summer nears end

I had large yields of vegetables and fruit this year due primarily to plentiful rains and my slowly improving techniques.  We had so many patty pan squash we gave a 5 gal bucket to the local high end restaurant.

we gave most of these to the Woodbridge Inn, we washed and dried them first. next year, if we go commercial, we will sell them at the market or to the inn
the Woodbridge Inn is a distinctive feature in the town of Jasper, seat of Pickens county
the entrance to the inn is relaxed and inviting
Chef David texted me this pic of a sumptuous plate with my squash centerfold and said they were “Fantastic!!!”

So the squash were great this year but a few days ago I noticed borer holes in some of the new squash, so I yanked out all the squash plants for the compost heap.  They provided such good cover there were very few weeds and it was quick work to mulch the beds and seed with cool season crops – kale, collard, mustard, chard, lettuce, radishes etc.

Cucumbers are nearing their end but sweet peppers are doing fine and some tomato plants are soldiering on.  In the orchard most of the apples are done.  The Arkansas Black was excellent this year – may be due to my venting procedure to remove air bubbles from my gravity feed irrigation system – the water I purged to expel the bubbles was channeled to the Arkansas Black so it received considerably more water than the other trees.  The Gold Rush is the last producing in my main orchard and is ok but significant pest presence.  In my other little orchard the Ein Shemer apple is now producing and tastes delicious.  As previously posted, the Jujube failed this year due to a late frost, I believe, and the figs which grow a bit each year, did not have much to offer.  Perhaps more next year, if they survive the winter.

I will prune this fig tree later in the year and hope for figs next year.

The Giant Korean pear has again been a steller producer – so many delicious, crunchy, pleasantly sweet pears.

here are some of the pears from the one small tree, with a softball in the center for comparison

The pears must be refrigerated otherwise they develop black spots and go bad.  I set out some tables in the basement (my root cellar proxy) and am storing my apples there and they seem to be holding up well.

We picked this watermelon too early, though it was sweet enough.

we will probably skip watermelons next year

We are now in muscadine season (the southern gardeners’ grape) and I noticed that my cable trellis had broken and several muscadine trunks were on the ground.  The traditional guidance it to set the trellis posts 20 ft apart and center the trunk between the posts.   However I find the weight on the trunk from the fully laden vines is great and causes them to bend and also produces great weight on the cable.  So for my repair I decided to insert posts (4″x4″x8′) next to the two prostrated trunks and winch them up and secure the trunks to the posts and then repair the trellis.

you can see the new post, the cable extending from the come along winch to the top of the post and down to the trunk of the muscadine

I winched up the fallen muscadine trunks and secured them with cable to the top of the posts.  Then with the trunks vertical and secured, I winched the severed ends of the trellis cable together and secured them with a new cable.

it’s so easy to do this when you have a winch, but make sure the cable is adequate to the task and well clamped to avoid injury from  sudden separation

I have held off turning my compost heap because, again, a large butternut squash plant has taken up residence.

the picture does not show the full extent of the plant. bottom right is a small butternut.  the bee watering station and a 35 gal compost tea maker are top right

Two seasonal occurrences are the fall webworm which has taken niches in many trees.

a suggestion I read was to poke holes in the web with a stick to allow yellow jackets and other wasps access to the larvae

And the spittle bugs.

if you probe with a twig you will find the inhabitant
the 2 surface insects may have come from within

And in the woods, recent rains produced mushrooms.

this mushroom is large and for comparison I show a nearby pine tree

Finally, our walk in the woods includes a visit to a small pond I dug a few years ago.  I heard a sudden rustle at the water edge and saw a slender at least 4ft long snake slide into the water, and weave gracefully into a concealed hole at about water level.  At first I thought Moccasin but I think it may be a non venomous water snake.  I saw it again in the water yesterday and again it bee-lined to its hole.  I will try more circumspect approach and try take a pic next time (it’s active in the afternoon but not the mornings when the water is colder).





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