End of August review

August has never been my favorite month, not sure why but it’s usually hot, the kids go back to school, the garden is normally winding down a bit.  Things grow a tad more slowly and the greens change from emeralds to olives.  Generally, as was the case again this year, leaves from the cottonwoods begin to fall, even though it’s not supposed to be officially “FALL” in August.  The cicadas’ songs become more strident and the birds start grouping into flocks.

This year, August has been a bit more pleasant, with some cooler evenings and adequate rain so there wasn’t the usual hose-dragging.  I’ve enjoyed putting in the late plantings more and they are doing better than last year.  I’ve decided to do a better job at extending the protager’s productivity, and it certainly seems willing to keep going if I am!Bean Dragon Tongue Already the “Dragon Tongue” beans, planted July 6th  are producing, the Jade II beans are setting tiny threads of infant beans and there’s a variety of new lettuces to pick (not shown but there’s LOTS on other beds!) Bean last planting  This diagonal double row in the center is the very last planting of beans for this year, a variety called “Speedy” that’s growing nicely.  They were planted August 15, and with a maturity of 50 days, it will be all Mother Nature’s benevolence if they produce, because the days are getting shorter.  But it’s worth the gamble because every week that there’s a meal of fresh beans for the table, it’s one less jar of canned beans that I need to process.  We’ve had fresh beans to use since June 17, so that’s 11 jars not needed and I believe we’ll have them through September, so that will be two canners-ful not required!  Lots of energy saved there. All of the early potatoes have been tipped out of their pots, and now the “German Butterball” are being harvested as needed, and of course there’s still lots of indeterminate tomatoes and various peppers coming to the kitchen daily.  Young beets are ready to harvest and three varieties of spinach are growing well. Wando peas The “Wando” peas are nearly at the top of their fence and promising a good crop.  And just take a moment to notice those “Hot Pak” marigolds.  As edging, they still look fantastic and are holding up much better than the “Boy” series I’ve grown in the past.  And, while I was in Italy, a few dropped seed and I’m delighted to report that the new plants are growing “true” so seed can be collected for next year’s edgings.Cannellini trellis The “Cannellini” beans seem to realize that their time is limited and are putting out even greater numbers of pods and blooms.  I love sitting under their shade now, but looking at this photo makes me realize I need to paint that bench once the beans are gone.  The hummingbirds are enjoying the blooms, although I’ve never seen them at the any other varieties of beans in the potager. Maybe it’s simply because the blooms are up high.Black-eye pea The black-eyed peas are still producing and I’ve really enjoyed growing them this year as a trial crop.  Something nibbled the tops of the recently-seeded snow peas, so not sure how well they’ll do.  CarrotThere’s lots of baby carrots growing nicely in various beds, but this row is “Kuroda”, a variety that is especially good for storage.  The row next is bunching onions, which will provide green onions well into late autumn and early winter.  Here and there are short rows of kale, turnips, and radishes There are mountains of winter squash vines here and there in the potager. Squash vines  Right now, it looks like “Butterscotch” will be most numerous.  I clipped the ends of all of the vines this week in hopes that energy will go to maturing the fruits already set on. Pumpkin Baby Bear I doubt there will be pumpkins although the replanted “Baby Bear” do have a couple of tennis-ball sized fruit.  That’s pretty iffy, but it’s more than they accomplished last year.  Eventually, through trial and error apparently, I’ll get the timing right…if I live long enough!  All these baby crops are a gamble and their success just depends, as usual, on when the first frost occurs, but for now, things look really good!  (Knock wood!)

And now to the numbers!  Last year’s August production was 181.0 pounds, the bulk coming from pulling all the onions, with tomatoes, summer squash, peppers & melons at full harvest as well.  This year was less, only 177.75 pounds, largely due to the death of most of the squash and melon vines, but also partly because I intentionally planted fewer tomatoes.  We just couldn’t use them all last year and there are still canned ones on the shelves.  Last year I canned 100 jars of food in August.  This year only 86…I’m out of jars and shelf space.  Guess we need to eat more canned goods labeled “2017.”

About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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17 Responses to End of August review

  1. bcparkison says:

    Well I have plenty of jars because I didn’t do this. And every time I see your beautiful plenty I think…I should do this again. Maybe and maybe not. time will tell.

    Like

    • carolee says:

      Only do it if you really NEED it, or really WANT TO DO IT! There are so many fun things to do in life, but this is what brings me great pleasure, so I do it. I don’t think I really enjoyed it as much when it was a necessity!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. March Picker says:

    An excellent recap of an abundant summer, with more to come! Your succession plantings are always an inspiration, Carolee, and I enjoy reading about the late plated varieties. I’ll research some for this area. 177.75 pounds is nothing to sneeze at! I think I may begin faithfully weighing our crops out of curiosity. Does the total not include tree and soft fruit?

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    • carolee says:

      I don’t have any fruit trees 😦 and the blackberries all froze back during our horrible winter, the fall red raspberries are just setting fruit, but are not abundant this year. I didn’t weigh anything the first year, but I find it is very informative in terms of planning for the next year.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mala Burt says:

    I don’t can anywhere near as much as you do. When the four kids were all home I did, but now with just two of us it’s mostly tomato sauce in pints and jam. I went through the canning shelves and pulled forward everything from before this year. And wrote it down so I know that if I still have 4 pts of pickled beets from three years ago, I don’t have to do pickled beets again. The jar I opened tasted great, but somehow they don’t get on the table so no more pickled beets.

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    • carolee says:

      Very organized! I should do that, too. D loves pickled beets, so there’s no worry of them going to waste, but I do can too many pickles. Just hate to see them go to the compost, and he won’t eat them raw at all, I can only eat so many. But if I grow only enough for 1 or 2 at a time, then there’s never enough to can ANY, and I usually need at least one kind, sweet or bread and butter…..I’m using 2016 dills still so, no dills at all this year.

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  4. What a bounty. An impressive number, even if it was less than last year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m out of shelf space, too, but I’d really like to put by a few jars of pears. Maybe I need more shelves.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A. JoAnn says:

    The bean plants do make a pretty seating area for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. fuelledbygin says:

    Hi, I am wondering if you crop rotate your beds? I love the diagonal planting too!

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    • carolee says:

      Yes, I try to rotate my crops, although now it is getting more difficult as I’m heading into 4th year plans. Succession cropping also complicates things, but so far, it’s been possible. Switching potatoes and eggplants to pots this year really helped free up some space.

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  8. sarasinart says:

    Black eyed peas….not too many people grow them. Do you eat them fresh? If you haven’t tried them fresh, you’re missing something really good. I like your blog!

    Like

    • carolee says:

      How do you fix them….just raw with nothing? In salads? Never heard of eating them raw. Should hulls be green or gold when picked for eating raw?

      Liked by 1 person

      • sarasinart says:

        Just a little lighter green, but not yellow, for the beans to be completely matured but not beginning to dry yet. Once they’re mature, they go dry quick. I like to fry a little bacon with some onion, cook the beans in water maybe 10 minutes, then saute them in with the bacon/onions for a few minutes to blend flavors. I’ve blanched them 2 minutes and frozen them also, and when you get them from the freezer (in the cold winter!) they taste like you just picked them from the plants.

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      • carolee says:

        I have frozen some as you suggested, but I think I picked everything as the pods turned yellow, so I’ll pick some tomorrow that are more green and try your method. Anything with bacon…..! Thanks for your help!

        Liked by 1 person

      • sarasinart says:

        You’re welcome. I love them, and I hope you do too. Yea, bacon…………:)

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