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Food It Yourself Garden 2017 Mid Season Update

This year’s garden is certainly different than last year’s garden. Last year we were in the midst of a major drought. This year I am worried about mold, fungi, and keeping the slugs at bay.

 (Thankfully, we have chickens that like eating slugs.) We have had a bit less heat this summer, which is great for me, as I am not a big fan of hot sticky weather. However, the weather has been less than ideal for tomatoes. Yes, there are dozens upon dozens of Romas (a red plum variety) and lemon boys (a low-acid yellow fleshed variety) hanging on my plants. Not a single one is showing the least bit of interest in ripening.  I am not alone, either. Every New England gardener I have spoken to this summer has the same story. Hopefully, August will have a couple of high-heat weeks. Mr. Food It Yourself and I no longer care for store-bought ketchup. I need to fill the pantry with some home-made stuff.

We have been a bit luckier with the cherry tomatoes.

The plants are about six feet (that’s nearly two meters) tall. The fruits are ripening, slowly but surely. Every time we get a handful I get a little more hopeful for my Romas and lemon boys.

Believe it or not, we have zucchini (she says, sarcastically). I have realized after many years that the secret to enjoying zucchini is to begin giving it away early in the season. I have already gifted some sizeable squashes to my parents and co-workers. I also made four loaves of my favorite zucchini bread today. One loaf is on my counter, one went to my parents, two are in my freezer. As you can see, the plants are still producing. I probably ought to pick this one sooner rather than later. It’s getting sort of huge.

My herbs are all doing well, except that I have to carefully push aside other things to get at them. You can see a happy yet crowded thyme plant creeping along the bottom of that zucchini pic. The basil and parsley are also really happy despite having to compete with the tomatoes. In fact, I think the shade from the tomatoes is preventing the parsley from bolting (going to flower) so that is certainly a plus.

We were a little shocked a week ago when our sweet corn grew tassels. I thought it would get a little taller before that happened, but you can see a budding ear coming off the plant. The website Gardening Know How explains that early tassel formation has several possible causes. If I had to guess I would say the cooler nights we had early in the season could be responsible.

The pumpkins are starting to sprawl and we are seeing little baby pumpkins on a couple of the vines. We also have some peppers on the way.

If you have been wondering about the glut of radish pods I harvested in July, I did have to pull them out. They were crowding out my cucumbers. However, now that they have some sunlight, the cucs are looking quite perky and are starting to climb the chickenwire support I made for them. I also planted a second round of lettuce inside the support fence. By the time to lettuce is ready, I will hopefully be able to make fully home-grown salad.

 I always get so impatient in August for things to ripen. We get so little summertime in New England. I have to constantly remind myself that things take time to grow, and there is simply no way to rush them. How is your garden plot looking so far this year? Share in the comments!

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