Tag Archives: cantaloupe

Harvest Monday

August 24, 2015

What even happened this week? It has been crazy!


We put up the electric fence.

Something got in anyway and tore into all but 4 of our melons. The crows have set up residence this year in the garden so it is possible it is them and our fencing is working.

We put up fishing wire to keep the deer out. They broke through (the bottom one so I think it was a fawn) and ate all of my sweet potato vines down to the nub!

What we did about said issues:

  1. We cut all the grass around the electric fencing to keep the current strong.
  2. I went ahead and ripped out all of the watermelons and harvested what we could.
  3. We found the groundhog hole and put gum in and around it.
  4. I re-strung the fishing wire. I am thinking I will need to get thicker wire (I just used what we had on hand) OR possibly put another line of electric wire where it was broken to deter the fawns. I hear if the deer get through it is because #1 you used fishing wire that was too thin, #2 they were running through (no fishing wire will stop them), or #3 baby deer found how to get through and the adults followed suit. I also want to borrow our neighbor’s camera to see if/how they do it again.

So, other than harvesting, I spread some more compost in the garden and planted some more fall crops. Next week, I will continue to spread compost, continue to harvest, and continue to plant fall crops!

As the squash bugs were taking out my zucchini plants earlier this summer 😦 the melon plants were starting to produce. So as I ripped out one section of melons, we noticed there were a lot of squash bugs left over. Since the whole area was fenced in anyway, we put 6 chickens in there to clean it up. They did WONDERFULLY. Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015As they ate all of the bugs, we harvested the rest of the potatoes and fixed the fencing. When we noticed they were not eating or scratching, just looking around, we put them back in the run. If only every section in the garden could be cleaned up so nicely! I’ll have to think about putting something like that in place…

Other than melons, we harvested beans, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and cucumbers.Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015(the 4yo has been lining up and organizing everything lately. very interesting…) Nieto Photography 2015(A couple of watermelon grew inside the fence. They had to be cut out.)

What are you harvesting? What are you planting for the fall? Any advice on the deer or groundhogs or raccoons? Check out what other gardeners are up to this time of year at Daphne’s Dandelions.


Happy!…and Sad :(

August 13, 2015

This week has been pretty crazy! Some good things happened and some bad things. First the good:

#1 It RAINED! 😀

Gardening with a cover means this is not as important to me as other farmers/gardeners in the area but it was still nice! It cooled us down from high 90s to 80s all this week. And everything’s so pretty after it rains 🙂

#2 We got more mulch!

We had gotten down to our last two mounds of woodchips and were wondering what we were going to do when that was gone. I decided, since I don’t have many more woodchips, I would start covering my garden each fall with chicken compost, like Paul does.

Right about that time, our neighbors decided to cut down about a dozen pine trees so we got 8 or so loads of woodchips! I think (as long as the chickens make enough compost) we will still cover our garden area as Paul does and save the woodchips for garden expansion but what a blessing!!!Nieto Photography 2015#3 Our last broody hen of the year hatched out all of the eggs we gave her to sit on! That has yet to happen. Our young roosters are finally getting efficient 😉 The chicks hatched 3 days earlier than they were supposed to so one got away from the mother and was pecked in the head by another chicken – she did not make it. 😦 But we moved the mama and the four other chicks into the little coop for safety and they seem to be doing well.Nieto Photography 2015

That makes 16 chicks we hatched out this summer that survived. We are waiting for the older chicks to lay any day now. They are 20 weeks but their combs are not very red. All we can do is wait.

Now to the disheartening (hint: they all have to do with unwelcome animals):

#1 Racoons

We caged in our fruit to keep them safe from the groundhogs. That is not hard to do. However, the racoons decided they wanted the fruit. They can climb over fencing, move fencing out of their way that is not staked down, and even pull up stakes! Every day we go out and more and more watermelon and cantaloupes are eaten. I am so disheartened. My husband is off to find electric fencing.Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015(they lifted up the stake, dug, and got into one of our cages!)

#2 Deer

The deer have found our sweet potato patch (and all of our beans on the edges of the garden). They have not eaten it down to the nub YET but they are working hard! 😦 Last year we harvested enough sweet potatoes to last us until May. This year, I know that will not happen but I hope we are able to harvest some! Nieto Photography 2015I had issues with moles/voles (whichever eats veggies) and bunnies our first year gardening but as soon as we got a cat, that was taken care of. Other than that, we have never had any animal issues. This year…they found me! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: WE NEED A (well-trained) DOG!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am linking up with Green Thumb Thursdays for ideas and commiseration. 😉

Harvest Monday

August 3, 2015

I spent the week harvesting onionsNieto Photography 2015tomatoes (We’re freezing about 3 gallons/week.)

Nieto Photography 2015

Nieto Photography 2015

beans (and cucumbers)Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015 a few raspberries and strawberriesNieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 a few cantaloupeNieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015summer and winter squash (I have more plants growing that will hopefully yield more later but the plants that produced these were done.)Nieto Photography 2015 and potatoes.Nieto Photography 2015I spent a couple of days harvesting potatoes. I let them dry on the mulch for a day, inside for two days, and then wrapped them in newspaper and put them in the cool basement in a milk crate.

Last year, I alternated a layer of potatoes and newspaper. However, last fall, I wrapped my sweet potatoes in newspaper (individually) and they kept for over 6 months. I thought I would try it for garden potatoes.

One thing I found interesting: When I harvested the potatoes, they were smooth and beautiful. I laid them out to cure for three days. As I wrapped them up, certain varieties were wrinkly. They looked like potatoes look after a few months in the basement. There is no way we could eat all of them now so I still wrapped them and put them in the basement anyway but I am curious to see what will happen. Part of me wonders if it is just various types don’t cure/store well because the Yukon Gold were not wrinkly after curing.

I need to figure out what varieties I want to order for next year. The Yukon Gold did not wrinkle when they cured but they also rotted in the ground more than I would like. The Red Adirondack (an impulse buy) produced wonderfully; however, they were the ones that wrinkled when curing. I will just have to make sure we eat those fresh and store another variety. Red Norlunds, which are very popular in my area, rotted worse than any other variety. Part of me wonders if it was just where they were planted (a new section, with not as much sun)…I may give them another year but I haven’t decided yet. I need to find a few good storage potatotes. Anyone in a fairly rainy zone 7b have suggestions?

Another interesting potato observance is that although the vast majority of the plants died completely back, there is a section that is still going strong. I wonder if this is the unknown storage potatoes I bought at the feed store. I can’t remember exactly where I planted certain varieties. We’ll see when they do die back. Nieto Photography 2015(all of the mulch in the pic above was potato plants) Nieto Photography 2015This week, we went ahead and stripped the corn stalks (with no edible corn) this week. The beans that were climbing up the corn stalks were picked and are drying in the kitchen. The beans that were not climbing were left to (hopefully) dry, even though they are not climbing up anything anymore.Nieto Photography 2015(beans left in a canopy of sunflowers) Nieto Photography 2015What are you harvesting? Check out what other gardeners are up to at Daphne’s Dandelions today!

Harvest Monday

July 27, 2015

I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of July! I typically do not look forward to the end of the summer but this year, the end of the summer means a return to full energy for me so I am excited 🙂

This week, we:

Finished cleaning up the brick path and the perennial beds around the brick path. I’m impressed, personally. It was HARD.WORK.Nieto Photography 2015We started tackling the new garden area that was overtaken by weeds this spring and by the end of the week, we finished – weeded, covered with newspaper, and mulch.Nieto Photography 2015Thick weeds on right. Holes where bermuda grass was ripped out, ready to be covered with newspaper and mulch. Nieto Photography 2015Dark mulch – finished product. Hills in the forefront – more holes where bermuda grass was ripped up, ready to be filled!

Finally, I planted more fall cabbage and broccoli and covered the seedlings with shade cloth.Nieto Photography 2015We also pulled bermuda grass that is creeping into our walking path.

Next week, we need to:

  • plant the next succession of beans and fall carrots, kale, and peas.
  • harvest the rest of the potatoes (they rot if we leave them in the soil longer than July), cure, and store
  • harvest and dry onions


This week, we harvested zucchini, patty pan squash, tomatoes, green (and purple) beans, strawberries, and potatoes. Nieto Photography 2015 (oops! I waited a bit too long 🙂 That made 2.5 zucchini quiches! Yum!)Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Now that the weather has cooled out of the 100s, we are getting strawberries again! (they are caged in to keep critters out) Nieto Photography 2015We’re getting a few tomatoes 😉 We are freezing them to make marinara in the winter – basically, I cut them in half, roast them with herbs, onions, and garlic, then blend them (skins and all) in the Vitamix to make a thick, yummy sauce!

Unfortunately, every day, we find more cantaloupe and watermelon eaten. Fortunately, none of the ones we put cages over have been messed with.Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015We were able to harvest our first melon this week! I saw a cantaloupe that looked yellow/orange. I went to check it out and saw it had already started to separate itself from the vine. I am so excited to eat it this week!Nieto Photography 2015The racoons tore apart what little corn we had this year 😦 Maybe next week, if time allows, I’ll clean up the corn patches since we won’t be harvesting any corn. There are drying beans growing up them so we’ll have to pull and dry those as we rip up the corn. The sunflowers look great but I don’t think the seeds are quite ready to harvest so we’ll leave those up a bit longer. We harvested them around the end of August last year.Nieto Photography 2015

This is the first year I have had REAL problems with critters. We will have to figure something out for next year. I was thinking about putting up netting/fencing around (AND ABOVE) the whole garden (sounds extreme but if people were stealing your food, how extreme would you get?) BUT the cat needs to get in because she keeps moles/voles out of the garden so I don’t know yet. But something needs to be done. We are losing our most expensive crops (as far as how much it would cost to buy them at the store – raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, corn, tomatoes) so something needs to be done. If only one of my kids would show interest in dog training… :\

What are you harvesting? Do you have any tried and true ways to combat critters? Check out what other gardeners are harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions.

Harvest Monday

September 2, 2013

This week, I harvested one cantaloupe, two cucumbers, many pole and snap beans, one bell pepper, a few peas and some tomatoes.

August 28 13 - 0001 August 28 13 - 0008 August 29 13 - 0024 August 30 13 - 0021 My tomato plants are starting to look pretty ragged. The tomatoes that are unripened look great but as soon as they start to ripen, a brown caterpillar is eating holes all through them. Yuck. Friday, I cleaned up the garden & picked many bugs, hoping to be able to harvest more tomatoes a bit longer.

August 29 13 - 0013(Before pruning the tomatoes and getting rid of some un-producing cantaloupe vines)

August 31 13 - 0014

(after…I may have pruned too much but I guess we’ll see!)

A new thing I am harvesting again is lettuce! and Spinach!August 30 13 - 0022I needed to thin the lettuce and went ahead and picked all of the baby spinach. It is enough for a meal and a half. We ate most of it one night with shredded apple on top (the kids’ favorite) and the other night, we just ate it raw with other fresh veggies (pepper, peas, and cucumber).

Eating these things from the garden means

  • NOT buying them from the store (we eat A LOT of salads)
  • eating organic produce (there are no organic lettuce options in our small town)

And I always LOVE growing a fall garden. This is my third year gardening year round and the fall garden is by far my favorite – way more laid back than a summer garden or even a spring garden, what with all the seed starting, and we are able to eat some of our favorite produce during this season 🙂

Lastly, we STILL have not collected a single egg 😦 Just a recap, I have 8 Buff Orpington Hens, 1 Buff Orpington Rooster, 10 Black Australorp Hens, and 1 Barred Rock Hen (Bantam, I think). They are 26 weeks old today. From 7am until it gets dark, each bird has 15 sq.ft (300 sq. ft total) of grassy area to roam, eat, sleep, etc. They have access to their coop (with 6 nesting boxes). Periodically, we allow them to go into the run, which is a large wooded area with plenty of room for shade and dust baths. We keep them out of the run for the most part right now for two reasons:

  1. We have not clipped their wings and they fly out (where foxes get them).
  2. They have not laid any eggs and there are plenty of places to hide eggs there…we want them to ‘know’ where the proper place to lay is first.

Let’s talk about what they look like:

August 29 13 - 0022I have about 3 Australorps and 1 Orpington whose combs and wattles are growing larger and redder but the rest look like the Orpington in the picture: very fat and healthy looking but barely any comb and the comb they do have is pale. If they were younger, I would say these are healthy signs that they are going to lay soon. (The ones with red combs are allowing the rooster to ‘mount’ them as well.) But as they are already 26 weeks, I am wondering if something could be wrong? Or maybe the only thing that’s wrong is how impatient I am 😉 Any chicken people, PLEASE give me your thoughts! 🙂

How are your gardens growing? Check out what everyone else is harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions!