Our 2022 garden: squash and gourd seedlings

It always amazing me just how fast some seedlings grow!

It’s like they’re bigger, every time I look in the tank. Just look at those Crespo squash!

These two pots each have 3 seeds in them. Two that were scarified, and one that was not. I think the scarification made the difference!

To the left is the Ozark Nest Egg gourd, and…

… you can see a Tennessee Dancing Gourd emerging, too. In the background, the luffa are starting to develop their true leaves.

What is interesting is that, while these squash and gourds are germinating, there is no sign of germination in the pots with eggplant and peppers seeded into them.

Last year, it took forever for the squash and gourds to germinate, and many pots never did. This is a huge improvement. I think there is a combination of reasons. One being the scarification of the seeds – except the dancing gourds, which were too small – and the other being the use of a heat mat.

I know we’re supposed to thin the seedlings down, but I’m thinking we’ll thin them by transplanting the extras. When it’s time to transplant outside, I want to have extra, just in case some don’t survive transplanting, or in case critters get to them. The more we plant, the better the chances of having at least one survive!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: 10 week seed starts

Today is 10 weeks from our average last day of frost, and we had a few seeds to start.

But first, we needed to make space. These would be going into the big aquarium greenhouse, on the heat mat, which meant the Sophie’s Choice tomatoes had to be moved. All the pots have seeds germinating in them, so it’s okay to take them off the heat mat now.

Space was made for them to fit onto the tray in the small aquarium greenhouse, which is where we have a few rescues. At the bottom left is the only luffa we’ve got so far. The seed leaves have wilted away, but the true leaves are still holding out. In the top left corner is the rescued Canteen gourd. It had seemed to be doing well, then suddenly it started wilting and the seed leaves started wilting away, but it has actually perked up again. If it can manage to develop some true leaves, there’s hope for it. With the Canteen gourd, however, the replacement seeds we planted are doing much better. The two plants with the largest leaves in the photo are Canteen gourds, as are the not quite as robust pair in between the luffa and the original Canteen gourd.

There’s also one surviving tomato plant in there; I can’t remember which type is it. There are a few others in the mini-greenhouse, too.

The one Wonderberry that sprouted from the first planting has gotten big enough that it was too tall for the lower shelves in the mini-greenhouse, so I couldn’t put it in one of the trays with other pots. So it got double cupped and tucked in with the bulb onions at the very top, where the mini-greenhouse has a peak. It didn’t like my attempt to put it in a lower shelf, but it should be standing tall again, soon.

Here we have the pots that my daughter and I started today, joining the luffa pots that we planted a couple of weeks ago. Still no sprouts. 😦

Everything got two pots each. Two types of gourds got started today; the Tennessee Dancing Gourd, and the Ozark Nest Egg gourd. Both did surprisingly well last year, in spite of the drought.

The Crespo Squash was also started. Then, we decided to plant extra eggplants and peppers. We do have surviving ones from the first planting that seem to be recovering all right from being flattened by a cat, but we’ve decided to play it safe and plant extra. The last of the Little Finger eggplant seed were planted, but we still have a few left of the Purple Beauty pepper.

The next batch of seeds should be started about 2 weeks from now. Hopefully, we’ll be able to move at least the onions to the sun room. They can handle cool weather better than anything else we’ve got started right now.

One more step forward in our gardening, done! 🙂

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: almost frost

When I woke up this morning, we were at 2C/36F

We had not gotten any frost warnings the night before, but when it gets that cold, it’s going to be too much for some things, with our without frost.

The last few days, morning and evening, we have been hearing a cacophony of geese in the surrounding fields. Something must have disturbed them this morning, because they were not only louder than usual, but I even got to see them flying overhead.

Going north, for some reason! 😀

Last night, my daughters had picked more tomatoes and a few summer squash, and this morning I was going to pick beans.

It looks like we’re now done for beans.

They may not have gotten an actual frost, but the foliage was clearly damaged. The purple beans have a lot more foliage, which protected the pods, but I could see cold damage on the green and yellow beans.

I had taken some photos yesterday, which ended up giving me comparison photos with today. Here is the Crespo squash.

This was taken yesterday afternoon.

This is the smaller of the two squash in the previous photo.

This is the larger one, yesterday (on the left) and this morning (on the right). 😦

This is one of our biggest squash. Yesterday’s photo is on the left, and this morning is on the right. This squash is shaded for longer in the morning, and you can see there is actual frost on it!

These next ones are photos from yesterday and, from what I could see, they were okay this morning.

The one that’s hanging is in a spot where it gets hit with morning sun earlier than others. The large one on the ground has foliage around it that may have protected it. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see, so I can’t actually say for sure if it was damaged or not. It’ll take a bit more time before we’ll know if they got cold damaged or not.

Then there are the Ozark Nest Egg gourds. I took these photos last night, but didn’t bother to take more this morning.

We will have a better idea as the day goes on, but as of this morning, they seemed to have no real damage at all. There are still so many little gourds all over, there are still flowers that look like they are opening, and there was no signs of cold damage, like on the Crespo squash. These gourds are in the south yard and get that morning sunlight nice and early, which may have made the difference.

The tomatoes on the south fence also looked untouched by the cold, but the one that had seeded itself in the lettuce bed looked like it was hit by frost. That bed gets shaded more, longer, this time of year. If we’d gotten a frost warning, I would have put the wire mesh cover back on and covered the bed with cloth. The lettuce is fine; it can handle temperatures even colder than this. The chard was also just fine.

It will be good when these beds all get converted to high raised beds. They get full sun in the summer, but when the sun is lower in the sky, several of them get more shade from the trees to the south. Once they are higher, they will be out of the shade, just a little bit sooner. Still, it is something to keep in mind for when we garden here in the future. It’s also another reason why I want to build permanent garden beds on the south side of the house, in the outer yard, where we don’t have so many tall trees to deal with.

As it is, we’re in the middle of October, and these have lasted far longer than we normally would have expected in our climate zone! So really, I can’t complain!

The Re-Farmer

More garden surprises

If you’re on Facebook, you know how they pop things into your news feed that you posted, X number of years ago today?

Yesterday, I saw one of those, with a photo I posted, three years ago.

After a snowfall.

Not only have we blown past our average first frost date of Sept. 10, but we are at a point where it is not at all unusual to have snow on the ground. Nothing that lasts, really, but usually at least one storm.

I am so loving our extended summer. Especially with how it’s giving our garden so much more time to recover from the extreme heat and drought conditions of the summer.

This morning, I found new Ozark Nest Egg flowers, both male and female! I hand pollinated some other ones, but it’s too early to tell if it works. I went ahead and hand pollinated the female flower here, too.

While looking through the Ozark Nest Egg plants, I found a single flower from the Thai Bottle Gourd that has made its way up the fence, mixed in with the Nest Egg gourds! I’ve only seen male flowers on this one, though.

Remember that carrot bed the groundhogs kept decimating, over and over? The one we finally gave up on, other than watering it now and again? Half of it, where the Kyoto Reds are planted, has carrots gone to see, pushing their way up through the weeds. The other variety, Napoli, have fronds visible among the weeds, but none are going to seed.

I watered the gardens this morning and, out of curiosity, pulled up some Napoli carrots. I was really surprised by how big they were! After having their greens eaten away several times, It’s amazing that there are any at all, never mind anything of a decent size! That had me looking around among the Kyoto Reds for carrots that had not gone to seed, and I found a surprisingly large one there, too!

The squash tunnel thermometer is definitely whack. We might be at 30C/86F as I write this, but it was only about 22C/72F at the time I took this photo.

While watering the peas among the corn, I couldn’t help but notice the corn block that is the furthest south.

We actually have corn. This block as lots of cobs developing!

They are very small – the husks make them look like there is more than there really is – and poorly pollinated, but we actually have corn. I went ahead and ate the one I picked, right after taking this photo, and it was tender, sweet and delicious. I will have to go back later today, with a container of some kind, and pick more!

I didn’t get a photo, but I picked 4 more of the largest Tennessee Dancing Gourds, too.

Once back inside, I started up a big chili in the crock pot. It’s got our own onions, garlic, carrots and bush beans in it, as well as both ground beef and the ground pork we got from our neighbour. Oh, and I also tossed in some Spoon tomatoes we’d tucked into the freezer. In the future, I plan to grow beans for drying, so some day we will be making chili with our own dry beans, too, along with the paste tomatoes we plant to grow and can. 🙂

With a goal of being as self sufficient as possible when it comes to growing our own food, this year has shown just how touch and go that can be. We had a very warm May that had all sorts of things starting to bloom, only to get a single cold night that killed all the flowers off. Because of that one night, we have no crab apples, no saskatoons, no chokecherries, and it killed off the (expensive!) mulberry bush we’d transplanted. Even the lilacs and roses got damaged by that one night. Then we had the drought conditions that had us watering every day, twice a day, for so long. And now we’ve got an extended summer, and instead of frost and snow, parts of our garden are able to recover and start or continue producing! It’s been a crazy gardening year, but as much as I shake my head over how extreme conditions have been, the reality is, this isn’t actually all that unusual. As every farmer, gardener or homesteader knows, you could have the best year of all, only to have all your hard work wiped out by a single storm, or one unusually cold night. Or you could get a terrible spring and summer, but then get a great fall and winter. Some years, you might not get any real summer at all, and in others, the winter will be as mild as any fall or spring. As fantastic as it can be, to be able to grow your own food and preserve it for use in the off season, I’m just as thankful that we have grocery stores and imported food. I think both are good! As my brother and his wife have both said, if they had to rely on their garden, they’d starve!

The Re-Farmer

Growing

Things are really enjoying the rain we’ve had recently. Including the Ozark Nest Egg gourds.

I noticed that there were both male and female flowers blooming at the same time, so I decided to try hand pollinating them. The previous newly formed gourds have all withered away, so I hope these will take.

The problem is that by the time there are more male flowers blooming, the female flowers have already closed up. I opened the larger ones to pollinate, just to see if they will take. I had to do the same thing with the luffa gourds. We shall see if it works!

The gourds were not the only things to appreciate the rain.

These weren’t there when I walked past this branch pile, yesterday!

It’s amazing how quickly mushrooms can develop quite large, pretty much overnight!

The Re-Farmer

(ps: this was supposed to be posted yesterday, but my computer stopped responding and I had to shut it down. :-/)

Giant puffballs done, and an unexpected autumn

This morning was the day!

After sitting in water, with some molasses and a touch of salt, for a couple of days, our Giant Puffball spores were ready to be used to inoculate an area.

The instructions just said to pour over grass, but I did do two things to prepare the area we decided on. First, I pulled up the tall grass. There was barely any, and I didn’t try to pull them up by the roots or anything. Mostly, I figured I wanted the spores to be on the ground, not on tall blades of grass! 😀 Then, I wet the area down with a hose. I wet down the morel bed, too, since the hose was handy.

When pouring the slurry out, I just swung the jug back and forth while walking backwards, paying more attention to spreading it evenly than to how large of an area I covered. It ended up being just enough to cover from end to end between the trees, from the morel box, down.

The temperatures have been just lovely, and we’re even getting passing showers, fairly regularly.

It’s been mild enough that, even with the first Ozark Nest Egg gourds withering away from last of pollination, new gourds are forming!

Looking at the long range forecast, I am just amazed.

We’re supposed to hit 28C/82F in a few days! With a humidex of 32C/90F! I thought we already seen our last days of temperatures this high. It’s the warm overnight temperatures that make the big difference, though. The app on my phone has long range forecasts to 24 days. Of course, the farther out they predict, the less accurate they can be, but even so, there are no frost nights predicted! It’s like we’re getting the weather we normally would have got, earlier in the year, instead of the drought. In fact, even with the few showers we’ve had, it looks like we still need to water the garden! We will still be getting beans and summer squash, more and more of the late sown peas are growing pods, more sunflowers are opening their seed heads, and even the Tennessee Dancing Gourd is producing more flowers and gourds. Of course, the beets and carrots are still growing. I was planning to leave those until around first frost, and it’s looking like they’ll have plenty of time to keep developing. The tomatoes are dying back, but still prolific, and the lettuce and surviving chard are thriving. I’m almost tempted to plant some more lettuces!

Almost.

This does mean we won’t be broadcasting the wildflower seed mixes we have for quite some time; they aren’t going to go out until there is no chance of germination.

What a strange year it has been!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: late season growth progress

We have been really fortunate with the frost holding off so far. If the long range forecasts are right, we won’t get a frost for at least two more weeks, possibly longer. Other areas in our province have already had their first frost, so I am really thankful that it’s held off in our area so far.

The continued mild temperatures is giving the garden more time to recover and progress, and we even have some new little surprises this morning!

We’ve got two more Ozark Nest Egg gourds forming! That makes for a total of three. I did not see these two when I checked the garden beds yesterday evening, so this is pretty much overnight growth.

This is one of the new ones, from outside the fence. They have such pretty flowers. 🙂

The Tennessee Dancing Gourds are one I don’t have much concern over. Though there are a lot of little gourds developing still, there are quite a few “large” ones like this, that have reached their full size, but are still ripening on the vine.

One of the few remaining Halona melons came off its vine this morning. There are a couple of somewhat larger ones left that might have enough time to fully mature, plus a few more tiny ones that won’t.

In the background of the photo above, you can see the biggest Pixie melon in its hammock. These guys could really use the extra time, it looks like.

We’ve still got Red Kuri developing, and they are growing fast at this stage – and you can even see a new squash developing in one of the photos.

The mutant is my favourite! 😀 I’m just fascinated by it. It’s shape is different than the other Red Kuri, which can be expected with cross pollination, but it is also getting bigger than the others. If this is the result of cross pollination with the nearby Teddy squash, I would have expected it to be smaller, not bigger! The Teddy squash are a miniature acorn squash and their mature size should be smaller than the Red Kuri. For a hybrid to be bigger than either parent type seems quite unusual. I hope this has time to fully mature, because I really want to see how it turns out!

Speaking of Teddy squash…

We have another new baby! Of the two plants, the one that had only a single squash developing, now has two.

The other plant still has four developing squash, with the one in the photo being the biggest.

While checking the Crespo squash, I was able to find an open line of sight to get a picture of the one developing fruit that I’ve been able to see so far. It should be interesting to see how far it gets, before the frost kills it all. We certainly won’t get the large, green, lumpy pumpkins we are supposed to, but even a little one will be interesting to see.

The cucamelons are an odd one for this year. The plants are growing up the fence rather well, will plenty of blossoms and fruit beginning to develop. Unfortunately, most never get past the size you see in the photo above. They just drop off.

I did find a single, mature cucamelon. Which I ate. 😀 It’s the first larger one I’ve seen in quite some time. This suggests a pollination problem, unfortunately.

And finally, we have our potato bags.

I’m not sure what to make of these! They just don’t seem to be dying back. Oh, the two varieties at the far end are looking a bit like they are dying back, but they also got hit the hardest by the grasshoppers. The two fingerling varieties just keep on growing!

When we first decided to use the feed bags to grow the potatoes, I expected to continually add soil over time. It was after learning that all four varieties are determinate, not indeterminate, that I changed my mind. They would not benefit from having soil continually built up along the stems, so only a single layer was added to protect the developing potatoes from light, and that’s it. The purple fingerlings, however, just keep getting bigger and bigger. Which leads me to think that these may actually be indeterminate potatoes, and would have benefited from continually adding more soil. I don’t know. It should be interesting to see how many potatoes we get when we do harvest them. I don’t image we will be getting many, but we shall see. If we decide to go with grow bags again next year, we will have to make sure to choose indeterminate varieties, which means finding a source for seed potatoes that actually labels them as determinate or indeterminate.

Until this year, I didn’t even know that tomatoes had those labels, never mind things like potatoes!

It has definitely been a year of learning!

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: still growing!

Okay, before I get into it, I just have to share a laugh.

The phone rang just as I was about to start this post. It was clearly from a call centre, from the noise I heard in the background. After the usual greetings, the very polite person told me he was calling about our Visa or Mastercard… provider? I can’t remember the exact word he used.

Of course, I found this incredibly funny and started laughing.

I don’t have a credit card.

Too funny!

Anyhow.

While doing my rounds through the garden this morning, I found some new growth happening.

After seeing flowers for a while, now, there is finally an Ozark Nest Egg gourd starting to form! This is the first female flower I’ve seen. Hopefully, it has been pollinated and the new baby gourd will actually keep growing.

Meanwhile, among the sweet corn, I found…

… our very first green pea pod!

These peas were planted among the corn, late in the season, for their nitrogen fixing qualities, but peas are a cool weather plant, so we might actually have a decent amount to harvest before our growing season is done.

Looking at the long range forecasts, our overnight temperatures should be cool, but it’s not until October that we’re looking at temperatures just above freezing. If that holds out, that means our garden has another 20 days or so for things to grow. The beets and the surviving carrots can stay in the ground until it freezes, if we wanted to leave them. The few chard that made it are doing quite well, though I don’t think the radishes will have a chance to reach their pod stage. If they’d been planted for their roots, we’d have a whole three radishes to pick, but none of them seem to be growing into full sized plants. The lettuce that was planted for a fall crop is just reaching a size worth harvesting baby leaves while thinning things out a bit. The seeds were well spaced to begin with, so not a lot of thinning is needed.

It’s new growth like the Ozark Nest Egg gourds, the sunflowers that have not yet opened their seed heads, and the new squash and melons that I am hoping the weather holds off for. The Halona melons have been ripening nicely, and there aren’t a lot left on the vines, but there are still lots of Pixie melons. I picked the one melon to taste test, before it was fully ripe, and have just been waiting on the rest to reach that point where they will fall off their vines. It seems to be taking an oddly long time! There are a lot of little Red Kuri squash that just won’t have time to fully mature before the cold sets in, but I hope the Teddy squash will have time to mature. They are so small, they should be able to.

A lot of people on my gardening groups have already brought their green tomatoes in to ripen indoors. With our tiny indeterminate varieties of tomatoes, I don’t know that we’ll bother. We have ripe tomatoes to pick every two or three days, and that is working out quite well.

On the down side, while I’m glad I was able to finish the extensive mowing around the inner and outer yards, by the time I was done, I was in massive pain. Especially my hips, where I have bone spurs. I’m still in a lot of pain today, so that limits what I am physically able to get done outside, as far as manual labour goes. The temperatures are supposed to remain pleasantly cool for the next while; perfect temperatures to get caught up on the heavy work outside.

But not today.

The Re-Farmer