How they turned out

Last night, after saving some for planting next year, I picked over the blue grey speckled tepary beans we grew, then left them to soak overnight. I ended up using all of the remaining beans.

This is how they looked after shelling.

After soaking overnight, they looked like this.

The got a bit bigger, but not by much, really.

I was going to use them in a soup, and decided to cook them separately, first. This is how they looked after being cooked al dente.

The colour is off because the camera got steamed up. They did lose a lot of their colour, and I noticed they turned the water quite grey, so I’m glad I decided to cook them separately, first. Otherwise, they would have turned my soup grey!

I was going to make a cream of chicken soup, but ended up making an “everything but the kitchen sink” soup. My daughters had roasted several whole chickens, with our own potatoes, a couple of days ago. Today, I deboned what was left of them, and used the remaining roasted potatoes in the soup, too. I also used a couple of yellow onions from the garden, the single shallot I’d picked yesterday, the last bit of slab bacon we had, and all of the Kyoto Red carrots, since there were so few of them. The tiny sweet potato harvest was used up, along with the last of our summer squash – green and yellow zucchini, and yellow patty pan squash. Corn kernels, cut from the cobs, went into the pot, as well as some of the tomato sauce I’d made recently. After everything was cooked, I took the immersion blender to it for a while, adding in some whipping cream at the same time. The very last thing was a handful of shredded cheddar cheese.

I tasted the beans after they were cooked, and they tasted like… beans. 😁 I had not added any seasonings of any kinds, so they were as plain as plain could be. Once in the soup, I honestly couldn’t taste them at all. They did add a nice texture, though, and the ones that got hit with the immersion blender helped thicken things a bit. I like my soups hearty and thick!

I think they worked out rather well, but… well… Aside from what I took out to plant next year, that was an entire year’s harvest, used up in a single pot of soup! 😂 I’ve set aside twice what we planted this spring. Between that and if we get a better growing year, it would be nice to have a much better harvest next year! I also have some beans my mother gave me. I don’t know the name of them, but they are a small (though bigger than the tepary beans) white bean that she grew every year from her own seeds. She’d given some to my sister, who grew them for years. She doesn’t grow beans anymore, so she brought a pasta sauce jar – just shy of a quart – full of seeds to my mother. My mother has no plans to grow them, in her little garden plot, so she gave them to me! They’re a few years old, but there should still be a decent germination rate. Which means that, next year, we should have two different types of shelling beans to grow.

The more, the better!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: some progress, and a little harvest

It’s just past 10pm as I start this, and we’re still at 21C/70F, and the higher winds of earlier today have died down to a lovely calm. I found myself looking for reasons to get the fire going, but I really need to get some sleep tonight! Sleep has been frequently interrupted for the past while. 😕

Lack of sleep wiped me out enough that I was feeling quite ill this morning, to the girls took care of feeding the critters so I could try and get at least a couple of hours in. With Leyendecker still in recovery in my room (no, he wasn’t the one keeping me up at night!), and my daughters still having their days and nights reversed, my younger daughter has been taking her “night shift” and sleeping in my room, to keep and ear out on Leyendecker while I’m out. (He seems to be doing all right, though still having difficulties voiding, so we are monitoring him very closely) In the end, it was almost noon before I finally was able to head outside and do my rounds – minus the critter feeding.

Of course, a fair amount of that is spent checking things in the garden. Things like this.

Here we are, into September, and the Red Noodle beans are just starting to show flower buds!

This Kakai hulless squash was the first to develop and is looking like it’s ripe – but it’s about a quarter the size it should be. If the weather holds, there’s a chance we’ll have a couple more, larger ones. In fact, all the hulless pumpkins are going rather well, compared to the other winter squash. Only the Baby Pam pumpkins are managing as well. The Lady Godiva should give us at least 2 fully developed squash by the end of the growing season, with a few more little ones developing. Likewise, the Styrian variety has a couple large pumpkins that should be harvestable by the time growing season is done, with a couple more developing.

As for the Baby Pam, we have a little few bright orange pumpkins that could probably be harvested, that are smaller than they should be, but there are others that are still growing and turning colour that look like they will reach their full size – which isn’t very large to begin with.

This Georgia Candy Roaster is one of two stunted plants that were just covered in slug trails this morning!

While watering this evening, I was amazed to find female flowers among the Georgia Candy Roaster, and even one Winter Sweet. I hand pollinated them, just in case, but I think it was too late for one of the Georgia Candy Roasters.

While harvesting, I was surprised by how many Yellow Pear and Chocolate Cheery tomatoes were ready. I took the few G-Star patty pans that were on the plant killed off by a cut worm.

A few more of the Cup of Moldova tomatoes were ripe enough to pick, and into the freezer the went, with the others needing to be processed.

I keep saying I need to get those done, but the fact that they are in the freezer actually frees me up to work on other things. But that will be in my next post!

As for the garden, it’s a waiting game. So far, we’re not looking to have cold temperatures or frost for the rest of the month. With our first average frost date on Sept. 10, that is very encouraging. I plan to do recordings for another garden tour video on that date. Hopefully, thing weather will hold and things will have time to catch up.

I’d really like a chance to try those red noodle beans!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: progress, and one last cardboard mulch

There wasn’t much of anything to harvest this morning. I picked a few shelling peas and just ate them right away. There was no point in bringing so few inside! At least with the first planting of peas. The second planting is looking like it will have a decent amount to pick fairly soon.

I really don’t know what to make of the beans at the tunnel. These are the Blue Grey Speckled Tepary shelling beans. They are so small and delicate looking. They are just barely tall enough to reach, but are managing to climb the mesh. I have no idea how big these would normally get, but for a shelling bean, I would have expected them to be at least as big as…

… the red noodle beans on the other side of the tunnel. These are much bigger plants, but there is still no sign of any vining happening. I’m not seeing any flowers, either. Given that it’s the start of August and our average first frost date is Sept. 10, I’m starting to wonder if we’ll get any of these at all. Even if we do get a super long, mild spring, like we did last year, I wonder if we’ll have any of these at all. At least the purple beans on the A frame trellis are blooming and producing tiny little pods, with vines extending well past the top of the trellis frame, while the green beans on the other side are climbing and blooming.

I have never grown pole beans before, but I really expected them to do better than this. This area did not get flooded out the way the bed with the green bush beans did.

Well, next year we’ll be moving the trellises closer to the house, and this area will be getting perennials planted in it. Parts of the area will need to be kept clear because of the phone line running under it, but not all of it. Hopefully, a new location for our legumes next year will be better.

The dancing gourds are doing rather well, at least! The plants are much stronger and more vigorous this year than they were during last year’s drought. So far, there is just this one early gourd growing, though I am seeing quite a few female flowers developing. This one gourd is already bigger than the biggest we had last year. For perspective, the squares in the wire mesh are 2 inches.

In between the tunnel and the A frame trellises are some hulless pumpkins. They are the last patch without the cardboard mulch. I still had the cardboard sides from the wood chipper in the garage, so I decided to use it.

This is how it was looking. There’s an awful lot of creeping charlie making it’s way through the straw mulch around the pumpkins in the foreground. There are actually less weeds than it appears, though, just because of how they spread out.

The cardboard from the wood chipper box was very heavy duty, and had even more staples holding it together than the lawn mower box I used on the Boston Marrow. Cutting it so I could put it around the plants took some doing! Sliding the cardboard in place required quite a bit of care, too. The vines were gripping the straw and weeds quite strongly.

I placed some of the protective poles back, around the patch, and will be adding scythed hay mulch on top as I am able, but I find myself wondering if I should make a support frame for the vines to climb. I don’t know if that would actually help these or not. At the very least, I’ll be adding cord around it, to discourage deer from walking through.

There were quite a few female flowers on the vines, but I found only one male flower, so I used it to hand pollinate as many of the female flowers as were ready. While moving the vines onto the cardboard, one of them had already fallen off, because it had not been pollinated. Hopefully, the hand pollinating will help.

All three varieties of hulless pumpkin have at least some developing pumpkins. Some of summer squash is also finally picking up; the sunburst patty pans are starting to show female flowers again. The Madga squash seems to be doing the best, and we finally have yellow zucchini starting to develop. Not so much of the green zucchini, though.

At least we will have lots of the determinate tomatoes. Even the Cup of Moldova tomatoes are starting to show more of a blush in them.

If the weather holds and the frost stays away, we might still have something to harvest this fall.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: things are trying to grow

My daughters were sweethearts and took care of feeding the cats outside for me, as I’m still feeling pretty unstable, so the cats weren’t out and about by the time I headed outside. I did get to briefly pet a kitten, though! 😀

While checking out the garden, there was some new progress – and a bit of deer damage – to find.

The Carminat beans are reaching the top of the trellis, and you can see their flower buds. At my fingers, however, you can see the stem of a missing leaf! There was a vertical row of missing leaves, a few feet along the trellis. Right about deer height! Time to find more noise makers and flashy things to set up.

On this side of the trellis are the Seychelles beans, which are starting to get pretty tall, too. None of them show deer damage, which is good, since less of them germinated. In the foreground are the self seeded (or should I say, bird-seeded) sunflowers that I left to grow. The beans can climb them, too! With the flooding this spring, we did not plant any of the Hopi black dye or Mongolian Giant sunflower seeds we’d collected from last year, so I don’t mind letting these one grow. These would be the black oil seed that we put out for the birds in the summer. We’re finding them all over the place, thanks to being spread by birds!

The first sowing of shelling peas may be about half the size they should be, but they are loaded with pods. At least on the north end of the pea trellis. Towards the south end, the sugar snap peas are barely surviving, and the shelling peas on the other side of the trellis are much weaker, too. The entire trellis gets an equal amount of sunlight, so this would be a reflection of soil conditions.

This should be the last year we use this spot for growing vegetables. Next year, they’ll be moved closer to the house, and this area will be made available for planting fruit or nut trees. We haven’t decided what to get next, yet.

The cucumber row is a mixed bag of plants that are growing nice and big, and filled with little cucumbers, and others that are barely bigger than when they were first transplanted!

I had an adorable find at the big trellis.

We have a first Tennessee Dancing gourd developing! It is so cute!

The beans on the same side as the dancing gourds are the red noodle beans. The plants are pretty large, but they are still not at the point of climbing. The shelling beans on the other side, however…

The are much smaller, but have tendrils climbing the trellis, and have even started to bloom!

The most adorable little pollinator showed up just as I was taking the picture.

I startled a bee when checking out this HUGE pumpkin flower.

Yes, it’s on a giant pumpkin plant. 😁

I’d seen some female flowers previously, but now I can’t find them, so there are no pumpkins starting to form, yet. While we are not shooting for super big pumpkins, and won’t be pruning them down to just one pumpkin per plant, it feels like it’s too late in the season for any giant pumpkins to mature. We’re near the end of July already, and none have formed, yet!

In the south yard, we finally have Chocolate cherry tomatoes! Just this one plant, yet. Of the 4 varieties we planted this year, the Chocolate cherry have been the most behind – and they are planted where tomatoes had done so well, last year. The plants themselves are getting nice and tall, and we’ve been adding supports and pruning them as needed, but there are much fewer flowers blooming, and only today do we finally have tomatoes forming. Thankfully, the other varieties are much further along.

I also spotted some ground cherry fruit forming! These plants are doing remarkably well, given how much water they had to deal with this spring. It took a while, but not they are quite robust plants, and I’m happy to see them setting fruit!

Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer before we start getting actual food from the garden. Everything is so, so behind, I am extra happy to see progress like this.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: bed prep, cucumbers, peas, beans, summer squash, gourds

Oh, my goodness, what a gardening day!

Did we bite off more than we can chew?

Maybe we did.

It was a hot and sunny day, and so many trees and bushes are blooming right now.

The regular and double lilacs are just starting to open. The sour cherries are in full bloom. The Saskatoons and chokecherries are pretty much finished blooming, but the different crab apple trees are in various stages of exploding into flowers. There are also three other types of lilacs that are starting to bud, each blooming at a different time. It’s awesome!

My first priority of the day was to prep the beds at the trellises and get them ready for planting.

What a big job that turned out to be.

It didn’t take long before I found myself pulling this bugger out. Normally, I wouldn’t have tried to take out something so big, but it was close enough to the surface that it would inhibit root growth. I’m sure I hit others bigger than this, judging by my inability to work the garden fork around them, but they were deep enough that I just left them. We may get one more year out of these trellises, but most likely, next year, we’ll be building trellises closer to the house.

This trellis was so full of roots – including tree roots! – that this one bed took me about 4 hours to do.

Thankfully, the other one didn’t take anywhere near as long!

After we’ve planted into them, each upright post is going to get it’s own pair of A frame netting supports for things to climb.

At this trellis, on the right hand side, my daughter planted all the cucumbers. On the left hand side, in the foreground, is at least two, possibly four, luffa gourds. I was using labels made out of sour cream containers, and Sharpie’s fade from those! So much for “permanent” markers!

The gourds took up only a quarter of the row. We ended up planting the last of our Lincoln Homesteader pod peas in the rest of that side.

This trellis got the remaining two varieties of pole beans. On the right are Carminat, a purple type of bean. On the left are Seychelles, a type of green bean that Veseys doesn’t seem to carry anymore.

There was some space left at the bean tunnel that got filled with 4 Tennessee Dancing Gourd and 2 luffa.

The girls, meanwhile, got the last low raised bed weeded and ready for planting.

This bed is now all summer squash. The front half has 8 Sunburst patty pan squash. The back half is split between Madga squash and Golden zucchini.

While one daughter transplanted all of those, my other daughter was digging.

We were going to make more beds, but we just don’t have the materials, so we’re winging it. My daughter dug a grid of 7×7 holes roughly 3 feet apart. Before I headed in, I used the jet setting on the hose to drill water into each hole, to help soften the soil. We’ll be transplanting winter squash, gourds and pumpkins into here, with added garden soil and straw mulch. We need to go over it with the weed trimmer to cut the grass and weeds back as much as possible, before the mulch is added.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to get this done tomorrow, but I won’t be much help with that until evening. My husband and I have our doctor’s appointments in the afternoon.

For summer squash, we do still have the green zucchini, plus the G-star patty pan squash.

I have no idea where we will be transplanting those. I also don’t know where we’ll be transplanting the ground cherries. There’s the corn to direct sow, too, if we’re not already too late for those. We have the space. What we don’t have is any sort of prepared beds left.

I’d really hoped to get everything in today, but everything just took so much time.

What a long, long day it’s been.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: almost frost

When I woke up this morning, we were at 2C/36F

We had not gotten any frost warnings the night before, but when it gets that cold, it’s going to be too much for some things, with our without frost.

The last few days, morning and evening, we have been hearing a cacophony of geese in the surrounding fields. Something must have disturbed them this morning, because they were not only louder than usual, but I even got to see them flying overhead.

Going north, for some reason! 😀

Last night, my daughters had picked more tomatoes and a few summer squash, and this morning I was going to pick beans.

It looks like we’re now done for beans.

They may not have gotten an actual frost, but the foliage was clearly damaged. The purple beans have a lot more foliage, which protected the pods, but I could see cold damage on the green and yellow beans.

I had taken some photos yesterday, which ended up giving me comparison photos with today. Here is the Crespo squash.

This was taken yesterday afternoon.

This is the smaller of the two squash in the previous photo.

This is the larger one, yesterday (on the left) and this morning (on the right). 😦

This is one of our biggest squash. Yesterday’s photo is on the left, and this morning is on the right. This squash is shaded for longer in the morning, and you can see there is actual frost on it!

These next ones are photos from yesterday and, from what I could see, they were okay this morning.

The one that’s hanging is in a spot where it gets hit with morning sun earlier than others. The large one on the ground has foliage around it that may have protected it. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see, so I can’t actually say for sure if it was damaged or not. It’ll take a bit more time before we’ll know if they got cold damaged or not.

Then there are the Ozark Nest Egg gourds. I took these photos last night, but didn’t bother to take more this morning.

We will have a better idea as the day goes on, but as of this morning, they seemed to have no real damage at all. There are still so many little gourds all over, there are still flowers that look like they are opening, and there was no signs of cold damage, like on the Crespo squash. These gourds are in the south yard and get that morning sunlight nice and early, which may have made the difference.

The tomatoes on the south fence also looked untouched by the cold, but the one that had seeded itself in the lettuce bed looked like it was hit by frost. That bed gets shaded more, longer, this time of year. If we’d gotten a frost warning, I would have put the wire mesh cover back on and covered the bed with cloth. The lettuce is fine; it can handle temperatures even colder than this. The chard was also just fine.

It will be good when these beds all get converted to high raised beds. They get full sun in the summer, but when the sun is lower in the sky, several of them get more shade from the trees to the south. Once they are higher, they will be out of the shade, just a little bit sooner. Still, it is something to keep in mind for when we garden here in the future. It’s also another reason why I want to build permanent garden beds on the south side of the house, in the outer yard, where we don’t have so many tall trees to deal with.

As it is, we’re in the middle of October, and these have lasted far longer than we normally would have expected in our climate zone! So really, I can’t complain!

The Re-Farmer

Morning harvest, and getting named

Check out what I was able to gather this morning!

There are quite a few more of the purple beans buried underneath. They have been, hands down, the most prolific bean producers, and if the weather keeps up the way it has been, we will be picking beans for at least another week or two! Even the yellow beans are putting out a second crop. With the drought conditions, none of the bean plants are as large and bushy as they should be, with the green and yellow beans particularly stunted, even as they continue to produce. With the green beans, that resulted in my finding bean pods that were almost as long as the plants were tall!

I had to get a bigger container to collect tomatoes with, instead of the red Solo cups we’ve been using until now. The vines are dying back, yet they still have so many ripening tomatoes!

Earlier today, I made a quick trip to the post office, before I gathered our morning harvest. The general store it is in always closes at noon on Wednesdays, so I had to do it early, but not too early; I knew the postmaster would need at least an hour from opening, to sort through the morning mail. We had some packages to pick up, but one of my daughters also had a package that was supposed to be delivered by courier, directly to our address, as it was from a place that does not deliver to box numbers.

Which has always been a problem, since our physical address doesn’t come up in searches. Like pretty much all of the roads around here, our road has two names; one is a numerical designation (part of the provincial system), and the other is our family name (a municipal thing). Many of the local roads are named after local families. It was only recently that I discovered that the road past our place has no name on the maps at all! Not even the road number. Which certainly explained why delivery companies had such a problem finding us!

My daughter was keeping an eye on the tracking number, however, and got a notification that her package was delivered to our door at about quarter to one. Of course, there was no such delivery, since the gate is locked. I could see nothing on the live feed of the security cameras, but my daughter went to see if it might have been left at the gate. Sure enough, I watched her on the camera as she got to the gate and picked up a white package. Which was on the gravel of the driveway, which also looks pretty white on the camera! No wonder I couldn’t see it!

I’m impressed that they found us, but it reminded me of something I wanted to try. Using the maps app on my phone, I found our road and took a closer look. It turned out that there is a 4 mile stretch of our road that is not labeled at all, however to the south of us, the road ends at another road, then restarts a short distance away. From where it restarts and continues south, it is labeled with the same numerical designation as the signs we have on our stop sign.

The four mile section that had no label is the only section that has our family name assigned to it. The offset part of the road with the numerical label probably has another family’s name assigned to it.

The app now has a function that allows the map to be edited. When I used that and started to select sections of the road, it simply said “unknown road”. I was able to select all 4 miles that had no label on it, then put in the name. It gave the option to add more information, so I added that it was also known by the numerical designation. I then sent the edit to Google Maps. I’ve already got a confirmation email saying “Thank you for your contribution. Your suggestion is being reviewed. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. We’ll let you know once the changes are published.”

Hopefully, that means or road will finally have a name attached to it on Google Maps, and people will be able to find us more easily! Plus, with the name rather than the number on the map, it will also match what is on not only my driver’s license, but on the licenses of several of my neighbours, too!

Speaking of which, I am hoping to get a chance to visit the one that sells pork products at the farmer’s market today. With our province’s latest draconian restrictions, organic humans are no longer allowed in “non-essential” places, even though such mandates are expressly forbidden in our laws, at both the federal and provincial levels. Vendors at markets aren’t required to be GMO though; just the customers. So I will just have to skip the market, and go right to the source! 😀

I’m quite okay with that. They are a homesteading family that are a few years ahead of where we want to be, as far as self-sufficiency goes, and I would love to see how they’ve been doing things! I may have grown up here on the farm, two sticks ahead of the stone ages, but I am more than happy to learn new, better and more efficient ways to go things! Especially since we’re only about one stick ahead of the stones ages now. 😉

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: morning in the garden, and first lettuce!

I was rather pleased with this morning’s harvest!

I am just amazed that we still have beans to pick, this late in the season! Even a single yellow bean. 😀

If the mild temperatures continue, we will be getting more yellow beans, too. There are new beans growing, all over the row! From what I could see while picking the green and purple beans, we will have more to pick for at least a couple of weeks, unless a frost hits, first.

After seeing that insanely high reading on this thermometer a few days ago, I’ve been making a point of checking it more often. This time, it seems to be reading low. It was chilly this morning, but not that chilly!

Ah, well. It’s a Dollar Store thermometer. As long as it’s close, it’ll be useful.

This morning was the first time I uncovered the lettuce to weed and thin them. The cover may keep the critters out, but it’s so long, it’s awkward to move on and off, unless there are two people.

These seeds had been from the bottom of a baggie they had spilled into, so I was expecting a mix. It looks like they are almost all the same type, with the exception of two Buttercrunch. Today is the first time we have been able to harvest lettuce this year! The first time we planted them in the spring, the groundhog got to them before we could. The lettuce is just loving these cooler temperatures.

What I am most curious about is this…

There is a tomato plant growing here! It’s looking very strong and healthy, too. I think that’s a dill growing beside it. Dill self seeds easily, but a tomato? Where did that come from? And why did it sprout so late in the season? This bed had spinach in it, first, and this tomato is growing past the sticks marking the ends of the rows I sowed the lettuce in. No additional soil had been added. Very strange!

While weeding this bed, I was on the lookout for the radishes we’d planted in the other half. I found a couple, but they were really tiny. I have no idea what happened to them.

The Bright Lights chard is doing well. We’ve harvested leaves a couple of times from these. They are liking these cooler temperatures.

We have completely abandoned the carrot bed the woodchucks had decimated repeatedly. I’d tried to at least keep weeding it a bit, but it was just too much. And yet, you can see carrot fronds among the weeds! It should be interesting to see what we have, when this bed gets cleaned up for next year.

The Hopi Black Dye sunflower in the old kitchen garden had three stalks with flowers on it. In our recent winds, one of them broke, so I added the supports for the plant to try and save the rest. This morning, I found a second stalk, broken on the ground.

We didn’t really have a lot of wind last night.

I suspect kittens.

I’ve been catching them playing in this garden, right on top of the netting over the carrot bed and the beets by the retaining wall. The carrots are on the edges of the bed, and the kittens have been playing in the middle, so those aren’t as affected, but the beets are being flattened. That bed was already struggling to recover from being et by grogs, and not doing well, so I guess it’s not really a loss, but I find it interesting that the kittens seem to really like playing on top of the netting, instead of on the ground or paths beside it!

Thinking ahead to next year, I believe we have enough salvaged boards in the barn that can be used to make low raised beds here. It would be a good place to make contained areas, such as with square foot gardening, as we turn this into a kitchen garden, and we start to plant more herbs that may have a spreading tendancy. If we have actual frames on the beds, that will make it easier to set up sturdy covers to protect from voracious critters and insects – and playful kittens!

I think we should dig up the rhubarb and transplant them somewhere else. They are not doing well here, likely because they are right under the ornamental crab apple trees.

As difficult and sometimes disappointing as things have been with gardening this year, particularly with the drought, it has showed us a lot about what works, and we can do to improve things for the future.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: yesterday and today

Yesterday ended up being even hotter than was forecast.

We also didn’t get the thunderstorms that were predicted. 😦

I still ended up outside to take care of a few things. One of them was to check on our curing onions, shallots and garlic.

They are not cured yet, but they’ve dried enough that I took the time to brush off the soil from the shallots, then kept right on going, doing all the onions and hanging garlic, too.

Quite the difference!!

They will probably need at least a few more days, probably a week, to cure, but I might be able to trim and re-string them and hang them in the root cellar to finish curing. We shall see what the conditions are like. They really shouldn’t be hanging outside in the heat like this, though they are at least dry. I found out from my SIL that my mother would braid her garlic and hang them in trees, so I guess this should work out fine, too.

Though we did not get the predicted thunderstorms, we did have high winds from the south all day.

High enough to break a heavily laden tomato branch that didn’t have enough support. 😦 I spent some time adding supports to the tomatoes, and found others that were bent, but not broken like this one. This one was still attached, so I tied it upright, but by this morning it was wilting. It’s likely a lost cause, but I went ahead and took it off completely, then stuck the end into the ground.

After adding support to the tomatoes, I picked the ripe ones – there are three different types of tomatoes in this photo – and picked the largest cucamelons, too. We’re still getting just enough for snacking on. 🙂

Speaking of cucamelons, check this out.

This morning, their vines were reaching even higher past the top of the fence. How these are not falling over, I don’t know! The vines are clearly much stronger than they appear!

For the past while, I’ve been watching the sweet corn grow, wondering that there were so may tassels forming, but no cobs. When I went to water them yesterday evening, it was a relief to finally see silks emerging on several stalks. We might have corn to eat, after all!

This morning, I was able to pick some more beans, too.

The yellow beans seem to be getting into the height of their production, and I even found green beans large enough to harvest, but only one purple bean large enough to pick!

With how many we planted, I had hope to have more, but with our drought conditions, I’m happy that we have enough to eat fresh with our meals.

Also, do you see the drops of moisture on the colander in the photo?

That’s not from rinsing the beans.

Those are rain drops.

Yes! We have rain! It started to rain lightly just as I was finishing up with my rounds, and has been raining off and on ever since.

So exciting!

Even my older brother is getting rain at their place. They’ve had even less rain than we have. They get the same weird weather phenomenon that we do. As the systems move over us, something seems to just push them to go around, or even cause them to dissipate. Our theory was that it has something to do with being between such large lakes, but my brother’s place is well past the southernmost tip of the lake. So it can’t be that

We are just so happy for the rain we are getting right now. I can’t wait to check on the gravel pit this evening, to see if there’s any water at the bottom of the new dig!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden; NOOooo!!! *sob*

Today is supposed to be hot again, so I wanted to make sure to get the garden watered early in the day, while it was still cool. I started with the soaker hose at the squash tunnel, then went around checking the melons, squash and gourds.

I was extremely disappointed to find this.

Our one and only Teddy winter squash was gone.

Et.

Munched.

Masticated.

The two Teddy plants are blooming, and there is even a female flower developing, but that one baby squash had grown so much after the rain, I was really looking forward to watching it develop.

This is one of the nearby Little Gem winter squash. There were no developing squash down here to be eaten; those are much higher on the trellis. Still, it means energy will be going to recover from the damage, instead of into developing squash.

Thankfully, that was the only damage here. The melons and gourds had no critter damage. I did find one of the nearby Dorinny corn had been gotten into, the remains of a cob on the ground. The corn may have been a deer, but I figured the squash was a groundhog. The deer don’t go along that side of the garden beds, preferring to walk through the open areas in the middle.

I was wrong.

When I checked the garden cam, I almost missed the shadow moving in the darkness. It was a huge raccoon! So big that, if it hadn’t turned at the end of the bean bed and I could make out its tail, I would have thought it was a bear cub.

I continued checking the beds, and was so disappointed to find this.

A deer got into the Montana Morado corn. In the above photo, several stalks in the outermost row are gone.

I found corn cobs scattered on the ground, each looking like they had only a single bite taken out of them.

Hoof prints left no doubt as to what was responsible for this damage.

The deer had traipsed right through the middle of the corn block, leaving damaged plants and nipped corn cobs in its wake.

These are all the cobs I picked up off the ground.

I think it would bother me less if the deer actually ate the corn, rather than taking a bite here and a bite there. and leaving a trail of damage.

On checking the cobs, you can see that a couple of them were almost completely ripe, if poorly pollinated. When ripe, the kernels should be an even darker purple.

One cob is looking like it was going blue, instead of purple!

Several of the cobs had been beautifully pollinated, full of developing kernels.

I am so incredibly unhappy. Clearly, the flashy spinny things around the corn block are no deterrent.

Not even our purple beans escaped damage. The purple beans are lusher and bushier than the green and yellow beans – except for at this end of the row, where the leaves have been thinned out by nibbling.

And here is the beast that did the damage – nibbling on a sunflower!!!

I. Am. Not. Impressed.

I even added bells to the lines around the corn and sunflower beds, but the deer came from the other side!!

Venison is sounding very good right now.

What a disappointing way to start the day.

Other things went well, though, and I will save those for other posts!

The Re-Farmer