"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Harvest Time (Buckets Of Spuds)

Yesterday I harvested all the rest of the chiles off my cayenne plants. There were a few green ones hanging on, but most of them were fully dried on the plants. It was the best year for chiles I've ever had - I don't know if that's because I only planted cayennes and cayennes do well, or if there is some other mysterious reason, but in either case I think I am well fixed for heat. 

This picture of a bucket of spuds came off the internet, because I don't have my camera handy, but the bucket of spuds just outside my door looks pretty much the same. I have white potatoes and russets as well as redskins. It's funny - I planted a lot of potatoes this year, but then I totally ignored them and didn't weed at all. The potato patch looks like a jungle of thistles, amaranth, dock, and chicory. The potato plants themselves died back some time ago, and I sadly figured there would be no potatoes under there. 

Today, however, a friend asked me to bring her some lamb's quarter to plant in her garden for her rabbits. I told her to reconsider, I said it was a plague on my land and she'd olive to regret it, but she wants some anyway. So I went out to the potato patch and shoveled up a plant. Along with the lamb's quarter came three or four big, healthy potatoes. 

In the next five minutes, I uncovered a three gallon bucket full of potatoes. I decided I ad better stop. I don't want my lovely, unexpected potato crop to go all wrinkly and flabby in a drawer; we can leave them in the ground and dig them up as needed until the frost. I dug less than a tenth of the whole patch; I think we will be eating a lot of potatoes this fall. 

Other success stories this year (with pictures to follow someday):

- Tomatoes. I bought a whole flat of unmarked tomatoes in May and planted out some twenty plants before I got tired. They all did well, and I am now picking tomatoes every day. Mostly cherries, some Romas. 

- Pickling cucumbers. I've never had luck with cucumbers of any kind before but this year they did pretty well. Four plants provided me with enough cukes to keep my kitchen-table fermenting crock full. I also like to throw in the crock any extra... 

- Green beans. You can never have too many green beans, in my opinion. I planted blue lake (I think?) pole beans and yellow wax bush beans. They both did great and in addition to eating them fresh I canned six pints of hot dilly beans. 

- Red cabbage. I have six big cabbages out there that I probably ought to harvest before the slugs get them. 

Things that didn't do so well this year were the early spring crops - I got barely any peas, radishes, or spinach. Too wet, I think.  had to replant peas twice because they just rotted. Also I planted cantaloupes in the greenhouse and although the vines grew well, they only set two melons which are now about the size of softballs. I don't think anything is going to happen with those.  And my winter squash aren't too good, either. I have a grand total of two butternut squashes et, and two hub bards. If the hub bards get to a good size that will be enough, but who knows if that will happen. 

There is one other amazing plant this year, but it isn't in the garden. It's a volunteer yellow crookneck summer squash that grew out of the compost pile. I have never seen such an amazingly huge squab plant. this one plant has covered an area of about 200 square feet, sprawling all over the compost and out into the field in all directions. It has at least twenty-five squashes on it, and many many dozens of flowers. We have been eating the squash blossoms in quesadillas and soup, but I haven't tried one of the squashes themselves yet.

Overall I would call this one of my more successful gardens. I'm definitely happy with the tomatoes and chiles, and the discovery of such spudly abundance today was a welcome surprise. How about y'all? How is your garden doing?