What's going on in my gardens? Here's an update:
I have no pics because I'm away from home right now. But I can tell you we've had better years. The gardens look good, especially considering we're at mid-July when the weeds are usually taking over. But production? Not so much.
I've canned about 20 quarts of beans and frozen five of the Roma Flat Beans because I like them better frozen. The bean plants look great but they're not setting on the beans like they usually do. It's a mystery. The potato vines were killed by the Colorado potato beetle and those bugs were even down in the soil, eating the potatoes! We tried hand-picking them, using wood ash on them, dusting with hydrated lime--nothing slowed them down. They moved from the potatoes all the way across the yard to the tomato patch and were even on my flowers. We finally gave in and bought some spray that killed them off before they killed the tomato plants too. Greedy little things.
The tomatoes are just starting to ripen. They have a lot of green ones on the vines, but they are not making much size because it is so dry and hot. Still, we're getting some tomatoes now and that's always exciting--first tomatoes, is there anything like them? The squash is producing like crazy. I've been cooking a lot of it, and this week I tried drying some. I don't like it frozen and canned is aawful. Years ago I dried it and it was great for soups, etc. Then recently I saw recipes for making dried squash "chips" that can be eaten for a snack. The recipes I saw called for coating the chips with olive oil, and one called for using some grated cheesse sprinkled on them too. I decided to just blanch them then sprinkle them lightly with salt and dry in the dehydrator. The result? They're more chewy than crispy, but they're very flavorful and I plan to make more because I like them very well as a snack. I may try the oil version, though, and see if those get crisp. This winter I'll be using them in soups as well.
The onions are pulled now and we replanted with carrots. We pulled the carrots recently and cut them up for the freezer. They did well, not as well as past years but given the weather I'm satisfied with the yield. The corn is just starting to come in and I am worried that the kernels will not fill out with ths heat and lack of rain. The melons look great so far, and the punpkin vines look vigorous. I have broccoli and Stonehead cabbage seeds started and hope to set gthem out for a fall crop in mid-August. I've also got lettuce seed waiting to go in as soon as the heat lets up, and spinach too. Turnip seeds are waiting for the potatoes to be dug, which should happen in the next couple weeks.
The herb garden is thriving, one bright spot in this mixed-bag of a garden season. Some of trhe basil is ready to harvest, as is the thyme, winter savory, rosemary and a few other things. The parsley I seeded last month is growing very well and I think I saw a few lavender seedlings too.
The peaches are ripening, but they are really small compared to past years. The blackberries pretty well burned up on their vines this year; we did get a nice bit of blueberries earlier on, and thank goodness I was able to make jeams in June because there won't be much to make it from the rest of the summer, from the look of things.
We cleaned out the root cellar this week (way late, I know) so that I could get a better idea of what we have and what we need. There is plenty of jams and jellies, so that's not a worry. Green beans are plentiful as well, as is the apple butter (we'll probably make more anyway), canned pears,beets and some kinds of pickles. I need more tomatoes, salsa (always!), dill pickles, and applesauce. In the freezer we need more corn, onions, celery (it's doing so-so in the garden), and blackberries if we can find any.
That about sums it up, I think. It's been a disappointing year, with too much rain in March, April and May, and too much heat and not enough rain in June and July. We'll still have plenty, and for that I'm thankful. But it's been a hard slog.