The garden is really producing right now, but it is also the time of plant death as insects and disease is our warm and wet climate overwhelm the garden plants. I am an “organic” gardener, in that I use organic fertilizers, cover crops, mulches and not pesticides or herbicides. I don’t do much for insect pest control other than squish the offenders. I don’t do anything for disease control other than try to time my plantings to hopefully be nearly at the end of their production before disease pressure builds up too much. This year has been pretty average, but August is usually the time of death for my garden. My tomatoes have are completely dead, within a week, from late blight. I harvested enough to make a few batches of sauce to freeze, lots of tomato sandwiches and salads. There are a few more that I will harvest tomorrow, but that will probably all. I pulled the rest of the beans up today because while there were still blossoms on the plants, the bean leaf beetles had completely taken them over. They were struggling so hard to produce only a few beans per plant that they did not care about keeping allowing any new beans to grow. It reminded me of the smart mothers who have only one child, realizing that more than this would sap all their energy and they would not be able to live (a decent life). In my first garden at my grandparents house, my grandfather insisted beans could not be grown without Sevin dust. I did not want pesticides, but when I was not looking, he would scoop up a handful of Sevin and sprinkle my beans. Today, I understand the thought!
The potatoes are dead or dying and I’ve harvested just over a bushel–with at least half left to go. We are eating them at every meal. Same with the onions–not nearly as many, but I’ve gotten about half of them out.
Powdery mildew has started on my beautiful winter squash and pumpkins. This bed has been such a pleasure for me to witness–the very insistent growth, the large green leaves filling the garden, the amazingly bright blossoms that are open in the morning. They will not last much longer, but there are lots of acorn squash, butternuts, and green pumpkins coming on. I think (hope) they will be able to finish ripening. Those large, bright blossoms always made me want to pick, stuff, and fry them, but I’ve looked in them and each one has at least 2 bees. I’d rather not evict them.
In September, the garden seems to come back to life again, and I hope the same to be true this year. I’ve just planted turnips, carrots, radishes, lettuce, and beets where the beans and potatoes were. Garlic will go in then, too, and perhaps some cover crops.
Apple season is starting as well, with the Winter Banana (at least that is what we think they are) ripening. I picked a bushel with the boys this week. They are perfect (and unsprayed, so I don’t mean they look perfect)–sweet, tart, crisp. I am not sure what I will do with them all, because they don’t store that well. We will probably eat as many as we can, give some away, and make a little applesauce. It is not quite cider making time, yet.