The summer home garden is winding down and the fall garden is growing well. In the past week, from our home garden, I have gathered corn, green beans, lima beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. The October beans will be ready to pick soon followed by pumpkins, collards, cabbage and broccoli. The collards are sweeter after they have had some frost. I have picked a few worms off the fall plants and the greenhouse tomato plants. If the numbers increase I will spray the plants with Bacillus Thurningiensis (Bt., brand name Dipel). The last plantings of tomatoes and corn had a lot of disease and pest problems that are a normal part of late summer, but still produced enough to be worth while. Over all the garden produced beautifully this year except for the eggplant which finally succumbed to the flea beetles.
Now it is time to do the ground work for a successful garden next year. Clean up the garden, plant the cover crops, add the fall leaves and lime if needed (this can be determined by a soil test, see your local extension office).
The greenhouse tomato plants that where planted in August are beginning to bloom and should produce ripe tomatoes from November through January. In the photo on the right the tomatoes are being hand pollinated. In the outdoor garden tomatoes are pollinated by wind, bees and insects. To insure better pollination in the greenhouse we hand pollinate or release bumble bees in the greenhouse. The humid days and damp nights of August and September create an ideal environment for powdery mildew to grow on greenhouse tomato plants, however this year it has not yet become a problem.
I have also placed a few cucumber plants in the greenhouse which should provide us with cukes into December, thought I would make more Bread and Butter Pickles. Though not everyone wants to grow a large crop of greenhouse tomatoes, a small greenhouse makes a great addition to the home garden. It increases the length of the harvest and enables you to grow your own vegetable plants.