things are showing a case of the normal late season yellows. the cosmos are fading, the beans are starting to leave leaves on the ground. the tomatoes are mostly stem and fruit gradually ripening.
as it does the ever-bearing strawberries are on their third or fourth crop and without a deep freeze they'll keep on trying. last fall there were a few nice berries that needed only a few more days to go before they'd finish. this season we hope for those few extra days, but the plants are flowering now, so they don't seem to care. after all they still have plenty of sunshine to keep on chugging. my normal mid-summer strawberry patch routine is to take peas, beans, soybeans and scatter them throughout the patch and then put down an inch or so of whatever mulch i can find. this year it was shredded wood. then water well to encourage the sprouts to have at it. it is a very stark transistion as the patch looks really wiped out by mid-summer with the leaves getting spotted and dried out with the heat. a few weeks later, everything is renewed and looking nice and green and the beans are starting to give a little shade.
i'll continue to increase the percentage of ever-bearing strawberry plants in all of my patches because it is very nice to have berries all season and not just in june.
the other two strawberry patches have different requirements so they have not been renovated this season. besides i don't have any more mulch to use up so what organic material gets used has to be grown in place. or in the case of the far back patch (#3) i am digging trenches for dumping the canning trimmings so that will help that rock hard soil out. i'm hoping tomorrow i can get outside to start planting cover crops in a few areas including this 3rd strawberry patch. that soil can use a lot of help back there...
all told, a good season for strawberries. even the back patch near the large drainage ditch produced well even when being raided almost continually from critters. i consider it a very happy arrangement as then that soil is covered by something productive (it used to be left bare) and doesn't get covered too badly by weeds. it has some, but the oregano, strawberries and hollyhocks are all quite capable of holding their own most of the time.
the garlic harvest was also quite nice this year. i've peeled about 40 heads worth for making salsa and all of it was good quality and fairly large cloves even on the smaller and medium sized heads. to encourage me to finish getting all the vagrant garlics harvested next summer i'll plant less in the easier places, but i am going to plant an area specifically for green garlic harvesting in the winter/spring because i enjoyed that so much and it is much easier to grow than any of the green onions i've tried to sprout. i certainly have enough starts (e-mail if you want some -- it's hard necked garlic). for green garlic if you want a nice long blanched stalk plant it a few inches deeper than you would normally plant.
tomatoes, we'll be picking again tomorrow as we finished processing the second picking a few days ago. not sure how many we'll do, but i suspect a few dozen more quarts are still out there.
bell peppers also were mostly picked a few days ago and turned into stuffed green peppers (and already either eaten or sent off to other families to eat up). we had three full buckets of red, yellow and green peppers. though i must admit that we didn't let the yellow peppers get all that yellow. one we did set aside to fully turn yellow was eaten in a taste test and i agree with my earlier assessment that the flavor isn't worth the bother. red or green are much better.
the beets we haven't even started processing yet. plenty out there to pick when we do get to it.
cabbages, harvested the other day and taken to the place where they'll be turned into saurkraut. Thursday will be when that happens. Ma is going to go help. i'm staying home as this crud is still holding on a bit yet.
green, wax and other fresh beans. all did well this year. many pickings worth. what is left now will be for seed source for next year.
edamame soybeans, just filling in pods, look like they are doing ok.
peas, some places are on the third crop. mostly as a cover or fill in plant because i have so many extra seeds. most will not have enough time to do much for another crop, but the plants and flowers are nice to see instead of bare dirt. the chipmunks have been raiding the peas so heavily this year that my second crop is probably mostly buried in their hidey-holes. already we have sprouts coming up places i know i didn't plant them... i don't mind. got plenty.
dry beans, some varieties i gave a second season to see if they'd do ok, found out that it's not worth the space for those varieties in this soil, so i will cut back on next year's plantings for those and put in the others that are doing well. the pole beans from the south that i trialed this season are going gonzo with a very heavy crop. it will be a joy to pick those (standing up mostly :) ). already i've eaten plenty as fresh beans too. well worth the space.
squash, i need to get out and pick the fruits from the vines that have died back. for plants put in an area that we hadn't used before (in fact we covered it with three or four layers of carpeting and then cut holes for the squash plant seeds). the squash plants went all over the place. most of what they are growing in is layers of old wood covered with layers of dirt. it was to be the mushroom farm, but we only had a few mushrooms and Ma hated the weeds growing there so i chopped it back and then we smothered it. eventually, i will curse every strand of those carpetings, but until then...
in not really planning to grow squash we still will have quite a harvest from all the vagrant seeds that came up in various gardens. in the case of the beet garden i had so many squash seedlings pushing up that it uprooted a fair proportion of the beet plants. and i'd decided that i needed to change the worm farm treatment of squash and melon remains to avoid that complication in the future. so the remains are now quarantined to one bucket and i can use that in places where i won't mind the volunteer squish plants.
the biggest challenge this season was the onions. the quality of the sets wasn't very nice (most were too big). i have a lot of onion seeds for playing with now. :) many flowered. most didn't do much at all. too much C in the soil is a large factor for some of the gardens. too much cloudy and rainy weather in June.
rhubarb i didn't harvest at all this year other than a few stalks as i was walking by.
pretty much everything other than the cabbages, onions and tomatoes were trouble free. the tomatoes i mostly ignored as picking off diseased leaves didn't make any notable difference over the longer term and likely cut back on production shorter term. we'll try something different next year for the tomatoes. we may not need that many plants anyways.
overall, i'd say it was a good season and is shaping up nicely. the benefit of having a mostly covered and maint-free garden is that i could ignore it for most of two weeks and not have too many disasters waiting for me when i get back out there. the biggest will be getting the large drainage trench redone as it collapsed somewhat from the heavy rains we had. c'est la vie...