Sunday, September 5, 2010

Garden Harvest and Update

The last few weeks have been REALLY busy handling the garden and harvest.

Two weeks ago the grapes finally turned that lovely shade of purple and looked like they were ready for harvest. They didn't get as big as they did in previous years, but it didn't occur to me that that could be a problem. Neither did the powdery covering on the grapes. Usually there's a light powdery "bloom" on the grapes that comes off in the wash. Upon closer inspection it became abundantly clear this wasn't bloom, it was powdery mildew (also the culprit in the stunted growth). So here are the 4.5 pounds of grapes that were completely unusable. Bummer.

The tomato brambles have gone wild! It's impossible to keep them off the ground and pruned and it's getting hard to move around the rows in the garden. So far I've harvested about 45 pounds of tomatoes and canned 10 quart jars. Unfortunately, only 30 pounds of it has been usable. The critters mutilated about 15 pounds of my beautiful tomatoes. The good news is, the chickens enjoy the damaged goods so they aren't going to waste. I can tell the plants are getting ready for fall. Some of the leaves are starting to turn brown and dry out and fruit production has leveled off, a definite harbinger of fall.

The cucumbers were doing well until this week. So far I've harvested 7 or 8 cuks averaging about 10 inches in length. A week or so ago, I noticed the aphids had taken up residence on some of the leaves. Now this week there appears to be some sort of fungus on the leaves. I've sprayed with an organic fungicide and insecticide, but the plant isn't looking good.

Both cantaloupes and the one watermelon are still growing. They seem to be close to full size but haven't changed color completely so are not quite ready yet. Unfortunately, the aphids have begun infesting the leaves of these plants too and are past the point of complete eradication. At this point, the spray is just a management technique to hold them down to a minimum.

Tassels appeared on the corn last week and the stalks are approaching 7 feet tall. Several of them already have 2 ears of corn.

Fighting the aphids on the southern peas is a continual struggle. Time will tell who the victor is. The first few lima bean pods have finally appeared.

The purple hull beans have flowered and the pods are starting to develop. I've not grown these before. But they look beautiful and seem to be doing well so far.

We have a dwarf potted lemon tree which seems to have fruited overnight. We'll have fresh lemonade soon!

The celery has made it through the summer heat and are flourishing. I suspect they lasted because I planted them so close to the tomato brambles that, at this point, they are actually under the brambles now. I read that you can dig them up and move them to a pot in the fall to bring inside for the winter. I'm going to give that a try and see how it works.

The onion tops have finally started to fall over and as they do I'm pulling them to begin the drying process.

Lastly, the 3 cherry tomato plants are still going strong. I'm still harvesting 2 handfuls every other day. They are delicious!

The days are getting shorter and shorter, and the nights started cooling off last week dropping into the mid-50's. Fall is on it's way in.

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