Hi Ho – Hi Ho – It’s Off To Pick Produce I Go!
It’s a Good Thing I Stocked Up On Those Handy Plastic Grocery Bags! ‘Cause, here we are…getting into August…and the bell pepper, green beans, yellow squash, tomatoes, and okra plants are producing huge quantities of healthy, delicious veggies. And, it’s once again time to pick produce!
These days, I carry about a dozen plastic grocery bags to the garden. I have been getting a daily load of 3 bags of bell peppers, 3 bags of beefsteak tomatoes, 2 bags of green beans, and 1 bag each of okra, yellow tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and yellow squash.
These bell peppers came out of the garden this morning. And, most of them will end up in the freeze dryer today or tomorrow.
After the plants started flowering, I began giving them doses of a high potassium 0-0-60 fertilizer. Then, their fruit/veggie production just exploded!
We’ve been going 24/7 with the freeze dryer, two dehydrators, and 2 canners…sun up…to sun down! Take a look at this load of green beans that just came out of the canners.
Needless to say, we have been busier than a one-toothed man in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest!
Here’s a look at a few of my veggie plants as we get into the hot, steamy middle of August:
The bell peppers are getting so big and numerous that they forced me to stake most of them to keep the branches from falling over with all the extra weight. Several branches actually snapped off before I had a chance to stake them.
Are Those Green Beans or Kudzu?
My trellis of green beans is so full on both sides that it looks like kudzu from a distance!
And, the green beans in the Three Sisters configuration are also growing strong despite the fact that the corn is no longer producing. As you can see, the corn stalks are pretty much dried up…giving me the notion that fall is just around the corner.
Look at the zucchini plants peeking out from under the Three Sisters. They are very flavorful and I am filling up with my favorite appetizer…breaded zucchini covered with either Tabasco-flavored pasta sauce or ranch dressing. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
The excessive rains and heat we had this year through July and early August took a toll on my trellis-full of cucumbers. Even though I was able to can about 60 quart jars of dill pickles, I wasn’t done with them. So, I stripped the old cucumber plants off the trellis and I plan to replant some more cukes when the weather starts to cool down a bit…probably in the next couple of weeks.
I’m still waiting on my watermelons and cantaloupes to grow big enough to pick. The watermelons should be ready in a week or two. They are about 10 pounds now…and, when they get to about 15 or 20 pounds, I’ll start thumping them to check for ripeness. Can’t wait!
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Jed is Back
My neighbor, Jed, the retired farmer, was knowingly nodding at me the other day while I was complaining to him about how busy I was right now during my harvesting peak.
He thought for a minute…then he took a deep breath…and said, “You know something, little Jimmy?”
He always called me that…maybe because he knew he was the only one who could get away with it.
Jed went on. “A one-toothed man in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest isn’t so busy. Do you want to know what busy really is?”
I should have known that Jed could “one-up” me…so, I asked him, “Well Jed, please tell me what busy really is.”
And, with his typical laid back Southern drawl, he said, “Son…when I was running a 40-acre farm with crops and animals…I was always busier than a mosquito in a nudist camp!”
Now, I have to admit…ole’ Farmer Jed knew the meaning of really “getting busy!”
There are more of Jed’s adventures, jokes, and stories at the bottom of other pages in the Perfect Vegetable Garden. Feel free to comment below or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, about your thoughts on Jed…or garden harvesting…or any other garden subject you may have in mind!
Jim, the LIfelong Gardener