Some would argue that it’s a bit early to wrap up posts on the garden for the year; but as far as fruits and vegetables go, things are pretty much done out there. There are still a few chili peppers hanging on in this cool weather, doing surprisingly well actually. And we have a few zucchini and eggplant that should become something, not to mention our very first brussel sprouts which I imagine will need a few more weeks. And if it had stayed warmer we would have gotten another crop of strawberries. But for the most part, things back there are done.

That in no way means that we are done with the garden for the year, though. Here’s some of the tasks we need to do before the ground really starts freezing:

  • Pull old plants and compost or trash (our blighty tomato plants can’t be composted)
  • Pull weeds, weeds and more weeds. I love my Garden Claw for this reason. Never thought I could appreciate a garden tool as much as that thing.
  • Cover unused beds with heavy plastic or cardboard to kill weeds and keep them away over winter. This will also make life much easier in the spring when we’re ready to put out the seedlings.
  • Cover greenhouse in Lexan plexiglass panels to insulate the greenhouse. This should allow us to garden much later into the fall and maybe even winter….and we’ll have a home for the seedlings that is not the kitchen table! The stuff is already on its way and will be installed next week (we hope!)
  • Build plastic foil tunnels for our 4 main raised beds (one huge one is being taken out cause it’s just not practical) including our strawberry bed so we can have two nice, full cycles of strawberries.
  • Potentially add chickens for eggs. The coop would be in our barn where they will be protected but we’ll give them time to roam in the garden during the day when there is nothing planted. They can go to town on the weeds and grass back there until we plant stuff for the season. Then we’ll use our tunnels to protect the seedlings and build little fences if we need to.
  • Add to the container garden in our courtyard…but this will probably come next year as we gear up for planting.

In case you haven’t popped over to my In the Garden page lately,  here’s our rundown on fruits & produce for the year. I’ve add some comments about what went wrong and what we’ll hopefully do better next year.

  • Apples – total harvest 50 kilos. We apparently waited a week or so too long for these because other people in the neighborhood helped themselves to our apples. They picked all but our largest tree completely bare. Next year we’re putting up biohazard testing facility signs…see if they like them apples then. We pressed the apples we did manage to pick and are making apple cider vinegar from it for canning. The stuff is insanely expensive here.
  • Apricots- nothing harvested because we left the fruit on the tree too long. Everything was ready really early this year–the apricots at the end of June.
  • Artichokes – we have one really nice plant in the greenhouse and another in the courtyard that will hopefully produce something for us next year…if they survive the winter.
  • Beans (Black, Green, Pinto, Snap) – We started a few bean plants but none of them made it long and some didn’t sprout at all.
  • Brussel sprouts – This was our first year to try growing brussel sprouts. We ended up with 2 plants, 1 of which is really nice. It has sprouts about 1/2 inch big on it (as of yesterday) so we may we have fresh sprouts for Thanksgiving…YUM!
  • Carrots – total summer harvest of 1 pound / 800 grams. Our carrots didn’t do too well this year. I think we need to cover the soil in the future to keep it warmer when we put the seeds in the ground.
  • Celery – I had trouble getting it to sprout so maybe it wil do better next year
  • Chilies (Jalepeno – total harvest of 2 kilos, Habanero – total harvest of 502 grams). The chilies have done awesomely. I think next year I might even put some of them in my window boxes on the front of the house because they get tons of sun there…and won’t hate me when I forget to water them a day or two.
  • Cucumber (salad – total harvest of 5 kilos, pickling – total harvest of 1 kilo). Next year cucumbers will be grown exclusively in our courtyard on the IBC tanks. Cucumbers do so much better when you train them to climb up stuff. We never wanted to believe it but we got nearly as much cucumbers in 1 month on the IBC tank as we did all season in the garden. Nuf said.
  • Currants – The currants were ready in late June but we didn’t feel like fighting the ants for them. Our currants and gooseberries have had real issues the last couple years with black ants so we need to get a grip on that next year.
  • Eggplant – total harvest 1 kilo. It was too hot and then too cold for our eggplant most of the year so we only got a couple. Tragic really.
  • Gooseberries – total harvest of 2 kilos.
  • Gourds, Pumpkins, Spaghetti Squash – We wanted to grow a lot of free roaming stuff around the edges of the garden but apparently the soil is a bit rough there (or the plants weren’t ready to go out yet) because our seedlings died within a week of being in the ground. Next year we’re going to try them down at the orchard instead where we have more free space.
  • Josta berries (no fruit yet on plants – 2010 will be last year we test them or they go to the compost heap)
  • Lettuce (picking salad, kopfsalat, iceberg, lamb’s lettuce) – total harvest 4 kilos. Growing another crop of picking lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, pok choi and other lettuce varieties for the fall.
  • Mirabella Plums – total harvest 10 kilos. Made into wine which we can’t drink for another 1.5 years. Boo. But it smells incredible.
  • Okra – started plants too late & now too cold for them. If it had stayed warm a bit longer or our greenhouse was covered, we might have had a nice harvest.
  • Onions – planted one from the kitchen but never dug up. I have some onions that I bought for planting…I just have to see if they are still in good shape.
  • Peaches – total harvest 20 kilos.
  • Raspberries – total harvest couple handfuls
  • Strawberries – total harvest 750 grams. We lost a lot of fruit to slugs and other bugs. Plus we ate some of them right off the vine before they could be weighed.
  • Tomatoes – total harvest 2 kilos Big Rainbows. Next year we’ll grow our tomatoes in the courtyard where they won’t get too hot, rained on, exposed to blight (we hope) and can be carefully watched and trained.
  • Zucchini – total harvest of 16.1 kilos. The easiest thing we’ve grown so far. Need seeds? We have about 14oo from 2 squash!

So I guess that just about sums it all up. There will still be a few things we harvest this year but now it’s time to focus on getting prepared for next year’s planting which means I probably should get to work folding newspaper pots again….

Are you already making big plans for your garden for 2010? Or still focusing on getting more out of 2009?

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