Monday, August 20, 2012

Drudge Work and Gardens

Today was drudge work: cleaning out flower beds, weeding, cutting back, deadheading, etc. My hands are a total mess but the gardens are beginning to look better. Another day or two should finish the job.

The vegetable gardens, however, are at that worn out, beat down, and weeded up stage. Does your garden look like this? Kind of embarrassing to show it, but we don't want to till it under yet because we're still getting a lot of food from it: cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, corn, cabbage, beets and peppers.


 The little yellow pear tomatoes are volunteers and producing like crazy. 


The small, new upper garden has the late planting of squash, onions, green beans, radishes and lettuce. All are doing well but the lettuce. I think Larry must plant the seeds too deep because whenever he plants lettuce it seldom germinates properly. But everything else is thriving, and the broccoli planted this spring is still producing.

 The knockout roses continue to do just that--they've been stunning all summer, even with the heat and dry weather.

 The red grapes are almost ready. They seem to be more susceptible to black rot than the other  varieties we have. I can't remember what variety these were...I planted them over 30 years ago.

 I do remember that the white grapes were Niagaras. They do fairly well, especially if they are pruned. I will probably use these to make more juice, or perhaps some jelly--if I can find enough jars. I am almost completely out of canning jars. We made apple butter yesterday and I had to BUY jars. And I bought jars last year too. I think they dissolve in the dark in the cellar. Right now I have about a dozen empty pints and a bunch of half-gallon size left, and lots more canning still to do.

We harvested most of the Concords already--they're the ones we made into juice. There are still some on the vines below the deck, however. I grazed my way around the yard while I took these photos, eating tomatoes, broccoli and a few of each kind of grape :)

The yellow apple, a volunteer tree that is about 33 years old, is loaded once again this year. When we made the apple butter yesterday, we made too much sauce for the kettle to hold so I canned 14 quarts. (We make applesauce first, then put it into the copper kettle and boil it down. Takes less time and works just as well as cutting up apples and cooking them down.) I'm happy to have applesauce again as we did not get any apples last year on our trees.And the apple butter! My goodness, did it come out well. We got 34 quarts, which we split with our son Derek who always helps with this big project. We have tons of apples left, on this tree and two others. We'll make cider, more applesauce--and maybe I'll freeze some pie filling, if I have time.


The pear tree is full this year too. Last year we made pear cider because we had no apples and I love it. I want to make more of it, too, and I will can some pears and make spiced pears and maybe some pear conserve. Even with all of that, there will be pears--and apples that may go to waste because we just have more than we can use. Oh, to have had this bounty when my sons were young! Nothing would have gone to waste then.


In between garden work and this evening's ramble through the gardens, I caught up on mail and paperwork. My, what a pile! In summer I have a hard time keeping up with all of it, with my busy storytelling schedule and the gardens. Now the fall schedule is beginning to look pretty healthy so I need to take advantage of these few quiet weeks and get everything in as good an order as I can. 

What's going on in your gardens? I bet some of you have veggie gardens that still look beautiful!

Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

7 comments:

Nance said...

Blogger (or just internet connections) is being difficult tonight. A third of your photos aren't showing and I had a heck of a time getting here, to leave a comment. Our tomatoes, cukes and green peppers still look good. Or I should say look good, again. We are in town but can water from a well. The 105 deg heat has let up so the veggies and flowers are perking up. Hopefully the vegetables will go into full production again. Himself, my husband, first summer full time retired, has canned a couple dozen quarts of tomatoes and made the same of dill pickles. Otherwise, we still need rain. Still need LOTS of rain. Farmers are already picking corn and that is a month, two months early. The yield will be way down. Love seeing all your photos and hearing about your gardens.

Granny Sue said...

Nance, I had a difficult time just getting the blog to post. I think the internet is being weird. Thanks for being persistent! It sounds like your garden is surviving despite this nasty summer. It will certainly be one we remember, and not for good reasons.

Rowan said...

You certainly have been busy! My garden looks better than it usually does in August but that isn't saying a great deal:)

Brighid said...

I've missed having a garden this summer...too many family things going on to make it possible. Still hoping for a fall/winter one.

Tressa said...

I'm envious.

Granny Sue said...

I hope you get your fall garden in, Brighid. I know the feeling of not having a garden. It's like a big chunk is missing from your photo.

Granny Sue said...

Tressa, it's a lot of work, but you probably know the rewards. Well worth the effort. It took years though, to get the fruit to produce like this.

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