Friday, September 12, 2014

Gray Day Garden Walk

We seem to be in the midst of a few gray days here.  Again.  (You'd think we'd be used to this since it's been this way NEARLY ALL SUMMER!  Plus we've been warned of possible frost tonight . . . down around 30°.  If the sky was clear I would be worried, but with this heavy cloud cover, I truly don't think we will see frost.

I'm not going to bother covering anything left in the garden.  Whatever will be, will be (Suffering garden burn-out, are we?)

I've been reading your blogs detailing all the things you've been making with your abundant harvests of tomatoes along with pictures showing every surface in your kitchens covered with ripe and ready tomatoes, so I thought I'd share a photo of my tomato harvest.


These are the first ripe tomatoes we've had this season.  (Fer Pete's sake, I can't even grow a crop of cherry tomatoes this year!)


Above is one of my little pie pumpkins.  There are few of them on the vines this year, and they show no signs of maturing.  Maybe I can use them for decorations though.  Green decorations.


The jack o' lantern pumpkins are more prolific and very large . . . but certainly a long way from turning the appropriate color.


I've been delighted to see that my red kuri squash (a winter squash) might actually turn out to be edible.  These are nearly the color they're supposed to be when harvested.  (Picture right out of the camera.)  I just wish they wouldn't get so big.  (Never satisfied, am I?)  These are about three-quarters the size of a basket ball.  Ones just large enough to serve the two of us would be much more convenient.  But when they are this big, I bake the whole thing, use what we want for a meal and then puree and freeze the rest to use in place of pumpkin for pies or other pumpkin desserts.


These seeds were labeled "Mixed Gourds" which I thought would be nice for fall decorations.  The only fruit I've been able to find on the vines is these little white pumpkins.  Hmmm, who messed with my seeds?


The potato vines aren't exactly standing up and saluting anymore but they're far from dead so I do hope we get some more good growing weather for them.  I've stolen some spuds from two plants and they're nice sized already.


I try to plant only heirloom seeds so I can learn how to save my own seeds which could come in handy some day.  But this is the problem we face with our short growing season.  I have lovely, large bean pods on this planting of yellow wax beans, but as you can see the bean bushes haven't died down yet nor have the pods matured enough to dry and give me seeds fit for saving.  The plants will get killed by frost before they dry properly.  And I really can't plant the beans earlier so they would start maturing and drying sooner in the season.  Nope, they go in as soon as the weather and soil are warm enough to keep the seeds from rotting before sprouting.  Yep, the short growing season is a real challenge up here.

So is the very chilly mid-September weather that threatens a frost for tonight!  (But, hey, I'm handling it.)

23 comments:

Sue said...

You may just have to use your kuri squash as pumpkins. I only ended up with 3 small sugar pie pumpkins and no big pumpkins at all. I guess salad greens and cold weather crops were the winners this year. Personally, I'm tired of the garden. I've yanked most things already and am putting "doo" on a lot of beds . I only have carrots and applesauce to make and I am DONE. Kinda glad we only squeeze out 3 months of gardening. I couldn't take any more than that.........

Mollie said...

Okay, for the 3rd time--testing comment. My other comments don't take. I don't get it & it's becoming very frustrating. Nothing to do with you Mama Pea.

Susan said...

What a frustrating gardening year for you and Papa Pea. That is why I cheat - left to my own garden, I'd starve. Or have to subsist on wax beans and cucumbers.

Tyche's Minder said...

Wow. Just wow. You have really gotten the short end of the weather stick this summer. I hope all these doom and gloom predictions about the early winter are wrong.

Tami said...

Totally skunked on my winter squashes although I do have 1 small pie pumpkin on my table. A total waste of space this year. Your garden still looks beautiful to me. Funny how we ALL have different successes and failures...

odiie said...

I don't know how you fared, but we received a very heavy frost last night. I'm on my way out to assess the damage.

Sunny skies this morning and warmer weather on the way. It is fall.

tpals said...

The frost line went north of us for which I am very grateful. It was chilly enough to light the woodstove though.

One volunteer pumpkin I left alone has gone mad and taken over the small garden. I wish my potatoes plants had held out longer like yours, but I'll take what I can get.

Leigh said...

I have to say your garden looks really good. My pumpkins didn't make it; I just can't seem to grow them. Your short growing season is truly a challenge. I have a good long one, but scorching sun and long dry spells take their toll. We're finally getting fall-like weather here, but nowhere close to yours.

Mama Pea said...

Sue - This is the first year that I've been yanking out green plants . . . like before a killing frost hits. I think it is because the whole season was such a struggle. Too much rain, not nearly enough sun and a summer that didn't start until . . . wait, it never did start!

Mama Pea said...

Mollie - Thank you for attempting to comment! When I have diffoogulties like that, my computer guru daughter says, "Mom, it's just a problem with Blogger . . . nothing we can do, just live with it." Grumpf.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Gosh, I didn't mean to come across so negatively in this post. Lots went right with the garden this year despite all the challenges. I must do a post on the positive!

Mama Pea said...

Tami - Yeah, I knew very early on I should have yanked all my pumpkin/gourd/squash plantings and seeded a cover crop for green manure, if nothing else. But hubby (ever the optimist) wouldn't let me do it. He's still saying we may get a long, late fall. (Uh-huh, sure, Honey.) ;o]

Mama Pea said...

Tyche's Minder - I hope I'm wrong, but I have a feeling this coming winter is going to be another rough one. Don't get me wrong, we moved here because we love winter and snow, but geegollykins, when you spend day after day plowing snow and shoveling both morning AND afternoon, it cuts into your time to do anything else!

Mama Pea said...

0diie - The night you got the heavy frost (gosh, I'm sorry, too early for that!) we only got down to 39°. No sun so far for us (Sunday morning now), but we're still hoping!

Mama Pea said...

tpals - Wonder why your potato plants gave up the ghost before ours? Maybe you had enough sun that they naturally died off? Ours probably haven't had enough sun and warm to create their normal growing cycle!

We've been making a small fire in the mornings for the past week!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Yes, yes, yes. Each and every one of us gardeners faces our own particular challenges! I also think those of you in the "south" have more of a problem with undesirable insects than we do. So does it all even out in the end! Hard to say, but we all just have to keep trying 'cause there is no better food for us than what we manage to grow in our own soil and with our own healthy ways of doing it!

Carolyn said...

Wow. That harvest of tomatoes is just, well, sad. Guess you won't be canning this year, hugh?

tpals said...

I thought of a possible solution to saving your own bean seeds. Before the next freeze warning pull a couple plants and hang them in a sheltered, dry building. Can't hurt to try.

J Yale said...

Here in Ontario, my potatoes did well, pumpkins did well, but had the worst tomatoes in the past 10 years! I think it was due to a lack of heat. Sorry you had a similar fate.

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - Nah, gonna skip the hassle of canning the tomatoes this year. Haven't even eaten those three sad little maters . . . just want to look at them a while longer. ;o)

Mama Pea said...

tpals - Yep, I thought of that, too . . . could hang them in the garage. (My husband will be thrilled.) But for the number of seeds I'd need to get, it might be more hassle than it's worth. I'm still debating. No frost here yet.

Mama Pea said...

J Yale - Yes, just simply lack of enough warmth. Amazing your pumpkins did well!

Akannie said...

Mama Pea~~ it can be such a gamble, this gardening stuff. Our summer has been totally bizarre too...but I did manage to get quite a bit out of the garden. I think the garden gods smiled on us...we got everything in so late that I expected a bust of a year...apparently being that late put in us in just the right place at the right time. Friends of mine that got all their stuff in early have crashed and burned this year. And so it goes. They are saying that the entire midwest has a doozy of a winter coming. I hope I am prepared. I have been going through my pantry (which is [amazingly enough] overflowing with canned and dehydrated goods) and figuring out what dry goods I still need to stock up on...oatmeal, flour, nuts, beans...you know. I feel like I've been working like a madwoman this year...I just heard today that the Illinois pumpkin crop may be a total loss, driving the price of pumpkins through the roof. So, it's not just you. Too much rain and cool weather , not enough sun and heat. I didn't know until recently, but apparently my home state is the #1 pumpkin producing state in the country. Who knew? It's one thing I can't seem to grow. LOL