Wednesday, September 2, 2020

September ... Already?

I'm still trying to wrap my head around flipping the calendar to September! It seems the years fly by quickly anyways but so far 2020 has been a bit weird, learning to live with and through Covid-19! A certain amount of isolation is normal for most Denmanites, many of us have been very happy to just stay home. We are very fortunate to have 12 acres to roam, distance from our neighbors and quiet roads to walk. Even more fortunate to grow most of our own food. 
Tomato and melon side of the greenhouse 'jungle'

I made good use of the greenhouse this year... with 5 varieties of tomatoes (Celebrity, Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Yellow Hawaiian and Borghese), 3 varieties of small salad cucumbers (Mercury, Diva and Patio Snacker), a Partenon zucchini (that I rescued from the garden slugs in May),  Earlichamp cantaloupe, Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon and between all that, lots of flowers to bring in the pollinators. Into a small, sunny corner on August 9th, I added Little Gem Romaine lettuce and Celtuce from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. for winter harvest.
First small cantaloupe - September 1st.
I found the first 'Earlichamp' melon had released itself from the vine yesterday. It fits into the palm of my hand and smells amazing! Unfortunately the Cream of Saskatchewan Watermelon had a rough start and by the time it germinated and got going, it was a bit late so I doubt there will be any fruit to sample this year. 
The cucumbers have been incredibly prolific, between 10-17 small cukes every week! I pulled out the 'Patio Snacker' quite early on because it was my first time growing that variety and I was not fond of the spiny skin nor the flavor. The Mercury and Diva are my long time favorites and are more than enough for me to keep up with!

All my tomato starts were late because I lost 2 trays of seedlings to damping off when I transplanted them. The Borghese is from a friend and are mainly used for sun-dried tomatoes. They are small, meaty, oval shaped and grow like a cluster of grapes. In my household these will make a perfect addition to 'Roasted Tomato Sauce'. In mid August I did a severe pruning of the tomatoes... removed leaves for air flow, cut off all the smaller fruit, any new blossoms and shoots. I still have hope that I will get a crop from the greenhouse but the ones outside, in the garden are looking pretty sad. 

Huge Seascape Strawberries
The winter lettuce crop is looking good and is a first time experiment for me. Also for winter harvest I've recently put more cabbage plant starts in the garden... 2 Lennox (110 day) cabbage that will be used in January for my sauerkraut and this year I'm trying 4 Tiara Cabbage for fall harvest. I plant Tiara as an early (45 day) cabbage. They are so delicate, sweet and crunchy it will be hard to live without them on the menu, so this year I'm trying a second, later crop. 

The Seascape Strawberries are in full swing of their second crop and if the weather stays dry, they will continue to produce and ripen into late October. They never disappoint ... huge, juicy and sweet!

Thai Double Blue Butterfly Pea
Another new and unusual seed from Baker Creek was the 'Thai Double Blue Butterfly Pea' ... it was a bit fussy to germinate and an expensive, rare seed. I have seen this flower used to make a blue colored tea that when an acid (lemon juice) is added, it turns to pink. The tea is said to 'refresh the brain and boost its activity and function'. It is also used to color rice and desserts, so I was really excited to find and try to grow this plant! I have it in a pot on the deck, near the door so I can keep a close eye on it. I have been saving the flowers to use later. It is hardy in Zones 10 and 11 so I'll try to overwinter it in my sun-room.

It's time to start planning your garlic bed for this winter. If not already done, sort your seed and get a bed ready for mid October planting. The long weekend weather looks to be sunny and warm here on the Island, so I'm going to take advantage of the great outdoors and start on some garden clean up for fall. I've said it before and I'll say it again, one of my big 'beefs' is hauling huge, unruly, slimy squash plants out of the garden once the weather turns to fall. I'm ready to do that with the summer squash now ... in the sunshine! With the Partenon zucchini in the greenhouse I'll have fresh zucchini for a while into fall I'm sure!

Until next time ... Bon App├ętit and Happy Gardening!
Please be safe, stay healthy, wear a face mask and take good care...

Photos by Sally Rae

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the heads up. I'm definitely planting garlic this October.

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  2. Good idea JP, it takes very little work. Garlic pretty much looks after itself until removing the scapes, then harvest time.

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