I love watermelon!!!! Its just a beautiful thing to behold. Juicy, yet crunchy flesh, dotted with black and sometimes white imature seeds, encapsulated in a firm, beautifully patterned shell. If you drop them they seem to explode. The insides come in beautiful shades of pink and yellow......at least thats all I have seen. People pickle the rind....my chickens love to eat the fresh rind!!! And the taste!!!! Nothing else is like it!
I have never bought a watermelon as large as the BIGGIN' thats in the watermelon patch, much less grown one that large myself. Here are the pictures of all of the melons that are bigger than 3inches. They seem to swell overnight....everynight!!!
She lived on a dairy farm when she was growing up, but they had crops too. It had been very, very dry for quite some time. Then one day it started to rain. And it rained, and rained and rained. They were all in the house, chilling out, and watching the rain. All of a sudden her Dad jumped from his chair, OH, he exclaimed and then he ran out the door, into the rain. Of course, all of the kids and his wife didn't have a clue why in the world would any normal person run out into the rain at full tilt like that. After a few minutes, here he came trotting back, carrying a dead snake. When questioned about what was going on he said that he had put the snake, belly up on the top of the shed, so it would rain, but had forgotten to take it down when the rain started. Within a few minutes the rain subsided and they were able to go back outside.
My grandfather believed that if he put that snake, belly up on the top of the shed, it would rain. I don't know if thats true or not (I think, not) but it makes for a cute story. I do believe, from my Mothers perspective, everything she told me about how this happened that day was true, she wasn't accustomed to telling fibs. I don't know if she believed in the rain snake or not, I think it was an interesting set of circumstances.
I love flowers. Though I try to spend most of the gardening $s on edibles, both my hubby and I break down at times and get flowers, just for fun. They are like magic. I can put a little seed, that just looks like a piece of dirt, into the soil and it brings forth beautiful blooms that make me happy inside. Some of the best flowers I have had this year have been volunteers or came in mixed pkgs of wild flower seeds. I wish that they lasted forever at their peak, but some only last one day. The best way I can preserve them is to take photos. I'm sure that this winter when there are few things blooming I will be glad that I did. Here are some photos of flowers that we were pleased to enjoy today.
Saturday was a great day. Hubby and I went out in the morning, great temperatures, light breeze and teamwork. Thats a recipe for a nice day. He mowed, I cleaned up and weeded. I took a couple of buckets of the weeds to the "dumping ditch". Its a low spot so anything organic that will decompose and help fill it in goes there. I had to weed carefully because there are baby trees growing amongst the weeds. Some of them are pretty and they will be great for pots and some people want them for Bonsai. All of the rains and the mole racing back and forth makes it easier to weed. Thats the only thing a mole is good for!! I got a sunburn on my back from leaning over and weeding, my shirt kept pulling up. That makes me think of those wooden cut outs I have seen in peoples yards, they look like a view from the back of a lady bent over. LOL At least I was sitting in a chair most of the time. Then we sat in the shade and enjoyed the breezed until I got too hungry to just sit there anymore.
All of the spaghetti squash and zucchini have been pulled out. We only got 3 zucchini and 4 spaghetti squash. Not very much for the amount of plants that we had. With all of the bug problems we had on those plants this year we have been doing some research to find solutions. There are a few things that we can try. The one that I think will help the most is to buy a beneficial insect pkg. It would have things like beneficial nematodes, preying mantis, lacewings and ladybugs. The nematodes will prey on insects that have a larvae stage in the soil. Some of the insects that we are having problems with do pupate in the soil, like the Squash vine borer. If we get a pkg. a little later in the summer and again in the spring I think it will bring the balance back to a better place.
The butternut squash is doing OK inspite of the onslaught of insects. The fruit we are getting isn't huge but they look good and the plants are still putting on more babies. Looking forward to making pies!
In one place that I took out squash I planted some melons. We should have long enough to get some before the fall. I also cleaned out one of the beds that can accomidate the climbers. I replanted some cucumbers with new seed. The last ones didn't do well at all. WE MUST HAVE CUCUMBERS! I also seeded some green onions where there used to be salad.
I spread out a bale of fresh straw under the pepper plants and in some of the aisles, in the areas where I had cleaned out all of the weeds. That should help to keep the roots cool in the coming heat waves. The chickens also got a good chunk of fresh have to scratch and in their nesting areas.
My next project for the garden is making some wooden frames that are about 12inches tall and maybe 3ft.x3ft. I am going to staple fabric row cover to them and seed some cool weather crops for this fall. Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts. Last year I had the cover over them in the hot summer. Part of it wasn't hooked down very well and kept blowing off of the sprouts. The ones that stayed covered grew much better. I took the covers off when the weather cooled down and they did well. We really like Brussels Sprouts and I think if I get more this year we can freeze some. I would like to have this done by the end of the week so everything is ready.
Oh, its raining again and the radar even shows us clear!!!
There has been alot going on, even though it has rained a majority of the last two weeks. If it didn't rain in the morning it would later in the day. The temps have been great though, not over 85 and even had one afternoon that was down to 72 because of the storm passing through. Of course I couldn't take advantage of these nice temps too much because of the rain and soggy ground. The grass had gotten so tall it was kind of rediculous. Everytime I though I was going to be able to take out the mower.....I would go and check the radar on the comp. and there was a big green and yellow spot comin' right at me. So I just waited. Tall grass for awhile doesn't hurt anything. Just isn't that comfy to walk in, especially when wet. I haven't had to water the garden....obviously, very nice.
Some of the tomatoes have been doing great. The cherrys and the Brandywine especially. We have been harvesting beautiful tomatoes everyday off of the cherry and every couple of days off of the Brandywine. The Burpee Beefsteak has succumbed to some kind of wilt....it was supposed to be resistant! Oh well, just won't grow that kind again. I also plan to cover that area of soil with plastic so it can cook over the rest of the hot summer. Hopefully that will help keep it from spreading if it had the notion. The Rutgers would be doing great if it wasn't for the beefsteak next to them. Some of the leaves on the Rutger that is closest to where the beefsteak was have started to show signs of the wilt as well. They are so far along though I don't think it will have a drastic effect on the harvest though. I just harvested the first tomato off of the Rutger. ALL LARGE TOMATOES MUST BE HARVESTED BEFORE FULLY RIPE. The birds have decided that they are going to snack on them at breakfast if I let them ripen completely on the plants. Almost penny size holes!!! So I am just beating them to the tomatoes.
In the center area where I had the Giant Pumpkin.....The watermelon has completely taken over. There aren't even hardly any weeds popping up because the vines are so thick. I have some of the baby watermelons getting some good size on them. They seem to just jump in size overnight. I am encouraged that the melons themselves are getting bigger. Being that they were seeds saved from an unknown cultivar I had no idea what they would do. Here is a picture of one of the bigger watermelons.
The fig tree has about 40 little figs on it and has started to sprout some new growth as well. It also has some tiny red dots on some of the leaves. I need to put some more fertilizer stakes around it. I am hoping to train it as a bush and keep it about 6ft. tall. If I have to trim it after that I want to try to sprout the pieces I trim to grow more.
The eggplant have continued to do good. There are a good amount of baby eggplants on most of the plants, and I have harvested a few more. I don't know what is a GREAT crop for an eggplant but I am happy with what is there. Three of the kinds that I started from seed stay on the smaller size, like a large orange. The ones that I tasted have been delicious. Now there are some of the Black Beauty ones swelling in size, here is a picture of them. Very shiny and dark purple.
The way my compost pile is set up, is just not working. Its not cooking very fast. I don't have it covered, its in the shade and I don't stir it. LOL, It will get there maybe by this fall. We cleaned out the chicken house yesterday and added all of the waste and old hay to it. I also sprinkled over the rest of a bag of "compost maker" that I had left. It doesn't seem like that stuff works very fast though. Maybe I haven't added enough of it. Yesterday at church I was talking to a farmer that said someone told him that RidX works great on a compost pile. I have no idea whats in that...don't know if it would be considered organic or not. I am going to make sure it is all piled up really good and then cover it with a black tarp that I have, maybe that will help it along as well. I don't think letting the rain just wash through it the last couple of weeks has helped either. I am hoping that by this fall it will be broken down enough to use on the perennial beds. Don't want to use it on the veggie garden because I add grass clippings from the back yard, which is where the doggies have their outhouse. ;)
The asparagus is doing better than I expected. It is still sending up shoots, very surprised about that. It also has put on seed pods on a few ferns. They are still green though. I accidently broke the tip off of a new shoot awhile back....so I had to taste it, it was very yummy. Now I can't wait until next spring. The only thing bad that has happed has been puppy damage. Before I sold 3 of them they got into one of the beds and were running around. They broke off a few of the ferns. Aggravating!!! Only one puppy left to sell!!! Thank God she is calmer now that the others are gone. I think that I need to make some kind of support frame to go around the ferns though. They are really leaning in some places. That can be a project for early winter. Next spring the ferns should be thicker too which should help as well. Here are a couple of pics. #1 is ferns on the Jersey variety and #2 is new shoot coming up on the Purple Passion variety.