August 29, 2022

Garden Notes: August 2022


  • 1st: 0.35"
  • 3rd: 0.125"
  • 4th: 1"
  • 7th: 0.8"
  • 11th: 0.9"
  • 17th: 0.1"
  • 19th: 0.5"
  • 21st: 0.7"
  • 26th: 0.1"
  • Total: 4.575"


  • nighttime range: 68-75°F (20-24°C)
  • daytime range: 78-94°F (25.5-34.5°C)

No complaints about August weather. We had good rainfall and generally cooler daily temperatures than July. We only saw 90s during the first and last weeks of the month. On the other hand, the higher humidity meant that it felt just as bad as the 90s! What really helps is when it gets down to below 70°F (21°C) at night because we can cool the house down, making it more tolerable during the day.

State of the garden

All I can say is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Everything is overgrown and runaway so that it looks a mess. But almost everything in it is useful!

Here we have cherry tomatoes, watermelon, mangels, horseradish,
celery, lambs quarter, sweet potatoes, raspberries, cowpeas, landrace 
brassicas, morning glory, a couple of carrots, and a potato plant or two.
Hoophouse: The living shade you see is hopniss, cherry tomatoes, and morning glories.

Also a volunteer winter squash, cultivated grape, and Chinese yams.

My largest sweet potato squash so far.

Inside the hoophouse are winter squash, Malabar spinach, violets,
strawberries (back right bed) and cultivated burdock (back left bed.)

Hugelkultur: winter squash, turtle beans, cherry tomatoes,
chicory, clover, morning glories, lambs quarter, & sunchokes.

Hugelkultur closeup featuring squash and chicory.

African keyhole garden: sweet potatoes and a survivor kale.
The porch trellis is growing green beans and cherry tomatoes.

I planted kale in the keyhole bed about a year ago. This is one of
two plants that survived both our cold winter and hot summer.

Picking and Preserving

Bucket full of cherry tomatoes, a few okra, and one lone pepper.

The cherry tomatoes are still going gangbusters. I got bored with making and canning pizza sauce, so I'm switching to tomato juice and ketchup.

The cucumbers are done, so our salads, now, are cherry tomatoes and kale.

Tomato, kale, and black olive salad
with homemade ricotta ranch dressing.

The okra hasn't been very productive. 

Okra is a member of the hibiscus family.

I don't plant a lot, just enough to have oven-fried okra a couple times a week during growing season, with a little extra to freeze for a side dish during winter. It hasn't produced that much, although it's making a better effort now that our daily highs aren't so scorching and we're getting a little more rain.

August is fig month, and these are the largest figs we've ever seen on our trees.

They aren't all this size, but it's amazing to find them. Can't take any credit, though, because the fig trees are pretty much on their own! They are next to the goat barn, so perhaps they're getting some rich rain runoff.

Breakfast: fresh figs on peanut butter granola with
kefir. Sometimes we swap the figs for diced pears.

There were lots to can.

And dessert!

Fresh fig cake with vanilla goat milk ice cream.

Pear harvest started in late July. The heaviest harvest was a couple weeks ago.

Bucket of pears.

One year, I spent days in the kitchen canning chunked pears, but Dan wasn't very enthusiastic about them. So now, I just make pear sauce. It's easier and faster to do, and we both like it.

Cinnamon pear sauce.

As pear picking slows and the pearsauce jars fill, I switch to drying them. Ditto for figs.
The cores and peels are being made into vinegar.

Elderberry harvest starts in late August.

First of the elderberries.

I used the first of them to flavor my canned figs and pearsauce. I also freeze them for jelly making this winter, and will make a couple batches of elderberry wine. This year I want to try an elderberry pear wine. I've experimented with adding other fruits for subtle flavor (of which some are more likable than others).

And a few parting shots.

Buckwheat planted as a cover crop in my newest swale bed.
Only a few plants came up, so this will be my seed crop.

Marigolds and a winter squash blossom.

Our first Orange Glo watermelon of the summer.

I picked the watermelon just the other day. They were planted late, and only after my cantaloupe plants all died. I'm not sure what happened to them. They were doing well until our hot dry spell. I watered them faithfully, but they weren't happy and that was that. The watermelons have done much better and we're just starting to enjoy them.

So there are the pictures to go along with my Summer Mantra blog post. I liked hearing about what you all have been up to in your gardens, so keep the comments coming. 😀


Linda said...

Would love your ketchup recipe.

daisy g said...

Wow! Y'all are set for a while! Beautiful gardens overflowing with abundance, what a sight!

The last two kajari and canteloupe melons I've picked have been juicy, but not sweet. I have one large watermelon on the vine that I hope will fare better. My okra is sporadic as well, but I will continue to pick until it doesn't offer anymore. Sweet potatoes are rockin', and I'm hopeful for a big harvest.

Enjoy the bounty!

Leigh said...

Linda, I'll do a blog post on it! :)

Daisy, thanks! The watermelon in my photo was juicy but not terribly sweet either. I'm not sure what the secret to sweet melons is, but it looks like a good winter research project.

Katie C. said...

What a bounty! I would love to see your canned pizza sauce recipe. I have four gallon bags of tomatoes in the freezer for just that purpose.

Ed said...

Up until an hour ago, our August rainfall total was about 0.75". But I think we probably doubled that number with the rain cell that just passed over. Unfortunately, we live 40 miles away from our garden which got missed and would have loved to have a good shower.

Your hoop house really has me thinking about redoing ours which was such a spur of the moment sort of thing. I like the idea of doubling the width and growing some shady things inside. Next year we are going to make a concerted effort to half the size of our garden so it isn't so much work and allow us to focus more on keeping the weeds in check.

As far as progress goes, I shelled around 2 gallons of dry beans over the last week. I'm sunning them (well not today) to get the moisture reduced and then will put them in jars until needed. I feel so rich looking at all those beans!

Michelle said...

Welllll, my first deck tomato is starting to turn color.... 😏

Leigh said...

Katie, my pizza sauce recipe is here ->, although it's more directions rather than an actual recipe. I do use frozen tomatoes though!

Ed, I hope your rainfall is plentiful. It's hard when the garden is struggling from lack of water.

It took me awhile to figure out how to use our hoophouse. A lot of folks make it work as a cold greenhouse, but with my southern weather challenges, this works pretty well.

Good progress on the beans! It's a good job to do while watching a video or listening to a book on CD. And I know what you mean about feeling rich. It's a wonderful feeling!

Michelle, I know you didn't have a regular garden this year, and crazy weather to boot. I hope you get lots of tomatoes from your deck garden!

PioneerPreppy said...

My buckwheat usually does poorly when the temps get hot but I haven't grown it in a while. Everything looks great but I still can't believe you allow bindweed and morning glory to survive and even help it along.... The Horror!!!!

Leigh said...

PP, yes those morning glories are pretty, but they are indeed a horror! I diligently pull it out and it diligently grows back. With picking and processing taking all my time now, it's taken advantage and taken over.

Mama Pea said...

Loved this post! Nothing more interesting to me than seeing other gardens. Mine is at the "blowsy" stage, doesn't look so organized anymore, but is producing as well as can be expected this year. Liked seeing your canning/preserving endeavors also. Our pear tree has six (yes, a tremendous number . . . not) pears on it this year so we're eager to see if they mature and how they taste. Loved your hoop house. What a great idea for providing shade for crops in your hot summer climate. And very attractive!

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, thank you! I agree that seeing others' gardens is fascinating. I get a lot of inspiration from peoples' garden posts and pick up lots of good ideas.

I'm guessing your pear tree is still young(?). I hope those pears are worth waiting for. An abundance of anything is always a joy, but getting only a few of something makes it a special treat.

Hoop house. The morning glories make it pretty, but they tend to take over! They are so ubiquitous, however, that it's impossible to stay ahead of them once canning season starts.

Florida Farm Girl said...

You and Dan are so industrious and diligent about your homestead. It pleases me. I love to see all you're done.

Leigh said...

Sue, at least we're staying out of trouble. :)

Rosalea said...

Loved this post. What a bounty of goodness. Do the sweet potato squash turn pale cream as they mature?

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

How does that compare with your normal rainfall Leigh? We got almost nothing for most of the month and then some torrential downpours late in the month.

Chris said...

Those pictures look amazing, Leigh. I've heard about the drought in the US, though I haven't been following closely. I've been thinking about your garden, and how it's coped. Having livestock to maintain, makes it extra challenging in the dry. So it was good to see these pictures, and the state of your garden is still very productive.

I do think the figs are thriving, from the nearby goat fertility. What a treat to have figs though.

Leigh said...

Rosalea, thanks! The sweet potato squash are a creamy orange when they mature. They are excellent keepers, I might add.

TB, Our average rainfall is said to be about 53 inches per year. That would be adequate, except that it doesn't spread itself out evenly! Almost every summer we've been here, we've had a long hot dry spell lasting anywhere from two to six weeks. Add to that daily temperatures in the 90s, and it's a real challenge to keep the garden alive. I've kept a record of daily highs, lows, and rainfall for years, but this is the first time I'm keeping track of them as monthly totals. I can tell you from experience that, the pattern is basically predictable with the when and how much varying unpredictably each year.

Chris, we've been lucky this year, so that our weather woes are "normal" for us (which doesn't stop us from complaining about them!) Ed (earlier in the comments) is in the midwest and is experiencing the drought severely. It seems that different parts of the country experience drought in different years, although it's often for several years at a time.

Bill Mollison had a lot to say about the connection between industrialized agricultural practices and drought. For whatever reason, the powers-that-be pretty much brush the permaculture view aside. No political gain from adopting it, I suppose.

CK said...

I agree. Absolutely no political gain, from educating people to maintain their own systems of survival. But that's what it will come down to in the end. Working together, with nature. Rather than against her.