September 30, 2011

September Harvest

September has been my summer garden wrap-up month. Most plants are done producing, so except for seed, I've been gradually pulling things out to get the garden ready for winter.

Popcorn was harvested right before a predicted rain. Most of the stalks were still green, so it was earlier than I havested my popcorn last year. Then again, it was planted later too. With some on the ground because of the storm we had last month, I didn't want to risk mildew. Plus the ants were beginning to take notice, not to mention deer, who apparently have preferred my beds of buckwheat green manure.

Calico popcorn

The variety is Calico. Isn't it pretty? I planted a quarter pound, so we'll see how long that lasts me. I'm a popcorn nut.

Sweet Potatoes. I planted two beds, one of purchased Vardaman slips, one of Porto Rico slips I grew myself.

Vardaman sweet potatoes

We thought the Porto Ricos were okay in flavor and texture, which is why I decided to try another variety. The Vardemans are absolutely excellent. These are going to be my "main SP" from now on. Both are bush varieties, which I like for the terraced beds.

Okra always does well here and continues to produce more than we need.

Okra, both fresh and dried pods (for seed)

The variety is Clemson Spineless. We like it well enough that I've never tried another. It will produce until the frost.

Of potatoes, I got very few.....

Red Pontiac potatoes

This was it. One small basket and quite a few of these don't look that great. Last year I planted 8 pounds and harvested over 120. This year I planted 8 pounds and harvested 13. There were plants all summer, but no potatoes in the end. I might have assumed my poor harvest was because I used potatoes from last year's crop as seed, but my fingerling salad potatoes were newly purchased certified seed potatoes, and also produced very poorly. Interestingly, we got more from the bed that was not planted with beans, a supposed companion to potatoes.

Onions. These were hard to harvest because wire grass had invaded much of where they were planted. The onions are small, but then the sets were small.

Handful of my onion harvest

Green beans. These are Kentucky Wonder pole beans, which I planted as a companion for the field corn. Even harvested, the dead stalks serve as bean poles.

Kentucky Wonder pole beans, for eating fresh & for seed

In fact, the cooler temps seem to have given them a boost. Since I still have quite a few jars canned from last year, we've just been eating green beans fresh. Soon though, it will be time to pull even these out to prepare for a sowing of winter wheat.

I got in my broom corn...

Wheelbarrow load of broom corn stalks

Now all I have to do is learn how to make brooms. :)

I'm still getting an occasional sweet pepper, but not enough to brag about. I have one tomato plant left, a volunteer growing in the front yard. It still gives us a small tomato from time to time. In the past, I've gotten tomatoes right up until first frost, but this year almost all of them up and quit on me at the end of August. :(

There hasn't been much canning, freezing, or dehydrating. The popcorn, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and onions will be allowed to cure for winter storage. Hopefully next month's garden harvest will continue with the fall garden. The beets have been coming up sporadically, but some are ready to thin. My ultimate garden goal is to be able to harvest something every month! Let's see how well I do this winter.


Dani said...

Wow Leigh - lovely harvest. And I love the colours of your "popcorn" corn - does that effect the popped corn appearance?

How do you dry your "popcorn" corn? The dry popcorn we buy here is plump and round, but when I saved corn seeds from last year they went all flat and squished looking.

Unknown said...

I was thinking the same thing as do you process your corn into 'popcorn'? I'm mystified how dried corn can become the smooth beads of popcorn purchased in the shop.

Leigh said...

Dani and Tanya, I purchased an open pollinated "popcorn" seed. Dani, it sounds as though the seed you saved was either of hybrid stock, or perhaps cross pollinated.

To dry, I just leave it on the cob until the kernals are hard. I have a little "gizmo" to shell it. Last year I was able to let it dry outside on the stalk, this year I have the ears laid out on a table. I saved seed from last year's harvest, but bought another variety to plant. These are prettier, so I'll save seed from the calico variety too. As far as I know, there is nothing else to do. As long as it doesn't cross pollinate, it'll reproduce true. I did plant it later than our field corn (and our neighbor's sweet corn), to make sure of that.

Mama Pea said...

Your popcorn is beautiful! Hope it tastes even better.

I always save seed potatoes from the previous year's crop so I don't think that was your problem. Obviously, just a poor potato year.

Onions HATE to grow with weeds so I'm betting that's why you didn't have much luck with them.

All in all, your harvest looks pretty good. And you've still got more to come! Thanks for sharing.

trump said...

Its really nice to see images of someone reaping what they sow!. Fall will be making an appearance over my way starting this weekend, and i welcome her return. Richard from Amish Stories.

Mr. H. said...

Look at those sweet potatoes, very nice. We have a small patch growing under cover but I have not checked to see if anything is growing under the vines...fingers crossed. My wife is a bit envious of your popcorn, I have never had any luck growing it and she loves her popcorn. Enjoy all those veggies.

Sherri B. said...

That is the prettiest popcorn! We are popcorn nuts too, we have a big bowl at least 3 times a week! Have a nice weekend! xo

Nina said...

I love the look of the Calico Popcorn. It's spectacular. No space here for corn unfortunately, but our tomatoes are still producing, albeit slowly. Our potatoes didn't do that well either. Our spring was very cold and very wet, followed by incredibly hot, dry (near drought) conditions, which threw off many crops this year.

Cat Eye Cottage said...

What beautiful popcorn!

bspinner said...

The colors of the popcorn is so pretty!!!! The sweet potatoes look yummy. My mom almost always had a sweet potato plant growing. Nice vines.

Lisa said...

Your popcorn looks so pretty and it's always fun to see what you are harvesting. I love your broom corn stalks! Where did you get the seed? Oh, I hope you turn them into homemade brooms and share with us.

Anonymous said...

Looks fabulous Leigh! Will be curious to see how you like the popcorn, we have never grown that. We didn't do it this year, but last year we grew sweet kid's favorite veggie. Hope you enjoy the food, you did a great job considering this year's weather.

BrokenRoadFarm said...

The popcorn is pretty!! Your onions look like mine...not sure what we are missing in the soil down here in the south. Looks like you have been a very busy lady!

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

What a nice array of veggies, those sweet potatoes are beautiful...they look like they are going to be sweet by their color..I don't pop much corn but I love it with butter smeared all over it :o)..

Jody said...

What a great harvest. I wish we could have popcorn too. Our space isn't really large enough to dedicate to corn. Belle wants to anyway. Our harvests look a lot alike right now. We have SPs, green beans, and a few onions too. Our favorite right now is definitely the SPs. We've been waiting all summer for them. Happy broom making!

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I'd be mighty pleased if I had a garden and summer harvest like yours. The popcorn is gorgeous, please show us a bowl of it all popped up, because I'm curious as others are if the colors show through. And I do hope you show us a finished broom, because I'm sure you'll learn how to make one.

Susan said...

I'm with everyone else - the popcorn is gorgeous!

I'm always so envious of your garden. Love where I live, but gardening is a challenge since we can get a freeze any time of the year. This year the only thing that produced at all for me was spinach and the hens (over 6 dozen in the fridge right now, from only 8 hens. Time to hand some out to friends again!)

Lap Dog Knits said...

Such great Fall love love the corn.

The stalks are wonderful, people in my area are paying top dollar to have them dried and decorating their front porches - a wagon load would be a dream come true - enjoy making brooms!!

Leigh said...

Gosh, I've gotten behind in answering comments!

Mama Pea, thank you for that about the potatoes and onions. It doesn't seem that I'm not the only one who had a poor potato harvest. A little disconcerting to have to start with new seed potatoes again. And the onions. The Bermuda grass is a plague! Not only got the onions but strawberries again as well.

Richard, I'm with you on that. I love the cooler weather and fall colors.

Mr. H, I reckon corn does need a long season. It's always fascinating to see what others can grow. I hope your SPs do well. Since we've got more of them than whites. we'll be eating a lot!

Sherri, I could eat popcorn every day, LOL. The trick will be saving enough for seed for next year. :)

Nina, It is pretty, isn't it? Lucky you to still be getting tomatoes! With the potatoes, we had a similar problem, so perhaps that was it. We love potatoes, so it was a disappointing outcome.

Candace and Barb, thanks!

Lisa, I will definitely share the broom making. Hopefully it will be semi-successful!

Stephanie, thanks! I grew Japanese Hulless Popcorn last year and loved it. Small, but very tasty. I didn't get sweet corn in this year though (Dan's favorite). I was too concerning about cross pollination with the popcorn and field corn.

BRF, thanks! You know, I've never done well with onions. I did plant some Egyptian walking and ordered multipliers. I'd like to find some ramps to plant too! We do love our onions.

Ginny, the Vardaman sweets are the tastiest ever. Popcorn with butter? Mmmmmm!

Jody, it's tough to make planting decisions with limited space. I am fortunate to have a large garden, though any corn takes up space and nutrients.

CaliforniaGrammy, I am very thankful. I will definitely show you a bowl of the popcorn popped up. I'm anxious to try it but still waiting for it to dry! And yes on the brooms!

Susan, thanks! I think gardening is a huge challenge. I don't think I'd want to trade our challenges for a potential freeze any time of year, but OTHO, I had our scorching dry spells. Spinach sounds real good though. :)

Kyle, thanks! SOmeone else told me about the corn stalks. Maybe I should do some fall decorating!

Andrew said...

Have you tried Georgia Jet sweet potatoes? I've tried the other two but the GJ came out as more consistently larger roots. For me the puerto rican was terrible, nothing but little sticks. You vardaman look very nice compared to what I got last year. I have awful soil for any sort of tuber so I probably shouldn't try to make comparisons.

Leigh said...

Andrew, no I haven't tried Georgia Jets. I agree the Porto Ricos aren't all that great. The Vardamans are, but I admit I stuck with bush types. Do the GJs have long vines? Even so, I'll have to give them a try next year. Definitely.

Andrew said...

Um, no I wouldn't call the vines on the GJ really long. I didn't notice them being longer than the others when I was trying all three.

Leigh said...

Thanks for that! Next year the Porto Ricos are out. I'll grow the Vardamans again and try the Georgia Jets.