Garden Update 8/22/14

While one bed is still cranking out summer produce, the second bed is getting ready for its fall planting.  This time around, we are going to be planting for maximum production.

FLOWERING (a look at what is coming):

(left to right) Pumpkins seedlings, asparagus yardlong beans, snow peas

(left to right) Pumpkins seedlings, asparagus yardlong beans, snow peas

Since nothing new is flowering, I think it would be prudent to tell you about the new things I’m adding to the seed-stash.  I recently purchased:  yardlong asparagus beans, snow peas, red kale, a french breakfast radish, a new lettuce that is suppose to tolerate hot weather better, purple carrots, marigolds and nasturtiums.  I’ve already seeded 3 sq ft. of yardlong asparagus beans (18 beans) with the hope that the Atlanta summer will last well into October so we can harvest some.  I have also gone ahead and planted 4 sq. ft of snow peas (32 plants).  The rest I’m going to wait another week or so on seeding.  But I’m excited.

FRUITING:

Parsnip greens are getting bushy, roots are getting bigger by the day (i hope).

Parsnip greens are getting bushy, roots are getting bigger by the day (I hope).

Again, nothing really new here.  The parsnips however are finally looking bushy enough on top to make me think that the roots are working up to a nice size.  I’ve pulled one to see how it look, it was small but getting close to a good size.   While I have plans to grow them this winter, I’m hoping these ones will be tasty despite the summer heat.  An aside about parsnips, did you know they can burn you?  Yeah I just learned this, and thank goodness I did not have to learn the hard way.  They have something called furanocoumarin which is a light sensitive chemical in the foliage of the plant that can burn you if you harvest a large amount on a sunny day.  Crazy I tell you!  Apparently this is a problem more for foragers getting wild parsnips, though it can be a problem with our domesticated parsnips and some of its relatives like parsley , celery and carrots.  Even lime juice has been know to cause this phytophotodermititis (the rash and blistering of the skin from contact with light sensitive chemicals).  I’m not telling you this to panic you.  Growing these crops is not a danger.  But I think I will be doing the parsnip pulling myself with gloves and long sleeves on instead of letting the kids.  Better safe than sorry!

THE UGLY:

Left: Really sad, stunted corn.  Trying to bloom and it isn't even close to the right size. Right: Whatever the sickness the watermelon got, won the battle.

Left: Really sad, stunted corn. Trying to bloom and it isn’t even close to the right size.
Right: Whatever the sickness the watermelon got, won the battle.

As summer continues to beat down on us all, it seems as if everything is ugly these days.  The watermelon sickness spread to the point of killing the plants.  So my watermelon did not get very big.  But hey, it was our first try, so whatever.  And the corn, well, we have yet to see an ear of corn work.  By the time the ones in the pot on my pot got large enough to even attempt harvesting, the were ravaged by bugs.  Yuck!  And now the stuff that I tried in the main beds are only 1 ft tall and already trying to put up male flowers.  The stems aren’t even thick enough to support an ear of corn.  So those are a flop as well.  This corn has to single handedly be the most disappointing thing we have grown this whole season so far.  Big bummer.

HARVEST:

 

It's been a very colorful few weeks.

It’s been a very colorful few weeks.

In the past 2 weeks, we’ve gotten:

I have to admit, the colors coming out of the garden the last few weeks have made me SO glad that I decided to fill our garden with colorful produce to inspire and intrigue my kids.  I personally am stunned and filled with awe with each progressively more colorful harvest.  To really give me that pat on the back that I needed here as the summer heat beats down on all of us, my 20 month old son is suddenly very interested in our garden.  He wants to help me water, pull vegetables, and every bit of produce that comes in must be patted  (“pat pat” as he says) and smelled and held for his approval.  He even tries to take a bite out of some of them if I turn my back.  Even the pickiest of eaters (which he is some days) can’t help but be intrigued and excited about the beautiful bounty we are growing in our 64 sq. ft.  That makes it ALL worth it!

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