August 4, 2015

State of the Garden

This has not been a good year for the garden. No rain in May, June was rainy but too hot, July was less hot but too dry; I'm amazed I have anything growing at all. But I do and am thankful for it.

1st tomatoes are always exciting news. These are from a volunteer plant.

The rest of my tomatoes are coming along nicely too. I'm hoping for lots,
for lots of pizza sauce, although I confess to succumbing to the temptation
to fry the first ones green. I plan to can some green tomatoes for that too.

We've been harvesting summer squash. These are Tatume, which
I like because they seem to be pest resistant and tasty too. The
smaller ones are best sauteed, the larger make good stuffed squash.

For winter squash I planted white cushaws. It's another squash that doesn't
seem to be bothered by our insects. It makes a great substitute for pumpkin

The cushaw is sharing a bed with the okra, also behind schedule.

Ozark Razorback cowpeas

I'm harvesting multiplier onions. These are some of the largest.
Multiplier onions do better for me than globe onions.

Seed saving has begun too.

These are purple plum radish seed pods. Sometime I don't remove the seed
from the pod if I have storage space. I just break the pods open as I plant.

Now it's time to think about the fall garden! I'm never ready for that in August because it's always so hot. But it is the time to get those seeds in the ground. Is anyone ready for that?

39 comments:

  1. We may actually have our first garden this fall. Got a lil piece of the big garden tilled up, at least, which is closer than we've ever gotten b4. Those green tomatoes of yours sure look good!

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    1. I'm really happy about those green tomatoes! Lots of them too. Here's hoping you have a successful first garden. :)

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  2. Never come across purple plum radish before just googled it, I am just gt round to autumn sowing got more peas in and leeks, having got through our first year of growing there are things we are changing for next year, the climate is different here to were we used to live, the squashes are looking good :-)

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    1. Dawn, trying to figure out a place's growing climate always seems to be a challenge, doesn't it? Even after 6 years here I'm still learning.

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  3. Our big garden this year will be the fall/winter garden. Thanks for the seed storage in pod tip. I am saving French Breakfast Radishes, they have tasty greens as well as nice radishes.

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    1. Experimenting with radishes (and other stuff) is one of the best parts about gardening. As you can see, I still have the random volunteers from previous years!

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  4. The few plants I put in aren't doing so great here. The soil is sandy. Next year will be better, as I have compost I am working on.
    I am hoping for a better start next year!

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    1. It definitely takes a lot of experimenting and some soil work. When we lived in Florida and had sandy soil, I grew the best carrots ever! Carrots with clay soil is a disappointment, so we're adding compost and sand! I know you'll have a better garden next year with the improvements you're doing.

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  5. Yes, we are ready for the fall garden. We have the ground turned and waiting for seeds. You're right about the heat though. We've had temperatures hovering around 100 for a couple of weeks and it's hot and dry. Everything here is late also this year. We just harvested our first pod of okra a few days ago. Thanks for the update.

    Fern

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    1. My first okra should be ready soon too! I've sometimes thought I should plan the garden to avoid the heat of summer. A covered winter garden along with spring and fall may be better to keep alive.

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    2. It seems that the cowpeas, tomatoes and okra are happy in the heat of summer, but most other things just try to hang on until it starts to cool off some. You may have a good idea there. I hope to be able to grow more vegetables through the fall, winter and early spring in the greenhouse we are building. That will definitely be another learning curve and may take a few years to figure out.

      Fern

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  6. It's so interesting to see and hear of the different veggies and varieties that do well in different parts of the country.

    My shell peas are just coming in full force and my beans are full of blossoms but no beans yet. The cherry tomatoes are little green globes still. That gives you an idea of why the option of planting a fall garden is pretty much non-existent up here! I've done it before a few times, but always get zapped with killing frost before anything matures.

    The produce in your pictures looks very healthy and appetizing!

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    1. It is interesting to read about others' gardens. It's amazing how much difference location and type of soil can make! Here's hoping you have a late frost this year.

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  7. It's great to see what you're harvesting and to hear what works for you! I bought dirt for new garden beds, and it turns out the dirt is so poor that the ONLY thing that grew at all were the cowpeas (which makes sense since they can fix their own nitrogen). That's one of the great things about gardening - there's always next year!

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    1. I guess you never know about buying dirt. At least something came up! I agree, there's always next year. :)

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  8. my garden is so far behind this year. I was able to harvest my first cherry tomato yesterday and there are others behind it. I have two zucchini that are about ready. The herbs are doing okay and the peppers look okay also.
    I think that my husband might have pulled my volunteer lettuce (grrr!) I keep asking that he not help me with the weeding because he doesn't know what is weeds and what isn't. he also pulled an onion the other day...at least that I could eat.
    I'm not sure that I'm going to get any green beans this year. :(

    I think next summer I'll have to try harder starting inside and transfer.

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    1. I'm with you on trying harder to start plant indoors to transfer. I tried that this spring, but my little plants didn't do very well, even under a grow light. We've put a bigger emphasis on "food first" when it comes to projects and chores, so hopefully that will help. I have to say that Dan declines to weed because he doesn't always know what he's pulling! I guess that's good but it leaves that job all to me, LOL

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  9. Leigh,

    Those are some really nice looking tomatoes. Fried green tomatoes, YUM!!!! You can green tomatoes too?

    This fall I will continue to harvest cucumbers, tomatoes, tomatillo's, potatoes, squash (I have some coming up nicely now), and beans (just planted more seeds).

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    1. Sandy, you can harvest potatoes into fall? I'm guessing you do a late summer planting? I've not been able to find seedling potatoes after March (which is really too early to plant them here, I think). I'm much rather have a good fall harvest than summer harvest of potatoes.

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  10. Replies
    1. I'm not really sure. We have about 30, 4x16 foot beds, but they aren't all planted at any given time and some are for perennials like strawberries and Jerusalem artichokes. It never seems like enough but we never get it planted all, either.

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  11. It looks like you are getting quite a few things. I do have some cucumbers and green beans up in some pots that I started recently and hoping to get some before frost. Need to plant other things. Do you eat your green tomatoes like a vegetable. What do they taste like? Nancy

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    1. Nancy, my hopes of a huge harvest have had to be set aside until next year, but I'm happy with what I have!

      I like the green toms fried best. I coat them in egg and corn meal and cook them in a bit of fat until they are tender and both sides are brown. (I don't deep fry). Follow my links in the post for more photos and specific directions. They definitely taste like tomatoes, but being green, they aren't so juicy and are firm, so they can be handled to be fried.

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  12. I didn't realize you have so many raised beds, that's awesome. I've thought about making (next year) some perennial beds. Hey you are still getting a nice haul. It's funny, we opted out of a Spring garden because it was raining so much and we didn't get stuff in the ground and then it just kept raining and raining and now it's blistering hot. Turns out we made the right decision. Now I'm debating a Fall garden. But of course, the weeds have started to take over the beds and it's so hot to work the beds. It's always a tough decision huh? Get ready for Fall planting and maybe rush it, or just take our time to clean up and prepare the beds for next Spring? Decisions decisions, ha.

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    1. Yes, gardening is definitely a constant guessing game and since we can't predict the weather, the guesses only seem to be about 50% correct!

      Our beds aren't raised, they are just beds flat on the ground. I gave up on raised beds because of our wire grass. I find that tilling (horrors!) really helps us stay ahead of it for the growing season. My perennial beds (strawberries and asparagus) are disasters in terms of the stuff taking over. Still trying to figure out how to win that battle.

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  13. dill pickle green tomatoes--delicious.

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    1. That sounds really good! I have tried what seems like dozens of green tomato recipes, but Dan is fussy about his pickles and I end up having to eat all of them by myself. Or getting the pigs to help. I may try lacto-fermenting some with dill. Hmm.

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  14. Looks like you are doing pretty well in the garden department. Corn is growing up here but everything else has suffered from lack of rain.

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    1. Harry, it's been a tough year for gardeners, hasn't it? Either folks are getting too much rain or not enough. No balance!

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  15. Have you ever tried Georgia Candy Roasters? It's an old-time squash variety, you have to go to one of those heritage seed sites to get it. I got introduced to it in Western North Carolina, and fell in love. It's easy to grow, easy to store, easy to cook, and makes a pie that beats pumpkins six ways to Sunday.

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    1. Amanda, I've not heard of those but the fact that the word "Georgia" is in the name is hopeful for our summers! Thanks for the recommendation. Pumpkins don't do well for me but the cushaw have, so they are keepers. I'm always willing to try something new, however and see that Baker Creek carries these seeds. :)

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  16. Did i miss this post, so sorry. Have you tried Gramma Pumpkin

    http://www.lifestyle.com.au/gardening/how-to-grow-gramma-pumpkin.aspx

    or Pepino Melon - These are two new ones that im looking at for my garden The Pepino is define and grows in shady area.

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    1. I've not heard of those so I looked them up. The Gramma doesn't seem to be available in the US but the Pepino is. Always happy for recommendations!

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  17. We have had a wonky garden year too. Beans didn't produce (too many bugs), so I am replanting in the new bed. Peppers were a complete flop, from saved seed and new seed, so those are being redone. Tomatoes are going gang busters. Corn did amazing, and then poof, bugs. I really think my idea of bringing in all the leaves last fall introduced more bugs, causing a lot of my problems. But I don't give up easily. Onward and more planting. Good thing I have a long growing season :)
    http://batemanhomestead.weebly.com/

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    1. Stephanie, that's so disappointing considering how much work you've been putting in to getting your homestead started. We homesteaders can't give up easily! I wonder if putting your leaves into your chicken yard first would help. Chickens are mighty helpful when it comes to bug patrol.

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  18. I had hornworms and bunny rabbits destroy my little bit of garden this year.It's been a hard year for people with gardens this year.I'm container gardening for fall and for next year to see if it makes a difference.

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    1. Oh no! We have rabbits too but deer do the most garden damage. It has been a hard year for gardeners. I'll be curious as to how your container gardening goes.

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  19. I've just about given up on our garden. Tomatoes are small and blighty. Beans weedy. Corn over ripe...... auuughhh!!

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    1. That is so disappointing! It's just been a bad year for gardening all the way around.

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