Monday, August 31, 2009

Then & Now- August Review

Time again for some comparison photos!

The green beans started the season looking less-than-great in June, mustered a good recovery in July and are now winding down production.

This bed has Landreth Stringless, Contender and French Filet bush beans. I would plant the Contender and French Filet again. They produce nice long, straight pods and seemed more productive than the Landreth. The raw flavor was also better. They were all mixed together for cooking so I didn't notice any flavor difference at dinnertime.

The sunflowers are going a little nuts now! The bees love the sunflowers as well as the bolted broccoli flowers. They have both sprawled out of the beds enough that I avoid those pathways to not anger any bees. Most of the time, I can see about 10 bees in the broccoli.

The spaghetti squash look like they're maturing now. They are starting to turn yellow though there is still a lot of green on the fruits. My understanding is they are ready to pick once they have fully turned color. The foliage is looking pretty shabby and appears to have some powdery mildew starting as well.

It took seemingly forever, but some of my peppers I started from seed are producing! I really thought they were never going to grow (my watermelon didn't...). Next year, I will not subject the peppers to such cool spring temps. They'll have to be babied a little more.

My pumpkin is nearly ready! I think there is also a second one just starting to grow. I'm not positive how many surviving plants I have on that ladder but it's at least 2, so the production is really low. On the other hand, I bought the seeds on clearance last fall for about a quarter so I'm not going to complain too much.

I also have what I believe may be a larger pumpkin that sprouted from some compost under my transplanted lilacs in the back yard. I must not have looked at it closely for a while because when I checked it earlier I had several male blooms and no females. I checked it yesterday and there's a fruit that's probably 10" long! There's another small one as well. I'm pretty impressed as this didn't receive any care at all. I think I watered the lilac once this summer as it looked a little wilted (probably because this large squash plant was sucking away all it's water). Maybe I watered twice.

Zucchini 74 oz (4 lb 10 oz) 15 fruits
Beans (all varieties) 150 oz (9 lb 6 oz)
Pattypan Squash 14 oz 2 fruits
Carrots 11 oz
Peppers 3 oz (2 fruits)
Potatoes 34 oz (2 lb 2 oz)
Cucumbers 33 oz (2 lb 1 oz) 6 fruits
Tomatoes 19 oz (1 lb 3 oz)

Total: 338 oz = 21 lb 2 oz

July total: 157 oz = 9 lb 13 oz
June total: 69 oz =4 lb 5 oz
May total: 10 oz .

Total: 574 oz = 35 lb 14 oz

If you'd like to re-visit my July review, click this link:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Slow & Steady

The garden is slowly and steadily creeping along but I don't have anything major to report this week, hence the recent blog-slacking. I've also started studying for my real estate license finally (time to go back to work again), so I've had a little less garden time lately. I've been picking beans and zucchini pretty regularly but neither is threatening to over-run my house yet. The cherry tomatoes are starting to produce a little more but again, nothing overwhelming.

The sunflowers are still looking nice...

The spaghetti squash are starting to show some yellow now

and the small sugar pumpkin is starting to show some orange.

That's it, that's all I've got for today... slow & steady...

Monday, August 17, 2009

OT: for fans of handmade jewelry...

Ok, I know this is WAY off-topic, but I wanted to pass on a chance to win these handmade "Moonlight" earrings made by Sara of Shy Siren.

I know Sara from our days in school and I think she creates beautiful jewelry, so I wanted to pass this along to those who may be interested.

To enter, visit Shy Siren, pick your favorite and visit the Sweeter than Me blog at and leave her a comment.

Now, off to check the garden..

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pattypan Progress

Friday night, the first pattypan squash was nearly ready to pick. I already had a zucchini to eat with my dinner, so I left it to grow for one more day.

It's about 3" across and weighs almost 5 ounces.

This was my first pattypan (ever) and while I want to try it grilled, I was having some leftover steak and didn't want to fire up the grill just for the squash, so I decided to saute it the same way I cook zucchini.
Other than my dinner a bearing a strange resemblance to Lisa Simpson, it was pretty good (sorry, no finished photo, :-) I was hungry). I thought it had a little milder flavor than my zucchini. Something about the shape of this squash made me wonder if the skin would be noticeable or tough but it was very tender. I might slice it in a chunkier manner next time I saute it. I'll probably cut it into thicker whole slices when I try it on the grill.

I'm giving it a thumbs up!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Unsettled Weather

Yesterday was a warm and clear day. We didn't even have our typical afternoon storm threat. I uncovered all the garden beds so the plants could have some nice warm sunshine and didn't give it a second thought. I didn't give it a second thought until I went to bed last night that is.

As I was laying there nearly asleep I suddenly heard the sound of rain which was soon followed by the sounds of thunder and small hail. I jumped out of bed and headed out to cover the garden. I made it as far as the front porch. When I got outside, there was so much lightning overhead combined with the fact that it was late and all the neighborhood had gone to bed, that I didn't dare go- call me paranoid but people DO get hit by lightning- so back to bed I went. I cringed every time I heard the hail come back. After about 30 minutes, the storm subsided and I fell asleep.

This morning, I went to check the garden and was pleasantly surprised to find very little damage and .4" in the rain gauge. I knew I wouldn't be home this afternoon and they were predicting more storms, so the covers went on early today. As far as I know, it was quiet until this afternoon. Shortly after I returned home this evening, a storm arrived. Fortunately, we missed the golf ball sized hail (again) that the storm was throwing on it's way east. The brunt of this storm tracked just a little south of us, so we just got about .2" of rain and some small hail (and thunder of course). I clicked on my weather link (on the right side of the page) and they show 1.98" of rain and are just located about a mile of so from here.

When I looked out my kitchen window after dinner tonight, this is what I saw.

This (below) is the main part of the storm.

Doesn't it look like that could be a tornado? It's not, but it was putting on quite a light show a few minutes later.

It seems quiet outside now. We'll see what comes tomorrow!

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

August Update

It's been a pretty quiet week in the garden. I have harvested just a few zucchini, a half pound of beans and just under 2 pounds of small potatoes. A few of the pots of potatoes were looking dead and I was pretty sure it's too early for most of them to be ready. When I poked down around the "done" plants, I discovered that they were dry! With all the rain we had in July I was worried that they were too wet. Most of the straw was wet but the compost at the bottom was dry. I watered the pots and I plan to take the moisture meter out to check everything tomorrow as it has been several days since we've had any significant rainfall.
Early week harvest - zucchini, beans & potatoes.

I hand-pollinated the little pattypan when the bloom opened the other morning. There are a few more female blossoms starting to form now as well.

The Green Dragon Burpless finally has a little cucumber! I need to look up when these started producing last year, it feels like they have been very slow this year.

The yellow bell pepper is growing nicely. The other peppers are showing more blooms now too.

I did make this unpleasant discovery on my Roma tomato today (grrr...). I'm going to try adding some calcium (and checking their moisture) though from what I saw online today, Romas are very prone to BER, so it at least makes me feel a little better. :-)

To end on a more positive note, I've got a couple of these blooming...

The sunflowers are planted along the edges of the corn bed in an attempt to aid pollination by possibly acting as a windbreak so the pollen doesn't all get blown away in our winds. I honestly don't know if this will make a bit of difference. It was a suggestion I received over on GardenWeb and I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it. As a bonus, I plan to save the seeds- some for the birds and some to sprout for shoots to add to salads.

That's about all for right now. This week we're supposed to have temps in the 80's so I should be seeing a little more production in the garden soon (I hope!).

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pattypan Photos by Request

For loc the lurker :-)
This is my pattypan - the package says: Squash Calabaza, Flying Saucer Hybrid
If your leaves don't look the same, it may just be a difference in the variety. Hope this helps!
As soon as you have female blossoms though, you should be able to tell which they are.

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