Friday, August 28, 2009

Garden Update and a Taste of Fall Already

Our summer-like weather lasted only a few weeks. The past few night’s temperatures have dropped down into the 40s and daytime temps are only in the upper 60s, low 70s. Although extremely comfortable weather to work outside, it feels like fall already. We are supposed to be getting some much-needed moisture this weekend as tropical storm “Danny” skirts by tomorrow. I hope we will have a few more warmer days in September.

The beans have continued to produce quite well requiring picking every other day. The bush beans are winding down this week though. They are looking tired and producing only small amounts of beans. The holey leaves are caused by the Japanese Beetles, but the damage didn’t affect the beans. It just looks awful.

The pole beans seem to be continuing to produce really well also. I have started blanching and freezing the beans instead of canning, as it is a lot quicker. Again, the holes are courtesy of the Japanese Beetles:

We bought a small chest freezer last winter and I love it. The extra storage allows us to store larger batches of tomato sauce, numerous bags of grated zucchini and beans. I was spurred to make this purchase around Thanksgiving last year when turkeys were on sale for really low prices. We enjoyed roasted turkey and its leftovers a lot last winter. Now the freezer is being put into good use with the garden harvest, especially the beans and grated zucchini:

The melon and watermelon plants really exploded in growth during the hot weather. They have breached the edges of the garden and grown across paths. I tried directing the vines inward, but they seemed to have a mind of their own. So I am letting them be. However, this makes weed whacking impossible right now. So the garden is looking messy.

We have enjoyed four melons so far and about a dozen melons are still in the garden in various stages:

Happily, I discovered another Crimson Sweet Watermelon hiding under the foliage:

And another Yellow Doll Watermelon:

I am sure there are more in there that I just haven’t spotted yet. The foliage seems to camouflage them quite well. I can’t tell you how many times I have looked and looked for melons and not found them, only to discover one a few days later that had obviously been growing for a while. I love surprises such as these. Although I don’t know how much time they have left to actually ripen.

The Zucchini plants slowed down for a few days when the temperatures hit high 80s, but now they seem to be producing again:

What’s left of the lettuce that was originally planted in spring finally bolted during our hot weather. I will be pulling these today and reseeding with more lettuce seeds in the same squares:

The fall planting of lettuce is doing well:

The peas are just stretching out their little tendrils looking for something to grab on to:

The Straight Eight cucumber plants continue to produce mutant cucumbers that are about 12-inches long and bitter tasting. I don’t know what is up with these:

Luckily the Sumter cukes are giving us plenty of good snacking cucumbers:

Overall the production of peppers is quite satisfying considering the cold temperatures they tolerated earlier in the season. We have been harvesting a few every now and then to add to salads or pizza topping, but mostly I am letting them grow:

Here’s a surprise...I was letting the SWCs dry out before digging up the tomato roots when I spotted some growth on the stub of this one:

Ten days later:

It even has a few flower buds on it and NO signs of Late Blight. It is possible that this plant was not affected, or if it was, it didn’t travel all the way down to the roots. None of the others have sprouted from the stumps. Unfortunately, the growing season is not long enough for fruit development and ripening. I wonder if I can bring it inside when it gets too cold?


  1. Cool! Those melons are almost ready to pick. I'd let that tomato plant grow until first frost, because it looks healthy.

  2. Your melon parties are like my bush cucumber ones earlier. Each time you went out there you'd find new ones that you'd missed just an hour ago.

  3. Oh my gosh, I love all of your pics of the garden! It's so fun to watch it grow. I can't believe you're getting fall weather already. 70's sounds lovely!

  4. The melons look simply wonderful! The summer crops are producing well and your fall ones are following right behind. Good work!

  5. EG: I think most of the melons will ripen before first frost, but I am not sure about the watermelons. I am letting the tomato plant grow to see what happens. It’s in a SWC, so I can move it to the shed or even inside if we have some cool nights. I would love to get at least one tomato this season.

    Ribbit: I swear the melons are playing tricks on me by hiding in plain site. It’s almost like those brain teaser optical illusion puzzles….you look at it one minute and all you see is foliage, you look again and there is a melon.

    Crystable: Thanks! I love documenting the progress to see how things go. The weather change was lovely for us. Not so good for the growing garden.

    kitsapFG: Thank you. I have to admit that I am surprised how the garden grew as soon as we had some warmer temperatures and some sunlight. It was a rough year. So I am thankful for any harvest I can enjoy.

  6. Those really are some mutant cukes! Seems like other than watering (which is probably the most common cause) bitterness can be caused by a lack of manganese (I think - I know it starts with M). I don't think that woud explain the shape though.

    Your pole beans look so nice. Mine finally grew some but aren't very tall. They are producing a little bit. Maybe they'll kick in gear eventually.

  7. Amy: Strange isn't it? I thought maybe the first few were caused by watering issues, but the problems continued on the newer formed cukes too.

    The seeds used for these mutant cukes were several years old. So something may have happened with age. The sumter cukes planted right next to these are doing ok, no malformation and they taste great.

    I hope your pole beans fill out. Mine didn't start producing until they did.