Saturday, September 15, 2012

Garden Harvest

Several people have asked how my vegetable garden turned out this year.  The quick answer: some of it great, some of it not so great.

As most know, my garden is in northern Waushara County where drought and extreme heat made growing anything difficult this summer.  I didn’t expect much from my garden—and I wouldn’t have gotten much either, without lots of watering (much of it thanks to my brother, Don, who turned on the hose when I couldn’t be there).

As any gardener knows, weeds grow in spite of the weather.  Much thanks to Steve and Natasha who spent many weekends, rototilling, hoeing, and weed pulling.

The cool weather crops such as lettuce, radishes and broccoli did poorly.  They started quickly, and then the heat just as quickly did them in—after only a couple of meals of lettuce, a handful of radishes and no broccoli at all.  Early red potatoes, planted in March—average yield.

The sweet corn (again with water at the right time) was outstanding. Yields were good, taste was special.  Cucumbers—average.  Short season, all through bearing before Labor Day.  Carrots, average.  Beets, above average.  Onions, average.

Squash and pumpkins.  Germinated well with warm soil temps in May, and grew well, but with the extreme heat—and lack of pollination, crop was late and about half what I expected.  Not so for the zucchini, tough plant, lots of yield.  Still green and producing in mid-September.

Tomatoes—outstanding crop.  We picked probably four bushels.  Tomatoes like hot weather.  Key this year was mulching each plant with straw, which kept down the weeds and kept in the moisture.

Late Potatoes—Best crop in several years. Blemish free, uniform size.  Key was ridding the plants of the cursed Colorado potato beetles as soon as we saw them appear.

Harvesting is about completed.  All that remains is a row of very tall broom corn that is not quite ready for cutting and a row of ornamental corn that needs a week or two more before it is ripe.

All and all, in spite of the weather challenges, a good vegetable garden year.

An aside: I met a fellow the other day who bought my new garden book, GARDEN WISDOM.  He said he had a bone to pick with me, that his garden was a complete failure.  I told him buying the book was not enough, he should also read it.  He didn’t reply.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: As we get older, we forget things that happened, and remember things that didn’t.

September 18, 10:30-11:30 WAHCE Conference, Marriott Hotel, Middleton, WI. Rural Wit and Wisdom.

September 22, 2:00 Wade House Historic Site, Greenbush, WI. Garden Wisdom.

September 24, 11:30, Learning in Retirement, Oshkosh. Stories From the Land. Rural Wit and Wisdom.

September 29, Stonefield Village, Cassville, WI.  Horse Drawn Days.

October 3, 6:00 p.m. Onalaska Public Library, Rural Wit and Wisdom

October 4-6 Midwest Booksellers, Minneapolis. Book Signing.

October 13, 9-4.  The Clearing.  Writing Workshop: Writing From Your Life. (Still some openings. Go to for information.  Click on workshops.)

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