Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Bit o' Rain

At last!  Thursday last week we woke to rain...and it rained for three whole days!  I got about an inch and a half out at the house, although just a few miles north of me they had over three inches!  Still, I'll take it.  It started off as a heavy rain - so heavy, in fact, that when I drove thru Napoleon on the way to work Thursday morning, there was a lake in front of the gas station and a whirlpool circling the drain in the road (in truth, some of this might have simply been the result of ground too hard from drought to soak up the rain as it fell).  By late morning, however, it had let up, and for the next two days it was mostly misting - light rain that could soak in.

I picked more corn - and more beans.  That's what's producing right now.  

I was very excited to find one blue kernel on one of the ears of Painted Hills.  

Watermelons are growing on the vines - how does one know when they are ready to pick, though?  And if the squash beetles leave 'em alone, I should have lots of butternut squash this fall. 

The spuds have tried to rally - they are sending out some new leaves, but with them are coming a new batch of CPBs.   Grrr.  I may have to give up potatoes.  :(

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Better than Peas

The silks were brown, so I figured it was time to harvest some of the corn.  Oh, my goodness - just look at 'em!  That's Painted Hills on the left, Ambrosia in the middle and the two on the right are Fleet.

First, there was some disappointment.  Below is what the Painted Hills, an heirloom variety, is supposed to look like.  Its claim to fame is its beautifully multi-colored kernels.  Mine were all just white.  Hm.  Did they send me the wrong seed?  Nope - what I planted was multi-colored.  Could it be the poor soil here affected the coloration?  I have no idea, but I was disappointed.  (Reading thru the description on the FEDCO website, they say the ears have mostly white kernels, with other colors interspersed.  Maybe some of the other ears will be more colorful.)

 Painted Hills Sweet Corn | Photo credit: we'moon in the woods, Flickr, Creative Commons, 
via Frugal-Cafe Blog Zone

Still, I cooked 'em all up and while watching the final episode of the first season of Torchwood, I enjoyed the best corn I've ever grown.  Yum. 

The (few) leftovers went into the freezer.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Drought and the Garden

The peas have given up the ghost - and who can blame them in the heat and drought we've had this summer!  I'd almost give up on the beans as well, which seemed to be producing a few flowers, but no actual beans...until this week.  Huzzah - the rattlesnake pole beans have finally started to produce!

 But the plants are not thriving.  A) The twine I've been using for trellising keeps breaking - I never had this kind of problem back in NY, and b) something is eating the plants.  The bush beans (dry beans) have struggled and I don't think I've seen a single blossom there.  The culprit?  You tell me:

Yes...that's a hole dug under the fence.  I found that last night.  I've seen rabbits in the garden, and certainly have seen the damage they've done to the beans.  I never had rabbit problems in NY.  The worst I had was the CPBs and the year the voles (?) ate the carrots.

Now, this hole is suspect belongs to the 13-lined ground squirrel.  I've seen one in the yard, and recently found two dead in the road, but otherwise they've been pretty secretive.  I don't know if they damage crops or not, but they are definitely living in my raised beds...almost as bad as the moles.

The corn, while crowded, is actually looking pretty good.

In fact, there are quite a number of ears this year, and many of decent size!  I'm really looking forward to harvesting these...if I can get them before the raccoons.  Based on the crop at the moment, this is the best luck I've ever had with corn!

The butternut squash is going great guns!  It got off to a late start, but it seems to be making up for lost time now.

I've also got some watermelons planted in there - and look!  A melon is in the works!  I'm not the biggest melon fan, but I like the idea of growing them.

 So, the garden tools along...hopefully the beans will produce enough to freeze for the winter, and I'll beat the varmints to the corn.  I've squashed a few batches of squash bug eggs, so maybe I'll dodge that bullet, too.  The spuds are starting to releaf - maybe there's still some hope for them.  The onions, however, I fear are not going to be robust - not like the ones I had in NY.  The tops look good, but the bulbs remain small.  We'll see what happens come harvest time.