Our 2022 garden, and morning harvest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to get to work!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: new growth, surprise growth, fall planting and our biggest harvest yet.

There is some lovely growth happening in the garden right now.

While we have lots of Cup of Moldova and Sophie’s Choice tomatoes ripening on their vines, these Yellow Pear tomatoes are looking to have a good crop, too. They are actually turning out larger than I expected for this variety. It should be interesting when they finally start turning colour!

These Carminat bean pods are getting so very long! I love their gorgeous dark purple.

With the purple pole beans, we can see quite a few pods developing, though the vines are still trying to extend their reach, and blooming all the way. The green pole beans (sheychelles) have wispy little pods forming, too.

Then I started weeding and discovered a hidden surprise.

There are ripe pods hidden among the greens! It turns out these beans start developing right near the ground, unlike the Carminat, which have no flowers or pods at all near the ground.

Awesome!

After finding these, I made a point of looking more closely at the Blue Grey Speckled Tepary beans – the shelling beans – too. They’ve been blooming for a while, but are still such tiny and delicate plants.

Sure enough, I found time tiny pods starting to form. Since these beans are for shelling only, they’ll just get weeding and watering until the pods are all dried.

We actually have yellow zucchini this year! Last year, I was sure we had at least one germinated, but after transplanting, all we got were green zucchini. So I am happy to get some this year. Especially since we still don’t have any green zucchini developing! We did have female flowers, but there were no male flowers blooming at the same time to pollinate them.

We are finally getting more Sunburst patty pan squash, too. There was also one Magda squash ready to harvest.

All the squash are SO far behind. The squash patch, which is mostly winter squash, and the summer squash bed should be enveloped in plants. It’s unlikely we have enough growing season left for most of them, but we should still get something from the smaller varieties.

Here is this morning’s harvest!

Yes, the peas are still producing! There was only a handful to harvest from the second planting, but it’s the most I’ve been able to pick in one day, this year. We have both the yellow bush beans, and the green pole beans.

With the lettuce, we normally just go in and grab however many leaves we want. This time, I harvested the plants in one area of the L shaped bed in the old kitchen garden, so that the space can be used again.

I was planning to plant fall spinach elsewhere in the main garden area, but changed my mind.

It’s just a small area for now. As more of the bed gets cleared, I’ll plant more.

We got another harvest in this morning, too.

This is the garlic from the bed in the main garden. There isn’t a lot, but they are much larger than last year’s drought garlic!

The other garlic is quite behind, so it might be a while before we can harvest those.

The freshly picked garlic is now strung up under my daughter’s old market tent, where it can get plenty of air circulation as it cures, and we won’t have to worry about it being rained on.

I am quite thrilled by how well these garlic did!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: evening harvest

At the time this scheduled post is published, I should be on the road, headed to court. Because I have to leave so early, I won’t be able to do my usual stuff in the garden until later, but I wanted to have something positive to start the day with!

So here is an evening harvest to share in the morning. 😊

I was checking on the ground cherries while doing my evening rounds when I noticed one that had ripened since I checked them this morning.

I ate it.

Then I started weeding and found several others that had ripened enough to fall to the ground.

I brought those in for the family to taste test. 😁 I know they’ve had them before, since we grew them in a container in the city, but when the first of my daughters tried one, she sounded really surprised when she commented on how good it was. Looks like I’ll be fighting over them, as they ripen! 😂

There were a couple of Magda squash I could have grabbed, but I left the smaller one to get a bit bigger.

I picked the red onions because they were starting to fall over. Though they look the same, the bigger one is a Red of Florence onion, while the other, smaller one, is a Tropeana Lunga.

The yellow onion is from sets. Somehow, a few Black Nebula carrot seeds ended up around the onion, so I pulled all of them. The carrots were just wisps, so I tried pulling the biggest one I could reach, and… well… that’s what you see in the picture. Really long, really skinny.

The pale yellow carrot is an Uzbek Golden carrot that we got as a freebie. The two orange ones are napoli carrots using seeds left over from last year. I tried pulling a Kyoto Red, too, but it turned out to be really tiny. There are so few of them, I didn’t want to try another.

The shallot is one of the “spare” sets we planted in the retaining wall blocks of the old kitchen garden. Sadly, we lost most of the shallots in the bed by the chain link fence. Though the bed was raised a few inches when we added the bricks around it, it wasn’t enough at one end. There was just too much flooding this spring, and they rotted out. The ones planted in the retaining wall blocks aren’t doing much better, but that probably has more to do with cats rolling on them. The one I picked had lost most of its greens, so I decided to pick it before it started going soft. The other that was planted with it had lost all its greens and had gone mushy.

A nice little variety of things to try! Still lots of growing to do, though. 🥕🧅

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

Our 2022 garden: first summer squash!

Well, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t keep myself from doing at least something productive outside! So I went out to top up the kibble trays (no sign of the little kittens; I’m hoping the mama hasn’t moved them again) and picking up things blown around by the wind – though I don’t think it was the wind that knocked over the water tray for the little kittens! I suspect something more like a groundhog did that.

Of course, I checked all the garden beds and decided the two Magda squash could be harvested today.

I probably shouldn’t have put them in my pocket while I went on to water the garden! They are looking a little beat up for the experience. 😉

Most of the stuff in the garden that has been struggling are slowly perking up. This includes all the different squash, though they are still so far behind where they should be for this time of year. The beans at the trellises are looking all right. The two varieties at the A frame trellis are both climbing now. The ones at the tunnel are finally progressing. I was starting to second guess myself that these were vining types at all. The shelling peas, though smaller, have finally starts to sent up vines and climb the trellis. The red noodle beans are bigger plants, but still look like bush beans, and aren’t at a climbing stage at all.

The beans that are doing the best, however, are the yellow bush beans that were interplanted with the kulli corn. That bed is looking pretty lush! I’m starting to think ahead to when we’ll have to change how the netting is set up. Right now, it goes over the whole thing, but kulli corn can reach up to 8 ft tall. The net is, at its highest, about 6 1/2 ft. The bush beans are huge, with big, glossy leaves and flowers all over the place. No signs of pods yet, but I’m not looking very hard at this point.

The netting has helped a lot in protecting the plants from critters, but they do make it very inconvenient to weed.

Hard to believe we are heading towards the end of July. We should be picking a lot more than just two little summer squash right now! Ah, well. I’m still holding out for a long, mild fall, like we had last year.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: more progress, second harvest and we have squash!!

Since we weren’t going to get any cooler, I headed out before I lost light, to see what I could do with the small batch of cardboard I got today. There wasn’t much, so I decided to use it here…

To the right of the sweet corn are five Lady Godiva hulless pumpkins, barely visible in the grass and weeds coming up through the straw.

Once the cardboard was down, you could see that the plants are actually fairly large! Smaller than they should be for this time of year, but still larger than most of the squash. In fact, all the hulless pumpkins seem to be doing better than most of the other squash.

After laying down the cardboard, I gave it a soak, then tromped on them to flatten them a bit. I would have stomped the grass down before the cardboard was laid down, but I didn’t want to risk accidentally stepping on a pumpkin plant. As we get more cardboard, the Boston Marrow and the G-star patty pan squash will be done first, then any spaces in between will be covered, including beside the rows of corn.

We need lots more cardboard for this.

Once this was done, I went to check the other garden beds and found a wonderful surprise.

Our first summer squash! There’s a second, smaller one on another plant. I’m really happy, not just to finally see some vegetables, but because this is a Madga squash. The first time we grew them, only 2 plants made it, and last year we had only one. They did not produce as much as the other summer squash, either. This year, we’ve got 4 surviving plants, and they’re the first to produce fruit!

We also got a second harvest this evening.

The garlic bed that is so far behind the one in the main garden has scapes ready to harvest! This is almost all of them. There’s just a very few left that aren’t ready to pick yet.

It may be late in the season, but at least we’re getting something from the garden!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: last seeds starts – for real this time!

Okay, I went ahead and did it. I got one more tray of seeds started.

Most of them are summer squash.

I also decided to start the only 4 King Tut Purple Peas I was able to save last year. They did not do well at all in the drought, but they bravely tried!

The seed tray holds 32 square pots, and I wanted to plant just one seed per pot. I decided to start only 4 each of the Magda (a mottled light and dark green squash), yellow zucchini (Goldy)…

… and green zucchini (Endeavor). With these summer squash, I want to also try direct sowing more, and see if that makes any difference.

That left room to plant 8 each of the patty pans; Sunburst and G Star.

It occurred to me after I uploaded the pictures that I should have just planted each flat of 4 x 2 pots with one type, instead of two long rows of the patty pans. 😀 Ah, well, The flats will come apart easily when it’s time to transplant.

The tray then went straight into the sunroom, covered to keep them moist until they germinate. As you can see by the one that got pushed to the back, it’s working rather well.

There we are. Done. No more seeds will be started indoors.

Honest.

😉

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: evening harvest

When I did my morning rounds, I didn’t harvest anything, as there didn’t seem to be any need, yet. Then I did my evening rounds, and found that a lot can change by the end of the day!

As you can see, the tomato plants are dying back, and yet there are so many tomatoes! In the photo with the Spoon tomatoes, I had already picked the ripe ones, so all the red you see are ones that are still not quite ready.

One of my daughters joined me, and we ended up filling two red Solo cups, almost to the top – our biggest haul of these tiny tomatoes, yet!

I was really surprised when we checked the summer squash, and I saw the Madga squash. It was noticeably bigger than when I checked it this morning! Same with the zucchini. We won’t get much more zucchini this season, but there are so many little pattypan squash. It was starting to get dark fast, though, so I’ll see what we can pick tomorrow morning. I think there are even beans to pick, too!

I’m loving this long, mild end of the summer.

The Re-Farmer

Unexpected harvest, and other things

We were having a lovely rain when I headed out to do my morning rounds. Though we have been getting the odd showers for the past while, things were still starting to dry out. With the high winds yesterday, I actually watered the old kitchen garden, when I noticed all the beet greens were wilted.

With the cooler temperatures and things in the garden winding down, we’re gathering things every few days or so, and the amount we harvest is getting smaller. Mostly, it’s just summer squash. My daughter had recently picked summer squash, so when I went through the garden beds this morning, I wasn’t expecting to actually pick anything.

I was rather surprised to find even a few larger summer squash! The Magda squash have been slow growing this year, so finding two of them large enough to pick is a treat. There are lots of little sunburst pattypans, and after my daughter had already picked the larger ones, I certainly didn’t expect to find more so soon. Yes, I know they can get much larger, but this is the stage we like them best. The only thing that wasn’t a surprise was the big zucchini. Usually, we pick the squash soon after the flowers fall off, but the flower on this one was solidly attached. Even though it was of a size we would normally pick it at, we left it. When I saw it this morning, I just had to pick it. Any bigger, and it’s going to start getting becoming a winter squash! 😀 Maybe some day we will let some zucchini reach that point, but not this year. 🙂

We are supposed to continue to get showers through the afternoon, but I’m hoping things will have a chance to dry up a bit. I really want to tackle that tree that came down in the wind. We really need to get started on any high raised beds for next year. If we can get even just one bed done, I will be happy. I also need to prepare three beds for the garlic we ordered. I were intending to order double what we got last year, but after talking about it with the girls – and looking at our budget – we got the same amount as before; a collection of racombole, purple stripe and porcelain music, 1 pound each. Though the beds they were planted in before are available, we want to rotate them into other beds that did not have alliums in it. Unfortunately, those beds are still being somewhat used right now! However, if I am able to get enough out of the tree to build a high raised bed, it will have fresh garden soil and amendments added to it, so it won’t matter if it’s in a location that had onions this year.

If it’s too wet to break down the tree today, I should still have tomorrow. The weekend is supposed to get quite hot, and we’ve got plans for Saturday. Next week, we’re supposed to get several days with rain, and then things start cooling down a fair bit. As long as I can get enough pieces cut, while it’s dry, we can get some progress on a bed.

Though our overnight temperatures have not been cold enough for frost, some of the more delicate plants were showing signs of what I would otherwise consider frost damage. Some of the cucamelon leaves are showing signs, and part of a Ozark Nest Egg plant had a vine that was growing the highest, suddenly start dropping this morning.

Everything is all winding down, which means things are getting busier. There’s a lot of work to prepare beds for next year, and getting it done often depends on the weather.

In other things, I’m happy to say that since we installed that shut off valve and, in the process, adjusted the pipe so it wasn’t touching another one, and padded it with vibration reducing material, that very disturbing noise we would sometimes hear seems to be gone. It’s hard to say for sure, since the noise didn’t happen every time the well pump turned on, but so far, it’s encouraging.

Something else seems to have gone away.

The woodchucks.

I haven’t seen any of them in almost a week, now. Usually, I’d at least see one peaking out of the entry to their den under the pile of wood, or eating the bird seeds near the living room window but, lately, nothing. I was wondering if they might have gone into hibernation, so I looked it up. They tend to hibernate from October to February, so it’s still too early for that. But then, the sites also said they mate after the come out of hibernation, and we so them going at it in the summer, so who knows.

Very strange.

Not that I’m complaining! 😀

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