I've learned a few things in my garden this year. Here are a few:
1. Set up a long arbor type support system for the cucumbers to climb on so I can walk underneath/through it and pick the cucumbers as they hang down from the vines and leaves. My cucumbers have vines so long and vigorous that they are too thick to see through on the support we have and I have a heck of a time getting to the cukes. And there is no more room on the support, so the vines are now taking off on the ground and getting ready to climb up the tomato plants and hook up with the squash. Their tendrils are mingling and grabbing each other... they're outa control!
The beans in the background could be a topiary; they cover whatever is there to grab a hold of. The winter squash in the foreground.
2. Allow at least twice as much room for my winter squashes and melons. The squashes have run out of room and are thinking about climbing up the bean supports and taking over the cucumber support, which is barely supporting the cucumbers. Fortunately, the melons are next to the part of the garden I never had time to plant, so for the most part they are spreading over open territory:
Here's one of the blue hubbard squashes, now almost the size of a football:
And some of the baby Emerald Gem melons:
And one of the Tigger Melons, that will turn bright yellow and red when ripe:
3. Buy or build heavy-duty tomato supports.The cheapo ones I had on my deck last summer are laughable in our garden. They have crumpled with the weight of the tomatoes and blown over with the wind. Half of my plants are lying on their sides and will probably stay there for the rest of this year or until we get replacements. Once bent, they're worthless. The plants are still producing tomatoes - more than we need, but I'm not too happy about seeing them on the ground.
Here are some of my grape and lemon tomatoes...
and a lemon boy tomato in with some lemon and one Poone Kheera cucumbers:
5. Check the garden every day. Once established, these guys sure grow fast: green beans, okra, cucumbers and tomatoes. I'm picking them every other day at least. And the okra spears (pods?) doubles in size from one day to the next.
6. Plant three times as many okra pants and at least that much more corn. The okra produce quickly, but each plant only has about two spears ready a day. The corn has been great, but I didn't plant nearly enough. I'd planned to plant four times as much, but life got in the way. Here is a picture of the first we tried out; it wasn't quite ready, but was good. What we had last night was perfect. It's a yellow heirloom, whose name I can't recall at the moment, that we got from Baker Heirloom Seeds.
7. Have access to my freezer in the basement. The beans I have picked over the last few weeks are taking over the refrigerator and frig freezer. We can only eat so many of them... though Mike really likes the recipe I came up with to help use up some of our peppers as well:
Wahsega Valley Farm Beans:
- bunch of green beans trimmed to bite sized pieces
- onion to equal about half of the qty of beans
- 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1 or 2 serrano peppers
- some banana or other peppers
- garlic to taste
- olive oil
Just throw everything in big skillet or pot and cook on stove-top at medium heat until the beans and onions are kinda browned and starting to shrivel... maybe 30 minutes or so.
That's it for now, though I will have other revelations as the season progresses. Here are some additional pictures of the garden taken about a week ago, for those interested:
Squash leaves and blossoms, both of which I am totally enamored with. The leaves are huge and the blossoms look like hibiscus to me.
And hanging out near the cucumbers while I was picking beans:
Time to fold some laundry!