Small Space Gardening: Harvest Moon, Crop Rotation, Pruning Tomatoes, Preparing Containers for Winter, and Talking to a Gardener | Recent News

Small Space Gardening by Diane Dryden is a series of garden articles that will run all summer long with information for both new and experienced gardeners. Every two weeks, articles will be updated as the gardening year progresses; from selecting a site to harvesting in the fall.

WASHBURN COUNTY – As the days get shorter and colder, the garden gets smaller. You have harvested many of your crops so far, even though you have been gardening in limited containers.

Beans are finally starting to slow down now, and several gardeners I know, and won’t report, have taken out their cucumbers and courgettes still in production simply because they produce vegetables that everyone has an abundance of and don’t need from yours .

This is when you’ll want to take a serious look at your tomato plants and consider pruning any new growth and bloom. I had no idea when I planted my indeterminate atomic tomato plants that they would go wild. They aren’t particularly tall, but they are wide and impossible to stake. And they are many. There must be hundreds of them on my three plants. They are particularly meaty and really good, but their dark colors will make for strange pasta dishes.

Determined tomatoes are those that are determined to stay short. They produce fewer tomatoes, but the fruit is bigger.

Some indeterminate tomatoes will grow up to 12 feet tall if given the chance. So at this time of year they need to be pruned.

On the label or package, if you started your tomatoes from seed, there was a number that indicated how long it would take the plant to grow from flower to fully ripe fruit. The average is 50 days. There aren’t 50 hot days left this year, so many new flowers won’t have time to mature into something salvageable. Now is the time to prune them so that the strength of the plants goes into the fruit, which is already ripening. Also, removing extra non-bearing leaf sets will let more sun into the maturing toms while taking the weight off the cages.

September 10 will be a traditional Harvest Moon if you like moon gazing. As if our pioneer mothers didn’t have enough to do, the bright full moon earlier this month left her toiling through the night harvesting all the things she had no time for during her busy days of education. children, washing clothes, cooking meals and possibly giving birth to twins.

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting a woman who puts a lot of thought into her gardening. She’s spent the last 22 years getting really smart.

Bernadette Wabrowetz of Shell Lake is not new to gardening. Her parents ran a mink farm when she was a child and her mother gardened. “She mainly planted what we ate fresh during the summer, as well as potatoes, carrots and onions. She was not a canning woman. We also had cows, so she made butter , cheese and cottage cheese from the milk. . It was enough for a woman with three children who helped her husband raise minks.”

His mother was also one of those sneaky parents who gave her children their garden space, hanging them to grow from a young age.

Bernadette, also a mother of three children, gardened wherever she and her husband lived. Whether in Montana, Medford or Shell Lake, she gardened, froze or canned the bounty.

In 2019, she became a smart planter and incorporated three-foot-tall, self-watering raised beds.

They found 300 gallon bins on Craig’s List and bought ten. They were all food grade so they knew they would be safe for planting. Wisely, they sold five to pay for the gas needed to get them.

At first, they were used for storing the water they collected on their roof for the garden.

Eventually, she and her husband, Kent, reshaped the bins by cutting off the top foot and a half to make the 3 x 4 x 4 ½ foot containers shorter. The containers were already equipped with stakes at the bottom to allow complete drainage when needed.

Inside the containers, they added a drain pipe running the length of the bottom of the bin and up to the side, which would act as a fill pipe sending water to the foot of the washed gravel.

landscape fabric has been added on top to prevent the soil from washing away. Quality composted topsoil was added about four inches from the top of the bin.

Their son and daughter-in-law own and operate the Sawyer Creek Cattle Company, which gives them access to all the manure they need. Also, they have a large compost pile that they mix, so their soil is top quality.

This pipe is one of the secrets of their success. The saved rainwater flows through the pipes and surrounds the lower foot of the rocks with water. Plants at the top send their roots deep into the ground to access the constant supply of seeping water. They also drilled a hole in the tray at the top of the gravel for drainage; otherwise, the bag will become waterlogged if overfilled or due to a large amount of rain.

Carrots, broccoli, zucchini, beets, radishes, lettuce, onions, beans, peppers, peas and even potatoes are some of their successful crops this year. Even cucumbers feel free to fall sideways onto the ground. Due to their past success, they now have eleven planted tanks.

The Wabrowetz think their garden can last for several weeks without adding water. They got even smarter and installed a genius sprinkler system.

Water is always collected from one part of the house through a gutter. This water is directed to a fifty-five gallon drum which filters into a second fifty-five gallon drum below. That’s the beauty of living on a gently sloping property to the south.

A sump pump in the second water tank automatically pumps water into six large hillside pans. These create the water supply for their garden.

If necessary, a pipe attached to the tanks is opened and the water is fed by gravity to the tubes.

Their next project is to extend a drip irrigation hose that will water their blueberries, elderberries, currants, grapes, red raspberries, apples, cherries and peach trees beyond their catch-all garden.

If you’re wondering what happened to all the tops of the bins they cut, they inserted them into the ground as underground “raised beds”. This allows them to control the soil type and weeds.

Now that they are gardening in the containers, they no longer have to bend down to harvest or pull weeds. They never need to be watered by hand. And with all that free time, Bernadette still has time to raise four hives of bees and entertain nine grandchildren.

Speaking of kids, they’re all back to school now, and it’s time to do something about all those tomatoes coming in like gangbusters. If you keep them, take the advice of another smart woman I spoke to years ago. She didn’t bother to “slip the tomato skins” by running them a little in boiling water. She simply washes her toms, cuts off the flower end and any bad parts, and dunks them in her food processor or blender. His attitude is, why remove the skins? This is where the nutrition is.

You can’t argue with this theory, and it takes a lot of work out of it.

Here are some things you can add to these blender tomatoes to create the Minnesota Tomato Blend. It is good as a soup or as a soup starter. It even makes a great drink if you mix it all up before serving it hot or cold.

  • 12 sec. tomatoes that have been processed in a blender
  • 1 ea. Grated celery
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ tsp. green pepper
  • 3 tbsp. Salt

Bring all the ingredients to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Pack in clean pint or pint jars. Place it in a pressure canner and increase the pressure to 15 pounds. Turn off the pot and do not remove the jars until they are completely cold.

If you want to give it an Italian touch, add the following spices at the start:

  • 2 t. chopped garlic
  • ¼ tsp. basil
  • 1 t. thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of oregano

September 10 and 11 are the best dates to plant your spring bulbs like irises, daffodils, tulips and peonies.

Next time, we’ll cover putting your garden to bed, extensive crop rotation, and green manuring.

Previous articles on gardening small spaces:

  1. Sun Patterns and Soil Types
  2. How to read seed catalogs, packets and the difference between perennials and annuals
  3. Plot planning, starting bulbs, crop rotation and saving toilet paper tubes
  4. Starting seeds using grow lights, heating pads and toilet paper tubes
  5. Starting seeds, determining how much of each you will need, soil types
  6. Growing Herbs and Starting Potatoes
  7. First crops, container tips and creating a successful compost pile
  8. 3 sisters, looking at the moon, and finally, planting your garden
  9. Garden Update, Berry Bugs, Annuals Vs. Perennials & Trees
  10. Ponds and water features, wildflowers and garden update
  11. Blight, mildew and mulch. No, they are not lawyers, but just as intrusive
  12. Second crop, seed saving, garden tour and some summer recipes
  13. A garden visit, dried herbs, no-no carrots, pain au chocolat and zucchini, tomato pruning and saying goodbye to wasps
  14. Another garden visit, harvesting beets, potatoes and Nadapeno peppers

Last Updated: September 03, 2022 10:25 a.m. CDT