We have had a wonderful garden season this year. I am very thankful for this because the late freeze and summer drought has left our apple trees with no apples and our bees with little honey. Local fruit has been very expensive due to the freeze, and the local blueberry crops didn't produce anything. I know the key to our garden success this year has been the raised beds. We were able to control the amount of water our plants received even though we have had little rain. (Our water bill has been sizable)! We also have not had to deal with bugs like we have in times past. I believe the late frost did something to the bug population. We only had a few Japanese Beetles. The ones we did have enjoyed the Zinnias and the Marigolds and the Basil plants. They pretty much stayed away from my produce plants.
Every year my garden goal is to put as much of the produce up in the pantry and freezer as possible. This means much canning and freezing on my part. I have always thought this was the main goal for my summer in the garden department. This year I had an epiphany. I want to see how long we can keep fresh produce going in our garden. We so enjoyed the fresh lettuce this year until the August heat came and the lettuce turned bitter. I talked with Michael about my thoughts. He told me that he could construct hoops to go over our beds during the winter months. This would promote a longer garden season. With the hoops, I think for much of the year we can grow many different veggies. I have started a ton of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and onion seeds in the shop. I plan to make another planting of these items soon so we can have a succession of plants. My main concern about these hoops is our wind. After all, 2 of the largest trampolines have blown away during 2 different winds at our home. (One was even strapped down)! I am sure Michael will come up with something!?!
This week we will be tilling up some of our summer garden beds. My flowers are looking very tired. I am having a hard time finding ones to cut to make bouquets now. Before he tills the flowers, I will cut all the pretty ones and make as many bouquets as possible. My mom has a recipe for a green tomato relish that she likes a lot. I will be picking the green tomatoes out of the Rutger tomatoes and use them for that recipe. These plants are almost finished producing, and I don't want to keep wasting the space for plants that are tired. The Romas are slowing dying down too. I will let the ones turn red that are on the vines then these plants will be tilled under too. They have been heavy producers this year. Our other bed of tomatoes are still producing enough tomatoes to eat out of hand. We will leave this bed for now, but I am sure they are not long for this world. The cucumber bed needs to be taken apart. I believe the watermelons will be finished in the next week or two, and that will give us another bed to clean up for fall use. We have beautiful pepper plants that still have a lot of life, and our okra is just now getting good and started. We will have okra until frost this year. We also planted a second bed of green beans which are covered in blooms. We will have green beans until the frost comes as well this year. We planted an entire bed full of peas a few weeks ago, but the peas came up spotty. I am going down today to plant some more peas in that bed.
I will keep you up to date on our fall garden. This is truly a new experience for us. I am planning a post on this year's garden failures and what I plan to do about it next year as well as a post about our growing pantry. I also keep a garden wish list and new things I would like to try for next year. I will share those with you as time permits.
grace and peace,