Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Our Mid-August Garden

Pictured above is a box of chard leaves, a small pile of yellow and green pole beans, a sugar baby watermelon, 4 cucumbers, 1 zucchini, 1 rutger tomato, and 10 baby roma mini tomatoes.  
 When I went out to harvest on August 17, there were a few fruits of the vine to be picked.  I gathered them up in a box, and brought it to the front porch where it could be appreciated.  It makes everyone happy to see garden veggies.
 We broke open the watermelon the next day and it seemed that it was a bit overripe.  I just can't win with these things.  I have no idea when to pick them.  People say to look at the "true leaf" (the one closest to the vine that looks even a little different), and when it starts to wilt, the melon is ripe.  Well, this melon had a true leaf that was strong and healthy, but that watermelon had been on there so long, I decided to pick it anyway, and it appears I should've picked it a couple weeks prior.  So, today (Aug. 24) I went out and picked the last watermelon, which was about the same size and it looked completely white/green in side.  Not even close to ripe.  I really am at a loss.  And now the squash bugs are taking over these too.

I decided to document the garden one morning, so now you get to come with me on a mid-August garden tour!

Here's a look at our own "cucurbit-family" patch from just outside the fence.
Pumpkins, Cucumbers, Sugar baby watermelon, snake and swan gourds, zucchini, more pumpkins, more cucumbers, butternut squash, and what I think is a sweet meat squash.  
As you enter our garden gate, and look to your immediate right, you'll see our walking onions are walking.  Just look at those crowns of onions at the tips bending down to touch the ground and replant the next generation.  These are still so cool and so easy to grow!

Next, in the same bed, you can see our beets (3 varieties, one being obscured by the leafy chard), chard, and chives (and parsley from last year that has gone to seed.)  Every plant here looks happy and healthy.

Then you turn around and take a closer look at the cucurbit-family patch only to be admitted to the horror show.
 This poor area of our garden has been under attack and is losing the fight against the squash bugs.
Poor pumpkin plant
 I believe it is the attacking bugs that has caused our pumpkins to turn orange so early.  I think it's early, anyway.

The cucumbers and melons haven't been hit as hard, but the bugs are there as well.  It's nice to see some fruit on the vines amid the terrifying infestation beneath the leaves.
 This is our first year growing snake and swan gourds.  The plant has really taken off in the last month and is fun to watch.  It is taking over any space it can find.  The leaves are soft and velvety.
 The gourds are getting big!
 Our butternut squash just doesn't look good.  We have 3 weak squash on a sad, dying vine.
 The cucumber leaves are beginning to look unhealthy, but we're still getting cucumbers and new growth.

This pumpkin plant got really big.  I've had to train the vines to wrap around  the plant just to keep it from wandering outside the fence.  We have quite a few pumpkins on the plant, but I can see the squash bugs here too.

Our zucchini didn't get picked for 2 weeks while we were gone, and gave us 6 gigantic zucchinis.  Then it took a couple weeks before it started producing again.
 On your way out of the cucurbit-family patch, you'll probably ignore the hidden strawberries among the patch of weeds that we haven't gotten around to pulling yet.
 Our tomatoes are doing both good and bad.  We have a roma plant with blossom end rot, and an heirloom tomato plant wilting with some disease, I'm guessing.  Other than that, there are lots of green tomatoes plumping up for the pickins!

Blossom-end rot on a roma tomato
 Our cabbages look about how I expected.  They are very leaf-eaten, but are starting to grow heads, finally.  I'm hoping they'll do a little better with fall close at hand.
2 varieties of cabbage- Flat Dutch and Golden Acre.

We have 9 cabbage plants in all.
 At the back, our new garden addition is really looking pretty with the green plants growing up.
From front to back you see 2 rows of lima beans (for Tame Dame #2), 2 rows of peppers (perhaps some of the smallest plants you've ever seen), 2 rows of red onions, and 2 rows of potatoes (Yukon gold, and purple potatoes). 
 The left side of our garden addition features our 4 varieties of filet pole beans, and 3 varieties of corn.  I love the way the beans climb their pole pyramids.
 We have a silly pineapple tomatillo plant volunteer that seems happy and healthy.

The carrot bed is beautiful to behold.  So full and frondy!

Parsnips are pulling through, too.

Now, back to the tomatoes.  I've found some of our favorite brandywine tomatoes growing on thick vines.

The varieties of little tomatoes seem to be doing really well.

They're the first ripe tomatoes we've had.

Now, turn back around, and you'll see our first rattlesnake pole bean hanging down and ready for the pickins.
 The green emerite pole beans have proven to be yummy, tender, and pretty.
 The yellow pole beans are the easiest to find.  They look like a bunch of little J's.

We have 6 bamboo pyramids of pole beans.  Some poles didn't get any vines to climb them, and some got several.  Weird.

The lima beans are a bush bean and should start producing soon. I see flowers.
  I did miracle grow the tiny pepper plants in hopes of taller, healthier plants.  I think it worked, but I need to do it more often.
 It appears that I planted about half my pepper plants as jalapenos.  Looks like we'll be having jalapeno jelly this fall.

This is the first time I planted onions from sets.  I sorta expected them to be bigger than this by now.  I wonder if we're just going to have small onions.

 The purple potatoes are flowering up beautifully.  The yukons aren't at all.
 In fact, the Yukons look like they're dying back already.

The corn is tasseling. The 3 varieties were supposed to grow at different intervals and tassel out about 2 weeks apart, but that's not what they're doing.  The strongest stalk of every variety has begun to tassel out at the same time.  That's probably bad news for our strawberry popcorn, but only time will tell.

Pretty corn tassels.

Love how this onion curled over and is blossoming on the ground.

The onions don't look very bulby.  

 I found a volunteer sugar baby watermelon in the corn patch.  Maybe I'll be able to pick this one when it's ripe.

I love this picture because it makes my home look like a beautiful villa cottage with a path that leads to the black iron gate of the lucious garden.
 Look what I found hiding at the bottom of the tomato bed!  The purple heirloom grape tomatoes are coming on.  I picked some too early.  In case you're wondering, don't pick them if there's still green on the shoulders of the tomato because it's not fully ripe.
Purple tomatoes this year! 
My snack for touring/ tending the garden- sweet summer ripened baby tomatoes!