HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

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Posted by Gordon | Posted in News | Posted on 04-07-2011

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GARDEN UPDATE

Today is what we all expect the Fourth of July to be like.  Clear and sunny with a high of 95.  A typical summer day in Beaufort, South Carolina.  I hope for an afternoon shower but I will have to wait and see with only a slight chance in the forecast.

FIGS

The big news today is that yesterday I picked the first 8 figs from the big tree.  They were quit good although not at the peak of ripeness.  Had I resisted the temptation to eat them right there on the spot, I could have taken them inside and let them ripen a little more.  I noticed only two fruit that had been pecked by birds so we are still ahead of the curve.  My suggestion is that we start harvesting them as soon as they show any color change and let them ripen in our kitchens.  That will take 2 to 3 days.  Then they will be ready to eat raw or be processed into great preserves.  We will need to get a pole to reach the fruit at the higher limbs.  There might be as much as a bushel of fruit on the tree and it will start to ripen very fast in this weather.  The recent rains have sped the process up and you will find that the figs are getting larger as they swell with water.  Let’s not loose them to the birds.  We can all coordinate a time every couple days to pick them.

Vegetable Garden

Yesterday I also sprayed the herbicide on the paths between the raised beds so we should see the crabgrass turning brown over the nest week or so.  We still need to weed in the beds as both the asparagus bed and the unharvested potatoes need it badly.   The new planting of corn is coming up as is the squash which is planted amongst the corn.  We planted a trial planting of peanuts earlier that have come up and are doing well.  I wish we had planted more as it is a fun crop that adds nitrogen to the soil.  The sweet potatoes are just about to cover a quarter of the garden surface.   We will need to move them to an outside bed next year.  I expect a large crop of tubers.  I mowed the areas around the berries and melons to control the crabgrass as it was encroaching on the plantings (that is what crabgrass does).  I will spray an edge around the mulch to keep it back.  Melons continue to grow and produce small fruit but some of the heirloom varieties are showing a virus which is to be expected with heirlooms.  We have approximately 30 melons so far.  Okra in the small garden is doing well as are the various planting of winter squash.  I am ready to prepare the old cabbage bed but I still don’t know what to plant in it.  We have planted enough winter squash and melons.  We have the okra and corn.  The site is not a good one for beans and cucumbers.  What am I missing for a summer garden?

NEW SUBSCRIBERS

I learned yesterday of a new subscriber who represents the United Kingdom.  He is the son of very dear friends of mine from Durham, England.  His dad unfortunately died earlier this year but I will always remember him sitting in our garden in the swing telling me how lovely it was.  He was a gardener also and would send me photographs of his garden in Durham.  John and Pat were our guide through the moors and small villages in Northern England.  John was (I believe) the great grandson of the acclaimed Welsh poet, John Ceiriog-Hughes, which makes David his great, great grandson.  I welcome David and his family to our blog.  This may be the greatest distance the blog travels but then maybe not as we have a subscriber whose wife is from the French Alps and who travels there every summer (and winter) as well as one of our co-op members who goes to the south of France often to travel the canals in their canal boat.  So who knows how far a reach this blog has?  I do encourage everyone to send the blog out to all their friends and ask them to subscribe.  Eventually, I hope many of our subscribers will make comments on the blog for all of us to read and from which we can learn new garden secrets and experiences.  It is a very easy process to subscribe and make comments.

TOMATOES

A question for Peggy.  The tomatoes are getting close to the end of their current production cycle.  The hybrids have a few green fruit on the vines but they are small and the heirlooms are finishing.  Can we rejuvenate any of these by pruning them back to allow for new growth and a new flush of fruit?  I have gotten accustom to eating the wonderful fresh garden grown tomatoes and would hope that we can continue the harvest through early fall.  Grocery store tomatoes do not excite me.  We may even have time to plant new plants if we need to.   Peggy, please make any recommendations as a post or comment so that everyone can see your suggestions.

 

Again,  let me encourage everyone to send this blog out to all your friends and ask them to subscribe.  If you are commenting, it is a great way to stay in touch with everyone.
Gordon

 



Comments (2)

It is indeed a beautiful day. We have spent a lot of time inside this past few days taking care of two very tiny orphan kittens my daughter found in a garbage can. The vet estimates Hansel and Gretel are about three weeks old, so we are bottle feeding them. Their tiny teeth are breaking through now, so hopefully solid food is coming up soon. One kitten is spoken for, but the other, a sweet balck and white male, is available when he is six to eight weeks old. I will put some pictures on here later today. If anyone is looking for a charming furry friend, please let me know!

I plan on visiting the garden later today. Regarding the tomatoes, I think what we are seeing is pretty normal–fruit production slows or stops when daytime temperature stays above 90 and night time temp rarely falls below 70. This is especially true with hybrids like ‘Early Girl’. I suggest we give them a heavy feeding, cut off any yellow foliage, and prune back a bit. If they are blooming consistently but not fruiting, we can apply a fruiting hormone spray to encourage fruit to set.

Next year I hope we can label the heirloom plants so we can pick our favorites. I have been eating some really delicious tomatoes–to me they look like ‘Brandywine’ but I can’t be sure. In the Upper Midwest, by far the best tasting heirloom was ‘Cherokee Purple’. But this a completely different climate so another variety may be better here.

I’ll stop by this afternoon and check it all out!

Hi Gordon and Co,

I can’t believe the temperatures you and Peggy are talking about: 90 in the day and 70 at night!! Wow. I bought our place in France in Normandy, because it’s one of the coolest (in every sense!) areas of France. My kids will love the heat: I’ll be sheltering in the shade. See you all soon.

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