By the end of the first week in November, we were starting to take the last real harvests of the 2015 season. Kale, collards, Fox Cherry tomatoes, Hot Portugal peppers, a few late-planted bush beans, and a few stray Shishitos were in the mix.
Our first frost was November 25th, but it was only for one night; temperatures rebounded back up into warmer territory immediately and the next frost was not until mid-December. Many of the largest, ripest tomatoes and peppers we set aside for seed saving day. I was ready to throw in the towel on our Brandywines, but Continue reading 2015 Veggies – November & December
In order to track our progress each year, I try to quantify the harvest as best I can. I keep a written journal of most of the important activities and progress in the garden, and the journal includes a penciled-in log of any harvests that happen during each week of the season. When I have the chance, I copy that handwritten data into a little spreadsheet I made which handles some of the calculations I’m interested in and updates the totals automatically for me. This spreadsheet is designed specifically for small gardens, not farms, and possibly not even for very large gardens. It’s targeted for situations where you harvest small amounts and can keep track of harvested items as single units (for most things) or small bunches (for herbs), rather than as large bulk amounts such as bushels.
The concept behind this spreadsheet is that once you add in some typical values at the start of the season for the weight of a given variety when harvested (like the average weight of one cherry tomato), the spreadsheet does all the rest of the calculations as you add to your counts each week. It does its math based on counts, so that you don’t have to keep weighing each time you harvest, just tally how many single items you harvested that week.
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?