I cant help myself with the title. Anyone else catch the Wet Hot American Summer prequel on Netflix?
What a summer it has been for us… I know a lot of folks are sad to see summer quickly fading out, but we are on team fall. This is not because we are pumpkin crazed (contrary to last year’s pumpkin week). Summer in the garden has been heavy on the learning, light on the harvest. My Timehop app has been full of reminders of where we were last year. As sad as that is, it doesn’t stop us from sitting back and taking in what there is to be thankful for.
The summer kicked off with eating handfuls of sweet white alpine strawberries. Those berries slowly became the target of slugs (our first attackers), a product of our wet spring and early summer. The berries started off in our raised beds but have since been moved to the “L” shaped bed closer to the house. We added some seed grown yellow alpine strawberries to the mix. Everyone is looking happy these days. We have even had one yellow strawberry ripen from the new patch. Ryan said it was aaaamazing.
We had been eating from our raspberry bush daily during the spring. Late summer brought another burst of fruiting that quickly fizzled. Blight has arrived and taken a toll on our raspberries. Instead of stringing up newer growth, we were cutting our raspberries back. Blight isn’t the only disease we’ve had pop up. Powdery mildew has tried its best to take us under, but I’m proud to say I have managed to put up a good fight. I am knocking on wood that we continue to see growth from our squash and zucchini. Squash borers (another pest) kill our squash every time, no matter how closely we watch. You either have them in your soil or you don’t, and we do.
Squash borers and Mexican bean beetles in combination with a number of heat waves have made it extremely difficult for fruiting plants to thrive. The ladybug looking Mexican beetles were the most rampant pest we have experienced. They devoured our squash, knocked back our cucumbers, and have been spotted on our sweet, innocent watermelon. Much of my summer tan was accumulated in the hours spent hunting beetles, larva, and eggs. There have also been a variety of pests calling our tomatillos home. Along with my rounds of picking and drowning bugs, we’ve been spraying neem oil trying to reclaim what’s ours.
Just as the summer was really taking off, we were swimming in green beans, and sweet potato vines were over taking the backyard bed. As I revealed in this week on the homestead, over a few nights, we were cleaned out. I made a spray that has done well keeping deer and what ever was eating our back bed away, but I don’t think we will be seeing anymore beans this season.
Someone pull out the violin, I have one more sad story. We went to dig up potatoes and found none, zero, zilch. Next year, I vote we go back to the potato tower. Shade is probably the biggest culprit of ours. Our gardens get by on the minimum. We see it in places like the size of our garlic and in the way our tomatoes have grown.
As much as it hurts to see all the canning we had under our belts this time last year, our desire to have a productive fruitful fall is strong. There is still hope for us to squirrel away garden produce for the coldest months of the year.
Our tomatoes and okra are steadily rolling in and our jalapenos and banana peppers are starting to pick up steam. We have until the first frost to reap the bulk of our harvest. With the fall season still ahead of us, I think Ryan and I are both eager to move on with what we’ve learned from this trying summer.
Kale, cauliflower, more cucumbers, another round of dill, and snap peas were planted directly in the ground Sunday afternoon. After spending so many days celebrating Ryan’s birthday and enjoying company, we were more than ready to hit it hard in the garden. Ryan and I are ready to end our second year in the garden with a bang. It feels like we’re rolling the dice- “come on fall season!” (Dice dramatically hits the table.)