Monday, July 2, 2012
This wild mess is actually the garden. The four (or was it five?) days of rain last week really made everything grow. It's extremely intimidating to try fighting your way through to get to the vegetables. (I think next year we are going to try some different weed-control--cardboard? Mowing?). It's a jungle.
And the bugs--there are soooo many bugs! There are swarms--buzzing around, eating the weeds, eating the garden plants, eating each other. Just walking through is like something out of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. I feel like I need an insect whistle and a glider to survive (and also a machete).
However, we are still pulling lots of vegetables out. Not summer squash or beans this year, unfortunately, but lots of other things. The rain turned the remaining melons to mush. I know I could have gone in and harvested them during the rain, but since I was doing all the chores myself those days, no. It was enough to be rained on while moving chicken coops and milking cows and goats. There were two left, and there are still healthy-looking melon vines in there, so there's a possibility of more. The cucumbers look like they're getting a second wind, too.
We didn't get many pumpkins this year, but we did get a few. There were two Potimarron pumpkins, a Sibley (the long blue one), a Winter Luxury Pie pumpkin, and a Strawberry Crown--and not pictured there were also several Thelma Sander's Sweet Potato pumpkins, an Australian Butter pumpkin and an Amish Pie pumpkin. I like growing so many different kinds, because I get a good perspective on how well they do during certain conditions. For example, the Sibley was nice-tasting, but it was very susceptible to insect damage. Winter Luxury Pie is nice, but it has never really thrived here, not last year or this crazy year. However, the Potimarrons were good pumpkins and produced well, even with all the neglect. I will definitely grow them next year.
An yes, I admit that the pumpkins were neglected this year. I vow to do better next summer. There is also a strange volunteer white pumpkin, that looks like a white hubbard squash growing out of a compost pile from the chickie brooder. It's not in the garden, so it hasn't been watered or cared for at all this year, and actually has been stepped on quite a bit by cows because it's growing in the path to the milking shed, and yet it has several nice large pumpkins on it--more than any of the vines in the garden!
I don't like to think about what that says about my gardening skills, but I'm trying to think of how we could replicate that for next year's garden. More batches of meat chickens?
The okra has really started to produce well. It went crazy during the storm and there was a lot of very long, woody okra I cut and tossed out, but still plenty of tender pods, too.
We lost a lot of the large tomatoes in the rain, and even some peppers, but the cherry tomatoes seemed to thrive. They are all ripening up now, and we still got a lot of peppers. I really like the Czechoslovakian Black peppers. They are hot peppers, and have all the flavor of hot peppers, but they become mild enough when cooked to be able to include them in meals that my children will eat.
The cow peas are also ready! I got twice as many as this along the second row. We got out our new pea sheller--which did require some searching on Youtube for someone who knew how to make it functional (you have to hook a drill up to the handle--apparently it needs a lot of torque), and we did get enough for a pot of peas with fresh side cooked up for lunch.
As I was saying to Ethan the other day, it might look like an inhospitable jungle, but at least we're still getting a significant amount of food out of it. Not too bad for swarms of insects, lots of rain and over 90 degree weather.