|Honey bee on a hardy geranium.|
July flew past. It's now mid August, and my harvest is starting to come in. I am getting cucumbers, zucchini, ground cherries, tomatoes, beans, onions, basil, peppers and have finished the peas.
The "Aunt Molly's" ground cherries are impressive. I had never grown them before, but really enjoy them. They taste like a mix of peach and pineapple (if pineapple was not tangy.) I found that they are better raw than cooked. When I tried baking them into a cake, they seemed to lose their fruit flavor. They then just tasted like gooey sugar balls. I think they would work well in a fruit salad or as a garnish to a desert. But really, I've been enjoying them just raw by the handful.
I have to admit, my tomato & pepper harvest isn't the greatest this year. Either the birds, rabbits or rodents have been taking bites out of some of my tomatoes, and branches are missing here and there. Blight wasn't bad, but "someone" other than myself is definitely feasting. I may need to hoop or fence them in the future -- If I have the time and energy.
One of the tomato varieties that I grew was disappointing: "orange roussolini". While this tomato did produce early, it wasn't very prolific. The size was slightly larger than a cherry tomato, but not by much. The texture was like a plum tomato, and the taste wasn't any sweeter than with a cherry tomato. Basically, it was as if I had grown a cherry tomato, but with much lower output. This may have been because the seed got crossed by the grower somehow. I am not sure. But I don't think I'll use space on it again next year.
The "amish paste" tomatoes are doing very well. The "great white" tomatoes are doing ok. "Early girl" was so-so. I am waiting on production for some of the others, as they are not early producers.
Even so, I have gotten enough to make several large batches of salsa.
The zucchini were a mixed bag. The ones that I grew in my back yard produced very little and then died. I think they may have been infested with a borer insect. The zucchini that I planted in my row at the Brighton Victory Garden did amazingly well, though. I actually have way too much zucchini. I was able to bake and freeze 16 loaves of zucchini bread. I have made zucchini fritters, stuffed zucchini and casserole. I also froze bout 10 lbs of zucchini. Unfortunately, my husband HATES zucchini. so I am the only one in my house that eats it. Because of this, it is useless to "put up" any more zucchini. So I will be donating the remainder of the crop to Gleaners Food Bank.
I am still waiting on squash and watermelon. I am growing some smaller varieties such as "sugar baby" watermelon and "honey baby" squash. These seem to be doing well and should be ready to harvest soon. The advantage to these varieties is that they grow faster than other varieties of squash, so are good for a short season. They are also smaller in size when mature.
|Honey baby squash|
|Pear crescent butterfly on rudbeckia.|
The perennial garden generally looks good. The daisies and rudbeckia are out in full glory now. The shade garden that I put in is doing well.
|My problem rose.|
winter, I protect the plant with insulating leaves and a barrier of burlap, but there is always some die back. I finally gave in and used a
I need to "clean up" the herb garden. It just needs to be neatened up. There are 2 roses in that bed that are just toast. Again, the previous owner planted them. I think that these have died back to the root stock though. They are nothing special. They are plagued with die back in their northerly position, and pest attack. They are stubby and I'll be taking them out. I'll be replacing it with something else. I am not sure what though. I had a good discussion with folks on the Garden Professors Facebook page about what might work though. That discussion can be seen here: discussion. I plan to clean the bed up in the early autumn, once most of the summer heat has past.
Species Spotted Update:
I have a concern about my mini ecosystem this year. Although I can hear frogs "chirping" in the swamp across the street from me, I haven't seen any amphibians or reptiles in my yard this year. In past years, I have seen salamanders, tree frogs, toads and the odd garter snake. So far this year, I haven't seen any at all. I am hoping that this is just my bad luck, and that I will spot some later. But I admit, I am somewhat worried -- wondering where they are hiding and if they are doing ok.
86. Skunk (Mephitis)
87. Fireflies (Photinus)
88. Beetle (Osmoderma)
89. Japanese trap door snail (Bellamya)
90. Dragon fly (Erythemis simplicoicollis)
91. Least skipper (Ancloxypha numitor)
92. Brown stinkbug (Pentatomidae)
93. Northern paper wasp (Polistes fuscatus)
94. Autumn meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum)
95. Honey bee (Apis mellifera)
96. Crane fly (Tipulomorpha)
97. Carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus)
98. Eastern forktail (Ischnura verticalis)
|Northern paper wasp|
101. Sweat bee (Halictidae)
102. Pearl crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos)
103. Hummingbird moth (Hemaris)
104. Osprey (Pandion haliatus)
105. American gold finch (Spinus tristis)
Everyone has some things that go wrong in their gardens from time to time. Here are some pics of my garden disasters for this year:
|Japanese beetles have been chewing my roses!|
|The edible chrysanthemums grew extremely poorly.|
|Cabbage white caterpillars and slugs chewed up my turnips & rutabagas.|
|Down mildew attacked my bee balm & some of my phlox.|
|I love my new puppy, but having 2 dogs is hell on the lawn.|
|Damage to my rose before I used the Bayer rose treatment chemical.|