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latest on the microfarm

On 21, Sep 2013 | No Comments | In edibles, plants | By All Year Garden

Today is the official start of fall and with the end of the gardening season fast approaching I thought I’d comment on the lessons learned this year. The large tomatoes produced more than the smaller ones (No! Really?). It was a fabulous year for eggplants, only they know why. Maybe it’s the fertilizer, maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the cultivar. You can get green beans if you plant the right beans. Bush beans are not suitable for micro farms, especially if you have to get the plants to climb where there is actual sunshine.

I do have carrots and parsnips but I cheated and planted them in containers. I can’t tell if they are a reasonable size, I just see the root tops peeking above the ground, which is supposed to be a good sign, I don’t know, I haven’t cultivated root vegetables until this year, there was no way my clay soil would allow them to grow usable roots. The cucumbers were kind of meh! but sprung up a fruit or two out of a sense of duty. The peppers weren’t too happy, except the hot ones. The little chili plant was a little production machine; this fact is not really reflected in the quantity in the yield table because the fruit is so small and light. The stems are covered as we speak with a new generation of tiny offspring which I won’t pick until they turn red.

Leaving one’s garden for a month at the beginning of July doesn’t bide well for neatness and order and I’m still bearing the consequence of tomatoes and squashes running out of control with nobody to prune and tie them. Sadly by the time I returned the stems were too tangled and heavy to tame so after breaking a few I gave up and let them sprawl. Next year I will make sure to keep them in line, I hate the disheveled look.

In the future I should figure out a way to tier the plants by height for a more efficient use of space and try to train squashes on netting if I can, they take up all the real estate. There is just so much room in twenty square feet and I would like to try vegetables I haven’t grown yet, so the squashes have to relent on their impossible use of space, maybe I can grow them in containers after all.

Sunshine does make a fundamental difference in production. I compared the yield tables from this year and the previous one and despite the very late start (spring was unseasonably long and cold) this year’s yield is already larger. With veggie growing, like with everything else, measuring results is a very useful tool in determining what works and what doesn’t.

The giant green squashes are such a tease. They start something that looks like fruit then change their mind. Now I’m watching two little sprouts to see if they grow or rot, they seem promising, but so did the wilted ones.

That pretty much covers it, I’ll follow up with the final review after the garden goes to sleep.