Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What's Happening in the Garden?


Well, for one thing, we have one broccoli head forming on our late planted broccoli.  This head is about 4" across right now.  So why is it that this one plant looks like this . . . and none of the other (same aged) plants have even started forming heads yet?  'Tis a mystery.


Blueberries and beans are the main crops coming in right now.  To date we've harvested a total of 40-1/2 pounds of blueberries.  Considering last year all we got was about 2 quarts, I'd say this is a better year.  A way better year.  And there are LOTS more still to ripen.


My bean row has gone all flopsy-mopsy on me.  I think the hot weather has made them grow so tall and lush that they can no longer stand upright as respectable bush bean plants should do.  No harm done, but it does make for harder picking when it comes time to harvest.


This is my fall planted bed of shell peas.  Coming along nicely . . . but quite a long way from harvest, wouldn't you say?  Those are giant snapdragons in the center that I didn't have the heart to yoink out when I cleaned up the rest of the bed so I could plant the peas.


Wowzer, will ya look at this apple?  It's one of quite a few on our new, intensively planted dwarf trees.  It's pretty close to full-size already.  Gads, could it be we might get a decent harvest of eating apples, like matured with flavor and everything, this fall?


This one of the little pie pumpkins.


And here are a couple of the big, jack o' lantern pumpkins.  A fur piece from full-size (about bigger than a basketball right now) and orange in color, but they've got time yet.


We had a bear prowling around last night.  He first tested the heavy plywood top of the box we keep our recycling materials in (tooth marks on the edge), then he opened it and checked out what was inside.  We keep all the cans, bottles, plastics, etc. well rinsed out precisely so the aroma doesn't attract bears.  He chomped on a couple of the plastic jugs and then apparently went looking elsewhere for something tastier.  Considering the extensive damage bears can do, we were very glad we had no real damage.  Makes us glad the birds (and honey bee hives!) are inside enclosures behind electric fencing at night!

29 comments:

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

First off, your garden beds are totally amazing. Second, I've been dismantling my garden. This season my garden has taken a big hit. We had a few nice harvests in the early part of spring. Now things are no longer producing, and the weather hasn't helped. I've also noticed there weren't many bees this year :-(
Glad to hear the bear left and didn't go after your birds. I'd been watching the next several days to make sure he/she doesn't return.
Sending hugs and love your way.
Sandy

Vera said...

Your crop of blueberries is fantastic, and encourages me to think that we ought to try growing them too.
Our bush beans were harvested a couple of months ago so did not have to suffer the floppiness of too much heat!

Dawn McHugh said...

We are having a good Blueberry harvest although not to your scale,now a bear I wouldnt like to deal with that, hope he dosent return,

Sue said...

We're having a terrific blueberry year as well. I guess since last year was a complete bust for us, it felt sorry for us??
I can send you up some of the GAWD AWFUL heat we've had this summer is you'd like?? That would get things going quickly! What a summer. Hubby loves it, as it's the first summer in years I've worn shorts!!--but I'm not happy.....though I admit the garden is fantastic this year. Sigh. Reality bites sometimes-I hate summer, but love gardening. Oh, the gods are laughing at me.......

Everything looks terrific up there. Keep plugging away. Fall will be here soon.
Have a good weekend, Mama Pea

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Papa Pea. Illinois wishing you a great day!!!

Kristina said...

Wow, your garden is super tidy. Mine are not so tidy, ha ha! Glad that bear left the area without too much damage. We fall planted shell peas in hopes to get some in the freezer this time. I hope the last rain did them some good.

Susan said...

I am convinced that gardening is five parts voodoo and five parts luck. That is a very handsome head of broccoli - but why one and not the others? Weird-o. Your blueberry harvest is amazing! The only thing that produced a bumper crop this year in my garden was the weeds.

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - I can only imagine how hard your garden was hit by the hot weather you must be experiencing in your part of the country. You'll probably feel better dismantling it rather than looking at the non-producing plants. The lack of bees all over the country is a big, big problem. Another advantage we think of when keeping them here on our homestead.

No bear last night, but we are keeping our eyes peeled!

Mama Pea said...

Vera - At least you had enough warmth to have your beans produce, and that's the important thing. I need to go out and paw through the tangle again today to harvest beans that are ready.

Not being at all familiar with your climate, I don't know if blueberries would do well in your area or not. Do you know of any being grown there?

Mama Pea said...

Dawn - I'm just so glad the bear didn't "smell" the blueberries and try to get at them. To do so, he'd have to go through electric fencing and a 7' high deer fence . . . but a bear just might try it if hungry enough. Here's hoping he's finding enough to eat in the surrounding forest!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Don't you DARE send any heat our way! We are still suffering (and I mean that literally) in the continued heat and humidity. I almost made myself sick yesterday picking blueberries. I don't think it was the heat so much as the humidity! Just awful.

Yep, our blueberry crop last year was not plentiful . . . or I should say it didn't look as though it would be plentiful before the birds stole all of it . . . but this year Mother Nature is being good to the blueberry crop.

It's hard to remember fall will be here soon when we have to endure this gawd-awful heat day after day. Okay, no more whining. I must gird my loins and get out there to pick beans now. :o/

Mama Pea said...

Anon - Thanks from Papa Pea to all of you for the birthday wishes! His daughter has been giving him a hard time all week about being so o-l-d now. His birthday card from her was addressed to "The Best Middle-Aged Man on the Homestead." ;o)

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - It doesn't really matter what any of our gardens look like. The important thing is the harvest we get from them!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Gardening, ha! Ain't that the truth! I'm off now to check just how big a head that particular variety of broccoli is supposed to get. It might be ready to harvest!

Gotta love the tenacity of those dratted weeds. Or not.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I love those pie pumpkins! I have never seen those before :)

I wish you a pleasant weekend!!

Lisa said...

Love, love, love always looking at your garden pictures! Always so tidy and well kept no matter what temps you are suffering. Officially raised the white flag here a few weeks ago and pulled most things up.... including the weeds. It was driving me crazy to see such sadness. Our SC heat and humidity continues to set records and with no rain we are now in drought conditions. Maybe next year, right?! Oh, and one year our blackberries were filled with those little white worms and it's taken me a few years to get back to eating blackberries.... something I REALLY usually love. Have a great day! :)

Michelle said...

Well, THAT'S something we don't have to deal with here – bears! Not that there are no bears in NW OR, but not around here....

DFW said...

Apples, yeah! I can't grow broccoli for the life of me. Going to try at the country house in the fall maybe next year. Bears, oh my!

Mama Pea said...

OpEx - They're just about the right size for one pie. I also use them for fall decorations in my window boxes.

Hope you have a good weekend, too. We're supposed to get rain which we really, really need!

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - Thanks for always being so complimentary! I love raspberries and couldn't believe it when I took the dish of recently picked raspberries out of the refrigerator and found them COVERED with the worms. It really turned my stomach so I can sympathize with your blackberry experience! So sorry you've had such terrible conditions for gardening. We are in need of rain here, too, but I know it's not as bad as in your area. Dang and drat!

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - A bear-free area . . . I love it! :o]

Mama Pea said...

DFW - I'm beginning to wonder if *I* can grow broccoli!!! Not a single sign of another head on my big plants. But the one I did harvest ended up on our dinner plates last night and it was wonderful!

Leigh said...

Bears! Yikes! That's a varmint I'm glad we don't have (although I'm told there have been black bear sightings once again).

Your garden looks fantastic! Even since I took my last set of photos the weeds (especially wiregrass) has about engulfed my mulch and hidden everything. :(

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

When will you harvest those fall peas? I always mean to plant a second round of peas, but never do! We don't get bears close to us, but a little farther north and they do, often to bird feeders. -Jenn

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Bear hunting season up here opens the first of September for which many people will be glad because their numbers seem to be up this year and they have been a nuisance in many spots.

I just hate it when the weeds come up through and/or take over the mulch! Impossible to pull out and kinda defeats the purpose! But if you can still get a harvest of the crops, who cares?

Mama Pea said...

Jenn - I don't even know if my peas will be able to mature before the first fall killing frost. In a normal year (what's that?), our temps would already be on the cool side (especially at night), but this year we've had exceptional heat not even cooling off much over night. So I thought I'd take a chance to see what some fall planting would do. But that's not something I regularly do so it's all an experiment!

There's no way we can leave bird feeders outside a fenced in area because they attract bears like flies toward honey! Likewise with any kind of garbage. That's a real no-no around here.

Rain said...

I've lived in areas where the bears were considered a big nuisance. I remember hearing some grumbling one December morning under my back deck and finding an adolescent sleeping under there. We don't have them here where we are now, but I'm glad they didn't do more damage and I do hope they move on Mama Pea.

Oh blueberries, pumpkins and apples!!! I NEARLY invested in a dwarf apple tree this year! Worth it? I guess we'll see, but that apple looks wonderful! I remember living on Prince Edward Island, going to a pumpkin festival and seeing thousand pound squash and pumpkins! That was it...when I have my own land, I decided way back then (2009) that I'd be planting giants!!! Ever thought about it? But I guess they really aren't for eating, just for bragging. I'd love to grow some pie pumpkins...or gourds one day too.

Mama Pea said...

Rain - I was JUST reading about a boy who grew an enormous pumpkin by feeding it (watering it with) milk! Ever heard of that? Up here I'm luck if a decent sized pumpkin turns orange before the killing frosts get it so I don't think I could ever grow one of those monster ones. I'll leave that up to you!

Rain said...

Well you know, they are able to grow them in the Maritimes, but the winters are much milder. When my bf and I buy our property, it'll likely be on the East coast so me thinks giant pumpkins are in my future! I'll remember the milk tip!