October 19, 2018
I got another picking of green beans. With high 70's predicted for daytime and high 30's at night maybe I'll get more. I would probably grow bush beans just for their attractiveness. They are cheerful little plants that fill out nicely. Their bright green leaves form on multiple short stalks, facing every direction, and layered throughout the bush. That's why my plants are still doing well after the frost burned the outer leaves. The inner leaves are now hard at work ripening the remaining fruit. It's like plan B for bush beans.
When the plants are young they fold their leaves up during the hot daytime if they lack sufficient moisture. This reduces the sunlight on the surface of their leaves so they don't respire to death. After you water them the leaves will slowly return to their position parallel to the ground. Most plants wilt but the bean plants communicate with us differently. If they lack water while they are forming beans they will give you short, curled beans instead of long strait ones. " Take that, you cheap SOB ".
October 20, 2018
I picked fall broccoli yesterday. I always pick them a little undersized. I complain about not getting big crowns then go ahead and pick them at 5". When I see a little daylight through the head I think it's going to open so I should get it before it does, because it's big enough for a meal. Then when I'm holding it in my hand I think " This isn't enough for both of us " so I pick the next largest one. That's the way it goes until thay are all gone. The broccolini begin forming and we have just begun.
This works well in the spring but in fall most of the small crowns will get burned by hard freezes. Unlike bush beans broccoli is a serious plant. They work hard at growing a big crown with large stout stems supporting it's weight. They are stoic, like oak trees, growing an umbrella crown reminiscent of trees on the Serengeti. There is no frivolity in their demeanor. They are the Germans of the veggie kingdom.
October 21, 2018
I picked the green tomatoes that had a little yellow showing and put them in a shallow cardboard box. Closed the lid and stuffed if under the bed in the guest room. Last year I got seven out of ten to ripen this way. They aren't as flavorful as vine ripened but festive in the dreary winter days. We had red tomatoes at Christmas. I also picked some fall planted kale. It was not bitter at all.
It was like spring planted. I realized that kale gets a bad reputation because it overwinters and is sometimes the only thing available to pick. At this stage it's filled with the antifreeze chemicals that allow it to withstand the freezing. It might be that's why it's bitter. Spring planted kale, if left to harvest in the fall, won't be as good as if it were picked in the spring, so plant a fall crop and pull out the spring plantings as soon as you start picking the fall harvest.