2015 Veggies – October

Bush Bean flowers, mid-October

In early October, we were starting to see the first signs of possible fruiting coming in from our recently planted bush beans. First time growing them, and a spot didn’t open up until late in the season, so we weren’t sure if anything would come of this experiment. Lovely pink flowers.

To our surprise, our Brandywine tomatoes made a late flush of rather giant fruit. As the daylight hours and temperatures were dwindling, we weren’t sure if these would ever ripen. About ten of them were taunting our tastebuds (and my harvest spreadsheet) from the vine early in the month. Temperatures started leveling off and even warming up, but nothing would reverse the hours of sunshine hitting them. I pruned the lower leaves and any diseased leaves as well, and made sure no new flowers were developing. I also cut back dramatically on any water they were receiving. These things stress the plant into putting its last remaining energy into ripening. One recommendation even was to jiggle the roots… sure, why not—who am I not to jiggle the roots?

Brandywine Tomatoes, early October

Brandywine Tomato from midseason cutting, and plant clip

One of the suckers we had cut from one of these same plants earlier in the season had managed to crank out one or two large fruit as well, which did ripen on the vine. Here we see one of the clips I have been using—it clips to the stake, leaving enough room for the plant’s stem to move and thicken.

Fox Cherry Tomatoes, early October

The Fox Cherry tomatoes still had dozens of fruit on the vine in early October. Easy pickin’ from these giant plants, now seven feet tall before I trained the top portion sideways, almost fifteen feet of vine per plant.

I made sure to prune any new and existing flowers—they wouldn’t produce fruit at this point; better for the plant to convert sunlight into ripening the green ones.

Fox Cherry Tomato, pruned flowers, mid-October

Our rogue cherry tomato, which we let be, was also still putting out nice fruit. We mostly left this plant to do its thing, only pruning it occasionally. Nice to not be attached to every single thing in the garden sometimes. This guy was a nice bonus, and everyone loves an underdog.

Rogue cherry tomato, early October
Collard Greens, early October

Collard greens. Both of these two plants did great all month, and got used in a few recipes… we had continuing troubles with aphids on the new center growth, though… and some of the larger leaves as well. Annoying. The sticky traps we used didn’t seem to be of much help against them.

Our Red Russian Kale, also loving the cooler weather, was showing some nice color alongside the collards. The aphids love these guys as well, unfortunately. Could we consider committing sacrilege and not growing kale next year? No… shudder to think of it!

Red Russian Kale, early October

Returning to our bush beans, they seemed to be happy in their various corners of the garden—all in spots that had opened up sometime in August or September.

Bush Beans growing through fabric mulch, early October
Bush Beans in side bed, early October

Many had been eaten by slugs or beetles, especially in our decidedly unattractive southwest corner, formerly of cornstalk fame, but now blanketed by boring black fabric mulch. Many others seemed quite healthy in other spots in the garden, such as nestled under the tomatoes in a side bed.

Soon we pulled the weeds and made the place look a bit more presentable, and a bit more ready to receive another layer of compost, and a cover crop. The beans continued to do their thing in a few places.

Bush Beans in side bed, mid-October

More mini-flowers were spotted.

Bush Beans flowering, early October

In mid-October, adorably tiny beans were forming. I would say they were pea-sized but that wouldn’t be exact. Would they have any hope of reaching maturity this late in the game?

Bush Beans, mid-October
Bush Beans, mid-October

It seemed as though fate was on their side. Late in the month, a few were reaching edible size.

Bush Beans, late October

It seems we’ve added a new trick to our bag. By the end of the month I would be adding them to our tally.

Bush Beans, Halloween!

I’ve tried growing garlic a few times, but by Spring I always have other things on my mind, and inevitably I accidentally dig them up when tending to the soil in preparation for the season’s planting.

Planting garlic, prepped for sowing

I left the job to my partner this time, who secured some of the good stuff from an organic supplier. She dug holes both in the beds and in one of our larger containers, and sowed the cloves.

Planting garlic, late October
Planting garlic, late October

Late in the month, some of our Shishito Peppers were starting to show their fall colors. We’re keeping these ripe ones for seed collection.

Shishito Pepper ripened for seed saving, mid-October
Shishito Peppers, late October

Others which are still green and appetizer-bound, we’ve also decided to use for seed once they fully ripen. Hard not to pick a nice green Shishito when the sea salt is at arm’s length!

Neighboring Hot Portugal Peppers are several times larger. In recent weeks they have been reddening up and we’ve been throwing them in breakfasts and dinners alike. A bit too large to throw in a pint-sized pickle jar though, which is what our original plan had been this year. Also, they took forever to arrive… a very late-season pepper.

In the background are remaining beets. These last few had never gotten enough sun to get large. We pulled them up for their greens by the end of the month.

Hot Portugal Pepper, ripe, with beet greens in background
Hot Portugal Peppers in various fall ripening states, early October
Green Pole Beans, penultimate harvest, mid-October

Our green pole beans, which we had been neglecting, were quietly producing dozens of late-season fruit. This round of almost 100 beans turned out to be the tastiest of the season. I took all the credit, naturally.

We harvested the last of our eggplant, which had had a very good year in their new sunny spot. At the end of the month, we collected a last meager harvest and pulled the giant mass of bean vines up and composted them.

Eggplant, early October
Eggplant flower bud, mid-October

We were feeling optimistic, so the last buds which were appearing in mid-October, we gave a chance. Any other budless plants, we pulled up and composted as well.

Overall, October turned out to be a sweet month for fruiting, harvesting, and seed collection. But seasons are seasons and it was time to start putting the place to bed, little by little. Mild temperatures for the most part, and we timed the end-of-season early cleanup a bit better than last year. Once the dead plants came out, we were able to tidy up the joint.