Upside down?

Okay, I don’t know what happened with WordPress, but I didn’t get a message left through the Contact page a couple of weeks ago until the morning.

Thank you, Matt Jones of the Songbird Jones for reaching out and sharing this adorable video.

What fun!!!

Also, it turns out we’ve been spinning our Tennessee Dancing Gourds upside down! πŸ˜€

The Re-Farmer

Dry Dancers

While watering plants today, I thought it would be a good time to post some pictures of how our Tennessee Dancing Gourds are drying out.

We have been using the big aquarium tank to protect some of our plants from the cats, and the gourds have been drying in there, too. Also to protect them from the cats, who love to play with them!

It’s awkward to water in there, and I didn’t want to accidentally spill water on the gourds, so I took them out and put them in the stack of egg trays I’ve got stored next to the tank. I don’t know why I’m keeping these, as we will NOT be using them to start seeds again. That did not work out at all. However…

… an egg tray turned out to be perfect for holding the gourds!

Here are all the Dancing gourds we were able to harvest for drying. There were many, many more on the vines that were too under developed to harvest.

Like this one was. This immature gourd withered as it dried.

This fully mature gourd shows how they change colour as they dry. It’s almost as dry as my finger tips!

Eventually, all of them are supposed to dry to this tan colour. It’s a bit of a shame, because their green stripes look so pretty!

This one looks like a bit of mold had started as it was drying. From everything I’ve read about drying gourds, this is normal and not a problem. When fully dry, they can be scrubbed and sanded.

Which is going to be a bit more difficult with gourds this tiny!

I moved things around inside the tank to fit the tray. Before, they had been just lying on the bottom, so they took up less space. We’ve got a tiny fan we found in the basement to maintain air circulation in the tank.

You can see one of my daughter’s orchids is going to be blooming again, soon! The one flower that is visible is actually completely dried out from the last time it bloomed.

I need to figure out what to do with all these plants, so we can use the tank to start seeds. Since there is no way to lower the lights, we put boxes under that sheet of insulation on the bottom, to bring the seed starting trays close to the lights. This tank has two light fixtures; the one that originally came with it, which lies flat on the top, and one that has stands on the ends to keep it several inches above the top. That one gets warm, and is one of Saffron’s favourite places to sit (along with the heat vents). πŸ˜€ She’s so tiny, it’s not an issue, but we’ve caught her brother, Layendecker, on there, too, and he’s about double her size and triple her weight. It’s weird how Saffron has stayed so tiny – even Turmeric is finally starting to fill out a bit – while Big Rig quickly became larger than their mother, and Layendecker, who was probably the smallest of the litter, is now as big as Cheddar!

But I digress…

One of the reasons my daughter’s orchids are in here is because it’s warmer. In the spring, it’ll be warm enough to hang them in front of a window again, but we’ll be needing the tank to start seeds long before then. One of them is small enough that we could probably keep it in the tank after raising the floor higher, but I am not so sure about the bigger one.

The aloe vera, however, will need to come out. We have all sorts of places we can put them, but Cabbages in particular is absolutely dedicated to digging into the plant pots. We’ve been able to create barriers to protect other plants. With one pot, we had to build a cage around it out of hardware cloth, and sometimes I can hear a cat trying to tear through. Which cat it is, I have never been able to find out, since they run off when I come out to check, but the girls and I have caught Cabbages sitting on top of the cage! I’ve seen Tissue trying to climb the cage, too. That Jade tree would have been destroyed long ago, if we hadn’t put that cage around it! Another Jade tree is so big, it covers its pot and protects itself, but we’ve not been able to create a barrier around these pots that the cat’s haven’t been able to get past, and they’re too big and heavy to hang.

Frustrating.

Anyhow.

When I put the gourds back in the tank to dry, I kept the wizened one to see what’s inside.

The answer is, nothing! It was so immature, I don’t see any sign of developing seeds.

Cutting it open felt a bit like trying to cut a dry, crispy sponge on the inside. Even the outer shell around the widest part felt like cutting through a brittle, rigid foam. It was practically weightless, too.

I haven’t decided what to do with the dried gourds, but I am thinking of cutting open at least the largest one to harvest the seeds. We do still have seeds from last year, so it would be interesting to compare germination rates.

They are so adorable! I look forward to growing more of them. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜€ 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: sleepy bee, a pretty harvest, and more rain to come?

While doing my rounds this morning, I was specifically looking to see how things held out after the colder than predicted overnight temperatures a couple of nights ago. Quite a few heads are at that drooping/maturing stage. Others are still in their early stages of blooming. It isn’t unusual, in these cooler mornings, for me to find a variety of small insects in the flowers, not moving much because of the cold.

This morning, I found this beautiful creature.

This beautiful bee wasn’t just sluggish. It was “sleeping”. We were at 10C/50F when I took this photo, and we’re only supposed to get a degree warmer, but I do hope the bee managed to make its way back to its hive!

That we have any pollinators out and about right now is pretty amazing to begin with. Mostly, I’m seeing yellow wasps, probably from that nest at the crack in the foundation under the old kitchen, or the nest in the big branch pile in the outer yard.

Having them around is appreciated, because even though the colder temperatures have resulted in drooping, cold damaged leaves on all our squash, they are still blooming! The flowers don’t seem to have been affected, and summer squash seem to have been protected by their own leaves.

I will be checking on the pattypans later, but I did pick these this morning.

This is actually the second Red Kuri/Little Gem squash we harvested. There is still the mutant, which I’m leaving because its vine is still looking so green still, and a smaller one that is still more yellow than orange. I’ve left our two little Teddy squash for now, as their vines seem to be doing all right, and I want to see if they will get any bigger.

The Tennessee Dancing Gourds were a bit of a surprise. They weren’t the largest ones, which were still firmly attached to their vines when I checked them. Then these ones just popped off their vines when I handled them! We’ve got more than a dozen of these picked, and the vines still have so many more, and more flowers! Even the luffa is still blooming.

How long this will last, I can’t even begin to guess. It’s been such mild fall, and these are plants that are not typically grown in our zone. Our mild fall has extended our growing season by at least a month, already.

It does not look like we will be able to do any chipping today, nor for the next couple of days. We are supposed to be getting more rain. Our own area looks like it will just get the edges of the weather system, but my weather app was sending out warnings for possible flash flooding in some areas. From the looks of the weather radar, the south end of our province is already getting heavy rains. The same system looks like it’s been dropping snow as it passed through the US before reaching us! Since we moved back here, we’ve seen snow, and even blizzards, before now, so I am incredibly thankful for the mild temperatures and rain. Every drop will help in recovering from this summer’s drought conditions.

Oh, my goodness! I just have to share this!

I got interrupted by a phone call while writing the above. When I answered, someone asked for my late father, by his first name only. Without saying he was my father, I told the guy my dad had passed away several years ago. He expressed sorrow, but then another male voice came on, this one with a strong accent, so it was clearly a second person on the line, asking if Mrs. ________ (mispronounced, but that’s not unusual) – my mother – was there. I said no, she no longer lives here. I was then asked if the man or woman of the house was available. I said that would be me. Which is when the first guy started talking again, saying he was from CARP, and how was I doing this morning? I told him that I was very confused right now, so he said he would call back again at a better time.

!!!

I just looked up CARP and, aside from lots of websites about fish, I found this.

C.A.R.P.β€”A New Vision of Aging is Canada’s largest advocacy association for older Canadians promoting equitable access to health care, financial security, and freedom from ageism. Backed by more than 320,000 members, C.A.R.P. is a non-partisan association committed to working with all parties in government to advocate for older Canadians. Our mission is to advocate for better healthcare, financial security, and freedom from ageism. C.A.R.P. members engage in polls and petitions, email their elected representatives, connect with local chapters and share stories and opinions on urgent issues.

C.A.R.P. membership support creates major changes in government policies and protects the dignity of Canadians as we age. Members are also rewarded with discounts on over 100 everyday products and services they know and love from C.A.R.P.’s trusted partners.

https://www.carp.ca/about/#about

So… I don’t quite fit into their demographic, yet. πŸ˜€

Also, they really need to update their phone lists! My mother hasn’t had this number for at least 7 years, and my dad passed away more than 5 years ago.

Oy vey!

Anyhow. Back to topic!

After a few days of rain, we are actually supposed to get sunny and warmer again. Hopefully, that will be a good time to get more chipping done. For now, while the rain holds off, I’ll see what progress I can get on the high raised bed. I want to at least get one high raised bed completed in time for when the garlic comes in, since they will need to be planted right away. I also just got word back about getting another round bale of straw, so we should be getting that delivered soon, too.

There is so much work to get done before the snow flies!

The Re-Farmer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because he’s a man.

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

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

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

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

The Re-Farmer

Fall garden update: squash tunnel gourds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Re-Farmer

Ghost Baby appears, and that’s a LOT of dill!

There’s nothing like heading outside to do my morning rounds, and being greeted by so many kitties!

It’s going to be hard to tell those tabbies apart. πŸ˜€

Ghost Baby even made an appearance this morning. She is very shy and skittish, so I didn’t try to move any closer to get a photo. My apologies for the horrible zoom shot. She kept going from tray to tray for food, but she’s shy even of the other cats. I did eventually see her at a kibble tray by herself, so I’m happy to say she did get something to eat.

Our mild days and overnight temperatures continue, but I’m still surprised by how many squash and gourd blossoms are still opening.

So pretty!

On the down side, it looks like the lack of pollinators has lost us some Teddy squash. A couple of the smaller ones got wizened and fell off, and it looks like we’re going to lose one more. Which leaves us only 2 Teddy squash, one on each plant, that are actually growing.

I did my rounds a bit earlier and faster, as I had to drive my mother around for an appointment and some errands. There was even plans for her to stop by at the farm for a visit, but after her appointment and one other stop, she was just too tired. We’ll have to do it another day. However, my brother had visited her yesterday, and left a gift for us.

This is a bag of dill! It’s huge! The whole plants are in there, in various stages, so we’ll have dill leaves to dehydrate, crowns to use for pickling, and dried seeds to plant next year. I want to find a spot that can be a permanent dill bed, so they can reseed themselves year after year, and not be growing around other herbs or vegetables.

My mother was so tired from the trip, she practically kicked me out after I picked up the bag! πŸ˜€

I had a more welcoming response when I got home. I noticed the kibble trays were empty, so I topped them up a bit. While I was doing that, Nosencrantz came up and let me give her enthusiastic, full body pets and ear skritches!

More progress with her, at least! πŸ˜€ Still no luck with the others. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€ 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 surprises

While doing my rounds this morning and checking the gardens, I was pleased of fine a really big Madga squash ready to pick. After being seasoned with cayenne pepper, the groundhogs are leaving the summer squash alone and they are finally getting a chance to grow! There were even a few zucchini to gather.

The few sunflowers that are opening up are, of course, looking gorgeous!

So far, it’s still just the Mongolian Giant sunflowers with seed heads that are opening. Too bad it’s so late in the season, but we’re still enjoying them.

I had my first little surprise while checking out the squash tunnel.

A little, ripe Halona melon, just sitting on the ground! πŸ˜€ So of course I had to check the others that were turning colour, and found the biggest one was ripe, too. The only reason it hadn’t fallen of its vine was because it was already sitting on the ground. πŸ˜€

Then there was my second little surprise.

The Tennessee Dancing Gourd vines are starting to die back, revealing two “huge” gourds we had completely missed seeing before!

This is about what their full size would be, I believe. Gosh, they are adorable!!

Our morning harvest!

What a difference in size between the two ripe melons.

I am so happy with how these are doing. πŸ™‚

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: progress

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

I think some of the plants in our garden have gotten confused! πŸ˜€

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

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

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

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

My big surprise is the Crespo squash.

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

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

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