The Harvest Begins

I made two quarts of dilly beans today, using Lisa’s recipe. We’ve been having salads for a while, but this is the first real “summer” crop. Everything else is coming along as well: The vines are covered with green tomatoes, the peppers finally set some fruit, and there are many cucumbers and one summer squash. Today also brought the first okra blossom.

We are a solid month ahead of our New England experience, and that despite getting a late start because we had to build and fill the raised beds first.

Everything is growing like crazy. Unsurprisingly, I planted way too densely. The peas have vanished under the tomatoes and beans. We’ll get a few for snacking, but no real crop. I’m topping and pruning the tomatoes every few days. I’m reminding myself that based on ‘one month earlier’ they have 2 more weeks before I can expect fruit. We were always happy to have them on August first back north. The potatoes seem to have stopped growing, so they should be ready soon.

Transplant shock was a real issue here. I think everything pouted for ten days or two weeks after I put it in. The sweet potatoes took longest to get going, despite being plugs not slips, but they and the herbs have finally taken off as well.

I put in a trellis for the sweets, but I’ve noticed the vines putting down auxiliary roots. Now I’m wondering if I should leave them on the ground.

I put in a second planting of okra, using new seed, because of poor germination the first time. The new stuff eventually all came up, but it was a solid two weeks from the first sprout to the last. At this point all of the plants are about the same. I guess that’s another one not to plant early even if the weather is frost free. The tomatoes and peppers just loll around until they get hot weather, but if you’re buying plants rather than starting seeds, the good stuff is likely to be gone by the time it’s actually time to plant.

The herbs are happy, happy. The oregano that overwintered is thriving. Time to freeze some in oil. Same with the basil. It’s got a lot of growing to do, but needs thinning desperately.

I’m watering heavily every day that we don’t get a soaking rain, and it seems to be needed. It’s freakin’ hot out there. Fortunately we are on county water, so I don’t need to baby a well.

All in all, gardening in Missouri seems like a serious win.

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