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Snow and Cold

The wintery weather followed by cold temperatures today has frozen the garden pretty solid.

The spinach leaves are like ice cubes. They will probably thaw out in a couple days when it is warmer and do just fine. In fact, this picture was from yesterday morning, and even this afternoon, they are thawing out.

Likewise the Swiss Chard…while the bigger leaves are probably toast, the young central leaves will probably keep growing if it warms up again.

The Brussels Sprouts have reached the end of their lives…not because they can’t take the cold, but because I sawed them off this afternoon.

I sawed them off with a pruning saw. Rather interesting – the center of the stems was hollow. I don’t know if this was just the result of normal growth or if some insect had bored in. The plants are frozen solid, but they should thaw out just fine in the corner of my office. I’ll snap the sprouts off in a day or two.

Brussels Sprouts

Tall BrusselWith all the tomatoes gone, the grapes shed of all their leaves, and only some fall veggies left, the Brussels Sprouts are the King of the Garden! I can’t quite decide if they are pretty or ugly. We’ve been looking at them all year.

Green & PurpleYeah, I still can’t decide. I do like the contrast with the carrot tops! I keep checking on them, wanting to see good growth on the sprouts. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how good the yield will be. We’ve had so many caterpillars munching on them that many of the sprouts look rather shredded. That is definitely a major challenge of growing brussels sprouts here. The season is so long and so filled with caterpillars that it can be a challenge to get a good crop.  We’ll just have to wait and see what the final result is. I’m thinking we’re not planting Brussels Sprouts next year!

Family of 4 Harvest

After getting rained out of the garden last Tuesday, we had a pretty good harvest this week.

1lb of peppers @ $1.59/lb = $1.59

1 yellow bell pepper @ $2.00 each = $2.00

8 oz Purple Brussels Sprouts @ $4.00/lb = $2.00

4 ¾ lb green tomatoes @ $1.00/lb = $4.75

12 bunches Swiss Chard @$2.00/lb = $24.00

We pulled out the tomato plants this week, since they had few tomatoes still on them. We planted some salad mix in their place.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions on the Swiss Chard. One thing we’ve learned this year is that a little chard goes a long way. No, most families would not eat 12 bunches of Swiss Chard in one week. It would probably be about right to have 4-6 plants for a family of 4 that likes chard. We chose to plant the chard because it is a leafy green that will grow through the whole summer here.

Weekly Total = $34.34

Yearly Total = $280.12

Fall Arrives in the Family of 4 Garden

The changing weather is definitely making a difference in the garden. The flea beetles are back with a vengeance, and the spider mites are slowing down a bit (although that might be wishful thinking). The cooler weather is also slowing down the harvest a little bit.

Last Week’s Harvest:

3 lbs tomatoes @ $2.00/lb = $6.00
1 lb peppers @ $1.59/lb = $1.59
8 bunches Swiss Chard @ $2.00/bunch = $16.00

Weekly Total: $23.59
Year to Date: $216.40

Today’s harvest:

1 lb tomatoes @ $2/lb = $2.00

1.5 lbs peppers @ $1.59/lb = $2.39

2 yellow bell peppers @ $2.00 each = $4.00

4 bunches Swiss Chard @ $2.00 each = $8.00

Weekly Total = $16.39

Yearly Total = $232.79

We also pulled out the sickly squash and planted spinach seeds. I’m tired enough of  tomatoes and peppers that some nice, crisp spinach sounds awesome right now!

Dusted Sprouts

The Brussels sprouts are covered with cabbageworms again, so we dusted them with Dipel (Bacillus thuringiensis) once again. If you look closely, you can see that there are actually some pretty good sized Brussels sprouts growing on the stalk near the top of that plant. Maybe we will harvest some soon!

Bugs, Bugs, and more Bugs

Okay, in the interest of accuracy, this post should be titled “Insects, Insects, and more Insects.” That just doesn’t have the same ring to it though, does it?

Anyway, if you haven’t noticed, we seem to have a bumper crop of insects this year, and they are all over the place! Nothing seems to be immune!

Aphids galoreI turned over a cucumber leaf yesterday to find this sight…thousands of little black aphids coating the leaf! There were aphids everywhere. With this population of aphids, we decided to go straight to the “big guns” for insecticides and pulled out the permethrin. Neem oil would barely make a dent in this population of aphids!

There seems to be another generation of cabbage loopers on the Brussels Sprouts, so they got sprayed as well.

Lettuce caterpillarAs if that wasn’t enough, we have some friendly caterpillars enjoying our summer lettuce crop as well. As you can see from all the frass, they’ve really been enjoying our lettuce.

Then I go over to prune back the black raspberries a little bit, and what do I find?

GrasshopperThat’s right, a big grasshopper! Luckily, I only saw the one grasshopper, so I’m not too concerned. Hopefully he won’t bring a bunch of his friends along to the garden next time!