Garden Update: Late Summer 2012

by Daisy

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Daisy here again, emerging from my sabbatical to report on what’s going on in our garden here at the beginning of  September.

For the third time, I’ve seeded late season lettuce for a fall and winter crop.  Hopefully this time the seeds will feel it’s cool enough to emerge.

The vines of the birdhouse gourds which volunteered this spring have withered and the gourds have begun to brown and dry.

The surfaces of the gourds develop stunningly graphic patterns of mold.

A few late figs barely ripen before birds find them, tearing slices into the flesh until eventually they are no more.

Small clusters of golden muscadines turn russet and grow soft beneath a bower of summer-green serrated leaves.  I want a light fixture that looks like this.

I’ve covered the paths between the raised beds with fresh straw.  I say it’s for weed-suppression, but the truth is straw-strewn paths in gardens just make me happy.

In the beds, the only things to hang on after the hot, dry summer are the peppers and the arugula.  Thank heaven for stalwart arugula, or we would be buying lettuce.  The basil remains, too, and the other herbs, but all the tomatoes are gone.

I have kale beneath netting to keep the cabbage moths at bay, but something is still eating chunks out of it and leaf miners are wending loopy trails through some of the leaves.

The late season planting of shell beans looks okay, but time will tell if it was worth planting in such a small space.

I doubt it will, but I have to try it once.  I’ve never grown shell beans before because I figure without rows and rows of them it wouldn’t be worth it.  I saw a gallon baggie of shelled field peas at a farmer’s market for $19. Not a typo.  Nineteen dollars for a bag of peas.  Those had better be some good peas.

In the weird plant department, I sowed something called yokatta-na.  I will report if, a. it comes up, and, b. if I can identify it among the other mixed greens I toss out with little regard for what goes where.  It is said to be similar to mustard, but milder, and very nutritious.

The few sweet potato plants I put in have spread everywhere, as they are wont to do, of course, but I can’t say I’m hopeful about what’s going on beneath the surface.  I’ve never had much luck with sweet potatoes. Actually, I’ve never had any luck with sweet potatoes, but the mystery, the suspense, is worth trying again. The possibility that there might be a sweet, nutritious bounty sleeping beneath the surface, growing bigger every day, is irresistible.  But it’s probably bupkis, like last year.  I looked up the origin of the word bupkis, and it means goat droppings.  Which is probably exactly what I need to grow better potatoes.  Deanna, bring me some bupkis, stat.



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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Leah September 6, 2012 at 5:27 am

Bupkis! Thanks for the laugh this morning! 🙂 And good luck with those sweet potatoes.

Sue September 6, 2012 at 6:25 am

And thanks for finally letting me know how to spell bupkis! I’ve never tried sweet potatoes, I live in North Carolina and the are easy to get her for pretty, cheap, NC grows more sweet potatoes than any other state. And I’m a failure at white potatoes. I got 2, count ’em, 2 potatoes last year out of a barrel. the biggest one about the size of a jacks bail. I’ve tried bags, barrels, straw bales and plain in the dirt. Sigh.

Portia McCracken September 6, 2012 at 7:34 am

Daisy, thanks for the vicarious trip through your garden. I could almost smell it.

Emily September 6, 2012 at 9:01 am

Oy. We lost everything in our garden this year to the drought, the chickens, and a stray goat that just happened to show up in my garden. Here’s hoping for next year! I’m taking this fall off, lol.

Erin S September 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

Love the update on your garden!

Sweet potatoes are a weed in my desert garden. Please come get them. I do love to eat them but they really take over and never truly die out. Every year I have volunteers in spots I want to plant something else. Almost as bad as bermuda grass.

DebbieM September 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm

We planted sweet potatoes last year for the first time and didn’t get much of a harvest, we thought we’d try again this year and are glad we did. We learned that the vines are a super food! So, we’ve been harvesting some of the leaves and mixing them with our chard this summer. Summertime is the hardest time to grow anything to eat around here! Our Arugula is one of the first lettuce greens to bolt!

So, try eating the freshest, most tender sweet potato vine leaves in a salad or cooking the larger tougher leaves like greens…sauteed or wilted…..

Daisy September 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm

DebbieM–Cool! I’ll have to try that.

Michelle H September 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm

My garden is still producing.. I got a ton of peppers and tomatoes growing.. lettuce too.. (leaf lettuce).. just planted another pot for the fall.. my green beans didnt do well.. so planted one pot of bush green beans for the fall.. we will see how that goes.. Just finished pulling up the last of the carrots.. not doing those again.. just not worth it.. rather use those pots for more peppers and tomatoes.. most of my summer squash plants are gone (and dead).. a few still going.. one still making yellow squash.. that is about it..

Anne-Marie September 7, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Beautiful photo of the Muscadine. I can almost smell and taste your garden. So glad you’re back.

Charlotte September 8, 2012 at 11:41 am

You may be giving the sweet poaotoes nitrogen……they grow a lot of leaves and no roots……who would think!!!! You can cut and stir fry the leaves…can’t wait to try them!!

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