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We’ve reached the point where, when people ask me how the garden’s going, I say something like, “Well, the plants are winning now.” This is very meaningful to you, if you have ever weeded by hand a 70×120 foot garden. When the plants start truly winning, they also start shading out the weeds that are still there, so the weeds don’t grow as much. It’s also a deep breath of relief because, hallelujah, it’s evident that you WILL get a crop out of this!

The peppers still seem slow however. They are taking part in the drip tape experiment, and I’m just not sure what’s going on. The only thing that makes me think we might still be ok is that it always seems like peppers surprise me. Suddenly they just go nuts and you’ve got jalepenos out your ears. I’m hoping for a big surprise. Until Saturday, we were also still worried about our yukon gold potatoes. I’m not sure what their deal is… we planted them at the same time as the pontiac reds, watered them the same, but look at the difference here (pontiacs on the right, yukon on the left).

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It is obvious the golds are fairing much worse. They didn’t even flower. So Lynda and I decided to dig one of the biggest ones to see if there was anything happening under the surface. Surprise!

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So, ok, don’t judge a plant by its “over” (ground… I’m trying to be clever here…). What’s weird though is that, as you can see, all the potatoes are clustered together very close to the surface. Usually they would be more spread out and go down deeper. We’ll see how they continue to develop. Let’s continue our tour of winning plants…

Spectacular lettuces, kohlrabi, squash are out of control, tomatoes (kids in tomato jungle), baby carrots – yum!, and these are the mere beginnings of our chinese noodle green beans. I’m pretty sure they need about a 10′ trellis rather than our measly 4′ chicken wire, but I guess we’ll see what happens and make adjustments next year. I planted these thinking they would be fun. They should grow beans about 20 inches long each. So is that like 1 serving of vegetables per bean??

Friday I harvested all our garlic. I thought they would be bigger, but I’m pleased regardless because they look so beautiful! From what I’ve read, they will need to cure like this for about 2 weeks before they are ready for long term storage.

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We are eating cantaloupe everyday right now – not a bad deal!! I feel like I should plant them staggered next year, because they are really coming all at once now. I picked 11 just today! We’ve already done 22 pints of salsa, and I plan to do another batch tomorrow morning along with another batch of salsa verde. I’ll post my recipes after I work out some kinks tomorrow. I also canned 25 pints of just tomatoes to cook with. We still haven’t even started canning/freezing corn.

But what you really need to know is that we have a “presence” in the garden. Creepy, YES! Check this guy/gal out!

Are you as freaked out as I am right now, because I’m CERTAIN that thing was born to KILL! It has occupied a spot very advantageous to its health and ever-increasing girth, right in the middle of the tomatoes. Every time we walk by, we scare up a bunch of grasshoppers and one will reliably get caught in its web. He runs down, wraps up the unlucky prey, and starts sucking its carcass dry. There is a pile of grasshopper carcasses below his web — eeeeek!!!! You can be sure that every tomato in this spider’s immediate vicinity will fall to the ground and rot before I consider reaching for it. While picking the tomatoes, I never let this guy out of my line of sight. I’m just certain that the moment I turn my back, he will rush me!!!!!

Jordan thinks it must be a pregnant female spider because it has gotten so bulbous, but I’m not sure spider reproduction works that way….

Anyway, I’m fond of it, kind of like I’m fond of Breaking Bad — I like it, but I’m also pretty uncomfortable around it.

Speaking of bulbous, check out these butternut squash:

Just for comparison, I could easily hollow this out and wear it as a shoe. That would be a truly great pic. Soon they will get that lovely orange hue and be ready for eating.

During my online absence, we had Windfest here in Kulm. Here’s our really exciting float!!!:

We’ll work on making it even MORE exciting next year, but, as you can see, that probably won’t be possible. This picture really captures the excitement of the float by snapping the candy in mid-air! SO EXCITING! Did I say that yet??

PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!!!!

first ripe tomato

first ripe tomato

watermelon

watermelon

grasshopper damage – they eat thru the stalk

representative menace

onion, beet, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, turkey and cheddar

thank you sandwich gods!

 

 

Last weekend was Grandma Caroline’s 95th birthday party. It was great fun to celebrate her and the long life she has used for what seems like only one purpose, to love.

There was a lot of family in town, which we happily put to work. Jenni, Josh, Bayley, Jordan and I each took a row of sweet corn and just worked our way to the end, and then we started over and over and over. Now the corn looks great!! And the popcorn is knee high by… the 18th of June!

Solveigh, Alice’s cousin, helped me plant a second set of onions and carrots. She was a pro at popping those bulbs in 😉

Following the weekend, we all bonded over the stomach flu. Awwww, family…

Back to work, I picked much much lettuce. We have had some fantastic salads! And the second round is popping through the ground already. It better hurry though or it will be too hot for it to do very well.

Jordan helped me put up a fence for the peas. I encouraged them to climb by tying them against the fence with old pantyhose. It is the best material to use because it is strong but it has enough give to be gentle on the plant. We’ll have some nice walls of peas pretty soon!

And Jordan caged all the tomatoes. Next year we will put up the cages when we plant them. We waited too long and had to damage some of the plants to get the cages on :(. The Dakota millets are especially bushy, so it was hard to get the cages on over them.

Otherwise, right now is just a season of weeding and tending. I won’t bore you with detailing it all and will try to just post pics when pics alone will suffice. And since we’re starting to eat from the garden, I’ll also start posting recipes and ideas to our What can you do with this vegetable? page, the first of which is there now – check it out!

Oh, and check out this wheat ready to head out!! That is when the grain comes out of the stalk. Then you just need to wait for it to dry out and it’s ready to harvest.