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Friday PhotoEssay

I’ve got a few more pictures to share from the destruction this week. Maybe then we can move on to happier topics.

Here’s our version of those really expensive tricolor pepper packages you see in the store. These peppers were hidden lower on the plants, and so didn’t get picked when they were smaller. I know I have a hard time leaving them on the plants long enough to get this big.

Poor habaneros – the plants were covered in blooms this week, but no peppers. Maybe we’ll try them again next year.

I know the glare on the plastic bag is bad, but I was too lazy to dump out all these little guys. We had a full gallon bag of these Mini Belle Peppers. I wish they had been about twice the size.

Another look at our overflowing compost bin. I was really sad to pull out those citrus marigolds. I think everyone else was too, because they were almost the last thing removed, and I ended up doing the deed.

We did have a few casualties during garden demolition this week…I didn’t see this one occur, until the aftermath. Poor screwdriver. I also know there’s a missing hammer head somewhere in the garden. I’m actually surprised that we didn’t break at least one shovel in the process, since we were using them as crowbars.

Have a great weekend!

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!

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’m not sure if I’m supposed to be happy or sad that the forecast for the next several days is in the mid-80s. Part of me finds that absolutely ridiculous for mid-October, while the other part of me is happy to have a few more warm days to push our fall garden along before it gets cold. Of course, it could go from highs in the 80s to highs in the 50s overnight, so I guess I should be happy with what we’ve got right now!

Happiness about the weather aside, this is not something that I’m at all happy about. A couple of the tomatoes we tore out earlier this week had roots like this one – completely infested with nematodes! It seems like more and more of our planting beds are definitely showing problems with nematodes. That means that we are going to have to think long and hard about planting only nematode-resistant varieties or about trying out some grafting techniques to protect against nematodes.

We also pulled out the remaining gomphrena this week, but not before picking all the good looking flowers to use for a floral arranging class. We had a nice bucket full of flowers.

It always seems to take until late in the season to be able to leave any peppers on the plants long enough to get them to change color. It makes you appreciate why the colored peppers are so much more expensive in the grocery store!

We didn’t have very many of the Easter Egg Radish seeds left for our fall planting, but the few radishes certainly tried to make up for it with size!

This ‘Red Cross’ Butterhead Lettuce is one of the most beautiful lettuces I’ve ever seen. I’m partial to the Butterhead lettuces anyway, but this one is really gorgeous. Between the undulating leaves and and gradient of red to green color, it is a star in our Family of 4 Garden right now.

Enjoy the weather this weekend!

So That’s Why…

File this away in the “so now we know” category. Also in the, “grr…now there’s another section of the garden to be wary of” category.

As we were cleaning out the Herb Garden on Tuesday, we pulled up the marshmallow plant, only to find this:

GRR! That is a very nasty look at the roots of the poor marshmallow plant. It had been rather yellow and wilty for a large part of last summer for no apparent reason. Well…now we know why! It is absolutely infested with root knot nematodes. Into the dumpster with the plant. Something else to watch for in that garden now.