Friday, June 25, 2010

American Gothic...August in June!

I know it seemed like I had fallen off the face of the earth, but the combination of lots of work and unbearable heat have taken their toll. Thanks to all of you who let me know I was missed. And Ana, thank you! But how did you know I like the Beatles?

I don't know about the heat where you are, but this is the time of year when I wish I was some place other than Florida. It has been unbelievably hot, and this started a month ago. Today the high was 97 F and the heat index 105 so even for Florida that is HOT!

My tale of woe outlined, I thought I would provide an update on the garden because it has simply been too hot to attempt any real adventures. I wanted to provide a full shot so you guys could get a sense of just how big the garden actually is.

Things are moving along and I harvest more and more vegetables every day. The corn has really taken off. And, while it is not "Field of Dreams" volume, the ears are everywhere and getting bigger by the day.

One thing I have found interesting about the ears of corn is that some of them have red "hair" or strains that grow out of the top of each ear of corn. I've never seen that before.

The watermelons while not huge have become what I call "individual size." My little niece was promised the biggest one in the patch and you can see from her finger prints that she has literally been "weighing" her options.

But the biggest surprise of the garden has been the cantaloupes. There were only a few sprigs that came up and were slow growers so I did not expect much from them. In fact, a few times I considered pulling them up to make room for other seedlings.

You can only imagine my surprise when for some unknown reason they started to grow. And grow they did... now I have six cantaloupes and counting. They do not have a smooth surface so you can't see the telltale finger prints of "you know who" but I am sure she has "weighed" her options here too.

And the monster crop that I was afraid would overwhelm the rest of the garden has proven to be a bust. The same problem I had with the summer squash occurred with them. They sprout a bulb of squash and then it dies on the vine before it can even attempt to get bigger. A slight disappointment, but an ecological disaster averted!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

American Gothic...The Harvest !

When I started on this farming adventure I will now admit I was more than ignorant and to a great extent made a good number of mistakes. But, along the way also made a number of discoveries and have come out on the other side a wiser farmer who truly can now enjoy the harvest! As always, click each photo for a better view.

Every morning I rise to go into the backyard and pick vegetables for the day and it feels just as I had imagined.

The sprinkler system has made watering effortless as it doles out the allotted ration for the day. There have been a few casualties along the way though. The Summer squash got a fungus and had to be pulled up. It produced squash but the fungus would cause them to rot before they reached even a decent size.

But the sweet corn is doing just great despite an attack of corn beetles (had to do a little reading to get rid of them) and corn is forming all over. By the 4th of July there should be corn on the cob for everyone.

The tomatoes are great but a surprising treat has been the cucumbers. They are sweet and juicy unlike what I have experienced from the supermarket. Sometimes I go out to cut a few and eat one as I am picking. I have placed them in cages so they grow up rather than out and it is always fun to lift the leaves looking for the juicy wonder!

The monster crop of spaghetti squash has just now begun taking off and I have made sketches of the barrier I plan to erect to separate them from the rest of the crop.

But, the watermelons have begun to spread just as much. I find it funny that one day you see this little thing the size of a marble and a few days later it turns into the makings of a melon. Very strange and wonderful indeed!

But, more than anything, I have new found respect for what real farmers go through on a larger scale. And, Daddy has not admitted defeat just yet but even he has given grudging respect to the work I put in to produce my harvest...