Harvest Monday, September 17, 2012 + Window Box Gardening

Fall is in the air. Our night time temperatures have been in the 40’s and mornings are cool. Time to start thinking about putting the gardens to bed for the winter.

Plants are slowing down but still getting sufficient harvest from kale, collard, eggplants, Chinese long beans, sweet potato vines, cucumber, lettuce, bittermelon and angled luffa for the week’s needs.

Tomatoes plants got the late blight. Salvaged whatever tomatoes I could (above photo). Pulled up and disposed of (properly) all the plant parts.

Remember the broccoli and napa seedlings I planted in window boxes on September 3? They are growing but attacked continually by cabbage worms.


Napa cabbage

Battling cabbage worm daily. Try to pick them off the plants when they are tiny (about ¼ – ½ inch), but they blend in so well with the plants’ stems and leaves, I frequently don’t see them until they are 1 or more inch in length (the eye sight is not what it used to be), by them a great deal of damage has been done.

Can you find the cabbage worm in the photo above? That’s a big fat one.

Top box, forellenschluss lettuce
The name means “speckled like a trout’s back” referring to the maroon dappling on the leaves which will become more pronounced as the plant grows
Middle box, lettuce cimmaron
Bottom box, oak leaf lettuce

The above heirloom lettuce seedlings were thinnings from Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden on September 7. Not wanting the thinnings to go to waste, we, the volunteers, took them home. They were quite wilted by the time I got them home and doubted they would survive if planted directly into the ground. So I decided to plant them in window boxes where I could keep them in the shade until they showed sign of growing then gradually introduce them to the sun. Now they are happy in full day sun.

Pleased with the lettuce in the window boxes got carried away and decided to start some other seeds in window boxes. May be too late in the season, but because the boxes are portable and easy to move, when the weather starts to get cold, I will move the boxes to the driveway. This way I can easily bring them into the garage if frost is predicted.

Top box, little finger carrot and Chinese radish-beauty heart
Sowed, 9/9, carrot germinated, 9/14 (very hard to see the 2 rows of tiny sprouts). The plants you see in the middle of the box are radish seedlings, germinated 9/11. Did not expect the carrots seedlings to emerge so early so I sowed a row of radish in the center between the 2 rows of carrots.
Middle box, choy sum
Sowed 9/7, germinated 9/10
Bottom box, Shanghai bok choy
Sowed 9/7, germinated 9/9

I was surprised how fast all the seeds germinated in the boxes, faster than those sowed directly in the ground.

Need to do some serious thinning. May wait until the seedlings are larger and do a bit of transplanting, will see, all depends on the weather. If we have a long Indian summer there is a good chance I will get an harvest even a good one.

Many of my friends have downsized and no longer have outdoor garden space. Some of my friends are not physically able to garden anymore. But all of these friends have the same desire. That is to continue to do a little gardening. I hope this post will give them some ideas to start window box/container gardening.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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76 Responses to Harvest Monday, September 17, 2012 + Window Box Gardening

  1. Norma, have you ever thought about keeping chickens? They love the caterpillars we feed them.. 🙂 Glad you were able to salvage some tomatoes!

  2. Can’t wait to see the crop my friend, and glad you managed to get the tomatoes 🙂
    Hope you find a way around those dastardly worms!

    Choc Chip Uru

  3. hotlyspiced says:

    It’s amazing how quickly your seasons change, Norma. I don’t like the look of that sneaky and destructive caterpillar. Glad you’re still able to harvest during the Fall xx

  4. Patsy says:

    Those caterpillars are nasty aren’t they? I’m battling them too. Sorry about the late blight. Those tomatoes you salvaged look good though. I like your suggestions for window boxes; I’ve been thinking of doing some lettuce in window boxes that I can cover to extend the season a little.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Patsy,
      Oh yes, they are nasty. This is the first year I am using window boxes to extend the season. Not sure why it never occurred to me before, but better late than never.

  5. Annie says:

    😦 Never mind about the broccoli and nappa cabbages…but at least I can see you will have very nice varieties of lettuces soon:)

  6. kitsapFG says:

    Darn cabbage worms can be a real pain sometimes. I too grow in containers as well as the garden proper. It really adds alot of growing room and some plants seem to do better in the more controlled environment it provides.

  7. Sophie33 says:

    A great produce though, Norma! Too bad of those fuilty eating cabbage worm!

  8. Dang cabbage caterpillars… they did a number on our broccoli and caulilower too but I’m on top of them now. The “crops” growing in the window boxes are looking good. We grow stuff in several window boxes as well.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello FGK,
      Glad you are on top of the cabbage worms. Did not see many white butterflies during the spring and summer and so did not have much problem with the cabbage worms, but now they are numerous. Fluttering around the plants, laying their eggs, that hatch into caterpillars.

  9. Wilderness says:

    Nice harvest. I have been lucky the cabbage worms have not been bad this year yet I have seen plenty of moths flying around.

    We have had a couple night predicted in the 30’s but hasn’t happened yet. In fact Saturday night has a frost warning.

    No blight here is year. My tomato plants are still very healthy.

  10. Barbara Good says:

    I’ve started planting lettuce in containers too, hope they do well for both of us. Nasty big worm, hope you squashed him after you snap the photo. I’ve seen a few cabbage moths flying around the garden lately too so there must be worms there too. The worst part of spring gardening is the re-emergence of the bugs, slugs and pests.

  11. I need to try planting lettuce in window boxes too.

  12. leduesorelle says:

    We’ve had a lot of trouble with cabbage worms in our fall planting also! They seem to be worse this year, and we’ve been trying to keep the plants under row cover to protect them. They seem to be favoring the fun jen in particular…

  13. zentMRS says:

    Oh I just hate those guys! They are so destructive. Good luck with the lettuce though – it looks like it is coming along nicely!

  14. Jenny says:

    Your tomatoes look very nice though it’s too bad that you got blight. Some of mine were killed off by it too, but few remained healthy. And your container garden looks like a good producer so in couple of weeks all those seedlings should be very bushy and green.

  15. Purely.. Kay says:

    Just look at that broccoli and cabbage. Beautiful. Those happen to me my favorite veggies to eat. Love this post.

  16. I am sorry about the cabbage caterpillars. I have been battling leaf rollers on my beans, but haven’t planted any of the cabbage family of plants, or I would be battling those, too. I see the little butterflies every day.

  17. Daphne says:

    I’ve got to go out and thin my greens too. The last batch I sowed is all up and growing. And of course way too thick. Someday I’ll learn to sow my seed more thinly.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Daphne,
      When I sow my seeds thinly, they germinate poorly, when I sow thickly, every seed seems to germinate, so decided to sow thickly and thin. Can be a pain especially with carrots.

  18. cocomino says:

    That’s a great harvest. I also found many vegetables here in Finland. 🙂

  19. I’ve been complaining about not having access to a bit of land that I can call all mine so this might be PERFECT! Thanks for sharing your methods, Norma! =D

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello SM,
      If you have a sunny location you are good to go. One thing to keep in mind is you need to fertilize more frequently. I fertilize at half strength once a week. Also remember to water daily if needed.

  20. I love the idea of window boxes. It doesn’t frost where I am but I don’t have any dirt to grow things in. That worm wouldn’t make me happy either. I suppose everything needs a chance to live but not on your cabbage!

  21. Eva Taylor says:

    I’m afraid the winds got to my “gift” tomatoes before we left and I suspect that the ones that were left green will be gone by the time we return in October. We’re off to Barcelona tomorrow, and I’m hoping the Internet is better there.

  22. Dave says:

    Great info about window boxes. You can grow so many things in conainers!

  23. Almost time for a good hot pot… Can you post one with a good tomato base? I love that with fresh white fish. Yum!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Bam,
      I do not have a good tomato base for hot pot, but will give you a couple suggestions, use lots of tomatoes if you want a strong tomato flavor. Do let me know if these suggestions worked for you.
      1. Add peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped sun ripened tomatoes (heirloom if possible) to chicken broth. OR
      2. Saute onion and garlic until translucent, add chunks of sun ripened tomatoes (heirloom if possilbe), mix well. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Put through a food mill to remove seeds and skin. Add tomato juice/sauce to chicken broth.

  24. Eha says:

    My first spring planting complete [yup, pat on my back 🙂 !]. Going after the second lot this Friday: think I’ll steer clear of cabbages, tho’ did put in three long troughs of Chinese cabbagey stuff: perhaps our caterpillars are not partial to those 😀 ! All my containers are in a heattrap on a concrete ledge with a brick wall behind: in spite of that really the watering takes but minutes morning &/or night 🙂 !

  25. Liz says:

    My napa cabbages (or wombok as they’re usually called here) always get that shredded look. I can’t think of a vegetable that the slugs, bugs and pests like more.

  26. maryhysong says:

    Our weather is cooling off also but not as fast as yours. I do have some lettuce and carrots coming up tho. I just wish the early beet seeding had made it; turned too hot and dry right afterwards so they didn’t make it.

  27. Barbie says:

    I love the window boxes. Gave some to a neighbor recently who keeps asking about my gardens. Figured I’d give her a little start. She planted them and is getting going for fall. <3. Love the pics of the fawns, too. Oh My!!!

  28. I’m guessing that you must not need to buy much in the way of vegetables throughout the summer months Norma! The portable window boxes are a great idea for planting this time of year. Here’s hoping for a few more warmer weekends this fall!

  29. Bee Girl says:

    Ugh…blight and cabbage worms! It seems to come in waves, doesn’t it? I’m glad to see that you were able to salvage some gorgeous tomatoes, though! Sometimes our gifts are small, but they’re still gifts 🙂 Hope you have a great week!

  30. mac says:

    Sorry about the blight and cabbage worms, love your window box seedlings, wonder it’s too late for me to start sowing, I have another trip coming up, don’t know they will survive 2 weeks without me, bummer!

  31. YAY Tomatoe 🙂 how much i wish we had them in our nonexistent garden hehe they are so expensive to buy lately 😦 great work Norma ~

  32. I love your window box seedlings. I would love to do something like that in the future. Great photos!

  33. Oh, those worms! they sure do keep us moving around!
    i didn’t see any all summer, and then temperature dropped, they just came out to eat all my vegetables! I found yesterday something eats my dill: dark worm with yellow dots.

  34. I always wanted to have my own garden with herbs and vegetables. But obviously whenever I think of it I have an image of me collecting all the delicious vegetables. But there’s so many obligations as well, like battling the worms. Anyway I still hope that my dream will come true one day. I’ve moved to Berlin recently and I’ve heard that there’s a chance for a place in a communal garden next season, so fingers crossed 🙂 And I’m so happy that I’ve found your blog some time ago, s many inspirations over here.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Marta,
      Gardening does have certain challenges, but the rewards are very satisfying and that is true for everything. I hope you are able to secure a place in your communal garden next season.

  35. Diana says:

    I have never any luck with napa cabbage, never form tight head for us to enjoy.
    Caterpillars on the leaves shows how delicious and safe home-grown are to eat.

  36. gold price says:

    If you’re growing lettuce in pots or window boxes, use a good organic potting mix, or make your own . It’s usually best to plant seedlings, instead of seeds, unless you can be ruthless about thinning.

  37. Robert says:

    Hi! I notice you hing trroble with lettuce and cabbage + worms…. A good prctice is a patch or line of chives (smallest)/leeks/springs onion…. They chase away pests which hate the smell and taste… might not help after infestation takes place, but I usually plant chives at the same time with any other veggies to keep them healthy, the organic way:D

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Robert,
      Thanks for stopping by. Thanks also for the suggestion, next year i will surely plant a row of spring onion in my windowboxes at the same time I am panting the veggies. Will do the same in my garden.

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