Saturday, October 23, 2021

Summer Recap

Where has the time gone?? Storm Season is already upon us with high wind warnings and rainfall for the next few days ... at least! Finally I have time to sit in front of the computer and as long as the hydro stays on through the storm, it's all good.

Pullet Eggs from the 4 Chicks
The extreme weather events of this year made for a more labor intensive existence for the garden, the hens and us! Several daily hikes to the garden for shading, picking and watering, ice blocks and bed sheets up to keep the chickens cool, hosing down the dogs and we even used the air conditioner in the house this summer. By August the four 'Olive Egger' chicks started to lay ... obviously from the photo of their eggs, they are NOT Olive Eggers but an assortment of brown, blue and green'ish shelled eggs. Out of the four chicks I raised, all four were hens ... now that's like winning the chicken Lottery!! Not one Rooster in the bunch! After hand raising these chicks from 3 days old, I couldn't bring myself to splitting up the gang, or sending some to new homes, so I have kept them all. They are friendly, personable girls and they add joy to my Covid lifestyle.
Celebrity F1 tomato -greenhouse grown
The tomatoes I grow near the house for seed saving were a disaster. With the heat dome, their pollen was sterilized and each plant managed to produce only one or two fruits. The Yellow Hawaiian never matured and my Sally's Outdoor Salsa were small and half of the fruit had hard green flesh that were eventually raided by rodents. 
Heaviest tomato this summer

The only tomatoes that did well were the Celebrity F1 that I had in the greenhouse. Unfortunately in my opinion, they looked great but not much flavor. I got a very heavy harvest of large, uniform fruits but most of them ended up in the Roasted Tomato Sauce pot!

The Mercury Cucumbers were a slow start. I staggered plantings in the greenhouse and still lost five plants earlier in the season to stem rot. I had to restart more seed so ended up a bit behind. Once I got four plants thriving in the greenhouse they just took off. There was no way I could keep up, so friends, neighbors, the deer and chickens shared the bounty. I cleaned out the greenhouse when the weather started to cool and just a few days ago finished the last few from the fridge. I have tried numerous varieties of cukes and prefer the smaller Persian types. For one person they are perfect for snacks, salads, sweet pickles and every morning as a snack as I watered.

Greenhouse harvest
This summer I introduced more pollinator flowers to the vegetable garden. I really noticed an increase in bees and other pollinators so will continue this. The sunflowers and nasturtiums always self seed as does the dill weed and oregano. One of the sunflowers produced a two-faced flower. I have never seen this before so had to get proof ... an unusual sight indeed! I have had 'Siamese Twins' on the dill cukes, patty pan squash, some tomatoes and the Mercury cukes but never a sunflower until now!
Two-faced Sunflower
 

The garlic and onion crops were fantastic this year. The largest garlic heads were set aside for seed and planted in a new, prepared bed on October 4th. The bed has been mulched with straw and I have six large bags of dry maple leaves in the shed for winter mulch when the weather turns really cold.

For now I'm happy to get a few indoor chores done and finish making my Christmas gifts of truffles and chocolates.

Until next time ... Stay warm and dry,         Bon App├ętit! 

Photos by Sally Rae

2 comments:

  1. Looks like you rose to the challenge, Sally. This year was challenging for me in the garden. Thankfully, the garlic was a success, and next year's crop is in the ground. Otherwise, a few tomatoes and zucchini were the extent of the "bounty."

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  2. A challenge indeed JP!! Lots of work this past summer with extra watering and providing shades to the vegetable garden, greenhouse and chickens so they didn’t fry in the extreme heat! I’m not looking forward to that being our ‘new normal’.

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