Our 2022 garden: pumpkins picked, and what shall we do?

When doing my rounds this morning, I brought the wagon and some pruning shears to finally pick the giant pumpkins.

Plus a few patty pan squash.

One of the pumpkins still has a bit of green, so they are sitting in a shelf by a window to cure and continue to ripen. They are big enough that the kittens shouldn’t be a problem.

I’ve been closely looking at the other squash that are developing. Especially some of the hulless pumpkins, which are the furthest along. The longer they stay on the vine to ripen, the better, but…

I don’t know if I should just pick them all and bring them in, along with the last of the tomatoes and onions.

Looking at the Accuweather forecast on my phone, we’ll have chilly nights, but not cold enough for frost until well into October. The low for tonight is expected to be 5C/41F, BUT… when I look at the hourly forecast, it says we will reach 0C/32F by 5am tomorrow. Which means frost by morning.

Going online to the Accuweather website, however, the coldest we’re supposed to get overnight is 8C/46F by 8am. Most of the night will be 9C/48F. Not a chance of frost there.

Looking at the forecast on my desktop’s app, it says we’ll hit a low 2C/36F tomorrow night. Cold, but not likely to have frost.

I’m also not seeing any frost warnings for our area, yet.

The problem is, there are no weather stations being used for these forecasts. The closest one is also closer to the lake, so that can change conditions dramatically. Others are to the north and south of us, and far enough away that both can have quite different conditions that we do at any given time. We just don’t get accurate forecasts for our specific area, which makes it hard to plan what to harvest, or allow to ripen more!

Do I take a chance and let things be? As I write this, we are at 16C/61F, and are expected to reach a high of 19C/66F. It’s quite lovely. But those overnight temperatures… those are the potential killers.

Just to throw a wringer into the thought process, I am not feeling well today. I had a much disturbed night, partly from having to spend way too much time in the bathroom (which I now know is a side effect of the new medication my doctor is trying me on), and partly cat disturbances. We did a dump run and a trip into town today, and I had to get my daughter to drive, mostly because I was afraid I might fall asleep at the wheel. As if that isn’t enough, the weather changes are wrecking havoc on my arthritis, and I just plain hurt. Not that it matters. What needs to be done, needs to get done. It’s just a matter of figuring out what needs to be done now, or later!

The Re-Farmer

Morning bebbies, and catching up

My original plan of the day was to continue mowing the lawn after doing my morning rounds. Unfortunately, I realized that I would need to get new SD cards for the new trail cam, which did not come with its own. Since I switch cards every morning, each camera needs two card, and the old SD cards we’ve been using for the past few years are starting to wear out.

Which meant a trip into town, after feeding the kitties.

So. Many. Kitties!

There are 10 kittens and three adults in this photo – with many kitties that hadn’t come out yet!

Except these ones, that emerged rather quickly, since they have their own kibble bowl.

Gotta love the one that likes to sit completely in the bowl!

The fifth kitten came out of the lilacs after I got this picture, then ran off before I could include it in a shot. It is pretty distinctive, with more black spots on is body than it’s mostly white siblings.

The only place in town that I could think of that would have memory cards was the pharmacy, so I picked up my prescription refill while I was at it. My doctor switched me from pills once a day two injections once a week, which he wants to try for a year.

Thank God for my husband’s insurance! The price went up, and it cost almost $70. Which means that, without insurance, it would cost almost $700. My dosages are still building up to what the doctor wants to be on. At full dose, I am probably looking at about 2 boxes every 3 months, if I remember correctly. As it is, one box now costs more than my husband’s bubble packs for 4 weeks, and he’s got something like 10 different medications spread over 3 times a day in there.

Ugh.

Anyhow…

The pharmacy turned out to not have any memory cards in their little electronics sections. The cashier suggested I try a store across the street. They didn’t have any in their electronics section, but when I asked, it turned out they have them behind the counter.

I was about to buy two of them when I realized they were micro SD, not SD cards. I tested a micro SD on the camera, and it doesn’t work.

After telling her what I needed, she wracked her brain then suggested I try a cell phone place a few streets over. So I did, and they did have one type in stock – with far more memory than I needed, and so expensive, I couldn’t get the two I needed with the budget I had.

The guy wracked his brain, then suggested a small computer repair shop. I’d completely forgotten it existed, because is shares retail space with another shop. So I went there.

They did carry memory cards – but were completely out of stock and would not get more for at least a week.

Crud.

The next option was to go to the small, slightly nearer city. They have a Walmart. I figured I should at least be able to find one there! I made a quick stop at the gas station, then home to leave my meds, then off I went again.

The trip took quite a bit longer than expected, though. This time of year, the provincial and municipal road maintenance crews are out in full force. They’re cutting the overgrown grass and saplings along the shoulders, scraping the shoulders free of weeds, clearing ditched and culverts for the winter, and even painting fresh lines on the highways. This particular highway was being resurfaced – finally! – leaving only half a lane open for traffic. We were all driving half on the road, half on the shoulder, for miles, while traffic in the other direction was having to wait. The road crews wouldn’t even let people make turns along the way, because the asphalt was so fresh.

Once I got to the Walmart, though, I realized it shared a parking lot with a Staples, so I went there.

I found two 32G cards (I would have been happy with 16G, or even 8G, but there were none in stock) at a price low enough, it actually made up for the cost of gas to drive out!

My daughter had given me her card and a shopping list, so I hit the Walmart, too. Then, it was home by a different route!

Once home, I formatted the cards, then finished my morning rounds, which included switching out the memory cards. Though we had a good rainfall yesterday, we’re heating up over the next while, and won’t get rain again for some time (if we get it in our area at all), so I gave the all the garden beds a good watering.

I’m just amazed by how quickly this pumpkin is turning colour! Obviously, it’s not going to reach anywhere near its potential, but we made no effort to do that. I prefer to have a pumpkin that doesn’t need a forklift to carry. 😉

I’ve been eyeballing our long range forecast and, so far, it looks like the mild temperatures will continue well into September. Our average first frost date of Sept. 10 is expected to have a high of 19C/66F, and a low of 10C/50F. The middle of the month is looking to have lows of 5C/41F. Forecasts that far ahead are far from reliable, of course, but it is hopeful. Every mild day is that more more time for all the stuff that’s behind in the garden to catch up!

It’ll also be good for the litters of kittens that were born later in the season, too!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 Garden: morning growth, and what a harvest!

I was able to do some harvesting this morning, while checking on the garden.

This is a beautiful Ozark Nest Egg gourd! From what I can see so far, we’ll have about 4 of them, plus there was a female flower I found that I hand pollinated.

I was able to hand pollinate quite a few summer squash, too. I did see bees out and about, but while the male flowers were open, the female flowers had already closed.

This tiny Baby Pam pumpkin is the most ripe of them all – plus there was another female flower that I could hand pollinate, too.

The smaller of the two giant pumpkins had a growth spurt. It also has developed a wonky shape!

I was very happy with this morning’s harvest

We are still getting yellow bush beans. The purple beans are getting very prolific, and the green pole beans are kicking in, too. (The green bush beans under the sweet corn are starting to show tiny pods, too.) We actually have enough beans that we could probably can some pin sized jars. I’d love to do some pickled beans!

Speaking of pickles, we even have enough cucumbers altogether to do some pickles, too – also in pint sized jars.

There are just a few peas ripe enough to pick, but more are growing. I thinned out more of the carrots, and grabbed a couple of small onions for today’s use. I found a whole three ground cherries that were ripe enough, they fell off their plants.

We also have our first picking of sunburst pattypan squash. I normally would not have picked them this small, but they don’t seem to be getting any bigger, before they start withering away. Hopefully, picking these will encourage more growth, and the hand pollinating I was able to do will help, too.

My daughters have been doing the processing at night, when things are cooler. They should be able to do the pickling, if we have all the ingredients we need. My recipe book for small batch canning seems to have disappeared, though, so I can’t double check to see if we are missing ingredients. I have other recipes, though, and of course we can look online.

I’m just excited to finally have quantities sufficient to even think of canning instead of freezing.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: mulching, growing and harvesting

I didn’t get a photo of the finished squash patch last night, so I got one this morning.

All the paths are now mulched, too. There’s no carboard under the paths, so I expect things to start growing through, but at least it will be more sparse.

The plants themselves are seeing new growth and lots of flowers. It’s a race against time and the weather to see if we’ll have anything to pick this year.

I love that you can see the giant pumpkin from so far away!

I swear, this thing is visibly bigger, every day.

Of the two other pumpkins spotted, this one is making it and growing fast. The other did not get pollinated, and withered away. I see no other female flowers, so we’re probably just have the two.

In checking the Red Kuri squash and Apple gourds, I found both male and female flowers blooing at the same time, so I went ahead and hand pollinated. The Red Kuri is doing well, but with the Apple gourds, all the female flowers so far have withered. This morning, I found a female flower on one plant, and a male on another, si I made sure to hand pollinate

Thankfully, tomatoes are self pollinating.

The are so many of them changing colour right now! I have to check myself, to make sure I don’t pick some of them too early.

The one big Sophie’s Choice tomato I recently picked was enough for the girls to make a tomato salad out of it. I’m glad they’re enjoying the variety.

I finally picked the one bigger golden zucchini this morning. There were not a lot of yellow beans to pick, but there were more of the pole beans, with many more little ones on the vines. There will be more peas for a while, too. There may not be a lot of quantity from each of them, but altogether, it’s pretty decent.

The only down side this morning are my pain levels. I over did it yesterday, while pruning the trees. I was so distracted by the heat, I missed my other “time to back off” warning signs. Frustrating.

Ah, well. That’s what pain killers are for. Today is going to be a hotter one, with possible thunderstorms, so it’s not going to be a day for significant manual labour, anyhow.

The Re-Farmer

Size difference, and morning harvest

It’s coming up on noon, and we’ve already reached out high of 27C/81F, with the humidex at 29C/84F. Usually, we don’t reach our high until about 5pm! They’re also predicting rain, though, so hopefully that includes our area, and things will cool down a bit.

Some things seem to like the heat, though.

That one giant pumpkin is noticeably bigger, every day!

I put our very first tomato that I just picked, and a Magda squash, down for perspective.

Those ants were all over the tomato, immediately!

I have since placed an ant trap at the hill. The main part of the hill is next to the other giant pumpkin plant, and it’s looking like the ants are finally starting to damage it. I put traps next to two other ant hills as well. Usually, I prefer to leave them since ants are pollinators, too, but these ones have to go. There are plenty of other hills in the area, so it’s not like we’re making much of a dent in the population by doing this.

Here we have this morning’s harvest. Our very first tomato – Sophie’s Choice. I will leave the family to taste test it, since I can’t do raw tomatoes. They make me gag. Which, I’ve learned, is a thing, similar to how cilantro tastes like soap to some people, but not others!

Those pea pods are the first peas from our second planting. Remarkably, the first planting of peas is still green and trying to produce.

I didn’t pick any yellow beans tomorrow. There should be a good amount to gather tomorrow, though.

On another note, I got to pick up and pet the black and white kitten with the black splotch by its nose. I was happy to see it, since I did not see it at all, yesterday. It did not run away when I came by, and had no issues with being picked up and cuddled.

Progress!

The Re-Farmer

Change in plans, morning in the garden

This morning was our date with the vet, to get Potato Beetle, Big Rig and Tissue spayed and neutered, as arranged by the Cat Lady.

I had a chance to text with her last night, as she reminded me to have them fasting. She herself was going back to the hospital today. The poor thing has been in and out of hospital all summer, and yet she still manages to help with cats. She just brought home a couple more because they were sick, and no one else was willing/able to take care of them. She is so awesome!

She did warn me that there is a shortage of vets, and there was a possibility of cancellation. So when my phone started ringing while I was driving with the three cats, I had a sinking feeling. Of course, I couldn’t answer while driving. It started ringing again, then I suddenly started getting notification noises, one after another. *sigh*

The calls were from one of the staff from the clinic – but she was calling from home! When she couldn’t get through to me, she called the Cat Lady, and both of them were trying to text me at the same time, letting me know that the vet wasn’t coming in today. All surgeries were being cancelled.

I got all these when I parked in front of the clinic.

After responding to both of them, the lady from the clinic said she would call me when she got into the office to reschedule, then I headed home.

The cats were not happy with all this. I was concerned about Potato Beetle. He’s already been stuck in the sun room for over a week. Yes, he has cool places to lie down, and we make sure there’s a frozen water bottle in his water bowl, the ceiling fan is going, and the small box fan I found the the garage is set up. Still, it gets quite warm in there and, as much as we try to go over and pay attention to him, he’s mostly all on his own.

Thankfully, the clinic was able to reschedule us for this Friday, so tomorrow night, we do the fasting again.

Since we no longer to dash to and from town to deal with the cats, I took advantage of the change in plans and decided to do our Costco trip today, instead of next week.

But first, I had to do my morning rounds, switch out the memory cards in the trail cams, and check the garden beds.

The Carminat pole beans finally have pods forming!

The one giant pumpkin is growing so fast!

I looked around and finally saw another pumpkin forming. Just to be on the safe side, I hand pollinated it. The vines of the two plants are overlapping each other, but as far as I can tell, this one, plus another female flower I found that is still just a bud, is on the same plant as the pumpkin that’s growing so big. The second plant has lots of male flowers, but I can’t see any female flowers on it.

I’ll keep checking and, as I find them, I’ll hand pollinated them, just to be on the same side.

Which I am also doing with the Red Kuri (Little Gem) squash, in the south yard. These are doing really, really well here. I have hand pollinated several female flowers already, and I can see more budding. I’m happy that these are doing so well, because these may be the only winter squash we get this year!

The cherry tree by the house is doing well, too. This is the most we’ve seen on this tree since moving here. The other trees at the edge of the spruce grove have nothing. Being close to the house seems to be providing the microclimate it needs. I don’t know the name of this variety; only that the original tree was from Poland, which has a longer growing season than we do.

The cherries at the very top look ripe, or close to it. We’ll have to bring over the step ladder and start picking them!

Speaking of picking things…

This is this morning’s harvest. Along with the bush beans, there was a single pea pod from the row that was planted first. That row is almost done, but the ones that were planted later have quite a few pods that should be ready to pick in a few more days.

I also picked our very first two cucumbers! I picked this variety as it is supposed to be good for both fresh eating and pickling. Whether or not we’ll have enough to make pickles, I’m not sure yet, but we at least have these ones to taste test now!

There was also a few raspberries to pick. Maybe 3/4’s of a cup in total.

It’s not much, but it’s enough to enjoy with a meal. Certainly better than nothing at all!

That done, I was off to the city to do the last of our monthly stocking up, but that will get it’s own post. 😊

The Re-Farmer

Some garden stuff, and a run-around day

Just a few growing things to share from this morning!

The spruce grove next to the board pile where the smaller kittens are living has been overtaken by spirea again. Hard to believe I pulled those all out, just a couple of years ago. They are blooming like crazy right now, and just buzzing with insects, so I am leaving them for the pollinators. They can be pulled up later, when we need access to cut down the dead spruces.

This is one of the hulless pumpkins; a Kakai variety. So far, there’s just the one. I’ve seen another, much smaller one. We shall see if it got pollinated and gets bigger or not.

There is also just the one giant pumpkin growing. I made sure to hand pollinate this one, when I first found it! I am not seeing any other female flowers on the giant pumpkins at all, yet.

I was able to make a tiny harvest of shelling peas this morning; more of the pea plants have had hair cuts by a deer, it seems. Just at the one end, where they are already all spindly, though, so it’s not actually much of a loss. I was able to pick a small handful of raspberries, too. Not as much of either, as yesterday.

I didn’t spent too much time in the garden, though, as I had a lunch date in town. I met with my SIL for lunch, after she picked up the sleep test machine in the city for me, saving me the trip. After lunch, I tried calling my mom from the parking lot, but got a “user not available” message. So I made a stop at the hardware store and picked a paint for the benches. I went with a dark red. I got a gallon, so there should be enough for both benches, with some to spare for future projects.

That done, I tried calling my mom again, and discovered she had called the farm and left a message for me. She had just gotten word that her sister passed away this morning. My aunt would have turned 99, this fall. My aunt had gotten to the point where, when my mother recently visited her, she could not recognize her at all, and didn’t seem to know my mother was there. We were expecting this for some time, now.

I told my mother I had her sleep test machine and was on my way to her place. I was really looking forward to seeing it. The little storage bin it was in was about the same size as the machine I got, when I had a sleep test done years ago.

My goodness, has it ever changed! The test is the same; a pulse oxymeter to be worn on one finger, a hose with nasal prongs, and a heart rate monitor worn the chest. The small box strapped to the chest was the entire unit, with both the air hose and pulse oximeter attached to it. No machine sitting next to the bed, making things like rolling over very challenging to do!

There was a questionnaire sheet that I helped fill out on one side. The other side is for after the test is done. Then we went over the instructions.

Yeeeeeaaaahhh….

No.

It’s actually very easy to use, but the instructions were well beyond my mother. Especially when it started talking about what to do if you turn it on and get red lights instead of green ones. Just the nasal prongs, and putting the air hose around her ears, was too much for her. She was more than ready to not do the test at all, and expressed regret for agreeing to do it.

So I’ll be giving her a hand. The machine needs to be returned on Tuesday. I’ll come over on Monday night to help her put everything on and get the machine going, before she goes to bed. Then I’ll come back in the morning, go through the shut down procedure, finish off the questionnaire with her, then take the machine to the city and drop it off. It’s already been arranged with them that, when the specialist has gone over the readings and is ready with his report, he’ll call me to go over it, not my mother. I can then explain the results to her in a way she can understand, later on. The report will also be sent to her doctor to go over.

Then, since I’ll be in the city anyhow, I’ll stay to do more of our monthly stock up. I will be using my mother’s car again, though, so still no Costco trip, but there is a liquidation store near where I have to drop off the sleep test machine that I want to check out. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, and their inventory can change quite dramatically from shipment to shipment. I should be able to get deals on things to stock up on that I might not find at the other wholesale places I go to.

So that is all arranged.

There was one odd message my mother passed on to me while I was there. When her niece called about her sister’s passing, my mother was told that our vandal would be at the funeral, therefore I could not be there.

Which is completely backwards. If I go to the funeral, it’s our vandal that has to leave. I have a restraining order against him, not the other way around. Not that I would do that to him at a funeral. I would make and exception. He, obviously, would not. I have no idea what he told my cousin, but I suspect she doesn’t want me there, anyhow. When I later had a chance to pass on my condolences to her husband, I explained it to him, but also said that I will just keep things easy and not go. Our vandal might cause a scene, and if my suspicions are correct and my cousin doesn’t actually want me there, she would be upset with me, not our vandal. I have other ways to honour my aunt’s life without all this theatre.

Since I was in town with her car, I was able to take my mother on some errands before heading home. She is not at all impressed with how expensive things have gotten. I’ve been trying to warn her for months that this was coming, but she brushed me off. Even now, she thinks that the prices are high because the local stores are cheating people. She found an error on her grocery receipt a couple of times (in the 8 or so years she’s been living there), and is convinced the errors were actually deliberate. She still doesn’t get that cashiers don’t actually put prices in manually as they scan her groceries, and that the prices are set into the computer system by the franchise the store is affiliated with, not the store itself. For all my warnings, she seems to think these higher prices are just in the local stores she goes to, not something that’s happening across the country. Frustrating.

I had noticed a weekly farmer’s market was on today, so before heading home, I swung by to see what was available. There was one booth with fresh vegetables. The selection was more sparse than I remember from last year, but I was able to get some fresh yellow beans and a bunch of carrots. The market itself had a lot fewer booths, too. My bee keeping cousin was there, though, and I was looking to get a bucket of honey, but he had none, and will not be having any of his largest size at all this year. The long, cold winter took out his bees. He’s down to only two hives! They would have already been struggling after last year’s drought, too. This horrible start to the year we had must have been just too much for them.

It explains a lot, though. I’ve heard from a lot of people saying they’re not seeing any bees this year. At the time when the bees would have been coming out of hibernation, not only was it cold, but things that normally would have been blooming, were not. There would have been nothing for them to eat.

I had just been talking to a woman selling chokecherry jam (among other varieties of jams and jellies) about how we had plenty of chokecherry flowers this spring (when they finally could bloom), but no berries, and she had said she had the same thing. Especially with Saskatoons. The flowers just didn’t get pollinated. Bees would not have been the only pollinators affected by our horrible spring, either. I’m glad we have so many pollinators now, but the timing of it is just wrong for most berry bushes.

Thankfully, my beekeeping cousin has other stuff to sell in his booth, not just honey. It might take a long time for him to build his hives back up again.

This has been a hard year for all kinds of produce!

Still, I did get a large jar of honey, some fresh vegetables, a couple jams and jellies, and some individual sized pies to take home. Not too bad.

It’s been a long run-around day, though, and I was more than happy to get home!

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

Morning in the garden

I just spent a bit of time going back over garden photos from last year. For all the drought and heat waves we had, the garden was well ahead of most of this year’s garden. It’s amazing how much the extended cold and excessive moisture has set things back. At this time last year, I was picking at least a few summer squash, and even beans in the morning. As much as they struggled in the heat, the peas were starting to produce pods. The melons were setting fruit and looking really prolific, and even the Mountain Morado corn was starting to develop cobs. The cherry tomato mix and spoon tomatoes had sprays of green tomatoes, with some ripening and ready to eat, soon after.

This morning, I was able to give more onions a hair cut.

These are onions from seed, taken from the high raised bed, which had the most, plus a few from one of the low raised beds. We picked so many from the onion sets last time, most of these went straight to getting dehydrated.

Kitchen shears makes the job to much faster. After a more thorough washing, then trimming off the browned tips, it was quick work to snip them into small pieces. As I write this, they are in the oven under the warm setting, at 145F (the lowest temperature our new oven can go).

Even with the onions, there’s a difference. They they are looking pretty good, last year they were developing bulbs by now.

I got to taste our first strawberry from the transplants! It was so very sweet! Not the one in the photo; that one’s not ready yet. Nor the first one that developed. That one rotted before it ripened for some reason. There are plenty more developing, and lots more flowers, though, so I hope we will have a decent amount from our 4 little plants. Hopefully, they will also develop runners that we can propagate, to have more plants next year. 🙂

Still nothing from the bare root white strawberries we got, though. Looks like a total loss, there.

Some of the Carminat pole beans are getting very enthusiastic about climbing! The pole beans on the other side of the trellis aren’t quite there yet. There are a couple of self seeds (or should I say, bird-poop seeded) sunflowers that I am allowing to grow. There are some in other beds that I’m letting grow, too.

I was sure the beans I planted at the tunnel were also vining types, but I’m starting to think they are actually a bush bean. They are getting bigger, but so far, I see nothing to show that they are climbers!

While the Chocolate Cherry and Yellow Pear tomatoes are not showing fruit yet, the tomatoes that were started so much earlier indoors are really starting to fill out! Almost all the plants are starting to show fruit now. The photo above is one of the first Sophie’s Choice tomatoes to develop, and it’s getting surprisingly large, from what I can tell for the variety.

There is a distinct shape difference between the Sophie’s Choice and the Cup of Moldova tomatoes. In fact, it looks like the row that I thought was all Sophie’s Choice actually has a few Cup of Moldova in it. There are a LOT more of the CoM than the SC tomatoes.

The big surprise are the giant pumpkins. Do you see that flower above? And all the buds around it, both male and female?

That’s on the pumpkin I found with a broken stem. The one I didn’t think would survive. Turns out that pushing the broken surfaces together and burying them was enough to save it.

The rest of the squash nearby are not really doing well. Most are still very small, and even the ones that are growing more are nowhere near as big as they should be for this time of the growing season. I am starting to think we might not get any of the winter squash in this patch (the Red Kuri at the chain link fence is doing really well, at least), and we’ll be lucky to get any summer squash, too. The melons are all so small, I just don’t see them making it. Squash and melon all need lots of water, but it looks like they still got too much, this wet-wet spring, and just aren’t recovering. Unless we have a ridiculously long and mild fall. Some of the hulless pumpkins seem to be doing better, but I still don’t think they’re recovered enough to get a crop this year.

We planted SO much this year, and it seems much of it is going to be wasted effort. Hard to believe that it’s pretty much all having a much harder time this year, with so much moisture and more average temperatures, than last year with the heat waves and drought. I would have expected it to be the other way around. Looking at what is working and what isn’t, it definitely confirms that we need to go with the high raised beds. Even the low raised beds, while better than what’s at grade, are not all doing as well as one would expect. The tomato bed is the only thing I would say is doing really well. Most of the onions are doing all right, though even the shallots from sets planted near the Chocolate Cherry tomatoes are struggling at one end of the bed. Though the bet was raised about 4 inches when we framed it with bricks, the end near the vehicle gate had a lot of water around it. So much, it even looks like the shallots at the end were largely drowned out. At least there are more, further down the bed, that escaped nature’s wrath!

I’m struggling with disappointment right now. We planted more then we “needed”, with the expectation that we’d lose some, so that we could at least still be able to preserve food for the winter. Now it’s looking like we’ll barely have fresh produce for the summer.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: survivor, and filling the gaps

Ever since I found that one giant pumpkin plant with a broken stem, I come out in my morning rounds, expecting it to be yellow and withering away.

Which is most certainly NOT happening! Even with an ant hill almost right up against it, that pumpkin is still green and growing!

How remarkably resilient!

This morning, I decided to fill in gaps by the sweet corn. There is no sign at all of the green bush beans that were planted along one side.

These are the beans I picked up to replace them; Stringless Green Pod. Odd to have a description instead of a variety name, but this brand does that a lot. At only 50-55 days to maturity, there is no issue at all with direct sowing this late. With the other beans we’ve planted, we’re still in the window of successive sowing for our area. There were also enough seeds to plant them on both sides of the sweet corn rows, which is what I’d intended with the seeds from last year we’d planted. There just wasn’t enough of them left to do both sides.

With all the water that got into this area, I’m actually a bit surprised we got as much corn sprouting as we did, but both the Latte and the Tom Thumb corn have plenty of seedlings. While planting the new beans, however, I could see the soil was crusting at the top.

Time for mulch.

I used roughly half of a 40 pound bag of stove pellets. The Tom Thumb corn got a slightly thicker layer of pellets, since there is nothing else planted with them. After the beans start coming up, we’ll see if more needs to be added there or not. The beans themselves are intended to act as a mulch for the corn, so it may not be needed.

Normally, after soaking down a layer of pellets, I’d use the back of a fan rake to spread the sawdust evenly. Not an option when added around seedlings like this. I gave them a good soak, then came back later and used different pressures of water to break up the pellet shapes and spread the sawdust out more. This should both help keep the soil from drying out and crusting on the surface, but also absorb and hold water if we get another deluge.

My next goal of the day is to do some mowing in parts of the outer yard. The area I did with the scythe can now be done with the push mower, and I want to at least clear along the sides of the driveway and in front of the chain link fence. My BIL and his family are coming out tomorrow evening, and it would be nice for them to have somewhere to park. 😀

I get to break in my new boots in the process. Not that they seem to need breaking in! My steel toed shoes have been falling apart for a while, but I have the hardest time finding footwear that fit my wide, messed up feet. I usually get a men’s size 9, triple wide, just to be able to get my feet in, but a lot of styles rub or pinch in the wrong places, because they’re made for the average man’s foot. My feet are shorter and wider than average. Just like the rest of me. 😉 The end result is that even if I find a pair that fits, the shoes bend with my feet in places they were not designed to bend. With the stress in the wrong parts of the shoe, they always end up cracking and splitting in the same places.

I wreck shoes rather quickly.

My husband, darling that he is, ordered a pair of work boots for me online. He chose a men’s size 9 1/2, triple wide, lace up boots with zippers on the inside, so they can be removed without undoing the laces.

They came in yesterday.

I was really not expecting much. I figured they would be too big, but there is no consistency in sizing at the best of times. Online shopping is much, much worse.

Much to my shock, not only did they fit, but they seem to fit perfectly! It actually feels bizarre to wear them. I’m just not used to this. Not only are they wide enough for my feet, but they’re not too long; there isn’t a huge empty space in front of my toes, like there usually is. They are even bending in the right spots as I walk!

There are only a couple of issues. The first is that I can’t lace them up all the way to the top, because of my over developed calves. Which is fine. I can’t even lace up my snow boots all the way, so I’m used to that.

The second issue involves the zipper area. There is a gusset under the zipper, and the top of it rubs against the skin of my leg. More on the left leg than the right, and to the point of considerable pain. I ended up stuffing my pantlegs into the top of the boot to stop it.

The solution to that is, I have to wear them with tall socks.

I never wear tall socks.

Usually I wear ankle socks. If I wear sport socks, I fold them down to the ankles, like Bobby socks. If they don’t get folded down, they fall down, anyhow. It’s those overdeveloped calves again.

Not much choice, though. If I don’t wear them, I’ll ended up bleeding.

So far, I’ve just been wearing them for normal walking around. We’ll see how they do with the constant walking while mowing the lawn. So far, the boots seem to be keeping the socks from falling down like they usually do.

Time to give them a real test!

The Re-Farmer