So, we were gone for two weeks in June, and then it took a bit of catch-up time to make the garden not look like a trainwreck of weeds. We’ve been battling Japanese beetles and weeds for a few weeks now, between various trips to Hannibal, Springfield, etc. for a variety of reasons. Brooke was able to get a lot of weeding done a few weekends ago, and I’m trying to clean up other bits where I can during the week.
Firstly, the kale (seen above) remarkably survived this far into the Summer. It actually looks pretty good! But it’s starting to taste extra “kale-y,” so while Brooke harvested some and dehydrated it into powder, she’s not doing too much else with it. The bees tend to like the flowers from the kale plants, so she’s waiting for those to show up before we pull them out.
The zinnias kinda came up, but not nearly as well as last year. Old seed? Supplanted by other things? Who knows. Still, we got a few plants to getmoving.
The zucchini did about as well as they normally do. We got maybe 4 or 5 pretty large zucchini before the plants shriveled up and died, seemingly similar to what happened last year. We’ve still got a few on the plants, though, so we’re hopeful we get to use them.
We also have a few volunteer…somethings out there. Watermelon? Pumpkins? Who knows. We’ll know by August!
Brooke tried planting tobacco, and it appears to be growing remarkably well! Dunno what we’re going to do with it (I have a few friends who like cigars, so figured it’d be interesting to see if we can dry them out and actually do something? Hopes are not high for this to be a useful thing…)
In the above picture, you can also see sweet potatoes in the bottom-left corner. Brooke planted them way later than usual (we still have some potatoes from last year), so I’m having to water them relatively frequently to try and keep them alive. They’ve lasted through a ridiculous heat wave for a few weeks, so we’ll see! They always seem to surprise us.
The tomatoes are doing pretty well! We’re stringing them up like we did last year, and there are a lot of romas and, of course, cherry tomatoes coming on. We’ve seen a few slicer tomatoes on there, but as usual, we don’t do a good job of pruning early on in the growth of the plant, so we should probably have more on there…and they should be riper than they are (too much foliage blocking them).
The peppers are doing pretty well, too! We normally don’t have 6+ plants survive, so it’s kind of remarkable they look as good as they do. They’re pretty good about telling me when they need water (which is near constant…). They were watered before this picture above was taken, though, so I don’t know why they’re complaining. Jerks.
See! Big pepper! We’ve got 5 or 6 big ones like that on different plants right now. So while we don’t have the number of peppers I’d prefer, we sure have a bunch of big ones!
The beans, though, have been a disappointment this year. The season isn’t over yet, but we’ve only ended up with a few handfuls so far, unlike last year or the year before (or any other year, for that matter). The soup beans look alright, but they usually don’t develop much until later in the season.
You can also see Brooke’s sorghum growing in the above picture! They look good! No idea how much molasses she’ll be able to make from that crop, but we’ll see. She’s hoping she can convince her Dad to plant a lot of sorghum at his house, but we need to run a “pilot program” here first to see what we’re looking at. Honey and molasses seem like good things to make, eh?
Last, but not least, the bees live! We’ve got 5 supers on the three hive boxes now, and any time Brooke has gotten into them, they’ve had plenty of brood and capped honey, especially on that big hive. The last time she looked in the middle one, she didn’t see much in the way of brood, but considering that bees are still coming and going, and doing so in an organized fashion, sure seems like the hive is doing better than she originally anticipated. We’re going to extract on July 30th, so we’ll find out soon enough!