Friday, March 19, 2021

2020 in the Backyard Garden

What a year 2020 was - even for my backyard garden. Prior to winter setting in, I stocked up on leaves. When I say stocked up, I really mean it. 2019 was the year of leaves. I probably gathered at least 50 bags of leaves. I had so many leaves that I had leaves stored at the side of the house, waiting to be put into the compost. This year I decided to grow oats as a cover crop. 

The backyard garden later in the summer


My compost in the side yard

Robin Hood Fava and Oats





The oats take over

Meanwhile, the squirrels kept either digging up or eating my lettuce plants, no matter what I did – so I eventually decided to grow my lettuce on our upstairs balcony with aluminum foil around it. I’ll discuss the joys of this experiment later. As the weather warmed, I brought out some banana trees, which I nurtured in my greenhouse along with some trial cucumber varieties. While growing out these varieties I also started my spring transplants in 2 inch soil blocks in the greenhouse.



Squirrel damage to lettuce. Only stumps remain.



Doing what I can to grow lettuce.


Clearing the garden for the summer crop


 Over time, the lettuce bolted and the summer cucumbers were put out. I grew a round Carosello variety this year called Carosello Tondo Massafra. I transplanted the bananas off to the side yard where I had previously grown sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Unfortunately, due to further squirrel damage (a child chose not to heed my request to not give the squirrels nuts), I had to set out another round of Carosello Massafra transplants. This really ate up my light hours and made my Massafra harvest last through late July to early August.



Growing the Carosello Massafra


As our new neighbors were growing very tall corn, my August garden was really shaded my garden in the afternoon. Unfortunately, powdery mildew was already starting to kick in near the end of the season when I decided to transplant the long dark Armenian cucumber - so it was only a matter of time before the plants succumbed to its effects.


Powdery Mildew on my Dark Armenian Cucumber


Growing out Taxi Tomatoes and banana trees in early spring

The corner plot later in the summer

Meanwhile, in the small corner garden, I grew out my little banana trees and Taxi tomatoes. Both the banana trees and the tomatoes suffered until I applied some biologically-based bacterial fungicide on the plants. Then they went from dying to thriving.


This whole time, I was also trying out cucamelons. Not that I am a huge fan, but since a lot of people seem to like them, I decided to try growing them out.



My cucamelon vines



A cucamelon


Around June, I put out sweet potato sets out of my Dingess purple sweet potatoes which I later harvested after Thanksgiving. In the autumn of 2020, I was unable to harvest as many leaves, due to the fact that they all comedown at once. We had a combination of high winds and cold nights that brought all the leaves down. The neighborhood in which the leaves fell called up the city and they were quickly removed before I could gather very much, so I am glad that I had plenty of leaves to compost from my 2019 leaf harvest.


Harvesting some Purple Dingess sweet potatoes


Another look at the harvest

 As for my winter garden, I decided it was finally time for a rest. I had tried planting out some Bolero carrots, but the pressure from squirrels was too great. Instead, I would compost my garden and focus on finishing the cucamelon harvest and seed processing.


trying out new things as I begin fallowing the garden

Processing Cucamelon Seed

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