Homestead Update August 2023

This summer has seen some ridiculously high temperatures, and I’m sure you’re as done with it as I am. We had a short stretch of cooler weather here in central Oklahoma, and I was able to get some things done in the garden that I had been putting off, and get my fall garden going.

Let me tell you, letting weeds go as long as I did is never a good idea. I kept repeating to myself that I was going to always mulch, and weed a little bit every day from here on out. We’ll see how long that lasts.

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Finally growing some large tomatoes! text over a photo of a childs hands holding a large yellow tomato by Crooked Path Homestead

It’s not all, “Woe is me!” though. I have had the best success with tomatoes yet. Last month I got about six large Dr. Wyche’s (a recommendation from a local grower) and one good size Amish Paste. I think it’s Amish Paste. I planted two varieties of paste tomato, and forgot to label them, so I’m mostly going by the shape of the fruit.

After 3 years of trying to grow tomatoes, I have finally experienced some success!

My Cayenne and Orange Spice Jalapeno peppers are doing well in their pots. At least, the ones in the large pot are. I suspect the ones on the porch don’t get quite enough sun. I’ve dried some of the Cayenne, and sliced and frozen the Jalapenos for L’s scrambled eggs.

My celery flourished, but never got really big, and the ones that did started bolting in the heat. I’m debating trying to save seed from them.

I put in some late season cucumbers, squash, and beans. The cucumbers are really flourishing, and I’m hopeful to have some good refrigerator pickles soon!

The squash are doing well, and I’m trying a couple of methods of growing them vertically. Aside from saving space in a small garden, I’m hoping that keeping the vines off the ground and not as damp will help prevent losing them to squash vine borers like I did last year. But we’ll see.

My asparagus bed is doing well. I said over and over as I was babying those seedlings that I would never start asparagus from seed again, but…it was much cheaper that buying crowns for as many plants as I wanted. In a few years, we should be able to enjoy the fruits of my labors!

A few of our hens finally started laying. Of course the first egg was on top of the nesting box instead of in it! And when they kept knocking them off and breaking them, I placed some decoy eggs to encourage them to lay in the proper place.

Finally, I set up the low tunnel I’ve wanted for a couple of years now. Currently I have shade cloth on it, and planted the brassicas and beet seedlings that survived my forgetful nature. I usually do well raising seedlings. These were in a place I could forget about them a little easier, and they suffered as a result.

I may keep my brassicas under a low tunnel from here on out and use insect netting when I don’t need shade cloth. Caterpillars have eaten up my crops pretty bad the last season, and I’m not down for sharing!

How has your garden season been this year? I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments what you’ve had success with and what you’ve learned from your garden this year!

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