JoAnne Skelly: Shutting down the garden

JoAnne Skelly

JoAnne Skelly

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

Thirty-nine degrees this morning and 30 degrees expected before the week is out – autumn is definitely here. I shut down my vegetable garden.

Two weeks ago, I stopped watering my disappointing green bean plants. One was a “Kentucky Wonder” and the other “Velour Purple.” Back when I bought these plants, I recognized the name Kentucky Wonder and thought it was a good bean to grow. I had forgotten it was a string bean, which means you have to remove the strings before eating. I won’t grow these again; they were not worth my time or water.

Not only were they stringy, but the beans were also tough. Besides, the plant didn’t produce enough beans at any one time even for a meal for two. The Velour Purple produced a flavorful purple stringless bean. Since I was hoping for purple beans on the table, it was a letdown that when cooked, the color disappeared. Unfortunately, Velour Purple was also a poor producer. I’m not growing green beans next year, lesson learned.

On the other hand, this was the best year I ever had for tomato production. I grew “Sungold,” a prolific and tasty orange cherry tomato and “Martha Washington,” a delicious medium-sized red tomato. Both plants were huge and covered with fruit. I was picking and eating tomatoes every day. However, with the expected cold, I picked all the tomatoes, ripe or green, so I wouldn’t lose them.

I ripen green tomatoes by putting them in a sunny window. I could have covered the plants with blankets at night and uncovered each morning, but that seemed like too much work with six-foot tall plants. The lemon cucumber plant was another huge producer although the leaves looked terrible from a spider mite infestation. I never had so many lemon cucumbers before. Since both my husband and I love their flavor, that was a pleasant surprise. I shut that plant down too.

As I mentioned in a previous article, I failed at zucchini this year. I would get the occasional small zucchini, but not enough to make a meal. I think part of this was trying to grow the plant in a tub that was too small, which stunted the plant. Some critter dug in the soil every week although it never ate the veggies. I’m not sure if I will try zucchini again. While part of me will miss summer, part of me is ready to shut the garden down and do fall maintenance chores instead. No more battling the critters, no more watering, no more harvesting.

JoAnne Skelly is Associate Professor & Extension Educator Emerita at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Email


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment