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If you are following this collection: Please do be aware that I have a new collection for 2017 that I have begun posting in. This collection is finished.

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So this happened..... LOL I didn't even realize they would get so big. These Nasturiums were just part of the fall cleanup. I dug in a bunch for organic material and they went to town. Pretty beautiful in this nasty corner though. I may just let them go.

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Crazy deal huh? Not only are there tomatoes, but these tomatoes are still flowering! That's how warm and comfortable it is outside.
Oct 28th and we still have tomatoes growing in our garden.

Water Usage:
After totaling up the sprinkler, hose use, and soaker use for both 2015 and 2016, I was very shocked to see the numbers.
In 2015 I used nearly 4000 gallons of water for the entire season, while in 2016 I used close to 2000 gallons for the whole season. (A little under)
What caused this dramatic decline?
1. I used 20 pots each time, but most of the pots this year were open bottom instead of closed bottom. This allowed the roots to go deeper and store water more efficiently in the soil.
2. I used the same potting soil, but mulched much more effectively this year with bark chips.
3. I spread out the water usage this year. Instead of watering twice a day with the hose, I watered once every 3 days with the hose, then soaked with the soaker hose every 3 days. The sprinkler was also used every 3 days so the raised beds and herb garden could be watered.
4. My only method of fertilization was compost tea this year. This seemed to have a much more dramatic effect on insect predation and fungal infection. Root development increase was probably due to the open bottom buckets.

I noticed a much bigger increase in textural improvement of the soil, greening, flower development and moisture retention of soil not covered by buckets.
The grass on the right side of the yard where the veggies were not planted did go dormant during the worst of the heat, but at a significantly reduced rate I believe due to the compost tea I used early in the season. (I watered the lawn with water and compost tea until the temperature got over 90F consistently, then stopped watering the lawn)

Next year's plan? Install drip irrigation. I have plenty of materials to do it with. This should reduce my water usage even further.

aaaand, the final list for the year:
Carrots, green beans, snow peas, lettuce (Romaine), tomatoes (2 types of Roma), golden acorn squash, horseradish root, hot peppers, red sorrel, corn (none harvested, but made good toys for the guinea pigs), nasturium, spring onions, cucumbers, rhubarb

Fruit: Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, grapevine (infant not producing yet)

Herbs: Sage, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon Balm, Mint, Valerian, Basil, wheat grass, chamomile, chives, lavendar

Flowers: Roses, bachelor buttons, creeping purple thyme, zinnias, clover (red and white), honeysuckle, queen annes lace, artichokes, spring and summer bulbs that I cannot remember the names of, allysum (white), Native daisies, poppies,

Shrubs, etc: Pomegranate, hazelnut (yes it's supposed to be a tree), variegated oleander, walnut (yes, supposed to be a tree), blue juniper, thorny boxwood (Shaped nicely!), ostrich fern and a random fern that I got out of the steps before I fixed the concrete),

I'll add more if I think of them!

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#Gardening #Organic #Food
Current state of the union. I am finishing up for the year. I am doing this because I have other obligations that need to be fulfilled by the beginning and end of November. I also wanted to get greenery back into the soil because next year the front strip will have permanent plants instead of veggies.
Total Tomato haul: 35 pounds
Total Pepper haul: 5 pounds
Squash haul: 5 golden pippins very small
These were my main concerns this year. Even crowded the tomatoes were beautiful. Most of the peppers were roasted but a few strings are on the walls for drying. Carrots, spotty in germination but very tasty. A few still in the garden for winter experimentation to see how long they last. Consistent flow of romaine lettuce, again spotty germination but some more are coming up.
Green bean volunteers are coming up, I don't know how long they will last or whether they will produce. I'm hoping some volunteers come up next year for the fence.
The grape is doing heartily and I can't wait to get it vining next year on this ugly old fence!
Basil is still flowering and the bees are happy to take advantage.
I've trimmed the blueberries, but not the herbs. I'm letting the red sorrel seeds fall where they will. Some will be planted in the front strip next year.
The raised beds were a success and I may or may not have time to actually cover the lower one for winter use, I'll see.
There are still pots to be washed, but all the seedling pots have been cleaned, sanitized, dried, and wrapped in plastic for next year.
I believe the mint in the ground is taken care of. The lemon balm is becoming feisty though and will require pulling in a few spots.
I have extra roses to give away next year, but the big rose plant won't get trimmed until fall really sets in.
This year was a success on the watering front. I used half the water that I used last year and I got three times the food. I shall say it...
Fuck You Home Depot and the commercial "home improvement" industry.
Compost Tea fucking rocks and so does +Earthfort and +Matthew Slaughter for teaching me a whole lot more about a process I really needed to understand.
The hard physical labor I have been paid for the past few months is now over. I can concentrate on other duties that I have been shamefully delaying.
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Today's harvest haul. Peppers, Acorn Squash (only 5 grew and small) and lots and lots of tomatoes. There are still green tomatoes growing and a crapton of peppers.

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Weird and wonderful carrots.
Allow me to preface this post with the fact that as soon as these carrots come inside the house, before I have washed them or taken a knife to them, my guinea pig is SCREAMING for a nibble. They are fragrant and beautiful.
So why did they turn out weird? Well, 1 it has been very hot during their formative time. I did not have money for mulch for their bed, they dried out quite frequently. I have already checked for detrimental nematodes and leaf hoppers and I did not find them. 2. This is a very "young" raised bed with only potting soil. The carrots probably did not get everything they needed so started new roots every time they felt they needed to.
They are still edible even if they are deformed, and even the tops are thick and luxurious enough to be blanched and bagged in the freezer for stews.

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Total harvest for today 5 pounds 14 oz. Percentage of Blossom End Rot for the season is 8.5%. This is a MASSIVE improvement from any other time I have ever tried to grow tomatoes when almost 100% of the crops had blossom end rot.
I will get a generous amount of canned tomatoes this year. I have not started on the chilies yet. The green beans are done. The strawberry runners are solidified and rooted. The strawberries near the door are still producing.

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Current state of the union: #Gardening   #Organic   #Food  
I am watering every 3 days. Even in 90+ degree weather, my water reduction plans have worked brilliantly. 10 seconds per pot every 6 days plus drip root watering every 3 days and the plants are looking very sturdy.
The original raised bed has miserably small plants, but a few tomatoes that are ripening. The lower raised bed is beautiful, I harvested for the third time yesterday, there are lots of carrots waiting and babies coming up for fall.
The chilies and tomatoes in the front strip are beautiful as well as the one cucumber plant that's producing brilliantly. There are about a half a dozen acorn squash. Strawberries and blueberries by the bucketful. The oregano is blossoming for all the bees to feast on, the valerian still has some blooms left but the bees aren't interested in them anymore.
It's a good year. :)
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