Friday, September 17, 2010

Hampton Roads is a Multi-Season Area for Growing Vegetables

The second crop of butter beans and snap beans are doing well. Both have blossoms throughout so we should start seeing the beans developing soon. At the top of the snap bean fence, the vines grow straight up into the air looking for more fence to climb onto. When they get to be about 14 inches high, I'll bend them over horizontally to braid them into the fence as well as the surrounding vines. This keeps them from collapsing and breaking when there is a strong breeze. I have braided them four times already during this second crop season.


Honey bee

The bumble bees and honey bees are more than happy to help with pollinating the plants this time of year. Not many other flowers are blooming now.

In addition to the bumblebees and honey bees, I also have other pollinators helping me. This is a pretty one that landed on my shoulder several times while I was watering the garden.

These are bush pickle cucumber blooms for the bees to pollinate as well. When I harvest these cucumbers, I plan to make pickles in the actual stone crocks that my grandmother used when she came to America. I am fortunate enough to have one of the cobblestones that she used to weigh down the board to keep the pickles submerged so they would ferment properly.

To the right of my butter beans, I have planted sugar pumpkins. These pumpkins are supposed to grow to be about five pounds each and are used for baking. This is a race against the weather right up front. The scheduled maturity date is December 22nd. If they develop any fruits, I will surely have to harvest them before that date. To the right of the pumpkins and in line with the row of large pepper plants, eggplants and between the green fence posts, are burpless cucumbers. They usually grow rather quickly. I hope to be picking several of them before the first frost hits and kills the plants.

As we go on to the right of those plants, we have two rows of Brussels sprouts. They are a good cool/cold weather crop.

To the right of the Brussels sprouts there is an empty row. I'm debating what to plant there at this late date. It depends on whether or not I can buy more plants from Norfolk County Feed & Seed. The dark soil is my row of Ruby Red Swiss chard. I keep the soil moist, not wet, to aid in the germination of the seed scheduled to be germinating around the 24th of this month. Swiss chard fares very well through our winters. Next to that, you can see the leeks I have planted at the far end of the row. I plan on filling the rest of that row, perhaps putting in another row to plant the leeks that I have growing from seed in a flat.

I sowed the leek seeds in this flat and they are very actively germinating now. They were supposed to start germinating in 15 days, and 3 or 4 did. The majority of them have taken a good three weeks to begin. Last year, my leeks lasted through the light winter snows to springtime with great success.

Once again, I thank you for taking your time to visit my organic vegetable blog. I hope it will inspire other people to try growing multiple crops of vegetables during our favorable weather conditions. It is worth the time and trouble to have your own home-grown food for your family.


Veggie PAK

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