Looking west - northwest from my garden
Well, it looks like the consensus is that people do recheck the combox. So I shall try to use it more often.
Yesterday was a busy day. We had to drop Andy off at the train station in Albany, because we're down to one car -- er, van. On our way home I could not avoid stopping at Wal-Mart, because we were almost out of diapers. If you're bored sometime, you should try taking six kids to Wal-Mart. Make sure that three of them are under the age of three. Twins are a necessity. Throw in a child who finds it hard to handle any changes in routine, and then remove from the shelves the Pokemon cards he was planning to buy with his own money. First make sure there are none of those carts that can carry two kids at a time, because that would be cheating. Put the baby on your back because you want people to look at you as if you had two heads, which... you do! Attempt to use only one cart at first (after all, you aren't trying to do major shopping) so that one of the two year olds is able to punch all the packages of bread and squish the grapes. Give up after that and go get another cart so you will have a convoy that people can split up because they can't believe you have all those kids. If you can find one of those organ-grinder monkeys to bring with you all the better, because the way people stare at you as you move through the store you might as well have some circus music to liven it up a little. Come one, come all, see the greatest show on earth!
Shew. After that it was positively restful to go out into the garden and try to prevent the twins from running over the pumpkin plants with their dump trucks.
(Ok, so those are technically potato plants, but that's where he moved after I told him to leave the pumpkins alone.)
Speaking of pumpkins... this is sort of indicative of what is going on with my pumpkins this year. First there were cucumber beetles (actually, there are still cucumber beetles) and now there are these. I don't know what they are. Any guesses?
Our garden is a lot bigger this year -- mostly, I think, because we planted more onions and potatoes (I won't plant so many next year; I think we can get plenty locally) so we tried planting the pumpkins in with the sweet corn.
Because of insect problems, however, we have exactly one pumpkin right now.
I believe this is a New England Sugar Pie. I don't really know yet, because Gareth and Andy got their signals crossed when they were planting, and they both planted pumpkins/winter squash (of two different varieties) in the same hills. At this point, I don't know if they'll be ripe by mid-September. (Actually, at this point I have no idea if we'll get more than one!)
The summer squash seems to have recovered pretty well from the onslaught of bugs. I'm a little disappointed because my Italian zucchini doesn't seem to have made it. Again, we have problems with the labeling... toddlers like plant stakes. Andy and Katydid planted this bed, and seem to have done it all in "Yellow Prolific Straightneck," which was a complimentary pack included with our order by Baker Creek. For the record, Yellow Prolific Straightneck does promise to be quite prolific. And if you have any gardening experience at all, you know that what you see in this picture is WAY, WAY too much of it. LOL
This is kind of funny, though. I thought these squash were just growing next to each other, but no, they're really the same squash. "Twins!" Farmerboy said when I showed him.
Our biggest problem, as usual, is weeds. This our garden's third year. We carved our garden and orchard out of a piece of our 13 acre field. They still want to turn back into field. On the other hand, we do have some pretty wildflowers in the garden, with exactly zero work.
Mullein... which I believe has medicinal uses. It's not in full flower yet.
This would be spotted knapweed. It is apparently a "noxious weed", but I'm letting mine grow in the garden borders because the bees love it.
Gloria cosmos (reseeded from Katydid's plants last year) and daisies...
I like flowers in my garden because I like flowers and also because I need bees. But we have other, less savory weeds to deal with. (Boy, do we.) Here's a bad one:
Wild parsnip. Sap from the wild parsnip plant causes burns that blister and pop when exposed to light. Andy has dealt with these burns twice this summer (from weed-whacking), and he confirms that they are indeed very painful.
We also managed to import about a bajillion weed seeds in some compost we had brought in. Our land used to be used as a hay field, and before that, it was planted to corn. Nothing was ever given back to the land. Our first year here we did a soil test and discovered that we had no nitrogen in our soil. None. Whatsoever. (Or at least, it was such a neglibible amount that it might as well have been none.) We compost all our kitchen waste and grow green manures (such as crimson clover), but it's not enough. We were happy to buy a truckload of heavily composted manure this summer.
But throw in a summer soccer season, and this is what happened:
Can you find the tomatoes in that jungle? Me neither.
I do have a few Striped Germans almost ripe, though:
And the eggplants surprised me with a few eggplants yesterday, too:
(This is the kind of picture you can take with a baby on your back, pulling your hair.)
And more happy surprises yesterday:
One of our blackberry bushes died, but this one is just going gangbusters.
And grapes! Not many, but these are new vines.
I had originally gone out to pick beans. It's a good bean year, although all my purple beans were eaten by deer and rabbits as soon as the plants came up. We still have about a million green beans, and a long row of yellow Roc D'or beans that are bearing well.
Farmerboy won't eat green beans, but he likes these. I like them better than plain old green beans, too. They're sweeter.
Thunderstorms sent us scurrying inside before I'd gotten even halfway down a row. But this garden tour is quite long enough as it is. :-)