Last week I started the garden clean up process. I decided time to pull the bush beans because I need that bed for planting garlic. Turns out the beans are not ready to give up just yet. The Provider beans were kaput but I got a good picking from Jade which provided a meal for us that night. In addition I got an even bigger pile from the pole beans. The Musica beans were still cranking, although the cold nights are finally shutting them down. I got a few more Gold Marie beans but they are now finished and many of the pods have been damaged by some pest feeding on them. Surprisingly, the Violetto beans are putting on growth and flowering for a third time. If I just had a longer growing season, they would be a very productive bean.
I am puzzled by the pest that is feeding on the beans. I was expecting to find some green stink bugs, which like to drill into the pods, but so far have not found any. I did spot a couple of small, narrow black insects crawling around the Musica beans, which also have suffered some damage. Unfortunately, they had vanished by the time I fetched my camera. These things were not bug shaped nor beetle shaped. The body was sort of wasp shaped but with no apparent wings. The body was black with no apparent markings. They did not look like tarnished plant bugs. I have checked photos of bean pests online and have not found a match. I hope I can get a photo of them because I would like to know what I am dealing with.
Next up was pulling the tomato plants. I got a lot of green tomatoes for the effort and made a batch of refrigerator pickled green tomatoes. When pulling the tomatoes out of the raised beds, I had to be careful not to damage the peppers in the next row. Because of the loose, friable soil in the beds, the tomato roots like to roam the neighborhood and make themselves at home. Next year I have to reconsider what I put in the squares next to the tomatoes. I may go back to planting shallower rooted plants like the onions in those squares.
The plant above is a Sunkist tomato from a raised bed. You can see the length of some of the roots. Most of the very longest roots seem to have grown from the top of the root ball at the base of the stem. This pretty well illustrates the advantage of planting the tomatoes deep enough to bury some of the stem. And of course, the beds are only 8 inches deep so going down is not an option.
Next I pulled the tomatoes that were planted in-ground in my extra garden plot. Those tomatoes did very well this year compared to the plants in the raised beds, and despite fairly poor soil. So I was curious to see what their root structures looked like. The two plants above are Brandywine and the root balls are probably about the same size as the Sunkist but without the really long roots. Apparently the roots found everything the plants needed in their own backyard and didn’t have to go roaming. At this point I realized I should have photographed the Sunkist and Brandywine root balls side by side, but the Sunkist was already buried deep in a trash bag of tomato plants and rotten tomatoes and I was not putting my hand in there.
The Carmen peppers have finally started to ripen. I got a large set of fruit on the two plants in the in-ground garden but they were taking their good old time ripening. How do you tell a pepper the clock is ticking and frost is on the way? I also picked some more Trinidad Spice peppers and have another five on the plant in various stages of ripening.
I tried to harvest a single head of escarole from the August planting and wound up with two. Since I planted them farther apart than usual, they have kind of flopped on the ground so the leaves are entirely green. The first one I tried was kind of tough. I need to tie them up into heads so the center of the head blanches. Amazingly there was not a single spot of slug or earwig damage to these heads.
That’s what came from my garden last week. To see what other gardeners around the world are harvesting from their gardens, check out Daphne’s Dandelions, our host for Harvest Monday.