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Monday, October 4, 2010

10/4/10 First Harvest of Fall Crops

The night time lows dropped to high 30s this weekend.  In California, this would be considered winter.  In Indiana, as in the most of the rest of the country, I guess this is fall. 

I harvested my first small batch of fall vegetables, consisting of some baby Red Russian Kale and a sampling of baby asian greens including bok choy, china choi (seeds shared by Ottawa Gardener), and tatsoi.  I'm having a lot of trouble keeping these plants alive due to serious damage by cabbage worms, aphids, and possibly slugs (the only one I haven't visually confirmed yet).  You can see a little bit of the damage to the surviving leaves in the picture above, but this is nothing compared to the damage to the non-surviving plants.

Since I didn't have any prior experience handling these hardy greens, either as a gardener or a consumer (except when they are included in a prepared dish), I wasn't sure how big I should let them grow.  I harvested these leaves fairly small because I was curious about their flavor and also because I don't trust the pests to allow them to grow to a decent size.  I've already lost almost half of my crops to the stinky pests that munch on them leaf by leaf, leading to total destruction.  I did finally sprinkle some Sluggo out there today, so if there are any invisible slugs out there, hopefully Sluggo can start controlling the problem.

By the way, these greens were delicious as a quick stir-fry.  Between Keith and me, there was barely enough to have three or four bites each.  These cook down a lot, just like spinach.  Inspired by our first tasting of these tasty hardy greens, Keith and I sowed more seeds in our indoor grow box today.  We're hoping to grow this new batch to maturity entirely in the grow box to avoid the pest problems in the garden.  I'm not sure how much room the full-sized versions of these vegetables will require, so this will be yet another grow box experiment for us.  Next year, I'll grow them all under row covers outside.


I also harvested the first three sugar snap peas from my remaining three plants that survived the cutworm attack.  They were still too small and did not taste very sweet.


The outdoor Jelly Bean tomato plants are still pumping out tomatoes, although they are very slow to ripen.  I picked a handful that had any hint of blush, so that they can finish up the ripening process indoors.  Only one Jelly Bean tomato has ripened in the indoor grow box so far.  But since we don't have to worry about the impending first frost in the grow box, I'll just let them take their time to ripen on the vine.

This post is part of Daphne's Harvest Monday.

17 comments:

meemsnyc said...

I'm having a terrible time with growing asian greens in our garden too. Bugs ate all of our Mustard Greens. So frustrating. I didn't even taste it! Argh!

vrtlarica said...

The cutworm attack continues in my greenhouse too. This weekend I have lost another 2 seedlings.
I always thought that all these pests are more active in spring, but they are just as invasive in fall.

Robin said...

The bugs have been horrible this fall! I think that they get more to eat then us! I have lost 2 brussels sprout plants and many many tomatoes during the past month. My snow peas have been so slow growing. I'm wondering if I will get any peas before it gets too cold.

Engineeredgarden said...

Bugs are in such high numbers in the fall, and a weekly spraying with BT is the only way I can keep greens looking halfway decent.

Mr. H. said...

Your Red Russian kale is much redder than ours, very nice. We like to use the young greens in salads and dice the larger ones up for stir fries. The low 30°'s, wow...brrr.

tempusflits said...

I was surprised to see bugs eating my fall plantings. I thought fall crops were better because the bugs were gone. Next year . . .

The Idiot Gardener said...

I found my asian greens were much loved by flea beetle, which left many little holes of the type you have. I don't know if yoiu get them out there, but it's worth checking.

GrafixMuse said...

Love the pic of Kale and Asian greens! I didn't have much luck with fall planting this year. The Asian greens and Swiss Chard were eaten up by slugs and bugs and the spinach bolted because of the warmer than normal temperatures.

This time of the year, I find that tomatoes actually ripen quicker on the windowsill than on the plant. There is less chance of some bug munching on it too.

Barbie said...

Considering the pictures from the past week, I'm surprised you got as much as you did! Glad you got something. It makes fighting the critters bearable.

thyme2garden said...

meemsnyc - I'm sorry to hear about your mustard greens not surviving. I really need to improve on my bug battling skills.

* * * * *
vrtlarica - Oh no, not more cutworms! I keep hoping that the cold weather will deter some of these pests, but so far I have not seen any evidence of this theory working out in my favor.

* * * * *
Robin - I agree with you about bugs eating more than us. I don't know exactly how cold-hardy peas are, but I hope both your snow peas and my sugar snap peas are can keep producing up to the first hard freeze.

* * * * *
EG - I'm hearing more about BT now. I will definitely incorporate it into my gardening next spring and fall.

* * * * *
Mr. H. - I remember reading somewhere that these red leafy vegetables really develop their red colors during cold temperatures. Maybe our nighttime temps have been lower than yours? We haven't reached the low 30s yet, but the night time lows dipped down to the high 30s over the weekend. I think it's supposed to warm up a little bit this week, though.

* * * * *
tempusflits - I was hoping for the exact same thing, but it seems like as the cucumber beetles (serious pests this summer)departed my garden, in came the cabbage moths/worms.

* * * * *
The Idiot Gardener - we do have some flea beetles, but nowhere in the same abundance as the cabbage worms and aphids. I saw a lot more flea beetles earlier in the spring when they put lots of little pinholes in my arugula leaves. Do you do anything special to deter/avoid/kill the flea beetles?

* * * * *
GrafixMuse - thank you! It was really too hot this summer and I delayed my fall planting for as long as I could. But with the temperatures going from 90s one week down to the 40s the next week, there really wasn't much time for the fall crops to grow.

* * * * *
Barbie - thanks! Maybe it looks like more in the picture. All those greens added up to only a little bit over 2 oz. But you're right, I should be happy that I got anything of the garden that I thought was a lost cause to the pests.

kitsapFG said...

I am always in a battle with the slugs for my greens. They really love chinese cabbages and pac choi and I can only manage to grow a nice looking crop of both if I do it in the green house and vigilantly inspect and pick the plants of slugs (who find there way in there too)almost daily. Unfortunately, by the time it is too cold for the bugs - it is also too cold for the plants!

Daphne said...

The slugs do love those Asian greens. So far their numbers aren't too large in my garden. It was so dry this summer, I don't think they could reproduce. I have a few, but not too many. The cabbage worms on the other hand got under my row cover. It happens occasionally. luckily I only found two. I hope that is all of them.

thyme2garden said...

kitsapFG and Daphne - not sure why I didn't get around to responding to these comments from you guys. I still haven't seen any slugs in my garden yet, so I'll keep blaming the cabbage worms for all the bug damage to my greens.

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