Garden Notes: Getting Ready

No, this isn’t the watermelon harvest!  These are the wild watermelons we call “Notermelons” because they are bland and taste like cucumber (not watermelon).  All the animals (pigs, chickens, cows, goats) like to eat them.  Some are growing in the pastures, but the ones in the garden are getting eaten by something (rabbit?).  Last year they were all eaten before we could pick them and we didn’t have any for the winter.  I picked a bunch and we’re storing them in the barn this year.

A few things are still going in the garden.  The zinnias are all blooming like mad.

The corn is tall and beginning to turn golden and dry.  I can’t wait to open the dried ears up to see if we got enough seeds to plant for next year (and maybe to share!!).
(Can you spot the grasshopper?)
 I harvested some marigold and Tithonia seed heads, and the old dried pods of the cow peas, which I just didn’t get around to picking this year.  We didn’t have many this year and there were just so many other things to attend to.  Rose helped me shuck them at home, and we spread them out on a dish to fully dry.
 Peppers are a major vegetable for us these days.  They are still doing very well.  I hope they will continue to fruit until the frost, as they did last year.  We have discovered that the Scotch bonnet peppers we grew are just not very spicy.  I’m glad, because it makes them more edible, but Ethan was a little disappointed.  I blame the great compost beds.  It was too rich for them.
Other than the zinnias and cosmos, there’s not much color in the garden except for the beautiful Mayo Indian amaranth stalks.  I planted this about five years ago, and it continues to re-seed itself every year.  They are a wonderful trap crop for all kinds of pests – stinkbugs, army worms, aphids.  I am thinking I might plant a bunch of it around the edges of the garden next year.

 In the midst of the still-hanging-on, I ripped out some of the old dying stuff.  The withering squash went, and all the melon vines.  Stinkbugs and army worms scattered in dismay.  I think I spotted a few squash bugs, too, which I killed.

The skeletons of the paste tomatoes came out, along with all the weeds that had taken over the tomatillo beds.  The first week of September I will be planting my already big and vigorous fall plantings of tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and beans.

And just a short way from the destruction – in the shade – the winter starts are quietly germinating….

….and almost invisible behind the weeds of the fallow quarter, the winter beds are being built.  They really look awful before they’re finished, don’t they? 

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