Summer Fun

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These sunflowers are popular with the blackbirds, and as stem flowers for the table.

It has been an odd year, but it’s finally summertime!  Just when we thought it would be hot, we had another cool week and had to break out the jackets and rain boots.  Can you believe that it snowed on Mount McLaughlin in JULY?!?  We had estimated that corn would arrive by mid July, but these various spurts of cool weather, although a pleasant hiatus from summer, continued to delay the harvest.  As Mr. Hubbard declared last year, “It All Depends On The Weather (DOTW)!”

Well finally, after unusually cool temps, we’re facing a week of triple digit forecasts, and with it, this is our first week of having corn available in the garden shed!  Just like that, summer hit a couple weeks ago when the cantaloupe and tomatoes began to ripen, and all of a sudden, the garden shed is burgeoning with all sorts of summer produce!

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You know it’s summer when… there is corn and melons for sale in the garden shed!!

Josephine, now nine, is providing us with tasty cherry tomatoes again this year.  They’re a golden variety, which we prefer to the reds.  We actually planted a couple of red cherry tomatoes next to them, but the golden win out, hands down!  Jo has been saving her money that she earns from cherry tomatoes.  Thank you for being a part of helping our kids learn how to work, to appreciate how money is earned, and to save!

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We are just about in full swing out at the garden shed. Swing by and take a look at the options. Cucumber orders are in full swing as well. Don’t wait to make your pickles!

 You may notice, however, the limited amount of tomatoes available…  Tomatoes are sensitive plants.  They have to be watered from underneath in order to avoid getting sick from having water on their leaves.  They also need consistent water, and healthy soil composition in order to avoid getting blossom end rot.  Once they set their crop, they need a  ton of support to keep from falling over and breaking their vines!  This year, we planted several sauce tomatoes, heirlooms, and slicing tomatoes.  However, they appear to have suffered from some of that cool weather and summer rain we enjoyed, and many have become sick.  And once they become sick, they are extremely contagious to the plants around them.  As a result, we are limited for now in what we can offer you.  Thankfully, the cherry tomatoes are keeping pace with us thus far.

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Some of the tomatoes starting to ripen up… they’re on their way!

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This is what sick tomatoes look like.  😦  Thankfully, this is not the WHOLE garden.  We’re still hoping for a harvest here in August, but it may be less than last years.


We’ve been planting these funny looking cucumbers (Armenian cucumbers) for a few years now, with varying success.  But this year, they are happy campers, producing more than we’ve ever had before!   Armenian cucumbers are actually a type of melon (also called “snake melons,” because of their length), and are prized for their crisp tenderness, soft seeds, and no need to peel skin.  Also, they’re known as “burp-less” cucumbers.  If you ever find yourself sensitive to cucumbers, try these instead.  They taste great, and are easier to digest!

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Our young zucchini… taking a lesson from the Armenian cucumbers.

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We were blown away to see these purple grapes appear in early spring! I guess you could say we use the power of suggestion with a lot of our crops… LOL (just so you know… they’re fake!)


This is actually a zucchini plant… with an unusually large Armenian cucumber next to it… just think of it as the power of suggestion, and social learning as we train our zucchini plants to produce!  😉  Actually, we have plenty of zucchini plants already in production, and several younger ones to take their place when they get worn out.  With so much zucchini and a few new diets in the household, we’ve been experimenting with a few more ways to cook zucchini this year, including using a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles!  For years, we’ve been making zucchini lasagna, subbing long slices of zucchini in place of traditional noodles, and diet or not, we’ve LOVED it!
We’ve also been experimenting a bit with our other melons.  This year, we tried growing watermelons, in addition to two types of cantaloupe.  We have our opinion of which type is best, but we’ll let you decide for yourself.  The Ambrosia (our usual variety) has softer flesh than the Cruzer, which is crisp no matter how ripe it is!  In case you want to try the different types, you can tell the difference by the netting.  The Cruzers have a dense net on them, while the Ambrosias are much smoother.

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Here’s an example of the smoother ambrosia melon.

 

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And this is an example of the heavier net on the cruzer melons.

Other news on the farm: If you grew ever up on the farm, you probably experienced the fun of finding feral kittens, born in the hay stack, or just running around the barn yard.  We have many fond memories of catching them and taming them to be our own!  In fact, we Hubbards are probably all biased to believe that our cats from the farm are by far the best personalitied cats we’ve ever encountered.  It’s sad to think that so many kids these days find more enjoyment chasing fantasy creatures via their smartphone, and never get to actually cuddle the creature they “caught”.  So, I brought a couple of kids from the local homeless shelter (where I work) with me to experience some good, wholesome country life – cell phones aside.  At a friend’s farm, we donned long sleeves and leather gloves and set about to discovering the feral critters that had moved in.  it didn’t take us too long, and we came away with three little kittens that even the 17 year old boys couldn’t resist!  After a day of cuddling at the shelter, I brought them home, tamed them, and they are ready for new homes.  (Please let us know if you’d like one, and spread the word!)

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Fun on the farm with kittens.  Perhaps this is why the kittens are ready to leave!

 

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Beyond the garden:  We got a new guitar!  Here is our apprentice, studiously taking lessons from Grandpa Hubbard on how to play it.

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The apples are almost ready!  We didn’t thin them very well this year, which is usually necessary to get the biggest, best apples possible.

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Our plum tree is loaded this year, to the point of needing some extra support to keep the branches from breaking!  Here is a close up of those plums…  Should be a good year!

 

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We don’t sell our figs in the garden shed, but we have enjoyed a bumper crop this year!  So delicious and sweet!!

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We have some heads of cabbage just about ready to come out of the garden.

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Another experiment this year: cauliflower.  It’s done well, and we’ve enjoyed it!

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