Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August Garden Plans

Have I told you how much I love August? 

Even when it is busy. 

Even when I gauge my day's task on what is going to rot first.

I just love, love, LOVE the fresh eating in August. I could turn into a vegetarian this month.

I love heaping a pizza so full of fresh tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and onions that you can't find the crust. I love hearing the sound of the pressure canner sizzling. I love smelling ripe peaches on a bowl on the counter. 

I love sitting down to a meal and hearing Ed say "Did you take a picture of this? It just looks too good." And the children groan because they think Mom takes way too many photos of food already. But August food is almost too pretty to eat.

August garden goals are simple. 

1. Try to not let too much go to waste.

2. Try to save my sanity in the frantic rush of garden preserving.

3. Try to save up memories of the abundance for February. 

One of the big tasks this month was harvesting our potatoes. After several dry weeks, the potato plants had died back. I knew the top potatoes would start getting green if we didn't get them dug. And if it did begin to rain, we'd acquire a huge crop of weeds.  And I hate pulling weeds before digging potatoes.

We planted far too many potatoes this year and they produced very well. There was hardly any little potatoes and many whoppers.

Fun for everyone, whether your task is finding the potatoes or playing in the dirt.

After all the potatoes were dug (and task that we did one or two rows at a time and so stretched out for two weeks) I hand broadcasted some buckwheat seed for a cover crop. I hoped that if it began to rain, the seeds would sprout and choke out the weeds.

But the next morning I looked out the window to find a wild mother turkey with her five almost-grown offspring. They were busy scratching and pecking - enjoying the buck wheat seed. Since then we have seen this family many times in the garden. I doubt there is any seed left. 

But I love seeing wildlife and it has been so dry that the seed probably wouldn't have sprouted anyway. At least something is getting a benefit from it.

In our other garden, our new patch of strawberries is struggling. I put in a soaker hose to keep it watered over our dry spell but they still are not flourishing.

Behind them are very weedy carrots. They have struggled with groundhogs and drought. I'm about ready to give up and pull them out even though they are only a few inches long.

The zinnias are tall and flourishing. My daughter asked why I wasted garden space on flowers but she has enjoyed picking many bouquets for the table. We often find several swallow tail butterflies enjoying the blooms.

A few weeks ago, a Home Joys reader that I met in person asked how my garden was doing. I said that I know it is August when all I want is my husband to go into the garden with the weed eater. And not long afterward he did. Ed cleared this area of the huge weeds and shaggy green beans.

I planted some late cabbage and broccoli and hid it under row cover from the cabbage worms. I'm also picking red beets, zucchini, and basil from this part of the garden. I threw some buck wheat seeds in the empty areas here but I don't see much result. Maybe the turkeys have visited this garden too. But more likely that the drought has hindered germination. At least no weeds can sprout either.

The tomatoes have succumbed to blight. I'm still picking a few but the plants are nearly all dead. In contrast, the peppers in the middle are lovely. I don't think I have ever had such tall lush pepper plants and the peppers themselves are too pretty too eat. Except that I do anyway.

I'm not sure if our late patch of sweet corn will mature since it has been so dry. But we already have plenty of corn in our freezer so the only goal for this patch was fresh eating.

Other things are  growing besides our garden. We knew our cat had kittens earlier this summer but we could not find them. We figured she only had one or two kittens and hid them in the woodshed. The night we were out in the garden with the weed eater and tiller, a little furry face peeked out of the wood pile.

Our little girlie was thrilled! I figured that only one kitten had survived from the litter - but the children started searching...

And they pulled out five more kittens out of the woodpile! What a surprise. 

We moved the kittens to a box, which they tolerated only when they didn't feel like escaping back into the woodpile. The children enjoyed their new playmates for a few weeks but, as of today, we found good homes for each of the kittens.

What is growing at your house?


  1. You losing your seed to the smart birds reminds me of this week, I put out a bit of cat food for an abandoned cat, and birds hopped up under my covered deck and ate all of it, leaving white drops of do do - so I knew it was birds. Poor cat. Will never get any food at this rate.

  2. I agree about the food in August!! It certainly isn't hard to put meals on the table right now. Our garden has done very well this year. I have been so busy canning everyday. Our tomatoes did not get blight..thankfully. It is odd that we are not very far apart and you have had drought. We are getting our haying done..late! because of the wet summer. I am going tomorrow to butcher chickens with some farmer friends. I have done this twice already this summer. They harvest about 185 each time,and I get 8 free for helping. It isn't hard,and it is a fun time of fellowship..believe it or not!! I get really good chicken out of the deal without the feed costs. I am planning on canning these ones on Friday. I think your children are eating well this summer..they really seem to have grown alot! They are so cute!

  3. WOW those potatoes look awesome and I sure do love potatoes. No matter how they are cooked they're good. :-) I KNOW you will find good uses for those this winter if you don't decide to can them. I canned 12 pints of chick peas today because I was going through canning withdrawals. Didn't get to can but 10 pints of tomatoes from our garden this year. We'll miss all those veggies this winter. I like canning so I had to can something. Got more dry beans to can later.

  4. August is such a busy month here in the garden. I've spent so many hours this week making jams, fruit leather and sauces to last the Winter. Your potatoes look great and I'm jealous we aren't growing them this year. PLUS KITTIES = happiness! Glad to have found your blog.

  5. July and August were very dry months here in South West Germany, so with most crops, we had a rather early harvest. We pulled out all of our potatoes about 3 weeks ago already, since we planted them early as well. We also harvested black beans (which I grew the first time this year) and I cooked 2 large pots of black bean soup and froze it. The green pole beans are over now, but the tomatoes still take their time ripening. I've tried the Amish Paste variety you've recommended in one of your blog posts, Gina, and I must say, they truly are delicious! Most of our new strawberry plants I got this spring have died. So I'm thinking to plant more this fall along with some garlic and hope that they will get stronger next year. Also, we have 5 giant pumkins and a few summer squash left in our garden. I can't wait to make pumpkin soup again! Blessings to you, and enjoy the upcoming fall season!

  6. I think you should try to make cream cheese brownies sometime! if you would like here is the recipe. You don't need 2 make them if you don't want 2..
    1 package German chocolate cake mix (it don't need to be German, just chocolate)
    1 package 8 oz. cream cheese softened
    1 egg small
    1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (if you want)
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup nuts (if you want)
    Prepare cake mix & pour into 9 by 13 pan. Mix cream cheese, sugar, and egg. Spoon by a spoon onto the batter randomly until frosting is gone. Cut through batter with knife back and forth several times for marble effect. If you want to you can sprinkle nuts and chips. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Enjoy!!:)


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