My patio garden: A mid-August review
Summer is winding down and I’ve been taking stock of this year’s garden. Truth be told, I hope this is the last year that I’ll be growing vegetables in containers, since we’re planning on buying a house with a sunny yard this winter/spring.
- Once again, the bean harvest did not disappoint, and is still ongoing. Sowing seeds at 1- or 2-week intervals was a good strategy here.
- Both ground cherry bushes are producing well, and I gather a handful of fallen fruit almost every day. I sometimes snack on them, but usually remove the husks, wash them and freeze them, and I should have enough to cook up a few jars of compote at the end of the season.
- Herbs. I have regular and pineapple sage, regular and lemon thyme, rosemary, basil, dill, oregano, spearmint, chocolate mint, chives, lemon verbena, lemon balm, marjoram, curled and flat-leafed parsley. The only one that is doing poorly is lavender. I’ve never gotten the hang of lavender: Every year, I purchase a lavender seedling, transplant it, and watch the flowers wilt and the stems hardly grow. At least it’s not dead!
- The peppers are doing very well. I have jalapeños, super chilis (?), mini sweets and Espelette. I will actually harvest twice as many Espelette peppers as I did last year with the same number of plants! The only plant that is not producing much is the chocolate Bell. Interestingly, it is the only pepper plants that I purchased in a nursery instead of starting myself.
- My leafy greens (Swiss chard, spinach, kale, mustard, mixed lettuce) are doing alright, especially now that the weather is unseasonably cool, but I’ve been battling pests lately. Cabbage worms attacked the kale and mustard, and leaf miners were doing in the chard and spinach. I *think* I managed to get rid of them by physically removing the worms and affected leaves.
- The tomatoes are actually doing pretty well, but because the weather has been very cool and rainy, they are not fruiting and ripening as quickly as I’d like. In fact, we’re almost a month behind last year, which is a lot when you live in zone 4! This year’s harvest will definitely be less than last year’s.
- Both cucumber plants have been producing only enough to give us one or two cukes a week. One plant is sick with powdery mildew (I think), but it still has several growing fruit on it, so I’ll wait for it to stop producing before pulling it up. The other plant is just “meh”, but also has a few maturing fruit on it. I will definitely be trying different varieties next year.
- Melons. I was pretty excited to be trying early dwarf melon varieties this year, but only Minnesota Midget will be giving us some real fruit. I think I’ll be pulling up the Golden Midget and Early Nutmeg plants. They have fruit on them, but they are still tiny, and I do not think they will have time to ripen before the season ends, especially since the forecast is for temps in the 10s (°C) (that’s in the 50s-60s °F) for the next week.
I am so excited today! We just got back from a 3-day trip, and the first thing I noticed in the garden upon my return were baby melons! I wasn’t even sure we’d get some this year, since it is my first time trying to grow some in containers.
Both the Minnesota Midget and the Golden Midget have set fruit. Nothing yet on the Nutmeg Extra Early plant though, which is a shame because it is supposed to be the most delicious of the varieties I’m trying out this summer.