Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mid-Summer Garden


July 6 tomatoes, Rutgers  PHOTO/Amy W.
Since the beginning of the month, we have enjoyed meals that included zucchini, beans, potatoes, tomatillos, shallots, onions, garlic, tomatoes, salad peppers, and cucumbers from the summer garden.

We have pickled peppers - both Jalapeno and Poblano - and made several batches of fermented cucumber-pickles. Beans have been blanched for the freezer, and we have been giving away our extra zucchini.

We also have begun thinking about where to plant the cool season vegetables that will provide fresh food in the coming fall and winter. It seems so soon. The tomato harvest has barely begun! If there isn't a plan, though, it usually turns out that no room is available when it is time to plant the seeds for carrots, beets, lettuces, collard greens, and other cool-season crops.



I know where the carrots will go, because I have a buckwheat cover crop growing in a bed as a place-holder. Behind those are cowpeas that will stay until closer to frost.
A little something for the pollinators. July 6.  PHOTO/Amy W.

Other cool season crops will be planted where the zucchini and cucumbers are now; those typically don't survive far into August, and their spaces open up in time for planting some fall crops.

The heirloom tomatoes won't last into September, either. Already the Cherokee Purple has a wilting branch, which means the rainy spring gave the soil-borne fusarium fungal-wilt a big boost this year. Luckily, Rutgers tomatoes resist the wilt, and those plants still look healthy.

The weeds, of course, look pretty healthy, too, and they are growing so well, even in the recent dry weather, that it is hard for this gardener to keep up with them. Meanwhile, this is the second year in a row that the birds began eating the blueberries before they even really ripened. If I want blueberries in my freezer, I am going to have to buy them (!). That just seems so wrong....


4 comments:

  1. My mouth watered with the description of your bountiful garden!
    I know that guilt factor in buying something when you feel like you should have provided it for yourself. There is a point each winter when the hens fail to provide. And I find myself in the grocery store, skulking around like a man buying pornography, with a dozen eggs clutched in my hand.

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    1. Holy cow this made me laugh.... that is exactly the right image! It really is wrong, and I am so very glad that we are getting some grapes this year to eat fresh, which makes up in a small way for the lack of blueberries, but the inside of the freezer just doesn't look right without those bulging bags of berries.

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  2. I have never planted collards from seed. When is the earliest/ latest that you plant yours? I helped a community garden make seed tapes for collards last year and they didn't plant till mid September but had a bumper crop. I - like you - have summer squash and cucumbers that will be fading out soon. Those beds will get the fall seeds. What about beets? When do you plant those seeds? Im in northeast Floyd County so the climate is the same as yours or within a week's planting date.

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    1. Best planting dates depend some on the variety chosen (days to maturity can vary a lot) and some on the randomness of the weather. In general, you find the planting date by counting days back from the last frost; if a variety needs 70 days to mature, and the frost date is November 1, then, the planting date will be around the end of August.

      For most cool season crops, though, you have some leeway, because they continue to grow pretty well on nice days after that first frost, until the ground starts to get cold. Sometime around the end of November the ground gets cool enough that growth slows way down. The good news is that crops at this point stay in good shape for awhile, unless we get a steep drop in temperature. There isn't the same rush-to-harvest that we have in spring and summer, which is kind of pleasant.

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