Sunday, August 30, 2015

Journal August 29, 2015 - Planning ahead

All of the olive trees need to be pruned and repotted into larger containers, so today I mixed another batch of my homemade media.  Thinking ahead to next spring, I recently purchased enough supplies to mix enough media to get started gardening next spring.  As I start earlier than the average gardener, I find that the garden centers do not have the supplies I need out when I need them in early spring.

Mixing one large batch of media in the wheelbarrow is actually easier than mixing a small batch in a tub.  My thinking was: as long as I had all of the supplies out, I may just as well mix enough to make it worthwhile. 

As I needed at least fifteen 3 gallon nursery containers for the olives, I looked first to eBay rather than driving twenty or more miles to the local greenhouse supplier.  I found what I thought was a good deal on eBay, but I should have done some more online shopping, as I found the same nursery containers available from Home Depot.  They had to be ordered online and delivered to the local store for pickup, however, the cost was half the cost of the containers on eBay.  So, not to pass up a good deal I ordered from Home Depot also.  We have a nice deck that we seldom use, so I intend to use the excess containers to grow vegetables on the deck next season.

Little by little I am pecking away at repotting and pruning the olive trees.  The Picholine above is kind of what I am trying to achieve.  When I repot the trees I remove about an inch off the root system all the way around, filling the gap with fresh media; this is basically the same method used to control the size of bonsai.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Journal August 28, 2015 - Preserving the harvest

Fortunately, my wife likes to can vegetables,  while I enjoy growing them, so it works out just great.  From our bumper crop of tomatoes this year, she has canned several batches of tomatoes,  which we will use throughout the coming winter.

With the gardening season winding down,  I have begun to think about the olive trees.  Repotting them with my homemade soil and placing them on the deck has done wonders for the trees.  The trees will remain on the deck until it really gets cold,  as they need at least 400 hours of cold temperatures if they are going to flower in the late winter and early spring.  That said, however,  there has been so much growth this summer that most of the trees have to be pruned and moved to larger containers.  I had thought of cloning more trees, as this is the ideal time to take cuttings, but, and it is a big but, I have hardly any room left for more trees.  The trees in the photo above are all trees that I have propagated.  Propagating my own trees was a personal objective when I started to grow olives,  so as these trees represent a success with several methods of propagation, I am satisfied that I have achieved my objective.
Today I ordered 20 three gallon nursery containers, most of which I intend to use to repot the olives.   It is my intention that this is the largest container that I will use for the trees.   Periodically I plan on simply root pruning the trees and adding a small amount of new soil every year to keep the trees container sized.

 The Ascolano olive tree shown above is pretty much what I intend the rest of the trees to look like.  The maximum height I can comfortably deal with a little over three feet, so I am trying to train the trees to be short stubby bushes, rather than upright.

And, for a little variety, soon I will be adding a few small fig trees to my collection; the question is: where to put them?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Journal August 23, 2015 - Gathering the harvest, but thinking ahead

There have been no recent blog posts, as I have just been sitting back and letting nature take its course with the garden and greenhouse.  

To say the least: this has been a banner year for growing in upstate New York.  It has been hot and sunny, with just enough rain to keep the plants growing.

We have already canned several batches of tomatoes,  made relish and pickles, loaded the freezer with eggplant parm, and have garlic and onions to use for several weeks.  In addition, we have planted green beans in the space where the cucumbers, garlic and onions grew earlier in the season.

Normally, we go to local farms and pick tomatoes in the fall, however, this year that is not going to be necessary.   As stated above,  we have been canning for weeks, and there are many more tomatoes ripening on the vine, with several weeks remaining in the growing season.

For what we have invested in seeds, sets and gardening supplies, we have been well rewarded with the return on our investments this year.

So, as the growing season heads to its close, I am already starting seeds for indoor gardening, with three varieties of lettuce and either Tropic or Celebrity tomatoes.

As the greenhouse has a lot of  space, I plan on trying to force Green Ice, Merlot and Red Salad Bowl lettuce to bolt to seed so I can have fresh seeds for future crops.