Sunday, September 30, 2018

September's Garden (2018)

September has been a typically horrible month.  It began scorching hot with everything dying in spite of my constant watering.  Then last week it began to rain and would not stop - for five straight days.  Now it's cooler and wonderful outside. When it slowed to a drizzle for a few minutes yesterday, I rushed to the garden to see if anything had survived the deluge.

The two rows furthest from the house will be the winter hoop houses.  Some of the seeds and winter seedlings have been planted but there are more to be transplanted. The little baby rabbit who was munching my seedlings has grown up and moved away.  

In the next row over, the okra are loving the hot weather.  The basil beneath has been cut back and turned into pesto for the winter.  More leaves are sprouting so there will be more to harvest.

It's hard to believe but this is the row where the world's best watermelon vine grew last month.  Four smaller melons were picked before it died.  (I picked all of them when they were perfectly ripe.  I'm so proud of myself.)  It appears the watermelon leaves shaded the strawberry plants too much so most died. There are a few survivors at the further end on the other side of the parsnips where the vines were not thick.  It's not a disappointment because I want to try a different variety.    

I have begun turning the soil over and it is rich, loose compost (AWESOME). This area is too good to let go to waste so it will be a third hoop house for this winter.  I have only planted a few seedlings.

The tomato plants are overworked and look spindly.  They did a great job producing an abundance of tomatoes and now they will gather strength to begin growing again.  

The peanut plants that sprouted from the few left in the ground from last year's crop are spreading.  They are tangled in the black netting but managed to grow through it.

Beside the tomatoes, are the rows of green beans, Lima beans, and sweet potatoes.  We had trouble with armadillos again and this was their favorite digging spot.  They tore the ground up and killed some of the plants before one was shot by Dustin (I am so grateful) right in the middle of this area.  Since they may carry the leprosy virus and blood probably splattered, I have not harvested any of the beans.  They have invaded before and the horrible details are here Something Pretty, Something Putrid and Something Pretty Putrid.

The sweet potato vines are taking over the yard.  Since we still have another armadillo occasionally visiting, I have not picked any of the sweet potato leaves for salads. 

At the end of the bean and sweet potato row is the Lima bean arch.  The tomato which sprouted under it has not done well. We only picked two tomatoes.  It is too shaded beneath.

Today the rain FINALLY stopped so I was able to do some harvesting.  This is the arch with the yard-long green beans and it is out of control.  No beans were picked for four days because of the rain.  

How well did the arch work this summer?  The cucumbers planted early in the spring were failures, but the beans which grew slower took over the arch and are prolific.  The biggest failure is the height of the arch - it's too high; I can't reach the top without climbing in a chair and that's been a disaster.  I didn't factor in how thick the leaves would grow preventing me from reaching through.  

A success was the White Oxheart and Yellow Stuffer tomato plants growing up the poles with the beans.   

White Oxheart
White Oxheart has a mild flavor, is a pale yellowish white, has almost no seeds, is mostly flesh with easily peeled skins so they don't need blanching when canning.  I use them fresh and to add color to canned salsa.  I don't use them for sauces.  Yellow spaghetti is unappetizing.

The Yellow Stuffer tomato looks exactly like a bell pepper.  The inside is hollow with very few seeds and is best when stuffed.

Half-ripe Yellow Stuffer
My preference is to stuff it with chicken salad, chopped onions, and peppers

The lower front of the arch has bell peppers and Kuroba carrots.  The peppers produced well but I won't do it again.  The arch must be facing due south to ensure there is enough sunlight below; mine is at an angle.  The beans and tomatoes overhead are getting thick so there is barely enough light now.  I think lettuce or herbs would have been a better choice.

September is the month where the summer garden begins winding down and the winter garden starts.  Exactly what is still growing in the vegetable garden?  

These are heat lovers and will not survive the first frost
Louisana Long Pod Okra
Bell peppers
Malabar Vining Spinach
Sweet potatoes: Orange and purple varieties
Lima beans: Henderson bush beans, Calico Pole, Black, Peruvian bush
Green beans: Yard-long and bush
Tomatoes: Big Beef, Aunt Ruby's Green, White Oxheart, Yellow Stuffer, White Cherry
Herbs: Dill, Calendula, Lemon Verbena
Basils:  Licorice, Holy, Lemon, Sweet, Mammoth leaf, Lettuce leaf

These can withstand cool weather and will continue through fall and part of the winter
Assorted Lettuces
Strawberries (5 plants are left)
Carrots - Kuroba (2 left) Danvers Half-long, Cosmic Purple
A few kales and cabbages are left from the late spring planting.  They have been stripped to the stalks because I am eager for every little leaf. 

Next month my focus will be getting the seeds and seedlings for the winter garden planted.  They need time to grow before the bad weather arrives.  The other big problem to solve is finding a way to reach the top of my arches.  This morning my chair sunk in the mud and broke while I was standing on the seat stretching for the highest Lima bean.  I was not hurt as I tumbled, but my delicious morning cup of coffee was spilled!  It was a catastrophe!  Good coffee wasted.  At least I wasn't embarrassed because no one saw me but Scooter.

"I saw it and I thought it was funny! Ha! Ha!" laughed Scooter.

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  1. Your garden is still looking pretty good. Mine is winding down, but I am still getting some things from it.

    I finally prevailed and talked Jake into letting me take home the seeds you sent him. Whew! Hopefully, I will get an area ready this week, as he is spending next weekend and I'd like to have him plant them then if I can get a spot ready.

    1. I have a feeling Jake's seeds will out perform mine even though they are the same. He seems to have a green thumb.

  2. Standing on the seat of a chair to harvest the beans is a bit reckless. Or careless. What is the right word? You had some luck. Forget the coffee that was spilled. Using a double ladder with a hook where a little bucket is attached would be a good idea. But not on a muddy ground.
    Looking at your garden pictures, I see that there are so many more good vegetables to harvest!
    I wish you many mild sunny days before winter will come.

    1. "Reckless" and "careless" are both good words to use along with "lazy" because I grabbed what was closest. At first I was asking Bill and Dustin to pick the highest beans but since this latest rain the vines are thicker and even they can't reach the top. Dustin will carry the step ladder out and leave it in the shed today. I promise to try and behave.

  3. Too much rain or not enough rain always seems to be the way - we have had a dry winter, and spring seems to be just getting going - time to get the gardening gloves on I think!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. Oh Stewart, I am so tired of hot weather and you are just beginning spring. It makes my head spin thinking about someone on the other side of the world. I look forward to watching your successes and failures (won't be many failures I am sure) with my feet propped up in front of the fireplace. I am ready to kick back and rest a while.

  4. It's always tempting to stop at the roadside stands to get greens at this time of year! Your sweet potato vine sure is pretty and how nice to have such a variety of veggies. The colors are very neat! Hugs!

    1. Diane, give in to the temptation and buy the fresh greens. You will be glad you did. Wait until after the first frost so the flavor will be better.

  5. Hi Jeannie, It looks like you've been sooo busy!The weather has been crazy all over the country. We had no rain all summer and horrible heat and humidity. When September hit, it was like a light was switched. Rain, rain, rain. Scooter looks extra handsome in that picture, except for the smirk on his face! Hey, I started a blog again.....just today. It's A New England Garden and Other Hobbies. Only one post but I'm excited to write about my soap and skin products and raising butterflies!

    1. I am glad you are back to blogging because I missed your stories. Do share about raising butterflies. That is something I don't know anything about (and you thought I knew everything.) Please post a link so I can find you. I searched last night but could not find it.

    2. That @*$% setting in Kapersky is putting up a warning about my blog.....I'll need to find a way to fix it. Clicking on my name doesn't do it. Let's see if a link will: