Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On Rain, Weeds and Mosquitoes

I'm really disappointed in my gardening self this season. Things started off so well. A combination of plenty of rain (too much, perhaps), mosquitoes and working mornings kept me from keeping up with things- the weeds (mainly smartweed) and rambling vines (morning glories and pumpkins). It's a jungle of less than ideal proportions. I got back from vacay and expected to be inundated with tomatoes, but another 2 inches of rain landed whilst we were gone and the toms took another hit. Plus, it rained more last night with more in the forecast.

The first annual farmer's market is suffering from the same fate. The coordinator says people just don't have a lot to sell.

What is doing okay- the second planting of cucumbers seem to be doing well. The sweet potatoes and pumpkins are everywhere. I'm hoping my second zucchini planting will turn out (the first did not) Peppers are being smothered by vines, but otherwise producing. I really am thinking about a couple of interventions.
1) Raising the beds another block higher and
2) Putting concrete in the pathways
3) Rocking all paths/removing all grass around the garden area

So, this was my return vacation harvest.

 Made into a stew with an added can of chickpeas.

Needing to make space in the freezer- strawberry, blackberry 
and banana muffins
 Made these before vacay, but hadn't posted yet.
Eggplant balls with homemade sauce.

One of my fav meals: roasted veg, corn off the cob, roasted
white beans with garlic, rosemary and evo.

Fall Garden Plans
I also left town with lots of baby greens and they've mostly been mowed down by some nibbler. I have a flat (arugula, chinese broccoli, cilantro) planted on 7/18/15 moved out from the basement and yesterday started Perpetual Chard and Erbette Chard (a new one for me- Italian), also in the basement.  I also have another new green- Tree Collards. In addition, I'm going to grow lettuce in the basement for the winter and started one windowbox of seed on 8/17/15. The chard and collards I ordered from Bountiful Gardens, a new source for me. 
 Three tree collard cuttings came shipped like this:
These will not overwinter here, are otherwise perennial and do not
make seed, so you have to order them as cuttings. I moved them into the basement, as
they are going to have to spend the winter there anyway. They are beginning to leaf out, but I
haven't checked for roots yet. 

Food in Jars
I've scored on some more peaches from the local farm. I got a large flat of seconds for $3 and once again, they've wanted to give me a 2-for, but I passed this time. I have frozen white peaches still in the freezer. This morning I made 4.5 pints of peach jam, with pineapple juice and a little honey (no additional sugar). 

On Chickens
I found a hatchery (Meyer) closer than My Pet Chicken so I decided to order from them this time around (2nd gen of chicken rearing). I regret this decision. Within 24 hrs of receipt, one of the 6 died. So, then there were 5. And now we have come to find that of these, 2 are roos. While I do like them, it wasn't what I wanted and they are here to stay. I did order 2 No Crow collars, to be a good neighbor, but I haven't put them on yet. Poppy, now Papi, is crowing with assertion, but Matilda is still learning to crow. While on vacation Gertie, the Black Australorp (with the limp) passed on. So, we have 4 of the old hens, 3 new hens and 2 roos. 
 The rooster formerly known as Poppy.
Look at me (lower left hand corner) with "Matilda" 
in the back. It's a good thing I like them. 
The "girls" started free ranging this week (age 15wks).
The old hens are bossing them all around.

So, all of this is contributing to my crappy feeling upon return from our Door County, WI camping and hiking vacation. Well, not all of it. The food has been good, but I just generally feel blah. 

Trying to feel positive about a fall/winter garden. Hope the weather and time allows me to do better this season. Must have optimism...