Good morning, fellow gardeners. I have to inform you that here in my Sanctuary Garden, the heat has still not abated. We had a bit of a reprieve in the high temperature yesterday (high of 86), but the humidity was so high it still felt like 98. I barely made it through harvesting what was ripe. With such high humidity, your body just can’t keep itself cool and heat exhaustion sets in quickly, especially for those sensitive to heat and humidity as I am. We’ve had a bit of rain, so I don’t have to water for a couple days, though. That saves me some time in the heat. I did get some pictures for you while I was out harvesting this week. Hope you enjoy.
While out harvesting the other day, I noticed my Glass Gem popcorn has ears growing. The corn stalks are looking very malnourished, so I’m not sure how many ears I’ll get or how big they’ll grow. This one looks good so far.
IN THE GARDEN:
Remember that huge Black Krim tomato that was just starting to ripen? Well, the squash bugs/stink bugs got to it. This is what a tomato looks like when those nasty buggers suck the juice out and cause “bruises” that make the tomato inedible. Sadly, “Big Mama” was buried yesterday in the compost pile, never to be tasted. 😦
Several of my tomatoes, both slicing ones and paste ones, have suffered large holes in them. I believe these holes are caused by tomato fruitworms. Ugh. While researching what was causing these holes – something I’ve never experienced before (unlike the squash bug/stink bug problem…which is a problem every year), I discovered you’re not supposed to plant corn near your tomatoes because the corn draws them. Lovely. Too late now. <sigh> I need to get the neem oil out to prevent them from tunneling into any more fruit (too late once they’re inside).
My chili pepper plants are struggling with the heat. Look at my poor jalapeno plants.
Because of the heat, I’ve been running outside to harvest the nightshades, okra, and cucumbers (earlier, the beans and raspberries), then running right back inside. I’ve been ignoring my lima beans and butter peas, not realizing they were ready to pick. I noticed yesterday a bunch of lima bean pods that dried on the vine. Dang. But it’s not a total loss. I’ll save these for seed next year.
On a happier note, I actually caught some okra flowers open for the first time. They are so beautiful! They remind me of a hibiscus flower. Well, guess what? I found out they are part of the same family as the hibiscus are. I love these pale yellow, textured flowers.
They are so pretty, I had to share all the pictures.
In spite of the heat, I took in a pretty good haul this week. I harvested my first butternut squash at just shy of a half pound (small little guy), just shy of a pound of okra, 3 pounds of tomatoes, 1.6 pounds of peppers (almost all chilis), 1.6 pounds of cucumbers, and 2.6 pounds of eggplant.
In the photos, the produce is identified from the top, clockwise.
Harvest on June 22:
Harvest on June 25:
Harvest on June 28:
IN THE KITCHEN:
With all the okra I had, I just sliced off the top and bottoms, then sliced them into half inch rings to freeze them in a food saver bag. No need to blanch them first, per a Southern farmer I work with. Easy. (Sorry, no picture. I forgot!)
But I will leave you the colors of summer.
Yep…that’s the good part of summer.
What’s happening in your garden this week?