This is my vegetable garden’s 5th year–just as I thought I was catching on–mother nature supplied a new set of weather conditions. Every year I have tried to get seeds and transplants into the ground earlier, but this year I held back due to cold nights extending into June. I am not a great weather historian and don’t keep daily notes, but after the cold I recall a long wet spell followed by full force heat. And now, after a stretch of unusual coolness, we are in the middle of hot, foggy, humidity.
Fortunately I grow for only two people. So although the amount of some crops, such as zucchini and cucumber, was under average, I have supplies in the refrigerator and have made a few batches of both sweet and savoury zucchini breads, with probably more to come. I don’t do preserves so there is no disappointment there–I was thinking of exploring community donations, but that won’t happen this year.
The garden started to mature by late mid-August. The pictures I show below were all taken after the 20th; probably half were snapped on the 31st.
The bell peppers plants were more leafy than usual this year and a bit nibbled by the baby grasshoppers–which by the way, have multiplied and matured, and are currently hopping and flying all over the place. It’s the year of the grasshopper. These peppers can ripen into red peppers, but it may take a while. I harvested a nice collection last year, but I am not sure I will this year. If a green pepper shows any signs of ‘age’ or potential decay, I harvest it; I already have quite a few in the fridge.
The milkweed are maturing:
I planted two winter squash plants and only one good size squash has survived to date. Let’s hope I harvest it at the optimum moment. This one is on a vine that snuck in with the cherry tomato plants. I’m glad I let it roam.
On August 31, I discovered two renegade zucchini. No matter how closely I keep watch, they sometimes escape my notice and explode in size. The biggest one of the two late bloomers below, was 14 inches long and weighed 3.25 pounds.
As plants start to dry out and stop producing, new shoots and flowers continue to appear– makes me think of how even in physical old age we can blossom and show signs of youth and creativity. The flower below is on an ‘ancient’ bean plant.
Yellow dill flower heads brown and produce seeds that may be harvested or left to scatter in the wind. Dill plants can grow quite tall. This year they averaged 5′ with the tallest one soaring to just under 6′.
Coriander’s small white flowers become green seed balls, which mature to a brown color. The leaves harvested before this plant flowers are known as ‘cilantro’. I regret that the green balls are not in sharp focus–I tried.
Fortunately I am the only member of my household who can eat raw tomatoes–so the low crop of ripe cherry tomatoes is not a tragedy. The peak was on August 24 when I harvested 91. The picture below was taken a few days before the ‘peak’. If we have some warm sunny days in September, I may find more of these golden fruits.