Monday, August 03, 2009

Dog Days

Here we are in the middle of what (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) are know as 'dog days' traditionally between July 23 and August 23. The full burst of summer is here and August is traditionally the hottest month here in the South. The lush growth in the garden is past and a lot of the vegetables are beginning to wind down from the high energy of late spring and early summer. A lot of the garden looks tired. For many of us it is the time for 'putting by' and that is just what Madam and I have been doing. Every day is at least half consumed with preserving the harvest. Yesterday was another 8 pints of tomato sauce and the day before was pickled okra, pickled peppers and dilled green beans. Today will be more beans...every other day you can pick 6 -8 pounds of green beans off the Mountain White Half runner vines and it looks like it will be another week or so of harvest before they too are exhausted. The tomatoes are showing the wear and tear from putting out a very good crop this year and some of the green tomatoes left on the vines are smaller and will probably wind up as green tomato pickles or relish. There may be another dozen quarts of red tomatoes to put up before it is all over though.

The butternut and acorn squash are being harvested as well and being carefully put aside in the basement for later in the fall and winter. Cantaloupes are coming in now and they are now a part of at least two meals a day. You really can't effectively preserve them so you have to eat them now and pray that they pace themselves a little and allow you to keep up. I'm also racing the chipmunks to see you can get the most Lima beans and butter peas...I think I'm winning but it will be close.

The 'dog days' are also the time to begin planning the fall and winter garden. You can expect the first killing frost by the first to middle of November around here but that leaves 90 days, and with luck a little more, to plant another crop of beans and start beets, turnips, spinach, carrots and lettuce for harvest as we wait for old man winter. We also don't want to forget peas either, especially the sugar snaps and snow peas.

Madam is off on a trip to spend a day teaching some folks how to preserve their vintage clothing so I am left to do the blanching and freezing today and the day is warming up. After a few days of rain the high summer is back for a few days and the humidity is going to make it seem even hotter. It's good that we got all that canning done while it was cooler and overcast.

1 comment:

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