Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summer Comes To An End

Though peaches hit local markets as early as June, ours ripen at summer's end.
Huckleberries measured for a pie
My Farmer's Almanac arrived in the mail, boasting over last winter's dead-on forecast in retrospect. It's calling for another "polar vortex" winter to come. If an early chicken molt is any indication, growers might want to get their fall crops in early. We did. For now winter's a long way off, as we harvest through hot, hazy late August.

Winter gourds curing in the sun
Our harvest baskets look a lot different now than they did in July. For one, there's a lot more fruit - peaches, figs, berries, and melons. We're even getting some early apples. We're harvesting the heavy weights now - watermelons in the 40-50 pound range! Even some pumpkins and gourds have joined the ensemble. Sunny, dry afternoons help to cure winter squash for longer shelf life.

Dry beans
In order to create space for fall broccoli, cabbage, and greens, we half-heartedly began garden clean-up in the corn patch. We're turning our attention to seed gathering so we can continue to grow our heirloom varieties next year.      
Seed saving operation
Abundance of watermelon
Heirloom "Rattlesnake" watermelon weighing 41 pounds
Assorted pumpkins curing in the garden
Popping corn plants to left promise a delicious harvest in October

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Late Season Harvests

Heirloom organic Golden Bantam corn
These assorted peppers went into salsa
Cool, cloudy, August weather reminded me so much of an Indiana corn roast, we decided to do just that! It was tradition at my Acadian clan reunions. They welded an iron grate above a water reservoir inside a large metal trash barrel, which would be set over a fire, perfect for steaming-roasting 12 dozen ears of corn. We don't have the metal barrel, but a grill set over hardwood coals will work just as well. The most essential part we have: big, beautiful ears of dark yellow heirloom Golden Bantam corn. This tried-and-true sweet corn dating from 1902 holds plenty of true corny flavor though a little bit starchy to our taste. It roasts fragrant and richly golden.

Eggplant, a Mediterranean staple, ripen beautifully

To date, we've harvested and processed 10 bushels of tomatoes, crocked nearly 1,000 pickles, and even tried pickled watermelon rinds. We've made enough salsa and canned enough beans to last more than a year. We made jam out of our late-season red raspberries, and we'll need to do something with a plentiful crop of garden huckleberries. Indian-colored popcorn is silking out now for an October harvest, and green pumpkins have started to change to orange. Apples, peaches, and figs will be coming soon.
Rattlesnake heirloom watermelon swelling to 40 lbs
Drying bean fence (left) uses space behind the barn
Golden Nugget tomatoes
Heirloom Golden Bantam corn

Rainy day harvest

About Me

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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 (