2023 Garden Wrap Up, And Other Stuff
Previous blog posts:
October 19, 2023
The updates were cut short this year because I pretty much gave up on the garden in late July. Many things just didn't want to grow, and the bugs were worse than I've ever seen them. When my zucchini and butternuts died (squash bugs), and several attempts at cucumbers and cantaloupes failed (reasons unknown), I just said to hell with it. That really took the motivation out of me.
I kept picking stuff that was already growing, but I stopped weeding and cultivating and didn't bother planting anything for the fall. Hopefully the resting time, along with the weeds and grass that grew will make next year's soil better.
I did take a few pics for updates that never materialized, so I figured I'd post them now for a final update of the year, along with some other stuff from a couple of days ago.
Here's how things look right now. A little depressing, right? I don't think I've ever let weeds go like this before, but like I said, maybe it'll help the soil for next year.
I let some red romaine go to seed earlier in the summer, and when I cleared away the stalks a bunch of seed must have fallen out, which actually took root and grew on its own with no help whatsoever. No watering, no cultivating, and after all the trouble I had getting things to grow this year, too. Can you believe that?
Still getting tomatoes.
Marigolds between the tomatoes.
The okra has been done for a while, but stalks with mature pods are still standing.
A wild tomato came up where cucumbers should have been.
Some wild potatoes have come up, too, either from tiny ones discarded in the earlier harvest, or from seeds produced by a few of the former plants. By wild I just mean things I didn't intentionally plant.
Here's some stuff picked earlier in the year. This isn't all of it, of course. I only took a few shots now and then, but this was pretty much standard for this year's limited garden – except for the cucumber and stunted zucchini in the upper left pic, which were the only ones I managed to get all year.
Many of the peppers were used this way, along with some of the tomatoes.
Cut up and topped with a little extra mozzarella.
Unstuffed pepper casseroles. Same as stuffed peppers, just all cut up and mixed together.
Here's how the corn looked when it was ready to pick.
As usual, much of it had worms at the top, but there's always a perfect ear here and there.
Cleaned and scrubbed.
Here are the red potatoes. If you remember the bug attack that killed most of the leaves in an earlier update, I'm thinking that's why so many of them are small. The plants were shut down early, before they finished growing.
Some were full-sized, though, and even had other little ones growing out of them.
Mr. Potato Head, and family.
I ended up with 65 lbs. from the 30 seed potatoes that were planted in two rows.
Here's how they looked cleaned up and ready for cooking.
Here are the russets, from just one row of 15 seed potatoes. They had the same problem as the reds, stunted growth from the bug attack. The second 'experimental' row of russets that got planted a month later didn't produce at all. Probably too hot for them by then.
Here's the one row of carrots, stunted for a different reason – they just didn't want to grow. I even gave them an extra month. The green tops are from exposure to the sun. They were in the ground so long that the soil around the tops washed away from watering and occasional rain. No big deal, though.
The russets and the carrots. I didn't bother weighing them.
Here's a couple of dinners with sides from the garden. First, a schnitzel with red potatoes and sour cream, a piece of fresh corn, and fresh green beans with bacon and some of the russets.
And roasted pork tenderloin with some of the carrots, mashed russets, and gravy made from the tenderloin juices.
Some of the carrots also went into a carrot spice cake, one of my yearly garden rituals.
Summer green. This was from the end of July – low, evening sun shining under the clouds after a rainstorm, lighting up the front tree line.
Here was the sunset about 20 minutes later.
There were a few decent rains in August, and the grass grew thick enough to harvest.
I blew it into concentrated rows with the mower, raked it into piles, loaded it into a cart, and hauled it off to the garden.
Here are two piles of it. There's a third pile out of frame to the right. I'll spread it out and till it in later to increase the amount of organic matter in the soil for next year.
Here's the yard now, just starting to look like fall.
One of the neighbor's chickens went rogue and hid some eggs that she hatched out in secret. She keeps bringing the chicks over to forage for bugs.
Mum's the word in autumn.
Buddy and mums.
A Daddy Longlegs on a fall-colored marigold.
Looking up a sycamore tree.
Maybe a little hard to see, but here's a Pileated Woodpecker.
A Northern Flicker.
The Goldfinches have already lost their color for the year.
Oaks bordering the backyard, silhouetted against the late afternoon sun. Note how low in the sky the sun is now. In July it's above those trees from the same perspective.
This is armadillo damage. I have it all over the yard. Armadillos were never here before the 1990s, but now they're a regular thing. I can't stand them.
The usual fall decor, set up to be seen from the driveway.
Polly and Buddy.
A nighttime visitor from two nights ago, chowing down on birdseed under the feeders.
He wasn't very nervous at all about me standing there taking pictures of him. I suppose the rut has started. Rutting bucks can be cocky and brave like that, especially young ones.
A final shot of the yard and garden for the year. There's a little fall color coming on, but most things are still green. That'll change soon, and it'll be time for raking leaves again.
Well, that's it for this year. Thanks for stopping by. Here's wishing everyone a happy holiday season, which, as far as I'm concerned, begins with Halloween.