Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Mistletoe Moon

The Yuletide is almost here, and we've had a few hard freezes now. I define "hard freeze" as a freeze enough to kill my tomatoes, rather than a "light frost" that just damages them but doesn't completely kill the plants. It got down into the mid-20's for a couple of nights last week, so that was enough to do them in, along with all my other frost-tender plants.

Here's what remains of the Christmas Lima beans. I ended up harvesting about 35-40 beans off them, which is not very good, but at least enough to grow them again next year. I think they need bean inoculant, since all my beans have done poorly in this garden so far. Next year I'll try to remember to inoculate all my beans.

The brassicas are finally free of bugs, so I hope they now have time to give me a crop over the winter, before it gets too hot in the summer. They're off to a late start because of those darn bugs.

The peas are doing great, and the Red Romaine lettuce I planted next to them is about big enough to start picking.

I still have a lot of plants in pots I haven't gotten a chance to plant out yet. These are mostly replacements for all the plants that got eaten up by caterpillars, like broccoli raabe, kale, and arugula.

The potatoes I planted in one of the new raised beds are just starting to poke up sprouts. I'd better cover them over with compost soon before the next freeze.

The garlic is still doing well, despite the chickens trying to dig them up. They seem to like the raised bed and the grass clippings for mulch. The freezes haven't bothered them one bit.

During the freezes, I covered the peppers with frost blanket to protect them. These peppers survived last winter without protection, so I decided they have earned it this time. As you can see, a lot of the leaves were damaged by the frost, but the plants themselves are all still alive and will probably recover next spring.

I went ahead and let the eggplants and tomatoes go. There was no chance they'd survive the winter anyway.

Meanwhile, the mini-potato tubers I planted in that container this past fall had grown plants and then died back, so I decided it was time for harvest. I was disappointed to find only these few mini-tubers, not much bigger than the ones I planted. I wonder when I'll get full sized potato plants with full sized tubers from these. I guess I'll plant them again, and this time give them more room. I still don't feel like planting them in the ground until I get full sized plants, but I'll give them bigger containers this time.

I'm on winter break from work now, so now it's time for me to get caught up with a bunch of stuff I had been putting off, like finishing those raised beds, planting out the rest of my winter vegetables, and starting nightshade seedlings for next year.