Apologies dear readers! Mr. Frodo has been under the weather and the Husband has started back with Graduate School so it’s been awfully hard to find and stick to a new schedule. Nevermind gardening, let alone bloging about it.
The weather has been swinging back and forth between lovely slightly cool autumnal weather and back again to 90 degrees and humid. Fall is so tempestuous in the Midwest!
I had a laundry list of Garden To Dos going into this weekend but instead, the thermometers crept up to 93F and I spent Saturday back and fort to the Veterinarian’s office. I did get to stop by a few nurseries in town while waiting for Frodo to wake up out of anesthesia, but none had the varieties I want (though they did all have Mums falling out of their ears!). Sunday’s temps were more of the same so all I’ve felt like doing is harvesting our meager tomato crop and baking babka.
The tomatoes have been just awful, save the ‘Blush’ variety from High Mowing Organics. They have been fantastic, but everything else? Rubbish. The Seed Trial varieties were unimpressive, the Black Krim all rotted on the vine before ever ripening. And the stalwarts I grow every year were paltry at best.
I’m not convinced it is blight, rather I’m pinning this on the extremely hot and dry summer being just too much. I probably should have set up some irrigation for them through that stretch, but alas, I did not and this is what I have to show for it. Monty Don mentioned on a recent episode of GW that excessive temps can slow down or even stop tomato ripening- which would certainly explain the Black Krim situation. I did some digging (as I’d not hear this before and doing your own research is well advised, even if Monty is almost always right) and sure enough, Cornell University lines it all out plain as day: we had 4+ weeks of over 90F weather through much of the peak ripening time. They didn’t stand a chance.
The peppers, however, have loved the conditions and have had their best year yet. They aren’t very spicy, but I’ve had my love of peppers renewed and am excited to grow more varieties next year.
The raspberries have been doing very well and producing heavily. Clearly my support system for them needs to be sturdier and less higgeldy-piggeldy for next year.
The yellow variety, ‘Anne’ is simply spectacular and the flavor is utter perfection. It (honestly!) makes me want to tear out the red varieties I have and replace them with more ‘Anne’. The red ones are so much weaker in flavor I don’t even enjoy eating them.
We do have Spotted Wing Drosophila in the garden, which is unfortunate, but the plants have been producing so well that what we lose to the flies isn’t impacting our own harvest. Next year, with the better support structure in place, I’ll be able to prune the plants better and do more IPM to manage the flies.
There are a few wee Fennel plants that I’m still hoping to nudge along until they get big enough for a final harvest. I’ll be praying we don’t get a frost in the next month or so!
Alright, I’ll get back to a more regular posting schedule soon. Just in time for winter to set in! Thanks for understanding and, not to worry, Frodo is feeling better (slowly but surely!).