I’ve been MIA from my blog lately because I’ve been busy. As Toni at Backyard Feast points out, it doesn’t feel as though there are enough hours in the day during the peak summer months. A lot has been going on in the garden and the kitchen. Let me do a quick recap.
First, I’ve been canning. In addition to making strawberry and mixed berry (raspberry and blueberry) jam, I’ve also canned a couple of boxes of peaches. I don’t get enough peaches from my trees to can, so I bought two boxes of peaches when we took the kids to Remlinger Farms for an afternoon of fun on the rides. Per usual, I’ve been making too much jam (yes, this is possible). As such, I decided to make a batch of mixed berry jam bars today. OK, maybe it’s not possible to have too much jam when there are always more jam bars to make.
Outside, I’ve been harvesting a variety of foods. Today, I took out the last of the potato patch. These are La Ratte potatoes, a fingerling variety good for soups and salads. I’ve also been harvesting green beans, lettuce, Sungold tomatoes, and cucumbers. The crop of tomatoes inside the greenhouse is looking good this year in spite of the cool weather, although only the small Sungolds have ripened so far.
A few weeks ago, I harvested all the garlic. I ended up with a braid each of German Extra Hardy, Inchelium Red, and Broadleaf Czech. Well, they aren’t exactly braids. I kind of suck at braiding garlic so I used twist ties to fake the braids. It worked out pretty well.
In the old garlic and potato beds, I completely cleared the beds, added a layer of compost (I still have a giant pile of compost I haven’t used up), and then planted cover crops in the beds.
The squash plants haven’t been happy about our cool summer. It has just been in the last few weeks that they’ve put on substantial growth. The sugar pie pumpkin plant has been doing the best and now has several pumpkins forming.
Inside the greenhouse, the sunflower plants have grown as tall as they possibly can. These “Humongous” sunflowers are living up to their name. The top of the greenhouse is about 12′ tall, so these plants have far exceeded the 5′ – 7′ size noted in the plant description.
Outside the greenhouse today, we had the goats hard at work. Derek has set up a series of “hitching posts” to stake out the goats so they can graze and cut down grass and vegetation. This is a winning solution all around. The grass and vegetation get cut down, the goats get food, it’s quiet, and doesn’t involve heavy labor with a gas guzzling mower.
One area where we can’t stake out the goats is the orchard. They’d just love to eat the delectable fruit tree leaves and I just can’t let them happen. It’s a no-goat zone for sure. In the orchard, the Shiro plum is getting close to being ripe. Compared to my plum crop last year, I have about half as many plums and they will be ripe at least two weeks later than they were last summer. The apple crops are ripening nicely, but I only have one peach on my outdoor tree (again, far less than last year) and no pears at all.
Even though we won’t have any pears this year, we will have kiwi for the first time. I’ve got a good number of baby kiwi ripening on the vine.
Growing on the same pergola, the grapes are starting to plump up as well. It will be at least a month before these are ready. I think the kiwi might be ready about the same time.
Finally, I’ll end with a picture of our mini rooster (upper left). Based on his age, he should be getting close to full size at this point. He’s a Golden Campine rooster and this is a smaller breed. He really does look small next to our standard-sized hens. So far, aside from being dumb as a post, he’s not a bad rooster. If he continues to behave himself OK, we’ll keep him. Otherwise, we’ll be posting the “free rooster” ad on Craigslist, with the “no questions asked” clause.
Hope you are enjoying the summer bounty in your garden.