The Harvest moon has passed without a frost and the garden is still booming in September. The fence has worked well so far this year. No chickens or other undesirables in the garden. Above, the 15 young chickens from the second hatch run by the garden with no thought of the juicy tomatoes and squash inside.
Things are beginning to wind down, the bean harvest is finally over. I pulled the plants yesterday. We have 19 pints of wax beans put up for winter. As I uprooted the bean plants I also weeded, and the area looks nice and neat. My horses enjoy bean plants and were happy to provide their unique composting services. While the string beans produce one major harvest, and several smaller ones, they continue to bloom up until frost. If left in the garden, enough beans for a meal form every week. The winter squash plants are visible on the side of the photo to the right. They are nearly ready to pick.
Bachelor buttons are about done for the year. They were so pretty. The Jerusalem artichokes are in full bloom. The heads of flowers are so heavy they weigh the tall plants down, causing them to lean. Maybe I will proved them some support next year. The sunflowers also are finally in bloom. I lost one tall plant to high winds, snapped off at the base, so I have three plants. All are yellow. I was hoping for some orange or burgundy. Oh well.
Indian corn has ripened and is now ready to harvest. The husks of the ears are drying and shrinking back from the tops of the cobs. Unfortunately this exposes the corn to hungry birds and insects so I must pick all the ears soon.
The tomato jungle continues to pump out fruit. I can not keep up with production. Many go to the chickens and horses, but that’s ok. We have plenty of tomatoes in the freezer and all the fresh ones I can eat and give away to unsuspecting friends. Most years I mulch the entire tomato patch with lawn clippings. I never managed to finish the job this year. The mulch is good for keeping dirt off the fruit and weeds down, so next year I will try harder to get this chore done on time.
Also ready for harvest are the pumpkins. We have 9 large field pumpkins, many tiny Jack-Be-Little pumpkins, but no pie pumpkins. Those apparently failed this year. The gourds on the mountain look to be a plentiful harvest. I may have to open a little roadside stand on one fine weekend in October to unload some of the excess squashes and Indian corn. We live on a high traffic road. On a warm, sunny fall day sales can be brisk.