Tuesday, October 14, 2008

September 21 Pepper Time

We have several types of nice peppers. We have far more than Mickey and I can use, so if you want some, come by or let us know soon. We also have an overabundance of potatoes.
The fall greens are coming in nicely. Again, this year we can see that fall gardening is way underrated.
Yesterday I took down most of the cucumber vines because there was no more fruit or blossoms. They were getting old and decaying, so I gathered them up and added them to the burn pile.
I also decommissioned a few of the tomato plants that were so sick they could not support the fruit on the vines. This year the leaves of the tomatoes progressively died from the bottom up. The same thing happened last year, but not as bad. What caused this?
To investigate, I conducted an autopsy. Above ground, I saw only dead leaves. So I looked below ground. I found that the primary root ball was only the size of the pot that we grew the seedlings in. Only a few roots penetrated into the surrounding soil. That's a problem, considering the size of the plant upstairs versus the supporting root structure. It's a mystery how the roots managed what they did.
So, why were most of the roots contained in the original soil? Plants do not do well when they are place in soil that has a stark boundary. The roots much prefer the richer soil and tend to stay there.
There are two solutions. One is to enrich all the soil in the garden. Hmmm. That's not going to happen on such a large scale.
The 2nd involves mixing "good" and "bad" dirt around the planting hole. That transition will get the roots started in the right direction.
It took 2 seasons and 2 marginal crops to concoct this premise. Add, I won't know if it is correct until late next year. But that's how things go sometimes.
Start thinking about bringing fall leaves and other organic material over.