Wow, this heat wave we've been having will seriously make you not want to do anything
It's been 100+ degrees here for what feels like weeks. A cool front's supposed to move in tonight and drop the temps into the low 90s tomorrow, then into the 80s the rest of the week. Please, please, please let that happen!
Anyway, it's about time for another garden update. And look what the garden is yielding!
All this heat has necessitated watering every evening, but the garden's doing well nonetheless.
Well, I should say parts of the garden are doing well.
First, the good news.
There are lots of green beans coming in, as evidenced by the photo above. I beer-battered and fried the first harvest and good lawd was that a delicious way to enjoy fresh green beans. We scarfed all those fried green beans, so alas, no photo. But I used this Food Network recipe and Newcastle Brown Ale to make a simple and delicious batter. What green beans we don't eat will be frozen and put up.
Also doing well are the cucumbers. I planted four pickling cucumber seedlings in May and when we returned from our trip to Florida in mid-June, they had grown like bananas!
I'm harvesting an average of 4-5 cucumbers a day and have been making copious amounts of refrigerator dill pickles. (There's dill in the garden too, so it's quite convenient to clip some of that while I'm out picking cukes!) There are pickle spears, and chips, and the first batch will be ready to eat later this month.
The heirloom cucumbers planted from seed are a little behind the seedling cukes, but growing well nonetheless and we've harvested quite a few of them as well.
Also growing nicely are the crookneck squash and zucchini, and there are several little watermelons that are thriving. The tomatoes are fair--nothing's turned red yet, but there are quite a few green ones on the vine.
Not doing so well?
The two beds nearest to the woods. They started off so promisingly, but have completely crapped out since mid-June. Everything is stunted or dead at this point. I need to just pull it all out and start planting for the fall here because they are a lost cause.
The corn is tasseled, but also a bit stunted. Nevermind that most of it didn't come up, likely due to the chickens.
On the whole, these garden beds don't get as much sunlight as they ideally should because our yard is surrounded by mature woods. I've been eyeing the side yard, observing how much sun it receives, and I'm thinking I will need to build some beds in that area for next season as it receives light earlier in the day, and continues to do so well into the late afternoon.
That means more work for me, but I'm thinking of minimizing the labor by trying the lasagna method to establish the beds. We shall see...
This little epiphany also leads to the next lesson if I want to increase how much food I grow: I absolutely must start seeds indoors next year. I was very much behind the eight-ball on that this year, and most of the plants are maturing later because of my tardiness in planning the garden.
The final lesson I've learned is that if I want my chickens to free range--which I do because they're happier when not penned, plus I enjoy catching glimpses of them, and their eggs are more nutrient-laden when they're allowed to forage and spend time in the sunshine--that means I'm going to have to bite the bullet and put up a fence around the garden beds.
|Chickens actually NOT in the beds for once...these three young hens were after a bug and running all over the place before I captured this photo|
Besides thieving seeds, the
Despite that negative-sounding end note, I will say, I'm truly pleased with how certain parts of the garden are doing. It's quite a little miracle to know that most of this garden started with seeds sown directly in the soil--and now many of those seeds are lush, large plants giving my family food, albeit in small amounts.
"Like a big mountain, a small garden stimulates, restores, and delights us,
just as it poses challenges, promotes mastery, provides exercise and relieves monotony."
- Winifred Gallagher
- Winifred Gallagher
How does your garden grow this summer?