As June progressed, I finally got all the turnip greens out of my garden, and it seemed things were well on their way to a fabulous summer. I peeled and chopped and canned zucchini and summer squash while dreams of mountains of beans, rivers of sweet peas and bushels of tomatoes danced him my head. Once again, Mother Nature had other plans.
That's right - we have another drought on our hands. Just as my corn was tasseling and the bean pods were plumping, the rains went away. For more than three weeks, not a drop fell from the heavens. When the grass starts crunching under your feet, then you know it's dry out there.
So, I harvested my cucumbers (apparently they like it hot!), and squash and monitored the damages. Both my helpful hubby and my father-in-law pronounced my garden dead on more than one occasion, only to see me harvest baskets of potential pickles. My corn popped inside the husks but the beans popped out in full force, leading to a basket so full I had to have my son carry it to the house.
At last I relented and pronounced the harvest done. Some seeds were extra prolific (Squash of all kinds, cucumbers, pole beans) while others never ever popped through (carrots, peppers, peas). But for what did come up I reaped gold.
My final tally for the first Reece garden is: 20 quarts of beans, 15 pints of pickles and pickle relish, 5 quarts of summer squash and onions, 10 pints of lemon honey jelly, 8 pints of zucchini pickles, and 3 quarts of pickled butternut squash. All in all not a bad haul.
The tomatoes came in slow and never in any great quantities, so I just shared them with friends and co-workers. We got 5 full grown pumpkins, which were ready by the end of July. I am saving mine for Halloween. The biggest failure was no watermelons. I love watermelon in the summer. This year I had to resort to grocery store melon. Boo.
I gathered seeds from all the produce that I could and I intend to try again next year. No winter garden, I'm not ready to fight another battle against turnip greens. No, we are going to plow, rake, plow, rake, and hope for cleaner dirt next spring. I had a lot of fun, recalled a lot of good times with my father, and I wouldn't trade a callous or twinge in my carpal tunnel for anything else. Good times from the simplest thing - a new memory to join the many from childhood.
Thanks for listening to my summer saga. It might not sound like all that much fun, but trust me. It was a blast.