Jennifer Jo over at Mama's Minutia wrote a blog post a day or so ago about wanting to do her garden over this summer. I can't help but believe there are many of us scattered all across the country that would like to be able to do this.
Strange weather patterns have plagued all of us to one extent or the other. Insects seem to be extremely prevalent this year, and in my garden they're attacking crops that have never seemed to be bothered before.
I took a good look around my own garden this morning and made notes regarding what I saw.
As I've mentioned, I planted only cherry tomatoes this year. I've had oodles (and oodles) of lovely green fruit for over a month . . . all without a touch of color yet. Considering our unusually hot summer, I was sure we would be wondering what to do with all our miniature tomatoes by now, but we've not yet had so much as one to sample.
I had done a little pruning on the tomato plants but not as much as I usually do because Erin at Garden Now - Think Later mentioned that she never prunes her tomatoes and that girl knows how to produce tomatoes. (Okay, so she is in Virginia as opposed to me in Minnesota, but still.) I think my plants were putting all their energy into that mountain of greenery they were busily growing and not enough into the fruit. There has been discussion on blogs recently that tomato plants need to be stressed in some way to encourage them to produce ripe fruit and, in turn, seeds to insure their own propagation. So day before yesterday, I decided to introduce a little stress. (To the tomatoes, not me.) To say I pruned them is an understatement.
Maybe I did get just a titch carried away. It's a kill 'em or cure 'em situation, folks. Now, as they say, the proof will be in the pudding.
It's not unusual for shell peas to be coming in near the end of July up here in the North Woods.
But the problem this year is that we've had so much hot weather my vines are drying up and dying off at a rapid rate, and I'm not going to get near the harvest of peas I need to keep us going until next season. There are still scads of unplumped up pods out there, but I fear the vines aren't going to hold in there long enough for all of the peas to mature.
My pickling cucumbers are growing as if there's no tomorrow, and it looks as if I'll be making pickles about a month earlier than usual.
So why then are my slicing cucs and lemon cucs doing NOTHING?? Well, nothing except offering their very life blood (life juice?) up to any marauding insect that happens by. They are so slow this year I'm beginning to wonder if we'll even get fruit off them. And wouldn't you think this hot, humid weather would be good growing conditions for ALL varieties of cucumbers?
All my onions have been knocked flat by winds. Will the bulbs continue to grow so I have more than golf ball sized onions to store for the winter? I don't know, but the onion beds sure are ugly now.
It's definitely not all death and doom in the garden. Lots of things are doing well. Two delightful urchins visiting yesterday asked if they could pull up a carrot. I told them to go ahead expecting to see something the size of a cocktail sausage.
But, lo and behold, there are decent sized carrots growing in that there soil, and best of all, they're sweet tasting. I had feared with lack of adequate moisture and the hot temps, they might be tending toward the bitter side.
This whole blog post has been an attempt to rest from processing raspberries, blueberries, shell peas, and cucs for pickles, all of which have been scattered on my kitchen table and counters since harvesting this morning. The only thing I have left to do yet tonight is blanch and freeze green beans. Phew, whadda day. But since I'm shooting for a day off tomorrow (I hope, I hope, I hope), I really do need to get my rusty-duster back to work.
Perspective of a shepherd
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