Monday, August 6, 2012

The changing of the garden guard

The peas are done. I let them go an extra five days just to dry out a bit, but there really wasn't anything going on with them. I had left a few peas (ones I missed that had gotten big) to swell up and become seed for next year. Today I pulled out the whole lot of them.

I loaded them all into the wheelbarrow and took them to the porch, where I proceeded to go through every single stem, one at a time, pulling off every pod I found. There were a few (very few) edible ones, but most of them had gone completely to seed. I got a medium bowl worth of pods. Some of them were very dry, and others were just beginning to yellow. They're all out on the table on the porch, where the sun will hit them for a few hours a day and dry them out.

Now the garden bed looks like this, instead of the above mess! I've left the (drooping) trellis in place, with the idea that I will plant a nice shelling pea on the weekend. I think a Lincoln would work nicely, to be honest. We all loved the snap peas but... there's just something about sitting and shelling the Lincolns or similar. It's like unwrapping sweet candy! Not to mention the pods make very nice wine...

The corn bed is looking extraordinarily good, if I do say so myself. I'm incredibly pleased with myself. It's growing fast and thick, and even the heavy rains of the last few days did nothing more than encourage it to grow a bit faster. We've had about five or six stalks fall over a bit, but the rest are just fine. It looks pretty impressive from all angles, and I get all happy inside when I see it out the bathroom window. I'm thinking we might just get corn cobs out of this! I wasn't sure, planting as late as I did, but... I am holding out hope.

That there on the vine to the right is a watermelon! There are actually two growing already, but this is the larger. It's about the size of a cherry tomato (which we have a ton of right now, though all green yet) but growing every day. The second one is only the size of a pencil eraser, not worth looking at a photograph of. Still... two watermelons would be a lovely thing for September's harvest festival.

There are billions of cucumbers on my vines. With 20 feet of them (10 on each side of the trellis), I expect to have enough to make some pickles with. We've lucked out, in that someone around here has honey bees. There are bunches of them that come visit our plants, along with a variety of other pollinators. I like watching the fat, furry bumbles as they flit from blossom to blossom. I've already snitched a few of the small cucumbers. They're only about two inches long, but they're HUGE on taste, let me tell you! Sooooo good.

Our sole sunflower has finally opened to the world. It has a little "curl" on its forehead, a stunted petal that never grew correctly. It's so pretty! It stands about 8 feet tall, and it towers over the girl twin's garden. We've got some acorn squash coming along, and our zucchini is still producing nicely. There are beans, although the last of them will be harvested tomorrow and then pulled (that spot is now destined for garlic!). The cabbage is starting to expand rapidly, and I'm thinking we might actually get a real head or two out of this!

I yanked the last of the beets a while ago, and the broccoli and a few other things. Today, I added a bit more compost to the tire with the veggies in it, and we planted more beets in there. I'd like to pick up some kale for this fall/winter, and maybe a couple more types of squash, though that depends on a variety of things.

It's my intention to build two or three more raised beds, and fill them with good compost this fall. I'll cover all the raised beds with black plastic and newspaper for the winter, hopefully doing a good job of cooking any weed seeds and volunteers that are still in the beds. It should give me a good start in the spring, with warmer beds that I can plant in earlier. At least one of the beds is going to have a hoop style frame built over it, allowing me to cover it in clear plastic in the spring. This will mean that I can put the peas and beans and broccoli out in March rather than April or May. It means that my second "season" of crops are more likely to succeed, because they'll have a longer time to grow before it gets cold.

What's growing in your fall garden?
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