Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My First Fall Garden Post for 2011.

Fall is upon us so we can expect things to slow down a bit in the garden since the warm weather is changing to sustained cooler temperatures. Sunshine becomes more important now to finish out the harvests we want out of the garden. Moisture is important too, but in the last 8 days, it has rained 7 of them here. It's way too soggy to try to plant in the soil when it's like this. I'm waiting for it to dry a bit before I begin planting my broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and the remainder of my collards.

The giant marconi peppers are slowing down quite a bit in their production. This week I was fortunate enough to harvest twelve of them that weighed a total of one pound.

I'm contemplating pruning these pepper plants when the leaves fall off in order to prepare them for going dormant through the winter. There are two ways I am considering doing this:
1. I'm considering heavily mulching them around their individual bases, and then using an oversized diameter piece of black pipe insulation and sliding it over the remaining stalk after the branches are cut off at the top. The plants are so woody, that I think they could survive a winter here if protected. I anticipate that the pipe insulation, while open at the top for some air, would prevent bitter cold winds from freezing the stalks and killing that portion of the plant.
2. Another way would be to cut the stalks off at the base, leaving a couple of inches sticking up, then cover that heavily with the compost. In the spring, they could grow more quickly since the roots would be already established. When they begin growing in the spring, they would need frost protection every night until all danger of frost has passed.

If anyone has tried these methods, I would really like to know what your results were. You can email me your specifics at veggiegardenblogger@gmail.com .

This is the last harvest of the sweet banana peppers for this year. The plants are coming out to make room for a row of collards.

The lack of sunshine this past few days has slowed the okra down too. I only got two this week and they weighed one and a half ounces.

The heritage raspberries seem to be holding their own this week. This is one of two bags that weighed a total of four and a half ounces.

This is the time of year when I really put out the compost all over the garden. During the spring and summer growing seasons, I'll work some into the soil for individual plantings or place it in a row and then till it in before planting seeds. This pic shows thirty 5 gallon bucketfuls of cured compost spread on one of the plots. As soon as I distribute the rest, I'll be starting a large batch of compost for use around some of our other plants to help insulate the roots from the coming winter temperatures.

I have attached a few pics of my remaining tomato plants showing their rejuvinated growth.

There are many small tomatoes that have formed on the vines. I know that at least they will develop into large green tomatoes before the first frost hits in mid to late November.

The vines have even grown over the tops of the cages and almost down to the ground before turning upwards again. When the soil dries a bit, I'll tie these vines up so they can continue to produce.

This shows how large some of the tomatoes are already. New blossoms can be seen in the left of the picture.

These are the tops of the vines. Notice how healthy and vibrant they are! Tomorrow they'll all get another helping of organic tomato fertilizer.

Here are some more healthy vines reaching for the sky with their blooms.

Remember those grapes I told you about in a previous post? Well, here they are.

There aren't many of them, but I'll take what I can get. They're still a bit sour, so I figure at least another week to ten days before I can pick them.

I thought I'd include a pic of my brown turkey fig tree that survived Hurricane Irene. It did pretty well!

For my regular readers, remember the cucumbers that I was going to try to hand pollinate? I'll never know if it worked because the vines are all dying because of too much water. They are yellow and very soft, so they're done for this year. Zero cucumbers. I can't believe it!

That concludes my first fall blog post for 2011. I hope you enjoyed what I have to share with you! Thanks for stopping by and as always, feel free to share a comment.

Have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK


  1. All your tomato plants look great! Mine are starting to die and produce very few tomatoes.
    I growed banana chili last year, it was really versatile and productive.

  2. Well, my cucumbers were nearly as bad... I only harvested three very poor specimens from two plants. Most of my tomatoes have been hit with the blight, so I have harvested all the unaffected fruit and taken it indoors.
    I have overwintered chillis in the past, but it was a struggle to keep them going, and I don't think it is really worth it. I cut back most but not all of the foliage, and brought the (potted) plants into my garage. They didn't really get enough light, so this is not something I will do again.

  3. How wonderful to even contemplate overwintering peppers! Looks like a nice harvest

  4. Graziana, Thanks! My Cherokee Purples aren't doing as well as the others.

    Mark Willis, Sorry to hear that about your cucumbers. I'm expecting the pepper plants to actually go dormant through the winter. I'm hoping that when the sap rises in the spring they will come back strong. I have no idea if it will actually work, but I'm going to give it a good try. We'll see what happens...

    David P. Offutt - The Gastronomic Gardener, The thought of helping them through the winter this way is very interesting to me. The "stalks" are just so woody that I've got to see what will happen in the spring. I figure that if small shrubs and saplings can overwinter, why not these peppers?

    Thanks to each of you for sharing your comments with me.

    Have a great vegetable gardening day!
    Veggie PAK

  5. Your pepper harvest look great. We usually let our broccoli plants protect our pepper plants in winter by growing them around pepper plant. So that pepper will be protect from wind and stay cocoon. Good Luck!

  6. Greetings from the Amish community of Lebanon pennsylvainia.I was just passing though and thought id say hello. Richard from Amish Stories.