Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Harvesting

It's such a very busy time in the garden and in the kitchen in June. It's time to start the corn harvest. I'm just finishing the potato harvest and nearing the end of the tomato harvest. My cucumbers will start to be ready by next week so it will be pickle time. This happens to also be time for planning the fall garden. As much as I love going through my seed catalogs for new things to grow for fall, I find it a much easier task in the winter months. I get a twinkle of excitement thinking about falls cooler temperatures and drier air. The temperatures are rising into the mid and high nineties in Southeast Texas in June. By July we will be in the triple digits with equal amounts of humidity. My outdoor gardening activities have become limited to the morning and evening hours. In the middle of the hot afternoon I'm so thankful for the a/c in my kitchen and tall cool glass of ice tea.
I've discovered a few new friends this morning in the garden. There are several swallowtail caterpillars visiting my Italian Parsley which will be ready to harvest for seeds soon. The black swallowtail butterflies are quite a site with the dark turquoise spots against their dark wings. A beautiful garden spider is looming over my newly potted plants and already has a grasshopper wrapped up for dinner. There is also a small bird making a nest in the potting shed. I haven't been able to see her clearly or get her picture yet because she flies out so fast. As she passes me all I hear are the buzzing of wings going past my head. There are no eggs in her nest yet, so I'm assuming she is still busy preparing it for them.Today my thoughts are on my tomato plants. Tomato's are a very important staple in my kitchen and I want to be sure I can put up as many as possible to go through winter. This year I am determined not to have to buy them at the grocery. Our family has eliminated almost all canned products bought in the store. My tomato plants are becoming exhausted from the excessive heat. The blooms on most have slowed down and the tomato's themselves are becoming tougher skinned. It will be time to start pulling the plants out of their raised beds soon and time to start planting new seeds for fall.As I am getting my tomato seeds organized I am labeling cups with each varieties name written on them. I will soak the seeds in a little warm water overnight to help with germination. This is also how I test the seed for quality. By morning I will know that the seeds that sunk to the bottom of the cup are the good seeds and the ones that stayed floating on the top are not good. I've already prepared several flats in the potting shed ready to be seeded and labeled. I'll be planting several different varieties of heirlooms for fall with the exception of two types. It will be very important to keep the seedlings moist as the soil will dry out quickly in the small pots during the summer months. I water them in the morning and again in the evening. I've also made a little heavier soil mix than what I would use for spring. It is basically made from our compost pile, so it is nice and rich and will retain a lot of moisture. It will also aid as fertilizer to the new growing seedlings.

Happy Gardening!


  1. Love this blog! I always learn something new.

  2. Thank you so much Ruth. I'm so glad your enjoying it.