Tuesday, August 17, 2021

August garden update

Seems like I've been bringing y'all a garden update about once a month, so here we go for August.  

I planted a single tomato plant this year, and yet somehow I still have grown a tomato jungle.  I'm not a huge fan of entropy in most circumstances, but I love the way the garden devolves into beautiful chaos at this time of year.  It feels so wild.

We've been harvesting cherry tomatoes by the pocketful.  There is nothing like a tomato picked from the vine, warm from the sun.  Delicious and sublime.  A sweet burst of heaven on earth.

The sunflowers are glorious.  And much taller than me.

One of the wonderful things about saving seeds is you never know exactly what you're going to get when you grow them.  I am loving this yellow marigold with just a few darker red stripes.

The zinnias are shades of pink this summer.  I am so glad I made the decision to devote 1/3 of my garden space to flowers this year.  I've been able to cut these pretty much continuously for the past month or so, bring a little bit of the outside beauty inside.

We have several Sakata's sweet melons growing.  I have no idea how to tell when these are ready, and last year, I feel like I waited too long, so I harvested one the other day.  It was good!  As promised, it tasted like honeydew melon in a cute, apple-sized package.  I think it could have benefited from a few more days on the vine, so I've left the others out for now and will try another soon.  

Eleven watermelons, friends.  After trying to grow a watermelon off and on for around 25 years, I have grown 11.  I am so pleased.  I'm sure the hot and dry weather we've been experiencing this summer helped.  I don't even mind that they're tiny.  Because let's face it: if I had 11 full-sized watermelons, that would be a little overwhelming.

The other day, I noticed that one was half rotted.  I removed the rotten melon, and split it open.  It looked like it had been ripe, with fully developed seeds.  That made me think maybe it was time to start paying attention to the signs of ripeness in the watermelon patch.  For one, the white spot on the bottom where the melon rests on the ground should turn a creamy yellow color.  For another, the tendril closest to the stem should wither.  

Looks like I might get some Brussels sprout sized cabbages this year.  Better than nothing?  It's been a fun experiment, to be sure, and there's still a lot of time before frost, so maybe we'll get some bigger- than-Brussels-sprout heads.

I also don't know how to tell when the beets are done, so I think I'm going to pull them up later this week.  The radish plant that I let go to seed hasn't set any fruit, probably because it's been hot and dry, so I'm going to pull that out, too, and probably plant more radishes in both the beet and radish boxes.

And finally...

This is not a drill, ladies and gentlemen.  We have grown, and eaten, a watermelon.

Similar to the Sakata melon, I wasn't sure if this guy was actually ripe yet, but I didn't want to let it go too long.  Its tendril was withered and its ground spot was creamy yellow, so I tried harvested it.  It had salmon-pink flesh, just like it supposed to have.  And it tasted good!  Sweet and juicy.  And so cute!

The garden tends toward chaos at this time of year.  It feels rich and indulgent and impossible and wild.  And I love it.  And even though there's still a lot of life left out there, and a lot of fruit to be eaten, I find my thoughts turning to next year's garden, dreaming of another year of growing goodness.  What a pleasure it is to bear witness to everyday miracles in the garden.

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