September 30, 2011 - The End of September Garden

Better late than never! I thought we'd be leaving for Arizona before the Heavenly Blue morning glories blossomed this year. I doubt we'll get to view the vines in their full glory, but at least we are getting a few blooms to admire each day. Next year I'll try to plant an earlier variety, like Grandpa Ott.

Baskets of produce are still being picked. Even though the quantity is less, the quality is good.

As much as I love cosmos, I really need to plant a shorter variety in the future. Many of these were over 8' high.

The cosmos and sunflowers were tied up against the fence, but they got so tall they still toppled over. Only the toppled cosmos blossomed though, the upright plants have yet to show any color.

The squash patch has been cleaned out, and I moved the top of the compost barrel there. I'm filling it with vegetation and kitchen scraps, layered with dry hay and composted cow manure. I'm going to plant my Waltham Butternut squash on top of it next spring. Two pots of basil, cinnamon and lemon, were moved from behind the zinnias, given a trim, and set out where they can get some sun.

Hollyhocks were cut back to the ground when powdery mildew and rust took a toll on them. This little beauty popped back up and is giving me some pretty blossoms on a healthy looking plant.

The strawberries didn't send out as many runners this year as usual, which was a good thing. I got over 22 pounds of berries from this little area, and I'm still picking them a couple of days a week.

Poor Leona the Meyer Lemon. Last spring I put her over by the shed, where she would be protected from strong winds and harsh sun. She was happy there....until the zinnias took over and tried to smother her. By the time I discovered what was happening, her bottom leaves were all mottled with bright yellow spots. When I Googled for the problem, I though she was diseased and doomed to die. However, after I moved her out to the sunshine, she grew some healthy new leaves on top. That makes me think she had a fungal disease from lack of air circulation. The sickly leaves are falling off, but her two full sized lemons are hanging on. I hope I can nurse her along until we at least get our first lemon harvest from her.

Maybe I pruned my summer bearing raspberries a bit too soon, as they're growing out of bounds already. I may have to crop them back again before we leave.

Powdery mildew is spreading fast on the zucchini. The summer squash and cucumbers were a total bust this year, and the yields were pitiful!

Do you remember the tomato fortress? It's all gone now. I lost all my Brandywines to diseases this year, so this spot won't be used for growing tomatoes again. These bush beans are still giving us enough to eat and some to freeze, but about one more meal of them and I'll be ripping them all out and cleaning up the bed.

This bed is actually more productive than it appears in the photo. The baby beets are now being harvested, and the lettuce has been feeding us and the rabbit for probably a month or more. The tiny patch of spinach in the back was all that germinated after sowing the entire bed. The beets were covered with netting, and didn't suffer much leaf miner damage, but the spinach was left uncovered and is mostly unusable. I did pick a few leaves this week, but not enough for a meal. I'll probably just toss them in with a salad or some scrambled eggs.

Awww, my two baby melons are developing their netting but won't have time to ripen before frost. The seeds were planted on a whim in late summer, from a store bought melon. I knew they wouldn't have enough time. I was surprised at the number of blossoms that developed on it. I cut the vines way back so it could put its energy into ripening the fruit, but it was too little too late.

Peppers, peppers and more peppers. At least I'm getting some red ones, and they are as sweet as sugar. I'm watching the weather reports, as I will soon have to harvest all that are left before they freeze.

The north garden is beginning to look a bit emptier. I only have two weeks left to get it all harvested and cleaned up.

The east garden still has a lot of carrots and peppers. Absolutely tons of parsley is still growing here, I just do not need another sprig of it!

I hope the new pickup is large enough to carry all the butternut squash, all the carrots that remain to be pulled, Leona the lemon tree and three or four coolers full of frozen produce to Arizona. We'll be leaving early in the morning of October 15th, and that's not very far off. Granny has a LOT of garden cleanup to do in the next two weeks, not to mention packing for a 5-month trip away from home.

September 28, 2011 - I'm a Versatile Blogger!

My dear blogging friend David P. Offutt, from Adventures in Foodland and A Midwest Garden, has been so kind as to award me with The Versatile Blogger award. Thank you, David. I love getting awards, and will proudly display it in my sidebar.

According to "Versy" tradition, I have to give thanks and a link back to the person who gave me this award. Thanks again, David!

Next I am supposed to divulge seven (7) obscure facts about me.

1. I've exposed myself way too much on previous awards, and there's nothing worse than an old granny exposing herself, LOL!

2. David said "I smoked for more than 20 years. Glad I quit, but there are times....nah... not worth it." Well, I have him beat. I smoked for 42 years, and quit 11 years ago. Yes, there are times.....but no, never again.

3. I started improving my eating habits on September 5, and I've already lost enough weight that I got out my size 12 jeans that haven't been worn in probably two years. They not only fit again, they fit comfortably loose.

4. If I didn't have Mr. Granny to gripe at all the time, life would get very boring.

5. I once stood still (as bait) when a huge black bear came lumbering toward me, while my husband got our two small children back to our vehicle to safety. The bear approached me, brushed up against my side, stopped and looked into my eyes, then passed on by and went on his way.

6. I also jumped over the side of our boat when a large Kamloops trout broke my husband's line, and I grabbed the fish and the line and held them until he got the fish in a net.

7. My husband took me elk hunting once. We were hot on the trail of a herd, when we had to cross a stream by walking across on a log. Mr. Granny went first, and I followed. as I reached the center of the log, the bark split and I went down...straddling the log. OUCH! I let out such a yell, any animals within ten miles would have run off in fear. He never took me elk hunting again. But the man never killed an elk in his life, with or without me, so no loss.

Now I am supposed to nominate 15 other bloggers. Like that's going to happen! You know I love you all, and there's no way I could pick. I will, however chose a couple or six of my newest favorites.

I love Prairie Cat and her significant other, Tad, at Back to Basics. They have just moved into their new home, and her "farm" will probably show us all up next gardening season. Right now they're in the middle of wallpaper removal in their house, and I'm looking forward to seeing the improvements on their new property.

I don't know how Tosh, over at Charm City Balcony Garden, manages to get such lovely, large harvests from a bunch of pots! I was never a good container gardener, and I really admire those who are.

Have I ever told you how much I love Ed at Tales From the Mountainside? Well, I, love, love him. Don't tell Mr. Granny!

OK, so I have a little Jody love, too. OK, maybe a lot of Jody love. Jody and his Belle work really hard at Spring Garden Acre.

I can't leave out Mrs. Pickles from Mrs. Pickles Garden. Not only does she excel at pickles, she thinks she can beat me out on lettuce production, but she doesn't have a chance. She grows a great big garden in a very short growing season.

Roberta (Robbie) Palm's potager garden is a sight to behold, as are her photos of flowers and butterflies. Do visit her Palm Rae Potager, where she does "intensive succession planting in the city for food, herbs, flowers + beauty".

OK, I could go on all night naming favorites, because you're all my favorites, but it's past my bedtime. That's my story, and I'm stickin' with it ;-)

September 26, 2011 - Harvest Monday

My, my, my, it's been an entire week since I've blogged. That must mean the gardening season is running down, or maybe the gardener is just getting tired. This gardener is, that's for sure! I've had a busy week, and it's going to get busier yet, because...............

In three short weeks we'll be heading for Arizona. I've been trying to dismantle some garden structures, pull slow or non-producing plants, and do some general garden cleanup in preparation for winter. I've given up on the summer squash and cucumbers, neither of which earned their keep in this year's garden. They will be brutally uprooted this week. I still have some very nice tomato plants, but they are ripening slowly now. That's fine, as I'd like to take a box of green fruits south with us, to ripen through the next month or so. Beets have just a short time to mature to a good, edible size. They're about as big as golf balls right now, so I'll definitely be pulling some to eat before we leave. If they're large enough, I'll pull them all and take them with us. If not, my youngest son will get the bounty. Carrots are still sizing up beautifully, and there are quite a few of them left out there. I didn't even get pictures of the lovely bunch I pulled today, as they came in and went directly into a pot of stew. The peppers continue to blossom and fruit. It's sad that they'll soon freeze, just as they are finally growing so well.

On with the week's harvest.......

Harvests are definitely slowing. Our temperatures plunged from the mid 90s earlier in the week, to the high 60s today. Forecasts are for low to high 70s this coming week, with lows dipping down into the 40s.

Harvest Totals September 19 - September 25

Beans, bush - 1 pound
Carrots - 11 ounces
Cucumbers - 4 ounces
Lettuce - 13 ounces
Peppers, sweet - 1.5 pounds
Squash, summer - 1.75 pounds
Strawberries - 12 ounces
Tomatoes - 11.38 pounds

Total harvest for the week: 18.13 pounds
Total harvest for the year to date: 483.82 pounds

It's touch and go whether I'll even break 500 pounds this year. It's all up to the tomatoes, beets, carrots and peppers.

Please join in the Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions!

September 18, 2011 - Harvest Monday

This week saw varied harvest.

My mutant carrot. It actually has five carrots growing from the stem, none are connected to the others.

Harvest Totals September 12 - September 18

Beans, bush - 5.81 pounds
Beans, pole - 7 ounces
Carrots - 3.81 pounds
Cucumbers - 1.31 pounds
Lettuce - 12 ounces
Onions - 3 ounces
Peppers, sweet - 7.25 pounds
Squash, summer - 1.63 pounds
Strawberries - 1.5 pounds
Tomatoes - 11.25 pounds

Total harvest for the week: 33.94 pounds
Total harvest for the year to date: 465.69 pounds

Please join in the Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions!

September 12, 2011 - Harvest Monday

For some reason, I got my harvest pictures out of sequence this week so I won't title them. The last picture speaks for itself, I forgot to take the photo before I ate the tomato.

The last of the butternut squash were picked on Friday, just two small ones, and the squash patch has been cleaned up and readied for next spring.

The Brandywines were finally removed, and the "tomato fortress" is ready to be dismantled. No more tomatoes will be grown in that bed, due to the diseased tomatoes this year.

Pole beans are all but finished. I still have one small planting that gives me a handful every couple of days. I'm very close to exceeding last year's pole bean harvest, so I will continue weighing these small amounts until I reach that goal, then I'll just toss them in with the bush beans after that. The bush beans are coming in strong again, and in dire need of picking. With the temperature being over 90F in the shade today, I'm in no hurry to get anything done outside! It's supposed to start cooling off by Thursday.

The peppers are looking gorgeous now, tall and green and bushy, and loaded with fruits.....finally!

I'm getting a few summer squash and zucchini, but nothing to write home about yet. I have been eating green beans cooked with yellow crooknecks almost every day, and never tiring of them.

The late carrots are beautiful and sweet.

I have two small (and lots of teeny-tiny) cantaloupe growing from the seeds I tossed out there a while back. I doubt they will have time to ripen, but the vines are loaded with blossoms and fruits. Next year I may have to give them another try. This plant was from the seeds of a store bought melon.

I'm still picking strawberries every few days. Not many, but enough to occasionally give us some smoothies, sundaes and/or shortcakes.

Harvest Totals September 5 - September 11

Beans, bush - 2.13 pounds
Beans, pole - 11 ounces
Beets - 6 ounces
Carrots - 1.81 pounds
Cucumbers - 1.25 pounds
Lettuce - 1 pound
Onions - 9 ounces
Peppers, hot - 5 ounces
Peppers, sweet - 1.63 pounds
Strawberries - 1.06 ounces
Squash, summer - 2 pounds
Squash, winter - 2.81 pounds
Tomatoes - 23.88 pounds

Total harvest for the week: - 39.5 pounds
Total harvest for the year to date: - 431.75 pounds

Please join in the Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions!

September 9, 2011 - Out of the Mouths of Babes

She looks angelic and innocent, doesn't she? After all, she's not quite three years old so just how bad could she be? She
is Granny's sweet little, Alicyn. We all know she could do no wrong.

Well, maybe just a little bit wrong.

Last year I gave her a small TV/DVD combination, so she could watch her favorite videos. Yesterday it stopped working, so her mom was fiddling around with it, trying to figure out why. Amy said there was a strangely familiar smell coming from the DVD player, so she asked Alicyn what it was. Here's Alicyn's story....................

Amy: Alicyn, what is all over your DVD player?
Alicyn: I sprayed Fubeese (Febreze).
Amy: Why would you spray Febreze inside your DVD player?
Alicyn: It stinked weally bad!
Amy: Your DVD player smelled bad?
Alicyn (completely straight faced) : Ya. I think probably a monster farted in it.

Those darn monsters are responsible for a lot of things around her house lately. Yesterday they "stole" the computer mouse, and the day before they took everything out of Mommy's purse and dumped it on the floor!

September 7, 2011 - Did You Ever Have Blogger's Block?

I can't think of a thing about which to write. I figure there are two possibilities....either I take a little vacation from the blog, or I write about my daily harvests and then just do a recap on Harvest Monday. I think I'll try the latter, and maybe something exciting will happen along the way :-)

On Monday I added all of these tomatoes to my stash, which meant only one thing....SALSA!

I checked my four pots of jalapenos, none of which had yet been picked. The three plants in the front yard, planted in with the flowers, were disappointing. I only picked one from the first plant, two from the second, and there was not a single pepper on the third plant. I had one more pot in the back yard, and luckily there were plenty for the recipe. I'd had a problem with mild peppers in the past, so I talked my daughter into sampling one. You can see where she took a big bite. It was hot! There were tears and milk, and finally the burning stopped. That told me I had to wear gloves for the preparation of the jalapenos.

Using my own garden onions, tomatoes, garlic, sweet and hot peppers, I made 1-1/2 batches of pineapple salsa, which turned into 11 pint jars. One of the 11 didn't seal, so it was refrigerated and will be sampled this week.

Once the canning mess was cleaned up, I baked a batch of Applesauce Banana Bran Muffins with Flax Seed for the freezer, for some fast and easy breakfasts.

It was almost dark when I finally got out to the main garden, so the strawberries and the main crop tomatoes didn't get picked. I did get a pretty good variety of vegetables though.

I picked beets, onions, carrots, beans, sweet peppers, cucumbers and a few tomatoes from the dying plants. The ones I still haven't had the heart to remove.

On my last blog entry, I meant to tell everyone that I got an email from EG. He's fine, just very busy due to work, weather and personal stuff. He said to tell everyone hello, and he hopes to be back to blogging soon. I hope so, I miss him a lot, as I'm sure you all do.