Tuesday, August 2, 2011
The garden looked really great about a month ago when I took these photos. Since then, it's taken a turn for the worse. I don't know what it is about July that turns a promising group of plants upside-down with nasty bugs and weeds so much so that I don't even like to be out there in August. With our absences the Japanese beetles have eaten holes in everything, grasshoppers are zooming up and flitting out of reach every time I take a step inside the garden, squash bugs have killed the zucchini and pumpkin plants with wilt, and the tomatoes have early blight. The potato and garlic harvests were also really pathetic. I actually think there were more of both, spuds and cloves, when planted than what we collected after a full growing season. To top it off, a raccoon made a meal of what little sweet corn we were able to produce. This summer has been quite humbling.
Despite the pests and disease, we've still had a remarkable amount to eat and share with two families. We've been bartering cheese, eggs and veg for goat hay out of our neighbor's barn and the single CSA we supported last year returned for this season. The share that usually goes to the freezer is lacking, however. We did very well eating frozen vegetables through the winter and consumed nearly everything that we put up last season. Thankfully, pumpkin puree is still in excess, which we will use over the coming months. I took a few hours to organize the chest freezer last week...berries have their own compartment, meat, as well as 2011 veg, which we'll keep separate from older things that need to be consumed now. This doesn't sound like an exciting chore, but finding some long forgotten morsels to make dinner easy is always a bonus. And with the temperature above 80 degrees, who could complain about a freezer dive. On the bright side, without the extra packages of kale and beans taking space we'll have more room for when the meat chickens go over the rainbow.