Our 2022 garden, and morning harvest

I am so enjoying today’s cooler temperatures! Yesterday, we reached at least 31C/88F, though I’m sure we got hotter than that. I headed out to top up the kitty kibble and was actually feeling nauseous from the heat by the time I got back inside. Of course, the upstairs is much hotter, and it really hit one of my daughters hard, and she was quite ill for a few hours.

Today’s high is supposed to be only 19C/66F or 21C/36F, depending on the source. Quite enjoyable! By the time I got out this morning (having been kept up most of the night by a naughty Nosencrantz constantly making noise and getting into things!), it was only about 18C/64F. Which is about perfect, as far as I’m concerned! 😁

The current conditions are keeping things going in the garden quite nicely. I got a decent harvest of green and purple pole beans. The Red Noodle beans are still not even blooming, but the shelling beans… well, take a look.

They are still so very small and delicate – but they are LOADED with pods, and starting to dry out. I suspect they are smaller than they should be, but I do hope the beans we get will still be tasty.

I was surprised by how many ground cherries I found on the ground this morning, though some greener ones fell off while I was trying to reach to pick them up. They are related to tomatoes, so I’m hoping if we just leave them, they’ll continue to ripen.

I picked our first G-Star patty pan squash! One of the plants seems to have suddenly become limp, though. Odd.

I don’t usually let the sunburst squash get that big before picking them, but they seemed to have quite the overnight growth spurt!

I’m quite happy to have a nice little variety to harvest.

Well, the vet clinic hasn’t called back yet, but I need to get outside and take advantage of today’s lovely temperatures, since we’re supposed to heat up again over the next week. I’ll just have to let the answering machine take it. I’m sure if there were any problems with Leyendecker, we would have heard from them earlier, so no news is good news. 😊

Time to get to work!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden, and a follow up

My mother wanted me to check her out of the hotel as late as we could, so this morning I actually got to sleep in a little bit before doing my morning rounds! I’m happy to say, my mother is now settled in at home and really hoping not to have to go through this again! While helping put fresh sheets back on her bed, I noticed the exterminator left a trap in the corner, to monitor things. We shall see.

I had done a small harvest from the garden yesterday, so I didn’t have to pick any beans this morning – though I did find a couple of cucumbers I’d missed!

I was able to do some hand pollinating, which is nice. Not with the luffa, though.

We still have only female flowers blooming. The clusters of male flowers are forming, but are still just tiny buds.

The nearby dancing gourds have so many flowers, I don’t even bother. What few pollinators we’ve got right now are more than able to get those ones done! There are many developing gourds, hidden among the leaves, to show for it.

The G-Star patty pan squash are really getting big and healthy, and I finally spotted a female flower today. When they were still struggling, I did see one squash starting to form, but there were no male flowers to pollinate it, so it fell off. Since then, until today, there have been only male flowers.

This is how they should have looked by the end of June and the first half of July. Not at the very end of August!

There were other summer squash I was able to hand pollinate. Most of them are not as far behind as the G-Star, though the green zucchini is sort of in between. I could have picked some summer squash this morning, but left them to get a bit bigger. I should be able to pick at least a couple of them, tomorrow.

Mostly, though, I wanted to pick tomatoes!

There are only 3 or 4 of the rounder Sophie’s Choice in there, and the rest are the Cup of Moldova. Most of those went into the freezer with the others awaiting processing, though I kept a few for fresh eating.

This is the first time we’ve grown determinate tomatoes. I kept hearing about how they ripen all at once, so be prepared to do a lot of canning and processing in a very short time. I was kind of counting on that, since the main reason we were planting these was to make tomato paste. A lot of tomatoes will cook down to a fairly small amount of paste. However, they seem to be ripening little by little, like indeterminate tomatoes do. Even with what I’ve already got in the freezer, I really don’t think there’s enough to fill the dozen 125ml jars we have waiting for them. (From what I’ve been finding, because tomato paste is so very dense, they should not be canned in even 250ml jars, as it’s so hard for the paste to come to temperature all the way through.)

We’re going to have to process them soon, though. In a couple of days, I’ll be doing the rest of our monthly stock up shopping, and we’re going to need the freezer space taken up the the bin with the tomatoes! So whatever we’ve got now is going to have to do.

Before we can do that, though, we need to finish processing the crab apples and get the hard apple cider started. At least the girls got the cider vinegar started, while I was helping my mom. When I told my mother about what we’re doing with the apples, she asked for a small bottle of cider vinegar to try, which I had already been planning to do – or at least offer. That she’s even asking to try new things like this is pretty surprising, after all these years since our move with her being so angry whenever I did something different from how she did things! 😁 She is still upset with me because there were cherries still on the cherry trees when she came out here with my sister. I was supposed to pick every single one of them, and make all the things she would have made with them. Any left on the tree is apparently a real tragedy. Just the fact that I froze the ones we did pick, rather than processing them right away, ticked her off. I told her I had other things to do and, since they’re frozen, I can do them at my leisure. All that got me as a grilling on what could I possibly be doing to keep me from processing them right away. I don’t have cows to milk! (That’s her current thing: we don’t have cows to milk, therefore we have no work to do.) When she was on the farm, she always processed this stuff right away. I reminded her that back then, there was seven of us, so she was able to do this stuff and the rest of the work still got done. Her response was to ask, what did I do while growing up on the farm? I started listing out how I helped in fields, in the barn, with the cows, with the chickens, and in the garden. I just wasn’t allowed to help much with the pigs, because I was so young, and they were so potentially dangerous.

She didn’t remember me doing any of that.

I told her that just because she didn’t see or remember something, that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!

I can’t really complain about her digs too much. It has actually gotten better compared to when we first moved here, and she was so very angry that we didn’t instantly do all the things she thought needed to be done (never mind what actually needed to be done), and didn’t immediately recreate the garden she had some 40 years ago, in exactly the same place (though much of that space is now taken up with trees or the shade from trees), and in exactly the same way she did it (never mind that we don’t have the equipment she did). It’s taken a lot, but she’s at least less critical, even if she still doesn’t understand the how or why of what we’re doing.

And even interested in trying new things, like asking for a Red Kuri squash, and some crab apple cider vinegar!

That’s some pretty huge progress, there! 😊

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: filled in the squash bed

The squash bed prepared by my daughter has been filled!

Some things went in some odd configurations. It’s going to take some doing to remember everything, even with the labels.

In my previous post, I’d stopped for a break after getting the Kakai hulless pumpkins, and the Crespo squash, started in the squash bed. As expected, the rest went much faster.

I’m so tired right now, I’m not sure I’m going to remember everything I planted in here at all! 😀

At this corner, the four Endeavor green zucchini got transplanted, running parallel to the low raised bed. This way, they will be easily accessible for harvesting throughout the summer.

There was a bit of space at the end of the row the green zucchini was planted in, so a couple of Teddy winter squash were planted there, and the remaining 6 were planted in a block in the next couple of rows. The Teddy squash has a growing habit similar to zucchini, so I wanted to make sure they were near the path, so we shouldn’t have too much trouble getting by while tending the low raised bed, or the green zucchini.

Next to the Kakai hulless pumpkin, I planted the Baby Pam pumpkins. There was six of them, planted in a 3 x 2 block. These are a smaller pumpkin that are supposed to be excellent for pies.

The poles are with the Apple gourds. I can’t remember if they’re climbers or not, but they are the only gourds in this bed, so I wanted to make them easy to spot.

I know we had some Ozark Nest Egg gourd seedlings, but as I planted them, I got a closer look and it does seem the are all Apple gourds. I don’t remember the Ozark seedlings dying off; if I had noticed, I would have tried planting more! I have no idea what happened to them.

Fit into the remaining spaces are the Georgia Candy Roaster and Winter Sweet.

Of the 7 x 7 grid my daughter dug, I did not plant anything in the south row, as it was too far into the shade. So this squash bed has been planted in a 7 x 6 grid.

The next step will be to mulch this area with straw. There had been thunderstorms forecasted, but now they’re just saying showers – those storm predictions keep going away! Still, we want to make sure the mulch is down as soon as possible.

If I can, though, I’ll see if I can get in with the weed trimmer first. It’ll be more difficult, now that the seedlings are planted, but it will make a big difference later in the season.

There were still seedlings to be transplanted, however. Which means a whole new section needed to be claimed. We were hitting 25C/77F, though, so I went back inside to take a hydration break, though I ended up making a dash to the store to pick up more bug spray. I’d just bought some, and we were already running out. They didn’t have a lot of options – normally we get something that will repel ticks, too, but there was none available. Still, with how fast we’ve been going through them, I got two.

For the rest of the transplants, I decided to start transplanting here.

In this area next to the potatoes, the grass I’d cut was growing back faster that the squash bed I’d just finished planting in, so I couldn’t make do without using the weed trimmer.

I worked in sections, starting out with an area large enough to include walking paths.

I had a couple of bins of transplants already at the garden, so I started on those, first.

These are the G-Star, green patty pan squash. The plants will be more compact compared to the winter squash, and they will be more easily accessed from the path between them and the potato and melon bed. I started by digging the row of holes then, using the jet setting on the hose, drilled into the soil and into the divots to blast as much soil back into the holes as I could, while leaving the roots and rocks behind. Then each hole got a spade full of sifted garden soil, and finally the squash were transplanted.

That process was then repeated for the next row, for the Boston Marrow. There were three pots, but so many of them germinated, I was able to plant eight. Which is probably quite crowded, even though I spaced them out more, as I think these will sprawl quite a bit as they grow.

Once those were in, I went to get more transplants – and found the only squash left were both hulless pumpkins!

Oops. I’d intended to plant them further apart. I would have put the Boston Marrow in between them, if I’d thought ahead. Ah, well.

I chose to plant the Lady Godiva variety here, because there was 5 seedlings, to the other variety’s four.

The last four, the Styrian hulless pumpkins, went next to the bean tunnel. I wasn’t able to use the weed trimmer here, though. I had to add another length of extension cord, but for some reason, it just wouldn’t run. I think there’s an issue with one of the extension cord plugs.

Oh, I almost forgot!

While watering the beds out here earlier, I noticed that we now have peas sprouting! The ones my daughter planted at the finished trellis. There are 2 varieties, and both have broken ground. 🙂

So here we have it! That last of the squash, gourds and pumpkins are now transplanted! As with the others, these will also need a straw mulch.

We might end up finishing off the bale, soon!

As of tonight, the only things left to transplant are the ground cherries and the Yakteen gourds. The Yakteen gourds will be filling in some gaps in other places. After talking about it with my daughter, she suggested a place for the ground cherries that I hadn’t thought of. Next to the compost ring, there’s a spot where we’ve got grass clippings sitting on top of a sheet of metal. That metal has been there for about a year now, so it should be just fine to plant into. We’ll just have to find ways to use up the grass clippings that are there! 🙂

I am so glad to finally have the transplanting done! Where we’re planting them is far from ideal, but they should be fine, I think.

We still have corn to direct seed. We’ll check the days to maturity and see if we still can, or if the seeds will just have to wait until next year. There are other seeds I’d hoped to plant this year, but they will have to wait until next year. They should have been sown back when everything was flooding. There is no longer enough of a growing season left for them.

While I was working on all this, my younger daughter took care of some other jobs, including doing a burn. We haven’t been able to get the burn barrel going for a while, and it was over full of the cat litter sawdust. That meant she had to stay and tend the fire for several hours.

She had just reached the point where she could put the cover on and finally let it smolder away on its own, when I came by to the pile of garden soil for one last wheel barrow load. Previously, I’d been sifting soil from the remains of the pile near the squash bed, but what’s left of that is so full of roots, it’s not worth the effort anymore. Later in the season, we’ll break up what’s left of it and use it to level off that area which, like so many other spots around the old garden area, is really rough, making it difficult to mow.

While sifting soil into the wheel barrow from the other pile – which went so much faster, as I was able to work from an area that hadn’t been taken over by weeds, yet – my daughter and I both heard a strange sound.

Coming from the branch pile.

A teeny, tiny mewing sound!

There are still kittens in there! Well. At least one. I’ve seen the mamas taking their kittens out of there, so this may be different litter? I have no idea. It’s going to still be a while before we start seeing the moms bringing their babies to the kibble house.

We’ll have to keep our eyes out for them. 🙂

So, there we are. The squash transplants are finally done!

Looking at the 14 day forecast, we’re looking at highs hovering around 20C/68F during the day, and the lows hovering around 15C/59F, which fairly regular showers throughout. Which should be just excellent for the garden! It would be so good to finally have a good growing year.

As for me, I am wiped out. A daughter has been kind enough to take care of my laundry for me, I’ve taken my pain killers, and am more than ready to go to bed!

And it’s not even midnight yet. 😉

The Re-Farmer