Monday, October 12, 2009

Another Frost Does Some Things In

My 15 year old Maple bonsai in fall color
The cold frame landing done for this season
Wolf Rivers - they will stay in the plastic till eaten to prevent shrivleing
Footie apples
Bird damage to only one apple

The end of the the tomato patch
Cardoons tied up for blanching and later harvest
Garlic is a fall planted crop
I planted before I left for NYC and when I came back

Tomato seed saving - cut open very ripe fruits and press out the seed
Rub off the flesh
Wash off the flesh
Dry the seed and then bag and label the fresh seed

With our travels over, we are back in Wisconsin for much cooler weather. The forecast for the weekend past prompted me to harvest many of the apples. Several branches did real well this season. The apples in the "footies" seemed to be a success so I think that I will have to get a box of these things and try them on the small tree in the garden next season. The Firesides are in short supply this year as that tree had a major drop during this dry summer - too bad as that is my favorite fresh apple. We got a nice crop of Wolf Rivers as the photos show, and for the most part all the varieties produced from five to ten apples. Thus with officially 35 different varieties on three trees, we have a good supply of varieties. Some of the newer grafts only produced two or three apples but that was enough to make the first taste trials. I have been know to remove varieties that either do not produce well or do not pass the taste and drying test. Cox Orange Pippin was one that just did not do well and was removed in favor of using the branch to graft red fleshed apples like the Pink Pearl show in a previous entry.

The tomato and pepper crop were done in by the recent frost and with the tomatoes on the string method I was able to remove the plants in less than an hour of work, put them in garbage cans and will haul them off the the dump as I do not compost pepper, tomato, or cucumber plants. I took down the strings and sent that to the dump too.

The tomato crop was good this year with the 'Sugary' and 'Golden Rave' winning as the best flavor followed by the 'Valencia' and 'Persimmon' for yellows and 'Big Beef 'and my old standby 'Red Peach' for the reds. 'Red Peach' is a vigorous plant and the greenest and healthiest of all the tomatoes this late in the season. I think this would be a great producer in a more southern environment that would allow this variety to continue late into the fall as I had nice green fruits still maturing on this plant. I was most disappointed in the Black Truffle as it was flat in flavor. The Grubs and Green Pineapple were tasty but the fruit production was spotty so I will try the Grubs again but not the Green Pineapple. The basil in the tomato patch was a great success.

My peppers were generally a poor crop this season. 'Volcano' was a good hot and 'Big Bomb' was very HOT and had a good fruit set. The rest of the peppers were poor and between the slugs and earwigs the corp in general did not produce well based on the amount of space I gave them. Cucumbers were great for a while and then they got away from me and I think next year I will work on better spacing my plantings time-wise and work at better records of what produces the best fruit. For some reason several of my flat leaf parsley plants are going to seed already - they are usually a biennial, flowering next spring if they survive the winter.

The cold frames are back in the garden. I have Napa cabbage covered with one. The others are protecting lettuce. I want to cover the hoop house with plastic and then plant spinach in the next week. I also want to till the tomato patch and plant winter rye for a cover crop in that area.
I have included a photo series this week of how I save tomato seed. I use an old metal screen to collect and wash the seed. When the seed is dry I use one of my wooden labels to scrape the seed off the screen and into a container for storage. This year I will save Valencia and Red Peach seed.
Happy Gardening


  1. great pictures. reminds me I need to get my garlic in...

    do you do any other pest control for your apples besides the footies?

    do you have japanese beetles in your area? I'm considering giving up on my columnar apples because we have a constant supply of japanese beetles, living near a golf course.

  2. Greetings Sowbug,
    Yes, the majority of the apples are in plastic zip closure bags. The Wolf Rivers are still in the bags. I did make one very early spray with Sevin at petal drop but did nothing else after that (check out an earlier blog entry - MAY?) I was trying the footies as I heard about this from some reading about Western apple baggers. They have less pests than we do so they can bag later in the season with bigger apples. I have to bag before the Plum curculio get to the fruit so footies are a challenge.
    No, the east side of Green Bay does not have Japanese beetles YET! and I am not looking forward to their arrival. What about trying to cover the tree with the row cover material. I know that it will deteriorate in the sun (will last at least one season) but that might give some protection for the peak infestation time.
    Happy Gardening