Garden Friday on Thursday: Early August update

The Roma tomato plants are heavy with green fruit. So are the three varieties of eggplant. My peppers are barely beginning to set white blossoms, the bean covered corn is tall and its ears are waiting to be pollinated, and the bush beans? They’re skinny and missing parts, but I might have beans by the end of August if I can keep the snails under control. Breaking up the sea of green are patches of yellow and orange Calendula, purple coneflower, white and pink cosmos, yellow black-eyed Susans. And several winter squash vines fill in the gaps nicely; their bright orange blooms greet me in the cool mornings.

Oh how I love this work.


Just after Memorial Day I noticed my newly planted babies were sickly and yellow. Thinking my soil had a fungus, I cried, I panicked and I ran to the expensive nursery looking for help. It turns out the prolonged spring rains saturated the clay soil several feet down. On a whim I pulled everything out, moved soil from one end of the yard to the other, added some compost, fertilizer and crossed my fingers.

Despite the slow start, my garden is thriving and growing taller and wider every day. There’s plenty of activity back there, too. Birds, dragonflies, mice, grasshoppers, spiders, butterflies and lots and lots of bees and wasps. It’s a dangerous place in the early afternoon. For humans too.

So it’s been a little while since we chatted. How does your garden grow?


10 responses to “Garden Friday on Thursday: Early August update

  1. Alliegator August 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    We’ve been picking and canning (and giving away) green beans. It’s a little nerve wracking to be out picking and have so much bzzzzzing around. So far I haven’t gotten stung. I keep telling myself that the bees are just gathering pollen. As long as I move slowly, they’ll stay out of my way. 🙂

    The squash plants aren’t doing a ton (although I am finally starting to see some fruits set), but it’s fun to watch the bees in those flowers. They get so loaded down with yellow pollen that they fly like they’re drunk, back to the hive.

    I picked my first few roma tomatoes. The kids keep eating the cherry tomatoes, so none of those have made it inside yet (but that’s alright).

    My 2011 experiment, edamame is finally starting to produce little pods.

    The peppers are doing really well, especially the Anaheim’s. I’m not making salsa this year, so I think I’ll chop them up and freeze them.

    The artichoke plant has produced 9 or so artichokes, but they’re TINY. I did finally learn that it’s because it’s too hot here, so this fall, I’ll dig the whole thing up and move it to a shady spot to see if we can get bigger chokes next year.

  2. mfranti August 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm


    Are your pepper plants growing and just starting to bloom now?

  3. Alliegator August 11, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    The bell pepper plants are just starting to produce peppers, but the anaheim’s and jalapeno’s have been going for a week or two now.

  4. Nicole I August 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I found my first pink tomato today! On a sad note, I don’t think my peppers will produce. The foliage is only now recovering from the cool spring and summer – I doubt I’ll get any blooms soon enough for a ripe fruit.

  5. mfranti August 11, 2011 at 9:56 pm


    How long from blossom to harvest?

    Pink? Like German PInks and Brandywines?

  6. bettyjo August 12, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Picked our first 6 ripe tomatoes yesterday. Debraro variety. I quite
    like it. This was the first variety ready last year too, and it just
    didn’t quit till hard frost. It makes a little tomato, bigger than a cherry
    tomato, but only a bit larger than a golf ball. I’m good with that when they taste
    good like this variety does. We’ve been harvesting yellow wax beans for 4 days. The 2 zucchini
    plants (yellow crookneck and Ronde Nice) are making lots
    of zuchs. The 6 cucumber plants (when will I learn?),
    are innundating us with cucks. This year I planted
    a variety called Suyo Long – an oriental cuke that is
    long, mild, with small seed cavity. The plants are healthy, and are fruiting prolifically. Husband likes
    them, tho I think perhaps the flavor is a bit inciped. I think I shall continue my quest for the perfect cucumber. We rarely eat pickles so cooking and fresh eating is the thing.

    Oh, we’ve now got a lot of peppers, I picked the first pimento day before yesterday.

    The last of spring planted brocolli was harvested 2 weeks ago. Fall harvest
    shallots and onions are all pulled, making room for another
    planting of something. Pulled the last of the turnips, what
    we don’t eat, the cows adore. Early corn is ripe, it’s field
    corn, I feed the ears to the chickens and the stalks to the

    There is exactly ONE pawpaw fruit left on the bushes.
    The critters got the other 10. sigh. I’ve moved all 5 groundsquirrel
    traps from the barn and chickenhouse to the orchard. Those cheeky things.
    They run about in the evening just out side the front room window, just
    knowing I’m too lazy by then to do a thing about it.

    BTW, re Cucumbers: I’ve been chopping up big peeled cukes and tossing them in the cuisinart with
    a bunch of chopped mint, sqeeze of juice from a lemon or lime,
    and a bit of sugar, and water (enough to puree the cukes).
    Then add more water (total 1 qt water to 1 cuke). Chill in
    fridge. This makes very refreshing and virtually calorie
    free drinks when we come in from the fields. Has the added
    advantage of using up cucumbers.

    I also got a little piece of beautiful wild caught salmon (1/2 lb total for 2 people). Steamed
    it for 8 min, cooled, then flaked into big chunks and mixed with
    chunks of cukes, dressed with a yogurt and fresh dill dressing. It was a pretty dish, what with
    all the pale green and salmon pink. Served this over lettuce greens with some thin sliced baugette pieces that had been
    brushed with olive oil, toasted on one side in the cast iron skillet,
    then turned over and brushed with fresh pesto.(the basil outside is beginning
    to bolt).

    We just used the very last quart of home grown tomatoes from last season.
    They had been oven roasted, peeled, then packed in the deep freeze last October.
    So they, along with the last quart of canned tomato juice from last year, turned into
    Gazpacho soup – (using up onion, cucumber, cooked greenbeans, green pepper, fresh basil, soup stock,
    and seasoned with vinegar and anchovy).

    Our garden is at about 2600 foot elevation. Temps have of late been in the mid 90’s day, 45 at night.

  7. Nicole I August 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    We are super long from bloom to harvest here because our nights routinely drop into the low 50s in the Willamette Valley. Tomatoes like warm nights to ripen, especially if you are only seeing low 80s in the day. The ones that are ripening today probably bloomed in late May or early June!!!

    I have mostly romas (2 different varieties) & Juliets (a indeterminate grape variety) because I sauce/can a lot of them and because they tend to ripen up quicker than your big slicing tomatoes. My first one to start to ripen was a Juliet – it was orangey pink yesterday but full red today. I do have a Brandywine and Cherokee as well as an Oregon Star – none of those even look close to ripening and we will get lucky if they all fully ripen before the fall rains come.

    Of course, I’m leaving town for a the end of August and early September – right when it looks like the Romas will be ready to can. Dang it.

  8. reader Rachel August 12, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Our tomato plants are bigger than I am, and we’re starting to get ripe tomatoes from them. I can’t wait until I have enough to can. We’ve been bringing in cucumbers, squash, onions, potatoes, basil, and parsley. I need to harvest herbs, chop and freeze them so we can last through the winter. My little guy has been eating all of the cherry tomatoes. All of our blackberries are gone, and the plant is sending our new primocanes, so we hope to get even more next year. We’ve been seasoning all of our vegetables with rosemary, sage, oregano and mint from the beds around the house. Our lettuce and spinach has gone to seed; by the time the seeds are ready, it should be cooling off enough to plant another round of greens. And the sunflowers are spectacular. Their heads are hanging heavily.

  9. mfranti August 12, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Rachel! I want pictures.

    Ooooohhhhhh!!!!! Will Y’all submit pictures and a brief bio/description? I think that would be a fun Garden Friday post.

    purdy please?

  10. Jeremy Johnsen August 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Our tomatoes are behind schedule, but slowly growing. Our bell peppers are growing like gangbusters, and look like they’re close to being ready. Sadly our plan to grow our own pumpkins for each person in the family has failed because instead of getting four, we only had a single blossom on the two plants that grew into a giant daddy-size pumpkin.

    The corn is a failure once again. In five years we’ve never had a great crop. We’re thinking next year we’ll try something underground instead, potatoes or turnips maybe?

    Pictures sound fun.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: