August 3, 2016

The Summer Garden


Now that summer is at its peak and the heat has been cranked up, the garden has kicked into high gear.

The summer garden

I'm harvesting several tomatoes daily. I love tomatoes, but we've hit the point where I can't eat them fast enough. 


I'm sticking them in the freezer now and will be canning them soon. The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to freeze them first, then run them under warm water. The skins come right off.

The cherry tomatoes are producing best. I eat cherry tomatoes off the vine while I'm in the garden - they're my reward for weeding and watering - but there are plenty to bring indoors and eat for lunch each day. 

Cherry tomatoes in the summer garden
Cherry tomatoes

I'm also growing Arkansas Traveler, Marglobe and Rutgers. I'm still not impressed with the Arkansas Traveler variety. Some of my neighbors love it and say it grows best for them, but after three years of mediocre harvests I'm going to give up. I've grown the Rutgers variety for several years and am happy with it.

The summer garden includes tomatoes and bell peppers

The bell peppers are producing a pepper or two each week. Two years ago I harvested so many peppers, which I cut into strips and froze, that I still have some to use up. 

Walking onions in the summer garden

The perennial walking onions need to be harvested. There are some small plants growing from last year's bulblets that will overwinter, and this year's bulblets are beginning to droop over. I need to start some of the bulblets in one of the raised beds.

I'm growing five different varieties of squash this year. Our granddaughter used them for a Girl Scout science project this summer: she cut a leaf from each plant and compared them in size to prove whether or not squash grow best in full sun or partial shade. Yep, the leaves from the plants in full sun were much, much larger and the plants look stronger and  healthier.

The summer garden
Zucchini

First is the zucchini growing in a large tub. I've only had one zucchini squash so far but there are two more that will be ripe soon. I'm planning zucchini boats for dinner one night soon.

The summer garden
Straight-necked squash

Next is the straight-neck yellow squash that's growing in the first raised bed. This one is truly prolific; look at all the baby squash in the photo above! (What to do with this much squash? See my post on 10 Ways to Enjoy Summer Squash.)

The crookneck yellow squash is growing in the shade of the tomato plants and isn't nearly as big. Full sun is the way to go, even in central Oklahoma's summer sun. I've only had one squash off of these plants so far, but there are more flowers so hopefully a few more will develop. Next year all squash plants will be planted in full sun.

The summer garden
Straight-necked squash leaves

The tatume squash is growing in a 2-gallon pot because the rest of the raised beds haven't been filled yet. It's growing well and has produced flowers this week.

The fifth squash variety is buttercup, an heirloom butternut-type winter squash. I love butternut squash. The vine is flowering like crazy and there are several tiny baby squash on it.

Bumblebees are frequent visitors to the squash plants, and one day I was buzzed by a hummingbird that was attracted by the mimosa tree nearby that was in flower. I've had a few squash bugs but I picked them off right away and haven't seen any more ... yet.

The summer garden
One day's harvest

Cantaloupe, eggplant and watermelon plants round out our summer garden.

The nicest thing about the summer garden is that there are few weeds to pull - actually, there are no weeds, just bermuda grass that has to be pulled before it gets out of hand. You might remember that the bermuda grass is my nemesis, so I am thrilled that it has been controllable this year. Yeah!

How is your garden growing? What are you planning to plant in your fall garden? 



This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


~~~~~

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18 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you are getting such a good harvest. My squash are struggling this year due to our bipolar weather. Days can be hot but then the nights feel like Fall. At least it makes for good sleeping weather though. ;)

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    1. I can only long for cool nights and good sleeping weather, Debbie. August is our hottest month and at night it's in the 70's if we're fortunate - and it heats up FAST in the morning. I'm sorry you have bipolar weather this year and few squash, but I hope you enjoy the cool evenings! :-)

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  2. Hi Kathi,our squash plant's have done very well. Between the zucchini and summer squashes we easily picked a hundred.We gave away bushels untill I felt well to do my zucchini relish twenty nine pints and bought an excalibur dehydrator and dried at least a Bush's which I enjoy munching on. My husband has vowed that next year I stay home and he buys the plant's. Lol guess he's forgotten that I can start my own hahaha! The summer squash I love to saute onions and peppers then scramble eggs and pour them over the onions and peppers and cook it with salt and pepper and what a meal that is. My ugly ripe tomatoes are coming in wonderfully and taste so good.summertime is the only time tomatoes taste good. Peppers have been great this year too. I'm going to do as you have suggested and put my Roma in the freezer until I can get to them. New England weather can be very bipolar but I really wouldn't want to live anywhere else.Thank you for the tip on the tomatoes in the freezer and God Bless /:-)

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    1. Your squash plants have done amazingly well, Rosz! I'm glad you're feeling better.

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  3. This is our first year for a garden as we just moved here last summer, but for majorly neglecting it at first, I think ours is doing pretty well. It could always be better. ;) I re-did our squash patch at the beginning of July and it's really taking off! I can't wait for spaghetti squash and zucchini. :)

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    1. Congratulations on your new place, Alicia.

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  4. Kathi, what a wonderful garden! My mom is a much better gardener than I am, although she doesn't have the energy to do much anymore. It was always a pleasure to go home and enjoy eating all those fresh veggies! Store bought ones just don't compare. I'm your neighbor at Good Morning Mondays. Have a great week!

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    1. Donna, you're so right that store-bought veggies just don't taste as good as homegrown. Thank you so much for visiting; I'll be right over to your blog too.

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  5. Reading your post sure makes me miss my country garden! We have moved to the city and aside from a small herb garden and two planters with garlic, we are without fresh veggies. I must try the zucchini in a tub. How large would you say yours is?

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    1. Hi Margaret, I'm sure you must miss your country garden! This feed tub is made of black rubber and is about two feet in diameter. Hubby drilled numerous holes around the sides, at the bottom - so that the holes aren't underneath the tub. This gives us better drainage, we think. The zucchini love their tub, and we've grown tomatoes in it in prior years.

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  6. I want to start a garden so bad! Do you have any suggestions for a small patio garden? Beautiful pictures!

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    1. Plant suggestions? If you can install trellises you can grow things upwards and that will open a great deal of variety for you. If you can't use trellises, you can grow bush beans, patio tomatoes, lettuce and carrots and so on. Root crops have small plants above ground, so you'd just need to have containers that are deep enough or have a big-enough diameter. You can do it!

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  7. How wonderful to have produce from your own garden.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. There are so many vegetables that aren't available in stores, ones that are too hard to ship because they are fragile or don't keep well or for some other reason. It's so worth growing a garden. I hope you have a little patch of ground to grow a plant or two, Amalia, even if it's in a pot.

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  8. Oh, those tomatoes look scrumptious! So glad that you are able to grow so much in the heat of summer.
    Thank you for stopping by The Maple Hill Hop this week!

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    1. The tomatoes are divine this year, and they haven't slowed down yet with the heat. Hope your Florida heat breaks soon, Daisy.

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  9. Looks like your garden is doing very well! Hope you have a lovely week <3

    Blessings,
    Edye | Http://gracefulcoffee.wordpress.com

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    1. Thank you, Edye, I hope your garden is in good shape too!

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