July 23, 2017

Summer Days in the Garden

When the daytime highs reach the mid-nineties, (mid-thirties C), something in me switches to pick-and-preserve mode. It just seems like that's what I ought to be doing, and it is!

We're enjoying fresh steamed beans & I'm canning
canning as many as I can. These are Tendergreens.

Summer squash is doing well. I only have about 3 or 4
plants because we all know how prolific it can be!

I've tried a number of varieties over the years, but the standard
yellows seem to do best. Love these sauteed with onion & basil.

I planted cushaw for winter squash where I planted clover as a
living mulch. Cushaw has always done well for me, although
the clover is beginning to wilt from the hot dry weather.

I have two varieties of tomatoes, Homestead and
a  Roma type. The Romas are struggling with
anthracnose, unfortunately, which seems to be
a recurring problem for me with paste types.

I have one row of sweet potatoes that seem happy. For the past couple
years, however, I've grown my own slips and never gotten very many.
I'm not sure why, but would honestly love about 4 - 6 times as many.

Okra is a favorite and doing well. We eat it
oven fried and it freezes without blanching.

Lots of cucumbers too! We're eating plenty fresh
and I'm restocking my shelves with lots of pickles.

My several rows of popcorn are doing well. 

Field corn. Half of the patch has done well, the other
half has no ears! I suspect nitrogen deficiency. I
plan to cut those plants back and dry for stover.

Amaranth has only done so-so. This is a
feed crop for me so the more the better.

No shows for me this year have been Swiss chard, which I planted twice! No joy with watermelons either. I had half a dozen indoor starts that didn't make it, and neither did the seeds I planted directly in the ground to replace them.

In the fruits and nuts department, we had no peaches or almonds this year, even though there were plenty of blossoms! No strawberries either, because I lost all my plants in last summer's horrific heat and drought. The apple harvest will be okay, although less abundant than last year.

This Gala is still a little green but has good flavor.

Pear trees have produced only a few, so I'm not expecting much of a harvest there. A first this year will be my Japanese persimmon!

First time for fruiting this year, four of them!

I planted it in my first hedgerow two years ago and confess I haven't given it a lot of nurturing. It's had to struggle on it's own but it's survived and beginning to produce! We have a wild persimmon too, but it's so tall that the only way to get fruit is the ones that fall to the ground. Critters both tame and wild keep the area pretty well cleaned up, however, so there's never any left for us. Even so, those fruits are small compared to the Japanese variety!

Another first will be crabapples.

I'm thinking pectin and jelly!

This is the first year I've gotten more than only 5 or 6 of them!

Blueberries and figs are my old faithfuls.

Even though it's been cooler this summer and with more
rain, the blueberries haven't produced as well as last year.

Figs are usually ready for harvest in August.

So there's my mid-summer garden report. How about you?

Summer Days in the Garden © July 2017 


Living Alone in Your 60's said...

My garden and greenhouse is producing very similar things to yourself. I don't have a canning pan so excesses at frozen.

Leigh said...

Tania, the nice thing about freezing is that small quantities don't go to waste. I need a goodly amount to can, however.

Mary said...

Our garden is suffering from heat and the lack of rain. A new type of yellow squash is proving to be quite prolific but has been attacked by vine borers. Zucchini has been replanted twice and is only about 4 inches high. Tomatoes are doing so-so. This is our 4th garden here and unless things change quickly, it will be the worst yet.

Madness, Trouble, Squish and Milkbone said...

What happened to the watermelons? They usually do well around these parts. One thing is that they don't like lots of water when they are small, so if you planted them end of May or beginning of Juny that would have been a problem this season.
For the sweetpotato, try to get some virus free cuttings from a supplier. Since they are vegetatively propagated diseases build up over time-so it's a good idea to get some certified cutting every few years.

Goatldi said...

Hi Leigh!
You may have seen my post a bit back at Mama Pea's blog. Our garden this year was a loss. We had that strong heat wave that lasted about 10 days in the second and third weeks of June. Now mind you this isn't our first rodeo since we have had gardens since the '70s.

But that heat wave (and no novice to heat here being a native to central California) was just weird. I woke up one morning and jumped into high gear moving my lovely potted blueberries. They gave me a bumper crop this year and they have lived on my deck year round for 4 years with no problems. But what ever the bump in that heatwave was ( potential heavier UV due to environmental changes?) burnt the heck out of them and dried any berries left on the stems. I have never seen an event like that in our garden ever. They are recovering nicely now in their new home under partial shade of a large oak tree.

So we lost plants that were just trying to set blossoms and only had a small amount of beets, potatoes and radishes. What the heat didn't do in the ground squirrel clean up crew did. So this year I am depending heavily on our local farmer's markets.

I am vicariously living through you and Mama Pea. Thanks for the entertaining blog!

Mama Pea said...

You've got a lot going on in your garden and kitchen with all the fruits of your labor becoming mature. It may be hot, hot weather in your neck of the woods right now, but your pictures look very lush and green.

Broccoli, cauliflower and strawberries are the only thing I've put by so far. But everything else looks good considering we've only gotten much of any warmth and sunshine in the past two weeks. We all happily accept whatever our garden gives us each year and try not to dwell (too much) on the failures!

M.K. said...

This was such an interesting and honest post! It's good to hear that other small farmers are having both successes and (some) failures. Thanks for the tip about the sweet potatoes. So many people talk as if it's easy peasy to grow your own slips. Hmm. We planted watermelon starts in two raised beds (tires) that did not survive. They fruited, but then died off. The watermelon vine that came volunteer from an old compost pile has done well, two very large melons. Ah well! Good luck with all your preserving! The heat is awful, isn't it?

Leigh said...

Mary, it's so discouraging to have so many problems in the garden. Heat and dry conditions seem to be a real problem this year for many of us. I'm thankful we installed a larger rainwater tank last year plus can use our greywater. Those help.

Cecilia, good to hear from you! Interesting you should say that about the sweet potatoes, I was thinking I should try all new starts next year as well. My first batch of watermelons were started indoors and I had quite a few to transplant outdoors. I believe cutworms did them in. A second planting seemed to start well and then the plants just disappeared, except for one vine. We'll see if we can get at least a few melons! They are usually a summer staple, so it would be disappointing not to get any.

Goatldi, how strange about your blueberries! I've had a worse sunscald problem with tomatoes than I've ever had, so maybe it is UV like you say. I'm sorry to hear you've had so many other problems as well. Good thing you have a good farmers market!

Mama Pea, you and I have such opposite gardening challenges! You last set of garden shots looked fantastic though. Mine focus on the plants so you don't have to see the weeds, LOL. Our wiregrass doesn't mind dry conditions, unfortunately, and never fails to take advantabe.

M.K., well thanks! I'm not sure why I've had problems with the sweet potatoes, but like Madness, et al said above, it may be time to start with fresh starts from a supplier. I'm sorry to hear you've had a poor showing with your watermelons too, but hurray for that volunteer!

Sandy Livesay said...


No gardens this season for us, still chugging along with getting established in our new place.

Your going to have some really nice harvests this season. Look at those vegetables and fruit....OMG.....I know you've work hard and it shows. The heat is a hard one this season. Enjoy harvesting, and canning/preserving. Don't mind me if I tag along (vicariously) with you :-)


Leigh said...

Sandy, you've certainly got a full plate this summer with so much to do on your new place. There have been years we've had smaller gardens because of other huge projects that took most of our time and resources, and that's just the way it goes! Just having the land is a blessing, with only good things to come from it in the future.