Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16, 2012

Pumpkin, gourd, and squash fruits are setting.
Can you guess this vegetable?
Part of our corn harvest.
Brussels sprouts seed planted a week ago are unfurling two green cotyledons (the first embryonic leaves) on a window ledge in our barn, where they are protected from voracious green worms, but receive plenty of sunshine for stocky growth.

All heirloom paste tomatoes.
This week meant corn and tomatoes in a BIG way.  The first half of our corn patch (20 ft. x 12 ft) came ripe; we went through and picked well above 200 ears.  The number 200 is our standard, benchmark, goal for corn production; it means we had a really good year.  Cut off the cob, we froze 24 quarts.  Earlier last month, the SC State Climatology Office reported that corn across the state was growing so well it looked "fake" (see note 1 below).  We could certainly say the same is true here, especially after our week of generous rains.  Corn crop two is topping out taller than crop one, and is now in silk; it will be ready to harvest by August 4.

The garden looks like a jungle after last week.  We will be canning tomatoes on a weekly basis through July, and when we get tired of canning them whole, we will put them through our strainer/sauce maker for thick, rich sauce.

Melons are still swelling, but they aren't hinting of turning ripe.  Pumpkins are setting every day, and one of our Prizewinner giants has set fruit; we will allow it to set up to three fruits before determining the best one to leave on the vine to mature into a hopeful 100-pound pumpkin.  

As part of routine maintenance this weekend, we summer pruned all our peach and apple trees to remove water sprouts and crossing branches.  And if that wasn't enough to do, we pulled and cleaned our onion crop, which is now curing on a shelf in the barn.
"The walkway."  Pumpkin vines have claimed our pea fence to the left
and make the walk to our orchard kind of cozy.
Experienced gardeners may guess:  it's a bloated, ripe cucumber!  Eastern European homesteaders
settling the plains would slice a yellow cucumber in a pail of fresh milk for a cooling
and nutritious summer meal.

Note 1 -

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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 (