Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Harvest

As summer tilts toward autumn, our small gardens have done well, with little work on our part, providing us with respectable harvests of beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, peppers, squash, carrots, and several meals of sweet corn and broccoli. We will soon harvest potatoes from the "tator tires".

We have really enjoyed simply walking up to the garden and gathering what is there. I thank the soil, the rain, the sun that energizes it all. We put a fairly hasty (due to my looming surgery), but somewhat planned effort, into two small gardens this spring. One at the Purdue Village Gardens and the other at our home of one small raised bed, a small patch of experimental sweet corn, several tator tires and hills, and two summer squash plants.

The sweet corn was a trial and error plot at our home site. The plot only receives about 6 or so hours of sunlight a day. Not really enough to have healthy corn production. But, we did get a number of decent and delectable ears. Our garden at Purdue also grew sweet corn, slightly better than at our forest garden, but not much better. Corn needs a lot of nutrients to produce well. But the buttery, sugary taste of sweet corn is worth the wait and the effort. Fresh picked is the best there is!

After good soil and proper water amounts, the keys are plant spacing and mulching...with early weeding as needed. After the first several weeks of work, we've really not spent much time at all on maintenance. Most of it has been in harvesting, cooking, preserving, and enjoying! This photo shows my bias toward "natural gardening"...but I've actually gone to a more balanced approach with less chaotic wild growth of native plants and more space for sun and garden plants. Hey, it only took me 8 years to lighten up a bit.

Tomato-Cucumber Salad. Add dill, vinegar, salt. Simply Cooling and Tasty.

Canning beans and dilly beans! A taste of the summer will be hidden away for a winter's day.

Earthy Beets....and the pigs loved the tops...Brent did too. We pickled these.

And what to do with the squash after too many stir fry dishes and zucchini bread? Make squash brownies and cookies. Ok, they do taste like a "healthy" cookie. But, they were fun to try out. Actually, most all the cookies were consumed by our kids and me.

Brent sampling squash cookie.
Beth with grated summer squash for brownies.

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