Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Topaz Moon

Sunday was the full moon of November, and last week we had a close call with a light frost. My most sensitive plants - the sweet potatoes and basil - were slightly damaged, but everything else pulled through.

Then a couple of days later it was back in the high-80's! In fact, we broke some heat records.

Then this weekend it's supposed to freeze again.

Something strange is going on with my Molokai Purple sweet potatoes (in the bottom left here). Right after the frost, they looked only slightly damaged, but since then they've been looking worse and worse. The Diane potatoes (in the top right) are still looking pretty good. White Triumph (in the middle) never did well anyway.

Time to harvest the sweet potatoes! I have to get it done before that cold front comes through this weekend.

The good thing about the cold front is it should kill the bugs that are eating my plants. I've been spraying my plants with neem oil, which probably slows them down, but they're still getting eaten a lot. The fava beans are doing well despite the fuzzy caterpillars munching them

The broccoli, cauliflower, and other brassicas are looking much worse. This is one of the better looking ones, but some of them have been completely eaten down to the ground.

The okra is still making a few pods, but it won't be much longer before the cold kills it. I got my varieties mixed up, but I'm pretty sure this is Beck's Gardenville. It's doing well, and has these neat short fat pods with ribs.

The Tatume squash has some sort of fungus or mildew, but I'm not too concerned because it's reaching the end of its life anyway. It probably doesn't like the cold, damp weather.

The Bishop's Crown peppers are finally ripening! They need to hurry up, because I want to harvest some seeds before it freezes. They are in the same species as the Lemon Drops, and I'm interested in seeing how they taste.

The peas are doing well, but the mustard greens in front of them are also getting eaten up a lot by bugs. I'm surprised the bugs like mustard greens, since they're spicy. I've been spraying them with neem oil too.

The garlic has all sprouted in the raised bed in front, and I put grass clippings over them as mulch. Even though I put wire around them, the neighbor's chickens dig in every little nook or cranny they can reach.

We're almost done installing raised beds in another row. We just have to work a little more at getting them level, and then two rows down, two more to go!

The eggplants have lots of little fruits on them. I wonder if I should pick them all before it freezes, even though most of them are still pretty small.

The peppers in the front are still making lots of fruit. I've now got two large jars of Lemon Drop hot sauce fermenting, and I'm not sure what to do with all the additional peppers I'm still harvesting.

An additional thing on my to-do list is deal with this tray of greens I planted to replace the ones that are getting eaten so much by bugs out there. I had hardly any arugula, broccoli raabe, or kale survive that. I also planted some cilantro and parsley from new seeds I just bought, because the seeds I had were old and not germinating.

I also need to harvest all my basil before it freezes and make another batch of pesto. They were also slightly damaged by the frost, but bounced back well. I need to get this done before they really freeze and turn into black mush, and then no pesto for me!

I actually love this time of year. It's exciting!

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