Sunday, August 16, 2015

Late Summer Garden Report 2015

The notes below are intended to remind me of lessons learned to date by this years container garden. Others may find it useful as well, its hard to tell.

Everything here is calibrated to what one vegetarian might want to have in a salad several times a week, or as a contribution to salsa and other mexican food, or as a contribution to the usual vegetarian soups, again once or twice a week.

Now in mid August the heat is insane with temperatures reaching well above 100 degrees, and possibly as much as 120 degrees in the nearby desert.

Camera is missing so there are no pictures.

1. We had about 4 functioning runner/pole beans operating all summer. They have done yeoman work, but are just about shot. 6 or 8 functioning plants would have been a better number, although with 4 it has not been too bad.

2. We had about 8 tomato plants, all but one of which did not produce until the last month. Now they are coming along fine, but if I were to do it again, I might focus more on cherry tomatoes, which produce more, more often, and with less problems. 8 plants is about right for one person. Tomatoes were never given proper size containers so no doubt suffer from having cramped root systems. Tomatoes benefitted from a new better trellising system based on PVC pipes.

3. Lettuce was successful in the beginning of summer, but by mid summer was totally destroyed. It can not take the heat. We will try an experiment in fall as it gets cooler.

4. We had about 4 functioning cucumber plants from early to mid summer. This was acceptable but a few more would have been useful. They take a lot of space and could have been better trellised and managed. We had an aphid attack on two of the cucumber plants and that caused me to pretty much terminate the crop at that point.

5. Peas did not function at all this year. Probably it was just too hot.

6. It is not clear whether the problems with lettuce and peas was also due to using last years seeds or if it was just the heat and other mistakes in germination.

7. The experiment of keeping the basil in the shade seems to have helped.

8. On the tomatoes, beans and cucumbers, a relentless diseased leaf and branch removal policy was used. Care was made to try to avoid contamination by infected plant parts and to dispose of them in a way that disease was not spread.

9. We reused potting soil for the beans and lettuce but nothing else.

10. All plants started from seed with hybrid, disease resistant varieties.

11. All plants watered twice a day, sometimes a third time in midday due to heat.

12. Preemptive spraying by copper solution and neem oil seems to have helped. Avoided spraying in mid day.

13. No attempt was made to rescue plants with aphids. Aphids were the kiss of death, any plant so affected was terminated.

14. Will try again with peas and lettuce when it gets cooler.

15. It would have been nice to have some functioning hot pepper plants, in spite of them being somewhat annoying to start.

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