Out and About the Farm Garden~~Mid August

The dog days of summer are upon us and I love them! August is a great month in the garden. July’s heat puts the grow in overdrive and now the fruits of months of hard work are showing. I have lots of things happening now.

We’ll start with sweet corn, and mine is taller than I remember in years past. I planted in a circle this year, mostly out of curiosity, and partly because I watched a documentary about the Colorado River through the American Southwest and how the native people have depended on that source of water for generations. The Hopi tribe grows corn in circles planted very deeply so the plants can find water and the circle to let the plants offer support to each other in the harsh and sometimes windy environment. I thought it would be interesting to try. So far, so good, I’ve grown two varieties. Peaches and Cream, the bi color shown above, and I think Golden Bantam, which is just starting to form ears, so with any luck, I’ll have sweet corn fresh from the garden for a longer window. Unplanned, but I love to eat corn straight from the garden! I also have Bears Paws popcorn planted in another corn circle that has formed ears, now just the wait for the plant to dry. Bears Paw is a very delightful and productive small ear with a split at the top, some say it resembles a bear paw, hence the name. I order it from Seed Savers Exchange, and have grown it before, so I can’t wait for it to ripen.

Volunteer gourds are snaking their way through this part of the garden too. Overall, these three plants each cover a large amount of ground, vining over twenty feet in any direction. The first gourd, the one pictured is small compared to the others, made it’s way to my sweet corn at least twenty feet away! There are several of these bumpy gourds so I’ll be good for fall decorating, along with the others. Last year I paid $6.00 a gourd for the first mammoth ones, I have at least four or five really big gourds, and several smaller ones (so far), money saved since I composted that gourd and now I’m getting a bunch! The middle one pictured here may be the smallest gourds on a very sprawling and viney plant. My older brother loves gourds so I’m glad I have a nice variety that decided to make my garden home.

Chile peppers! I’ll do a blog post about my love of chile peppers! It all started really in 2012 while driving back from Arizona and stopping at an authentic southwestern restaurant and eating my first chile rellano and I fell in love. But anyway, I have several different varieties growing, the first one here is NuMex Chile, one of the peppers that earns the “Hatch Green Chile” if it’s grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. Mine are grown in Pennsylvania, so they are NuMex Chiles. I’ve grown Joe E. Parker chiles other years and they are wonderful as well. The NuMex give a more consistent heat level. I, myself, like the surprise of heat the Joe E. Parker’s give, but the hubby likes heat…so next year I’ll grow both. I can’t say one is better than the other, they are both great. My chile pepper seeds for the most part come from Sandia Seed Company in New Mexico. In the center here are my Speckled Roman tomatoes, of which my tomatoes will get their own post too, and Chimayo chile peppers, which may be my favorite aside from the always dependable Poblano. These chiles are described to have jalapeno level heat, but honestly jalapenos are usually too hot for me, but the Chimayo has heat, but a heat that sticks around for a bit but doesn’t send me running for the hills….or the fridge for a glass of cold milk. I really like them…really like them…because I can take the heat! I’m a high Scoville unit wimp, and I’m okay with that. I do grow super hots, mostly because my husband and one daughter are kind of crazy and like that sort of heat, but other than admiring their beauty, and they are beautiful peppers and neat and tidy plants, I’ll admire from afar. They’ll be included in the pepper post. Can you tell I’ve become obsessed with peppers?!? I could probably keep a blog going just on peppers. I grow my own paprika peppers too, AND make my own paprika. Let me tell you, it’s delicious. If you never thought paprika can add flavor to a dish in addition to color, I’m here to tell you the flavor is delicious….a nice mild smoky, mild chile flavor. Nothing flashy, it just builds up the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with.

How about the goofy looking squash? It’s supposed to look like that, it’s called Zucchino Rampicante, an Italian zucchini which I think is a pumpkin cross too, but it’s an heirloom. It can be used both as a summer squash at this stage, or let to grow and mature where it will develop a creamy light yellowish color and a good bit of size and is a great winter keeper….and beyond. I still have two squash from last September….last September…that I could still eat, but I’ll probably give them to the chickens here soon. They love squash by the way, and young gourds too. And speaking of chickens:

…here’s one of my New Hampshire’s sunning herself the other day while free ranging. The day was a bit cooler than it has been, and less humid and a very nice breeze. A perfect summer day, and the girls were enjoying it!

’til next time…I hope you have a wonderful day. Remember….YOU are AWESOME!

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