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Garden Notes: August 2023

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 Rainfall 

  • 2nd: 0.02″ 
  • 3rd: 2.72″
  • 7th: 0.35″
  • 9th: 0.2″
  • 10th: 1.07″
  • 11th: 0.04″
  • 12th: 0.44″
  • 24th: 0.28″
  • Total so far: 5.12 inches

Temperature
  • range of nighttime lows: 62 to 75°F (17 to 24°C)
  • range of daytime highs: 76 to 92°F (25 to 33.5°C)

Weather Notes

The weather service keeps trying to forecast us into scorching temperatures, but Mother Nature simply isn’t cooperating. Of course, we live amongst trees and vegetation, so our temps will be considerably lower than in towns and cities, where concrete, asphalt, and blacktop absorb and retain heat. Even so, we still have humidity to deal with, so it feels hot as usual! What is unusual, is our continued overnight lows in the 60s. I don’t ever recall nights like these; our summer lows are usually in the mid-70s. Getting down into the 60s really helps cool the house down and keep it more comfortable during the day.

Planted
  • kale
  • turnips
  • carrots
  • parsnips

Picking and Preserving

August is my busiest month. I spend the morning picking and the afternoon preserving.

Harvest bucket in early August

Harvest bucket in late August

It’s the month for figs and pears, so these keep me busy.

We seem to have had an extra long run for the figs, which usually only last a week or two. They kept producing for more than three weeks this year. 

Fresh figs with kefir and granola

When the harvest is in full flush, I can pints of figs. When it trickles down to smaller numbers, I quarter and dehydrate them. Sadly, another of our fig trees is dying. That’s the third one in as many years.
Amazingly, we have very little bird damage to our figs this year. I suspect it’s because they’re feasting on elderberries instead.

While I’m not getting a lot of elderberries, I did get enough to make another half-gallon of elderberry infused vinegar. 

We eat pears fresh and the rest go to make pear sauce. 

Dan’s not keen on canned pear pieces, but we both like pear sauce, which I think is easier to do than chunks anyway. Most of the sauce is canned, but I’m going to dehydrate some too.
Fresh pear pie

I guess because of the rain and cooler temperatures, my cucumbers continue to look good.

These are my landrace cucumbers, second year. As it gets hotter they slow down a bit, but I’ve replenished our dill pickle supply and we continue to eat them in salads almost daily. 
Peppers are doing well.

As is the okra.
I had volunteer cherry tomatoes come up in the okra bed. They sort of lean on the okra plants, making them easier to pick. Both seem to be getting enough sun and are producing well.
Okra and tomato plants growing together.

I try not to plant too much okra, because one year I had so much I still had okra in the freezer when the new harvest came in. Frozen okra oven-fries nicely and makes a tasty vegetable, but we’d eaten so much of it over winter that the first fresh harvest wasn’t as appealing as it usually is. I love the anticipation of those first seasonal tastes. 
Even so, I’m freezing some of the extra.
Ready for the freezer. I’ll add more as I have extra.

The nice thing about okra, is that it can be frozen without blanching. I may try to can some with cherry tomatoes as an experiment too.
Speaking of cherry tomatoes, we have those in abundance. I only have half-a-dozen slicing tomato plants, but the cherry toms absolutely thrive. I’ve already shown you some of the pizza sauce I made, and I’ve been popping extras in the freezer for next year’s batch. Also, I’ve started a couple of jars cherry tomatoes preserved in olive oil. I found the recipe in Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning and I tried a couple of pints last year, and we really liked it. 

This year I’m going to preserve a couple of quarts. The recipe calls for cherry tomatoes, small onions, and fresh herbs (I used rosemary, thyme, and oregano). Everything is sprinkled with salt and a couple tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice, then covered with extra virgin olive oil. I vacuum seal the jar as well. 
These make a wonderful condiment or salad topper, complete with tomato and herb flavored oil and vinegar salad dressing right out of the jar!
My watermelons have been incredibly slow to do anything.
Baby watermelon

I hope we get some before first frost!

And here’s a treat.
Asparagus!

I always thought asparagus was a spring thing, but I’ve been regularly cutting small handfuls this month. They make a great snack, addition to salad, or scrambled eggs. 
Speaking of salads, I usually show you one.

This is my version of taco salad, with chips instead of a taco bowl. Avocado makes it special, as does the sauce, which is ricotta cheese mixed with salsa. We’ve been eating these once a week.
Varmint
Earlier this month I had a problem with something eating the leaves off my sweet potato plants. Dan put out his live animal trap and trail camera one night, and caught this!
Raccoon in live animal trap.

That’s pretty much it for my August garden. How about yours?


Source: https://www.5acresandadream.com/2023/08/garden-notes-august-2023.html


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