There hasn't been a lot to harvest in September compared to years past. Sometimes it seems like the vegetable garden is a bust this year, but it's really not, although losing the tomatoes to blight was certainly a disappointment. I'm still getting a steady trickle of okra, mostly from the lone Silver Queen plant which peaks this time of year, while the Millionaire and Jambalaya F1 plants are just about finished. Twelve pounds of okra this year, not bad.
Snap beans have also slowed to a trickle. Maybe I'll get one more picking and that will be it for the year. A seven foot row of pole beans has produced eighteen pounds for the year. I would have liked more for freezing. I still haven't found a better pole bean than Fortex. It looks like the summer squash will produce another squash. The plant was seeded mid-summer and took a long time to get established. Now its huge but most of the squash die on the vine.
The top performer this year is the winter squash. It looks like the best year ever for them. A few weeks ago I harvested the Golden Nugget squash from the single plant that survived the borer and set them on the screens to cure. Now cured they were taken inside and weighed. It's the first time I've grown this squash and I'll probably grow it again. It's very flavorful.
This harvest was nine and a half pounds. Combined with the two already consumed that's just over twelve pounds from one plant.
The remaining squash on the vine are Metro Butternut and Teksukabotu. A rule of thumb for winter squash is they need about two months from fruit set to full maturity. I start removing any squash that set around the third week of August. The average first frost around here is mid-October although that can vary by several weeks. This weekend I went through the patch to harvest any that looked ready, looking for the squash that had been on the vine longest. How do you tell? With butternuts the color is helpful. Immature ones are pale while the more mature ones develop a deeper hue. The stem is probably the best guide. It should show some brown.
I went through and picked the squash that looked the oldest. Also any squash on vines that had already died. Squash bugs are just now infesting the patch, but they seem to concentrate on spent leaves. I try to go through the patch every few days and remove those leaves. Here's what I got on the first pass, seventeen butternuts and one Teksukabotu:
The blotches come from contact with the ground. I turn them up to face the sun. That's eighteen squash that probably weigh at least 40 pounds. It's about a third of the total squash in the patch, so a total yield of at least 120 pounds of winter squash is not unreasonable, and that's from about one hundred square feet of planting. Yes it's a very good year for winter squash. To see what others are growing, head on over to http://www.ourhappyacres.com/