This weekend I harvested 3 cantaloupes from our garden. Two of them were squishy so I was anxious to crack this one open as it was super pungent. It isn’t the sweetest cantaloupe I have ever had, so I should have waited a few days to open it up. This picture was shot with my 50mm f/1.8 at ISO 100, F/4, 1/8 sec.
One of my personal goals of gardening each year is to produce fruits and vegetables for my smoothies (carrots, apples, bananas, spinach/kale, blueberries & strawberries). I haven’t had any luck getting them all to harvest at the same time, but maybe one day. This fall our garden at the Barn at the Chastain Park Conservancy has featured smoothie ingredients carrots and kale. We had a big snow a couple of weeks ago and decided to get these beauties out of the ground. This bunch of carrots came out red, orange & yellow.
I suppose it has been a week since the last vegetable harvest, at least for the pole beans. Today I walked away from our garden at Farm Chastain with enough beans for the family, 3 ears of Silver Queen corn, and one of Silver King. I also picked a cucumber for Martha and some squash for this week. The corn was a little early to be picked but it sure was good. I think it has another 10 days of fattening up to go, but I ran across several worms which made me nervous so I went ahead and picked some for dinner. Picking the green beans is a challenge for sure, they are super healthy so there is a ton of foliage to get through to find the beans.
I am most proud of the corn. If I were to be stranded on an island it would be a must have for me. You can also see a yellow pepper in the picture above. It needs a couple of days to sweeten up, but also looked in danger of getting eaten up out there, so I went ahead and picked.
We had two watermelons growing nicely only to come back today to find them totally rotted out. Not sure what got to them, but they were super nasty. I'll spare you that picture.
Today we got back from a week at the beach and things are coming along nicely. We definitely have a squirrel problem, and as a result no tomatoes. We probably have 100 on the vine, but they are eaten well before becoming ripe.
The corn is pretty impressive to someone that hasn’t grown corn before. We have two rows of Silver Queen and the back row is Silver King. In the last week it has grown at least a foot and ears of corn have emerged everywhere.
Moving to the left and pretty much taking over all available space is the watermelon. At my last visit our first melon was the size of a fat cucumber, today it’s the size of a rugby ball.
To the left of the melons are cucumbers, squash, bush beans, pole beans and more beans. Only the first teepee of pole beans is producing, but I definitely got enough to feed the family.
Everything in the middle is getting rampaged by squirrels. I bet there were 50 cherry tomatoes half eaten on the ground, and a couple of peppers had been eaten through. It’s time to spend a day there weeding for sure. Here is a picture of what I walked away with.
Over the past couple of days I have noticed some of the green beans getting pretty big in the garden. This morning I picked a couple of handfuls of beans and two pretty red tomatoes. Tomorrow night I believe we will be having green beans, tomatoes with basil and a cucumber for dinner!
After picking a few of the straight eight cucumbers this summer I have realized mine are not going to resemble either of those descriptions. A straight eight cucumber is supposed to be long and straight, about 7-8 inches. The first fruit was really fat and short, and while I waited on it to grow, it turned yellow and became compost food. This time I picked it when it looked about right, just not straight or eight. Here is the picture I got of it. On the right side you can see it oozing from the fresh cut. Click on the image below to see the hi-res version on my website.
Based on some articles online this shape is due to a lack of bees getting their pollinating on. I have definitely noticed a lack of bees this year for some reason or another.
The Matthews back yard garden is starting to produce fruit in the way of tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. Below are some pictures of the progress. We are still waiting on the zucchini and green beans to start fruiting. Not pictured below are the bell peppers which are starting to change from green to red, and now have a purple tone to them.
Over the past couple of weeks I have added some growing structures for the tomatoes, squash & cucumbers.
I have harvested lots of strawberries, but for most of them a slug has been getting to them first. I added some natural wood charcoal ash around the raised beds as well as epson salt around the plants which will hopefully take care of the slugs.
I added some stakes to the pole beans, cucumbers & tomatoes and all seem to be shooting up as a result. The blueberries are starting to get their color which has the kids really excited, hopefully they will be ready to go soon.
At Matthews Farm, 2016 will be the year that I defeat the squirrels and chipmunks. Each year my garden has grown bigger and bigger, and each year more critters come out to enjoy the harvests the night before I come out to pick the fruits of my labor.
This offseason I decided to build real cages around each raised bed, and my strawberry & carrot bed has a hinged top as well. The other bed cages will be organic, as in they will grow with the crops as needed. I plan to build trellis’s for the tomatoes, cucumbers & squash, and keeping those caged in will be an ongoing process.
Below are lots of pictures of the evolution of the garden, the planted crops, and some early seed bloomers (pole beans) that will grow in a bamboo teepee. I am also quite proud of the set of sawhorses that I built thanks to direction from familyhandyman.com.
I’m looking forward to a summer full of fruits and veggies from the back yard!
The back yard garden is still kicking and provided the Matthews family with green beans and tomatoes for dinner last night. The Atlanta summer heat was not very kind to the garden, and while we enjoyed lots of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and cantaloupe, the green beans, full tomatoes and peppers just couldn’t get it going. With Fall coming, the super hot days seem to be behind us and the veggies seem to be thriving.
Here are some pics of our recents harvest of green beans (if you can call it that):
I’m hoping the tomatoes continue to flourish through the Fall!