I’ll admit it, Saturday, I slept in, and really didn’t do much of anything other then take pictures for my sister. So when I awoke Sunday, I was rearing to go, and not in the mood to sit around. I got up and out early enough to catch the morning sun, finishing up with it’s daily burn off of the nights fog. You can still see some of the once all-encompassing cloud by the foot of the hills.
In the afternoon Sandy and Davie came over, and we finished harvesting the onions, and learned it’s a bit late in the season for them. Some of the Onion bulbs had begun to rot. Next year I’ll make it a point to finish picking them by the beginning or middle of August.
The string beans have collapsed half of the stick constructed trellis I made for them, and the beans shown are only about a third of the crop. Also shown are Okra, my least favorite garden food. The plants grew very well, and produced a healthy offering of seed pods.
The little Gardener’s Watermelons are just starting to ripen up. My sister Sandy discovered a great rule of thumb to tell when a melon is ripe: It’s ripe when the little worms and bugs just start to nibble a bit at the outer shell. Once they know it’s ripe, we should know it’s ripe. I also made it a point to show the 4 year old gardener that started these plants what he accomplished. When I asked him if he would do it again next year he said “No”, I replied “Why not ?”, to which he said “It takes tooooo long”. I guess the lack of instant gratification is a symbol of ones age.
At the end of the day, I decided to plant the Garlic a few weeks early. Garlic should be started early enough to give the plants time to build a basic set of roots before freezing temps set in. I’m hoping the early planting helps them grow nice big cloves. I’ve added several things to this soil to help out the plants, including bio-char and peat moss.
My niece Jennifer can be a bit of a trickster, so when her and Jessica informed me that a space ship landed in my corn and made a crop circle, I took the news with a grain of salt and didn’t believe them. They insisted that I go look, and I was waiting for one of their friends to come jumping out from the corn in an elaborate attempt to startle me.
What I found was not other worldly, nor in the shape of a circle, but it surely was worth pondering about. Several areas of corn plants the size of a decent living room had been knocked over. Many of the ears of corn in this section of the garden were not yet ready for picking, and would be lost. It’s not a big problem, as we got carried away and planted way too many rows of corn, but I am left wondering who or what did this ?
The damage seemed to flow in from the top of the garden, meandering back and forth, and finally exitting near the right edge of the garden. I imagine the only animal large enough to do this would be a bear, or a group of deer bedding down for the night. I couldn’t find any paw or hoof marks, so I’m left wondering: Could wind do this ?
It’s not all bad though, I’ve informed Jenny that she can feed the stalks and underdeveloped corn to her goat, and she smilled from ear to ear. She’s been thinking about getting five more goats, and this would be the supply of food to feed them till she has her mother take her to buy more feed. We’ve surely planted enough for all, even the animals.
Turnips are very easy to grow, and I’ve always had great success with them, sometimes even more success then I planned. I imagine the word turnip was derived from or caused the use of the expression “whatever turns up”; because they grow all over the place, turning up all over the garden as volunteers. I’m not a big fan of this vegetable cooked, but raw it is quite good. I like to shred this veggy with carrots, and radishes and mix it up in a salad.
The kohlrabi is a bit small for this time of year, and I’ve been watering it every few days with the fall planted cucumbers. Kohlrabi has exceptional health benefits, and it’s taste is pretty good. I’ve also found out that it is sometimes referred to as “Space Cabbage”, seems fitting to me.
I’ve also dug up some of the carrots to see how they are progressing. I’ve tried simply pulling a few out of the ground by their leaves, but they always seemed to snap off at the base of the stem, so I used a pitch fork to prod the dirt. When snapping the photo, I found a water bottle sitting on the produce stand, and added it to show size.
Stuffed Tomatoes are new to me, and I’ve never tried them before this growing season. The whole idea sprang from a variety of tomatoes that I’ve grown this year: Yellow Stuffers. After reading about this oddity, I did a google search and found that there are multiple recipes for preparing them, with any type of tomato. The basic idea is much like stuffed peppers, with the addition of cheese on the top. The goodies above where cooked in a toaster oven, but here is an oven based recipe.
Shown above is a close up of a Yellow Stuffer tomato sliced in half. You can clearly see the hollow cavities, as well as the seed clusters which resemble that of a pepper. Next year I plan to grow nearly all blight resistant tomatoes, but this will be one of the few exceptions, as I love this new dinning option.
The time is finally here, the Okra is fully grown and ready to taste. This vegetable can be eaten raw, or cooked into a “slime” that is used for various culinary purposes. I opted for the raw taste. I sliced it up, and took a bit. I think my sister Sandy said it best when she described the taste as “a cross between a cucumber, pepper and zucchini”. I think the best way to describe what this veggy did to my taste bads can be summed up with one word: Yuck ! I did not like it at all, but if you never try anything new, you’ll never learn.
This weekend, I’ve also finished up some upgrades to my seedling room. I use this room heavily for a month or so to start my seedlings indoors, before moving them out to the greenhouse. The center header of the trim still needs a coat of paint, but I have more work to do with it. There is a vine carved into the wood, and I plan to stain it, and paint the rest of the piece white.
After many other projects, I grew tired of cutting trim into square boxy frames, and got a little creative with this frame. I had planned to place candles into the holders until I imagined the final result, curtains included. Instead, I found some plants that I’ve recently rooted in small pots, which fit perfectly. The plants should grow long vines, which will hang down from the pots. This is going to look amazing by next year, as the vines will be about 10 inches long by then.
My nephew has an amazing ability to take photos, and after a short illness, he’s back on track, and out snapping pictures. Above he captured a Sunflower in mid bloom. The flowers have just started emerging in the last few days, and the colors are amazing.
These sunflowers are somewhat unique in that they set multiple flowers that are smaller then most plants. Last year the flowers grew out to about five inches across, and there were about 3 per plant. This plant has eight flowers forming.
The plants have skyrocketed in growth to about ten foot tall, I guess this garden’s soil is much better then that of my walkway, which only provided the plants an oppurtunity for six feet of growth. Gotta love my styling cut off garden jeans….
The pumpkins are just about ready, and I’m wondering if they will last until Halloween. One of the still green pumpkins is about a foot and a half in diameter.
Late blight has ruined the tomato patch, and as a way to look “on the bright side of life”, I’m treating this outbreak as a learning opportunity. I’ve split up the patch into different zones, each with an identifying marker. The first zone is a control, as I’ve learned from the scientific method. In the control zone, I will not use any treatment, and see how the plants fair with no intervention. In the photo above, the control zone is shown on the left. In the center is zone E, and on the right is zone F. These have the most promising results thus far. Zone E is showing excellent new growth, and I’m encouraged to the point of hoping for some tomatoes out of this area. Zone F is not as bad as the control zone, but still not good. The plants in this zone look bad, but are not getting worse. I may section off another zone, and apply both treatments from E and F to the new zone.
I’m not following the scientific method completely however, as there are 20 + different types of tomatoes spread out and mixed up in the patch. I’ve tried to make the zones large enough to contain multiple varieties in the hopes that I’ll be able to tell if it is one particular tomato gene that is a factor, rather then just the treatment.
All in all, I’ve certainly learned what hasn’t worked, and I’ll definately grow blight resistant varieties in the future.