clarentine: (cavalier)
[personal profile] clarentine
It's August, and the weather gods are not above reminding us of that fact: we are still deep in late summer's sticky heart. Nevertheless, as we sink closer to autumnal equinox, the occasional chill snap in the air and the angle of the sun remind us - in case we needed the warning - to pack up the fruits of the season and get ready. It won't always be warm breezes and plenty. If we are smart, we will be ants, not grasshoppers.

Right now, though, it's August, and I could do with a breeze. :-)

This weekend, we had one of those cold front weather blessings cross our path, and I seized the opportunity to get the fall greens planted. That meant, of course, that the beds had to be cleared of summer's crop of weeds. By noon on Sunday, however, I had two forty-foot rows planted in Premier kale, collards, and purple mustard greens. I'm trying out a new ground cover, too, for after the corn, a Crotalaria called 'Sunn Hemp' (which isn't a Cannabis at all). Lovely seeds, glossy like sun on an oil slick and about the same range of colors.

The tomatoes are all but done. Once again, German Johnson was my star performer, giving me gorgeous, deep pink fruits the size of softballs right up to the point where the vines gasped their last. I was somewhat more pleased with the Virginia-adapted version of Brandywine I tried out this year than I have been with Brandywines in the past; they did their best to keep up with the Johnsons. The fruits have a bad habit of cracking at the stem end, however, and rotting there. If it had been a wet year, we wouldn't have gotten a single one of these. Illini Star, my other main crop tomato, had a really rough time this year for some reason. More often than not, its fruits would just about ripen, then rot on the vine. Could have been the bugs, I guess. We were heavily infested with brown marmorated stinkbugs this spring.

Of my two paste varieties, the Black Plums gave their many, many small tomatoes as expected and fought whatever blight it is that afflicts them regularly every year all the way to the end--a good producer. Illini Gold always catches blights, too, but it gave me less fruit than last year.

Only the cherry Pink Princess is still producing...hand over fist. The fruit tends to crack after a rain, but it's been dry on the farm this season (not so in the mountains and on the plain around us, but right here, we're dry). Kay takes every opportunity she gets to come down to the garden with me and graze on the cherry tomatoes. Silly dog. :-)

Otherwise, the first planting of corn is gone, its stalks uprooted, and the second is tasseling. The tomatillos continue to give me an enormous crop. The cucumbers failed even more quickly than I'd expected, with only the Asian and Persian cukes persisting any real length of time. The winter squash are beginning to ripen (the summer squash all croaked but for a single plant). The sunflowers I transplanted all did just fine. The pole beans and butterbeans are just ripening for picking; I expect to be down there this evening, filling my basket.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll get a little rain today. Maybe.
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