Our 2022 garden: seedling surprise!

This morning, I opened up the large aquarium greenhouse to refill the water tray over the heat mat, and give everything a spritz. This involves moving mini fan off, setting one light fixture on top of the other and pushing them back, then removing the wire mesh covers to access inside.

Once the covers were off, I took the opportunity to take a picture of the sprouts.

Here, you can see that the Sophie’s Choice tomatoes are now sprouting in all three pots, and the Cup of Moldova growing bigger every day. The eggplant is still slower, but the ones that have sprouted are definitely looking bigger.

But wait… What’s that?

Over on the right, near the back corner.

Is that…???

Yes!!! Yes it is!

A luffa has sprouted!

I went back to look again, and I still could not see it from standing next to the tank. I could only see it in the photo taken from above.

I am so thrilled!!!

Last year, it took ages for the various types of squash and gourds to germinate. The luffa did germinate earlier than others – and some never germinated at all – but I absolutely did NOT expect any gourds to germinated this early.

I am crediting the heat mat for most of this. For the luffa, the scarification and pre-soaking probably helped, too.

So exciting!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: first seeds started

Though it is very early in the year, we have our first seeds started indoors today. A lot of people in our zone have already got seedlings, while still others are saying, it’s way too early.

So which is it?

I happened on a video today, talking about planting peppers and eggplants, which we are doing for the first time this year. Both are plants we never grew when I was a kid, so I have zero familiarity with them.

This particular video mentioned something I’ve never heard before, yet had wondered about.

When reading the seed packets, they say things like “start indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost date”.

Last year, we had a lot of issues with some things not germinating. Some took forever to germinate. Others never did at all. This was particularly true of various squash, plus all the Hope Black Dye sunflowers – with did finally all germinate, when I started taking the trays outside, while hardening off other seedlings.

What got mentioned in this video, is that when they say “4-6 weeks before last frost,” it’s actually from germination, not from planting the seeds. So if you have something that needs to be started, say, 6 weeks before last frost, but the packet says the seeds take 7-10 days to terminated, then the time to start them indoors is 6 weeks, plus 7-10 days.

That actually makes so much more sense to me.

I’d already made a list of which seeds needed to be started when, and these were the ones that needed at least 8 weeks.

The gourds were started first, as they needed extra steps. Among the things recommended that I wanted to try was scarification and pre-soaking.

So that’s what I started this morning.

Of the gourds we will be trying to grow this year, I chose the Canteen gourd to start early, as the gourds are supposed to get quite large. The other gourds I want to grow are smaller at full maturity.

Which lead me to another thing. With the luffa, we’re not after “days to maturity”, which is 110 days, if I remember correctly. We’re after the sponges, so we need for those mature gourds to dry out. That puts them at 200 days. Even starting now, we might not have that long for them. It will depend on whether or not we get another really long summer again. Of course, in the end, everything depends on the weather.

I chose 6 of the plumpest, healthiest looking seeds from each, then carefully snipped their outer shells with a nail clipper, before putting them inside the folds of a paper towel.

Then they went into sandwich baggies, and the insides were sprayed with water, before being sealed and left to sit. Most places recommended leaving them overnight, but I left them “overday” instead. 😉

Then they went into planting pots filled with pre-moistened seed starting soil. My daughter used a chopstick to push them the inch into the soil they needed to go. Once covered, the tops of the soil got sprayed with water.

Then it was time to take a look at the rest of the seeds and see what we had to work with. None of the packets have a lot of seeds in them, but we are not after a lot of individual plants.

The Sophie’s Choice tomato was a conundrum for me. Everything I read about them said they needed to be started very early; a couple of weeks earlier than other tomatoes. Yet they are an early tomato, with only 55 days to maturity. At only 55 days, we could start them outdoors and they’d have plenty of time to mature. Odd.

For all but the Wonderberry, we decided to plant about 5 seeds per pot, and three pots each. With the gourds, that filled an entire tray.

The Wonderberry got planted using the double cup method. I reused some of the Red Solo cups we used last year, with the inner cups having drainage holes in the bottom, so they can be watered from below, using the outer cup.

We still had seeds left over, even with how little was in each packet, so that’s nice.

We used more boxes to bring the tray and cups closer to the lights, inside the big aquarium greenhouse. The heat mat fits under the tray. I’m hoping that just being near the mat as well as close to the light fixtures, one of which does warm up, will be good enough to adequately warm the Wonderberry in their cups.

The double cups got water in their bottoms before they were put in place, and water was added to the tray once it was settled on the heat mat. We do still have a little fan blowing into the tank, though it’s over the orchids and aloe in the other corner. We won’t be able to cover these with a plastic dome, as typically recommended, so I’ll be making sure to use a spray bottle to keep the tops moistened, since the smaller seeds are so much closer to the surface. There’s quite a bit of water in the tray so, with the heat mat, that should help increase the humidity levels, with the fan hopefully keeping things from starting to mold.

The heat mat doesn’t have a thermometer, nor do we have a soil thermometer, so we’ll have to monitor these fairly closely. Everything is plugged into a power bar, which gets shut off every night, so there will at least be that break. If it seems to be getting too warm – unlikely, for what we’ve got planted in there – we can put something under the tray to elevate it. Once the seeds germinate, we can probably take the mat out entirely.

The next things we’ll be starting are the onions, which won’t need the heat mat, but when it comes time to start the rest of the tomatoes, and all the squash, we’ll need both the heat mat and space – and space is going to be harder to come by! We do have a mini greenhouse, the frame of which we are currently using in the sun room to hold the heater bulb for Butterscotch and Nosencratnz, as they recover. We did try to use it in the living room last year, as it does have a zippered cover, but the cats still managed to get into it. If we could find some way to keep the cats out of it, it would go a long way to helping with our space issues!

We’ll figure something out.

The main thing is, we’ve got stuff started that need that extra time indoors.

Yay!!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden, still going!

Last night, I heard from one of our neighbours, asking if we were missing some kittens. It seems that several kittens were sighted on the road by our place, and while one was caught, there were others around. They were not ours; by the age estimate, they were about 5 months younger than ours, plus they seem used to humans. Which means they were likely dumped. 😦 The person who caught the one said she would be coming back to try and find the others. Meanwhile, I made sure to be on the lookout for kittens while doing my rounds this morning. Especially in the furthest garden beds, which are the closest to where the kittens were spotted.

I think I did actually see a strange kitten at our house, yesterday, but it ran off, just like most of our yard cats still do. I found myself thinking the colour seeming off had to have been the light, but now I wonder! Well, if there are strange kitties around, they will find food and shelter here. So far, though, I have seen nothing today.

While I was on the lookout for strange kitties, I checked out the squash tunnel. The luffa and Tennessee Dancing Gourds seem to have finally succumbed to the chill overnight temperatures.

The luffa leaves turned really dark, but haven’t shriveled, like pretty much everything else. Take a click on the image of the developing gourds on the top of the squash tunnel! There are still flowers developing! They do look frost damaged, though.

It was much the same with the Tennessee Dancing Gourds. Most of the vines have died back, and cold damage can be seen on some of the little gourds… and yet, there are still flower buds!

The chard and the lettuce are still going strong.

This is the biggest of the surviving radishes. You can see the older leaves that still have grasshopper damage. Something is nibbling the new growth, too, but not as much. I put the bricks around this radish plant, because something has been nibbling on the bulb. I’m guessing a mouse or something like that. Putting the bricks there seems to have stopped it, as there is no new damage.

Then there is that amazing Crespo squash. Is it still going, or is it done? The leaves seem to be completely killed off by the frost, yet the vines still seem strong, and while there is cold damage on most of the squash, some of them still seem to be getting bigger!

So, we will wait and see how they do.

Meanwhile, on the south side of the house…

The Ozark Nest Egg gourds have almost no cold damage on them, and still seem to be growing just fine. In fact, there is more fresh and new growth happening, and new male and female flowers developing!

The tomatoes continue to ripen, with no signs of cold damage to them, unlike the one self-seeded tomato that’s growing near the lettuces, which is pretty much dead.

Check out that wasp on the Spoon tomato vine! Even the pollinators are still out!

The fingerling potatoes are still going strong, too. There is one bag that looks like it has died back, but the others are still very green. Especially the Purple Peruvians.

I keep forgetting to take pictures of the carrots. Even the overgrown bed we abandoned to the groundhogs has carrot fronds overtaking the weeds. Especially the Kyoto Red, which have gone to seed. I’m keeping an eye on those, as I want to try and collect them before they self sow!

It’s hard to know how much longer the garden will keep on going. Today was forecast to be 18C/64F, then things were supposed to cool down again. As I write this, we are at 22C/72F !!! Tomorrow, we’re supposed to drop to 8C/46F, then go down to 5-6C/41-43F, with overnight lows dropping to -1C/30F a couple of nights from now, but who knows what we’ll actually get?

Looking at the data for our area, our average temperatures for October are 10C/50F for the high, and 1C/34F for the low – but our record high was 30C/86F in 1992, with a record low of -18C/0F in 1991, so while a bit unusual, the mild temperatures we’re having right now aren’t that uncommon. In fact, the record highs and lows seem to lurch from one extreme to the other, within just a few years of each other, if not one year after the other!

I’m looking forward to NOT hitting any record lows this fall and winter! 😀 Still, the way things are going, it may be a while before we finally harvest our carrots, potatoes and beets – I want to leave those in the ground as long as possible – and we’ll have lettuce and chard for quite some time, yet!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden; what a difference rain makes! Plus, a possibility

We got a pretty substantial rainfall last night. We are supposed to continue to get rain through today and into tomorrow, too. Which means I won’t be getting much done on the raised garden bed, but that’s okay. We need lots more rain – and hopefully get the mild, wet winter the Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting for our region – to at least start to make up for the drought conditions we had this summer. The water table is still really low.

The rainfall made a huge difference in the garden. Especially with the squash!

The zucchini that we’d left to get bigger got a huge, overnight growth spurt! Even the patty-pans got a boost. The biggest one, with the green, is from the mutant plant. It had been producing only green patty-pans at first, then started to show the yellow they are supposed to be, and now we have squash that are a mix of colours.

There was plenty of bush beans to pick. Especially the purple ones. A few more peas were large enough to pick, and I even got three more Tennessee Dancing Gourds. There are still so many more smaller ones on the vines.

While checking them over, I had to check the luffa, too. The two developing gourds I tried to hand pollinated may not have taken. One of them, at least, seems to be dying off. However…

… the ones growing over the top of the squash tunnel are looking much bigger!

I don’t know how fast luffa gourds take to develop. Looking at the long range forecast, we should be hitting overnight temperatures of 4C/39F a week from now, which can mean frost, but those same nights also have predictions for overnight showers. We have no frost warnings. Even on my app that has forecasts through the end of the month doesn’t show overnight temperatures of 0C/32F until October 29, and even then we are expected to get rain that afternoon, which would actually prevent frost from happening.

However much longer we manage to have rain and no frost will not only give the luffa a chance to develop, but the Crespo squash, too. Check it out!!!

This one looks like it doubled in size since I last checked it out!

This is one of the older squash and, while it didn’t double in size, it did get noticeably bigger, and the colours and patterns are definitely changing.

The one shown by itself is the larger one in the photo showing two squash developing, and both have gotten much larger in just the last day.

This is what they’re supposed to look like, when fully mature (image source), so the chances of them reaching their full growth this year is virtually nil, but it should still be interesting to see how close they get, if this mild weather continues, and the frost holds off!

If they’re growing this fast now, can you imagine how big they would have been, if the vines had not been eaten by deer and groundhogs?

You know, I never imagined I would find gardening so exciting. Particularly when so much of it is “failing” due to things like poor soil conditions, weather and critters! In fact, I think I’m finding it more exciting because of how well things have done, in spite of all the problems we’ve had!

The rainy weather means we’re not going to get much progress outside, but I am holding a slim hope out to things potentially improving. I did end up driving my mother to an appointment today and, in the process, I made a proposal to her. She had been talking about buying us a garden shed and got an estimate. It was over $3000, and that would have had the parts and pieces delivered to us, including the deck blocks to set it on, and we would then have to assemble it. As much as such a shed would be useful, we’re not ready for it. Where we would want to put it still needs to be cleaned up. However, with the farm being basically ransacked of anything useful while it was empty for two years, we don’t have the tools, equipment and resources to do a lot of stuff, and what we can do is taking much longer than it should. I proposed she instead give us the cash to use to pay for what needs to be done, from getting a chainsaw and wood chipper, to replacing the front door and frame. There would be enough to hire someone to haul the junk away, too. If she didn’t like the results by spring, we would pay her back. I told her to think about it and discuss it with my brother, who now owns the property, before making a decision.

It’s been really frustrating, talking to my mother about what we’re doing here. We are here to take care of the place and improve it. That’s our “job”. It’s what we’re doing in place of paying rent. Though my mother no longer owns the property, we still try to keep her up to date and let her know what’s going on. When I saw her yesterday, I told her about the problems we had with the septic backing up and how I’d done the best I could to clear the pipes until we could get the plumber in with an auger to clear out the roots. As I described trying to unclog the pipes as best I could, first, she made comments about how I was doing “man’s work”. After talking about how we’ve not been able to use the bathroom several times since we’ve moved here, so I fixed up the inside of the outhouse, she was very confused. Looking at the pictures on my phone, she somehow thought I was showing her photos of the inside bathroom, not the outhouse. ?? When she realized what she was seeing, and I showed her older photos of what it looked like before, I got more comments about my doing “man’s work”, and how she never worried about things like the outhouse. She just took care of the housework and the cooking (which isn’t true; she milked cows and even threw bales like the rest of us, when needed!).

Today, as I talked about the work that needed to be done, but that I wasn’t able to do because we don’t have the tools and equipment, I got more comments about how I’m doing “man’s work”. As for my proposal, she said she wouldn’t deal with me about that. Only with my brother.

Because he’s a man.

At one point, as I was about to put her walker into the back of her car, I noticed one of the handles was really, really loose. So I took the time to grab a keychain multitool I have to tighten it. I got one nice and tight, but the other one’s nut is damaged, and my little keychain tool wasn’t enough. I got it tighter, but it still wiggled. As I told her the status of the handles, she chastised me for doing it, saying that my brother would fix it. Because it’s a man’s job. She wants my brother to drive an hour and a half to tighten a handle on her walker, but I shouldn’t do it, because I’m female. Apparently, there are all sorts of things I shouldn’t be doing her on the farm, because it’s a man’s work. At least this time she didn’t make unfortunate comments about how sorry she feels for me, because I don’t have a man in the house (my husband being disabled apparently means he’s not a man anymore!).

Growing up here, my mother worked very hard to force me to learn my “duty as a woman” and leave everything else to my dad and my brothers (my sister having moved on to college by then), but even then, it wasn’t as extreme as what she’s trying to push on me now. How am I and my daughters supposed to take care of the place, without doing “man’s work”? I honestly think she wants my older brother to be coming out here every week, like he used to before we moved in. Our moving here was as much to take a burden off of him (and my other siblings) as to help my mother. She has become more rigid about what gender roles are supposed to be as she gets older, and has less to actually do with the farm, than she was before she and my dad retired from farming. I know part of it is getting older and her memory becoming more selective, but my goodness, I’m glad she transferred ownership to my brother, because otherwise, she’d be sabotaging our efforts to take care of the place constantly! All because I’m female.

As frustrating as it is, if that means she’ll give the money to my brother instead of to me, I don’t care. My brother knows what we want to do and what we need to do it, and we are very much on the same page.

We shall see how it works out. If she does agree to my proposal before the weather turns, it’ll mean getting more done in a matter of weeks than we’ve been able to do in years! It’s a very slight possibility, but I do have some hope for it!

The Re-Farmer

Fall garden update: squash tunnel gourds

While the squash and melons are died back, or in the process of doing so, I continue to be amazed by the Tennessee Dancing Gourds.

These were one of our “fun” crops. Yes, I hope to use them for crafting purposes, but really, I just thought they were adorable and hoped that maybe, just maybe, they would grow in our Zone 3. From reviews I read when I bought the seeds, I knew they could be prolific, and the certainly have been, even with poor growing conditions.

While I’ve harvested only four mature dancing gourds, that are now drying out on our kitchen counter (protected from the cats!), there are more on the vines that are just as big, but still firmly attached.

More amazingly, the vines are still growing and blooming, with both male and female flowers. They have been doing amazingly well!

The luffa have decided to surprise me. I thought that, by now, they were basically a lost cause.

The very first luffa gourd that started to form ended up withering away, so when these ones showed up, I tried to hand pollinated them. Which I hope worked, but it’s still too early to tell.

You can just see a minuscule female flower developing, above my finger, too.

There are more male flower buds forming, and even another tiny female flower, with its tiny gourd, developing.

The vine itself is the only one that has grown enough to start making it’s way over the top of the squash tunnel.

I took this picture above my head to show the flowers that are blooming, but I was pretty blinded when I took it. So it was not until I uploaded the photo that I realized, there are gourds forming up there, too! There is no possibility of hand pollinating them, as I can’t reach them, but they might just make it!

None of the gourds we planted are zone 3, so that was a strike against them growing here, right from the start. While they would have loved the heat of our summer, it was difficult to water them adequately during drought conditions, so that was another set back. Though we have not have frost yet, we have had some pretty chilly nights, so I am really amazed they are still green, growing and flowering, while plants more suited to our zone, such as the nearby winter squash, are dying back. Especially the luffa, which didn’t even start blooming until very late, and didn’t start producing female flowers even later. It is unlikely the mild temperatures will continue long enough for the luffa gourds to fully mature, but the Tennessee Dancing gourds are doing just fabulously! I definitely want to try growing both, again. If they did this well in such poor conditions, imagine how well they’d do in better conditions?

The Re-Farmer

The luffa is still trying! Plus, a bit of an update.

Our temperatures have been lurching around quite a bit, lately! Last night, we dipped to 3C/37F, but our high of the day is supposed to reach 23C/73F!

I’m watching our garden beds closely and had a surprise. Not only is our Ozark Nest Egg gourd trying to produce more gourds, so are the luffa!

This is our first – and until now, only – luffa that was developing. It’s withering away, likely due to lack of pollination.

Right near it I found these.

Three new luffa starting to develop!

There are even some male flowers blooming, too. With so few pollinators around right now, I am thinking of pollinating them by hand, to give them a chance to actually mature, but it’s almost October. Normally, I wouldn’t bother, but then, this year it looking like we will have a long, warm fall. I’d like to see how far along they get.

Though last night was chilly, we had no frost warnings, and when I headed out early this morning, to make sure the gate was open for the septic guy, I don’t think I saw any frost damage. I even was able to harvest a couple more zucchini this morning.

The overnight dip did make going to the outhouse during the night rather unpleasant! As I write this, we are still waiting on the septic guy to come by. All he could tell me when I called last night was that he thought he could make it in the morning.

Until the tank is emptied, there is no point in trying to unclog the pipe from the basement to the tank. So for now, we’re not only stuck using the outhouse, but doing things like using a bowl to wash up in, so the water can be dumped outside later, rather than going down the drain.

I’m really hoping we can get this is just a straightforward clearing of that pipe. Otherwise, we’ll be having to call a plumber, and that means dipping into funds set aside for other things. The good thing is, we have those funds if we need them, at least. :-/ As much of a pain as it can sometimes be, we’ve actually been able to set aside a bit of cash into a contingency fund. While we were living in the city, that was impossible to do. So I am thankful for that, at least!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: morning in the garden

Well, it is getting decidedly cooler when I do my morning rounds! Fall is just around the corner, but things are still holding out in the garden.

Here are the gourds growing on the south facing chain link fence. The yellow flowers that you see are the Ozark Nest Egg flowers.

If you look at the bottom right, you’ll see a white flower!

This is a Thai Bottle Gourd flower. The Ozark Nest Egg plants are going so well, they sort of hide that there is another type of gourd growing here. The Thai Bottle Gourd has leaves that are more rounded, while the Ozark Nest Egg leaves have points on them.

These gourds are not the only thing bursting into bloom.

This is the Crespo squash, recovered from critter damage and growing enthusiastically! I was not able to get all of it in this photo. All those arrows are pointing to flower buds, some of which are starting to open this morning. There are probably another dozen or so on the rest of the plant off the left side of the photo.

Hidden away in the middle, I found the first female flower!

I couldn’t get any closer because of the critter barriers, but that flower bud the arrow is pointing to has a baby squash at its base. Hopefully, it will get pollinated and not die off. Under the current conditions, I would hand pollinate, but that would require moving the critter barriers. Mind you, there’s no way any fruit that develop will reach maturity.

More on that, later.

There are only a few Halona melons left on the vines, but there are probably a dozen Pixie melons that have not yet ripened.

This is the largest of them. Since it has a hammock, I check it in the mornings by lifting it at the stem, to see if it is starting to separate, but it’s still hanging on tight!

The rest are more like these two.

I’ll have to double check, but I thought the Pixies had a shorter growing season than the Halonas. They are taking much longer than the Halona to fully ripen. I’m sure the drought conditions over the summer have something to do with that, but since we’ve started having rain fairly regularly now, I would have expected them to mature faster. Ah, well. We’ll see how they do!

This is the largest of the developing Teddy winter squash. This is roughly half of what it’s mature size is supposed to be, so they may still have time.

Our weird mutant Red Kuri is noticeably bigger! It makes me smile, every time I see it.

We’ve got a couple more that are getting bigger, too. This is what the mottled green one should be looking like, which is why I suspect it was cross pollinated with the Teddy squash.

Here’s something that is NOT getting bigger!

The one luffa gourd is just… stalled. The plants are still blooming, but also starting to die off for the season. I started these quite a bit earlier, indoors, and they should have had enough time to develop gourds and reach maturity, but this summer was so rough on everything, I think we’re lucky to have even this.

We even had something to harvest! Not every morning, but at least every few days. We even still had a few beans left to pick. In the photo, I’m holding one of the mutant green sunburst squash. 😀 I’ve been trying to let the sunburst squash have more time for the fruit to get bigger, but they seem to be developing more slowly than they did last year.

I just had to get a picture of the sunflower in the old kitchen garden. We can see it from the bathroom window, through the sun room, and it makes me smile, every time. 🙂

As the season winds down, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the long term forecasts. Yesterday was our first frost date for the area, but it continues to look like we are not going to have any frost here, for a while. Of course, the forecast constantly fluctuates, and different sources have different forecasts. My Weather Network app has a 14 day forecast, and with today being the 11th, that puts the 14 day trend between the 12th and the 25th. The lowest overnight temperatures I’m seeing is for the 25th, at 6C/43F, with variable cloudiness.

My Accuweather app, however, is very different. The long range forecast on that one goes up to October 5. Up until this morning, all the overnight lows were above freezing, but this morning, there is now a single night – the 25th – where it says we will hit -2C/28F. It is also predicting thunder showers scattered about the province in that day.

If that is accurate, we have only two weeks before frost hits (which is 2 weeks longer than average, so I’m not complaining!). If we do get a frost, that will be it for the tomatoes, squash, gourds and melons. We have no way to cover any of these beds, so if we get any frost warnings, we’ll just have to pick as much as we can the day before. We should get plenty of sunburst squash, but I’m really hoping the Pixie melons and winter squash ripen before then. The gourd and Crespo squash just don’t have enough time left. Except the Tennessee Dancing gourds. They are so small, we should have quite a few to gather before the frost hits. We may be lucky, though. Aside from that one night that one app is predicting will go below freezing, overnight temperatures are supposed to stay mild into October.

The sunflowers will be a lost cause, though. There is no way the seed heads will be able to mature in so short a time. So many haven’t even opened, yet. Starting some of them indoors would have made the difference (well… except for being eaten by deer), had they been under better conditions. Not just with the weather, but the soil quality where they are growing. Had our only reason for planting them been for the seeds, they would be a failure, but they were planted there partly for a privacy screen, partly for wind break, and mostly as part of our long term plans to prepare the area for when we plant food trees there. Which means we had a success with 3 out of the 4 reasons we planted them. I do want to get more of these seeds to try them again, elsewhere.

For now, every night we have without frost is a help.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: progress

The last few days have been cooler and damp. Thankfully, we have not needed to do any watering at all of late.

I think some of the plants in our garden have gotten confused! 😀

We are finally getting some “big” Tennessee Dancing Gourds. Most have been turning yellow, soft and falling off before reaching this size. Now, we have several that are getting bigger, like this one. The vines are still blooming and being prolific in growing new little gourds! Gosh, they are so adorable!

We still have just the one little luffa gourd. I suspect it is not going to live to get full size, but who knows?

Some of our Giant Rattle poppies have dried out, and when shaken, you can hear the seeds rattling inside. They are not even close to how big they should be, but that’s okay.

Remarkably, there was even one last poppy flower trying to bloom!

My big surprise is the Crespo squash.

These are remarkably resilient! I didn’t expect them to recover from the critter damage much at all, but now that it’s no longer getting eaten, it has started to shoot out new vines and leaves, and… !!!

It’s blooming again! Which just blows me away. Unfortunately, it is way too late in the season for fruit to develop. Particularly since these are supposed to get quite large.

I really look forward to trying these again next year. Even with the critters and drought, they seem to do very well in our climate!

It’s raining again!

This morning, I woke to the sound of a light rain. I was so excited! I honestly didn’t expect the predicted rain to hit us.

Of course, by the time I went out to do my morning rounds, it had pretty much stopped. Which I suppose was good, since switching out memory cards on the trail cams in the rain isn’t really a good thing. 😀

While checking on the garden beds, I was quite thrilled to see this.

The baby luffa gourd’s blossom is opening!

So far, it’s still the only gourd I’m seeing developing.

Check out that orange colour in the background. The Red Kuri squash is ripening up nicely!

While I was out and about, it did start to rain a bit, and I decided to do a quick check of the gravel pit dugout.

There is so little water left in there, form the last time it rained. No doubt, the renter is still needing to bring water to his cattle here.

The rain has continued, and even gotten heavier, throughout the day. If the forecasts are accurate, it will continue to rain all through tomorrow, too, with a 100% chance of thunderstorms overnight. I’m even getting a weather warning on my desktop app I’ve never seen before. “Overland Flow Flood.” It’s for our region, but at rivers that are not anywhere near us. We have no rivers near us. Not even creeks.

The rain is still desperately needed, and it looks like even the areas where the most wildfires are will finally get some rain.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: Finally!

Most of the squash are blooming like crazy right now. The Red Kuri/Little Gem winter squash is especially showy right now.

Isn’t that gorgeous?

Unfortunately, there is still just the one squash that is developing. There are so many little ones like this, but they have been dying off without getting much bigger.

Then there was this little – and I do mean little – surprise I found behind a leaf.

Our first luffa gourd has shown up!

There have been plenty of male flowers blooming, so there should be no pollination problems when this one finally blooms. It should be interesting to see if we get mature gourds, this late in the growing season!

The girls had gone through the garden beds earlier and picked a couple of big zucchini, as well as some sunburst squash. Which tells me that cayenne pepper seems to be working. In yesterday’s garden cam files, I actually saw a groundhog by the summer squash in a couple of videos, in between files of me going by while tending the sprinklers. It was just grazing something next to the summer squash. It did not try to go into them at all. Which is very encouraging. With the watering, I should probably add on more cayenne pepper, but there’s a 60% chance of showers this morning, so it would be washed off if it does. We shall see.

The Re-Farmer