Garden Update

The blessings that are still being received:

Butternut growing earlier in the season

The garden season is almost over. I am currently enjoying fresh greens: lettuce, turnip greens, spinach, and Swiss chard. The bok choy is almost ready to eat. I had enjoyed these leafy vegetables in the spring, too, but they die out once the weather warms up. I also have a large bounty of winter squash to enjoy with three varieties: butternut, acorn, and delicata. I really need a larger garden so I can grow and experiment more with various types of squash and pumpkin! And soon, there’ll be root vegetables to roast and to blend into soups: beets and turnips.

Lettuce, Swiss chard, turnips & beets
The blessings that are gone for the season:
Last sandwich of the season

Gone are the summer squash: zucchini and yellow squash. Gone are peppers, although I have enough for one more round of poppers (half of a jalapeno pepper packed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon and baked). Gone are the tomatoes. There were only a few days between late July and the day before I left for Michigan that I didn’t have a sandwich that featured a thick sliced tomato. For prosperity’s sake, I took a photo of the last sandwich of the season.

The blessings saved for another season:
Canning on the back deck

But there’s plenty saved for winter, too: sweet lime pickles like my grandmother made (34 pints), salad cube pickles made from too large cucumbers (11 pints), salsa (25 pints), tomato soup (43 pints), chow chow (6 pints).

This year’s plantings and lessons learned
Planting cucumbers

Unlike previous years where I purchased my tomatoes and peppers and other plants and then transplanted them into the garden, this summer I grew everything from seed: tomatoes (7 varieties: Salvaterra, Select Paste, San Marrano Paste, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Amish Paste, Dester, and Virginia Romaine), peppers (bell and jalapeno), cucumbers (4 varieties: Early Fortune, Japanese Climbing, Russian Pickling, and Arkansas Little Leaf), and eggplant. Sadly, the only plant that never produced was eggplant. It likes hot weather, and I planted it a month after tomatoes. Next year I will try to plant my eggplant earlier. After last year’s failure with okra (I only got one mess of okra before cool weather returned), I didn’t plant any this year. Next year, I might try starting it inside and transplanting outside when it’s warmer. I also struck out with Kohlrabi. I would like to try more crops, but my deer protected garden is only 1250 square feet.

I really need to take a photo of the whole garden when it’s growing!

Back half of the garden in mid-summer

16 thoughts on “Garden Update”

  1. Sounds wonderful! We were just starting to harvest strawberries and tomatoes on our balcony garden when we…got a puppy! He dug up most of what we had growing 🙂

    • I am really enjoying the garden. I still have sauerkraut fermenting (but I didn’t grow the cabbage) and am hoping to do some mint jelly before everything is put up for the season.

  2. I look forward every week to your messages. Since I formerly lived in Michigan it is interesting to read your comments . Your tomato sandwiches,make my mouth water. I send your garden articles to my daughter in Michigan. She grows vegetables and cans tomato#.She isa nurse with the (Health department. At 69, after 44 years there she is looking to retirement. I am now 91 years old, still at Skidaway Community church. I wish I could travel again. I would visit your churches.

    • I’m glad you check in Mary. I would love to see you in the pews in one of these little churches one day, but certainly understand your travel limitations. Give my best to the good folks on Skidaway!

  3. That is an impressive bounty!

    I am not a gardener, though my wife is – mostly flowers, rather than vegetables. I think plants in general – and edible ones in particular – are likely to factor prominently in our child’s life plans. We have discussed giving her a garden plot when/if she’s home next summer.

    • My wife does raise some flowers. We have to have our garden fenced well to keep out the deer and rabbits, so there is a section for flowers inside the garden area, too. I think gardening is a good way for children to connect with the earth and is a valuable learning experience (now that most of us don’t live on farms).

  4. That tomato looks divine!!
    We grew turnip greens for several years and they are SO much better than those bought in the store since I harvest them much sooner. Do you grow your lettuce and other greens from seed? My daughter likes to buy plants for her fall garden.

    • The lettuce, turnips and beets are grown from seeds planted into the ground. I did start my Swiss chard inside and transplanted (and have been eating from it since early July). I plant my lettuce and turnips thick and then thin out as I harvest the greens to give roots for the turnips to grow roots (pull them when 2-3 inches in diameter) and for some of the romaine lettuce to form into a head. But we tend to prefer the lettuce younger.

    • It has been a good garden year even though we have been a little two wet. For many years I didn’t have any garden, but when on Skidaway we started renting two plots in a community garden. Now I have significantly more space and its been fun and more healthy.

  5. I really enjoy those cooler season things like Kohlrabi and bok choy but due to the distances involved and are wet springs, we don’t always get a chance to raise them.

    I really like looking at our canning shelves this time of year when they are fully stocked of goodies.

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