The heat and drought this year was hard on gardens and gardeners alike. The rain came back here in early August, which was too late to help the farmers’ corn crop, but was much appreciated by backyard gardeners like me. We actually got 5.37 inches of rain in August, and we’ve had 2.59 inches already in September. And those are the official rain totals right here in our own back yard since we are a CoCoRaHS monitoring station. We’re still way below normal for the year, but we are catching up. And the rain is definitely helping the garden get its second wind.
The July heat wave made most of the tomato blossoms drop off, and that was really apparent when there were not many tomatoes to ripen in August. But they are blooming and setting on green tomatoes now, and we are getting a few ripe ones again. I’m actually looking forward to using some green ones for salsa and relish before they’re done for the year. And I am looking forward to the first fried green tomatoes of the season. It shouldn’t be long. I have my eyes on a few that are sizing up nicely.
I’ve been planting for the fall garden for over a month now. The Impact Community Garden has a lovely fall planting of kale, collards, broccoli, cabbage and turnips. We’ve got some beets and kohlrabi coming along there too. I think we will be ready to plant lettuce next week, maybe some Asian greens too. Those plants are coming along nicely.
Here at HA I’ve got many of the same crops planted, just not as many. Except for the kohlrabi, that is. I planted about 30 plants here, most in the main garden but another 10 in a cold frame bed by the greenhouse. I have had to get inventive with deer protection this year. I usually use Agribon floating row cover material on the cold frame tops to protect from the winter cold, but this fall I used mesh bird netting instead. This material is a knitted green polyethylene with a 3/4 inch mesh, and is great for draping over plants to keep out birds and other critters. So far it has done the job well.
The deer walked through Saturday night just inches away from the cold frames. They didn’t seem to eat anything, but they left hoof prints in a bed of turnips I had planted. I have another planting of turnips that are protected in the main garden, but I used a bed in the kitchen garden (formerly home to the 2012 garlic crop) to plant some turnips I plan on donating to the local food pantry. Even if they don’t eat them, their big feet can certainly do damage too!
I’m getting good harvests of pepper, eggplant and okra whenever we want them. I dehydrated a batch of sweet ripe peppers this week. And I harvested over a pound of green jalapenos to make some sauce. I’ve got them fermenting right now. I’ll let you know how they turn out, and share the recipe.
I made a batch of Baba Ghanoush with some of the eggplants. Served up with pita chips, it made a nice side dish for a meatless meal featuring some chickpea burgurs.
That’s a look at what’s going on here in early September. To see what other gardeners from all over the world are harvesting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, host of Harvest Mondays. And Happy Growing to all of you!