Sunday, August 28, 2016

Say Goodbye To Summer

With record breaking temperatures in the mid +30C range just days ago, it was as if Mother Nature flipped the switch today. With wind, rain and temperatures cooler than our gorgeous, warm evenings just last week, it seems summer has come to an end.
Yellow Shoulder on Oxheart Tomatoes

I must admit, watering by hand was becoming a chore, so I am happy to start pulling and pruning plants. Several weeks ago the tomatoes were pruned, removing small fruit that would never ripen. The hot weather wreaked havoc with all my tomato varieties. Our unusually hot spring caused low pollination, now I am struggling with green and yellow shoulder. Although it is safe to eat the 'good part' of the tomato, both problems are weather related.
Sweet Potato vine in bloom

This year I have 3 sweet potato vines in the greenhouse. It is my first attempt at growing them, so there will be more info about them when I harvest. In the meantime, both the flowers and vine are beautiful!
Sunshine Squash
I cut back the winter squash vines, leaving two or three leaves past the good sized squash on each vine. Like pruning the tomatoes, I would rather the plant put its energy into the larger fruits rather than struggle trying to produce more this late in the season. Near the bottom left corner of the photo; notice the brown, shriveled vine where it was cut several weeks ago... three leaves past the maturing squash.  

Seascape Strawberries ripening
The June crop of Seascape Strawberries was minimal with small berries, and half of the new bed planted last year had died over winter. Concerned that the plants were too small and weak, I gave each a third cup of the fertilizer mix I discussed last Spring. As expected, August brought the second crop in abundance and some huge specimens I'm sure due to the extra boost of food. If the weather remains dry, the crop will continue through the end of September.

Kale transplants with shade trays
'Volunteer' kale plants were moved to a winter bed location and shaded with perforated trays in the heat. Heavily mulched with straw and watered daily, they have survived the heat. With the overcast, cool, damp weather it is safe to remove the shade trays.

Dessert King Figs
My Dessert King fig produced its largest crop to date. Pinching some of the buds in the spring increased the yield to 74 figs on my small tree. It is amazing to look back three months when the fruit were just tiny nibs. I will continue this method in future years as it has been very successful. I still check the tree when passing by, longing for more of the luscious, ripe fruit.   

Corentine Pickling Cucumbers
The Corentine pickling cucumber plants were fabulous, a new favorite and I would highly recommend them. With daily watering in the heat, seven plants produced easily over a pound every 5 days. Most were brine pickled in the Perfect Pickler, single batch, jar fermenting process. The few that got missed under a leaf and grew to a small monster were still sweet and crunchy for sandwiches, salad or sliced and eaten fresh. 
Tree Frogs in the greenhouse

It is bitter sweet to say goodbye to another summer in paradise. With the next few weeks of forecast lower temperatures and rain, it is time to put the garden and greenhouse to bed until next spring.

Till next time... stay dry and Bon App├ętit!

Photos by Sally Rae

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