29 July Weekly Garden Update

Red Pontiacs


Red Potatoes – the remainder of the box which we’ve been continuously digging from as we have wanted ‘taters. Includes a volunteer plant in last year’s potato box which yielded 2 medium sized red potatoes.

Haricot vert & old dutch 1/2 runner green beans

Pick Me!

The first pimiento peppers and some serranos, Red jalapenos (they turn red if you leave them on the plant long enough), habaneros, cayennes, and red cherry bomb peppers.

One run through the garden

Monkey tail field peas, basil, tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, 1 patty pan squash, and a green bell pepper

Just keeps coming

Another harvest

Many colors

We fish emulsioned everything this week and restarted a few cauliflower starts that didn’t germinate. We seeded 3 varieties of carrots in one of the long boxes after adding fertilizer, epsom salts, and boron and working it. Hopefully we’ll have a fall harvest of carrots. It’s all dependent on how hot the summer is (whether the seedlings can get up and going without it being too hot for them henceforth). We also started 4 seeds of cabbage directly into their growing space. We did some weeding in the garden aisles – while not a favorite task it typically only needs doing a couple of times a year. We’ll be getting more mulch in a couple of weeks, and then the weeding will go down even more.

We started hardening off the fall yellow squash and the cucumber seedlings early in the week and transplanted them out on Saturday.

Monkey Tail Peas

Nope, the harvest isn’t over yet

She had been watching a particular tomato for the past 2 weeks (it is visible from her desk inside) – it had caught her fancy as sometimes things do. If you’ve seen a single tomato in pictures in the past couple of weeks, that’s it. It was *just* ready to pick, and on the day she went out to see if it was ready, it was (of course) gone. In a huff she searched around and found it on the ground, partially chewed on. Those damn squirrels (her words) tend to be wasteful. Her disappointment was similar to that of a small child who waits all day for something that she thinks parents have promised to do (when they don’t remember it at all). She is still indignant.

We removed the last yellow squash plant. Although the patty pan squash main stems are really just completely disintegrated due to SVB damage, the plants are still flowering and making some squash – mostly because they put down roots on some of the stems.

The end of japanese beetle season plus lower temperatures (only in the 90s) allowed the old dutch half-runner beans to begin producing again. These were also the ones that got hit by deer a few weeks ago.

There were a couple of “oops” moments while trimming tomatoes and cucumbers. Only 3 green tomatoes were prematurely “picked”. The cucumber oops ended up taking out a lot a plant.

I noticed that one of the eggplant blooms had fallen to the ground. The eggplant this year is disappointing. They’ve generally recovered from the flea beetle onslaught but one that has actually made a fruit is looking weak and none are setting flowers well. Perhaps it’s just the weather but none of the plants are as healthy as the ones last year. However, cucumber beetles and stink bugs are only a fraction of what they were last year. We think that this is due to a) we’ve been diligent about removing dead squash leaves, but also b) the “community” garden across the road (about 1/4 mile away) ceased to exist this year. We can’t help but think that part of the problem was caused by folks new to sustainable gardening not doing due diligence in keeping pest problems down.

I didn’t realize that the monkey tail cow peas turn light brown only once they’ve dried so we were surprised to open a fully formed but fresh pod to find light-colored peas. We’ll be saving out a few peas from each harvest for next year’s seed needs.

On Tuesday we started 5 porch rail containers on the front (north) porch. There’s less direct sun there so we’re doing cilantro and lettuce (several varieties). We also started fall kales and mustard in the basement: 14 plants total from 6 lacinato kale, 4 red winter kale, and 4 southern giant curled mustard.

We are inundated with cucumbers! We have way too many this year (of course, last year we had a dismal harvest). We have made refrigerator pickles multiple times, given cucumbers away, and eaten them regularly and often and we still have some we don’t know what to do with. (We like to slice them with vinegar & soy, or with sour cream and vinegar).

Cayenne Peppers

We dried a couple trays of cayenne pappers. The new oven dries them even better than the old oven. Later we will grind them to make our own cayenne powder, from which I also make a hot pepper basting sauce.

On Friday strong thunderstorms came through. We got almost 2 inches in rain in a bit over an hour. Again last night we got more, including another 1.5 inches of rain.

New plants

We removed the older cucumber vines yesterday. They were basically “done” and had some sort of disease. Just in time to save us from drowning in cucumbers. We still have straight eight cucumber vines. These were the ones that didn’t germinate inside, so we reseeded directly in the spring. We transplanted out the 5 new boston pickling cucs and the 3 yellow squash plants that we started in the basement on 7/7.  We planted the 3 squash at the northerly side of the box because the plants that were growing here earlier this season all showed a marked tendency to want to grow towards the south due to the sun.

We removed some of the oldest haricot vert plants as we harvested this latest batch. They’re all quickly reaching the end of production, but more are coming along that we seeded at the beginning of June.

Instant Karma Hot Pepper Jelly

Yesterday was canning day again. 6 pints tomato sauce, 4 pints haricot vert, 3 pints green beans, a pint of pickled jalapenos, and 7 pints of our Instant Karma HOT pepper jelly (made from habanero and cherry bomb peppers). For some reason the Instant Karma pepper jelly always seems to glow with an inner light – I will note in passing that no food coloring was used, that’s its natural color.



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17 Responses to “29 July Weekly Garden Update”

  1. Bee Girl (AKA Melissa) Says:

    Wow! What bountiful harvests! I am envious of your cayenne peppers…ours did absolutely nothing this year. Your Instant Karma Jelly is intriguing…what do you put it on?

    • foodgardenkitchen Says:

      We really only eat the hot pepper jelly on crackers with a bit of cream cheese. But we have lots of family members who also like to eat it this way, so many of the jars become gifts.

  2. kitsapFG Says:

    Amazing amounts of garden goodness coming from your homestead. Sorry “the” tomato was lost to squirrels. I do believe you have a kazillion more to compensate though. 😉

  3. Jenny Says:

    Beautiful! Never tried hot pepper jelly – looks interesting. And I know how you feel about being overwelmed with cucumbers 🙂

  4. diary of a tomato Says:

    Wonderful bounty, as well as canning! Reminds me to get putting up our green beans fast! We’ve been feasting on cucumber sandwiches to keep the incoming ones at bay…

  5. gastrogardener Says:

    That’s a lot of produce – Looks really great. I know the irritation of having some rodent pick off the perfect tomato!

  6. zentMRS Says:

    Oh YUM – your hot pepper jelly looks amazing!!

  7. Adventures in Agriburbia Says:

    Just found your blog. Love the Carolina gardening blogs. I am psyched to see a pic of the monkey tail beans. I am loving my pink eye purple hulls this year and want to try some more field peas next year.

  8. Norma Chang Says:

    Know just how she feels about the squirrel taking the tomato. I lost my first eggplant, and a pretty one at that, to some critter. Monkey tails peas, I am guessing it is a shelling peas. How did it get that name?

  9. Shawn Ann Says:

    those red peppers are so popping! They stand out beautifully!

  10. Rick Says:

    Looks like a super great week of harvesting. Everything is looking fantastic!! Your 3.5 inches of rain is more than we get in 6 months. I can’t believe you got that much in just 2 storms!!

  11. maryhysong Says:

    what a lovely harvest and good getting rain too. We’ve gotten a bit, but not nearly enough; You could send any excess over my way!

  12. Lisa Says:

    Red Red Red Red Red! Awesome!

  13. Jill Says:

    Yumm… pepper jelly. A friend of mine gave me a jar as a gift and it was the first time I tasted it. Wow… how fabulous it is. Nice work canning so many of them. Your family/friends will love that gift!

  14. Barbara Good Says:

    Goodness what a harvest. It must be a full time job getting it all processed, preserved or prepared for the dinnerplate.

  15. Barbie Says:

    You never fail to amaze me when it’s harvest time… *drool*
    But, I don’t envy you when it comes to putting it all away.

  16. Diana Says:

    Your harvest so impressive each week! Oh wow can feed several family in a week for big amount of harvest.

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