Garden Update

120722 EggplantThis year gardening has been a challenge.  We’ve had weeks and weeks of rain, followed by high heat and humidity.  The weeds are loving it since I simply cannot pull them when it’s 100 degrees in the shade.

I planted my beets twice this year and have two that survived.  The same thing went for the lettuce.  My carrots are spread all over the garden because Chester took a romp through it before I put up my makeshift fence.  Fortunately they are a very recognizable plant and they are growing where they landed.  The potatoes are insanely huge, but they too are growing all over the garden in odd places as well as the hilled rows.  The only squash I planted this year was the Long Pie Pumpkin.  They love my garden every year so I knew I would not have to worry too much about them.

My tomatoes may or may not have blight, I’ll have a better idea when I get up there today.  It’s too bad because they are loaded with fruit.  The most exciting thing happening is the eggplant.  I have never grown them (not sure why not) and they are doing quite well.  I like getting to know a new plant.  I thought I would see fruit before now because it seems like it blossomed some time ago.  Each plant has at least one eggplant on it now so I’m dreaming about ratatouille or moussaka.

Canning season should begin in earnest this weekend.  I used to do jams with spring fruit but have found that we don’t eat it – at least not as much as I can.  Strawberries are frozen for desserts in the winter.  Tomatoes are the big item for me to put up.  I always like to plan on 40 or more pints done various ways at the very least.  I will also be making bloody mary mix as well, hopefully we will manage to keep a couple of quarts until Christmas once again this year.  We always seem to drink it as we make it – it’s so good you can’t help yourself.

I have a few cucumbers – I’ve planted enough to eat fresh but not enough to can.  I always think they are going to yield more than they do.  If I was to grow enough to make pickles I think half the garden would have to be reserved just for them.

I will be picking yellow beans this week.  I didn’t plant as many as last year and I have to say they didn’t come up as well either.  Just as well, I canned quart after quart of them last year and it seems like that was the only vegetable we ate all winter.  I’ve had my fill.  The scarlet runner beans never ran.  They too had some issues with the leaves curling up and turning yellow.  I did notice a couple of flowers on them last weekend but they are bushy and only a foot high – quite the disappointment there, was hoping for some hummingbird action.  The new beans I planted this year, Organic Blue Cocoa Beans, I thought were bush beans but it turns out they are pole so I have rigged a trellis of sorts for them to climb.  Had I been on top of my game and actually reread the specs on this bean I might have laid out my garden in a whole different way.  Live and learn – that has to be every gardeners mantra.

After a very slow start my asparagus bed is looking awesome!  Another two years til harvest, isn’t gardening fun?

The garlic looks fantastic and I will be digging that up this weekend.  The onions not so much.  They are small and just don’t seem like they are doing much (probably too many weeds around them).

Last but not least are the rutabagas, my favorite vegetable.  They are doing great.  I should have enough to get me through the winter and share with everyone I know to convince them just how delicious they are.

I picked a few quarts of blueberries last weekend, I will be picking more today.  I like to have some in the freezer for winter muffins or pancakes.  The wild ones have a tartness that isn’t found in the large domestic ones.  There are a number of bushes all over the back forty, I cover only one of them and share the rest with the birds.

All in all the garden is more successful than I had originally thought although the yield is not what I expected.  I will be visiting farm stands for canning this year and rethink how things were planted and dream about next years garden – always thinking ahead.  I keep thinking that one of these years I will hit upon the magic formula that make everything grow to its potential.  Of course, mother nature will have other plans I’m sure.


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