Wednesday, October 24, 2012

BrokeDick Farms 2012 review

OK, so I know I haven't blogged in a while, but there's been a reason. I've been busy cooking, BBQ'ing, and tending to my garden (aka BrokeDick Farms). This blog is to give an overview of the construction and growth of BrokeDick Farms for the summer 2012 season.

Last year was the first full summer in my house so I decided to build a few raised garden beds. Not fully knowing the best location to put them, it was a craps shoot. Well I didn't put them in an area that had enough sun. Also 2011 was a crappy year for growing stuff. Behind my garage was a huge weed and over grown tree nightmare, but it got a lot of sun. At the beginning of this year, I decided to bite the bullet and clear that area in order to put in BrokeDick Farms. It took me a few weekends in the rain to finish, but after a bunch of cursing and sweat, I got everything cleared out.

When I finally cleared the area I realized that the bushes and weeds were grown on a dirt mount filled with rocks and boulders. I spent another few weeks leveling out the dirt, removing some of the rocks and built a small retaining wall. 

I built 3 raised garden beds on top of it. I never got around to do it, but I am going to put pavers around the raised beds. That's my first winter project. So as you can see, I finally planted stuff at the end of May.

In the box on the left, I planted a thai chili, jalapeno, habanero, and poblano peppers in the front of it. In the back, I planted corn. In the middle box, I planted 2 San Marzano tomato plants and one cherry tomato plant. On the right, I planted 2 tomatillo plants and climbing green beans in the back. On the bottom left of the picture, you can see one of the boxes I built last year. This doesn't get a lot of sun, but I planted yellow and green squash in there. They grew ok last year in them so I gave it a shot. In the planters on the corners, I planted centennial and cascade hops. I also planted a herb garden (not shown) in a big pot. I planted sweet basil, thai basil, dill, and oregano. I had thyme and rosemary in pots from last year as well. Now its time to water and wait.  After a few weeks, things started to take off. Everything started growing crazy except for the peppers. 

I started to get small batches of tomatillos, cherry tomatoes and green beans first. I started making tomatillo salsa with the tomatillos and just eating the tomatoes and green beans for snacks and dinner.

Now the San Marzano tomatoes started blowing up. I mean I was picking off a few dozen every couple of days. This is probably a pic of my first harvest and picked the same amount every few days. The squash also started to flourish as well.

Now we are heading into the end of August and tomatoes, tomatillos and green beans are going crazy. I make salsa almost every week and canned what I couldn't get through. I made tomato sauce and soup a bunch of times and then ended up canning 6 pints of tomatoes. These guys are now resting in my wine cellar in my basement along with some tomatillos. 

Overall, I ended up harvesting 8 pounds of tomatillos and 15 pounds of San Marzano tomatoes. I didn't keep track of the green bean or cherry tomatoes as I ate them fresh off the vine almost everyday. Now that is October and the temperatures have dropped, its time to call it quits. This is the final harvest for 2012 that I picked this week. It was a sad day when I had to pull everything out :(

Ok, so those were my successful plants this year. I'll write another blog on sauces, canning and other fun things I did with the harvest overt he summer. The herbs grew pretty well and I used them in almost everything that I cooked all summer, which is awesome to use fresh herbs. I am trying to transplant them into smaller pots and move them inside. We'll see how that goes.

So now onto the failures.

First off, the corn. I won't do corn again for a few reasons. One day I came home and most of the corn was knocked down. I am not sure if a raccoon ran through my backyard or the wind knocked them over. I tried to get them back up with poles and was able to save most of them but they looked all broken. Secondly, I got an infestation of aphids on them, which in turn attracted ants to them. The little corn that was growing was eaten by the ants. I ended up pulling the corn out half way through the summer.

Second was not necessarily a failure. The hops. They were new plants and I was told not to expect them to grow hops the first year. The plants grew but not as much as I thought they were going too. I think this is a lot to do with the fact that they ended up being shaded over by the other plants. I am going to move them to a different location next year. Good thing I planted them in pots so they are easy to move.

Third, the peppers (all of them). Even though we had a hot summer and they had plenty of sun, they didn't start producing fruits until the beginning of September. I was only able to harvest a few poblanos. The jalapeno's probably have 15-20 on there right now, but just tiny little bulbs. The thai chili's were the same way. The habanero's flowered, but never produced fruit. I am thinking of putting them in pots and moving them inside as well before it starts freezing. I was really disappointed in them. I did buy Ghost Chili seeds online in May and have been growing those. I have about 15 plants growing but they are only a few inches tall. I just brought them in. I am thinking of getting a grow lamp to help them grow through the summer.

Overall, I think it was a sucess. I learned a lot this year and will make changes off of it next year. Now I have to start working on installing the pavers around the raised beds. If you have any tips, please feel free to email me or leave a comment.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work. Peppers are hard to grow in that region. I would recommend clear plastic bags over them. Let them breathe every once in awhile. And they prefer different soils so maybe ammend that bed accordingly. Also with any aphids you can release lady bugs or praying mantis, they eat em up. Good work though! I miss Oregon gardening. Also peas are good to plant really early and you can harvest and remove them before the other big guys really take off.