Saturday, September 9, 2017

Summer Veg 2017

With fall well and truly starting, a look back at how the veg garden did this summer.  This year was very, very warm starting quite early.  There were only a couple of notable rains between April and September, so another very dry growing season. 

Garlic - did much better in a raised bed.  Very weedy, though.  I have to find something to mulch them with.  Despite the raised bed, wet in the spring.  By the time I finally pulled them, some of the bulbs were opening and not very attractive to look at.  But I got a good yield and flavor, and they make my eyes water like onions when sliced for cooking.

Peas - burnt out by June.  Not much production.  Planted a different variety in August to try for fall.

Onions Red, Spanish and Chato - Bought starts in May.  So hot in June, they skipped the spring onion stage and went straight to forming bulbs.  Ate all the local chatos by mid-August.  Now eating the round Spanish and reds in salads.  Would need to plant 3 times as many for winter use.

Carrots - first sowing was good, second half were eaten by critters, third had terrible germination.  Sowed again for fall.  Good flavor and size on the ones I managed to harvest.  Garden carrots are so fragrant!

Potatoes Red and white - Red fingerling were bought bagged from Lidl last fall.  Took a long time to sprout, even after planting in March.  Finally planted some white seed potatos kindly donated by the neighbor in April.  First blight appeared and then a plague of potato beetles/grubs. I estimate that between 20 and 25% were eaten by voles.  The reds that weren´t eaten produced pretty well and were delicious.  The whites were not abundant, but good sized.  Unfortunately, as I´m using them, many have gaps in the center of the potato, and brown spots.  Must order online or get certified seed potatoes next year.

Green beans French and broad - The calima bush beans grew and produced really well.  They´re short, and kind of a pain to harvest, but tasty and productive.  Did better directly sown than transplanted.  Planted some more for fall in August.  I planted some purchased broad bean starts to replace the peas, and to my surprise, they´ve got purplish pods.  I suspect the market people sold poor V beans for drying.

Lettuce Loose leaf and head - Loose leaf did spectacularly well, providing salads all June and into July, cut and come again.  Head lettuce struggled.  Had a bed of red, curly and bib that did nothing for over a month, despite regular watering and some shade from the other beds.  The curly lettuce in the herb garden did better even while completely overshadowed by the indigo and cilantro.

Spinach - complete disaster second year running.  Barely makes it out of the ground and then just lies there looking forlorn until I dig it out in disgust.

Parsnips - not seen a seedling yet.  Planted in February, re-sowed in May, again in August, and the last bed was seeded last week.

Cucumbers - tags got switched with the melons.  And 7 or 8 cucumber plants is lots more than we need.  I composted a lot of yellow cucumbers.  They did get mildew by mid-August.

Peppers - the smallish, light green Orense did well.  The padron, not quite so productive.  The bells are staying very small and none are turning red.

Tomatoes - got blight, which I now think drifted from the neighbors´ potato patch.  I did some pruning and ultimately sprayed copper twice.  Those planted earliest produced pretty well and actually turned red.  The last few have produced fruit, but I´m not sure they´ll ever mature, now that nights are down to 9C/50F.

Courgette/zucchini - Four plants is a lot to keep up with.  Finally got mildew at the end of August.

Pumpkins - exuberant growth.  Small New England Sugar Pie and white Long Island Cheeses did surprisingly well.  The butternut was very disappointing, except for a volunteer that started up by the compost area where we planted the citrus trees.  That thing formed double the number of squash in the proper bed.  All squash finally came down with mildew mid-August.

For the fall:

Leeks - starts planted in August.

Brussels sprouts - Planted starts in August.  Seem pretty sturdy, but may be too late to see sprouts.

Rutabaga/swede - started and transplated in August.

Peas - started and transplated in August.

Parsnips - sown in September, again

Carrots - sown in August and September

Swiss chard - sown in September

Beet greens (grelos) - sown in September

Spinach - sown in September, again

Garlic - to be planted the end of October, which worked well last year

Our frost date is usually end of October/beginning of November, but we typically don´t get freezes until December/January.


  1. Hi, Coco!

    How on earth did you get so much done with August taken up by visitors? You have done very well.

    I get you about onions. It seems like by mid-summer we have eaten them all up and never have any to store. Ditto for potatoes.

    We had nice green beans, but the best ones came up as volunteers in last year's bean patch and have done even better than the planted ones. We had butternut squash start up in some compost, like you - and in some shade, no less - and those squash are twice as big as the planted ones. This kind of thing happens to us so often that Nature must be trying to tell us something . . . Maybe I try TOO hard?

    Your fall planting list is the same as mine except that I didn't plant any rutabagas or parsnips, or brussel sprouts or leeks, though I did plant radishes. I have sown onion seeds to grow onion sets to plant in the spring, though. I keep wondering if it might not be too late to buy broccoli plants.

    Mildew also took over every squash, melon, and cucumber plant here in late August. I ended up picking every tiny squash and just eating them raw, except for the butternuts. I found out last year (duh) that one can use baby butternuts just like a summer squash, and there are usually a lot of baby butternuts still on the vines as we get near frost-time (last week of October here).

    Your last photo, of the garden, is so charming.


  2. A good crop! We're suffering from too much rain and not enough sunshine

  3. Hi Pam,
    Well, V´s folks are city people, so I can spend time in the garden with no fear of them offering to help. I wish I liked radishes, they seem quick to grow. I have a packet of onion seed, I should find an empty corner and try them.

    Hi GZ,
    We had lots of sunshine and not a drop of rain. I suppose it´s always something. Our water bills were high this summer. Next year I´d like to keep some records on how much we actually harvest.

    1. My radishes never seen to get picked in time. So I have learned to enjoy their seed pods in salads and stir frys. Their greens are appreciated as well!

  4. Awesome blog, i always enjoy & read the post you are sharing.Thank for your very good article...!