Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's a BIG ONE!

We love watermelons--but who doesn't? This year we added two raised beds at the end of our garden space, just so we could let the melons sprawl to their heart's content, and hopefully have all the melons we could possibly want.In this year of too much heat and blooms just not setting, we had lots of blooms out there in those two beds, but not much set on and fruited, and that's why we've been watching the few with such anticipation. One in particular, a moon and stars watermelon, we've been calling the "sleeping giant" since it just kept getting bigger, and Bigger and BIGGER out there in the vines. Yesterday was the big day to harvest it. The little squiggly vine at the end turned brown and dropped off, and the white spot on the bottom turned yellow, and the happy melon herder brought it into the house. On the way inside he had to stop to show it to our Grandson, who thought it was just too cool. Much bigger than he was, he still needed to try it in his own little wheelbarrow for a push. It quickly flipped over, so we brought it into the house to cut it open and see if it was as good as it looked. We tried to count the spots, but it was like counting the stars in the sky, just too many to be sure of. It weighed 29 pounds and 2 ounces, and 15 inches long. It measured 33" in diameter the short way, and 42" the long way. That's a lot of melon. And just delicious. Pink and juicy and everything a melon should be. We ate all we could hold, put more in the frig, and sent some home with the grandson for their family. I think he gets a gold star for his melon this day. What a wonderful treat. There are more to come, but none as big and beautiful as this one was.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Hummers

We have had so much hummingbird activity this year that it's been a joy to watch their acrobatics.The feeders hang right outside our back porch and we can watch them as we eat dinner and relax afterward. I filled all the feeders yesterday and they emptied them in one day, that's 4 cups of sugarwater!
Of course they're lousy photo subjects, not holding still to pose at all, but I did get these pictures as they moved in and out.
At times we've seen 3 at once, pausing to feed at the biggest feeder, while two more hovered neaby to take their turns. Of course, I couldn't get a shot of that action, just one at a time. Still, they're just amazing. We feel very lucky that they share their lives with us.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Harvest

Such good eats are available this time of year. This morning in the garden I planted some peas for fall harvesting, and brought back into the house about 10 pounds of goodies.
There were lots of tiny red, sungold and yellow pear tomatoes, as well as red, purple and yellow larger tomatoes. Also several ears of corn, three small onions, three lonely scarlet runner bean pods, one zucchini, two cucumbers and enough basil to make a big batch of pesto. Good stuff. The corn went into the freezer along with a lot of tomatoes and the pesto.

So I've discovered this year that it's a bad idea to plant small gold colored tomatoes among a batch of gold cosmos flowers--makes it really hard to find the tomatoes.
I had to tie the cosmos, tomatoes and beans back on the arbor again. They all keep trying to fill in the walkway under the arbor. It was fun to reach up and harvest the beans from over my head today. I don't care where they grow, I'll enjoy the beans as they come in. We sure do eat good this time of year.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Aaaaahhhh! Cooler Air.

What a relief. Our weather is finally cooling off a bit and life is much better. It got actually cool last night and we were able to sleep without a fan for the first time in a month. This morning it was about 70 out and I spent a delightful two hours tidying up in the garden, pulling spent plants and planting some fall crops in the raised beds.
I've always wanted to have a garden that welcomed people in, and this year, we finally have it. Our gateway leads to the arbor, now entwined with tomatoes, scarlet runner beans, and bowered with cosmos, adding their bright energetic sparkle. It makes a nice pathway into the garden shed, so handy to hold all of our tools.
The tomatoes are still coming on slowly, just a few at a time, but with the three kinds of squash coming on now, cucumbers, new potatoes and onions, we're eating mostly out of the garden. It's wonderful to have these healthy foods coming on, and we're enjoying them a lot.
Corn should be ready soon, hopefully we can keep it from the raccoons this year. They usually raid it just before we're ready to pull it for our meal. Fingers crossed this year.

The melons are looking good in their beds. Two big cantelopes are in one bed, with other tiny ones, and the other bed nestles the sleeping giant, the moon and stars watermelon. It's already about 15 pounds, and we're told they can get up to 40. We watch it each day and can hardly wait to cut into that crisp red flesh. The yellow spots grow not just on the dark green skin of the watermelon, but on the leaves as well, giving it a really festive look.

The sunflowers are up to about 11 feet tall now, each stalk holding at least 6 or 7 yellow fringed blooms. I planted basil in everywhere, especially at the feet of the tomatoes, hoping to have plenty to indulge in our passion for it this year. I've made and frozen two batches of pesto so far, and we've had basil in so many delicious ways. I've also started harvesting and hanging some of the herbs on my rack to dry for winter use. It sure is handy having them there.

The Sungold tomatoes have been just so very good. They're coming on in handfuls, so far just a few at a time in different bunches, but there are more each day. Delicious, and so pretty chopped in with cucumbers for a salad.
Here's today's harvest of one Armenian Cuke, and one short fat pickle, one yellow summer squash and several yellow tomatoes. I had the seedbook out to pull seeds to plant. I'm soaking beet and turnip seeds to plant tomorrow, and today put lettuce, radishes and bok choy we'll grow under a shade along with cabbage, kale and Collards. I planted peapods too, and would still like to plant some regular peas for fall harvest.
It sure is a joy to work out there in the cooler breezy air.