Bounty of a Garden

Today’s gardening started at 0600. With a forecast temp of 104 it seemed like the only possible time to get the work done. Six am is not a civil hour in my book – I do my best sleeping early in the morning while it’s cool, slightly breezy and the birds are singing morning lullabys. I fought the urge to slam my phone on the floor as it bellowed at me in the middle of a particularly pleasant morning dream. I was actually snuggled under a light cover savoring the fleeting coolness.

I heard “wake up” noises in the far side of the house. Someone wanted it to be known that  I was close to being a slacker. So, there I was shortly after, actually working by 6:20 am today. And, am I ever glad I was. We spent 3+ hours out there harvesting, tidying up, watering the few things that need special attention, finishing the long term compost bin, and cleaning the vegetables that were picked.

Today’s Harvest

The last of the baby carrots and little beets. By the way, laundry baskets make great garden baskets if you have one laying about that you don’t use in the laundry.

Not a lot of anything, but enough to make several meals of a lot of things. Great sweet lettuce still producing like crazy has been tucked under the okra staying cool, enough rhubarb for a very small pie, lamb’s quarters to steam later, 4 varieties of peppers for tomorrows Spanish Rice, 1 stray potato plant with enough to go along with the green beans, a very large handful of Brussell sprouts, the last of the Provider beans, first picking of the rattlesnake pole beans (with tomorrow’s haul it will make lunch), the last shallots, and several bulbing onions. Starting to look like lunch.

Some of the herbs. L to R; Horseradish, rhubarb, cilantro, fennel, empty tub where lovage should be, sweet potato starts!, epazote. 

The first row of tomatoes, along with onions and basil plants. Partly to act as insect repellant the onions will stay in the ground until fall and the basil is harvested once in a while to make pesto. No ripe tomatoes here yet, but loaded with big beauties. Yesterday’s fried green tomatoes with horseradish sauce were great! I picked the first tomato hornworm this morning.

The straw bale row of tomatoes. Not as far along but covered in blooms and tiny tomatoes. Notice the watering pipe – it’s set on a timer and is a gravity feed system.

The garden entry faces east and is covered with rattlesnake beans (L) and Kentucky Wonders (R) just starting to produce good. Rattlesnakes get 6-7 inches long and have a delightful “snaky” pattern on them.

Looking straight up into the bean-vine filled entry way.

The compost pile. Modest. It has already been to the top twice with garden refuse. I layer the green matter then a shovel of dirt and top it with straw – not too much just enough to keep it light. Water well, especially in this heat and dryness. As soon as things slow down some in that interval between summer crops finishing and fall crops going in we will empty and turn it. A 3 bin system is certainly better but we don’t know where we want it yet. Marideth finished up the long term compost bin where I will put things like citrus rinds, weeds and heavy roots and such. It won’t get messed with except every year or two.

A friend, Fred, is posting almost daily about his volunteer pumpkin and how large it is. This is our intentional Cushaw squash in its’ attempt to take over New Jersey… I mean the whole garden. We redirect and even stake the curious vines almost daily in an attempt to keep it within its boundaries. Fred has ripening pumpkins already!

These Cushaw squash blossoms are about 7-8 inches across. There are many dozens of them on the plant and plenty of baby squashes.

Cranberry beans for drying (but most know them as Taylor dwarf horticulture beans). Gonna be some good eating this winter. Maybe another month in the ground before harvest.

One of my favorite rows. A single row of okra down the middle, surrounded by late lettuce and onions. This great combo has kept the soil moist and cool but warm enough for the okra to be happy. There will be okra real soon. Another week and okra will be on the menu.

I’ve never succesfully grown tomatillos before but this year looks promising. These two plants are covered in maturing green gems hidden in little paper like husks. I helped my aunt harvest hers just before a frost several years ago and from the 3 plants she had we got nearly a half bushel. They freeze well and make great salsa verde.

One of few things that hasn’t done well this year, the eggplants. This is the second planting and they are still struggling. Eggplants usually have to be nudged back a little but the flea beetles are relentless. Hence the sticky trap, row cover and Safers Soap spray.

AND the grand prize of summer… tomatoes! Lots and lots of green beauties covering all the plants (of which there are about 30, don’t ask). Fried green tomatoes on the menu of late and soon tabouli, sauces, salsas, and savories!!

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6 Responses to Bounty of a Garden

  1. S says:

    In town the temp has reached 110 and it has several hours to go before cooling off. Sheesh. Glad I worked outside early!

  2. yarnspinnerpress says:

    Reblogged this on my life and times and commented:
    “Today’s gardening started at 0600. With a forecast temp of 104 it seemed like the only possible time to get the work done. Six am is not a civil hour in my book – I do my best sleeping early in the morning while it’s cool, slightly breezy and the birds are singing morning lullabys. I fought the urge to slam my phone on the floor as it bellowed at me in the middle of a particularly pleasant morning dream. I was actually snuggled under a light cover savoring the fleeting coolness.

    I heard “wake up” noises in the far side of the house. Someone wanted it to be known that I was close to being a slacker. So, there I was shortly after, actually working by 6:20 am today. And, am I ever glad I was. We spent 3+ hours out there harvesting, tidying up, watering the few things that need special attention, finishing the long term compost bin, and cleaning the vegetables that were picked.”

  3. eb says:

    Wow..wonderful…We had an early spring, but, the winds. We could not even plant seeds as the winds were blowing so hard. I finally had to plant the plants we bought, but they whipped and blew to pieces. My chili peppers are smaller than when we planted them. We lost lots of leaves, some grew back, and now they are trying to make buds to bloom and its late June…Its really pathetic to say the least…About the same for the tomatoes, but not nearly as bad. The plants not quite a foot high, look real sturdy, covered with tomatoes, and wind whipped. Now the walking onions, that is another story, They are lush and multiplying and next to them is the climbing string beans, well, they will climb some day when they grow up!! Of course the miniature grasshoppers are now big ones as they ate the leaves to where they were like lace, really, but are getting fuller now and have some climber things starting up to the wire.
    The egg plant (only 2 left) are trying to bloom. I almost gave up on the garden and quit, but stayed with it, we may get something for our effort sometime before frost. Oh, and the rhubarb…ken planted some root stock, it never came up so he bought a potted plant. The grasshoppers had a great feast, but the first planting came up and is struggling to stay alive also.
    The winds have blown day and night and still blowing. Guess we were so lucky the other years we had a nice garden. Oh yea, about the bell peppers, they look like the chili plants..Oh well, NATURE…

    • S says:

      Wow Mom! You have always had such an amazing and beautiful garden in Utah. That is sad. We had a lot of wind earlier in the year. It was painful watching the plants get so beat up. We were lucky though and didn’t have any serious damage. We are planning a greenhouse and a lot of fall plantings this year – root crops, brassicas, greens, onions and garlic. I hope next year will be easier.

      Love ya! S.

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