Gardening · Homesteading · Urban Homesteading

Summer In The Gardens

Another week and summer will be over. It goes by so fast, but while I love the harvesting, and seeing so much grow…I can’t say I love the heat. I’m ready for the fall slow down, where it is cool enough to work in my garden, getting the beds ready for winter! It’s been a while since I wrote a garden post (June!) and the first one for the Never Free farm blog 🙂




There is something about the flowers though….


The tomato bed did better than I had hoped…but….I ignored a few things at my own peril. Lesson learned for next year. You never quit learning!


The summer squash plants did well this year – and have only recently started showing powdery mildew, which is great. In cooler summers it can strike in late June/July and make it so you don’t get any squash.


The squash was rampant this year! Plenty to eat and to share with neighbors.


I like the bed we made, reclaimed from the deck. It needs more compost worked in for next year, but did good being cut quickly in late Spring.


As July wound down into August, the tomatoes kicked into production.


Two of my grape vines produced this year. Sold as seedless….they had huge seeds. They were also thick-skinned and slightly sour. When the crows stripped the vines last week, I wasn’t heart-broken.


One of our girls, hard at work. Flowering basils are amazing for bees. I tracked down seeds for one type, and will be growing plants next year!


A white flowering basil.


As I said…the squash was productive.


An aerial view – right before the hot August kicked in and the grass went dormant.


One of the 2 year-old plum trees. Very sweet!


I ended up having to pick the pears early, just to keep the squirrels out of them……


I was hoping to save seeds off of this sunflower, it was an oddity – and not what I planted – but it bit the dust and broke and was eaten before I even knew it!


I grew these from saved seeds from the previous year – mammoth sunflower.


The tomato harvest started. And once it got going, I was taking in 5 pounds every evening. A lot of salsa and tomato sauce has been canned!


As August kicked in, I got the last bed done (for now, more work to be done), and got the fall crops of peas and beans in.


I had let a number of Evergreen Bunching Onions go to seed, and collected the heads. Just let them dry, and shake out. I will use them next spring.


Harvest of Snowcrisp apples, 2nd year tree.


So many tomatoes. But….as with all things, it does come to an end.


The fall crops growing along nicely last night.


However, the big tomato bed was hit by blight, which isn’t unusual. We had a long cold and wet week at the start of September. That is the start of it – especially for plants grown so tightly together like mine. I watched it, and took all that was ripe or near. As it progressed, I called it on Sunday, and tore out the bed (to yard waste, NOT to the compost bin!), I harvested and split the tomatoes into piles: ready to use, a hint of color (they got put with bananas, that ripened them) and green. This week I canned most of them, into tomato sauce, green salsa, and green tomato sauce. Many, many pounds! So I didn’t lose anything, and that is good. The second tomato bed is on the other side of the yard, and they seem fine. So for now I will let them go.


Happiness though is seeing a fall crop coming up. I turned over and heavily composted this bed, and planted the wheat that we had grown and harvested. From a few kernels, we had raised many – and now it is coming up! I will cover the bed in hay, and let it winter over (winter wheat), and harvest it hopefully in early summer. Being able to double seed in a growing year is what makes it worth it.

Fall will keep me busy. I need to finish getting the beds ready for all our garlic and shallots I picked up (small garlic festival for the win). A lot of compost to be turned into the soil. Working on the irrigation system. Finding better ways to feed the crops (my tomatoes didn’t get enough this year). Lots to plot and write down. January will come sooner than I think, and then there is so much planning!