Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Square Foot Garden Box Score

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 8:27 AM

Carrington last week noted her success with a certain small pepper in her garden. Gardening write-ups are like pictures of people's grandchildren -- either you're interested or not. So if you're not involved, moved along -- nothing to see here.

We're just eight days away from the date of first expected frost. The garden's on its last hurrah, or maybe past that. This is the time of year for the big reveal. Here was what worked and didn't in the utterly amazing, super-productive, hardly-any-work Square Foot Garden

click to enlarge The total dill haul from 2009's Square Foot Garden, from more than 30 seedlings.
  • The total dill haul from 2009's Square Foot Garden, from more than 30 seedlings.

FAIL/I BLAME THE RAIN

* Dill: you can see the total harvest in the photo.

* Chard: never had more than five leaves at a time. It has thrived in the past, but not this year.

* Chives: never got large enough for more than a snip of hair-thin wisps, even though I planted about 8 plants. Maybe chives are like pears: planted for heirs.

* Onions: Planted to replace chervil and cilantro that burned up, they just never really took off. Ditto the 16 sugar snap peas planted in late July. They grew, but not well. They sulked and refused to climb. They eventually put out a tiny pod or two.

SCORE!

* Nameless Pepper: The two plants from the hardware store marked simply "decorative red pepper" were weighed down with more than 100 two-inch blunt tipped serrano-shaped, thick-fleshed, juicy, one-alarm peppers that were used for absolutely everything all summer.

*Pole beans: Ten pole bean plants cranked out eight ounces to a pound a week for 10 weeks. We were drowning in beans.

* Okra: Just five plants produced so much we couldn't eat it all. And just try giving away okra. So there are a couple quarts of gumbo base in the freezer.

* Hungarian Carrot pepper: two plants of this heirloom stayed compact at less than 18 inches, yielding 18 to 25 orange, carrot-shaped, two-and a-half alarm peppers.

* Sweet banana peppers: A much better option than the red bells. One large but undemanding plant cranked out 35 peppers that were sweet, flavorful, crunchy, tasty at every stage from green to deep red.

Eggplant: one plant, six eggplants, no work at all.

Mixed Result

* Winter squash: One of three vertically grown vines seemed affected by tomato blight. That left two vines, which produced a total of three butternut squash. That's probably enough -- homegrown squash don't keep as long as storebought.

* Tomatoes: Cherokee Purple, Yellow Belle, and Bradley - but not the cherry tomatoes- had some version of tomato blight that slowed the vines. The six plants yielded enough for eating fresh and a whole lot to fry while green (since the blight doesn't appear until tomatoes ripen) and enough to can crushed tomatoes, salsa and one pint of tomato sauce. But the expected bags and bags of tomatoes never materialized.

* Bush zucchini: One was crushed by something large walking in the garden (my neighbor says there are fence-jumping, gardening-chomping deer in Green Hills). One snapped off in the heavy rains of mid-July. The remaining bush cranked out about one zuke a week, which was enough.

*Red bell peppers: these were space hogs, labor intensive and fruited very late in the season. But eventually five or six green bells and five or six red bells.

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