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a little gardening

August 25, 2010

The garden this year has been productive but in a spring sort of way.  Normally we burst into early summer with greens and cool weather crops, then a quick segue to colorful summer crops and then transition back to greens and winter hardy crops.  This year the midpoint of the garden season has just dawdled around.  I will pick my first summer squash tonight, a few tomatoes have been on the table for a while, beans a dim memory of summers past, and cukes non-existent.  A few warm days, and a lot of cool nights have made this the year of greens for us anyway, on our side of the mountain.

I haven’t totally given up on the squash and will proceed with my usual cutting back of the vines to direct the plant’s energy to the fruit that looks like it may have a chance to mature.  Besides the squash vines are getting a little unruly in the potato patch.

Basically, to cut the vines back I just walk down the row with my trusty Felco pruners and cut any vines with fruit too immature to ripen in the next month.

Obviously, the larger pumpkin has a chance, whereas the small fruit will just take away from the larger fruit at this point.

Same with the squash – this one may make it…

This size is too small for sure.

Succession planting has been the savior this year.  I wrote about these turnips here and our summer harvesting in general here.

Quick maturing crops like the salad turnips and kohlrabi have provided a constant supply of crunchy vegetables throughout the summer.

Cabbage has done well also – enjoying the cooler temperatures this summer.

New young cabbages planted the first week of August will hopefully carry us into winter.

We eat huge salads everyday – and we haven’t been disappointed at all with the long lasting lettuce plantings.  The weather has been perfect for continuous succession plantings of lettuce, absolutely perfect.

New lettuce coming on.

Old chard going out.

Young chard taking hold before the shorter days slow down the growth.

All in all I can’t complain, maybe we didn’t have the garden season I expected, but still pretty tasty.  It feels like we skipped a little without many warm weather crops, but with new young plants for fall and winter doing well, I guess we’re back on schedule.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2010 7:32 am

    Our garden has not been a very successful one this year…like you, colder temps and a VERY wet spring makes for a very tough gardening year in the PNW! Praying for a better gardening year next year. Your garden looks amazing! 🙂

    • August 25, 2010 9:17 am

      Valerie, yep there is always next year. I like to over-plant, that way at least we have something 🙂 And yes, I am hoping for a little better year next year too!

  2. michelle permalink
    August 25, 2010 8:33 am

    any suggestions on how to use swiss chard? I only know to saute it like you would spinach… any recipe ideas?

    • August 25, 2010 9:15 am

      Michelle, I do use chard a lot in braising mix, sauteeing the sliced stems with garlic and adding the greens, but it also is really good in lasagna in place of pasta – delicious.

  3. August 25, 2010 9:58 am

    Love your blog and the posts about Jane!

    I’ve decided to call this year “The year of the greens”. Hopefully next year will be a bit warmer. But I and my CSA members have really been enjoying the salads this year. I think I’ve grown more greens than anything this year.

  4. August 25, 2010 10:59 am

    It was rough here as well, but a little better than up your way. We planted and planted and planted, and things failed and failed and … worst garden in 35 years!! But … the kale, cabbages, broccoli, chard, and lettuce were spectacular, and still are, right through August. So we’re concentrating on those — the cabbage is refusing to head, but making enormous leaves — so we throw them, along with all the other greens, into the dehydrators, and when they become onionskin-light, take them out and strip the leaf matter from the stems and veins. The resulting flakes look like the basil one gets in a small jar in the spice section at the store — and can be used in breads, souffles, quiches and soups, on steamed vegs of all kinds, and so on. We’ll be giving this as gifts this year.

    Tomatoes are just starting but we did get cukes, some beans, and summer squash. Don’t get me started about winter squash and pumpkins, though — I could just scream. We’ll get some potatoes, though they will be smaller than last year, and we’re making up for the lack of bush fruits by expanding, successfully, our search for non-shriveled blackberries. Here’s to 2011! Fingers crossed.

    • August 25, 2010 11:10 am

      Risa, good idea on the cabbage leaves! Besides the weather we have had an explosion of rabbits this year. We have discovered that they love romaine as much as we do 😦 I guess the mild winter helped them and the local poacher/coyote eradicator (grrr) has “helped” as well. Hopefully things will even out this winter and as always we hope for the best in the next season 🙂 Apples here are almost non-existent so I will have to get over my aversion to pears because we have plenty of those. A different year for sure.

  5. August 25, 2010 11:47 am

    You garden is beautiful. We have been so wet we are way behind.


    • August 26, 2010 7:18 am

      Linda, thanks, it’s been an odd year all around the country. Hoping the winter isn’t too harsh…

  6. Robbyn permalink
    August 25, 2010 11:49 am

    Gorgeous, gorgeous greens! What a great idea to use the chard leaves to make lasagna…will have to try that 🙂

    • August 26, 2010 7:20 am

      Robbyn, lots and lots of greens here for sure – even the miner’s lettuce is still coming on in the woods! That’s a testament to how cool it has been. It’s easier to grow chard than it is to make noodles 🙂

  7. August 25, 2010 2:49 pm

    For a bad year, your garden still looks good! I’d love to walk through there and pick a cabbage and some turnips!
    I’ll be trying the chard lasagna. Thanks for the tip.

    • August 26, 2010 7:22 am

      4 Bushel Farmgal, we walk through and snack too – the wind blew a hole in the row cover, so we have been sneaking a turnip now and then when the dogs aren’t looking – they love those turnips! So far the root maggots haven’t found the hole either.

  8. August 26, 2010 6:40 am

    I’m always jealous when you post shots of your garden. Your soil is healthy, and thus, so are your plants. We’ve been here on our little Alabama homestead for less than a year, so we’re still working hard to improve the soil’s (heavy clay) condition. We’re hoping to add our first cows to the farm in the early spring. There’s nothing like manure to improve the ground quality. I’ll continue reading up on raising cows (for dairy and beef purposes) this winter. Thanks for sharing here!

    • August 26, 2010 7:23 am

      Melissa, don’t be jealous, I have worked on that garden spot for years. It takes time to get the soil whipped into shape. You won’t be disappointed with cow manure for soil building. It enlivens the soil like no other animal manure and the effects are long lasting.

  9. August 26, 2010 5:36 pm

    We’re in the same boat. We’ve harvested broccoli and half a dozen zucchini so far; the cauliflower may make it yet. The corn has finally rallied, and while very, very late (it’s Bodacious), I’m sure it’ll ripen and be great. The beans are a bust; only a few plants bothered to climb the poles at all, and stopped about a foot high, and didn’t flower. Some of my tomato plants finally have baby tomatoes, but that’s beyond even wishing for at this point! The beets remain to be seen. The butternut squash haven’t even flowered, and I only have one decent sized spaghetti squash on the vine. I suppose I should try your pruning trick on those. Bummer.

  10. August 31, 2010 8:25 am

    I have such a small garden space it is hard to rotate my crops, and the short growing season makes it difficult do much succession planting. I am trying some fall crops this year as an experiment. I just put in some chard, kale and lettuce to see if they will make it before the cold snap. – Margy


  1. Garden Envy | Two Frog Home
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