More to Pick

Late Summer Bounty

I picked a few more things from our garden today.  The harvest is winding down but we do have more to pick.  I wanted some leaks for dinner (to start off the pumpkin soup) and I had to pick the zucchini before it got enormous. The cucumbers needed to be cut off the vine (they have been getting bitter quickly) and that pepper is going with the roasted potatoes. The melon was iffy.  I am hoping it is ripe as I want to serve it with dinner. If not we have a back up watermelon and a few slices from the last melon from our garden (tastes like candy).

Yet to go: three or four more melons, a few peppers, maybe a zucchini or two, a couple of cucumbers, cherry tomatoes out the wazoo, lots of leeks.  We have several green tomatoes still as well. That isn’t bad for September. And did I mention the basil? More pesto for the freezer (and for immediate consumption) is in the works. Like I said, not bad for September.

Potato Harvest

The kids and I dug up all our potatoes the day before yesterday. It was like digging for buried treasure. They had as much of a blast as I did. Turn the soil and find some food.

There's One

I wish I had a scale. I have thought maybe 149 times that I could use one, but I have not taken the effort to get one. I planted five pounds of seed potatoes and all told, with the potatoes we already pulled from the dirt earlier this summer, we harvested 40-50 pounds of potatoes. That is a guess, of course, but probably close.  That paid off.

First into the Basket

We have two varieties–one purple and one white. Right after we dug them up we boiled some of the white one and ate them with salt and butter, along with the corn we bought. A simple and fine dinner.

Bucket of Potatoes

I plan to store a bunch of them so we can be eating potatoes at least into the fall. Hopefully I can make them last. I still need to pull the onions. They won’t keep as long but they will last for a couple of months. And I need to make pesto. And those melons are looking close to ripe. And pumpkins. We’ve got lots of food these days.

Garden Chores

I got out to the garden today (too rainy to paint, although I did bust out the pressure washer to clean the porch deck) and took care of some business. First check out this bounty I picked, including tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots and onions:

Basket o' Tastiness

The popcorn is growing well, with tendrils melon plants creeping up the stalks:

Happy Corn Plants

And speaking of melons, I just may be successful this year. I don’t want to speak before I actually pick and eat a ripe melon, but we are close. I saved seeds from a chanterais we got from our farm share last summer. They started off well, they blossomed and a couple of fruits started growing. Now, a couple of them are close to ripe, good sized, and healthy. Seeking carefully under the corn plants, I found ten of them in various stages of growth. There are still more blossoms but those late bloomers will likely not make it at this point. If we eat one or two tasty melons I will be a happy camper gardener.

Check Out That Melon, if You Know What I'm Saying

And I did finally pull the garlic. I could have yanked it all sooner, but today was the day I got around to it. I harvested 19 remaining bulbs. I already used one of them to make some pesto–OK, a lot of pesto–and I will need to save maybe five of them to plant this fall for next year, but that leaves 13. Not bad, considering how much I already used.

More Than Ready for Harvest

Drying in the Sun

So it was a good day for fresh food. We ate pesto pasta for dinner with tomatoes, cucumbers on the side. I need to dig up potatoes next. They are ready to make it to the table now as well. Right now I plan to have another slice of zucchini blueberry bread. It is still warm.

Chilly. What Gives?

So in May we had temperatures in the 80’s for a stretch. I was ready to plant the garden long before the typical date. Now that my melons, which I have tried to grow three years running without success, have been in their beds for a few weeks, we have temperatures in the 50’s at night, every night. Today is was so chilly I wanted to light a fire. If I hadn’t have been too lazy to move the potted plant from the top of the wood stove, I would have.

The melons don’t look great.  They are sensitive bastards. They have not grown a whole lot bigger in the past month and one of them looks like it is ready to pass out. Maybe they have been staying up too late since they left the pot. Maybe I was too rough with them when I transplanted them. Maybe it is the cold. And maybe, and I shudder to put this in writing, it is the beetles.

I have not seen any cucumber beetles yet. Why would I? They are perhaps happily munching away at the roots of my poor little melons. Or they might be victims of the nematodes I spread this spring. I won’t be able to tell for a bit. The cucumbers don’t look great either, however. And the pumpkins’ growth has slowed. I was really hoping the beetles would be slain by these tiny little animals. I have not given up hope, but I am thinking the damn hole may not be plugged.

I worked at home today and shivered. I wore a hat–the winter variety. I drank hot beverages. I couldn’t get warm. That doesn’t help with the old productivity. But I got work done nonetheless. I made about a zillion phone calls and that kept me mostly distracted from the 50 degree temperatures.  Plus, it was overcast, then rainy, and windy. The highest temperature I saw was 63 degrees. Summer in Vermont.

On Friday night I will wake in the wee hours again and head up to the mountains to see if I can find some birds. Take two. It may be chilly then, but I will be prepared for that, and hiking tends to raise one’s body temperature anyway. The birds like it better when it is warm as well, but they are not as wussy as melons. A few cool nights, a few bugs, and those suckers just can’t take it. I’m going with the tough love approach at this point–no dessert until they start to green up their act. I’m the one whose a sucker when it comes to the birds. They sing to me and I’ll praise them all poet-like. If my melons would sing instead of produce fruit, well, at least then I would get something sweet.

Garden On the Way

So far so good with our vegetable garden. Most of the beds are planted, with a few empty spots left over for second plantings of lettuce, carrots and cilantro. A few weeks ago I added beneficial nematodes to help alleviate our cucumber beetle problem. I have my fingers crossed with that one. I also put up three new birdhouses this year in hopes that they might snack on the beetles once they hatch. Right now I am waiting to see if the seedlings get munched by the larvae. Like I said, I have my fingers crossed. After a couple of days, my melon seedlings still look OK:

Future Melons?

Last fall I planted garlic–two varieties–and those plants are the stars of the garden right now. They are just starting to form scapes.

Reaching for the Sun

The peas are a little behind. At least, they are smaller than I would like. Last year the pea plants got munched by rabbits. Just as I was thinking we may be free of those rascals, there were three of them at once yesterday. They have not munched the peas yet, but they will find them, I am sure.

Still Not Tall Enough

Also, peppers are growing well. I transplanted these several days ago and they are still alive. I will thin them soon.

Still Youngsters, but Showing Promise

So things are looking good so far. Potatoes are up as well, and arugula and carrots are poking out of the dirt. I hope this will be a good season. Something will grow at least. I mean, carrots are hard to kill. Unless those damn bunnies come back.

Damn bunnies.