Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012

August is the month of sunflowers.
Our harvests are getting smaller, but often more interesting; for example, the handful of red raspberries we picked to eat with a honeydew melon and a nice fat fig.  These combinations would never be conceivable if we weren't growing them ourselves.  'Heritage' red raspberries, which are labeled "everbearing," are just getting started on their big fall crop; we don't have to cover these in bird netting like we did with our spring berries; birds are done raising young, which have fledged and focused on protein diet of insects before the winter.

2nd-year parsley, heavy with seed, bends to the ground.
The dog days of summer are over.  We received another 5 inches of rain this week, giving us a two-week total at 9.5 inches; I think it rained every day in the past two weeks and don't remember as significant a wet period since the summer it rained 40 days in a row in 2005.  Needless to say, we're about ready to pull up our soaker hoses and mow down the melon patch.  One of the most appealing qualities of the garden this time of year is its disarray.  Plants are overgrown, blowzy, and wild--and that's part of what keeps our interest.

Brussels sprouts seedlings through
the screen of an airy window.
Folks often incorrectly assume that spring and summer are the prime gardening seasons and that the beginning of fall brings an end to the garden's glory.  But as fall rains return and the lawns green up again, the nights are cooler and the sun seems softer, we have time to catch up on a crop of brassicas and greens.  Cole crops such as broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts perform just as well as in the spring.  Didn't get that crop of April spinach that you were hoping for?  Try it now.  Since the days are often hot, it will help to sprout seeds under a 2x4 laid directly on top of the ground, but check underneath every day.  Our brussels sprouts started from seed in early July will be ready to transplant out to the garden by the end of this month.  It's time to start cabbage and broccoli seed now too.

Seed-saving is in full operation as we select the best heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and herbs.

Pumpkins ripen in these warm and humid August days.

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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 (