Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Fall Garden

This was the second very dry summer in a row.  I think it rained twice between May and September.  Good summer for fruit, though.  We´ve had apples, pears, plums, lots of blackberries, even a couple of walnuts but not a single, solitary grape.  Got good production from the runner beans, onions, courgette/zucchini, peppers, green basil and, surprisingly enough, the tomatoes.  The cherry tomatoes especially were still pumping out product.  Unfortunately, they all had blight and I ripped them out to burn them.  The Santiago Black was especially good and flavorful.

Carrots are a little short, but I wasn´t diligent about thinning them.  Tasty though.

I got one strawberry.  Didn´t net adequately or early enough.

I have renewed respect for anyone that can grow a decent head of cauliflower.  All ours were buggy and scant.  The broccoli was only slightly better.

Peppers finally showed up.  Unfortunately, I had a tough time telling which were the Orense, the Piquillo and the Padron.  Wondering how to preserve them now.  Can I roast and freeze them?

Peas didn´t like the heat or the drought.  I planted more, and they´ve germinated, but it´s probably too late to get any this fall.

The courgette got powdery mildew and passed it on to the butternut squash.  So far there are 3 giant and 2 good sized squash growing, as well as some littler ones.  Hoping they ripen.

Brussels sprouts are tall and sprouting.  Not exactly sure when one harvests them. Is there a trick to getting nice tight heads?

Planted beet greens, kale, spinach and parsnips and all appear to have germinated.  Will probably buy some cabbage starts from the farmers market, though cabbage is so cheap and the dreaded white butterflies so plentiful it may not be worth it.  I bought 4 tiny rhubarb starts, some lavendar and some sage the last time I was there. Garlic will probably go in where the tomatoes and peppers were.  Thinking of doubling the size of the garden.  We´ve discovered you can rent a tiller for 18€ a day in the village and it seems to me money well spent, if only to get experience using one. I´ve had plastic down to kill the grass for a while.  Now mulling a new layout.

Got 2 jars of pickles, 4 jars of tomato sauce, 2 jars of pesto, 4 small jars of blackberry jam, and 2 jars of bramble jelly done.  Am thinking I should try making sauerkraut to see if I like it.


  1. Have you found
    the no-dig guru.Recommend you take a look.Not only would he save you work in tilling but moisture conservation by mulching could help.The trick with Brussels is to plant really deeply into uncultivated(firm) soil and water in with liquid mud, then firm with your heel.Good luck
    Mart (North east Hampshire, UK

  2. Thanks for your comment Mart. Yes, Mr. Dowding has a lot of success with his methods. Well worth reading.

    Don´t remember exactly how deeply I planted them, so I´ll just have to cross my fingers, I guess. They certainly look healthy.

  3. Hi Coco,

    What a great harvest and yeah I hear you about the strawberries! :-)! Wow, so much to eat and your garden is looking great! Out of curiosity, did you find that the cherry tomatoes outperformed the larger variety of tomato fruit? Cauliflower is a tough vegetable here too because of the white cabbage moths.

    I've found that the peas enjoy a lot of water during hot summers - probably more than I can reasonably give them... Snow peas usually produce pods before New Years here so they're a bit more reliable because they're early. Out of interest, what sort of variety did you grow?

    I hope Breo is assisting with the garden?

    Great to hear that you are considering implementing everything for the next season based on what you've learned this season! Top stuff.



  4. Hi Chris,

    Yes - next year I will not require 4 cherry tomato plants. I think 2 will be more than enough. The blight was a real shame. A lot of kilos of tomatoes got tossed, including all the big ones in the header photo. :(

    There was an article in the paper the other day about the recovery of local tomato varieties, and the consensus was the Santiago Black was a popular success. So I´m not alone.

    I don´t know what the garden peas are - they came in a box from the Ag coop. They never got very tall and then just gave up and turned brown at the height of the summer heat. The nights are very cool now, though we´re still having warm dry days, so I doubt the new ones will get to production before first freeze at the end of November. I don´t really care for mange tout peas/pods. I´d rather have the peas. The handful I got were incredibly sweet and delicious :)

    I need to be thinking about planning the beds so they dry out sooner in case we have another wet spring.