Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Northern & Central Midwest
November, 2010
Regional Report

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These heirloom cherry tomatoes kept us happy and full all summer. I'll definitely plant the Russian Blacks again next year.

Fall Notes

I'm officially reporting in as I shut my garden down. I like to keep a notebook handy as I bring down the garden so I can write notes about the season just past. It helps me (usually) prevent making the same mistakes next year.

Worm Tubes
I pulled my worm tubes to store in the shed since I don't want them to deteriorate over winter. They are tough PVC, but there's no need to shorten their life by leaving them out. As I pulled each one, I was thrilled to find them completely empty. All the compostable material I kept stuffing into them was gone. It had to go somewhere, so it certainly appears as if the worms did their duty and hauled it off underground in the form of worm castings for my garden.

I was really on top of disease issues this year and put my copper wires into the stems early. These worked as a natural fungicide and I didn't see any early blight until very late in the season (sounds kind of funny, though). I saw absolutely no late blight which delights me. I had a bumper crop of heirlooms, and my favorites ended up being a pink, medium-sized Yugoslavian tomato and a Russian Black cherry tomato. I have filled my freezer and cabinet with sauce and just hauled in the green tomatoes for green tomato relish.

Trellising for Beans
My old grape trellis worked quite well for cucumbers and not as well for pole beans. It wasn't tall enough for the beans and once they reached the top they sort of fell over on themselves, shading the flowers. I didn't have pole beans until fairly late in the season. Next year I plan to build the trellis up to about six feet to handle this problem.

Malabar Spinach
I grew this lovely green for the first time and was absolutely enchanted with the dainty hot pink blossoms. The tender leaves thrived all summer long, giving me "spinach" when the regular plants had long bolted. It grew up the trellis alongside the cucumbers and morning glories, making a beautiful focal point.

I grew a Russian heirloom fingerling potato called Ozette and I'm in love. We are still eating these yellow-fleshed, tender beauties, and there are plenty of small rounds to replant for next year. I had pretty good luck with the red potatoes I planted last fall, so I will try that again, this time with Ozette.

New Trellis Design
I visited the garden of a friend/carpenter this summer and he built beautiful eight-foot tall trellises for his cukes, tomatoes and beans. They consist of a simple box, 8 x 4, covered with chicken wire. The beautiful part was that he hinged them onto the sides of his raised beds, and then rested them at a forty-five degree angle on tall supports. They were sturdy and provided shade for lettuce underneath. Next summer!

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