Category Archives: 9. September

How Does Our Garden Grow?: Fall Edition

It’s been a while since we’ve taken the time to sit down and write an update about the overall state of our garden. Part of the reason for that is because it’s been on autopilot for the last couple of months, since taking out the potatoes. We harvest a few pounds (sometimes as much as seven pounds) of sauce tomatoes a week, have picked about 15 total Nardello peppers (they’re profoundly delicious), a couple of habanero peppers, and have harvested all the kaleidescope and red dragon carrots (all of which were scrumptious, and yielded probably close to five pounds total). Other than that, it’s been cool and damp, so we haven’t had to water much, and the fall crops have either grown happily (carrots and beets) or were eaten by pests before they ever had a chance (turnips and rutabegas).

So here’s a little photo tour of what’s going on at Maple Hoo Gardens these days.

Sad Pear Tomatoes

The yellow pear tomatoes reminded us again why, in January when we’re picking our seeds, we don’t think, “Oooh! Be sure to save room for cherry and/or pear tomatoes!” We never think to keep up on picking them, and they end up overgrown, laden with unpicked fruits, and kind of sad. To make matters worse this year, we had a really cool August followed by some heavy humidity from a variety of tropical storms, so now they have late blight, a mildew that makes the leaves spotty, then yellowed, and will potentially overwinter in the soil. Excellent! We’ll be taking those plants out this week.

Sad Tomatoes

Meanwhile, the Black Plums are less blighted, but just as end-of-summery. They still have a lot of fruits on them, but they’re eensy-weensy and we leave them too long on the plant so they end up split and unpleasant. I’m not sure we’re going to take all the plants out just yet, but the one in that barrel there is goners.

Pumpkin Bed & Empty Bed

The Caspar pumpkin vine, though, it looking perky and happy in the erstwhile garlic bed. We’re not sure it’s going to give us any actual pumpkins, but at least it’s been something green to look at in that bed. Filling out the bed there is the volunteer yellow pear tomato, from the original yellow pear that was there two years ago. It hasn’t yielded really any tomatoes to speak of, so I guess there’s a statute of limitations on how long those volunteer seeds will still give you anything worth keeping in the garden. You can see behind the pumpkin bed where the San Marzanos used to be. We took them out a few weeks ago, and planted last week some braising mix, our first foray into the exciting world of cold-weather greens.

Braising Mix

Just four days after planting, our little braising greens were poking their seedling heads up out of the soil. It’s a really fun reminder to see these seedlings here, in these “taking the garden for granted” days of September, of the joy the first seedlings bring to the “yearning for garden” days in March.

Carrot Bed

Meanwhile, another fall crop that’s coming along swimmingly is our second wave of carrots. We made a complicated chevron design planting them with the beets, but it was a sweltering, awful day when those seeds went in, and it turned out they didn’t really follow the lines in the soil that we’d envisioned. I guess that’s what happens when you’re hot, muggy, and cranky and are just tossing seeds blindly into the bed. Boomer and I pulled up one of the Oxheart carrots on Wednesday, and while it was still itsy-bitsy, it was also delicious. I am so excited that we planted so many carrots this year!


I think our beans are doing fantastic; all five varieties grew big and bushy, and now all of them are starting to yellow and have gazillions of pods fat with heirloom soup beans. I think we’re probably going to be able to make a nice big pot of mixed-bean soup of some kind this winter!

Herb Pots

Our herb pots are looking almost more November than September, but what can I say? The only herbs I use much of fresh during the summer are oregano and basil, and our oregano died in May. These herbs were kind of more ornamental than anything else, and I think they served that purpose swimmingly.


Speaking of basil, we had a bunch of it in the small bed next to the tomatoes on the east end of the garden, and it was miserably pathetic. None of the other plants in that bed took, and the basil ended up fried-looking and awful. We transplanted it all about a month ago to a bed with the tiger’s eye beans, after discovering the basils in with our tomatoes and peppers were much happier for the added humidity of companion plants. Sure enough, the transplanted basil has been resplendent. Lessons learned, people! Lessons learned.

Bean Drops

And so that’s our garden on this very humid, sometimes rainy September 28. All in all, we’re pretty pleased.

(Post by Schnookie)


Filed under 9. September, Garden

Peeking Under The Soil

I couldn’t wait another minute — this weekend I simply had to pull up a carrot to see what’s going on under those giant, fluffy fronds.

I knew it was too soon, that they weren’t going to be full-sized, and that they probably were going to be bitter and nasty, but they’re carrots! How could I resist?

These are Red Dragon carrots, from seeds we ordered from Seed Savers Exchange. They were very short, about four inches, and were just amazingly brightly colored. Even more amazing than the colors, though, was the flavor. Where we were expecting bitter under-ripeness, we were stunned by how sweet and a bit spicy they were. Just like they’re described! Sure, they were a bit on the young side, and aren’t ready for a total harvest of the whole crop, but I am so excited for them. I think carrots are my favorite crop of all, if just because when you harvest them, you’re pulling a carrot out of the ground. That’s just wild.


Filed under 9. September, Garden, Harvested