Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Garden Notes, End of August 2010

 It has been a terrible season in the garden. The weather has been dry and cool with temperatures mostly in the high 60s to low 70s (degrees Fahrenheit). There have been occasional "heat waves" where the temps have gotten into the 80s and 90s, but it seems to only last two or three days before dropping back to around 70. As a result it is the end of August and we have only harvested a few small tomatoes, no more peas or beans than we could eat, some carrots, cabbage, onions, a few strawberries, lots of lettuce and early spinach. The tomatoes have lots of flowers but only a few weeks ago started producing actual tomatoes. The cucumbers are just starting to come in. Pumpkins and squash are coming along slowly. Even the radishes have been slow.

We learned several things this year. The second garden bed was new this year and we did not realize just how much shade much of the new bed was in. I believe that is part of why the peas and tomatoes have done so poorly as they were planted in the second bed where they did not even get what little sun we had. The cosmos we planted also grew much taller than we expected. Had we known, we would have planted them more strategically so as not to shade the vegetables. 

The good news is that the season is not over! Also, we still have access to regional fruits and vegetables for canning. This weekend we bought beans, tomatoes, peppers, chilies, garlic, lemons, cucumbers, and apples, and pulled several onions and what cucumbers we have from our garden. In all we made and canned chili, leftover beans, pectin, salsa, and tomato paste, and started brining cucumbers for pickles. The pectin is something I have wanted to try for some time now. It was easy enough but we have yet to see how well it works for jam and such. The tomato paste was also an experiment and, to be honest, I was disappointed with the amount of work and quantity of tomatoes that went into producing two half-pints of tomato paste. At least I know now how to do it.

Hunting season starts at dawn.

Here’s to stocking the pantry!

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