Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011

Welcome to the dog days of summer--we're feeling it.  The first of July brought red ripe tomatoes and a bushel of bell peppers; sweet corn was not long behind.  Harvest baskets like these are becoming a daily event--the culmination of summer rain and sunshine, organic practices, and season-long planning.  Organic is not always as romantic as vibrant photos appear:  we could have pictured the dozen or more bell peppers with insect holes that were relegated to our compost bin; some insect damage is tolerable for the sake of a balanced ecological environment.  (Insecticides kill both bad bugs and the good kind that provide natural pest control and pollination).  Palmetto Acres Garden is producing much more than we can consume fresh, and some planning for the winter-to-come will enable us to enjoy our surplus when the garden is a frozen heap.
The bushel of bell peppers were halved or chopped, frozen, and individually wrapped and freezer bagged.  Cucumbers were pickled with dill and garlic and canned in jars.  Green beans are pressure canned in quart jars.  We ensure that everything is harvested at its peak ripeness when it is preserved.  For the present time we are keeping up with corn fresh on the cob and tomatoes in garden spaghetti sauce and salsa.
Carrots remain fresh in the ground through winter, so we pull up only what we need.  Still waiting on that first melon, but our first tree-ripened peach was a sweet treat.  Dill seed heads are turning brown and will be saved to plant new dill next year.  Gladiolas are adding to the riot of summer color, masking some of the garden's lush and overgrown appearance.  Pumpkins are setting fruit, soft and green now, but swelling with purpose toward a September harvest. 
Too early to think about Fall?  Not if we want brussels sprouts, cabbages, and root crops to enjoy later.  Brussels sprouts take on average 120 days to harvest, so add that up:  it's time to start seed indoors now.  These are one of the few vegetables that can be harvested all winter long.

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Dedicated to the responsible production and preservation of healthy home-grown food to the glory of God. Isaiah 55:10 The rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater. Organic, or not? We try to raise vegetables organically, using compost and manure. The addition of chickens to our hobby farm means plenty of organic nitrogen to compost! This site gives credible reference to planting information contained in the Farmer's Almanac (