Saturday, September 28, 2013

Come see --- this morning --- how our garden grew

Kay Brown and Kathy Willets outdid themselves yesterday, decorating the barn, harvesting produce and hauling it up the big hill for today's open house at the Lucas County Historical Society museum. So stop in between 10 a.m. and noon for free coffee, hot cider, coffee cake --- and fresh-roasted peanuts.

It's cool and pleasant early this morning, but a little rain is in the forecast. No matter; we'll be dry inside the barn if showers come. All of the buildings will be open for tours, you can check out the reconstructed floor of Puckerbrush School --- and we're expecting a miniature horse, a goat or two and a bottle calf to interact with (they'll be on the grounds, not in the barn). 

Jim Secor is back from Germany and will be cutting into the moon-and-stars watermelons, too. This is an heirloom variety --- and it has seeds; lots of them --- but we're anxious to see how they turned out. The odd thing is, we're all so accustomed to buying our melons at the grocery store none of us had a clue about how to determine when a garden-raised melon was ripe.

Plan on taking home a few of our heirloom tomatoes --- although production in the tomato patch has slowed, there still are plenty of at least four varieties. That's cockscomb from the garden in the big basket with flourishes of basil.

We've been really pleased with the heirloom garden, now winding down. Despite peculiar weather at various times during the season, it's been a success. So thanks to Jim, Robin Kennedy, Kay Mundt (who started the tomato seeds Jim planted and shared other starts), Kay, Hugh, Angie, Kathy and others. We did water the garden occasionally to tide it over between rains --- and that's a huge undertaking involving what seemed like miles of hose strung down the hill (then hauled back up). And everything that grew has been shared with critters --- deer, raccoons and more.

The big, messy --- and highly productive --- tomato patch probably was the most successful. We've all been eating and giving away exceptional tasting tomatoes since midsummer. I don't think as many cucumbers will go in the ground next year --- we couldn't deal with the output and too many went to waste.

The melons may have been the most fun. No matter how the moon-and-stars melons taste, they're beautiful to look at. There were two varieties of small "personal-size" heirloom melons, wonderfully dense and sweet, softball size or a little larger. All but one of those have ripened (and been eaten). Next year, some pumpkins, too, maybe.

A row of basil produced lots of pesto during the summer and there were cabbages, onions and lots more. 

Deer enjoyed the Indian corn, too --- and weather conditions were a little hard on it, but Kay found a few colorful ears anyway last week. Cherokee Trail of Tears beans grew up the cornstalks --- black and delicious; I want more of those.

We learned that we're going to have to spray (or at least powder) if we hope to have a decent squash crop. There were plenty of yellow crooknecks earlier, but the winter squash had a hard time of it.

And then, for color --- cockscomb, poppies, daisies and larkspur. 

None of this would have been possible without talented, hard-working and dedicated gardeners --- and we're very grateful to them.

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