It’s August and it seems like I hardly spend any time out in the garden anymore. Instead, I’m in the kitchen. I’m canning tomatoes; I’m making pickles; I’m freezing green beans and zucchini; I’m drying peppers. And the list goes on.
When I committed to doing all of the work that goes into planting a big garden in the spring, I also was committing to deal with all of the garden’s bounty come late summer. And it seems like the work these days never ends. Just when I get done canning all of the tomatoes I picked yesterday, my husband brings in two five-gallon buckets of tomatoes he picked today. But it all will be worth it in a few months when the garden is buried under snow and we are still eating food grown in our own backyard.
And, frankly, by late August, the garden isn’t so picturesque anymore. Blight has taken hold of the tomatoes, the battle with the squash bugs is all but lost, and that freakishly huge cucumber plant that I’ve been battling all summer is finally started to die back. I secretly wish that it all dies, and soon.
Yet the fall garden is coming along nicely. By next month, the fall peas and lettuce will be reaching their peak. When the time comes, I gladly will shell the peas – they are my favorite of all garden veggies – and I won’t mind at all if there are enough to freeze a couple of bags. And any lettuce we don’t eat becomes salad for the chickens. The fall garden will be easy.
And speaking of chickens, the “littles” are no longer little. At 17 weeks old, the pullets are bigger than the three older hens, but so far no eggs. The happy day (henstruation?) should be just around the corner. I’m hoping by next month’s update I’ll have some blue or green or pink eggs to show you.
My kitchen garden in August
Here’s a look at what’s been going on in (and coming out of) my garden in August:
A crazy amount of food gets preserved in my kitchen each August. We have been drying paprika and habanero peppers. The paprikas will be ground into powder, and the habaneros will be stored whole in zipper-sealed bags. And I’ve been canning tomatoes in all different forms: sauce, juice, crushed, and chutney.
A crazy amount of delicious food gets cooked, too. Eggplant Parmesan is a bitch to make, but it is so worth it.
Out in the garden, things don’t look pretty. The tomatoes are blighted.
The cucumber that could have ruled the world is looking far less fierce these days.
And the squash bugs are taking over.
But there’s still plenty of good stuff to come.
In some parts of the garden, it’s starting to look like spring again.
And I still get all the ingredients for my favorite summer salad.
Meanwhile, in the egg garden …
What’s been going on in your garden this month?