Sunday, August 15, 2010

Downhill From Here

I realized today that sadly, my garden has peaked.  The big heirlooms are practically non-existent in 'Tomato Alley'.  The beans are overgrown, and the beetles have discovered them.  The dang rabbits continue to eat my seedlings, and the dog hair is unfortunately doing little to discourage the little beasts.

As of today, all of the potato bags have been emptied.  (I still have fingerlings in the ground, and sweet potato vines.  I say vines because I have yet to find a tuber when nosing around in there, it has been so dry......wishing I could rewind and water that bed on a regular basis.)  The good news is there are still plenty of fruits and veggies to harvest over the coming months.  Cucurbits are behind for me this year, so they are just getting warmed up.  The cool nights of late may put a stop to all of that though.  Ground Cherries, Blackberries, and Raspberries are fruiting and ripening - good stuff there.  Chard is continuing to provide in this otherwise barren garden greens period. I finally smartened up and put some woven seed trays over my latest sowings, the stuff that is covered is still there, the stuff that is not is being eaten by the bun-buns.  I need more of those trays!!  Spinach and all but 2 head lettuce sowings are gone.   Some of the Chard has been eaten as well.  Carrots and loose-leaf lettuce are protected.

One of my melons is sizing up.  I am so afraid a dog, rabbit, mouse, or slug will get to it before it has a chance to ripen and be enjoyed by us.

I made an attempt to shield it from critters, but it certainly isn't perfect:

The little watermelon does not appear to be getting any larger,  hoping it will surprise me with it's girth one of these days.

Today's harvest, minus the potatoes.....I will save those for tomorrow.

The true potato yields aren't know yet, but the grow bags delivered a mediocre harvest.  If an ideal harvest is 10:1, I was hoping for a 5:1 out of the bags.  Purple Viking performed the best, giving me a 4:1 ratio; the Red Gold would have been right up there if hadn't robbed them so early in the season.   It came in at 3.5:1.  Keuka Gold was a real disappointment.  This potato is very similar in character to a Yukon, yet it is said to be a high yielder.  That was not my experience.  2.5 lbs of seed yielded 4 lbs of potatoes.  Overall I need to find a way to up my overall yields.  Better soil fertility and increased spacing is probably the answer.

 Stuffed Squash recipe for Annie's Granny, and anyone else who may enjoy it:
(recipe courtesy of The Victory Garden Cookbook)

6 med. Summer Squash

1 med. onion, chopped
1/4 pound munster, in 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 lb sweet sausage, casings removed*
3 T butter
1 C fresh bread crumbs
2 T fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
1 T fresh tarragon (optional)
1/2 C sour cream

Halve squash and hollow out seeds/center.  Reserve and chop this scooped out bit.
Blanch squash, about 5 minutes.  (Optional ice bath to follow)
Brown sausage, remove from pan.  Cook butter & onions until soft.  Combine with reserved squash, meat, and remaining ingredients.  Fill squash and bake @ 375 for approx. 20 minutes in a greased dish.

* We always use Chicken & Apple Sausage in this recipe.  Whatever cheese & bread I have on hand goes in as well.


meemsnyc said...

Our summer garden is winding down too, but I just planted some fall crops. Can't believe it will be fall soon!

Erin said...

Mine has peaked too, looks pretty rough, although it is still hot enough for the peppers but too hot for fall plants! I think I will slowly be tearing it out over the next month in hopes that the bugs will go to greener pastures before I replant the beds!

Engineeredgarden said...

I would think that the only things to watch out for on the melon would be melon worm and pickle worm. I sure hope things turn out well with it.

Kelly said...

EG- Now, I am only a second year gardener, but I have never heard of either of those worms. Might they be a Southern pest, or go by another name?

Dani said...

I pulled all my stuff today and covered the beds with plastic. *sigh* I wish it was fall already and we could get out there in cooler temps.

Kelly said...

Erin- sounds as though you are in garden limbo.

meemsnyc- I hope you newly planted crops fair better than mine have. :)

Kelly said...

Dani- it will be here before we know it in New England, the nights are already feeling like Fall. Today was too cold to go to the beach. Are you sterilizing the beds w/the plastic??

Annie's Granny said...

We're expecting temps in the triple digits again this week. I'm going to rip out a few tomato plants...if they aren't red/purple/black, they're outta here, except for the Kellogg's Breakfast. Most of the garden is still producing quite well.

Thanks for the recipe. I have a fridge full of zucchini again, and just happen to have a pkg. of sweet Italian sausage in the meat keeper.

Anonymous said...

My garden has peaked a month ago... now it looks like it is October already. We are having the worst summer! I hope that watermelon stays protected until harvest time.

Thomas said...

The tomatoes are starting to peak for me as well, which could be a blessing in disguise. However, I did notice some new green fruit. Whether or not these will ripen before the first frost, who knows?

I have to agree with you on potted potatoes. The more I read, the more I'm finding that actually yields are more like 3-4 to one at best. My all blue performed the best. I think I'll grow most of mine in the ground next year and use my pots to grow half-long Nantes carrots. Our soil is so heavy and I'm sick of throwing away warped carrots.