This summer was very productive. A lot of work went into the garden, many lessons were learned, and so much was harvested. You can see more information about The Rab Farm growth around the blog. But this is all about this summer. Be prepared for a long post with lots of words and tons of pictures!!!! The pictures are not award winners, my phone was always dirty, but we’re not striving for perfection here. The best part of the summer was bringing fresh eggs and veggies to the food bank to share!
- Change of location for our garden. We moved it into a space that gets plenty of sun but also allows some shade so our plants didn’t get scorched. In previous years, it seemed that they were being ruined by the Louisiana summer heat.
- Soil tested and we amended it according to the results.
- Started seeds later than previous years
- Hardened off plants easier without the need for daily moving in and out of the storage room. We really think this helped with the stress of the plants.
- Water system. The “salad bar” were seedlings were hardened off and the garden got watering systems which allowed easier and more uniform watering.
- Support system was much better
Varieties // Sweetie, Sugar, Cherries, Romas, Abraham Lincoln
- Sweeties // They are great but are SOOOOO small when picking. It was a little overwhelming. These were easily used to can tomatoes.
- Sugar // Also a little small but they were great producers, the kids loved picking, and we canned a bunch.
- Cherries // Probably our favorites. They are small but perfect for salads, canning, or just eating whole.
- Romas // Produced well but had so many blossom end rots.
- Abraham Lincoln // Produced well, but the fruit and the plants were very heavy and probably needed more support. These tomatoes were much meatier than other slicer varieties.
Varieties // Sweet Banana, Jalapeno, Bell Peppers
- Sweet Banana // Plentiful. Canned, salads, pickled, and shared.
- Jalapeno // They were abundant. We stuffed, canned, pickled, candied, and shared.
- Bell Peppers // They were a flop. One plant sprouted and it produced nothing.
Variety // Sweet
- Sweet // We had rows of it. Soil was amended. Spacing and water were right. But it was a flop. Tiny ears of corn is all we got.
Varieties // Burmese, Cajun Jewel
These grew well. Needed to harvest more frequently and so many got too long and tough before I got to them. (They were in the side garden). But luckily the ones that were tougher, I allowed to dry and now have seeds for next year.
- Burmese // Bigger okra up to 10 in long. Cut these up and froze them. Already added them to the first gumbo.
- Cajun Jewel // Smaller okra are produced. They produced first. Pods are up to 8 in long. Were perfect for pickling.
Varieties // Slicing, pickling (Not sure of exact species), cucamelon
- Slicing // Also plenty. We used for tons of salads and even sliced and diced for pickling.
- Pickling // So many. So so many. Now we have enough pickles stored for a while.
- Cucamelon // These got lost in the seed tray and didn’t produce well. We currently have a late one producing on the fence though. We will see what happens.
Variety // Black Beauty
- Black Beauty // We weren’t overwhelmed with eggplants but we had plenty. Needing to find new ways to use them because eggplant parmesan is only needed so many times a year.
Variety // Summer squash medley
- Summer squash // We had a variety of squash types and we tried them all. The patty pans were the least favorite.
Varieties // Blueberry, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Lemon, Satsuma. Apple, Pear
- Blueberry // We originally had 6 bushes but 2 didn’t make the transition from pot to ground. So now we have 4. Two are Powder Blue and I’m not sure what the other 2 are but they started off pretty good until the birds got most of the berries. We rigged up some netting and then had delicious berries for ourselves.
- Watermelon // We planted the sugar baby watermelons. Total flop. But we blame the rain situation. It rained for days and days and everything was soaked.
- Cantaloupe // We grew 2 but they got soggy with the rain. The chickens liked them.
- Lemon // We planted 2 trees this year and not much has happened besides growth. There’s 2 lemons on one tree.
- Satsuma // Well 2 new trees planted and so far we grew tons of Giant Swallowtail Butterflies that thought they should ravage my trees. One tree is looking rough. The other has about 6 satsumas on it.
- Apple // We planted 2 trees, Anna & Dorset. They will cross-pollinate and hopefully we will have apples in the coming years.
- Pear // 2 Trees. So far just growing.
There’s more in the works for next year and we took this fall/winter off to prepare and be organized. We don’t have a major garden this fall so we can focus. Currently clearing up some new garden beds, working on a mouse problem stealing eggs, and keeping things moving along. We’ve also been looking at some garden sheds on backyardstorage.com. A shed is ideal for keeping all your gardening equipment safe.
Herbs // Herbs are everywhere around here. I’ve just started using them as decor and landscaping. I had to replace a few plants but having fresh herbs to use is such a blessing. I’ve also spent time cutting and drying herbs for the kitchen and to share.
Flowers // The dream for flowers is always evolving. So we’re making more space and adding new flowers (mostly perennials) to the yard. I don’t want to have to remove and replant things every year. So even if things go dormant, I can rest assured knowing they will come back. Then just add in seasonal things.