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: final harvest? Yes, no and maybe!

Here we are, in the middle of October, and still there are things in the garden to pick!

Yesterday evening, I went out to work on the high raised garden bed a bit. The notches at the north end needed to be finished. In particular, I needed to deepen the ones at the ends of the side logs. Since so much material had already been removed, I just used the baby chainsaw for as long as the batteries lasted. Checking it this morning, it looks like one side still needs more material removed, so I will work on that today. I didn’t bother taking photos as the difference really isn’t all the visible.

After I did as much as I could on the high raised bed, I went and did a burn. With the rain we’ve been having lately, using the burn barrel is about as safe as it can be, without snow on the ground! 😀 What an evening it was! I could hear masses of Canada Geese out in the field, where the renter has already harvested his corn. I could even see clouds of them, though the trees, flying low to the ground.

The burn barrel is in the outer yard, which made it easy to check on the garden beds along the chain link fence. When my daughters came outside while doing their evening chores, I snagged one of them to tend the burn barrel while I got a bowl to pick tomatoes into.

Yes, we still have tomatoes!

It was getting a bit too dark to see the ripe from the almost ripe tomatoes, but there were enough that my daughter finished with the burn barrel before I was finished picking!

While we were out there, not only we were serenaded by the cacophony of geese, but howling, as well.

Very different sounding howls.

We have quite a few coyotes in the area, so hearing them howling and yipping is not unusual. These, however, sounded like wolves! Wolves are rarer in our area. I can’t say I’m surprised, though. With all the fires we had this summer, we had a lot of bear sightings. If so many bears could be driven this way, wolves certainly could be, too.

Last night, temperatures were predicted to drop to just above freezing, which means frost was very likely, even though we had no frost warnings. I figured, however, this would be our last tomato harvest. Especially since the actual temperatures dropped lower than predicted. At least, according to the weather apps.

I think I was wrong!

I checked them this morning, and the tomato plants are just fine! With temperatures warming up again over the next while, we should be picking tomatoes for quite a while longer!

The Ozark Nest Egg gourds are also looking just fine, too. Seeing this has confirmed for me that setting up garden beds in the outer yard, south of the house, is a very good idea, because things were different in the old garden area.

The bush beans are done. There are still many little bean pods, but after last night’s cold, I could see frost damage on them, so that’s it for them.

The summer squash… I’m not so sure. I picked sunburst squash, anyhow.

Most of these are smaller than I would have picked them. There are still quite a lot of little ones on the plants, and I left the zucchini entirely, just in case they survived. This entire area gets full sun, however it parts of it do get shade for longer in the mornings, because of trees along the fence line to the east. The shade does not reach the squash tunnel, however, and when I checked it, expecting to harvest the last few winter squash, I decided to leave them longer, though I did collect a couple more Tennessee Danging Gourds. Even the luffa looks like it’s still growing, and there are a few melons that are still firmly attached to their vines. With the warmer temperatures expected over the next few days, the longer the fruit stays on the vines, the better.

So we shall see how it goes!

Meanwhile, the lettuce and chard are handling the temperatures just fine, so we’ll have access to fresh greens for a while, yet.

Today’s focus is going to be on preparing beds for the garlic. I got an emailed shipping notification, so they will arrive next week. There is no way I will be able to finish the high raised bed in time, so I will finish topping up the new low raised beds built over where the garlic was planted last fall. I’ll prep both, even though we may only need one. The beets in the third bed are still growing. Until the ground freezes, they can be left, as can the fingerling potatoes. One of my weather apps has long range forecasts into November, and it looks like we will continue to have mild temperatures for quite some time, yet! Even the overnight lows are going to remain mild, with only a couple of nights forecast to reach -1C/30F.

With temperatures that mild, we may actually eat all our lettuce and chard before it gets cold enough to kill them! I’m very curious to see how far the Ozark Nest Egg gourds manage to mature, and if the radishes will mature enough to produce pods that we can pickle.

These mild temperatures and rains are just what we needed right now. If we can continue to have a mild, wet winter, and no more Polar Vortexes, that would be icing on the cake!

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

Morning harvest, and another one down

Well, so much for trying to support the sunflower in the old kitchen garden.

We had high winds again this morning, and the last of the three flower stalks on the remaining sunflower in the old kitchen garden finally broke. It was actually still upright when I came out this morning, but by the time I came back to the house, it was lying on the ground.

Sadness.

While checking the garden beds, I did get a little bit of a harvest this morning.

It all could fit in my pocket! 😀

This is the largest I’ve ever let a pattypan squash get. Any bigger, and they start developing their seeds. One of these days, I should try letting some fully mature. At that point, when the seeds are removed, they leave a cavity that can be stuffed for roasting, which I do want to try. We just really like them at this stage, though. 🙂 For next year, I plan to try other varieties of pattypan squash, and hope to grow some to save seeds, too. Since I accidentally bought three summer squash collections for this year, instead of one, we don’t actually need to buy more squash seeds, but I like to try new varieties.

That is definitely one of the biggest benefits of having a garden. There are so many varieties that are just never in the stores!

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

Our 2021 garden: morning harvest and first potatoes, makes for an awesome breakfast!

I finished off my rounds this morning by doing some harvesting in the garden. The beans in particular had plenty to pick. 🙂

I found a yellow bean, growing on a green bean plant!

It didn’t get picked. It felt completely empty. Any beans it might have had did not develop. I did find one other yellow bean among the green beans, on another plant, that did have developing beans in it, but it was super soft for some reason.

There as a big enough haul this morning to need two containers! 🙂

Among the sunburst squash, we have the one plant that is producing green squash instead of yellow, though some of the developing squash have streaks of yellow in them. An interesting mutant plant! 😀

The yellow beans are pretty much done. We’ll still be picking them for the next while, but just a few here and there.

I found flowers on both green and purple bean plants! Just a few, but still a surprise, this late in the season. We’ll be having plenty of those to pick for a while, from the looks of it. Lots of little ones developing on the plants.

Our first potatoes! We could have picked potatoes earlier, but we’ve been leaving them for now. This morning, I decided to reach into a few bags and dug around until I felt a potato and pulled it up. These are the yellow Yukon Gem and red Norland potatoes. I did not try to pick any of the fingerlings, yet.

That’s a pretty good harvest for the day! There are enough beans there to do another bag for the freezer, if we want. 🙂

I used a bit of everything when I made breakfast this morning. 🙂

I made a hash using all three types of beans, a couple of sunburst squash, a zucchini, and one of each type of potato. I also used onion and garlic that we harvested earlier. Even the oil I used to cook with was infused with our chive blossoms, and the dried parsley on top is from last year’s garden.

It tasted great, too! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: evening harvest

While doing my evening rounds, I was able to gather quite a substantial harvest from the garden!

The yellow beans are, as could be expected, winding down right now, but there was still quite a lot of them. There were plenty of green beans, too, but it was the purple beans that stole the show! There were so many ready to pick this time!

I picked a few sweet corn that seems like they might be ready, just to see how they were. Though their silks are drying, they are still quite immature. My expectations are on the low side for these, given how nitrogen poor the soil is, but we shall see as time goes by.

I was really happy to have so many sunburst squash and zucchini! I also had to straighten up a lot of the support poles, as the wind had blown them over somewhat. However, I can definitely say it was much easier to find and harvest the summer squash grown vertically! Last year, I was picking sunburst squash and zucchini pretty much daily, but this is the first time we’ve had a substantial amount to pick. They did not get eaten before we could get to them! The cayenne pepper is definitely working!

I applied more over everything after I finished picking things. The rains would have washed it all off by now. We might get more rain today, then off an on over the next week, but I don’t expect to get much here, so I wanted to make sure the garden beds had their spicy protection.

There was enough picked that we could blanch and freeze some more, but this time I’m keeping them for having with our meals. In fact, I’m enjoying some of those beans with my lunch as I write this, sauteed with our Purple Stripe garlic (crushed and chopped) in butter, then braised until tender, then seasoned and stir fried with rice and some of the grass fed beef we got with the package we ordered a while back. It turned out very well!!

It may almost be the end of August, but we’re finally getting to where we can probably eat from our garden every day. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: back at it

As I write this, in the early afternoon, we have reached 30C/86F, with a humidex of 35C/95F. Our high of the day is expected to reach 35C/95F with the humidex at 40C/104F. Thankfully, this is supposed to be the hottest day for the next while, but it means that we’re back at watering the garden at least once a day.

At least this time, I had a full rain barrel to use in the garden beds by the house, while the sprinkler was running in the furthest beds.

With the upstairs so hot during the day, the girls are still staying up all night, so my old daughter can work on her commissions. They still have to put ice packs around their electronics – and themselves – to keep things from overheating.

Since they were still up during the cool of the morning, they did a bit of harvesting, and this was waiting for me when I got up.

We actually have summer squash to pick! The cayenne pepper seems to be working and keeping the grogs (groundhogs) away. This is the most we’ve been able to gather all summer.

They also picked a single red crab apple for me. ❤

It was delicious.

The summer squash bed now has one of the sprinkler hoses I found by the grog den a while back, so they can be watered from below more easily. I set the other one up through two bean beds, but half of the hose seems to have clogged holes. I think they will clear as the hose is used more often.

I’m rather encouraged by these tomatoes. The wilted one is the branch that broke off in the wind, and that I just stuck into the ground. The leaves may be wilted, but the stem is still strong, and the tomatoes that are on it are ripening.

I found a surprise while watering the tomatoes.

This cluster of seedlings has emerged from the new garden soil we recently added!

My initial thought was more sunflowers from the bird feeder, but these actually look a bit like squash seedlings.

We’ll leave them to see what they turn out to be.

Unless the grogs eat them, first.

The sweet corn may be small, but they are maturing. The middle block is maturing the fastest, while the northernmost block the slowest. The southern block has one half maturing faster than the other. This area gets shade in the morning, but at least 8 hours of sunlight per day. The Eastern side, however, would still have shade longer than the rest, and that is likely why the plants are shorter on that side.

It does not seem to matter as much for the sunflowers.

The earliest Mongolian Giant flower heads are progressing nicely.

Even the ones that got chomped by deer are recovering. These are the Hopi Black Dye sunflowers, transplanted next to the Dorinny corn, where the entire row had lots their heads.

You can see the cayenne pepper on the sunflower leaves. Since we are using the sprinklers to water things, we’ll need to reapply it at the end of the day.

On the garden cam, I spotted a big raccoon headed towards the summer squash. It reached a plant, touched it with its nose, and pulled back its head like it got bitten, then ambled around the squash bed, avoiding the plants.

When setting up the sprinkler on the purple corn, I noticed a cob with husks that looked quite dried up. I took a chance and harveted it.

It’s ripe!! Small, not completely pollinated, but still pretty full, and the deep, dark purple it’s supposed to be. I found one other little one with dried husks and picked that, too.

With only two of them, I went to the Dorinny corn and picked what I could there, too.

It isn’t a lot for four people, but enough for part of a meal!

I’m thinking of moving the BBQ my brother gave us to the canopy, so we can grill in the shade. Corn on the grill would be awesome! We’ve got some sirloin steaks from the meat pack we got thawing out, and the summer squash are prepped for grilling. I don’t know if we’ll be up to grilling in this heat, but if not, the vegetables can be roasted.

Either way, I’m looking forward to an excellent Sunday dinner!

The Re-Farmer