Tag Archives: delicata squash

Fall…ing fast

Fall…arrived in lightning speed, so it seemed; preceded by a few cooler days of decent rain to relieve some of the stress of excessive smoke and thirsty trees all over the region, both urban and forest. The precious rain was a bit precocious in actually arriving as anticipated; taking itself further north for a few days, but it did finally arrive in time to help with the forest wildfires and start cleaning out the smoky air that kept recycling itself over the state.

The smokey skies, hot temperatures, and strange humidity initiated a very early onset of powdery mildew, ensuring the end-of-squash-and-melons in a very abrupt manner. With the return of some sun and a bit more warmth, the nasturtiums, lettuce, and kale are more vigorous, however. As the first rains arrived it was a dash to clip melons, spaghetti, and delicata squash from their deteriorating vines, and gather in any ripe tomatoes.

Winding down those squash, winding up the greens. Where’s Juni?

A first-year learning experience in a new garden; it was very productive in most ways, and less than anticipated in other ways, seemingly more related to sun and shade patterns than anything else. A few ideas are now being tucked away for reference for next year.

In some ways this “new” garden seemed easier to care for, compared to the former one, with seemingly less watering needed, although the overall bounty was a bit less. Whereas the high amount of loam in the old community garden was well drained and easy to dig, more clay in the present yard helped retain moisture longer, even if it made the ground a bit harder to work to start with. And, more shade trees overhang this yard, keeping the area a bit cooler.

Tomatoes were later producers here, in spite of being next to the house, which is turning out to be an asset as we cool down. What wasn’t foreseen was the amount of shade they would be in until the sun shown on them (after 12:30pm), and then for the remainder of the day. And they weren’t particularly early-ripening varieties, but now they’re doing well, with some extra plastic over them as the temperatures cool down. Maybe a different spot next year, or else an early ripener.

Enjoying the current 2-3 days of warmth before we see a longer stretch of rain settle in. That delightful flip-flop transition of early fall.

Hoping your bounty has been generous this year!

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Early is the name of the game

Mature and harvested spaghetti and delicata squash (background) giving more room for other squash and melons to roam. Deer deterrent that has worked best is the upside down chair, preventing his landing attempt! Basil is lushly growing, immune to browsing.

Mature, harvested spaghetti and delicata squash (background) giving more room for other squash and melons to roam. Deer deterrent that has worked best is the upside down chair, preventing his landing attempt! Basil is growing lushly, immune to browsing.

Early to bloom, early to ripen, early demise.  On the calendar that is!  Our “endless summer” has mitigated its heat wave temporarily, so plants look a bit more refreshed.  As observed over the last couple of weeks, some squash leaves signaled their fatigue and resignation to powdery mildew, as the fruits of their efforts came into maturity.  Spaghetti squash and delicata bushes were harvested and removed, providing some more freed crawling space for the little margarita and chanterai-type melons.  It seems so early for all this, but then again summer weather started very early.  Our first tomato pickings, too, and now they are moving into more continual ripening.  Zucchinis and yellow summer squash are still very active, and the cucumbers come in little waves.  I haven’t dared to peek under the acorn squash yet; and it is still quite mildew-free, so there’s a bit of time to catch the breath before doing more work.

The hidden gems of min-canteloupes and other melons coming into maturity. Mildew helping move along the bush lifespan more quickly than usual!

The hidden gems of mini-canteloupes and other melons coming into maturity. Mildew helping move along the bush lifespan more quickly than usual!

As much as I’d like to start planting more lettuce, it is still too early, given the soil and air temperatures are too warm; must be patient till at least mid-to-late August.  It is amazing how well beets will hold up if they can keep their roots shaded from too much light.  And, it is always amazing how beans will recuperate from moderate deer browsing, to push forth more flowers again.  Seems like we might have the deer stymied for the time being, although he does come by to see what vines he can possibly nibble on that might escape the protection of netting.

I have been watching for the signs of summer fatigue in the landscape and forest trees this last week, after another 4-day marathon of 100-degree heat.  Whereas the subtle shift of green to green-gold comes in mid-late August, there are some trees that have flat-out protested the whole summer, with leaves turning brown, curling up, and are blowing off this week.  I had a brief glimpse of fall there, then realized these were severely heat-stressed!  Lavenders have recuperated a bit, and providing plenty of nectar for the bees and butterflies.  Life is good!

In between the gaps…a gallery

A glimpse into the menagerie of the community garden and general house yard through fall and winter 2013/2014.

Always like to show off what our browsers can do when they put their minds to it.  Push down that netting to get the delectable bean leaf tips! They've developed finesse so they don't get their teeth caught in the netting...

Always like to show off what our browsers can do when they put their minds to it. Push down that netting to get the delectable bean leaf tips! They’ve developed finesse so they don’t get their teeth caught in the netting…

Apologies to our beautiful praying Mantis, who is probably eyeing an insect or two under the netting.  What a beaut!

Apologies to our beautiful praying Mantis, who is probably eyeing an insect or two under the netting. What a beaut!

Tasty greens sprouting for fall crop.  Mature beets further right even overwintered well under the snow pack.

Tasty greens sprouting for fall crop. Mature beets further right even overwintered well under the snow pack.

The typical way we keep the squash, melon, and tomato harvest aired and dry during the mild, not-too-rainy days of fall....stored under my eaves.

The typical way we keep the squash, melon, and tomato harvest aired and dry during the mild, not-too-rainy days of fall….stored under my eaves.

A record-setting snow-then-freeze episode the very first weekend of December 2013, followed by a record-setting snowfall in early February 2014, made us very aware of how little we can predict anything anymore, or when our gardens are tested to the maximum adaptability, and how miraculously resilient plants can be.  The witnessing of when a healthy, mature plant “decides” it will not struggle to survive the next year, but yield to the new energies of the next generation of seedlings.

Where's the bench seat?!

Where’s the bench seat?!

How Deep? 020814

14″ AFTER the snow has packed down for 3 days…

The birds had to learn to eat snow on their feeder for a few days.  Thank goodness for seeds on the old flower stalks, although the snow buried a lot of those.

The birds had to learn to eat snow on their feeder for a few days. Thank goodness for seeds on the old flower stalks, although the snow buried a lot of those.

And spring brings the energy of renewal…

2014-Kiwi Arbor-a

Kwan Yin being sheltered by a bower of the Siberian kiwi vine.

 

September slide through…

Our beloved Bambie has become frustrated…or desperate… in not being able to eat more tomato vines, nor get into my yard; so she’s taken to eating zucchini leaves off the stalk!

Not what you'd think to be a deer's delight...coarse zucchini leaves...

Shifting weather all over….a lot of rain during the first half of the month, so all tomatoes were pulled in, as well as squash and melons.  No rot wanted! So, it’s looking a bit bare as the season comes to a close.  Lettuce, arugula, and leeks are doing great!

Once there was a jungle...

September harvest tally:

  • Basil: 18 (pounds)
  • Bush beans: 3.5
  • Charentai melon: 13.5
  • Acorn squash: 5
  • Corn: 18 (19 ears)
  • Cucumbers: 20.5
  • Delicata squash: 20.75
  • Margarita melon: 26.75
  • Scallions: 1
  • Summer squash: 10.5
  • Spaghetti squash: 19.5
  • Tomatoes: 131 !!!!

Total:  288 pounds….!!!
Moving the season total to 473 pounds!
We give thanks to all Beings who assisted in manifesting this bounty!
That tomato poundage is off 6 plants, and no wonder they were collapsing!

Keepin' the bounty dry...

The lurkers

Lurkers of all sorts hidden in the CG….

Delicata squash

Stealth zucchini

Spaghetti squash bowling balls

Delicata and cucumber in the jungle

Margarita melons

Charentai mini-canteloupes

The season of transition is upon us…..Autumnal equinox…shorter days…the midway point of light and dark…in this region that is essentially the midway latitude of the Northern Hemisphere…halfway between the equator and the North Pole.    The bounty continues….

Fall Glory

It is amazing how one can stay so busy caring for a garden that is essentially moving towards a long nap.  Maybe it is my sense of  “clean management” that spurs me on to remove the decaying matter, though not so much in the house yard.  Actually for the CG it comes down to removing the dying, so that a blanket of leaves can be put down, to be turned over in spring, and to help insulate the remaining veggies.  Slugs will probably love it, as there are quite a few lurking in the lovely lettuce, but that’s just something we’ll have to deal with as necessary.

A lovely spurt of unseasonably warm weather delighted us gardeners a week ago, also prompting all the weeds to put forth new energy, and teasing a couple of strawberry plants into producing a few berries.  Of course, the bees were very happy with it, too.  Pineapple sages and Japanese anemones are still actively blooming, much delighting the hummingbirds.

Fall splendor; a little sun, a little fog....

This week heralds the onset of a few colder nights, between rainstorms, but no frost.  It won’t be as easy to see our pollinator friends and hummingbirds now, with shorter days, colder mornings, and barely light by the time I get home from work.

Still trying to ripen picked green tomatoes, but after last month’s rain, it’s not so easy, as many want to rot before turning any tint of orange.  Drying them down if they show any color is turning out to be a better option.

Our October bounty was exceptional, now that the tomatoes and squash were all pulled in:

  • Basil: 0.75
  • Cucumbers: 8.5
  • Kale: 1
  • Lettuce: 3
  • Melons (combined): 8.5
  • Acorn squash: 22.5
  • Delicata squash: 8.75
  • Spaghetti squash: 119
  • Swiss chard: 2.5
  • Summer squash: 10
  • Tomatoes: 44.5

Month’s total: 229 pounds (rounded)
Season total: 629 pounds

And this season’s total bests last year’s total at this same time by about 61 pounds, and it surpasses our final 2009 tally by 37 pounds!  Hooray for all the superb contributions from the plants, devas, pollinators, and human caretakers!

Last Tomato Standing

….for the moment.
It has been a time for progressive clean-up, given the cool, but vibrant fall weather of the last two weeks.  After hard rains on Oct. 10, it was time to remove the thrashed summer squash, cucumbers and melons, and harvest the nearly 150 pounds of winter squash.

Our beautiful mild fall weather since has helped ripen more tomatoes, wrapped in their red jackets, while a few more cucumbers have eeked out their full figures.  Basil is now typically spotted and un-pretty, especially after a mild frost.  The mixed lettuces are very happy, being the perfect size for gourmet greens as they are thinned.  Kale seedlings are poking along.  Hoses are finally put away for the season….alas.

A favorite for kitties: over and under the deer netting!

With impending heavy rains, all the tomatoes were removed, save the “yellow pear”, which still has a few fruit, and more blossoms.  It’s always good to have a sentinel for awhile.

Prepared for fall rains beginning in earnest