flowers appearing.

Even Mona Lisa variety is slowly showing signs of recuperation. There are some stems that have been completely infected but next to them I've noticed that there are few new ones that are growing healthy. 

old infected stem
new ones in upper part

Even though most of my tomato plants are sick there are two verities that  are completely healthy.
My Ananas noire is perfectly healthy without a single sick leaf.

It still didn't start changing color but I hope it will soon to taste it. It's one of the new varieties in my garden and the one that will definitely be planted next year too. 

Indigo rose is another variety that is blight free. It did start getting few spots on lower leaves but once I removed them it didn't spread to the other leaves.

There's still some weeds left in my garden, mostly on the fair right side where it was still too damp to clean it, but I'm hoping to sort that out this week. Once I'm done cleaning I'll be able to start again from the beginning. It's just lovely how weeds can grow so fast. I wish my plants would grow like that.