Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday, Sep 19 Rain Finally

After a two month drought we finally got a decent rain here.  I woke up several times last night and heard a light rain every time.  This morning I checked the rain guage before leaving and it showed 1 ¼ inches of rain!  We got ¼ inch yesterday and about the same a few days ago.  This was a good rain, light and steady all night long, the kind that soaks into the soil.  I’m looking forward to seeing green grass again.

There’s been a real shortage of sunshine the last two weeks and the yields from the garden have taken a hit.  The past week has been a little better than the week before, when there was only an occasional break in the cloud cover, but the garden still hasn’t rebounded.  The last plot of bush beans should be producing beans right now but they just stopped developing. 

Worst hit by the change in weather were the tomatoes.  I watered the garden the last 90 degree day about two weeks ago, then it abruptly turned cold and cloudy.   The tomatoes stopped growing, but did not stop taking up water, and I lost five nice Brandywines that literally split to the core.  (At least they didn’t explode).   I’ve just started teaching a lab and recitation at the university in Indy and was trying to get up to speed with the course material and wasn’t paying attention to the garden.  Yes I should have picked them and brought them inside right away but hindsight is always 20/20.  

At least the peppers are still looking good and some more sunny days should provide a batch of red hot cherry peppers and sweet peppers for salsa.  I’ll have to use canned tomatoes though.  Cubanelle peppers develop a sweeter more intense flavor in the fall that makes them almost like candy.  There must be some enterprising cook somewhere who has made a pie out of very sweet peppers such as these.

The last batch of Provider beans were mostly ruined by something that ate pits in the beans in different places.  At first I thought it was Mexican bean beetles until I found this small caterpillar inside one of the pits on a Roma bean.  They don't do much damage until the beans are nearly finished bearing.  They could be a bigger problem on pole beans that bear all season.   Bt should be an effective control for these.  There are also some bacterial (halo blight) and fungal diseases (bean anthracnose) that also leave pits on the bean pod.  Guess everything likes beans.
I cooked a Butternut squash that was picked a few weeks ago.  Winter squash and pork are a great combination.  I sliced it lengthwise, leaving the seeds in, and steamed it face down in a covered pan until soft, which takes about an hour for a butternut cured in the sun.  I’ve found that steaming with the seeds in really adds flavor.  Then the seeds were removed and the pulp scored with a knife.  Butter, a little turbinado sugar, cinnamon and ginger were added and it was baked face up about 15 minutes.  A simple prep but very good – comfort food for sure.  

It was about fifty degrees Friday morning and it seemed like time to start splitting wood for winter.  There’s probably about four ricks of wood there after the logs are split.  The big oak logs were split with a wedge and sledgehammer into quarters then split into smaller pieces with a maul.  It wasn’t long before I was out of breath and a T-shirt was sufficient insulation on a cool windy morning.  That is hard work.  Three days later and my stomach is still sore.  

The  structure in the back is an A-frame mobile chicken coop which I built this spring but never used.  I plan to write about it in an upcoming post.  

Tally for the week:   Okra 1 oz;  Tomato 1 lb 13 oz;  Snap beans 6 oz;  Eggplant 4 oz;
Hot pepper 2 oz;  Sweet pepper 4 oz.   Totals for year:  174 lb



kitsapFG said...

I find the bean patch in late season is susceptible to alot of pest and disease - I think the combination of cooler/damper conditions and plants that are just "weary" from being a little elderly all result in greater problems with pests and diseases. I just keep harvesting until they are completely done in.

The squash sounds absolutely delicious and good food after a hard day of splitting firewood! We have all our winter wood in and stacked and did the annual stove pipe and chimney sweep this past weekend. We are all set now for the woodstove heating season to begin.

Barbie said...

I love pretty well anything with butternut squash! :-D

Unknown said...

Sorry about the lost Brandywine tomatoes. I find it difficult to keep up with the garden this time of year. With less sun in the evening, most chores are delayed until the weekend. In addition, there is so much to do to prepare for winter. We had our wood delivered a few weeks ago and it needs to be stacked.

Bee Girl said...

I'm definitely going to have try your trick of leaving the butternut seeds in while steaming it! Also, I'm completely jealous of your fire wood...our fireplace was broken by the previous tenants and we haven't had the cash to replace it. One day we will heat our home with a fabulous fire and not a thermostat!

Dirt Lover said...

That just looks like a whole lot of work! Glad I still have a kid living at home for our winter supply of wood! And a splitter, too! You'll probably end up with some nice abs by the time you split all of your wood for the winter. Looking forward to seeing your post on the chicken coop! Sorry to hear about your beans. Mine are full of the same sort of bug. So sad. I've noticed lots more white moth/butterflies this year, and I'm thinking that is what is eating things.

Veggie PAK said...

I keep hearing about how good the Cubanelle peppers taste. I think I'll try them next year if they're not too hot. Splitting wood. What a great thing to be doing! I used to help my grandmother split her firewood, and she used her stove all year. The butternut squash sounds great! I prepared mine in a similar fashion, but I removed the seeds. Next time, I'll leave them in and try it your way. Nice post. Thanks for sharing!

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