The okra still is growing for all it’s worth, but other crops now know fall is coming. Mature hardshell squash are ripening; potatoes are plump underneath but dying out above ground; and corn is finished. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers continue to grow and put out new fruit. Greens and herbs have sent up seedheads. We can gather some of these seeds for next year.
Whoa, this is wonderful. No one can keep up with the garden’s and surrounding farmers’ bounty. It’s can, can, can and dry, dry, dry and freeze, freeze, freeze and pickle, pickle, pickle. Meanwhile, we eat. Tomatoes are glorious and some peppers can be picked. Okra and cukes galore. Greens for the picking. We note: next year, we’ll plant all greens well away from Sunshine Plot’s still-weedy exterior fence.
More of the same. The bugs of May and June have our food under siege. We’re dosing the leaves and ground with diatomaceous earth and spraying the leaves with a Neem oil solution. It helps, but we still sacrifice some produce, especially green leaves, to the hordes of insects.
Here’s a hopeful sign: bug damage is worst on the perimeters of Sunshine and Moonshine Plot, which means our years-long weed eradication campaign is effective. Several seasons of hard work among the weeds, ticks, and chiggers are still in our future, but there’s also cause for celebration.
Now that hot weather has settled in for the duration of the summer — and between bouts of torrential rain — we appreciate the new homemade drip irrigation system.
We have gratefully eaten from our garden for more than a month: peas, beans, the first tomatoes, cucumbers, lots of greens, garlic scapes, herbs, and the thinnings of carrots and onions. The cruciferous vegetables are still not up to par. This is the third difficult year for our broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower friends! We watched the first batch of sets rot in rainy, cold spring weather, and resignedly planted a whole new batch. These, too, found it difficult to grow with little sun, less than expected warmth (except in those scorching hot late spring days), and way too much rain. Inches and inches too much.
All nightshade family plants are growing in Sunshine Plot this year, since most were in Moonshine in 2010. Nightshades include potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers. We love to grow hot peppers to make the ristras that help spice winter meals. In addition, Sunshine has the squash family: melons, cucumbers, and squash, and more basil. At the end of the plot is a lot of garlic. A lot. Okra rows are seeded between garlic rows to better use the space, since okra begins as garlic winds down.