Side bale garden - I am waving the white flag on much of it. I've learned so much, but am finding that my love - and need - is with the driveway and the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. I will be able to apply what I've learned to a much better result looking ahead. Still growing well are the basil and squash bales - and that's fine. Heat, inability to keep up with watering, and critters (deer, rabbits, slugs, cabbage looper larva) really took their toll. The good news is that there are lots of available, well broken in bales for some fall crops - greens, garlic, maybe peas - we shall see.
Driveway and deck gardens - wow! On the deck we are picking Diva cukes and loads of cherry tomatoes - Egg Yolk, Sun Gold, Mexico Midgets. Peppers are just starting to turn color - I picked some red Paprika types, sliced them thin and dehydrated them yesterday...they will be ground into paprika. Between breading and baking and roasting, we are constantly dealing with a great eggplant crop - and a few are turning yellow and ready for seed saving. The Straw Bale tomatoes are really spectacular - what a treat to be able to compare all 36 released varieties in terms of yield, health, and flavor. The mid driveway indeterminate varieties in 5 gallon containers completely exceeded my expectations for them.
About 75% of the Dwarfs are living and very healthy. Half of the rest are struggling, and the other half are dead and gone - but that is really a very good percentage of success for me. I think that around 80% of the indeterminate types are doing just fine. I continue to water at least once daily, because it continues to be hot - and we are not getting much rain here in North Raleigh.
Other important observations - the 5 gallon bags are superb for healthy, high yielding peppers and eggplant. Supporting the plants when they get more than 3 feet tall and loaded with fruit is an issue - we have lots of leaners and tippers. But that's OK - it is still working great. My utter failure to top most of the indeterminate tomatoes once they reached the top of the 5 or 6 foot stakes is all on me - part of it traveling and events, part the pain of removing fruiting potential! The bonus is continued great yields. But it is becoming a bit of a tangle out there!
Here are just a few pics. Top row - view from the road end including my happy potted Okra, Cherokee Purple, Islander project pepper Fire Opal
Second row - middle of the driveway garden, surprise color break from the Islander project - supposed to be White Gold (nice olive green with brownish purple wash!), Bulgarian Carrot
Third row - Dwarfs running perpendicular to the road, great jalapeno type Pinata, a favorite hot ornamental I've had since 1986, Pretty Purple
Big bottom pic - many of our favorites - Lucky Cross, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Cherokee Green - then Sun Gold, Green Giant, Lillian's Yellow Heirloom (the real prize of this group!), Cherokee Chocolate....and a few tiny Mexico Midgets!