September 30, 2013 - Harvest Monday

The first day of autumn found our temperature dropping by 30 degrees overnight.  The past week has been cold and rainy, with daytime temps running ten degrees or more below our normal end of September weather.  Tomatoes are being ripened on counters and windowsill, most of the peppers are refusing to turn color, and the battle with powdery mildew on the cucumbers has been lost.  All of the beans have been picked, and the vines removed.  The few decent parsnips of the year were harvested early to make room for the new raspberry bed.  Windstorms have battered marigolds and pepper plants, causing a lot of stem breakage.  I try to get out to do garden cleanup between rainstorms, and it's going quite well....but every bone and muscle in my body feels it.

Harvest Recap for the Week of September 23 - September 29


Total for week:  40 pounds
Total year to date: 948 pounds

There is very little left to harvest now, so I'm going to do an "almost the end of season" tally.  I'll still have a few tomatoes to pick, a lot of green peppers and, with luck, a few small carrots.  The snap peas are still iffy, but blooming now.  The following totals are rounded to the nearest pound, so add up to 954 pounds, 6 pounds more than the actual total.

Beans, bush - 35 pounds (final)
Beans, pole - 50 pounds (final)
Beets - 7 pounds (final)
Beet Greens - 3 pounds (final)
Broccoli - 10 pounds
Cabbage - 15 pounds (final)
Carrots - 12 pounds
Corn - 23 pounds (final)
Cucumbers - 45 pounds
Garlic - 1 pound (final)
Herbs - 3 pounds (I didn't weigh most of the herbs I harvested)
Lettuce - 23 pounds
Melons - 29 pounds 
Onions - 32 pounds (final)
Parsnips - 3 pounds 
Peas, shelling - 7 pounds (final)
Peas, sugar snap - (blossoming now, a harvest is iffy)
Peppers (hot) - 1 pound (3 potted plants given to son Scott to try to grow through the winter)
Peppers (sweet) - 80 pounds
Potatoes - 73 pounds (final)
Radishes - 1 pound (final)
Raspberries - 12 pounds (final)
Rhubarb - 6 pounds (final)
Spinach - 7 pounds
Squash (summer) - 101 pounds (final)
Squash (winter) - 136 pounds (final)
Strawberries - 38  pounds (final)
Tomatoes - 201 pounds

Daphne's Dandelions is the host for Harvest Monday.

September 23, 2013 - Harvest Monday

Harvest Recap for the Week of September 16 - September 22

Cool weather set in quickly this past week, and the harvest has slowed considerably.  I've taken advantage of the lull to begin preparing the garden for winter.  I'm looking forward to a long rest.

The beans are still producing well.  I finally picked the last of the bush beans and pulled the plants. Pole beans are continuing to give me some big harvests, and many were given away.  I did, however, put yet another gallon bag in the freezer.  The corn is finished, the leeks have all been pulled.  The cantaloupe that was accidentally snipped from its vine actually did get ripe!  I cut into it today, and ate some for my breakfast.  More tomato juice was made, with some saved for fresh drinking and 5-1/2 quarts canned.

Most of the peppers were given away this week, but some went into delicious fajitas.  The cool weather has certainly slowed their ripening, and in about two or three weeks I'll probably have to harvest all the remaining ones in their green stage.  I already have two gallons of diced and 3 gallons of sliced sweet peppers in the freezer.  Cucumbers are producing as quickly as Mr. Granny and youngest daughter can eat them.

Harvest Totals

Total for week:  43 pounds
Total year to date: 908 pounds

Daphne's Dandelions is the host for Harvest Monday.

September 19, 2013 - The Mid-September Garden

As the gardening season begins to wind down, I've taken advantage of the past few cooler days to start my fall garden cleanup.  I'm probably a good month ahead of my usual time for clearing out the garden and readying it for the next year, but the older I get, the more I hate to rush.  I don't have a lot of room for composting the spent plants, so they have to be bagged for pickup on Thursdays.  I filled a lot of bags with squash vines and corn stalks, as well as prunings from cutting back excess foliage from my three remaining tomato plants.  The plants were so lush, I was missing quite a few ripe tomatoes.    I also pulled quite a few marigold plants that had been broken down and flattened during our windstorm last week.

Yesterday I picked the beans from the earliest planted Fortex pole beans (left side of kennel), pulled the vines and cleaned them all off of the chain link.  That was a full day's job! I ended up with 8 pounds of beans, so I called the local Fields of Grace to see if they could use them.  They glean fields and home gardens for the food banks, and they were happy to come by for the beans.  I threw in a few butternuts and sweet peppers as well.  I wish I'd known about their organization earlier!  I have their number for next year.  I left the later planting of Fortex beans, on the right side of the kennel.  They will give us plenty for fresh eating.

Both beds of transplanted strawberry plants are doing well.  I extended one of the beds by a couple of feet, so I have room for two or three more plants.  Luckily I have a few growing in a pot, so they can be moved out to the garden now.  I also have this one row of Provider bush beans left.  I've decided to always plant just single rows of bush beans in the future, as they are so much easier to pick than the wide rows I usually plant.  The older I get, the more I lean toward "easy".

The old boards from the strawberry bed were removed, cut down and rebuilt.  I had planned on planting the raspberries there, but now I've changed my mind.  My tomatoes never get enough sunshine, and the new bed is in the sunniest area of the garden.  I've decided to plant them there next year, as well as in another 8' bed that will be built next to it.  The raspberries can be move behind the shed, where there will still be room to keep them tilled along both sides of the bed.  That means I'll have to pot up the raspberry canes and try to keep them alive until they can be planted, as they'll be going where the fall carrots are now planted.  Or a few fall carrots will have to be sacrificed.

Annie got into the carrot bed yesterday and removed quite a few anyway.  She also stepped all over the tiny onion plants.  She's not a very good garden dog.  Otto behaved himself while roaming the garden....until he pooped.  Dog poop is NOT allowed in the veggie garden, so both dogs got banished and the gate was shut.  I don't know if there is any hope that the snap peas will give me a meal.  So far I've only seen one blossom, and since the wind blew the vines all over,I can't even find that now.  Less than a month to go until our first expected frost.

Three of the five broccoli plants were pulled.  They were underperformers, as far as side shoots go, and Mr. Granny cannot be bribed into eating any more broccoli this year.  These remaining two plants will provide more than enough for my dining pleasure.

I tried to carefully cut out the extra cantaloupe vines, and not disturb the big almost ripe melon and two smaller green melons that were left.  Of course I snipped the wrong vine.  The one that went to the big melon.  It's still sitting out in the garden, but I have a feeling it will never ripen enough to be eaten (it looks attached, it isn't).  Bah.  Humbug.

The fall corn has been harvested and the stalks pulled and removed from the garden.  I salvaged what I could of the pitifully small ears, half eaten by ear worms, and it was just enough to make a big pot of fresh corn chowder.  I used the last of my Red Norland potatoes, and several of the leeks that I dug out yesterday.  Too many of the leeks were going to seed, so I decided to dig them all before they were too woody to use.

Oh, my, they do make the best tasting soup!  I think I'll slice the remaining leeks and freeze them for future batches of soup.

My fall cucumbers were doing so well after I sprayed them with the milk/soda solution, but two cool days of drizzly weather and the powdery mildew returned with a vengeance.  I've sprayed them the past two days, but I don't think there has been any improvement.  I'll keep trying for a bit, because I'm getting some really nice cucumbers from them.

I'll spend the next couple of days dismantling the raspberry bed and rebuilding it (for the tomatoes) in a new location.  I hope I can salvage enough canes to plant a new 12' row.  Speaking of raspberries, these are a one crop, summer bearing variety.  But one plant didn't know that, and it blossomed and is forming berries!  I'll be leaving it alone to see if I actually get ripe fruit from it.

 The north garden, looking east.

The north garden, looking west.  It looks quite bare with the corn, squash and leeks all removed.

The east garden.  The peppers are still growing and producing.

September 16, 2013 - Harvest Monday

Harvest Recap for the Week of September 9 - September 15

This was definitely the week of the butternuts.  I added 15 squash to the stash last night, which gives me 36 curing on the shelves, plus the one we ate and the two I gave to John, for a total of 39 butternuts harvested this year.  They weighed a total of 136 pounds (an average of nearly 3-1/2 pounds each), which is less than the 192 pounds I harvested last year, but still more than enough for us and everyone else.  There were six more butternuts that were not totally ripe.  Three might be far enough along to ripen off the vine (they have not been photographed, weighed or added to the total), but the other three went to the compost.  The vines have all been pulled, the squash patch is all cleaned up.

One of the sweet peppers harvested this week weighed in at nearly 13 ounces.  It was way bigger than my open hand! The pepper harvest was really good all week, and I put another 1-1/2 gallons of diced peppers in the freezer, ate all that we could eat fresh, and have several still chilling in the refrigerator.  A big bag of them was also sent home with daughter Amy.

I was surprised to find my "fall" cucumbers bearing better than the ones I grew all summer.  I picked the first ripe one on Tuesday, and have harvested nearly 5 pounds of them all together this week.

A big disappointment is the fall corn.  I wish I had grown a different variety, as the Early Sunglow is  not only not very sweet, the ears are so tiny they are not worth the space it takes to grow them.

The weather has been hot, hot, hot.  Mid to high 90s.  Tomorrow it's supposed to plunge down to the low 70s, which will be a blessed relief.  Night temps will go from the 60s down to the 40s.  The only drawback I can see is that my tomato plants are loaded with big green tomatoes, and they might never ripen.

My final trip to the garden on Sunday was completed just in time.  Strong winds, thunder and lightening hit while I was cooking dinner.  It began raining hard, and the temperature dropped 21 degrees in the matter of an hour.  Of course, the pine trees made another big mess for me to clean up.  You'd think they would eventually run out of pine cones.  And small branches.

Harvest Totals

Total for week: 117 pounds
Total year to date: 865 pounds

Daphne's Dandelions is the host for Harvest Monday.

September 9, 2013 - Harvest Monday

Harvest Recap for the Week of September 2 - September 8

I harvested a lot of cherry tomatoes this week but didn't photograph them all.  Most of the tomatoes were made into juice, two quarts for Son Scott and two quarts for us.  I put 1-1/2 gallons of sliced sweet peppers in the freezer, but I gave away all of the green beans, summer squash and broccoli to the two sons.  I personally consumed both of the parsnips, and they were delicious.  The last of the summer carrots were pulled, except for a very few small ones.  This year's carrot harvest was disappointing.  I hope my fall planted carrots have time to mature.  This was the last week for summer squash and zucchini, as the plants were all pulled.  It was probably the last week for strawberries as well, as they are now rotting before they ripen.  I've been moving a few plants, so maybe I will still get a few decent berries once they get some air circulation.

So far 16 butternut squash (57 pounds) have been harvested.  We ate one and gave Son John two.    
Total for week: 67 pounds
Total year to date: 748 pounds

Daphne's Dandelions is the host for Harvest Monday.

September 8, 2013 - See What I've Started!

I hope I didn't bite off more than I could chew.  I've decided to move the raspberry bed, which involves tearing out both the strawberry and raspberry raised beds and repurposing the old boards.

 This has to come out.  Both beds were set in at an angle when the garden was first planted, as there wasn't enough room to set them in straight.  Now that the garden has been made much larger, I have room to put the raspberries, and (next year) the tomatoes toward the back.

 Board #1 was moved so that it runs parallel with the cedar fence, and is the first (front) 8' of the soon to be 16' long  by 3' wide raspberry bed.  That's twice the length of the old bed, so I hope I can get enough canes to survive the move to such a large area.  Everything behind this board has to be dug out and disposed of, including the hollyhocks, cone flowers, Sweet Williams, parsley, marigolds and the sickly tomato plant.

 About half of the vegetation has been removed.  All of the hard digging is done, and the hollyhocks, coneflowers and tomato plants are gone.  It was too hot working in the sun, so work has been put on hold until the area is in the shade.  When it's finished, there will be enough room between the bed and the fence to run the rototiller and hopefully keep the raspberry suckers from cropping up all over the pathway.

 Board #1 is level, with rebar holding it plumb.

Lots of vegetation to dispose of already, and I've just begun.

September 7, 2013 - A Woman Has the Right

To change her mind.

On July 24, I planted  this new bed of Fort Laramie strawberries.

Today I dug them all up.  Don't worry, I relocated most of them.

 They went here....

 ...and here.

 They'll get watered in well, and hopefully enjoy their new location.

 Here's the reason I moved the Fort Laramie berries. This is the Tristar strawberry bed that has become too matted and overgrown.  The last two berry harvests have yielded way too many soft, moldy berries, so it had to be cleared out.  I've been wanting to tear out this old raised bed, so I decided to make two narrower (3' wide) beds in the main garden for next year.  At first I was planning on one bed of Tristar and one of Fort Laramie, but I really do like the flavor of the Tristar over the Fort Laramie.  They are much smaller, therefore more difficult to pick, but for us the smaller, softer berry is so much better tasting than the big, firm Fort Laramie.  So the final decision was to make two new beds of Tristar.

One bed was planted last night, and they are looking nice and perky today.  Don't even look at the crooked rows....I planted the bed, then I measured it and found it was crooked, so I built up the sides to make it a perfect 3' width.  Once the plants fill in, nobody will even notice!  Only small young plants were used, the older woody plants were disposed of.  I will try really hard to keep the runners and blossoms cut off of these new plants for the rest of the season so they can put all of their energy into developing strong roots.

Tonight, as it cools and the sun begins to set, I'll start on strawberry bed #2.  In the meantime, the old strawberry bed will get a good soaking, so I can move as much soil as possible with the plants.

September 4, 2013 - An Avalanche of Peppers

Noun: avalanche 'a-vu,lanch - A sudden appearance of an overwhelming number of things.

That certainly describes the sweet peppers that are now being harvested from the garden.  The plants are getting huge.  They are so loaded with fruits, they're toppling their tomato cages and branches are breaking off from all the weight.  They are also blossoming profusely, promising a continuing supply for as long as the weather allows.  I have two 1-gallon bags stuffed with sliced peppers, and one 1-gallon bag stuffed with diced peppers in the freezer.  I know that will be enough to get me through the winter (Mr. Granny is not fond of peppers).  I have kept the kids supplied to the point where they just won't take any more.  The youngest son is contemplating buying a freezer, because even though he loves peppers and eats them like candy, even he has his limits.  Now he accepts them, but gives them away to his neighbors.  That's fine with me.  As long as somebody enjoys them, I enjoy giving them away.

When the tomato cages began toppling under their weight, I had to pound in a few heavy stakes to hold them upright.  The yardstick on the left, shows just how robust the plants are at about four feet in height.

 This plant lost an entire branch from the weight of four big peppers, but is still loaded with ripening fruits.

Yesterday's 4-1/2 pounds of sweet peppers went home with son John, as well as the 3-1/2 pounds of Fortex pole beans and the bowl of broccoli side shoots.  I also gave him two of the butternut squash.  I kept the parsnips, and ate them for dinner last night.  I served them with.....what else?  Stuffed peppers!

September 3, 2013 - A Poodle for Sue

Silly time!  

This will be of no interest to most of you, but Sue wanted to see some old photos of Granny, including the one with the poodle cut.  Here ya go, Sue!

Granny, 1-year-old - 1940

Granny was a Campfire girl with a new bicycle - abt. 1950

Granny with a poodle cut, 1956.

Ooooh, Granny.  Really!  1957

Granny was also a very good fisherman!  Nulki Lake, B.C. 1962

Mr. Granny with my best friend's daughters.  Hydroplane races, Lake Couer d'Alene, Idaho - 1963

 Here's son John with his first black eye, trying to fill Mr. Granny's big boots - 1963

Son John, 1963.  

Mr. and Mrs. Granny - 1964

Granny, sons John and Rick - Yellowstone Park 1965

That's all I have for now, Sue.  I hope you enjoyed the journey through time.