Clark Hollow Ramblings: News from the garden

Sometimes it seems like you wait and wait on the garden, and then, all at once, it is giving you more than you can keep up with. That’s the way ours is, anyway. Honestly, I have been eating beets about twice a day for a couple of weeks. My bride doesn’t care for them much, so the burden falls to me to make sure they don’t get wasted.

We had six broccoli plants and each of them gave us a nice big head. Of course, they all came in at one time. We’ve been spreading the surplus among the family. It was suggested to me that I should try some fall broccoli, so I think I will do that. The few peas I planted have come and gone, but they were good, especially cooked with some new potatoes and a creamy sauce. The potato plants are beginning to fall over and starting to get a little brown. It won’t be long before they will have to come out of the ground.

And I don’t know how to explain the onion crop. The onions are the best and biggest we have grown in a long time. They seemed to like the cool, moist spring. And they are just about ready to come out of the ground, as well. The tops have fallen over and I doubt they will do much more growing.

The yellow crook-neck squash have made their debut, and I expect to be sharing some of those with the extended family. We have pulled a couple small peppers for cooking and the rest are coming along nicely. My bride did the first picking of the green beans last week and we canned 12 quarts from that first batch last Thursday, and canned again this past Monday. The cucumbers have gone crazy, and we have been eating and sharing as many as we can.

The corn is about a foot over my head and the ears have been showing silk for a week or more. It just needs a little more time to fill out. I put the bird netting around it to keep the crows and blackbirds out of it. I have been watching a ground hog in the upper field and I hope he stays up there. If I see him down around the garden he is going to get a load of shot in his behind.

I haven’t had any trouble with groundhogs, but a year or two ago I had one big old raccoon decide he was going to fill his gut with my new corn. I set a trap for him and caught him the very next night. So, he didn’t do too much damage. My farmer friends tell me that coons can smell the ripening corn. I don’t doubt that a bit.

I don’t know what to tell you about my tomato plants. I did have two small tomatoes that ripened by the 4th of July, but they sure would not have won any ribbons at the fair. We have had a few ripe cherry tomatoes, but our tomato plants just don’t look as healthy and strong as they should by this time. I don’t think they liked the cool, wet spring weather.

The lima beans are in full bloom and the sweet potatoes have grown up and over the confines of their raised bed, and I have to move the runners to mow around them. But, they look healthy enough, and I like the looks of them in the garden. The butternut squash is also trying to take over. It has about overgrown the raised bed, and is trying to crowd out my cantaloupe and watermelon. I didn’t have much luck last year with those last two, but I still had some seed, so I thought I would give them another try. We’ll see how they turn out.

I hope your garden is coming along well, and I hope you get the enjoyment of working in it and watching it grow. Sometimes it seems to me that the fresh produce is just a nice bonus. We just have to keep the weeds out now, and hope it doesn’t get too dry. Stay well.

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