As we enter the final weekend of August, I like to reflect on the work that I did over the past months and the crops that were sown and harvested. Here is the report on my spring/summer garden activities:
This year’s garden was saved by Diane in late July. She arrived at a time when I was swamped with work and after a period of hot rainy weather that caused the various vegetables to flourish, but made it near impossible to complete the basic mid-season chores of pruning, weeding and thinning.
A list of the crops grown this season include; okra, beans, peas, lettuce, chicory, carrots, onions, spinach, Swiss chard and tomatoes. They all did well in spite of the family of rabbits that had taken up residence inside my fenced garden plot. The crop of broccoli was looking bountiful until one morning I came upon the ravaged remains of a dozen broccoli plants. The rabbit family was enjoying a feast every night!
I am grateful that the rabbits didn’t seem interested in my asparagus section. As you can see from the pictures the ferns from the crowns planted in April were abundant and healthy. The heirloom variety is doing well as seen below. Preparing the bed that will be their permanent home is a project for next year in late winter or early spring. At that time I intend to trade or sell some of them. Over time I may also have some crowns to thin and trade or sell off.
Leeks are plentiful for late season harvesting. Through the colder months potato and leek soup is always a favorite. I make large batches of soup and freeze them in containers that measure 2 + servings. This allows me to have a hearty soup in minutes, anytime during the winter season.
Okra is a crop that I have not grown in the past. I don’t eat much of it though it is good in Gumbo. What few okra that survived the rabbit family will be used for a big pot of gumbo. The seeds were sent to me from my old pal Lana from Louisiana (near New Orleans). Gumbo and okra are staples in her part of the country.
Potatoes did well. I left two rows to be harvested much later than these first 3 rows. I am hoping the extra time in the soil will produce large spuds. Keeping the potatoes in the ground until late autumn helps to conserve storage space too. If I wanted to keep the potatoes in the ground for late winter harvest, I would need to lay a thick layer of mulch on top. I may do that with the carrots and see how well they hold up. Carrots are one of those root crops that tastes a little sweeter after a freeze too.
Unfortunately, I was too late to plant Brussels sprouts for autumn harvest and the rabbits ate every one of the earlier seeds that had sprouted. Rabbit stew is sounding better and better….no vegetables, just the rabbit!
The season winner; is asparagus – both varieties, due to their tremendous progress in a short span of time. I believe the degree to which the crowns have flourished is directly related to the advanced soil preparation I did in early-spring.
Season loser; has to be broccoli. Damn the rabbits!
I was unable to catch any of the skunks, but I suspect they are still lurking nearby. I may have to put rabbits and skunks on target for next spring.