Hope you all are enjoying this fantastic summer! It is so peaceful here in these hills, the mornings and evenings are nice and cooler than usual, perfect for catching up on garden chores that we tend to put off in the summer heat!
The “Kitchen Garden”, which is just a few feet from our front porch and summer kitchen, is so handy for harvesting and cooking! And the “Summer Garden” a little ways from the house and across the lazy winding dirt road. It receives more sunlight and is perfect for the sun~loving vegetables and fruits that grow there.
There is a happy, full, turtle who manages to reach a few of the lower tomatoes, never eating just one, but taking small bites of each fruit, and leaving the rest for us. Apparently, this uninvited visiter likes to sample here and there! Yet even when sharing with the wildlife, we have plenty of tomatoes stretching ever upward on their sturdy “trellis” made from re-purposed cattle panels. We pick them soon as they're ready and enjoy eating them daily! These wonderful tomatoes are made into salsa (fresh and canned), put in salads, and enjoyed sliced up with basil pesto spread on top. We also make homemade sauce and put it over spaghetti squash! Super tasty and gluten free!
The sunny Summer garden, although smaller, has been a big blessing to us and others, there is plenty to share and give! From it alone, we have harvested over 25 spaghetti squash - that was from just six plants we started as seedlings! On a produce shelf at the local store I noticed that spaghetti squash sold for a dollar and thirty nine cents a pound - making one of our larger squash worth seven dollars! Wow, grow your own and save! You can even juice these squash (we substituted a spaghetti squash for cucumber). Another nice thing about this easy growing vegetable is that it stores for months, in a cool, dry place.
After picking all the spaghetti squash, we cleaned and cleared that spot and planted organic green beans. The beans have already sprouted, and should make before frost in fifty days or so, as our garden continues to grow.
Our heirloom yellow watermelons, are sooo sweet and delicious! One of them weighed a whopping 21 pounds! The seed is being saved for next year! The melon patch is small, but has produced an amazing amount for it’s size. But we are going to plant a few more next year, because, you can never have too much watermelon, right?
Fall garden starts can be a challenge here in the humid South, because of the heat and never ending barrage of bugs, but just keep your seeds watered and shaded from intense sun, and it can be done!
Check your local Feed and Seed store for fall starts, or try shopping the Farmers Market. Ask a friend or neighbor if they grew more fall garden plants than they need, and you could trade fresh eggs, home baked bread, or even some canned goods from your summers bounty for plants!
We are ever thankful for the beauty of summer, the sunlight to make things grow, the rain that refreshes (and yes, makes humidity, too!), and the bounty of the earth, given by the Creator of all things. The summer garden months at times can be a challenge, but are always a blessing!
The West Ladies