Saturday, October 30, 2010

Finally a 'Success Story'

Well, I could wait no longer - the tomatoes had to come out of the greenhouse so that I could put the raised bed into 'winter mode'. But, I'm very pleased with this year's 'Experiment' & in over-coming my 'Challenge' in growing tomatoes!!
This is what my tomato plants looked like back in the middle of the month - still lots of 'maters, some starting to ripen & others just hanging out. I drastically reduced the amount of water they received - actually, due more to forgetfullness rather than an actual strategy... I would get out there about twice a week to keep my husband in a steady supply of fresh 'maters. (Lesson to remember: do not go on a life-style change that requires you to give up tomatoes for 6 weeks when you have tomatoes coming out your ears...)

In the lower left of the photo is my little patch of winter lettuce - a 'Garden Experiment' that I hope is successful as I don't really like having to go back to store bought greens. We'll see what happens over the next few months.
This is my final harvest result. Lots of green 'maters & I think I'll scour the internet (Epicurious is a great place to find all sorts of recipes) for something to do with them all. They don't ripen very nicely when picked this green - at least these ones don't.

So, after I riped out the plants & dumped them onto my outdoor veggie beds for winter compost, I dug up the bed, add some more soil & manure from the pots I used up on my deck & am trying yet another 'Garden Experiment' for the winter. I planted my left-over peas & some broad beans in here - with the aim of using them them as a green fertilizer/mulch. They will boost the nitrogen in the soil (essential after the heavy feeding tomatoes) & come the spring, will be dug into the soil for further composting.

Now, I know you are wondering about the newsprint - yes, it's coloured (a no-no, but beggars can't be choosers) & it's on top of the soil instead of used as a layer under the newly added soil - but it's only 1 sheet thick & will very quickly break down while keeping any mystery seeds from sprouting in the newly dug up soil. The peas & beans will take a bit longer to sprout & should they do so before the newsprint is melted, than it's easy to remove or just rip a hole for the seedling to emerge. I'll be adding more through-out the winter season anyway...

I've noticed the greenhouse leaks along the peak of the roof - so although I will water at least once a week - things in there get a little more water than I really want them to get during the winter. I'll have to monitor the pots of rosemary & tarragon (as I'd like the herbs to remain on the dry side) & the pots of cuttings (random shrubs - forgot to label them - typical!) and my cuttings of my scented geraniums.

These are my cute little lettuce seedlings. I didn't start them indoors this fall because I was leaving for 2 weeks at the end of September & asking my husband to water those as well as the greenhouse was asking just a bit too much. I need to get a watering can with a sprinkler nozzle - using a yogurt container leaves holes in the soil & disturbs the seedlings too much. Learned that one the hard way...

Back up in photo #3 on the lower right you can see my gladiola bulbs. I riped as many of those out of the ground as I could last week sometime. They are almost dried & ready to be stored for the winter. I'm not really too sure if my garden experiment with glads worked or not (leave them in the ground for the winter versus dig them up each fall) - this year was wet spring followed by dry summer followed by wet fall.... Since I wasn't actually digging the bulbs up with a tool - just pulling on the stalks, there are still some in the ground. I'll try to monitor the glads next year when I find all new homes for the healthy looking bulbs...

Happy Halloween - remember to compost your pumpkin!

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