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.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 1 to August 15 Garden Notes

The Vegetable Garden  August 11

August is always a busy month for the vegetable garden and this year is no exception.

Green Beans-- Daily pickings started July 30 and  averaged 6 to 8 pints a day for the freezer. The bigger ones get done up separately for stews.  When they first started, I didn't think they were the right beans (Blue Lake bush beans) and that the harvest would take longer, but once they started, they just kept coming in strong. I got my 36 pints for the freezer done by Aug 6. We ate some fresh with meals, but the rest were left to go to seed.

August 2--  1.5" rain

August 4  A vase full of Dahlias, Phlox, Roses, Heliopsis, Echinops Zebrina,Physostegia, Cleome and Zinnias.  I never remember to cut any----but today I finally did.  They're gorgeous and all but the Dahlia, Phlox, and rose were grown from seed.

August 6--Picked the FINAL (yay!) four pints green beans for the freezer and got a surprise FIFTH
cutting of broccoli that yielded 4 cups more for the freezer.

August 7--Cleaned the 2 varieties of garlic that had been drying , the shallots, some red onions and dug up 2 stray potatoes that yielded a nice 8 pounds of potatoes for soup and  a Saturday breakfast.
                    Also got 2/10 inch rain

August 10--First of the Green Peppers.  They ended up stuffed for dinner. Yum!

August 12--First Cherry Tomato.  Yep---just one and YES---I gave it to hubby!
                   Rain: 1/2 inch

August 15--The first of the sweet corn--Ambrosia ---excellent taste.  I grew up in Illinois and when the corn was ready, that night's supper was nothing but corn on the cob-slathered in butter.  Now that I'm in Michigan, we have added  Red Haven peaches to the meal. Oh, heavenly delights!  That was, bar none, the finest meal ever!
The top ear is a bit "under-done". I'm hoping someone can tell me how you know when the ears are DONE.   I waited for the silks to turn dark and dry. Thoughts?

A Mishmash of Zinnias and Alyssum

Sidewalk Border Starting to Recover from "Attack of the Deer"
We've had a blast of heat the past 2 days and it's supposed to continue for a couple more days. The gnats, deerfly and mosquitoes have made this summer stand out as one of the worst we've experienced up here......BUT---I've had ZERO pest problems on my vegetables.  Very odd. Last year was miserable with beetles,, this year I've not seen a single one. 

Hope you're all enjoying the summer's bounty.  I'll post again at the end of the month.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

End of the Month Roundup--July

The Garden is hitting its peak.  The potatoes are starting to die back under the Agribon in the second row

Wow--I am SO glad July is over. Hot. Humid. Buggy.  We normally don't experience much in the way of any of that-but this year proved otherwise.  We had good rains at first and the mosquitoes and black fly were terrible.

July 7       1.1 inches
July 13        95/100 inch
July17/18     15/100 inch
July20         45/100 inch
Total for July---2.65 inches.  Not nearly enough with our sandy soil.

We had  27  Sunny Days
Hottest Day:    90  degrees on July 27
Coldest Temp--38 degrees on July 2

I had a great crop of broccoli this year.  The first of it was ready when we got home from our June trip.  I cut enough side shoots the rest of the month to provide all we need for the freezer, plus enough for weekly side dishes.  No bugs, no problems.  Will stick with Packman from now on.  It's worked best for me.  I'm done trying others. I left it standing to see if I get a Fifth cutting.

The Kale this year is a new one for me---White Russian.  It is prolific and pest free.  I am going to grow that from now on instead of the Blue Curled I used last year .  That strain was beautiful and produced well, but those gorgeous curly leaves hid bugs---and it seemed no matter how well I cleaned it, I always ended up with a worm or gnat or whatever crawling out of my salad. Ugh.

The lettuce this year was fabulous.  I used  Valentine mesclun mix from Botanical Interests. Wow--
it was by far the prettiest mix I've ever seen and it was all sweet lettuces---which we prefer.
I cut a large bowl full every other day.  It was wonderful!  I had to pull the plants July 25--our stretch of heat and humidity turned it bitter.   I had a "back-up" row of Buttercrunch---dull by comparison in both the looks and taste categories, but able to take bouts of heat/humidity, so salads continue.

A Bowl of Salad "fixins" cut first thing in the morning
The shallots were harvest July16. The onions are not sizing up well this year but as they still have time left to grow, I guess we'll wait and see.

The Mokum carrots started the second week of the month.  I just love them--super snappy and crisp-perfect for snacking.  I pull at least a half dozen every day.  I need to buy the biggest packet from Fedco next year----hopefully they have a  "pelleted" version----much easier to sow.  I kept them covered with screen the whole time and they were flawless--none of that root  rot I've had in the past.

The green beans went from not much
June 28
Beans August 1--one month later and they're producing heavily

to fabulous during the month. I picked my first dishpan full on July 30. July 31--another dishpan full.
I have 20% of the beans I need for the year in the freezer in 2 days. Usually I get completely done in just 5 days. I suspect these are not my usual beans (Blue Lake 274) because those mature all at once. I only have to deal with it a couple days.  Looks like it's going to take a bit longer.

The corn, which started out spotty in germination grew tall and lush. On July 23, however---SOMETHING got in to it and started knocking down stalks and chewing up the underdeveloped
ears.  This same thing happened to Margaret the day before:  Homegrown--Adventures In My Garden
I had been in the garden in the morning and it was fine.  An afternoon check showed the same knocked down stalks she had.  Whatever it was only did that once, thankfully.

Kohlrabi started July 20 and my laziness in thinning ended up working for the best.  Just a couple of bulbs size up at a time. I pick those and it allows some more of the plants to grow bigger. Works out perfectly.  I don't need lots of them all at once.

Blueberries are in short supply this year.  We had such a huge crop last year that I'm forgiving my bushes for taking a vacation this year.  The BlueRay are the first to ripen and there has been just about a pint a day, which means none for the freezer.   The Patriots aren't even worth mentioning as there are so few on them.   The Chandlers have a good crop, but those aren't ripe just yet.

Last week's heat and humidity gave the pumpkins a much needed boost
The Sunflowers started to bloom this week

Up by the house, the flower beds that got protected by my maze of ugly pieces of hog panels, chicken wire and misc. leftovers are recovering .  Some things won't bloom as their time frame for doing so is past, but I'm crossing my fingers that the Phlox might still bloom.
The Rudbeckia and Coneflower can finally bloom thanks to the hideous fencing we put up