Sunday, June 24, 2012

Full Speed Ahead!

We have hit harvest season for the garden!  We have harvested over 60 pounds this year.  I don't know that we'll reach our 150 pound goal.  The onion and potato disasters really threw off my estimate.

The spring crops are doing well though and we will start planting for "second spring" (we can do a second round of spring veggies late in the summer around here) and fall pretty soon.  I will have several food preservation posts to put up this week, so I thought we'd start off with a picture update of the garden.

Black eyed peas are growing pretty well, but not quite ready to pick yet.  I remember going to my grandparent's ranch when I was a kid and picking pounds and pounds and pounds of black eyed peas.  We'd have paper grocery bags full of them.  Then all afternoon we'd hide inside to get away from the Southern Texas heat and shell all those peas.   Hopefully my girls are doing the same here soon.  We ended up planting California black eyed peas and finding out a couple of weeks later that they don't do so well in this area.  The plants look great, we'll have to wait and see how they produce.
The last of the carrots were harvested yesterday.  The girls had a great time doing that. 

The okra plants are huge now and starting to bloom
And I found the first little okra pod starting to grow.  I got a little carried away with planting okra, I think.  I will be probably be canning some for the first time this year
The cucumber plants are covered with blooms and I'm harvesting a slow, but steady stream of cukes.  Hoping to get enough to can a year's supply of pickles
The bell peppers are very happy too.  The yellow, orange and red bell pepper plants have set these gorgeous peppers, we're just waiting on them to change color
The purple bell peppers are a little smaller (they always have been when we've planted them, so I don't think it's because they're missing anything), but they are producing really well
All in all, we ended up with a lot of produce to take care of yesterday, so you can see why the food preservation posts are on their way!
And those leaf footed bugs?  I HATE them!  I've found several clusters of nymphs lately:
Most of the adults I'm finding are mating, and they are just swarming the plants.  I have judiciously used the sevin and I can tell it's harmful to the bugs who get sprayed, but there are just swarms and swarms out there and I don't want to douse the whole plant (and adjacent parts of the garden) in sevin.  I have plans to haul the vacuum out there this afternoon and see if I can put a dent in the population by removing them that way.  I'm so tempted to pull up the plants they are on, but I know they're just going to move to some other part of the garden if I do that. 

Coming up this week: Canning successes and failures.  We've tried out some new recipes and also utilized a few classics!

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