Our 2022 garden: harvesting squash and corn

Well, the last of the stuff that needed to come in before tonight is done – at least as much as possible. The girls and I put bottles with warm water under the eggplants in the grow bag (the only ones fruiting) and, since they were right there, with the sweet potatoes, too. The eggplant and one grow bag with sweet potato got covered, but the sheet wasn’t big enough to cover the other two grow bags. The apple gourd also got bottles of warm water placed beside them, but we could only cover two of the three plants, so we covered the two biggest ones. As I write this, we are down to 9C/48F, and it’s supposed to keep dropping until we reach 1C/34F at about 7am. Between 6 – 8 am tends to consistently be the coldest time of day.

While I was harvesting earlier, I went ahead and grabbed a bunch of the Latte sweet corn, too. I don’t think they are quite at their peak, but I think they’re about as good as we’re going to get. There are still cobs on the stalks that were pretty small, so I left them be.

With the summer squash, I grabbed all the little – but not too little – patty pans, and the last of the zucchini.

In the above photo, the six pumpkins across the top are the Baby Pam pumpkins. The others are all hulless seed pumpkins. On the far left are four Styrian, in the middle are six Lady Godiva, and on the right are two Kakai. Tucked in with the patty pans are two Boston Marrow. There are so many little Boston Marrow squash forming, but they are just too small and have no chance of ripening after being picked. I’m not even sure Boston Marrow does continue to ripen after being picked!

The pumpkins are now all set up in the sun room. We cleared a shelf in the window, and all but one of them fit in there. The last one joined the onions on the screen. I think it should still get enough light there.

The hulless seed pumpkins are grown just for their seed, not their flesh. The flesh is probably edible, but there would be less of it than for an eating pumpkin. I will give them time before we crack any open to see what the seeds are like. At least we do have the one tiny, fully ripe kakai pumpkin harvested earlier that we could try any time we feel like it.

We planted so many different winter squash, and it was such a horrible year, I’m thankful we have as much as we do. Hopefully, next year, we will have better growing conditions. I made the mistake of calling my mother before I started this post, and talking about our garden. I mentioned that our beets did not do well this year. She started lecturing me on how to grow beets, and how they need to have the soil loosened around them, etc. I told her I knew how to grow beets (this is not our first year growing them!); they just didn’t do well this year. We didn’t even get greens worth eating. My mother then launched into how she always had such big beets, and always had such a wonderful garden (this after she’d mentioned to be before, that some years things just didn’t work) and how she only grew the “basics” and everything was just so wonderful – and the reason my beets failed was because I don’t garden like she did, and that I shouldn’t be gardening “from a book”. Whatever that means. I reminded her that I tested the soil and it is depleted. We don’t have good soil here anymore. She got sarcastic about that, and basically made it like my not having a perfect garden like she did was because I’m not doing things her way. As she got increasingly cruel about it, I called her out on it. I told her that just because she can’t understand something like soil science – which she doesn’t need to – that didn’t make it okay for her to be cruel to me over something she knows nothing about. Nor would I put up with being treated like that. I even asked her, why couldn’t she try being kind for a change? Maybe say something like “I’m sorry to hear you’re having problems”, instead of basically saying “I’m better than you.” She went dead silent, so I changed the subject, and the rest of the conversation went okay. Then she cut the call short because she saw the time, and her program on TV was started, so she had to go.

My mother is pretty open on what her priorities are. 😕

Ah, well. It is what it is. I’m just so thankful she is no longer our “landlord”, and that my brother now owns the property. There was a point, before the title was transferred, that we briefly but seriously considered moving out because of her.

Funny how something as ordinary as gardening can bring out the worst in her, though.

The weird thing is, when I spoke to my brother after he’d visited her to talk about the roofing estimates, apparently my mother had lots of positive things to say about how well we’re taking care of things here.

I guess that doesn’t include the garden! 😄

Well, I guess I should go see what I can do about that corn! 😊

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning harvest and deer damage

I checked my weather app last night, and read that we were to get rain and thunderstorms this morning.

This morning, I checked the app and it told me “rain will end in 45 minutes”.

There was no rain.

We’re going to have to water the garden today.

Which is not a complaint. We have a garden to water, still! Though the evenings have been chillier than forecast, we’re still frost free.

While checking all the garden beds, I spotted some deer damage in the sweet corn.

The silks were nibbled off!

It looks like a deer ducked under the rope fence (so much for the bells and whirligigs to startle them!), walked along one side of the corn, nibbling the silks all along the way.

I did find one cob that had been pulled off and left on the ground.

I’d been able to check the other nibbled ones, but with this one I could peel it entirely. They are still not ripe. I think the cool evenings are slowing things down.

We’re supposed to have highs between 17C/63F (today) and 14C/57F (in a couple days) over the next while, before temperatures rise above 20C/68F again. We’re supposed to stay above 20C for several days before dropping to the mid teens again. One of my apps has a 28 day long range forecast, and according to that, we won’t hit overnight temperatures low enough for a frost risk until almost a week into October.

Every mild day is bonus right now, and allowing our garden to continue to produce.

I love those G Star patty pans!

The onions are from the curing table for today’s cooking, but the rest is fresh picked. The Yellow Pear are filled with ripening tomatoes – much more than the Chocolate cherry. We have to figure out what to do with them all.

A couple of Sophie’s Choice tomatoes were ripe enough to pick. I will use those to save seeds. The paste tomatoes went into the freezer for later processing.

As I write this, my older daughter is in the kitchen, trying to use up a whole lot of vegetables for lunch, to go with the short ribs that were in the slow cooker all night. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with! 😊

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning harvest and first corn!

Okay, I probably should have waited a bit longer…

… but I picked our first corn!

It’s hard to judge ripeness. This variety doesn’t get large cobs but, at the same time, with everything struggling so much, they may still be smaller than typical. We did take a peek, and the kernels seem a bit on the small side, but whatever. It can still be eaten!

The pole beans are certainly winding down. Except the Red Noodle beans, which haven’t even started blooming yet, even though there are buds. The golden zucchini is looking wonky – but at least there is something to pick.

Last night, as far as I know, we never dipped lower than 20C/68F. Which is warmer than forecast, and just wonderful. The night before, the temperatures dipped to 7C/45F, which was lower than forecast. If the forecast is close to accurate, we shouldn’t have frost until possibly the beginning of October, but… well, the forecast hasn’t been very accurate for the overnight temperatures, that’s for sure. Which means it’ll be hard to know if we would need to cover some of the temperature sensitive vegetables for the night. Not that we’d be able to at all for the squash beds – they’re just too large – but we’d be able to protect some of the others.

I’d rather just have mild overnight temperatures!

The Re-Farmer

Morning in the garden and, photobomb!

Things are getting cooler in the mornings, that’s for sure! At about 7am, we were at 9C/48F – quite a bit less than the low of 16C/ that was forecast!

And that is why I don’t allow myself to hope too much, when I see mild temperatures in the long range forecasts. Even forecasts within a 24hr period can be wildly off.

Still, things are working out okay. Along with the cool mornings, we’ve been having high humidity, resulting in very heavy dew that the plants are quite enjoying. Unfortunately, if it’s too cool, it slows down maturation. Our chocolate cherry tomatoes are only now starting to turn colour. We also still have only one kulli corn showing tassels, with none showing silk.

While looking for beans to pick, I spotted this at the bottom of the one stalk that has tassels. I think it’s neat that corn develops these.

The yellow bush beans are pretty much done, but I’m leaving the plants be, rather than pull them up. They act as a living mulch for the corn, and shade the ground, so they still serve a purpose.

The sweet corn, on the other hand, is suddenly doing very well! There are so many cobs developing. This area is pretty breezy, so there are nor worries about adequate pollination, here!

There was finally a new Lady Godiva baby pumpkin to hand pollinate – the one you can see in the background is still the only pumpkin from the 5 plants. I did see another female flower bud, but it won’t be ready to pollinate for a few days yet – assuming it makes it that long.

While checking the beds, I could see bees busily doing their work in the squash blossoms, but I’ve noticed that while all the male flowers are wide open, the female flowers tend to have there blossoms already closed!

As lovely as it is to see the luffa gourd, it’s not going to make it. Do yo use that sort of star shape on my finger in the background? That’s a cluster of male flowers, nowhere near blooming. Meanwhile, the female flowers that have emerged so far are already losing their blossom ends, so there is no possibility of pollination.

These shelling beans may be tiny and delicate, but they have SO many developing pods!

Still nothing on the red noodle beans.

There are, however, a LOT of dancing gourds! It looks like they’ll be able to reach their full mature size, too. We had lots last year, but they were all much smaller than they should have been.

Once I finished gathering a harvest, I paused to hose it all over, then set up for…

… a photobomb, it turns out!

What a cheeky little bugger.

It looks like the pole beans are winding down now, too. There is still lots on the vines, at various stages of growth, so we’ll still be picking every 2 days, but there was a lot less of them, this morning.

The peas were a surprise, though. I didn’t expect to find very many, especially at the first planting, so I started off just eating them. Then I just kept finding more. Peas should have been done producing, long ago!

I tried thinning by harvesting some carrots, but that just doesn’t work with the Black Nebula carrots. They’re such a long carrot, though, it’s hard to pull them up, so I’m just leaving them for now. Those will need to be harvested with a garden fork.

I hand pollinated some more summer squash, and even had a few to pick. That one yellow zucchini was looking like it was going to ripen unevenly, so I just grabbed it. I also grabbed a few of the smaller onions for today’s cooking.

Once done my rounds, I headed to town to pick up some missing ingredients to do some pickling. We really need to do something with the cucumbers my sister gave us. They are so huge, though! It’s a good thing I did pick up a case of wide-mouthed quart jars a while back. I usually get 500ml or 750ml sized jars. There are cucumbers that would completely fill one of those, all on its own! I plan to pickle the smallest ones, and leave the larger ones for fresh eating.

While in town, I also stopped at the wine making supply shot and picked up more yeast, and a couple of spare bungs for the gallon sized carboys. We’ll be making hard apple cider again, soon, and it’ll be nice if we can get four carboys started this time. We had only two, last time. It turned out so well, I’ll happily double the amount. We should have more than enough apples to do that, plus make apple cider vinegar, too.

But first, the cucumbers need to be taken care of. They’ve been scrubbed, and it’s time to start sterilizing the quart jars! 😊🥒

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: progress

With all the rain we’ve been having lately, the garden is loving it. Who would think, after all that flooding in the spring, that would even be an issue?

The Red Kuri winter squash is doing so well, and starting to turn colour. We have a little more than 3 weeks before our average first frost. We may just have enough time for these to fully ripen.

The other squash are blooming and growing like they should have, in the spring. I’m still holding out for a long, mild fall so we can at least get summer squash, if not more winter squash!

The variety of sweet corn we have is not particularly tall, but these are still quite a bit shorter than they should be – but they are putting out tassels, which means we should be seeing silks, soon too. Even the Tom Thumb popcorn is perking up. Those only grow to about 2 ft high, and some of them are almost there. They are sending out tassels, too. Their cobs only grow a few inches long.

We might actually have corn this year!

This is my big surprise. The tiny, barely making it, eggplants are blooming, too! Well. One of them is. I thought these ones were a complete loss. They probably still are, but one can hope!

The paste tomatoes are really starting to turn nice and red. We’re at the point where I’m wondering if I should start harvesting most of them and letting them finish ripening inside. Less chance of critters getting to them before we do, but then we’d have to find ways to keep the inside cats out of them.

I’ll be harvesting more tomorrow. It’s still mostly beans, but I should be able to pick a fair number of cucumbers, too. We don’t have enough to warrant trying to pickle them, but enough to make some cucumber salads! It’s the same with the beans. There’s more than we can eat in a day or two, but not enough to make it worthwhile to break out the canner. One of my daughters has just been blanching and freezing the excess for now. It’ll be when we do the tomatoes that we’ll finally get into some serious processing. 😊

What a mix of things doing well, things failing, and things struggling in the garden this year.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: Latte corn, green bush beans, Yakteen gourds – and we’re officially done!

Yes!! It’s done! I can now officially say, we have finished spring planting and transplanting everything! Whether we do a fall planting or not, we’ll decide on later, but right now, everything that will be growing this year is in.

Not that the work is done, but the focus gets to change, and the pressure to get it all in, in time, is gone.

The first thing to get done was finish the bed for the last of the corn and beans.

It took another 3 1/2 wheelbarrow loads of soil to top of the rest of the bed. You can really see the difference between what we laid down earlier, and got rained on. I’d taken out the rest of the sod divots, but we still need to gather the rocks.

The bowl in the photo is holding some of the inoculated Latte bi-colour corn seeds. It came as a pack of 200, but that’s less than half the pack, and some went back into the bag. The corn was planted in the three rows in the middle, that are marked off. The plan was to have bush beans on either side, but we only had enough of the Lewis green beans from last year to fill the one side.

The only other beans we had were pole beans, so we left the last row.

Also, I’ve run out of labels that won’t fade in the sun. It’s a good thing I’m using this blog as a gardening journal! 😀

Now, all that’s left here is to mulch the area with straw.

I then decided to go ahead and transplant the Yakteen gourd. The were 4 sprouts in one pot, while the other two pots still had nothing!

The largest plant went into an empty spot in a row of cantaloupe type melons (one of the grocery store melons we saved seeds from), because one of the seedlings withered and died before we could transplant them.

The two smallest seedlings were planted together. Here, they are in a pair of empty spots in one of the rows of Kaho watermelon. The seeds in those spots never germinated, so the space is being used for the gourds.

It feels so good to be all done planting!

Which meant it was time to work on other things…

One of the low raised beds did not have supports of netting yet, so I dug out the rest of the bamboo stakes in the garden shed and use the unbroken ones. This bed has all summer squash, and it not something I expect we’ll need to cover for any reason, so we just need supports to put netting around it, if we need to. Last year, the groundhogs were enjoying themselves some squash, but nothing was bothering the plants, so if we need to put netting around them, it wont be until they are quite a bit larger.

In the low raised beds with the upright supports, it didn’t have the twine strung around yet. Because of the logs, the spacing was really off. I ended up grabbing a couple of sticks, which the arrows are pointing to, to fill in the gaps.

The hoops in the background got a couple of bamboo stakes tied across the tops.

Now, all of these beds have supports on them, whether for netting or shade cloth or whatever we need.

I think we’ll take a bit of a break and let things dry up a bit. I’d still like to take the weed washer into the larger squash bed before we lay the straw mulch down.

Then we need to put the A frame supports at the two trellises beyond the bean tunnel, for the cucumbers, peas and more pole beans, as well as mulch the hulless pumpkins that got planted out there, too.

I’d be excited for the progress, but I’m just too tired. I’ve been pushing my limits a lot, lately, and it’s catching up with me. A bit of a breather, and I should be back up to snuff in no time.

She says, optimistically… 😉

On top of this, it’s been a busy phone day. My husband had a phone appointment with the doctor to talk about his lab results, and a slight change to one of his medications because of it. Then my husband made another phone appointment… for me! I was outside, weeding, when the call came, so he sent me messages to let me know, but with muddy hands, even if I get the notifications, I can’t check my phone until I’ve washed my hands. It’s a good thing I came in when I did! The appointment was to talk about my own lab results, but first I got a call from home care to talk about my mother. The guy then called my mother and booked an appointment for and assessment next week, which he has asked me to be at. Then he called me back with the appointment time – and a concern. Because of her bed bugs, he’s going to have to be wearing the appropriate PPE, but they wouldn’t consider even doing an assessment if the potential client wasn’t going to do anything about their bed bugs. My mother told him she didn’t have an appointment, because when they asked (who? when?) in her building, who had noticed bed bugs in their units, she didn’t say anything – because she didn’t want to bother anybody!

*sigh*

I explained to him what my brother had done, and that it’s being arranged by schedule. I ended up getting the name of the site manager for her town, which I was able to pass on to my brother.

Then I had my telephone appointment with the clinic, which was basically to tell me nothing has changed. I consistently have one reading that is “on the high side”, but still within normal, so they want to keep an eye on it. All because, back in 2005 or 2006, I took a short term medication with a side effect the doctor wanted to monitor for the duration. Ever since then, everyone’s misunderstood why that was on my file.

One of the other things I did was send an email to the company I ordered the shed from. I asked a couple of questions about the amount charges and what shipping company would be used. Mostly, I’m feeling the waters to see what kind of response I get. Given the time frame for when we’re supposed to receive the boxes, if I don’t get a response soon, I will assume they are not legit and cancel the order and ask for my money back. The problem is that, in looking them up, I’ve found both that they are a scam site, and that they are not the best, but not fake, either.

Ah, well. We’ll find out soon enough.

The Re-Farmer