A personal record of what's going on in my Northern Michigan zone 4 gardens. I use raised beds and grow organically. Nothing fancy--just trying to garden with nature in mind.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Garden Update August 24, 2011

I awoke at my usual 3 am to the sound of rain on the roof......talk about heaven! It's been a LONG LONG time since we've had any (almost 2 weeks!)--the sun shines day after day after day.
Temps have been a GLORIOUS 70-75 degrees all week, not a stitch of humidity . Abundant sunshine. We had 2 nights that got into the low 40's. I even saw a few shots of color in some trees yesterday on the way to get ice cream. Yes---summer is almost over. And I'm glad.

Carlos the frog, who lives in my holey water trough, has been wondering if it was ever going to rain again too.

I'm telling ya--between the blue tarps and the yellow buckets under all the eaves, the neighbors are really wondering WHY we moved here. Tee hee!

I've been a good wife, I guess, so hubby got me a dandy new water trough this past week to catch the rain. Just in time, too. We have an area where two rooflines meet and the rain really comes down here. Won't take much to fill this.

Pumpkin on a Stick is beginning to turn orange. These look great for fall decorating.

Mama Pea-last year I told about a short season sunflower for seeds--well, this is it-Aztec Gold from Burpee. I kid you not, these heads weigh a TON-so loaded down with seeds and do-able in our very short summers. I have huge hands-so you can see these are quite large. The birds are going to appreciate these!

We got our first melon August 15th, and it's true that withholding water concentrates the sugars. I didn't personally withhold the water, Mother Nature did. Oh my gosh, the flavor was amazing, and so juicy you had to stand over the sink to enjoy. Fastbreak Melon-69 days.

Dug the Russet Norkotah on August 23. Got two crates full. Though russets are not my favorite, these will certainly help get us through winter as the Yukon Golds did not produce well (one crate) for the second year in a row. I'm beginning to question my supplier on them. I used to get tons of Yukons . Thoughts???

The First Brandywine-finally!! August 23....a full week later than last year. It looks like BLT's are on the menu for lunch today. Oddly enough, the Jetstar -which have a much shorter maturity time-are still not ready. Looks like I will have to share this one with Don. Rats.

Hope you all have a wonderful week. To those in the east-batten down the hatches and stay safe!


  1. HipHipHooray for the rain! Hope it filled your new trough! What a lovely first tomato...too bad ya have to share it! ;) I planted Yukons for the first time this year as well as several other varities. Haven't pulled any yet. Where do you get yours from?

  2. Pumpkin on a stick! How cute is that??

    Glad you're getting some rain. I love that the temps are finally falling. Fall IS my favorite time of year!

  3. I absolutely love reading your posts. They're so beautiful! I like the water trough idea ... don't know why I haven't thought of this - thanks! :)

  4. Wonderful progress in the garden. I love the new trough. Enjoy the rain!

  5. where did you say you lived again "heaven" no rain,70's temps,bountifulness garden---yeop thats heaven, got so much rain that my grandson Anthony's toads drowned in the bucket on the deck oh did I forget to say beautiful artsy garden----ya,heaven

  6. I had not before noticed that your house is a rock house. Love it!
    So glad you got the rain and have a new rain catcher. That will really help.
    All your harvesting looks good. Wish my cantaloupes had survived. Enjoy!

  7. I definitely made note last year of the Aztec Gold sunflowers and will plant them next year for the seeds. The current best price we can get on sunflowers seeds for the birds is $28 for 50 lbs. Too steep but hubby refuses to "let the birds go hungry."

    I think I'm going to try your Fastbreak Melon next year, too. (Me who vowed NEVER to waste time on melons again.)

    I STILL don't have a ripe cherry tomato. And the way our fall temps are moving in, I might not get one this year.

    So . . . um, Sue, what did you have to do to get a new water trough???

  8. Yay for the brandywine! We finally got a german queen in and it was so huge that it split on the vine and in no time became moldy and unedible. But the plant is so weighed down with a bunch of slightly ripe ones I'm hoping soon I'll get my first taste of one.
    Everything is looking good!
    all this talk of tomatoes is making me hungry!

  9. Rain! Aren't you lucky?! I can smell it now... Our weather forecast today is hot with thunderstorms and potential damaging winds and hail. I hope they are wrong but I will get ready just in case...

    We have a frog that lives in a bucket where we had water lilies waiting to be planted in the pond. I don't have the heart to get rid of the bucket now - so he has one lily all to himself.

    Your harvest looks wonderful. So does that new water trough - it is true love when you get a gift like that!

  10. APG-the past two years, I've gotten my potatoes from Vermont Bean. I haven't had any luck the past two years. I'm not saying it's their stuff,...or am I? I don't know. I'm just wondering if anyone else is having problems with the Yukons or is it just me???? Cuz, my other taters are producing great. Hmmmmmmm......

    Mama Tea-fall is my very favorite too. I just took some pics this morning of some maples that are already starting to turn. Any up your way turning yet?

    Jennifer-thanks. I had an old trough and had set it down one day by the house. It was a little light bulb moment! THis new one should really work well-nice and deep!

    Daisy-Thanks so much! Have a great week!!

    Judy--LOL! Michigan is where heaven is located!!

  11. Gardener on Sherlock-I'm so sorry about your canteloupes. It's been a "loopy" year!!

    Mama Pea-I hear you on the sunflower seeds. Hubby goes through at least 2 bags a month feeding the birds. I will never tell him no, but ouch---it's getting really expensive now.
    Have a wonderful day.
    And you'll notice I'm not telling you what I did to deserve that trough. I imagine your imagination is probably good enough!!

    Inl-OH NO!! You didn't even get to TASTE the first tomato???? I would've just about cried!!
    Better luck with the coming ones. Guard em' with your life!!

    2Tramps-lol! I couldn't evict poor Carlos either. I put the new trough on the other side of the house, even though it's kind of inconvenient just because I was worried he would jump in the new one and drown. A bit silly, but I love my critters---even warty ones!

  12. Congrats on that Brandywine!!! I have all my Pumpkin on a Stick(s) drying now, they look so pretty!

  13. Boy that melon looks divine! I didn't grow any this year and I am regretting it.

    Our weather has changed this week to 70s and very little humidity. We had 80s and high humidity last week and it was awful. I hope you enjoyed your BLT for lunch :)

  14. I don't know a thing about veggie gardening, so I can't help you with the potato question.
    But Yum! Yum! BLT's with tomatoes from your own garden. I bet they will be delicious!

    I am so glad you finally got some rain.

    I, too, am glad to see fall is almost here.

    Your sunflower pic just reminded me that I planted a whole package of Burpee sunflower seeds and not one of them came up!

  15. Erin--you always have me beat on produce---but I thought of you a few days ago---I saw some Maples turning, and I chuckled and thought--I beat Erin on something. It ain't much, but I'll take it!!! Payback for the Brandywine HELL you've been putting me through these past weeks!

    GrafixMuse-I'm so glad you're finally getting some cool temps. And next year-MELONS. Put them on the list!!

    Zoey-I think you found your passion with perennials and I'm glad to have found you in Blogland. So yes, skip the veggies !
    (and you can stop by for a BLT any day!)

  16. Hi Sue,
    I'm glad you are having some cooler temps and rain. We had lots of rain this summer, and have had some in the last couple of weeks, but the heat came back, so we could use some more.

    I like your house, too. The cleomes look great next to it. I think I have given up on growing tall sunflowers. The squirrels knock down the plants to get to the seeds. They'll take the heads off, and scatter them around the neighborhood. I have a shorter one that has buds up and down the stem. I forgot what kind they are, so I look forward to seeing what they will look like.

    I can't grow melons, because stem borers kill them. My potatoes didn't do as well last year as they have other seasons, so this year, I didn't plant any. I do have some sweet potato plants in a few pots.

  17. Hi Sue! I love your cleome! I used to have a lot of them and I let them self seed. There are very few of them now in the garden. I guess I need to collect seeds and spread them here and there. Congratulations on your potatoes!
    Thank you for your comment on ny blog!

  18. Hooray! Your finally got that tomato for your BLT. I'm picking tomatoes tomorrow that have any color just in case we get nasty winds this weekend. Hope the weathermen are wrong. But after living in Florida, I know all about being prepared. Good thing its New England and the storm has plenty of time to change direction. Your harvest is looking good.

  19. I have a self seeded stand of sunflowers that I have seen the finches raiding the last week or so. .I've enjoyed it so much that I will have to find a spot to put them next year too!! I tried to grow some big sunflowers, but the lack of rain and hot temps did 'em in!! Hoping next summer gets back on track for everyone!!

  20. CornerGardener Sue-We have these very small squirrels here that really do a lot of damage-hubby has an ongoing war with them to keep things growing. It's always something trying to get our stuff, isn't it- LOL!

    Tatyana-thanks for the visit!

    BackRoad Journal-I sure hope you escape the wrath of the storm. Good idea plucking those tomatoes a bit early just in case. Stay safe!!

    Melanie-I think the sunflowers bring a big of joy to us too! I hope to get some of the heads in to dry before the birds get ALL of them. Hubby likes to "tack" a head up on a tree outside our big window so we can watch the birds feeding throughout winter.

  21. Glad you finally got some rain, Sue. Your produce looks great. I will have to try that melon too. Like Mama Pea, every year I say I am not going to plant it, and of course every year I do and every year I am disappointed. Pumpkins on a stick? New to me. I will have to check those out.
    Hope your new water trough fills up fast.

  22. I have fifty gallon drums set out behind (and gasp, in front!) of the garage too to catch the rain. I love the idea of the big water tank though...hmmmmmm this may necessitate a trip to Fleet Farm.

    You have a wonderful potato crop there, that's great, now I'll have to look into row covers, too so I can try my hand at growing spuds again.

  23. what a yummy post...flowers included! would love to have you as my neighbor, Sue!

  24. Lorie-we got 6/10 of an inch of rain, and believe it or not, that tank is FULL. I'm so happy! The Pumpkin-on-a-stick is carefree to grow and makes for great decor in the fall. Hope you give it a try.

    Karen-Oooooh, you should have MY neighbors. They think nothing of stopping by to make comments about my buckets. But, until they pay my tax bill................

    Dmarie-My neighbors put up with my rain buckets and blue tarps because I also have a LOT of goodies from the garden. Though, I think everyone now has had their fill of cukes and zuchinni's!! LOL!!

  25. Sue, I grow the Kennebec variety of potato only. I grow in raised beds and devote one entire bed to the potatoes. They are wonderful, creamy and sweet. I have discovered that Yukon require too much hilling! If you don't hill up often, it shrinks your harvest. I have never had any luck with Brandywine...good for you, yours looks so delicious!
    (I, too, have huge hands!!)

  26. Sissy-I appreciate the advice!! I hadn't heard that about Yukons, and ya know--I haven't been hilling them. That must be it!
    As for the Brandywines-they're always cracked and just as ugly as can be, but oh the taste!

  27. Wow, that sunflower is huge, plenty of sunflower seeds on that one. Your melon and veggies look delicious. Great post and photos, Sue!

  28. I am just returning a visit you made to one of my blogs...http://rose-treadway.blogspot.com

    Anyway, think I might enjoy looking around here. About the Yukon taters, do they bloom at a different time to your other potatoes, and do you see them getting pollinated? It is just a thought....other than that can you change the place they are grown?

  29. Eileen-Thanks Eileen!!!

    Rose-I switch beds every year for the potatoes. The Russet Norkotah and Red Pontiacs are doing fine. The only problem is the Yukons. I think I should probably switch suppliers next year and try that. Thanks so much for the ideas!

  30. Sue,
    OH we love your frog...our rain barrels had frogs in them too. The kids sit with me and make me read your post out loud. Two days and we will be full time campers. Trinity and I have decided to take our wagon garden with us. Other than that we will have to live through your garden post and my friend in Africa has a lovely garden as well.

    Have a mater sandwich for me.

    With All That I Am
    Carrie "Forrest-Dweller" Duvall
    The Handmade Homemaker

  31. Carrie-I'm so happy you're taking your garden with. You're off on a new adventure but it's still good to take a bit of "home" with. I wish I lived closer-I'd bring you a fine batch of BLT's! Best to you!
    And don't forget to keep me posted on what's going on.

  32. I'm so happy for you (and Carlos) that you got some rain ;-)

  33. Scott-LOL-thank you (from both Carlos and I!)