After a slow start the 2015 garden season with a very wet and cold spring, our gardens finally flourished. August provided a lot of warmth that extended into the late fall. Despite the late start, we were privileged with an abundant yield of garden fresh vegetables and fruit as good or better than any other year.
Most of the summer was occupied with building a five foot fence around the lower garden. Next year the garden fence will need a few minor touch-ups before it is finally finished. We also accomplished a few smaller structural projects. More raised beds were added to the upper garden to border already established raised rows. Next year more raised beds are planned, especially for our cabbages and broccoli, making it easier to attach hoops for row covers.
We also experimented with an arched trellis for cucumbers. The trellis was made with using a 4’ x 8’ concrete mesh attached to the sides of two raised beds and shaped into the arch by gently bending the concrete mesh and holding it in place with cable ties. The trellis was 8 feet long and “Straight 8” cucumbers were planted along each side of the trellis. The trellis produced fantastic yields through the season and provided for lots of pickles, salads and cucumber sandwiches.
We redesigned our pole bean trellis to a ”V” design. This allowed sunshine to penetrate into the middle of the trellis and allowed air to circulate freely inside the trellis reducing moisture and the possibility of mildew. It also became an obvious advantage to harvesting the beans as they hung freely away from the strings. Two types of pole beans were planted, Carminat, a 7 to 8 inch long purple pole bean that produces a beautiful lavender blossom and Monte Gusto, a flavourable yellow pole bean that can be harvested the full season. The yield from the trellis provided daily fresh beans, pounds of frozen vacuum packed beans and this year we have experimented with a large brine crock full of beans.
We tried two new things this year and will certainly be doing them next year as well. With our regular greens we also planted mustard greens. They were enjoyed in salads, soups, and stir-fry. We enjoyed them so much that over 50% of our late fall garden was planted with mustard greens. The greens grew late into the season and a final harvest was taken in early December. The variety favoured was Red Giant.
The other star of our 2015 garden was the Chocolate Cherry tomato. A deep purple almost chocolate colour with a very sweet flavour. They are so good, most were eaten in the garden, but those that made it out were gratefully consumed.
The 2015 Garden Report – Part Two will look at some of our other experiments and the success, failure and why we would or would not do it again.
Until then, Merry Christmas to all from Tom and Di at the Creative Garden Patch.