Friday, August 29, 2008

August 29, 2008

Well, I took a look at my blog stats today, and it seems I've got a devoted group of under 150 that like my ramblings.  That's cool. I mostly started this to show new gardeners like myself that you can make 1,000 mistakes and still harvest exceptional veggies for your family.  Of course the competitive nature in me would love to see more folks reading my blog, but I'm not a political analyst (though I minored in politics), nor am I a sports columnist (though I watch the Seahawks), and I bet those blogs get tons more traffic.  Anyway, what I'm trying to say is if you like reading my blahg, thanks, it keeps me honest and I think more often than not it keeps me accountable to my garden, which is what's needed for a successful harvest.  Enjoy!

Well, tonight I went out to harvest some more cukes and check out the garden.  While I was out there I took a bunch of pics so I thought I'd share.  First, my cucumber plants are really taking off, which is odd for warm weather plants to grow so well in our crappy winter, I mean summer weather.  But look at these plants...

Notice the two pickles on the top left, and another growing on the top rightish. I attriblute those to my force pollination.  I regularly grab a male flower and tickle anything female, no matter if it's growing or open or closed or shriveled.  I figure it can't hurt.  And here is today's results... drum roll please...

Now those were the first harvest of my slicers, but boy don't they look yummy!  I'm not sure if they'd make good pickles if I sliced them thin?  I plan on slicing my dills using my mandolin for even 1/8 inch slices, maybe even chips.  I've got to do that tomorrow or the ones I picked a week+ ago will go soft on me.  We'll see, I may even pick a few more of those smallish ones that would make good baby dills whole.

Oh, and speaking of cucumbers, I had to comment over on GW tonight that it's funny how closely cantaloupe plants resemble cucumbers. I know they're both related, but they look and act identical until the fruit forms from a polinated female bud.  To show you just how close they look, here is a picture of my cantaloupe plants gamely trying to make a go of it this year.  I may have had a chance if Mother Nature hadn't decided to head south for the winter.  Who knew she was a snowbird...

Poor little cantaloupe, the've got their tendrils out searching for a trellis to climb and I refuse to break it out.  Let them sprawl all over between the two potato bins, or even climb the apple tree. Who cares, they're coming out after the first frost anyway, which I just learned yesterday from a great site, NOAA's Climate study website, which allows you to determine the probablility of the first fall frost or last spring frost down to your closest big city. For me it's Everett (though I hate using it since it's 15 miles north). For me I've got a 10% chance of frost on October 7, but a 90% chance by October 29. With those odds, I may even have a shot if we get some decent warmth between now and then... see my brother's prediction of an "Indian Summer".

Were to go next, ah yes, I mentoned potato bins.  Well, the Yukon Golds still look as lethargic as always, so I'm not sure if they're ready or not. Digging a potato is definitely in order this weekend.

Man that one was blurry, sorry, don't know what happened.  Anyway, either a coon sat on my russets again or they are dying too.  I think it's the crappy weather that's making them think it's October.  Doesn't matter, they've cooked in the ground long enough.  There better be tons of potatoes down there.

I know it's tough to tell, but that is much wimpier than they were last week, and all the flowers have fallen off!  That's a good sign.

Before I go back to my garden area, the plum tree also thinks it's fall, because the plums are ripening.  Look at the color on these...

And despite hundreds dropping to the ground and joining the compost pile, I've still go hundreds and hundreds on the tree. Best harvest in years. I'm sure it's the grass liberation and compost/mulching I did around the base.I wonder if I'd done it around the drip line like I read.  That'd look funny and bad, but I bet the tree would love it. The kids and I on the other hand would not enjoy the yard much though, so no dice.

Now back to the garden, and I'll start with the tomatoes.  They're ripening nicely, at least the Early Girls are, but the weight of the tomatoes are snapping vines and drooping them badly.  No mater how much I work them into the trellis they still fall down.

Ah well, I'm almost looking forward to ripping them out and hanging them upside down in the shed or garage to ripen over the winter months for fresh tomatoes.  Let's just hope the lettuce speeds up so I can enjoy a winter salad.

And look at this broccoli.  I think I'll ask my wife to make bake potato soup and I'll add the broccoli for a broccoli baked potato.  Sounds yummy.

You can't see it from the picture, or even if you're looking, but once this broccoli's harvested, there's another one hidden in it's shadow coming up right behind it.  Not bad.

Oh, and I saw DoubleD's wall of pole beans (Blue Lake), and I just had to share my own wall of Blue Lakes.  Well, maybe not a wall, but since it's covering the old door to the garage, maybe it's a door of pole beans, hehe.

I'd really love to harvest all the bush beans that have been hanging out for a month and the fresher pole beans and can them.  That way I can have green beans all winter and maybe I'll like the taste better if they're more like Del Monte.  I hate to say it but I like canned green beans better than fresh.  I know, sacrilege.  I'm afraid I'm like that for peas too, well frozen that is.  That's why I'm growing snap peas this fall only. I like them the best of snow or shelling.  Anyway, I'd like to can these this weekend if they're any good still.  Any ideas?

Lastly, I mentioned my corn being harvested too late. Well here's my corn bed. Still looks good, and there are some really full cobs. I will try them again, but I'm not holding out much hope.  Ah well. Live and learn (with 44 SF of garden space /sigh)

Well, the weekend's turned such that the weather's now supposed to be lower 60s and dry.  I'll take it!  The plants would rather it be warm but I'm good with no rain.  Maybe I'll even get my brackes up for my hoop covers. Wouldn't that be nice?

Enjoy your garden!


  1. sinfonian, I really think you'd learn to like those green beans if you'd just cook them longer. I know it's the "in" thing to steam them until tender-crisp, but that's not the way my granny or this granny cooks them! Try boiling those babies in salted water for about 20 minutes. Add a bit of chopped up onion if you'd like. Drain and toss with a bit of butter, salt & pepper and enjoy!

    Add me to that list of dedicated readers. I never miss a blog, and find you absolutely enjoyable as well as informative.

  2. Don't judge by taste that your corn is overripe or not. Judge by texture. An overripe ear is not juicy and crisp, it is chewy, dry and tough.
    My Honey Select and Bodacious are both ripening so close together that I'll have to freeze some or eat like a maniac. I did have a number of ears that were filled out nicely on one side, but kernels were tiny and shriveled on the other. I don't know what to make of that, but most were really, really yummy. Large and full. Much better that any Seneca variety I've ever tried. I'm thinking next year I might just go back to my good old standby, Peaches and Cream.

  3. Sinfonian, I agree with Granny. I've been boiling them that way for 30 years, and I toss with a bit of butter and add crumbled bacon and season to taste with s&p. If I have any bacon fat I use that instead of butter, yum. Waaaaayyyy better to boil 'em.

    Your garden looks awesome, I'm jealous over here with my peppers, squash and tomatoes, lol. Keep the pics coming!

  4. Your potatoes are just where they should be at this time of year (for Yukon Golds). The vines naturally "lay over" and then begin to wither and die back... this is the last push of shoving sugars and energy from the leaves and vines down to the tubers for storage! Once the vines are mostly down... you should withhold the water for a while to help the tubers get tougher skins... and then they will be ready for harvest to store. Of course you can harvest them anytime you like from flowering (new potatoes) on... but this is the point where they are getting set for real storage/hardening off. My Yukon Golds, Caribes, and Red Clouds are all at this same stage - as they are early to mid season varieties. The russet variety - "Butte" has several more weeks of growing to do yet before it will shift into final storage mode.

    Loved the pics and updates. Good work on your blog and site and thanks for the visit to mine.

  5. Hey sinfonian - Everything looks great, especially the broccoli! I've got 12 broccoli planted, and can't wait to see how they do. You don't like eating blue lake green beans? Of course, because i'm from the deep south - we cook ours very different from the rest of the country. They are yummy! Oh well....thanks for always taking the time to write something on your blog each day. I enjoy reading it. I've just started mine, and am trying to get it up to current events as quickly as possible. Hopefully, in about another week, it'll be caught up. EG