state of the garden: second week of august

My phone is holding my photos captive this morning, so I don't have pictures of the scarlet runner beans in bloom, the golf ball sized pumpkins and watermelons, or the freshly planted patch of fall broccoli and late summer beans.  

It hasn't been warm enough for the tomatoes to ripen. My plants look pitiful and droopy. Such a stark contrast to last summer's endless hot hot heat and lack of rain.  It's been humid for days, the temperatures finally starting to rise again.   

I pulled the spent broccoli plants and harvested a huge basil plant (to dry for winter) to make room for a fall planting of broccoli and beans.  Still haven't figured out where I'm putting the rutabaga and beets.  The beets I planted in April *still* haven't come in. These have to be the slowest growing crop of beets ever.  There has to be a major nutrient issue going on with the soil in that box.  

My volunteer potato plants are starting to flower and turn yellow, so I might get to dig them up soon to see if they actually produced anything.   

The pole beans climbing up the garage wall are finally filling in - I'm pretty sure one packet of blue lake beans was mislabeled, because there's a section of 2 foot tall bushes mixed in among the kentucky wonders and purple imperial.  

I planted two more hills of pickling cucumbers, since the established vines are growing surprisingly well.  My plan is to ferment the ones from the garden one pound at a time, following the recipe here, until I have larger harvests coming in.  

Last weekend marked the start of my summer food preservation marathon.  I made separate batches of jam with blackberries from the garden and tomatoes from the market.  Froze the first two quarts of sliced peaches (there are many more to come this weekend).  Blanched and froze garden squash and beans. This weekend I want to start stocking away the tomatoes - I love to roast them under the broiler, peel the skins away, and then can them crushed in their juices.  I've made a checklist in evernote to keep me on track, it feels like there's so much to do and the summer is just zooming by. 

~RLM