Dig

Dig

Garden 2021 - Part 3

  
By:  Dig  •  Gardening  •  2 months ago  •  42 comments

Garden 2021 - Part 3

The weather has been a mix of good and bad this month. Some days have been hot and humid, and downright nasty. Others have been pleasant and almost cool. I'm going into another hot spell at the moment. Today is forecasted to be something like 95, and because of recent rain it'll probably be as humid as a swamp. Another cold front is supposed to blow through in a few days, though.

Today's heat aside, it was pretty nice last night when I took the camera up to the garden.


August 24, 2021

Yesterday's evening shade.

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One of the Knock Out roses outside the gate..

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It looks inviting this time of day, doesn't it?

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The butternut squash. These plants have been weak from the start, and now they look sickly.

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There are some squash in there, but I don't know if the plants will live long enough to mature them. One of these days I'll learn my lesson about switching seed sources unnecessarily. Last year's plants were majestic compared to these.

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Watermelons on the right, and a replanting of beets and carrots under the boards on the left. All of my earlier fall plantings failed (except for the peas). They germinated and I took the boards off, but it was pretty hot at the time and they died. I suppose I should have given them a few more days to send down deeper roots.

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Two seedless melons.

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A seedless on the left, and a darker seeded variety on the right. They're taking their sweet time this year. They still have a ways to go.

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New zucchini transplants for the fall.

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The beans are still going.

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Still flowering, even.

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This might be the healthiest, most productive cucumber plant I've ever grown. It's almost three months old now and hasn't gotten sick, and it's still producing like a champ.

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This has become a daily ration for me -- a whole cucumber with Zesty Italian dressing.

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They're coming out of my ears. Here's 40 I picked just while taking these pictures. Anyone want any cucumbers?

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Polly dropped by while I was picking them. She decided I was being boring and took a nap.

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Here's another cucumber coming up for the fall. I may not need it, though. Not if Super Plant keeps going like it is. This is actually the expensive variety I couldn't get to germinate at the start of the season. I only had a few seeds left, so I tried starting them in a pot and it worked. 

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Some fall peas coming up.

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The trellised cantaloupes.

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I'm not very impressed with this variety. They're too small. Here's one from last week, next to a few tomatoes and cucumbers for comparison. They taste pretty good, but I think I'll go back to a bigger variety next year.

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The bell peppers.

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Some are finally turning red.

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A couple of Red Mist lettuce plants. I've been totally slacking off when it comes to lettuce this year. At least I'll have some for the fall. There's more coming up in pots.

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The tomatoes.

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The corn has all been picked, but I haven't cleared the stalks away yet. That's another trellis of fall peas on the right.

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Here was the first picking of corn.

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I almost walked right into this yellow garden spider while picking it. It was about three inches across. It had made a web between a couple of corn rows, and I barely noticed it in time. If that thing had gotten on me I probably would have come flying out of the corn screaming like a madman.

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Here's a nice one.

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Shucked.

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Cleaned.

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Bagged for the freezer.

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Some of it went in the fridge for fresh eating, of course. Fresh corn smothered in butter and a little salt is one of the best things in the world, if you ask me.

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Here was the second and last picking a few days later. It's a pretty small batch. The corn grew pretty evenly this year, and almost all of it got picked the first time.

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Another nice one. I had quite a few of these this year.

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Most of them had invaders at the top, though, in both pickings. Damn ear worms.

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It's nothing a sharp knife won't fix, though.

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Second picking, shucked.

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Cleaned.

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And bagged.

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This year's corn tally:

Pre-pick samples - 6

First picking - 126

Second picking - 46

Total - 178

Not quite as many as last year, but still more than my yearly minimum goal of 150 pieces. It was really good quality this year, too. Very uniform.

***

Back to the garden. Here's the raised row of potatoes. The vines are completely dead now, so they're ready for digging. I wanted to include them in this post, but it rained over the weekend and the ground is still wet. Red potatoes are thin-skinned and don't keep very long to begin with, so I decided not to dig them while damp. I'll dig them in another day or two and include them in the next post. The empty space on the left is where the first zucchinis were, but they all died. The squash bugs won the war.

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I couldn't help but dig a few potatoes since the last post, and I turned some of them into one of my favorite casseroles. I don't think it has a name. It's just potatoes, onions, ground beef, and cream of mushroom soup.

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It may not look like much, but it's darn tasty. I especially like it in the winter when it's cold out. Fresh corn on the side makes it even better.

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Polly's like, "I'm ready to go. Are we done yet?" Yes, Polly. Almost.

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Here's the wild tomato growing by the trash pile.

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The tomatoes are bigger than I expected. Usually when hybrids come back from seed the tomatoes are small like cherry tomatoes.

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The birdhouse gourds in the side plot.

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Something has been eating my broccoli starts in the planter. Not a good sign. This may not work out after all. I always have problems with things eating brassicas. That's why I hardly ever try to grow them.

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Some new potted mums along the garage for the fall, which is just around the corner now. I'm looking forward to it. I love fall.

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That's all for now. See you next time.

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Tags

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Dig
Masters Guide
1  author  Dig    2 months ago

Not a good year for my butternut squash, but a great year for cucumbers and corn.

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
1.1  pat wilson  replied to  Dig @1    2 months ago

Great to see ! I really enjoy your garden articles.

Have you ruled out pickling those cucumbers ?

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
1.1.1  author  Dig  replied to  pat wilson @1.1    2 months ago

I do keep thinking about trying pickles, but I still need to do some research and find a really good recipe and method for crisp ones. I hate the homemade ones that are all soft and mushy.

I almost grabbed some pickling stuff this spring (jars, lids, wire rack, jar grabber, etc.), but I didn't. I'm going to have to break down and do it next year.

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
1.1.2  pat wilson  replied to  Dig @1.1.1    2 months ago

It IS quite a process.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.2  devangelical  replied to  Dig @1    2 months ago

nice yield so far. you need a greenhouse.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
2  Trout Giggles    2 months ago

Your garden brings back memories of my parents' garden when I was a kid growing up. Not all good memories, tho (weeding, picking, shelling, husking, weeding some more), but I always enjoyed the produce.

Your garden is beautiful.

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
2.1  author  Dig  replied to  Trout Giggles @2    2 months ago

The work is just as healthy as the produce. :)

Thanks, Trout.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
3  Perrie Halpern R.A.    2 months ago

Your garden never stops amazing me. What a great yield for such a small plot of land. Your corn looks amazing.... I just love corn. 

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
3.1  author  Dig  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    2 months ago

A guy down the road from me has a garden at least 3 times the size of mine, and I'm pretty sure I get more out of mine than he does out of his. I don't think he waters enough, though. Everything is usually dead by this time of year. Bigger isn't always better. Larger gardens are harder to take care of. 

I love corn, too. And fresh picked it's almost magical.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Junior Principal
4  Gsquared    2 months ago

Wonderful, Dig, absolutely wonderful!

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
4.1  author  Dig  replied to  Gsquared @4    2 months ago

Thanks a bunch, G.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5  JohnRussell    2 months ago

I love all of it. Congratulations on your little farm. 

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
5.1  author  Dig  replied to  JohnRussell @5    2 months ago

Thanks, John.

 
 
 
Kathleen
Professor Principal
6  Kathleen    2 months ago

That corn looks sooooo good!

Your garden looks really nice!

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
6.1  author  Dig  replied to  Kathleen @6    2 months ago

Thanks, Kathleen.

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
8  Veronica    2 months ago

If I give you my address can you send me some of that corn?  It looks delicious.

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
8.1  author  Dig  replied to  Veronica @8    2 months ago

Lol. Sure thing.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
9  Ender    2 months ago

Looking good Dig. I saw footprints.  Haha

That cucumber salad looks great.

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
9.1  author  Dig  replied to  Ender @9    2 months ago

Thanks, Ender. I think they were alien footprints. jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

Those cucumbers are fantastic. The variety is Marketmore 76. Even in the heat they're never bitter like some other varieties.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
10  charger 383    2 months ago

Your garden is a showplace and very productive and I enjoy your reports.  What a great corn crop.  You will be eating good when the cold wind blows. 

After a very dry spell, recent rains have helped my garden 

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
10.1  author  Dig  replied to  charger 383 @10    2 months ago

Thanks, Charger. I appreciate it.

Glad you got some rain. I've been lucky this year and never had a very long dry spell. Although lucky is a relative term. The garden likes it, but there's also more mowing, lol.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
11  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    2 months ago

I haven't had any sort of an appetite in a long time, and now I'm suddenly starving for fresh veggies. 

 

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
11.1  pat wilson  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @11    2 months ago

I hope you're doing well.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
12  Kavika     2 months ago

Love the cucumbers one of my favorite veggies.

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
12.1  author  Dig  replied to  Kavika @12    2 months ago

That plant is amazing this year. I wish they were like that every year. I'd never have to worry about planting successive backups.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
13  Buzz of the Orient    2 months ago

The pictures of your corn made my mouth water.  Back in Canada I could enjoy the sweet varieties like peaches and cream, but here in Chongqing all the corn my wife has been able to buy from the local farmers is white and almost tasteless.  I told her that where I come from we fed that kind of corn to the cows and pigs.

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
13.1  author  Dig  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @13    2 months ago

Sorry to hear that, Buzz.

The corn tastes as good as it looks. As a bonus, it's the best freezing variety I've come across. It retains more crispness than others. It's called 'Gotta Have It', and it's the only variety I ever grow now.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
13.1.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dig @13.1    2 months ago

Now, if somebody could just come up with a graceful way to eat corn on the cob, that'd be great.

My cukes are producing, but they've slowed down a lot.  There are still some blossoms, so I'm hoping for a second round for snacking on soon.

I think I'll try planting some lettuce and spinach for a fall crop.  I'm just trying to figure out when it's cool enough, but not so late that they'll get frostbite.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
13.1.2  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @13.1.1    2 months ago
Now, if somebody could just come up with a graceful way to eat corn on the cob, that'd be great.

have you tried having a few cocktails or glasses of wine first? /s

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
13.1.3  sandy-2021492  replied to  devangelical @13.1.2    2 months ago

If I were tipsy eating corn on the cob, there wouldn't be enough laundry detergent in the world to rescue my shirt from the dripped butter.

But at least I wouldn't care as much.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
13.1.4  charger 383  replied to  sandy-2021492 @13.1.1    2 months ago
"Now, if somebody could just come up with a graceful way to eat corn on the cob, that'd be great."
The messy way you eat it is part of the fun, a bib or an old shirt is all you can do

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
13.1.5  author  Dig  replied to  sandy-2021492 @13.1.1    2 months ago
Now, if somebody could just come up with a graceful way to eat corn on the cob, that'd be great.

Those little cob holders sure come in handy, but when I was a kid we didn't use them. I don't know if you could even buy them at the time. I remember everyone just using their fingers. Talk about messy. Butter dripping on chin, chest and fingers, too, lol.

I think I'll try planting some lettuce and spinach for a fall crop.

The fall spinach I had planted died. I managed to find one last packet of seed for sale, and I'm going to try again. It's crazy how much trouble I've had with spinach this year. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
13.1.6  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dig @13.1.5    2 months ago

I have the cob holders, but they don't help with the butter.

After mentioning the spinach, I forgot to see if I still have seeds for either that or the lettuce.  I probably do, somewhere.  I probably also won't have any idea how old they are.  My spinach and lettuce did really well this spring.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
13.1.7  Ender  replied to  sandy-2021492 @13.1.6    2 months ago

A quick way...

512

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
13.1.8  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @13.1.7    2 months ago

Still messy, but I can see anybody trying this needing my professional services, so cha-ching.

 
 
 
bccrane
Freshman Silent
13.2  bccrane  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @13    2 months ago
from the local farmers is white and almost tasteless. 

I wonder why that would be, even here if you pick the field corn still in the milk stage, it is still sweet like sweet corn although a bit gummy.

Now it could be they are using popping corn as sweet corn before it matures.

My garden, as well as my brother's, over grew with so much foliage that when we recently had a short dry spell his garden died out because the plants couldn't support that much growth without the water.  His ground is a sandy loam and mine is a clay loam, so mine faired better through the dry spell.  His corn died down before it produced any good ears and mine has ears that are over a foot long and full the whole distance and now with some rain are still growing.  We live a half mile apart.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
13.2.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  bccrane @13.2    2 months ago

I don't recall ever seeing corn a foot long.

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
13.2.2  author  Dig  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @13.2.1    2 months ago

The first ear shown above is about a foot long, the one in the picture below the spider.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
13.2.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Dig @13.2.2    2 months ago

Yeah, it looks it. 

 
 
 
Jasper2529
Masters Participates
14  Jasper2529    2 months ago

Hi, Dig - You have a beautiful garden! Thank you for sharing pictures with us. The corn and cucumbers look spectacular.

Could you post your recipe for the potato/ground beef casserole, or if you prefer, PM me? My wife is always looking for new casserole recipes. Thanks! 

 
 
 
Dig
Masters Guide
14.1  author  Dig  replied to  Jasper2529 @14    2 months ago

I don't have an actual recipe. I did once upon a time, but not now. It all started with a recipe from a soup can back in the '80s, but that got thrown away with the can. Afterwards I've always just made it from memory with nothing written down, tweaking ingredient quantities until I hit on what I liked best. I'm almost positive I use more soup and onions than the original recipe called for anyway. 

I'll gladly share how I make it, but I've never tried to create a written recipe for it before, so bear with me, haha. 

To my taste, the best consistency comes from using a big can of soup plus a regular can in a double batch. There's no way to cut that amount in half for a single batch without having some soup left over in a can, so I'll just give it to you exactly as I make it (a double batch).

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 7 to 9 potatoes, depending on size (possibly more if they're small)
  • 2 onions (not huge, but usually a couple of the biggest in a bag)
  • 1 10.5 oz. can (the regular size) and 1 22.6 oz. can (the next size up) of Campbell's condensed Cream of Mushroom soup

Brown the ground beef well in a large, deep skillet (I use a 12 inch) and drain. Don't make it super fine like taco meat, leave it a bit chunky.

Return the drained meat to the same skillet and add the condensed soup, plus about half the big can's worth of water. Cover it and let it warm over a medium-low heat while you start cutting the potatoes and onions (if you haven't already). Stir occasionally. 

Cut the onions into roughly half-inch pieces. Set aside.

Peel and cut the potatoes into slices about 1/4 inch thick. Place in a large bowl and set aside. If you put water in the bowl and keep them covered as you go, their color won't turn on you (it can take a while to slice them all, or it does for me, anyway).

By the time the potatoes and onions are cut the meat sauce should be warm and creamy, with the soup, water and meat well combined (no lumps of condensed soup). Go ahead and turn the heat off if it is. If not, keep warming and stirring until it gets that way.

After the sauce is ready it's assembly time... 

Place two 2 1/2 qt. casserole dishes near the skillet of meat sauce. I like to put napkins or a paper towel between the skillet and the casseroles to catch drips. Place the potatoes (drained if they were in water) and onions next to the casseroles. 

Ladle enough meat sauce into each casserole dish to cover the bottom.

Place about half of the potatoes above the sauce (1/4 of the total in each dish).

Place about half of the onions above the potatoes (1/4 of the total in each dish).

Ladle about half of the remaining meat sauce onto the onions and potatoes.

Repeat the above 3 steps -- add the rest of the potatoes, the rest of the onions, and top with the rest of the meat sauce.

The total layering goes like this, from bottom to top: sauce-potatoes-onions-sauce-potatoes-onions-sauce.

Bake covered in a 400° oven for about 90 minutes or until done (a fork goes through the potatoes and onions easily). That might sound like an awfully long time, but it's thick and hearty and takes a good long while to heat through. It might even take a little longer.

It's ready to eat as soon as it comes out of the oven, but it'll be extremely hot. I usually let it cool some before tearing into it.

That's it. I don't think I've ever tried to write a recipe from memory before, so I hope it's easy to follow and makes sense.

Let me know if you end up trying it, and whether you like it or not.

Same goes for anyone else who might try it. :)

 
 
 
Jasper2529
Masters Participates
14.1.1  Jasper2529  replied to  Dig @14.1    2 months ago

Thanks very much for posting your recipe!  jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif