After the Harvest

After the Harvest – An Update on the Potager plus what to do with a twelve pack of snakes.     

I had high hopes for The Potager back in June, but there may have been a reason my dad planted his garden in the corn field where it could sprawl among the rows of corn.    Sprawl is the key word here.   My potager was a testament to good soil, it was so prolific, but then it was a hot humid summer with lots of rain, ideal conditions for a rain forest. 

potager before

Where are the monkeys?

 It rained every weekend, and during the week, every few days in fact.    This made the mosquitoes plentiful, and some new species of tiny black bug called no-see-ums appeared and left bites which itched for days.    I had never seen a no-see-um before, but they left a lasting legacy of scratch marks.   I gave up and refused to go out.   Luckily, I did not have to water as Mother Nature did it for me, even as she left us bereft of any beach days. 

The romaine lettuce was bountiful, and after the first crop, I replanted and it was bountiful too. 

romaine lettuce

Three cucumbers sprouted from the small-garden plant, just the right amount for a Greek salad, with some tomatoes if only I could  find them, and when I did find them, many had split from too much rain.  

cucumber

The tomatoes threatened to strangle everything so in early August I gave it a haircut.   By mid-Sept it had grown back, requiring a regular trim every 4 to 6 weeks.  

I untangled the sole squash, mistakenly uprooting it’s lifeline, and leaving the fruit to wither on the vine.   Not deterred, it re-blossomed, producing a final harvest of five smallish orbs.  

squash

I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the multi-colored carrots, and so were the bunnies.    We were both disappointed.     

While the tops were luxurious, the carrots were sparse, spindly and white, (and maybe useful for the Simply White Dinner).   They say you reap what you sow, except I planted three seed potatoes, and got two.The Harvest

In mid-October (no frost yet, leaves barely changing), I dug up the rest of the russet gems.  Not bad for a first crop, but hardly enough to get me through the winter like my Irish ancestors. potatoes

Luckily the orange carrots were plentiful, if somewhat deformed from being crammed into too small a space.    The bunnies were delighted, as God is my witness, they would never go hungry again.  (Scarlet O’Hara – Gone with the Wind).   carrots         Due to the intricate web of netting I set up, the birds didn’t get as many of the strawberries, but then neither did I – it was too much of a hassle to open and re-close all those wires to pick one or two berries.   While reading about another bloggers garden adventures, she recommended rubber snakes be set among the strawberry plants and moved every few days in order to fool the birds.    Thank god she told me Walmart sells them online, because I don’t know where you would buy a twelve pack of snakes, and also thank god, those birds aren’t too bright.   I’ll keep that in mind for next year, or maybe I’ll just freeze some of the carrots.    I also wish I had put spacing and gravel around my boxes like Empty Nest Adventures did, for easier access.  

carrots

Next years orange snakes?

After the Harvest is a time to reflect on lessons learned….next year plant less, no matter how much you may anticipate the early specimens being carried off by nighttime woodland creatures. 

Plant one of everything, one squash, one cucumber, if it’s something you don’t want to breed like rabbits or possibly two like Noah and the Ark, two tomatoes, two potatoes, but no zucchini – ever.  

Or just buy more boxes……the New England Arbor charity sale is coming up…..

After the Harvest - AMc

After the Harvest

PS.  There is nothing so wonderful as a golden field of wheat being harvested, or so awful as After the Harvest when you would have to bale all that straw into small bales, with a baler which was forever breaking down, and then load them into the hayloft, a process which was hot and dusty and took hours.  Now every time I pass a field with those really big bales that are scooped up by a front end loader, I wonder, why didn’t someone think of that sooner?

Song of the Day:   Harvest Moon – Neil Young

14 thoughts on “After the Harvest

  1. homeandharrow says:

    I think that’s a great harvest! Do you do square foot gardening? Also, maybe that potato harvest is exactly like your Irish ancestors’, depending on why and when they came to America 😛 ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehomeplaceweb says:

      I just have four smallish raised garden beds from New England Arbors, which I placed together to make it compact, but should have spaced out for access. Last year I only had one box, so I’m still a newbie as to what to plant and how much! Actually my ancestors immigrated during the potato famine – they arrived in Canada in Oct 1846, so the potato crop had already failed that year, and they came on the last crossing. The Indians helped them build a shelter otherwise they would never have survived the first snowy winter. I blogged about it in my Irish Roots post for St. Patricks Day. I guess that was part of my reason for trying to grow some potatoes, to see first hand what they lived on and how many you would get from a plant etc.

      Like

  2. lindasschaub says:

    Very interesting reading about your garden from the beginning in “The Potager” post – I admire your tenacity in creating this garden despite a few pitfalls along the way. I think you had an admirable harvest considering your weather battles. I agree that the cherry tomatoes and even the Roma tomatoes they sell at the grocery store year round are basically tasteless and the real, vine-riped tomatoes are the only way to go. You have to do it again next year – I think you and the garden were a success.

    Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        And the romaine lettuce grows back so quickly when you lop off the top leaves – you have romaine stalks again in a matter of weeks. It sure is handy and encourages you to eat healthy. My grandparents made chili sauce from green tomatoes and also a red tomato variety and I meant to mention that to you. They put up enough for all Winter though my mom said her father would stick bottles of it in his coat pockets and give it to friends as he figured he sat and peeled all the onions. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. invitationtothegarden says:

    There should be a LOVE button, not just LIKE, and also a LAUGHING button, for posts like this one. It was pure delight to read! And, did you know that I have bought snaky carrots like yours at the Farmers’ Market? They’re sweeter than store-bought, by the way.

    Anyway, I gave up on a proper kitchen garden years ago because the soil was just too clay-like to allow root vegetables to grow down and not sideways. Cucumbers and tomatoes proved plentiful if the birds didn’t get them first. Now, I limit my little pottager to herbs and a couple of Old Roses (antique, actually). And honeysuckle spreading over the bench arbor. Works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lindasschaub says:

    I was looking for your post that linked to Christmas and could not find it so I am posting this message here for you Joan. I wanted to tell you that radio station WNIC has “flipped” to
    all Christmas https://wnic.iheart.com/

    Also wanted to tell you with regard to our conversation about cameras. You liked the pictures I took on Sunday of the Fall foliage – that was taken with the small camera. I had intended to do a few errands on the way home from Elizabeth Park and didn’t want to leave the big camera in the trunk. So I used the compact camera which I think takes better pics most of the time than the large one. I have to change my mindset and use it more next year. With ugly weather on the way for us starting tomorrow, this weekend and next Tuesday (we likely won’t be impacted too much tomorrow/Saturday, but next week maybe) I know I will use it less and less.

    Liked by 1 person

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