Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Birthday Harvest

My birthday weekend coincided with the first frost advisory getting issued by the National Weather Service. At this point, there looks to be a chance of our first freeze arriving Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. With this news in mind, I devoted much of my birthday to harvesting the garden - so much for a lazy, restful day! I started down in the big garden. There are lots and lots of flowers left on the dahlias and zinnias. They have all really come on strong this month and I can't stand the thought of all of those last blooms getting wasted by a cold night. So, I started by cutting a bucket of dahlias in the white/pink/purple color group. Then I cut a bouquet of "Persian Carpet" zinnias. I thought both "arrangements" looked pretty stunning against my purple garden bench.

It was also time to harvest my "Speckled Hound" Winter Squash. My poor four plants did the best that they could. They were planted in half day sun and really struggled. Amazingly, each plant did set one fruit. The fruit on the far left, above, best represents their potential. "Speckled Hound" is a boxy shaped winter squash with a concentrated sweet, nutty flavor. The squash are a light orange color with a randomly patterned blue/green overlay. And the skin is amazingly smooth. It almost has the feeling of being waxed. They grow to a size if 3-6 pounds. My four however came in a little below that. They were 2 lbs. 2.5 oz, 1 lbs. 9.4 oz., 1 lbs. 12.8 oz., and 2 lbs. 5.1 oz. for a total of 7 lbs. 13.8 oz.

My final big project of the day was harvesting my "Hutterite Soup" bush beans. I am truly a bit amazed that I was able to get a harvest out of these bean plants. They were planted from seed on July 2nd and I wasn't sure that there would be enough good weather to see them to complete maturity. As you can see, underneath the bean leaves, the beans are starting to turn yellow and dry. We have had a nice stretch of 10+ days without rain and that has really been a blessing.

I pulled up each plant one by one and clipped of the bean pods. It took me over an hour but I ended up with a full garden trug for my efforts. Now I can lay them out in trays at home in a warm room to further dry for a few days.

1 comment:

Mindy said...

Happy birthday! The buckets of dahlias are SO pretty!