Friday, September 18, 2009

Fleeting summer

The last fleeting weeks of summer fly by like swallows, skimming swiftly across the water. Before you know it, the nights are 40 degrees, the tomato plants are shivering and shriveling, and you spend your weekends alternatively at the beach, catching the last summer rays, or over a hot stove canning your garden spoils, before they spoil. Work picks up as people return from vacation, and you hardly have time to finish your everyday tasks, let alone write a little article to keep people posted on your garden's happenings.

So this was my garden a few weeks back, on August 28th. September pictures are to come!

The garden, probably at maximum growth.

The potatoes are still going strong, in late August!

I have picked about 20 pounds of pole beans so far this year. We've eaten many, I've shared many with relatives, I froze a few, and canned 15.25 pints of dilly beans. I've put my husband to work picking.

I will grow Fortex and Marvel of Venice again!

The Red Noodles are getting started - it seems that the ants have a symbiotic relationship with their flowers - they must be sweet.

Of course, the beans have had their share of pests. This is the Mexican Bean Beetle, sinister cousin of the familiar Ladybug. It feasts on bean leaves and beans, rather than the aphid pests enjoyed by red ladybugs.

The fuzzy larvae are bright yellow and easy to spot. They make a satisfying pop when you squeeze them between a folded bean leaf.

They do some damage to leaves and beans (the brown spots), but they aren't bad enough for me to bother spraying for them. I'm sure if I were selling my produce I would do more to prevent them, but instead I just kill them when I can, and throw any beans with brown spots into the compost bin.

And, speaking of pests, here's a weed pest: the insiduous Purslane. As Brian mentioned a few weeks back, pulling it and leaving it around won't help - it will self-seed because its succulent leaves will keep it alive, even when pulled up. So discard somewhere safe - or you could eat it; it is edible, but you'll want to read up on that first.

The cucumbers are doing fairly well - I have heirloom lemon cucumbers (named for size and color, not flavor) and a couple of varieties of pickling cucumbers growing.

My Baby Bear pumpkins are ripening!

I mixed up some seedlings - Honey Bear squash, a bush plant, is growing under the trellis. I have a couple of nearly ripe fruit - they are small, fist-sized acorn squash - a meal size of one per person.

The Zephyr summer squash and a vining variety - probably spaghetti or butternut - are doing quite well. I've shared quite a few summer squash, along with the beans.

Pepper plants are coming along!

These are Islander peppers - they are purple and will eventually turn red, if we have enough summer.

The eggplants are blossoming at last!

Some of the onion tops have fallen over and are ready to harvest. These are Walla Walla Sweets.

This is fennel, not dill - and it seems to be doing quite nicely.

The sweet potato vines are growing like the dickens - I am looking forward to digging them up. I think I'll try to keep some vine cuttings alive in water over winter, for next year; they would be about the same as the slips I got this spring in the mail, but possibly more suited to my garden.

The tomato plants are coming along - not quite as large as I'd like them to be, but it could be worse - I could have late blight.

The Sungolds have been nicely productive all summer.

Early Girl tomatoes are reaching "breaker" stage - where they turn yellowish before they ripen to red. At this point, I could bring them indoors to ripen (in a paper bag or on the counter - the windowsill is actually not the best place to ripen tomatoes, I've read. That doesn't mean I don't put some there, anyway).

And the intrepid volunteer Wonder Light tomato plant is taking over the lawn.


Kelly said...

I am growing the Honey Bear Acorn myself, my first was TINY! I am hoping the others will be larger, though with this cold weather I am now just hoping they will mature. I am not sure if I should grow them again next year. They are cute and tasty but not much meat once they cook down.

Thanks for the idea on the sweet potato vines, I think I will do some research on how to clip and keep a few vines!

the webmaster at Johnny's Selected Seeds said...

Hi Kelly, thanks for your comment!

The Honey Bear squash are pretty small in my garden - about 4" long. I think they are cute! I haven't tried to cook them yet, so I'm not sure about the amount of edible squash inside.