Back in the older days there is an old saying called "it`s dark thirty," meaning that it`s dusk, not dark and not still daylight. While making the transition of getting off the grid I am known for working around dark.
For the most part of why I like to work this time of day is because this is the time of the day when the 100°F temps have cooled back as the sun has set. Setting out plants into the garden is one chore, while pulling back grass and weeds is another.
I tend to make sure, when there has been to rain, to get plants watered and sometimes its still not enough but when I do the watered this time of the day the plants get more than will evaporate if watered early morning. I will only water a plant in the middle of the day if its so dry that it can`t make it through that day.
For the past few days I have made it a habit to get out to the vegetable garden morning and night. I have been picking early and doing the other necessary work late.
Living here in central Alabama we can have more than one vegetable garden before frost hits in late fall or early winter, I had sown seed for Jalapeno peppers and egg plant, I set those out in an unused space in the garden just a couple days ago and I plan to get another crop of tomatoes going, possibly more yellow squash. Since the cucumbers are in full bloom and I am getting enough to eat, but not enough to home can pickles, I have decided to do a few more plants by the deck and make a trellis for those to run up, instead of running across the ground.
Today I sow the seed for more cucumbers.
I try not to use city water to water the vegetable garden but I don`t have a choice right now because I don`t have rain barrels or a well. Seems as though we are only getting rain, in this month of June, once a week. I watered one half of the garden around dark thirty yesterday and this morning I can see the difference, it was a welcoming drink for those plants. The plants that did not receive water is the corn and okra. As much as the cucumbers needed the water I just could not reach that area with the hose, another problem because they love water but it was not my plan to have them so far from a water source, I had hired help that day.
Now how is the vegetable garden doing as far as producing food?
I have put away enough yellow squash and zucchini for myself for the winter by freezing and home canning.
I have been able to sell enough yellow squash and zucchini to make my money back for the seeds for the entire garden and I still have seed, and to pay for the dirt I bought to sow some of those seeds inside, Plus more and I still have orders to fill next week.
I have all sizes of red and green tomatoes that we are eating and not buying, however, I am waiting for a mass amount to be red so that I can home can those, make salsa for sure. People are asking to buy tomatoes but I am not sure I will have enough to sell.
I have cucumbers so that is another favorite I am not longer buying for daily eating.
I have green bell peppers and sweet banana peppers, enough to rat and to begin to put up for later, canning.
I am beginning to get a small amount of okra but I am not sure this crop will make it, its poorly looking and very short. I know it was not planted under a good sign. I make replant the okra.
The deer ate most of the green beans but I still may get a few more to make a mess for dinner, the plants they skipped.
The peaches? The trees are full but because the lack of water this month they are small and I might just have to have a stock of home canned pickled peaches this year, last year the peaches were huge.
The Muscadines are filling up regardless of the rain situation, hopefully I will have those to harvest in August.
How about you? what is growing in your garden and how are you putting it away for the winter?
By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry