Monday, August 10, 2009

What's Going on in the Garden

Usually by this time the garden is covered in weeds; we've given up the battle and settle for harvesting what we can for the rest of the summer from the understory of the weedy forest.

But this year Larry has been home, and it's a whole new story.

What's happening now:

Swiss Chard: mammoth plants! Larry harvested it yesterday. We left it too long t00, one of the problems with me being gone so much on weekends. Still, I cleaned it up and we have 2 very big bags of frozen chard in the freezer. And the chickens and turkeys had good eating on the big red stalks of the rhubarb chard.

We ate the last of the corn last night. We started the season with Early Sunglow, moved on to Seneca Chief and finished with Honey and Cream. Of the three, Seneca Chief is a clear favorite--great flavor, full, big ears and so easy to clean. A winner all around. The Early Sunglow was frozen in the husk for grilling. We ate some of it last night along with fresh corn and it was hard to tell the difference. We cut Seneca Chief and some of the Honey and Cream off the cob for freezing that way. And ate a LOT of corn this summer. Bliss.

Carrots: success! Finally, after years of trying, we grew decent carrots. Downside--who knew there was some worm that likes to get into the roots? Still, we have harvested about 10 pounds and that's less than half of the crop. I will slice these up, cutting out the worm damage, for the freezer.
Sweet potatoes: they were doing great but last week the deer got in and ate the tops. These are in the only garden without an electric fence. We'll fix that real soon.

Tomatoes: Sad. Blight has taken over. We're still getting a few, but the big boom is over and I only canned about 20 quarts, and about 25 pints of salsa. Oh well. It's enough. But my tomato sandwiches for lunch may be over. So sad. Deer are getting to the ones that are left since they're in the same garden with the sweet potatoes.

Squash: the first planting is still bearing like crazy and the second planting is full of blooms. We should have squash well in to fall. The butternuts are full of ripening fruit, too, and those will go in the cellar if they don't rot. A lot of rain in the forecast again, so we'll see. They're not ready to harvest yet.
Cucumbers: first planting still doing well and second planting is full of bloom. More dill pickles are in my future, and I am a happy woman.
Lettuce: fifth planting is ready to pick. So far we've had Green Ice, Ruby, Buttercrunch, Romaine, now the Black-seeded Simpson is coming on.
Potatoes: Larry has been digging them and drying them out to store in the cellar. He rinsed the potato bin with bleach water first. No sense encouraging disease and bacteria.

Indian corn: looking good so far. We'll see.

Celery: Big and beautiful. Time to harvest it this weekend.

Leeks: Ditto, although I'll leave them in the ground as long as I can. They are de-li-ci-ous! A milder, sweeter taste than onions, I think. I will try drying some, freezing some and just storing some in the cellar when frost is near.

Herbs: a bust. I've gotten a little bit of stuff dried, but the bulk of them were dug up by the dogs. Grrrr. Good thing I love my dogs. Next, year, new garden and a fence.

Blackberries: I don't really have any in my gardens, but Derek picked four gallons for us at his friend's house, so we have plenty in the freezer for blackberry cobblers like this one I made last night. Yum! You can find my recipe at this blog post from past year.

Grapes: some have black rot despite spraying to control it. Bah. but some have made it through so I should be making jelly pretty soon.

Cabbages and broccoli: mixed results here. We had some early cabbage, and I made 4 pints of sauerkraut and froze a few bags, but the late cabbage? Larry accidentally hoed out the little plants. Broccoli didn't do a thing, and the second planting suffered the same fate as the late cabbage. Just wasn't meant to happen this year, I guess.

Honey: ready to harvest, just need to find some time.

I've probably missed a few things, but that's the gist of it. A very good garden year, and we are grateful. We've learned a few things too, and have more to learn about carrots. But all in all, I am more than happy with this year's produce.

We're putting in cover crops of turnips, kale, spinach and rape now. I will be planting more lettuce and radishes close to the porch where the plants will be protected from harsh weather, hoping to keep fresh salads on the table far into winter. We'll see how that plan goes.

What's going on in your garden?


Country Whispers said...

Your garden has done great this year!
Most of our garden has been lost to weeds, dry weather and now blight. I am just now getting tomatoes but the blight is starting so I don't know how much I will continue to get. My corn stalks are HUGE but very little corn on them. I lost most of my first planting of green beans so I replanted and am waiting to see if they do better. Cuc's and zuchinni just starting on late plants.
Lessons learned this year.
Need to fertilize & mulch well this fall and hope for a better season next year.

Granny Sue said...

I think we learn something new with our gardens every year, Jessica. We want to be sure to get cover crops out this year, and are looking for a source of free manure.

Many people planted late because of the spring rains, and are getting excellent late gardens. I hope your corn comes along. Like you, our stalks were huge, taller than ever in recent memory. It's certainly been an interesting gardening year.

Mary said...

I am impressed! I have a few herbs on the windowsill. I was going to put them out on the deck, but the squirrels think that's their buffet. They ate all the Swedish ivy and wandering Jew (those must have other, more PC, names, but I don't know them). The woodchuck was even up there looking for a snack one day --- a whole woods and they want my few little plants. Good thing for them that they are so cute.

Pam said...

This is my first year of gardening and you have been an inspiration to me!

The fat lady has not yet sung in my garden as it all seems to be late due to my selection of a shady location to minimize the Texas heat. My tomatoes have just now started to bloom and fruit (most of 'em anyway - I still think Mr. Stripey is a bull).

My chard has proven to be more bug/worm resistant than the more tender spinach and arugula, and we enjoy it regularly and I continue to plant it.

My cucumbers are just gettin' going and my neighbor shared a great recipe to marinate and freeze them and I can't wait to try it!

Granny Sue said...

I'll never forget my first garden, Pam. it was in the shade and in a very damp spot, which I thought was perfect for a garden. We had tons of cucumbers, no tomatoes and when we pulled back the mulch to get our (few very small) potatoes we discovered a nest of baby copperheads. The next year we moved the garden!

Anonymous said...

We have watermelons for the first time! Cantaloupes maybe in week if they don't rot, it's the first time we had success with melons. Tomatoes were tiny!!! Looked like I planted those little pear tomatoes and they were supposed to be romas. Well, maybe next year, wish it would rain so I can try some late beans and squash...might get them before it frosts. tm

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