Sunday, September 15, 2013

Garden Update: September 2013

September 2013. It's time to put the garlic in, harvest tomatoes, protect against slugs, and hope that my pumpkins develop in time. In Seattle it's time to hope for sunshine, and protect against too much rain. Here's an update of my mini vegetable garden.

But first, I'll welcome you to this update with what welcomed me back from my vacation. The leopard slug. Fully 6 inches across, this little guy can move relatively quickly. He's shy in this photo.

       Tomatoes: The indeterminate tomatoes (cherry tomatoes) have been producing like crazy this year. We currently have about 50 tomatoes on one plant, waiting to ripen. Those that we have already picked were wonderful, even Ben says that they're the most delicious he's ever tasted. We have a few heirloom tomatoes on their way as well, but I got them started a little too late. The most exciting part is probably that I collected their seeds from heirloom tomatoes from Whole Foods. Let's see if they come out true to their parents.
Cherry tomatoes grow in beautiful clusters like this. Out of 10-15 clusters on the plant now, this was the first that produced delicious tomatoes.

Hand model (and conveniently, future husband) demonstrating the relatively large size of these cherries.

Heirloom tomato. It's about twice this big now - hopefully it finishes ripening before it gets too cold! I love that it isn't quite spherical.

       Cucumbers: This is my first year growing cukes, and I'm really glad I did. Relatively low-maintenance, all these plants took was some training (trellising up a stick/fence), and water/sunshine. No pests bothered these plants, and we've already harvested maybe 6 cucumbers from one plant, with 3 or 4 more on their way. To improve yield, I might give them some more space next year.
First cucumber of the season, and that adorable hand model again for size reference. I'm not entirely sure why this cuke is spiky, but it was delicious. Prof. Mike Heinekey told Sophia that he doesn't grow cucumbers because they don't taste any different than those you buy from the grocer - but all of the lowly graduate students that tried them could taste a significant difference, and they're so easy!

We were creative with our trellising when the one I built originally collapsed with the pumpkins...
       Pumpkins/squashes: I'm sad to report that the Kabocha squash plant has officially died. In a flourish of effort, it's been putting out more flowers, but sadly will not be producing any squashes. Our yellow straightneck squash are similarly dying, probably due to overwatering and not enough root space (note to self for next year), BUT we managed to get one squash before it decided to kick the bucket. It was delicious, and the seeds were free, so not a bad effort.

I am delighted to report that our pumpkins are very happy. From the pumpkin patch, we collected seeds from a Cinderella pumpkin and have about four growing on the various vines at the moment. What's more amazing is where they've grown. They went up the fence into the TREE. Probably 10 or 15 feet up (how am I going to get to those...), and they're flourishing. Given that they're growing vertically, I've learned that the pumpkins need support (they're very heavy).
Look how cute the baby pumpkin is. He's way up in the top of the tree... You can really see how the female flower really has a squash at the base.
Not a great shot, but this is a gorgeous, round, Cinderella pumpkin on its way to maturity. (Green to yellow to orange to red).
Another pumpkin, with support from an old potato sack and some screws. This one is much closer to orange, it sees more light than the above pumpkin.
Two baby straightneck squashes. We ate the one next to hand model's finger when it was about the size of a cucumber.
With the shorter days and cooler temperatures associated with summer coming to a close, I'm excited for a break from all of the plant maintenance and harvesting, but love all of the produce that has come out of very little effort.


Benjamin Leipzig said...

my favorite thing is watching the pumpkins grow taller than our little backyard plants. SOOO high growing :)

Sophia said...

I can't wait to grow tomatoes next year! Yours look amazing, and you got so many more than last year!

Edie said...

I want to eat them all.....nom nom nommmmmies! high five little green thumbed sibblykin!