Now that fall is just around the corner I can honestly say this was the COOLEST summer (ever), well, that I can remember – temperature wise. From June-August there were only two or three “really hot” weeks. So Cal gardeners, how did the cool summer affect your garden? Did you find it an easier or harder growing season?
For us, after 25 years of growing food on our city lot the challenge comes with keeping the soil healthy. Because healthy soil equals healthy plants. But with limited space one has to make sure to rotate crops on a yearly basis; however, this is becoming more and more of a challenge with our neighbors enormous pecan tree. It steals the afternoon shade and limits our moving sun loving crops around. We hoped that by dosing the beds in nettle tea would help but not sure how long tomatoes can be planted in the same bed. One might be able to get away with for two growing seasons, but not sure after that.
I think the cool weather help keep the summer harvest at a steady stream instead of a huge tidal wave. We did have to battle with a moderate infestation of the hated harlequin bugs (only remedy we’ve found is hand to hand, er, trowel combat) Also, this summer we had these wee little grasshoppers munch tiny holes in our summer greens. Wasn’t much to do about that either – just wave the white flag and give the greens over to the chickens, ducks or goats. There were some mite issues on the beans and for some beds it was a two pick harvest and then goat food. Our goats love bean leaves which is great because in summer, greens are rationed and hard to come by.
On the canning front, I have to say I am a somewhat behind. I was doing a good job there for a bit keeping on top of things but then got busy with other projects and now am staring at a good bunch of veggies that need to be dealt with. Of course part of me panics that brings on a slight case of paralysis of the brain and body, but then I tell myself “just take a deep breath, pick out one veg and put that up and then move onto the next one.” Or perhaps I could just send out a call to friends “help” and then send them home with jars of goodies for their assistance. Even with all the new projects and obstacles that got in the way this year, we are putting up more than we did last year. I couldn’t believe it till Jordanne pointed it out saying, “there’s more can goods than ever and the season isn’t over yet.” She’s right! There’s still peppers, more beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and figs to be put up.
We were blessed with a wonderful winter squash harvest and that has grow into a pumpkin sized debate. I want to keep the stash for winter eats (soup, baked, pie, etc) and preserves (pumpkin butter) but the other camp wants to sell a few on the front porch farm stand. I am tempted to stick to my squash but they may be right, although I love seeing the shelves full of squash – there can be too many winter squashes!
The end of August starts a whole new chapter in the garden. Much of the summer crops will slowing come down during the month of September, replaced by cooler weather crops. Already flats of soil blocks are filled with fall sowings.
August Harvest Totals
1,228 lbs Produce
28 Duck Eggs
94 Chicken Eggs
50# Honey (updated)
2010 YEAR TO DATE TALLY
4,878 lbs Produce
131 lbs Honey (updated)
278 Duck Eggs
597 Chicken Eggs
Growing Your Own Groceries?
So who here’s a Tallier? Care to share y0ur garden harvest totals? Whether it’s just a handful or a couple hundred pounds – all helps towards reducing our food print!