The month has completely slipped away from me. My 17-year-old son got a job, I started helping a friend with a project, and it was time to prepare the boys and myself for the start of school, me this week and the boys next week. My garden has been barely maintained and has been providing us abundantly in spite of my lack of attention (have been watering, though). I took a couple of minutes to take a few pictures. I will photograph the front and side gardens another day, or later today if I find the energy.
That Suyo Long cucumber, which is the third that I allowed to grow that large before harvesting, will have few seeds even at this size. I absolutely love this cucumber. I do not peel it, it is never even the slightest bitter, and the seeds are small and do not need to be removed before eating. Wonderful for putting in marinaded salads, as crudites, or just sliced and eaten plain. I will always have this cucumber in my garden.
I have nothing but raves for the pickling cucumber, another heirloom, that has produced, and continues to produce abundantly. I can pick small for dill pickles, medium-sized for pickle spears, or leave even longer for a slicing cucumber. I do peel when not pickling. The peeling is quite tough. The cucumber pictured will have no mature seeds in it, another plus for this variety.
I had to harvest one of the potato grow bags because all of the plants died back. I was not unhappy with the yield. I planted three potatoes and harvested a few pounds. I believe if I had watered the grow bags every two days, the plants would have lasted longer and produced more potatoes. As I have mentioned all summer long, this is the first time I have ever grown potatoes; these were an experiment. I am pleased with the grow bags.
Near the end of summer, vegetable gardens begin to look messy (and I even left my bright orange hose out). I should have already resown sugar snap peas in front of the trellis, and planted something in the place where the Cocozelle di Napoli squash plants resided. I pulled the last one out after realizing that it was producing one zucchini squash per week. I do have five Black Beauty zucchini plants growing that I hope will produce before the first freeze. What a treat it would be to get squash in September. I am trying to decide what I want to do with the empty space in the squash bed. My three yellow squash plants are still producing well, and the Anaheim pepper plants all have peppers on them, one nearing 10″ long. I guess I will be harvesting peppers in September.
In the garlic bed, buckwheat is doing well in the front half. I will be sowing more buckwheat in the back half where the Swiss chard and kale are not growing. I pulled up the last of my onions today,some of which reached medium size, barely.
Even with the horrible powdery mildew I will harvest four good-sized sugar pumpkins this year, one more than last year. Next year, I believe I will know what I am doing in the pumpkin-growing department, and will spray my homemade fungicide weekly which I failed to do this year even after talking about it.
The cucumber/bean teepee trellis continues to provide a lot of cucumbers, both Suyo Long slicing and pickling cucumbers, both heirloom varieties that I love and with which I am very pleased. The big surprise is that the beans have taken off and are now producing Romano green beans. I might get a jar or two of fermented green beans after all.
In the photo above it is dense plantings. The largest of which is a single ground cherry plant. I love to sit at night with the bowl of ground cherries hunting for the ripe ones, peeling the papery husks and popping those sweet little babies into my mouth. Yummy! But the plants are huge. I have decided that I will not plant ground cherries in my raised vegetable beds next year. I will create an area just for those and some marigolds and nasturtiums next year. And on the far left, in the garlic bed, you can see my patch of dwarf kale which isn’t looking dwarfed at all and flowering buckwheat, a cover crop and grain.
I must say: buckwheat is very pretty. Between the heart-shaped leaves and the small, abundant white flowers, it is a nice sight for my eyes when the rest of the garden is beginning to die back, suffer from powdery mildew, or just be pulled up. Another nice treat is the beautiful, red Swiss Chard growing behind the buckwheat. I have no idea why it is immune to insect attack. While my kale patch is dinner for slugs, caterpillars and any number of feasting bugs, the Swiss Chard just grows bigger and nicer. I should probably start harvesting and eating it before something hungry discovers it.
Biggest surprises this season? Eggplant that grows in partial shade, crazy big ground cherry plants, and how amazingly delicious Moskovich tomatoes are in any form: sliced, eat like an apple, broiled with pepper jack cheese on Italian bread, marinated and in salads.
Hope to have Part 3 of August’s gardening posts uploaded before September. I have some really nice surprises to share from the other garden spaces.