by Texas Homesteader ~
Usually by August the vegetable garden is burned up & gone. I’m typically all too happy to let it go instead of fighting and still losing the fight. But although it’s been hot & dry here in NE Texas, between me breaking my “no potable water on the ground” rule because of the cistern mishap this year (our hose split & emptied all the irrigation rainwater from our 18′ deep cistern), plus the fact that there have been just enough sporadic short showers to keep everything limping by, I’m still harvesting heavily every day.
Wood Mulch For Functionality and Conservation
Remember my actual garden-area layout was completely changed this year in an attempt to (finally) win the war so valiantly fought and lost each & every year – the battle against Bermuda grass but it took lots of wood-chip mulch. LOTS. The good news? It was absolutely free and it kept this precious material from just going to the landfill.
- Did I get a tree-trimming company to come dump chips in my yard? No.
- Did a long-lost uncle who was a mulch magnate die & leave me his mulchy riches? No.
- Did the mulch fairy pay me a visit? I wish!
But I was surprised to discover this pot of gold offered by my county – maybe yours too? In any event it’s enabled me to spend much more time in the garden doing gardeny things and less time on my hands & knees pulling grass and weeds. SUCCESS!
Goin’ Good In August!
The garden itself is still growing great. I’m ready to harvest several heirloom pumpkins, spaghetti squash and watermelon. I’m harvesting summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes every day. Although the single cucumber vine in the garden is cranking out cucumbers, it’s not enough to fire up the canner for. So I’ve been making refrigerator pickles one quart at a time. RancherMan likes sweet pickles, but I don’t care for the syrupy sweetness they typically have. My sweet pickle recipe balances our tastes – crispy & sweet enough for him without being TOO sweet for me. PERFECT!
And I’ve never seen my cantaloupe this huge, and they’re volunteers that sprung up & I allowed them to stay so they’d act as a living mulch for the rest of the garden. (and yes, I’ve saved seeds from the largest one to replant next year!) This year these volunteer cantaloupe have been the real workhorses in the garden!
But it’s not all rosy sunshine in the garden. Sometimes when I go out to water I see a plant with the leaves hugging the stems just overnight while the others around it seem just fine. I noticed one of the bell pepper plants in the line of planted bell peppers was doing this and there was just no saving it. Then another not far from it a week or so later. Then a jalapeno plant on the other side of the garden. Then this jalapeno plant somewhere in between the two areas. Several of my tomato plants suffered the same odd die-off at the first of the season. Although I can see nothing amiss I wonder if perhaps I have an underground burrowing critter causing this trouble? It’s puzzling!
And I’m trying to keep all my plants watered and so far the rogue shower (rare for July around here) has helped, but you know how quickly the container gardens and potted plants dry out! I’ve been given a Malabar Spinach plant by a sweet friend and I’ve been able to keep it happily watered despite its confined quarters using this easy Homestead Hack. You know my battle cry: “Use Whatcha Got!” This has worked out so well for this vigorously-growing plant.
Harvesting Every Day
All in all I’m extremely pleased with the production of our veggie garden this year. Recently our youngest daughter kept (and thoroughly spoiled) our Mini-Schnauzer Bailey for several days while we were away. What a great kid she is… So how’s a country girl to repay that?? From the garden of course! I took her a basket of goodies such as fresh tomatoes, yellow squash, bell peppers, cucumbers, cantaloupe, spaghetti squash and added a dozen fresh eggs from our hens!
So there ya go – our garden has surprised us this year in a good way. Is your veggie garden still producing this later into summer?
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It is so nice to see that you are harvesting every day, even in hot Texas. I have a brown thumb so I am in awe of anyone who can make those plants grow. Beautiful plants and fruits and veggies.
It’s odd to be harvesting so heavily in August but I’m loving it, Mary! ~TxH~
Great haul! We’ve had good results this year but I need to expand our variety next year. Thanks for linking up at #SustainableSundays!
This year’s garden was a complete rework from last year’s garden (1/2 the size yet substantially more productive) I’ll be changing things next year as well based on what I observed that worked well this year and what could use improvement. ~TxH~
I’m glad your stuff is doing so well! We are sort of inbetween right now, most of our stuff has stopped growing, but our seedlings aren’t big enough to be put in the ground.
Love the new hop Katy, thanks for the invite! ~TxH~
Thanks for sharing with us all at Family Joy Blog Link Up Party. Hope to see you next week!
Your garden looks great.Thank you for sharing with us at #HomeMattersParty. We would love to see you again next week.
I love my shady yard, but I do miss gardening (not enough sun). Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up and don’t forget to leave a comment at the party – Next week’s features that also leave a comment get pinned and tweeted!
The heat has been hard. I’ve had to give up. Maybe next year. But I was planting on a balcony. I got a few tomato’s so I am happy. Thanks for sharing your bounty!
It’s been a hot year for sure Sherry! Glad you got some success, there’s nothing like a home-grown tomato! ~TxH~
The same things happens in my garden here in Alabama. I have one tomato plant, in the midst of all the other plants, that is nothing but a stalk left standing there. It looks just like your pepper plant. I do not know what causes it but I’d love to! I also have had a problem happen 2 years in a row now and that is with yellow squash flowering but not producing. I read The Grumpy Gardner (Southern LIving magazine) has the same problem and so he’s just quit planting it. Does it ever happen to you?
Now I’ve had tomato horn worms strip every leaf from the stems before Nikki, and I know they will attack peppers as well. But these leaves are not eaten, just completely wilted and then BOOM! The plant dies. Very puzzling indeed! ~TxH~
Your garden looks beautiful! I am missing having one this summer. Next year though. Thanks for sharing with us at Family Joy Blog Link Up Party this week. Hope to see you next week!
Thanks Charlene, I’ve been blessed with lots of harvests from it this year. I’ve never had this many cantaloupe! ~TxH~
We had the same problem in some parts of our garden. Our luck, though, is not as good as yours since the garden is essentially gone now. Between the heat, long periods of drought and then bucketloads of rain, it just didn’t do well this year. 🙁
My garden isn’t large, but it is producing like crazy for the two of us. Snow peas are done, but pole beans are still going. Bush beans got planted in the snow pea pot and should be ready by fall. My onions came out and are hanging to dry, so the space became a place for radishes, spinach (New Zealand that is supposed to also like warm weather), and onion sets to use as green onions if they survive the heat and pests. My tomatoes and peppers are just starting. I thought I planted too much zucchini, but it is slow to produce. I did get enough to make four pints of dill pickles. I canned then so am waiting for the flavour to mature before giving them a try. – Margy
Sounds like you’ve had a huge harvest from your garden Margy. Yea! I’d be interested in knowing how those zuch pickles turn out. I always hope to get a fall garden going – maybe I can at least plant some green beans or something.
Did you try to pull the plant out of the ground to see if something has eaten it below the soil like a mole or gopher? Or look at the base of the plant to look for marks that something has eaten around it, like a cut worm would do a young plant. I had a bunch of marigolds that just died off one after the other like something was going down the line. I thought for sure they were too big for cut worms but sure enough, there he was, making his way through my flower box.
No, I foolishly thought maybe I could give the suddenly wilted plants extra water and save them or something – but so far I’ve not saved any of them and there’s another wilted one out there now. They’ve all been about 1.5 – 2 ft tall when they suddenly wilted but maybe I need to go out & pluck one up to see what the roots look like. Most of the dead plants are peppers, either bell or jalapeno – although the first to die off were two established tomato plants. Hummm… ~TxH~
It’s a mystery and I can’t wait until you get to the bottom of it. Keep us posted.
Still searching Judith, so far I’m completely stumped but the die-off continues. Hummm… ~TxH~
you may have aphids on your dry, dying plants. I have used Sevin dust/powder on my tomato plants. To help with aphids and other ‘bad’ insects, you might consider planting marigolds in between and around your veggie plants
or you could also have grasshoppers eating your plants being the hoppers like it hot and dry. They can eat and strip plants down to nothing real quick like. Being it being so dry,. I have noticed A lot of grasshoppers.
Hopefully your chickens and birds can get some but I’m sure they can’t get all
We do have grasshoppers Colleen but not near like in previous years. And the leaves aren’t eaten, they remain on the plant but just hug the stems until the plant dies. It’s almost like something has gone underground and chopped the roots off or something. Very strange… ~TME~