Our 2022 garden: deer damage and harvested squash

When doing my rounds, one of the things I’ve been making sure to check is for damage to the berry bushes we plants. Especially that one highbush cranberry that has been eaten, twice. Putting the old saw horse over it seems to be helping, and there are even the tiniest of green leaves appearing again. We’ve had a pretty constant and gentle rain since yesterday evening, so that is sure to be helping as well.

This morning, I found this.

Overnight, the self-seeded sunflowers had almost all their leaves eaten. The green beans also had a lot of their leaves eaten, along the length of about half the trellis. The pods got left, though. We have stopped harvesting the beans, though we could probably still be picking the green ones. They are still blooming and producing new pods, though in much reduced quantities.

Two of the self seeded (well… bird seeded…) sunflowers by the sweet corn also got et. There is no new damage to the corn, though. It doesn’t look like the deer went into the bed. Just munched the sunflowers at the edge.

I’m not sure if this is deer damage, or some small critter. One of the sweet potato bags got torn apart more, and the grass mulch turned over, which isn’t too unexpected. The bottle waterer in the black grow bag being knocked out is a bit of a surprise. Nothing else in that bag was disturbed.

Happily, the eggplants were completely undisturbed. I put everything back, including the mulch, and in the process found that the sweet potato vine that got pulled aside seemed undamaged, too.

I checked everything else closely, and nothing else seems damaged. I did, however, decide it was time to harvest the ripe squash and pumpkins, just in case. Except the giant pumpkins. We could harvest both of those, but I’ll come by with the wagon to carry them to the house, another time.

There is the one Kakai hulless pumpkin and three Baby Pam pumpkins. Both have more green ones on the vines that I hope will get time to ripen fully. I also harvested seven Red Kuri squash, leaving one to ripen a bit longer on the vine. These are all now set up in the kitchen to cure.

With all the other squash I looked at, I’m rather impressed with the Boston Marrow. We will still likely get only two that can be harvested – one of which is starting to turn colour – but I’m seeing a surprising number of little ones developing, plus more female flowers. It looks like they would have been very prolific, had we not had such a terrible spring. Definitely something to try again next year.

The Baby Pam pumpkins are supposed to be an excellent pie pumpkin, but with just these three little ones, there isn’t enough to make one! We’ll find some other way to enjoy them. I do look forward to trying the seeds in that Kakai pumpkin. We already know we like the Red Kuri squash, and I promised one of those to my mother. I think next year, we should plant more of them.

I’m thankful that we at least have these to harvest. We planted so many more that just didn’t make it. Hopefully, we’ll have better growing conditions next year!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: some progress, and a little harvest

It’s just past 10pm as I start this, and we’re still at 21C/70F, and the higher winds of earlier today have died down to a lovely calm. I found myself looking for reasons to get the fire going, but I really need to get some sleep tonight! Sleep has been frequently interrupted for the past while. 😕

Lack of sleep wiped me out enough that I was feeling quite ill this morning, to the girls took care of feeding the critters so I could try and get at least a couple of hours in. With Leyendecker still in recovery in my room (no, he wasn’t the one keeping me up at night!), and my daughters still having their days and nights reversed, my younger daughter has been taking her “night shift” and sleeping in my room, to keep and ear out on Leyendecker while I’m out. (He seems to be doing all right, though still having difficulties voiding, so we are monitoring him very closely) In the end, it was almost noon before I finally was able to head outside and do my rounds – minus the critter feeding.

Of course, a fair amount of that is spent checking things in the garden. Things like this.

Here we are, into September, and the Red Noodle beans are just starting to show flower buds!

This Kakai hulless squash was the first to develop and is looking like it’s ripe – but it’s about a quarter the size it should be. If the weather holds, there’s a chance we’ll have a couple more, larger ones. In fact, all the hulless pumpkins are going rather well, compared to the other winter squash. Only the Baby Pam pumpkins are managing as well. The Lady Godiva should give us at least 2 fully developed squash by the end of the growing season, with a few more little ones developing. Likewise, the Styrian variety has a couple large pumpkins that should be harvestable by the time growing season is done, with a couple more developing.

As for the Baby Pam, we have a little few bright orange pumpkins that could probably be harvested, that are smaller than they should be, but there are others that are still growing and turning colour that look like they will reach their full size – which isn’t very large to begin with.

This Georgia Candy Roaster is one of two stunted plants that were just covered in slug trails this morning!

While watering this evening, I was amazed to find female flowers among the Georgia Candy Roaster, and even one Winter Sweet. I hand pollinated them, just in case, but I think it was too late for one of the Georgia Candy Roasters.

While harvesting, I was surprised by how many Yellow Pear and Chocolate Cheery tomatoes were ready. I took the few G-Star patty pans that were on the plant killed off by a cut worm.

A few more of the Cup of Moldova tomatoes were ripe enough to pick, and into the freezer the went, with the others needing to be processed.

I keep saying I need to get those done, but the fact that they are in the freezer actually frees me up to work on other things. But that will be in my next post!

As for the garden, it’s a waiting game. So far, we’re not looking to have cold temperatures or frost for the rest of the month. With our first average frost date on Sept. 10, that is very encouraging. I plan to do recordings for another garden tour video on that date. Hopefully, thing weather will hold and things will have time to catch up.

I’d really like a chance to try those red noodle beans!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning harvest, and a survivor

Here is today’s morning harvest. 😊

I found a little round cucumber lying on the ground and picked it, leaving the others to get a bit bigger. There were a few peas to pick, as well as some carrot thinnings. I would have thinned more of the purple carrots, but they are a very long variety, and our soil just doesn’t want to give them up!

I grabbed some of the smallest Red of Florence onions for today’s cooking, and decided to grab a few little turnips, too. There was one Magda squash I went ahead and grabbed. There was also a single green zucchini, and one large-ish sunburst squash, that I left to get a bit bigger.

The yellow bush beans are almost done. I couldn’t see very many developing pods left as I picked these. The purple Carminat beans are very prolific! There are so many more of them, compared to what’s on the green pole beans.

In that pile of green pole beans, however, there were two extras.

They are from this one little bush bean plant, grown from a leftover seed of our first planting of green bush beans under the sweet corn. The second planting of green bush beans are starting to develop pods, while this lonely original had a couple ready to pick.

I’m happy that this year, we at least have plenty of these two varieties of beans. The Red Noodle beans still show no signs of blooming, though they are at least starting to climb the trellis more. I’m curious about how the shelling beans will turn out, given how incredibly small and fragile the plants turned out to be. There are a lot of pods developing, too.

We planted so much this year, with hopes of having lots of food, in many varieties, to have over the winter. I always expect to have at least some losses. I didn’t expect to have so many total, or near total losses! Which makes me extra thankful to have what we do have.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning harvest

The pole beans are starting to really kick in!

We’re even still getting bush beans and peas!

I’ve been training the cucumber up the trellis netting, but somehow missed one big cucumber that was lying right on the ground. I’m glad I spotted it this morning. Not much longer before it would have started to be over mature. Which would be okay if I were wanting to save seeds, but I won’t be for these.

With last night’s rain and an incredibly humid morning, things were still soaking wet outside, and my glasses were fogging up! The squash are loving it, though, and I’m seeing increased growth. Even the one Zucca melon that’s trying to survive had a noticeably growth spurt.

The sweet corn and the popcorn are both sending up tassels! The popcorn is still really small, but has had a growth spurt, too. They only reach about 2 ft high to begin with, so there is hope for a crop, yet!

There are squash blooming all over. Whenever possible, I am hand pollinating. There has not been a lot of opportunity to do that. Still, if we have a long, mild fall like last year, it will help ensure we have fruiting plants that can take advantage of it. We shall see!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: mulching, growing and harvesting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thankfully, tomatoes are self pollinating.

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

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

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

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

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

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning harvest, and first purple beans!

Check it out! Our largest morning harvest, yet!

There were very few yellow beans to pick this morning. The bush beans seem to be winding down. There were more of the green pole beans to pick, though – and our first purple beans!

There are still a few peas on the first planting, while the second planting of peas are getting into their prime. I found more cucumbers than expected. Enough to make a decent size cucumber salad.

I finally picked the one Sophie’s Choice tomato that was looking like it could have been picked a while ago. It didn’t seem to be getting any redder, so I went ahead and grabbed it. I also grabbed the reddest Cup of Moldova tomatoes. The one that fell off while I tried to get the clip loose has ripened indoors, so there are two of them for my husband and the girls to taste test later on.

I picked what seemed to be the largest of the turnips to taste test as well. They are not a large variety and golf ball size is supposed to be when they have the best flavour. I also pulled a couple of the largest looking beets, to see how they are, and… they’re not doing well at all.

But we have something. And something is better than nothing!

I had done some recordings to make another garden tour video in the morning, but after going over them, I went back out to re-record most of them in the early evening. The final video will have a mix of both. I have this terrible habit of using the wrong words for things and not even noticing. Like saying “purple corn” when I meant to say “purple peas”. That sort of thing. I might have time to work on editing it this evening, but I’m not sure just yet. It depends on how things go after I get back from my mother’s, this afternoon.

We shall see.

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: progress, and one last cardboard mulch

There wasn’t much of anything to harvest this morning. I picked a few shelling peas and just ate them right away. There was no point in bringing so few inside! At least with the first planting of peas. The second planting is looking like it will have a decent amount to pick fairly soon.

I really don’t know what to make of the beans at the tunnel. These are the Blue Grey Speckled Tepary shelling beans. They are so small and delicate looking. They are just barely tall enough to reach, but are managing to climb the mesh. I have no idea how big these would normally get, but for a shelling bean, I would have expected them to be at least as big as…

… the red noodle beans on the other side of the tunnel. These are much bigger plants, but there is still no sign of any vining happening. I’m not seeing any flowers, either. Given that it’s the start of August and our average first frost date is Sept. 10, I’m starting to wonder if we’ll get any of these at all. Even if we do get a super long, mild spring, like we did last year, I wonder if we’ll have any of these at all. At least the purple beans on the A frame trellis are blooming and producing tiny little pods, with vines extending well past the top of the trellis frame, while the green beans on the other side are climbing and blooming.

I have never grown pole beans before, but I really expected them to do better than this. This area did not get flooded out the way the bed with the green bush beans did.

Well, next year we’ll be moving the trellises closer to the house, and this area will be getting perennials planted in it. Parts of the area will need to be kept clear because of the phone line running under it, but not all of it. Hopefully, a new location for our legumes next year will be better.

The dancing gourds are doing rather well, at least! The plants are much stronger and more vigorous this year than they were during last year’s drought. So far, there is just this one early gourd growing, though I am seeing quite a few female flowers developing. This one gourd is already bigger than the biggest we had last year. For perspective, the squares in the wire mesh are 2 inches.

In between the tunnel and the A frame trellises are some hulless pumpkins. They are the last patch without the cardboard mulch. I still had the cardboard sides from the wood chipper in the garage, so I decided to use it.

This is how it was looking. There’s an awful lot of creeping charlie making it’s way through the straw mulch around the pumpkins in the foreground. There are actually less weeds than it appears, though, just because of how they spread out.

The cardboard from the wood chipper box was very heavy duty, and had even more staples holding it together than the lawn mower box I used on the Boston Marrow. Cutting it so I could put it around the plants took some doing! Sliding the cardboard in place required quite a bit of care, too. The vines were gripping the straw and weeds quite strongly.

I placed some of the protective poles back, around the patch, and will be adding scythed hay mulch on top as I am able, but I find myself wondering if I should make a support frame for the vines to climb. I don’t know if that would actually help these or not. At the very least, I’ll be adding cord around it, to discourage deer from walking through.

There were quite a few female flowers on the vines, but I found only one male flower, so I used it to hand pollinate as many of the female flowers as were ready. While moving the vines onto the cardboard, one of them had already fallen off, because it had not been pollinated. Hopefully, the hand pollinating will help.

All three varieties of hulless pumpkin have at least some developing pumpkins. Some of summer squash is also finally picking up; the sunburst patty pans are starting to show female flowers again. The Madga squash seems to be doing the best, and we finally have yellow zucchini starting to develop. Not so much of the green zucchini, though.

At least we will have lots of the determinate tomatoes. Even the Cup of Moldova tomatoes are starting to show more of a blush in them.

If the weather holds and the frost stays away, we might still have something to harvest this fall.

The Re-Farmer

Change in plans, morning in the garden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Carminat pole beans finally have pods forming!

The one giant pumpkin is growing so fast!

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of picking things…

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

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

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

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

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

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: things are trying to grow

My daughters were sweethearts and took care of feeding the cats outside for me, as I’m still feeling pretty unstable, so the cats weren’t out and about by the time I headed outside. I did get to briefly pet a kitten, though! 😀

While checking out the garden, there was some new progress – and a bit of deer damage – to find.

The Carminat beans are reaching the top of the trellis, and you can see their flower buds. At my fingers, however, you can see the stem of a missing leaf! There was a vertical row of missing leaves, a few feet along the trellis. Right about deer height! Time to find more noise makers and flashy things to set up.

On this side of the trellis are the Seychelles beans, which are starting to get pretty tall, too. None of them show deer damage, which is good, since less of them germinated. In the foreground are the self seeded (or should I say, bird-seeded) sunflowers that I left to grow. The beans can climb them, too! With the flooding this spring, we did not plant any of the Hopi black dye or Mongolian Giant sunflower seeds we’d collected from last year, so I don’t mind letting these one grow. These would be the black oil seed that we put out for the birds in the summer. We’re finding them all over the place, thanks to being spread by birds!

The first sowing of shelling peas may be about half the size they should be, but they are loaded with pods. At least on the north end of the pea trellis. Towards the south end, the sugar snap peas are barely surviving, and the shelling peas on the other side of the trellis are much weaker, too. The entire trellis gets an equal amount of sunlight, so this would be a reflection of soil conditions.

This should be the last year we use this spot for growing vegetables. Next year, they’ll be moved closer to the house, and this area will be made available for planting fruit or nut trees. We haven’t decided what to get next, yet.

The cucumber row is a mixed bag of plants that are growing nice and big, and filled with little cucumbers, and others that are barely bigger than when they were first transplanted!

I had an adorable find at the big trellis.

We have a first Tennessee Dancing gourd developing! It is so cute!

The beans on the same side as the dancing gourds are the red noodle beans. The plants are pretty large, but they are still not at the point of climbing. The shelling beans on the other side, however…

The are much smaller, but have tendrils climbing the trellis, and have even started to bloom!

The most adorable little pollinator showed up just as I was taking the picture.

I startled a bee when checking out this HUGE pumpkin flower.

Yes, it’s on a giant pumpkin plant. 😁

I’d seen some female flowers previously, but now I can’t find them, so there are no pumpkins starting to form, yet. While we are not shooting for super big pumpkins, and won’t be pruning them down to just one pumpkin per plant, it feels like it’s too late in the season for any giant pumpkins to mature. We’re near the end of July already, and none have formed, yet!

In the south yard, we finally have Chocolate cherry tomatoes! Just this one plant, yet. Of the 4 varieties we planted this year, the Chocolate cherry have been the most behind – and they are planted where tomatoes had done so well, last year. The plants themselves are getting nice and tall, and we’ve been adding supports and pruning them as needed, but there are much fewer flowers blooming, and only today do we finally have tomatoes forming. Thankfully, the other varieties are much further along.

I also spotted some ground cherry fruit forming! These plants are doing remarkably well, given how much water they had to deal with this spring. It took a while, but not they are quite robust plants, and I’m happy to see them setting fruit!

Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer before we start getting actual food from the garden. Everything is so, so behind, I am extra happy to see progress like this.

The Re-Farmer