Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Totals are In

Monday night I got the squash off the bench and under cover, since the forcasters were calling for a change in the weather. Then I got out my scale and weighted the harvest. I was surprised - just over 70 lbs. of squash. Now I had better get cooking!

"Butternut" bathed in the setting sunlightand a "Buttercup' hiding under the leaves.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Harvest Day

After starting seeds in May and planting out the seedlings in early June, it was time today to harvest the Winter Squash. After an amazing Summer of hot days and warm nights, the forcast is finally calling for showers tuesday and much cooler temperatures afterwards. I wanted to get all the squash under cover where they could begin curing before they had the chance to get wet.
When I was all done I was shocked at the final count ; 26 "Delicata" , 7 "Buttercup", and 4 "Butternut". I knew that I didn't have many "Butternut", in part because that was the one variety that I had to buy starts and replant. I think they just never fully recovered from the late start. But boy did the other two make up for it! I knew I had alot of "Delicata", but would never have guessed 26 fruit. And the "Buttercup" really surprised me. For such big fruit they were good at hiding. The best surprise was the "Buttercup" in the rose bush. When I got the vines cleared I discoverd not 1 but 2 fruit, stacked on each other. The poor old rose!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Year of the Tomato

Each Summer has its own distinct personality. Some come early and stay late, others are cool and "never" come. This year the Willamette Valley has had a very warm Summer and the trend is continuing through the early days of Fall. For the gardener, it has meant a poor year for the cool-weather crops like salad greens, but it has been a banner year for the heat lovers. In particular, my squash and tomatoes have produced abundantly. On Sunday, I only had time to pick the tomatoes on 4 plants in the vegetable bed by the house. My total harvest - 14 pounds 4.3 oz. ! The largest two producers were "Master Caruso"  with 4 Ibs. 4 oz. and my mystery red/black plum with 4 lbs. 2.9 oz.

They all looked so pretty, lined up in the ceramic bowls. Each variety displayed different shapes, colors and textures. That's part of the fun of growing so many different types.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Last Day of Summer 2009

Today is the offical last day of Summer for 2009,  even though the weather forcast calls for very warm temperatures all week. If you need any help understanding how to get the most pleasure from these last, treasured days, look no further than the cats. They were born knowing how to enjoy Summertime. To the left, Padma and his sister Parvati soak in the sun. Below, Tom-Cat enjoys the dappled sunlight underneath the hammock. So much for the dog-days of Summer. Not in this house!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Remember this tray of Cosmos seedlings from early June? Well, they have grown and grown and are now exploding down in the big garden in various shades of white, pink, purple and bi-colored
Everyones a Fan!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday at the Market

After having commitments the last 2 weeks, I was finally able to make it down to the Farmer's Market this morning. The calendar had flipped since my last visit and the produce and selection at the market had changed as well. First on my "to-do" list was finding some peppers. I am planning on trying a new roasted red pepper pasta salad recipe today. The recipe specifically calls for a Bell Pepper, but I am open to change. The seach wasn't hard. The late Summer "hot crops" - tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants - were everywhere. I truly don't know if I have ever seen the selection and quantity of peppers that were present today. I ended up purchasing 3 red "Italian Bullhorn".
There were also a lot of Cantaloupe and Watermelon for sale. This display, along with the Sunflowers, really looked like a late Summer portrait.
The most exciting find of the day were fresh dried beans. I saw these folks last year with a small display and the beans were being snapped up today. I heard the vendor mention that was all they had of the "Orca" but had a 5 gallon bucket of the "Vermont Cranberry"  to sell. With the rising popularity of dried beans, thanks in a big part to Steve Sando of Ranch Gordo, I think a dried bean vendor - or 2 - would do really well at the market. This is a very promising start!

And last, but definitely not least in my book, the Winter Squash have started to arrive. Not surprisingly, I didn't see any of the large ones yet, but many booths had "Delicata", "Acorn" and "Sweet Dumpling".

Very happy days for lovers of squash and pumpkins!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Inside and Out

Because we haven't put up deer fencing at the house yet, my vegetable garden is growing behind a make-shift fence made of PVC pipe and bird netting. It actually works quite well and the netting squares are large enough that they don't distract from the view too much. But just because you plant your squash seedlings safely behind the fencing doesn't mean they are going to stay there! My favorite example of this is the above pictured "Buttercup" squash. As the vine grew inside the fence, the imature female squash pushed through a hole in the webbing. It was pollinated and began growing. And growing! It still hasn't reached full maturity, but is large enough now that you can see how the weight of it is pulling down on the fencing. It is fortunate that the deer don't seem to enjoy squash fruit like they do squash leaves.

These "Butternut" Squash are outside the fence too. The vine they are growing on had crawled out of the fencing before they were pollinated. I put bricks underneath each of them and they have been very happy.
Just so you don't think all my squash are poorly behaved, here's a picture of a nice trio of Delicata". Yes they are growing against the fence, but they are inside the fence! I must admit though, I do have at least 3 other "Delicata" that are all growing outside the fence. It just seems to be a theme this year!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Rains Return

After not receiving any rain for over two months, I awoke at 4:30 AM this morning to the sound of pouring rain. It is now just past noon, and the rain has slowed to steady showers. While this has put a serious damper - no pun intended- on many holiday weekend festivities and plans, the rain is much needed. When I checked the rain gauge this morning it was full to just over the 2 inch mark! That will really help put some significant moisture back into the earth.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Zinnia Update

You might remember that this Spring I started 2 different varieties of Zinnias from seed - "Hot Crayon Colors" and "Berry Basket". After getting off to a bit of a slow start, the plants have really come on. They have been blooming now for about 2+ weeks. This is the 3rd year in a row that I have planted "Hot Crayon Colors" and this year I have a new color blooming in the mix. It is a great rusty, orange color. It has more brown in it than the bloom pictured above shows. It is such a unique color for any flower and fits so well with the colors of Fall. I am think about trying to save some seed from it for next year.