Monthly Archives: October 2011

Garden Renovation, Phase 1: Demolition

This week we officially kicked off the garden renovation. There’s no turning back now!

This is Tuesday morning, before we started working. The plants look sad, but they were still productive.

If it was green and growing, we pretty much pulled it out on Tuesday. There were A LOT of peppers and green tomatoes on those plants.

Case in point. I know you don’t see any peppers in this picture, but trust me. Most of those bags are full of peppers. It was pepper palooza!

I could be wrong, but I think we might need another compost bin. Just maybe.

This is as things were winding down yesterday morning. All the rest of those bricks and blocks are gone now. All that’s left is some of the trash lumber, the wheelchair height bed, the table, and the compost area. And a whole bunch of dirt.

Note to self: raised beds do NOT need 2-3′ long pieces of rebar to secure them to the ground. Really, they don’t. Not even in Kansas.

It was pretty cool to see the root remnants of the plants we pulled on Tuesday. This root system is from the pepper garden. I guess we did a decent job of watering, because the roots seem to go all the way to the bottom of the raised bed area and even a little deeper.

We also realized just how important (and nice) all the drainage work is as a component of the renovation. After not having rain for ages, then 2″ over the weekend, there was water standing in the packed clay 12-24″ inches below the surface. When we pulled the demonstration table out, we saw it had literally been standing in water. Yuck!

Video Wednesday

We’re definitely winding down this week! I’ll have some fun pictures to share tomorrow and Friday. If you have some flowers, here’s a short video about saving seeds.

Final Family of 4 Garden Harvest Report

Since we were cleaning out the garden today, we picked everything remaining that could reasonably be picked.

It was quite the motley assortment of over-ripe cantaloupe and under-ripe tomatoes. Oh yeah, and about a gazillion peppers. (Of course!)

We also marked the final harvest from the Family of 4 Garden this year. Not knowing how we’re going to plan things next year, it may be the last Family of 4 Garden report ever. (I kind of doubt it, but it’s always a possibility.)

Family of 4 Garden Harvest Report

3 bell peppers @ $1.25/each = $3.75

1.5 lbs hot peppers @ $2.50/lb = $3.75

2.5 bunches of  Swiss Chard @ $2.99/bunch = $7.48

3.875 lbs ripe tomatoes @ $2.00/lb = $7.75

3.75 lbs green tomatoes @ $1.00/lb = $3.75

Weekly Total: $26.48

Year End Total: $244.19

To exemplify what kind of a year it has been, this is the highest weekly total we’ve had all season except for May 10th, when we had spinach, radishes, and almost 4 pounds of lettuce. It’s also slightly higher than last year at this time, and we kind of quit keeping track last year at this time. Just think what a great year it could have been if the tomatoes had been more cooperative for the majority of the summer!

Friday PhotoEssay

I hadn’t really realized how much I miss all the fall gardening that we usually do until I was going through some pictures from the last 2 years. It makes our garden this fall seem pretty sad.

I’m sure the tomatoes are the main culprit for the sadness. These two plants toppled over in the wind a couple days ago. They just got too top heavy with all the growth and fruit at the top, and then the wind knocked them over. Luckily, it seems like no harm was done. I stood them up and stuck a couple posts in the cages to help hold them up.

Some of the Master Gardeners worked on planting a new shade trial garden this week. We have several different types of ornamentals and grasses that we are testing for K-State to see how well they do in a situation where they are competing with tree roots in a non-improved soil.

The Mini Belle Peppers are fairly prolific, although the fruit are still about 1/2 to 1/3 the size I think they should be. They probably need more fertilizer, but they aren’t going to get it. Isn’t that orange color beautiful, though?

Last year, the citrus marigolds just keeled over in the heat of summer. This year, the plant didn’t look very good for most of the summer, but it is finally holding its own. I love the lacy foliage with the tiny blooms. I did try eating one (yes, they’re edible), and it wasn’t bad. But not quite good enough for me to dig out that citrus marigold sauce recipe.

I haven’t shared as many cooking adventures this year, but here’s a picture of one interesting experiment. This is a Peanut-Pork Satay with lots of peppers, and instead of noodles or rice, we made Cucumber Noodles. Yes, that’s right – that slightly green pile of noodles is 100% cucumber. (Well…probably 98%, by the time you account for butter and seasoning.) We sliced the cucumbers into noodles with a mandolin slicer, blanched them in boiling water, drained them, then sauteed them in butter. They were pretty good!

Here are 4 of the 5 melons we picked this week. They are pretty small, and unfortunately, not very tasty. The small ones tasted over-ripe and mealy. The larger ones were better, but still not as sweet as we might have wished.

Have a great weekend! Next week – Garden Demolition!

Local Food Connections Workshop

Our Local Food-South Central and the Sedgwick County Extension Office are excited to announce the first Local Food Connections Workshop in the Wichita area.

When: November 1, 2011; 6-9 p.m.

Where: Sedgwick County Extension Office, 4-H Hall

What: Dinner catered by Lotus Leaf Cafe, panel discussion, breakout sessions, keynote address

Who: Local food producers and local food businesses

Register Online at

Register by Mail:  Registration Form (PDF)