August Homestead Update

By this time last year, we were up to our necks in produce. We had even planted our winter crops by now, and were making plans for next (this) year.

This year, things are moving a little slower, due to early cold spells and a ton of rain this summer, but we do have some items on the horizon, as well as new stuff coming in. Let’s have a look, shall we?

So, our squash and tomatoes have been a bit hit-or-miss so far this year. Because of the excessive rain, we’ve had a problem with blossom end rot on some of our tomato specimens (including our first ripe Cherokee purple today, alas!). However, some of our tomatoes, especially the Roma pictured (the last one), are exploding with bounty. I’m thankful for whatever we get!

As for the squash, the rain has also wreaked havoc on the ground and rotted some of our winter squash and zucchini. I covered some of the plants with more dirt, which seems to be helping, as you can see some new zucchini actually coming in, as well as a new squash blossom on one of the candy roasters. Keep your fingers crossed we get our squash!

The pepper plants are doing fairly well, especially our hot peppers (jalapeños and habaneros) in the asparagus bed. I’m not expecting a huge number of bell peppers, as we started with some spindly plants, but here’s hoping I’m 100% wrong! We’ll at least have plenty of hot peppers to pickle. Oh yes.

Meanwhile, our cucumbers are doing fabulously! They’re late, but they were planted late, and because I actually trellised them before they went wild, I’m able to find them and keep them from rotting on the ground. I say that, but the last lemon cucumber picture was hidden in the tall grass. (I found it, didn’t I?)

It’s corn! It’s corn! And it’s like eight feet tall, as you can see from the second picture. Not all of the corn is the same height (we assume the soil is a bit better in the middle of the row), but they tasseled a week or so ago, and have been popping out ears for the past week. We get to pretend to be the wind and hand-pollinate the ears. Fun times.

Other new items that are doing all right: lima beans, white eggplant, and asparagus (the fuzzy plant in the last picture). Woohoo!

The okra is finally coming, yayyyyy! This is one of our earlier plants, but the others are doing great and budding. This guy’ll be ready for picking tomorrow, I imagine.

Our first sunflower opened up this week! It’s nearly the size of my head, and it’s gorgeous. Pictured is another sunflower just about ready to open up in the same row. Grow, sunflowers, grow! (And help the melons grow, while you’re at it.)

The blackberries are doing great! I’ve been able to use them in scones for market for the past couple of weeks, which is exciting and rewarding. Yay!

And finally, chicken update! We’re now getting two eggs a day: a big brown one (not pictured) from Piccata (the chicken in the foreground), and a liiiiiiittle cream-colored one from a mystery chicken (my suspicions point to Parma, who’s in the background of the chicken pic). We’ve had a few escapees from the run (all returned ceremoniously), but otherwise, the chickens stay put and spend their days eating bugs and the occasional blackberry or crabapple, digging up grass, and hanging out in the shade under the coop. What a life.

Life is pretty good. Hope yours is going well, too. Until next time, happy homesteading!

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