It was my intention to post pictures and gardening tales about every two weeks, but time flew past and it has been closer to two months since my last garden update. Most of the following pictures were taken in mid-September.
As you can see, the squash vines went all over the place. They invaded the teddy bear sunflowers, and the blueberry bushes. They nearly buried the cucumbers plants, and totally covered some of the marigolds I had scattered throughout the garden. One squash developed right on top of a marigold plant. Another winter squash developed in the center of a zucchini plant.
The Sunshine Kabocha squash did very well. I enjoyed seeing the bright orange color tucked beneath the leaves.
The Hokkaido, Bagheera, and Sweet Mama squashes are all green, and they spread all over the garden, so I'm not sure which is which.
The Delicata squash were not prolific, and the Sweet Dumplings did even more poorly. I had a big problem with powdery mildew this year, and I think it started on those two varieties. I wasn't paying attention at first, so it got a good foothold before I tried to treat the plants. A local horticulturalist recommended a concoction of 1 Tbsp. Baking Soda. 1 Tbsp. Epsom Salts, and 1 Tbsp. liquid dish soap (no grease fighters) in 1 quart water. In retrospect, I should have begun applying it much sooner and repeated it much more often.
The gladiolas got planted late so they bloomed late. The last few are beginning to bloom just now. I have 'way too many yellow and purple ones, so plan to give many away. My sister gave me half a dozen calendulas and asters, which I planted alternately in a row. The calendulas (the orange flowers next to the glads) got so tall and flopppy, they completely buried the asters. So I dug up the asters and moved them, and they did a bit better after that.
And the colors matched my table runner perfectly! That wasn't planned at all.
I enjoyed several arrangements of gladiolas. For the most part, the dark purple ones and the red and white ones bloomed earlier, and the yellow ones bloomed later. Two or three shades of pink or coral turned up now and then.
All the winter squash instructions say to harvest them two weeks before frost and let them cure in the sunshine for two weeks. Well, I'm not that clairvoyant, and the weather forecasters sure don't know what's going to happen in two weeks, so I usually end up harvesting the squashes at the last minute, putting them into a wheelbarrow or wagon, and pulling them out of the garage into the sunshine (if there is any) for the next several days. Of course, I have to remember to put them back into the garage at night so the deer don't eat them.
Normally, we begin to see regular light frosts by the third week in September. So I opted to harvest my winter squashes on Sept. 20th. That was two weeks ago, and we still haven't had a frost! This is highly unusual! So the squashes got to lie there in the dirt in the garden for a week, but then I moved them into the garage in the wheelbarrows because we finally got some RAIN. Now I am taking them in and out of the garage, as usual.
Since there has been no frost, we are still enjoying tomatoes fresh from the garden, as well as zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, and the occasional strawberry. The sweet peppers are trying to start a second crop, but I doubt they will make it to maturity. The cucumber vines never did amount to much, thanks to the squash vine invasion, and they were looking closer to dead than alive. So today I pulled up 5 of the 6, leaving the best-looking one just to see what happens. Our cucumber "crop" was very small, but none of them were bitter, which is a big plus.
I will try to post one more garden report in a month or so. By then everything should be harvested, pulled up, and done for the year. After all, it will be November by then and I am quite sure we will be experiencing much cooler weather. For now, I am enjoying this extended period of summer-like weather.