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Garden Talk, Report, Story and Pictures – August 2013

First year I ever remember having rain in due season!  Don’t know if that will ever happen again but it’s been a wonderful experience.  Even with my many secrets to having lettuce to eat through a good part of July — having it every day in August has been a first even for me.

  • Russian Kale seedlings are coming up in various places through out the garden.
  • Cresses, arugula, chard, borage, magentaspreen, some purslane, and malabar — all ready for eating when I want.

(Try clicking on the pictures to enlarge them.)

The garden from almost the upper corner looking to the lower opposite corner. Beans, cultivated dandelion, opal basil, asparagus, tomatoes, limas, snap beans, pepper, buckwheat, oats, carrots,lettuce still eatable, lettuce going to seed, blue berry bushes, seedlings of kale, arugula, a few other things, sedums and heliopsis (at the right hand top corner of the picture).  (Shown close up in the picture below this one.)

The garden from almost the upper corner looking to the lower opposite corner. Beans, cultivated dandelion, opal basil, asparagus, tomatoes, limas, snap beans, pepper, buckwheat, oats, carrots, lettuce still eatable, lettuce going to seed, blue berry bushes, seedlings of kale, arugula, a few other things, sedums and heliopsis (at the right hand top corner of the picture). (Shown close up in the picture below this one.)

 

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Heliopsis, chard, lettuce, fall clematis and late blooming red daylilies – in the garden.

  • Beets still in the garden since spring, but most of them will be fine.
  • Onions from Dixondale (as I mentioned in a previous post) didn’t suite me this year, but in spite of 3 rows not getting big enough, I still have plenty of onions for winter.

Another complaint is most of the other onions got way larger than I like.  Medium suites my needs better than gigantic or large.

And the variety, Ringmaster, which I substituted at the suggestion of Dixondale for a sweet onion that I was unable to get  —- was awful.  Poor taste and very dry and not good for eating fresh.  I’m using them in cooking only.

The big ones are 12 inches in circumference  The smaller one is 7 1/2 inches which suites my needs perfectly.

The big ones are 12 inches in circumference The smaller one is 7 1/2 inches which suites my needs perfectly.

  • All kinds of herbs including parsley, sorrel, and cutting celery.  Alice (friend and reader out west) told me about cutting celery last year.  Have really enjoyed having it to season various dishes – especially soups.
  • Only one red pepper so far. ( Used it with my one eggplant.)  But the plants are heavy with fruit (both peppers and eggplant) and I’m look forward to having lots of them by fall.
Beans, San Marzano tomato (prone to blight), and Carmen peppers. Pepper plants are about 4 feet tall.

Beans, San Marzano tomato (prone to blight), and Carmen peppers. Pepper plants are about 4 feet tall.

 

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Eggplant inside the garden at the lower end.  Six eggplants growing on it with lots more to come.  My cutting celery is shown in the lower left corner of the picture.

 

Sweet Pimento Pepper. The plants are no where near as large as they'll get.

Sweet Pimento Pepper. The plants are no where near as large as they’ll get.

 

  • Making my first batch of roasted tomato sauce tomorrow. Tomato plants are heavy with fruit. I’ll do an entire post and report on those at the end of the season.  Some of my plants have resisted early blight.  Others new varieties were very prone to it.  My planting in the stubble of the rye that I planted last fall was very successful.

 

    4 tomatoes plants - planted in the stubble of winter rye outside the garden fence. The plants are giagantic!

4 tomatoes plants – planted in the stubble of winter rye outside the garden fence. The plants are giagantic!

 

    Tomatoes outside the garden fence looking the other way.  Takes in the 4 and 5th tomato plant.  The rye stubble has disappeared but as you can see it's still pretty much weed free.

Tomatoes outside the garden fence looking the other way. Takes in the 4th and 5th tomato plant. The rye stubble has disappeared but as you can see it’s still pretty much weed free.

 

  • Have been eating potatoes almost every other day since May. Still have tons of gorgeous potatoes (still stored in the ground).  They have been especially large and beautiful this year.  Vole holes under EVERY plant — but oddly enough — damage has not been bad. Potato beetles showed up this month.
  • Cukes are almost finished.  I’ve not seen too many cuke beetles but they’re there because my cukes have succumbed to the wilt virus.
  • Squash have been finished — thanks to the borer. I used a hand tool to dig the ground in those areas and look for pupae of the borer.  Didn’t find any. Will go ahead and plant my cover crops in those areas.
  • About half the garden beds have been planted with cover crops.  Still have the other half to plant.  Covers used so far are field peas, winter rye, oats, and buckwheat.  I want to plant some fava beans too.

 

    Lettuce going to seed, one potato plant, oats, field peas, lettuce, flowers, tomatoes.

Lettuce going to seed, one potato plant, oats, field peas, lettuce, flowers, tomatoes.

 

Upper left corner of garden.  Buckwheat, carrots, beans on the left just coming in, beans  - center - have been producing for a month, opal basil, tomato (just can see), cultivated dandelion, and asparagus.

Upper left corner of garden. Buckwheat, carrots, beans on the left just coming in, beans – center – have been producing for a month, opal basil, tomato (just can see the base), cultivated dandelion, and asparagus.

  • Planted some carrots earlier.  You can see in the above picture they’re doing well.  Something got to the ones I transplanted this month except for about four.
  • My garden doesn’t have room for beans until sometime in July.  Bean plants are spectacular this year.  We’ve been enjoying snap beans for over a month.  I picked yesterday and wasn’t going to pick that patch again today — but it turns our there was another pound of beans on the plants. The beans I’m speaking of are in the above picture – top center.
  • I’m trying pinto beans (two varieties) for the first time EVER.  I planted a 2 foot square of one kind and put a “tomato” cage over it for the beans to climb on.  (They were suppose to be the bush variety . Ha!)  If I do well with them, I’ll increase the amount next year. It’d be nice to have my own dried beans.
Piminto beans

Pinto beans.  Found a couple of Japanese beetles on top leaves and killed them.  No more since then.

 

  • I have 3 spots of snap bush beans (Provider) in the garden.  Shown below is the 3rd planting. August 5th I planted several spots with Masai snap beans. My seed was from 2008.  They’ve germinated already. (Masai is my favorite fall bean. Just beautiful and very prolific.)

 

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More snap beans, lettuce going to seed, field peas, asparagus, cultivated dandelion.  I’ve just cut the buckwheat in the bed to the left and laid it on top.

 

  •  Last year I finally planted Henderson Butter Beans. (A bush baby lima bean.) They were so delicious we just couldn’t get enough! They’re small beans — not big like Fordhook.  I’ve got two plantings in the garden.  One is seen below; the second is a bit larger.

 

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Henderson lima beans blooming. ( I can hardly wait.) That’s oats in front.

 

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Phlox, morning glory vine, and eggplant in grow-bag at upper end of garden. These two eggplant plants are not as big as the plant at the lower end of the garden.

A story in closing:

A baby rabbit got into the garden about 2 weeks ago.  He (or she) is no longer than 4 inches.  Bill found and patched the hole.  The baby rabbit is still in the garden.

L1190912copyrightTendingMyGarden.comrabbit

Everyday I look for him to try to put an end to his thinking that my garden is his permanent home.  He’s hard to find because there are so many places to hide.

The other day I left the gate open thinking maybe — if nothing else — I could chase him and he’d run out.

Well – I found him when I cut the flowering buckwheat in a bed. He went to the very next bed and started making a meal of lettuce.

I started his way — he ran back — right past the open gate and headed for some other lush place at the top of the garden.

I’m sure he thinks he’s living in paradise.  Nothing to bother him.  Mrs. McGregor (of Peter rabbit fame) doesn’t have a gun and she’s very slow.  There’s protection from rain, wind and sun.  There’s everything to eat that one can imagine.

And my newly planted tender Masai beans are up 2 inches and so are my peas….

I have 10 varieties of lettuce started August 5th in jugs. They’re up about 1/4 inch. I think it might be wise to wait a while to transplant them to the garden. 🙁

Giant Rudbeckia blossoms with beneficials

Giant Rudbeckia blossoms with beneficials.

 

Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.

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All content including photos is copyright by TendingMyGarden.com  All Rights Reserved.

17 comments to Garden Talk, Report, Story and Pictures – August 2013

  • Betty Dotson

    Wow!

    I don’t blame the bunny. I’m thinking of coming to live in your garden, too!

    Just to lay around & graze!

    Smart bunny!

  • Mary Fisher

    We’re eating kale every day. Perhaps I sowed it too early but it’s thriving, even the caterpillars can’t keep up with it! In fact we’re eating at least three products of the garden every day, including the second flush of peas.

    Your garden is far bigger than ours, even if we didn’t have all kinds of other areas in the garden it still wouldn’t be as big as yours.

    We like the other areas though; grass for the bantams, several sheds, greenhouse, the pond next to the ‘terrace’ where we eat out, the bank with its medlar tree and lots of bee and butterfly friendly flowers and the fruit cage. They’re all on different levels too which makes it very interesting and keeps the hens fit. And us. I dread to think what will happen if we become too infirm to work it, it won’t even be possible to sit in it.

  • Have been reading your posts all summer and just wanted you to know how much I enjoy them. I’ve learned a lot from you!

  • Betsy

    Please take me off your emails

  • Susan Klein

    Hi Theresa,
    I enjoyed your post and all of the photos.
    Thanks for sharing, especially during this busy time of year!

  • Theresa

    Made me smile Betty D.

    Mary – (FYI – my garden is about 40 feet x 60 feet.)Sounds like you’re having a great fall season. Would love to see your garden areas. Sounds WONDERFUL! Work on staying in good health and keep gardening past 100!

    Betty T – So glad to hear you’re learning. Keeps me writing. I don’t keep bees but am so interested in what you have to say on your blog. I want to read that newest article sometime today.

    Betsy — You probably won’t see this but I have unsubscribed you from TMG. (You were not on the special 100 list.)

    Yes, Susan — it is a busy time. I have quite a few posts I want to get up still before I get so busy I can’t write on TMG for a while. Thanks for letting me know how much you enjoy the posts and photos.

    Theresa

  • Rachel

    Hello Theresa, I am interested in knowing how you preserve your produce. I assume you can, dry and freeze lots of what you grow. Is that right? Also, I have read many of your posts that describe you freezing much of your produce (peas by the quart) and the tomato sauce (essence) is many gallons for the year. May I inquire how many people you are feeding with your garden and how big your freezer is? I just want to get an understanding of what it takes to become mostly self sufficient. Many thanks. And BTW, I love what you have to say and teach. It keeps me keepin’ on.

  • Mildred

    Hi Theresa,
    Have you ever tried tulle to protect your crops? I used it on bare ground that I was prepping when dandelion fuzz was blowing everywhere, and also on my small vegetable plot. I had no insects attacking from the top at least.
    I put in a cover crop of buckwheat this season on your recommendation and am very pleased with the results.
    Thank you for all the information that I’ve gained from your blogs.

  • Sandra

    Fab update Theresa, you have/ are having a wonderful season. I love seeing pictures of all you have going on.

    Tulle: I am using it this year to protect my fall seedlings, mainly brassica, from the white cabbage butterfly, and also for a little shade. It’s working really well for me. I started with garden net, but the butterflies can squeeze through that. The tulle is very inexpensive at Jo Ann’s and it seems to work well.

    Looking forward to your specific tomato update.

  • Theresa

    Rachel ,
    I was delighted to hear that what I write keeps you keepin’ on.
    I think the best way for me to answer your questions is in a post. I’ll work on that and get it up as soon as I can.
    I appreciate your asking the questions because I think the answers will clarify what I do for you and others who have the same questions.
    Nice to have you reading and commenting, Rachel.

    Mildred,
    I have not used tulle — but if I were to come across some I’d definitely get some. I’ve known gardeners who have used it most successfully. What appeals to me is that is doesn’t tear like the row cover fabric does. I think it’s about the perfect covering. (I have plenty of row cover fabric now — but had I known about tulle years ago — I would have preferred that.)

    I’ve read on forums that some people have been able to find it in second hand places in the form of old curtains. That would be a good find.

    So glad you’re pleased with the results of your buckwheat cover crop. It’s an easy one and very enjoyable to work with.

    I’m glad to hear that you have gained useful information from what I write. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know.

    Hi Sandra,
    I use to buy fabric from Jo Ann’s when I use to sew at lot. Always enjoyed going in there.
    I’m looking forward to writing the tomato update. Didn’t want to do it until all is said and done.
    Thanks for commenting. Always good to hear from you
    Theresa

  • Theresa

    Update: August 12, 2013
    The baby rabbit no longer resides in my garden.
    To see a picture of him (while he was still in the garden) scroll back to story above. I’ve just added it.
    Theresa

  • Sue

    Wonderful information! Would you please tell me which tomato plants resist blight. I am having a bad time with it again this year.

  • Theresa

    Sue – I’ve found the open pollinated Big Beef to be resistant to the blight. It gets it a little — but not like some of the others. I’ll give more information in the post I’ll write on tomatoes after the season is about finished.
    So glad you found this post informative. Thanks for letting me know.
    Theresa

    P.S. The hybrid Big Beef Tomato is owned now by Monsanto. I don’t want to support Monsanto — so I won’t grow the hybrid version.

  • Sandra

    Theresa,I’m still back here in this lovely post re-reading and enjoying it. When you give your ‘official’ end of year report on tomatoes, can you address the topic of cages vs. stakes. I’ve always used cages made from concrete reinforcing metal, but I’m curious about other options. I recently made some new cages from other type of garden wire with smaller squares, and I forgot to make sure I could get my hands inside easily to harvest, its not working well. I believe you stake rather than cage, and I’m curious as to why. Thanks. By the way, this is turning out to be a super productive tomato year here, 12 gallons in the freezer or canned, and lots to eat every day with no signs of slowing. (Never thought I’d say that!!)

  • Theresa

    WOW! 12 gallons already preserved!
    And to think you said you couldn’t grow tomatoes!

    I think your cages make from concrete reinforcing wire are excellent. I had a friend who had those and I REALLY liked them.
    They’re strong; you can make them taller than some cages; and squares are plenty big to reach through. You probably already had the best thing.

    I have some tall cages (not with concrete reinforcing wire) but still tall and really good. Like them as much as my tall stakes. Next year will put several (cages or stakes) within a foot or so of each other and carry the branches across them — sorta like trellising without the trellis. The reason I decided that is because I noticed this year the the blight was mainly in areas on the tomato plant that are bunched together as I train them up the cage or stake. I think if I can let them open up more I won’t have that — or at least not as much.

    Theresa

    PS – Sandra, forgot to answer about “WHY”
    Cages use to be too short for tomatoes in my opinion. They’ve changed that and have made them taller which I like. (Making your own with the concrete reinforcing wire is still probably better.)
    Years ago when they first came out I was able to get some really heavy stakes at very reasonable costs. Wish I had gotten more. I’ve had those first ones for about 20 years and they’re still going strong.
    I have some of the newer ones — and they’re not quite as tall and certainly not as heavy. But they get the job done.

  • Rita

    I am interested in knowing if I can save my bean seeds for next year if I already picked them? I realized they were too big to eat. Some are still on the vine. You must be busy this year as I have not seen you much on the OG forums lately but a recent post.

  • Theresa

    The ideal is to let the beans dry on the vine Rita.
    BUT — as with most things — that doesn’t mean you can’t go ahead and dry what you’ve picked and see what happens. Just make sure you have Plan B in place in case they fail.

    One year I picked peas at the end of the season. Dried them inside. Had great success the next year.
    Did that again the following year and they all got moldy. Had to pitch ’em.

    Nice of you to notice that I hadn’t been on the OG forum of late. Glad to have your reading TMG.

    Let me know how your beans do.
    Theresa

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