Friday, September 7, 2012

Garden Update

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, our summer gardens are winding down.  In the southeast US, we are getting ready to start our fall gardens.  I have quite a few items I am going to plant in my garden this fall: carrots, broccoli, garlic, spinach, and peas.  The spot for the carrots is ready now, I expect to put them in during the next week. The broccoli will go in when the green beans are finished.  The spinach will go in when the squash and pumpkins are done.

I expect my summer garden to be wrapped up in about 4 weeks.  I am picking green beans two to three times a week now.  I expect to hit my goal of 52 quarts for the year.  While some squash plants have died, I still have two that I expect to produce until October. Not sure if I will hit the 120 mark but I still may make 100 squash for the year. 

My pumpkins are producing but not as well as last year.  I expect that is because I planted corn and pole beans (in my attempt to grow a three sister garden) and had to fertilize them so they would do well.  The pumpkins have great leaves, strong growth, and only a few pumpkins.  Next year, I will better prepare the planting bed for the corn and be mindful to keep the fertilizer out of the pumpkins so I will get more fruit. BTW, the corn did make a few ears (I only planted nine plants) and the pole beans are flowering now.  We don't care for pole beans because they make strings and I usually miss pulling out a few of them, but Molly doesn't mind so I will can them up for her dinners.

I have also been harvesting the herbs. I went out to check on them a few weeks ago and found all doing well but the parsley.  This is what greeted me on the parsley plants.

He was helping himself to all my parsley.  Now, I must explain that the parsley is in the front yard.  It is not protected behind my fence, in the back yard.  My neighborhood has rabbits. On their romp through the neighborhood, they visit my yard every night. Rabbits love parsley.  So, to keep the rabbits from eating my parsley, I went out almost every evening this summer and sprinkled the leaves with chili pepper powder. Twice a day if it rained!  After all that work, there was no way I was sharing my parsley with this caterpillar! 
However, I couldn't kill the caterpillar either.  This is a parsley worm and it will turn into the Monarch Butterfly next year.  I like the butterflies, I just don't like the caterpillar stage eating my hard work.  Anyway, I cut off each leaf stem I could and left the crown to grow more.  I took the stem the caterpillar was on and placed it in the grass far enough away that he wouldn't crawl back to the parsley plants.  He may turn into food for the neighborhood birds, I don't know.  I do know I wasn't sharing the parsley!
I dried some of the parsley in brown paper bags.  You can see here how to do that.  I also dried some in the microwave.  I now have some of my own parsley to use in soups and stews this winter. I also am currently drying oregano, basil, sage, savory, tarragon, rosemary, and stevia.
I am still drying tobacco leaves AND I am eagerly anticipating the seeds for next year's crop! Here is a picture of the tobacco flowers. These flowers are as tall as me. You can see the pumpkins on the left along the fence in the back of the picture. The corn is along the fence as well, directly behind the tobacco flower.

I have also picked quite a few figs.  I am drying them.  Some time this winter, I am going to make my own fig newtons!  In case you are wondering, fresh figs are quite sweet with a very mild flavor.

Tomatoes are still ripening and I am canning a lot of tomato sauce.  I had a bit of a fungus problem (leaf spot) on the tomatoes a few weeks ago.  I don't often get diseases on my tomato plants, but with the mild winter we had last year and all the rain this summer, diseases have been quite common in our area this year .

The only crop with no update is the peanuts.  They are doing fine and still flowering although the peanuts that form off of the current flowers will not have time enough to fully develop.  I won't know how successful the crop is for another month.

Are you planning a fall garden?  Tell us what you are planting in the comments!


  1. Oh my darling...we were meant to find each other! Could I read any other post I'd know it was true, but this one did my heart good. So, should we ever connect in Utah at the same time, I must take you to meet my father, the Pansy Man who grows all the flowers for the temples there and you'd talk with him for hours about parsley and bunnies...and hot pepper. I sure love you!! This blog is great! Keep it up!!

  2. Wow, it sounds like your garden is so productive...way to go! I love how you know just what you'll swap out from summer to winter...I'm trying to start my (first) garden. Wish me luck! :)


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