Sunday, October 9, 2011

Garden Clean-up and another Harvest

Yesterday afternoon I took advantage of the mild weather and started some "garden clean-up" in the kitchen garden. This job always takes me longer then I think that it will. I started by taking out all of the winter squash vines. That turned out to be a bit of a tricky job since many of the vines had climbed up the inside of the deer fence. It took me quite a while to unravel and cut all of the tendrils off to release the vines. The fence is much happier now and is no longer sagging under the weight of those vines and fruit.

Once I got the squash area cleaned up I turned my attention to the Sweet Potatoes. I decided it was time to empty the grow bags and see if anything was actually growing in there! This is the "before" picture of my "Georgia Jet" Sweet Potato. Considering what a cold and wet Summer it was for the most part, I am truly amazed by how much growth the plant produced. This single slip grew to cover most of the grow bag surface with healthy green/purple leaves.

And here is the "before" picture of the "Beauregard" Sweet Potato. It didn't grow quite as large as the "Georgia Jet" plant did. The holes in the leaves were not caused by disease or insects but by finches. Yes, Gold Finches! For some reason they liked nibbling on the green foliage and this grow bag was located very close to a bird feeder.

The big reveal.............there was something growing inside those bags! On the left is pictured the red/orange tubers of the "Beauregard" and on the right the hot pink colored "Georgie Jet" tubers. Not surprisingly, the larger "Georgia Jet" plant produced a bigger crop of tubers.

Fortunately, we aren't depending on this harvest to survive the Winter! My "Georgia Jet" plant harvest was 1 lbs. 6.2 oz.

The "Beauregard" harvest was only 11.0 oz.

And here is the total harvest after getting washed and trimmed.  As you can see the "Georgia Jet" actually produced on fairly big, fat tuber. All the rest were fairly long but skinny. However, I think we can get at least one meal of diced and baked Sweet Potatoes out of this.

Besides Sweet Potatoes, I also harvested my Pepper "crop". Crop is probably too strong a word here! Each of my 2 pepper plants produced exactly 1 pepper! The poor plants had to contend with cold weather and getting completely smothered by the Winter Squash vines. Pictured above, my one "Lilac" pepper. It weighted 1.4 oz.

I also had one lovely "Gypsy" pepper too. It weighted 3.0 oz.

I did have to add this picture. I must have worked outside for close to two hours. And during that entire time Tom-Cat slept nearby in his cat bed. He didn't even open an eye. Not exactly the best garden helper today!

I also had to show the picture, below. I know that it isn't of very good quality. But the exciting part is the bird on the right side of the tray. I know, you can only see the back half of the bird. But it's an Evening Grosbeak! We thought that all of our Evening Grosbeaks had left for the Winter weeks ago. But suddenly, I looked up today and there was this handsome guy. I am guessing he is just stopping by on his way South but it was great to get one more sighting this year. Happy travels sir. We will see you next Spring.


Robin said...

Your Tom-Cat is about as much help as my two are! The garden looks great! Hopefully next year you will have better luck with your peppers. I would be glad to send you some of mine!

Mark Willis said...

The cat had obviously had a busy night... Anyway, about the Sweet potatoes: quality is just as important as quantity - I bet they tasted better than anything you ever bought in a shop. And now that you have acquired some practical experience you will be able to do better next time!

kitsapFG said...

Tom-cat is just "too tired" to help! LOL!

Good work getting a crop from the sweet potatoes. I honestly have never even tried growing them because of the difficulty in getting them to maturity in our cooler maritime climate (I am in Kitsap County Washington). Pretty impressive you were able to get any production at all - let alone in our unusually cool summer this year. Well done!