Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good-bye August, Hello September!

I know it's not officially autumn yet, but I can smell it coming in the air.  This summer has been another learning experience in the garden and I have enjoyed watching the fruits of my labor come to fruition. 
I am happy to report that our 19 tomato plants are happily living on the upstairs deck and all the fruit is in various stages of turning red.  There are so many that I often overlook some and the fruit over-ripens on the vine, and in those cases, the chickens get a treat.  It turns out that our Roma and Violet Jasper varieties grew only to cherry tomato size, if not much bigger.  It's really okay, as I enjoy picking straight off the plant and popping them right into my mouth.  The Moneymakers and Arkansas Travelers have grown to a proper tomato size and we awaiting those lovelies any day now. 
Due to our very warm afternoons, our cucumbers have finally started producing some impressive vegetables.  Interestingly enough, this cucumber variety, Marketmore 76, isn't a climbing variety but a bush variety, and boy is it bushing out.  Also due to the warmer temperatures, the bell peppers are popping!  I have around 12 or so on 6 different plants and can't wait to watch them turn from green to red and orange.
The pumpkins are going to get harvested in the next couple of days and they too didn't grow as big as we thought they would, and again, I am not worried about it.  These little beauties will work just fine for a mini-jack-o-lantern for our Samhain celebration.
All in all, I am happy, tanned, and looking for the leaves on the trees to start turning red and orange. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dang Deer.....I Hate The Stupid Deer!

Ok, hate is probably a strong word, but I really, really, rally don't like the deer.  So far, they have destroyed my pumpkin patch outside of the garden, they destroyed my musk melons, they destroyed my watermelons, and they destroyed a couple of sunflowers.  Stupid deer, doing what deer do. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

August Update

Hey everybody!  I didn't realize how long I had neglected the blog until I decided to update it today.  My summer job has not only kept me super-busy but has left me exhausted every day;  so exhausted in fact that all I have had the time to do is tend to my home chores after I get home, and maybe enjoy a little cocktail.  Well, the official countdown is on, two weeks and counting.  Now for the update.
Chickens:  The flock is doing well.  I have had to dose them with Wazine, a dewormer, and they seem to be doing fine.  We dosed their water a month ago, threw out two weeks of eggs, waited four weeks, and dosed their water again.  We stockpiled almost three dozen eggs to get us through the next couple of weeks.  All the girls seems to have put on a little bit of weight, which looks really good on them. 
Compost:  I woke up yesterday morning, skipped my shower and coffee, and went straight to work.  I had to take care of every step of the compost, so I posted up my little radio and started in at 7:30am.  First I had to sift a pile that was ready to sit and cure for a bit.  After getting the biggest deltoids/biceps workout I've had in months, I enjoyed the fluffy, earthy pile of black gold that I proudly sifted all by myself.  Taylor has always taken care of this step, so I felt very proud when I accomplished this task.  Next I turned the 'baking' pile, which was still full of grubs and all the little crawly decomposers that eat up the decaying organic matter.  It takes a bit of getting use to, but once I realized the huge job they have, I no longer get the sceevies when I see these little guys at work.  Then finally, I added my buckets of kitchen scraps to the build pile, added the chicken doo-dooty, and the dried weeds that the chickens have scratched up when they are foraging.  On an added noted about compost, I started a compost program at the summer camp I am working at right now, and what that entails is the head chef discarding the food scraps from the food program that feeds the campers, and the campers fill up 3 five gallon buckets with watermelon rinds, apple cores and corn cobs.  With two weeks to go, I have added just over 400 pounds of  food scraps to my compost. 
Garden:  The summer crop of corn was a success in that we actually have about five ears of corn on the five stalks we planted.  We found out that the reason you need more rows of corn is that they are self-pollinating.  So the first ear we checked out only had about one row of kernels that had grown, but the second ear we check was almost completely full of kernels.  So we are hopeful for next years crop of Silver Queen corn. 

Cucumbers:  The two Marketmore 76 cucumbers have finally taken off.  Taylor set up a tee-pee of posts for their support, and they seem to have taken to them very quickly.  It will probably be a September harvest for them, but I am patient.  I do love me some cucs!
Pumpkin Patch:  The Connecticut Field pumpkin plant, the one that was accidentally planted in the middle of the pole beans, has taken over one third of the garden.  We have about seven beautiful little pumpkins already turning orange.  I hope they continue to grow, but I am just happy we have our own pumpkins this year.  There is one pumpkin that wouldn't be contained, went rogue, and started growing on the outside of garden fence.  The vines have grown around it, creating a canopy of sorts for the little squash, and it lives right next to the compost build pile.

Sunflowers:  My two sunflower varieties, a Chocolate and a Giant Sunflower, have both opened up and are beautiful. 

Tomatoes:  Oh my goodness, do we have tomatoes!  The Violet Jaspers and the Romas are smaller than we thought they would be, but you can't beat that taste.  The heirloom Italian variety we have has grown over 6'2, which is how tall Taylor is, and is producing beautiful fruit thus far.  The Money Makers are medium sized globes and will probably be the pick for next year's crop.

The striped Violet Jaspers

The little Romas that could!

Heirloom Italian Beefsteak

I hope everybody is enjoying the summer and getting ready for the autumn, I know I am.  I'm in no hurry, but autumn is my favorite season.  Until next time, cheers!