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Posts Tagged ‘pickles’

A trellis of cucumbers and squash.

Boy has it been HOT – too hot to work in the garden unless you work early in the morning or later in the evening! Luckily, our vegetable garden doesn’t seem to mind the oppressive heat and is growing and producing well. As always I have probably over-planted. So far we’ve been inundated with cucumbers, squash, and beans. That means lots of pickles – I hope my family and friends never get tired of them!

Rattlesnake beans have climbed to the top of the pole supports. The bush beans in the foreground have been producing well.

Rattlesnake beans have climbed to the top of the pole supports. The bush beans in the foreground have been producing well but have been attacked by bean beetles.

The beans are really producing well. I froze 19 quart bags yesterday and there are many more on the way. The unfortunate thing was that after I took all the bags down to the freezer, I realized that I hadn’t saved any out for dinner! Oh well, I’m sure there are already more that need to be picked and we had (still have) a ton of squash that we needed to eat anyway. I’m so glad that my daughter has decided that squash is one of her favorite summer vegetables!

Despite the hot and humid weather, rain has been very scarce lately. The afternoon thunderstorms have passed us by and the fields are beginning to become very dry. I find it very  interesting to watch how the field corn reacts to the dry conditions and hot sun. In the morning on my way to work, the leaves are fairly flat and arching so that much of the leaf surface is exposed to the sun and humid morning air. By the time I drive home in the evening, all the leaves are curled and oriented straight up limiting their exposure to the hot afternoon sun and reducing water loss from the leaves. Clever – sort of reminiscent of how the rhododendron leaves cope with freezing temperatures.

A developing cantaloupe stays clean as it grows on the mulch of straw.

A developing cantaloupe stays clean as it grows on the mulch of straw.

Our vegetable garden is not suffering from the dry conditions because it is mostly mulched with straw and when it needs it, we can water. The straw mulch has really helped with moisture retention in the soil and even with this dry weather, we haven’t had to do much supplemental watering. The mulch has also been great for weed control, although I wish I had put it on a little thicker because weeds are beginning to pop up here and there – but these are easy enough to pull up.

Last night the dry spell was finally broken (at least at our house) with some strong winds and a heavy downpour which eventually eased into a fairly gentle rain. We only got ¼” but every little bit helps.

I had been meaning to go out and take some pictures of the vegetable garden but things have been so busy lately with the Daylily & Wine Festival and then I was in Ohio most of last week at a wonderful field trip and conference at the Scotts Miracle-Gro Campus in Marysville, Ohio. Boy, talk about hot and humid but it was very interesting and I learned a lot.

My corn was flattened by the wind and rain but Eric's three sisters corn was still standing tall.

My corn was flattened by the wind and rain but Eric's three sisters corn which is about 10 days older than mine was still standing tall.

Anyway, this morning on my way to work, I stopped at the garden to take some pictures and found to my disappointment that most of my corn had blown over in the storm. Luckily, the corn in Eric’s three sister’s garden was still standing straight and tall – perhaps the beans helped anchor it down. Oh well, such is life. It’s not the first time this has happened to me – it seems to happen every year to some degree. Well at least we’ll get corn from the three sister’s garden and more beans, and more squash … Yikes – I think we’ll need a bigger freezer!

I figured my corn was a goner for this year (fuel for the compost pile) but I got a lovely surprise in my inbox this afternoon – a picture of all my corn standing up straight again! Eric had pulled all the corn stalks upright and supported each row using poles and twine.

What a nice guy!

Eric wove baler twine attached to a pole at each end of  the short rows to support the corn stalks.

Eric attached baler twine to a pole at one end of the row, wove it through the corn stalks, and attached it to a pole at the other end.

All back to "normal".

Standing tall again!

Next time – the success of the three sister’s garden!

Happy Gardening – try to stay cool!

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My vegetable garden in August.

My garden has "exploded" this season! So many cukes, beans, and squash! The corn and tomatoes are on the way!

Well, I must say that my vegetable garden has grown very well this year!

The tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans have grown to the top of the trellises, the eggplants have filled the tires, and the corn is over my head! Miraculously this year, I have been fairly diligent about keeping it weeded and thanks to the layer of mulch I put down early in the season; the weeds have been pretty easy to keep up with.

The cucumbers have reached the top of the trellis!

The cucumbers have reached the top of the trellis and have been producing like crazy!

This seems to be the year of the cucumber – at least in my garden! I planted a few extra plants this year because my vines usually succumb to downy mildew halfway through the season and I don’t get as many as I like. Remember I said everyone loves my pickles? Well, I hope they don’t get sick of them because so far this year, I have made 45 pints of bread & butter pickles and 24 pints of dill pickles! Plus, I have given away bags of cucumbers and eaten tons myself – and they’re still coming! Yum, I never get tired of them – but I am getting tired of making pickles!

The rattlesnake beans have grown to the top of the trellis.

The rattlesnake beans have grown to the top of the trellis and are prolifically producing the most delicious burgundy striped beans!

The cherry tomatoes are producing like crazy and my big tomatoes are just beginning to ripen in earnest. I think the heat has set them back because the plants don’t seem to be producing as well this year. The squash and beans on the other had are producing very well. I missed some when we were away on vacation in Vermont but there are loads more coming along. In fact, I have a huge bag in the fridge right now all fixed and ready to freeze – one of tonight’s projects!

The rattlesnake beans are as delicious as ever! They are even tender and flavorful when they are large. The only problem is that they have grown up on the trellis so high that I have a hard time reaching the ones at the top!

Kentucky Wonder beans have taken over their poles! The Brandywine tomatoes (an heirloom variety) have a blight but are still producing well.

Kentucky Wonder beans have taken over their poles! The Brandywine tomatoes (an heirloom variety) have a blight but are still producing well.

This year, thankfully, the insect pests have been relatively scarce in my vegetable garden. I have heard other gardeners say this, too. Even the destructive Japanese Beetles that can devastate pole beans, corn, and many other plants, seem to be in low numbers this year – at least in our area. Andre has been discussing this lack of Japanese beetles with listeners on his radio show and feels that the dry weather has a lot to do with it. The ground was so dry and hard that the beetle larvae and/or the emerging adult beetles may have had a difficult time burrowing through the soil to complete their development. I guess that may have been one benefit to the heat and drought!

Well I guess I’d better get home and process my beans! Oh yes and I have a big basket of tomatoes I need to can as well. It will be a busy night at our house tonight – but it always is at this time of the year! Yesterday, I canned 17 pints of applesauce from our own apples and Saturday, I made the first ever grape jam from grapes my son planted 2 years ago! Nice!

Until next time – Happy gardening and good harvesting!

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