First Potatoes, Raccoons & Corn, Tomatoes & Lettuce

Well, we went on a quick weekend trip to St. Louis last weekend. When we arrived back home, I noticed that a lot of the corn was knocked down. Therefore, my first thought was that we had some strong storms come through and it knocked the corn down.

Upon further investigation, I went out to pick tomatoes that day and all of the corn cobs were eaten! There were some on the ground and some barely hanging off of the stalk. So, I knew it wasn’t wind! The neighbor came out and said “It is a shame what happened to your corn”. We talked further and he said that raccoons got in and ate it all! He said that they got about half of it on one day and then the second half on the next night. Very unfortunate because there were at least 20 good ears of corn left. We managed to get about 30 or so ears that were picked previously – but this would have added on a good amount – not to mention, it is really going to hamper my amount of produce per square feet of space.

So, today I went out and took down the PVC pipe that had holes spaced 8 inches apart for the corn – and put in two rows of pipe with holes six inches apart – then planted another round of Bush Blue Lake 274 beans.  I am really doubting that they will have time to full develop and produce by the time the first frost hits, but I do have the floating row covers and may give them a try.  I don’t think that will work though because green beans are warm-weather plants, not cool-weather.

Front Garden

But, hopefully the green beans that were planted along the road (the flower bed) will produce.  Many have blooms on them – but the deer have been sneaky and keep getting the deer netting away from the green beans and eating some of them down.  So I had to put rocks down on both sides of the netting to hold it in place.

Bush Blue Lake 274 Green Beans

Up at the Tri-Star strawberry pyramids, they look awful.  I’ve watered them quite often but yet they continue to die.  I guess they just simply cannot tolerate the mid-to-high 90 degree days we’ve had for the past few weeks.

Tri-Star Strawberries

The grapes in the arbor are doing OK – but even the grapes have some kind of brownish spot on most of the grapes.  I’ve almost given up on the fact that we’ll have any usable grapes on the vines – and it has turned to be more of a landscaping effect now.

Grape Arbor

The tomatoes are doing very good this year!  There are four Better Boy plants, four Roma, one Red Cherry tomato, and two Best Boy tomatoes.  I put the two Best Boy tomatoes in the ground much later than the others – but they have caught up and have a half dozen or more tomatoes on them.

Tomato Plants

You can see a row of green beans in front of the tomatoes here.  They are getting crowded out, but they have provided about 10 pounds of beans this year.

Tomatoes & Green Beans

But, today I picked more tomatoes!  We have a huge amount of tomatoes already this year – and I picked another 8+ pounds today.


We are definitely getting a lot more Roma tomatoes than Better Boy.  But, the larger the tomato, the less you get because the plants cannot support as many – and it takes longer for them to ripen.  That is why I like the Roma tomatoes – you get a lot of them and they are of a decent size.

In addition to the tomtoes in the front, the California Wonder peppers are trying to make it.  Out of the eight that were planted, five survived – but the are battling the tomatoes and green beans for light and space.

California Wonder Pepper Plants

The plants are probably a bit over a foot tall – about 1/3 the size of the Anaheim Hot Peppers in the container on the driveway.  So, I put some epsom salt around the peppers today to see if this will help boost their growth rate.  I also went ahead and pulled all of the peppers off the five plants – hopefully allowing them to grow more and put on more peppers.

California Wonder Peppers

Notice the big brown spot?  I’m not sure what is going on this year (I think this happened last year too) – but many of the peppers get a small brown spot on them – and then it gets larger until it could consume the entire pepper.  It is rotting out and makes them unusable.  The Anaheim Hot Peppers are really bad (unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of them) and so half of those peppers have to be thrown out.

But, here is a photo of the two Anaheimi Hot Peppers in the container in the back.  They are at least three feet tall.

Anaheim Hot Pepper

By the peppers are a few radishes that I let to go to seed.  Well, the seed is pretty much done so it is time to pull them down and start taking the seeds off.  I’ve already done a little bit of it – and here are the seed pods I’ve done thus far.  By doing this, I don’t have to purchase radish seed next year – but it does take a bit of work to open all the pods and get the seeds out.

Radish Seed Pods

Also in the patio garden is the basil.  I chopped the basil down last week and dehydrated it – but right after that, they started sending up more flower stalks!  I thought by chopping the plants a bit, it should have caused them to get bushy.


Then in the carrot & potato bin – I think it is getting close to time for harvesting the carrots.  I’ve always wondered how you know when carrots are ready to be harvested – but really don’t know.  It seems that I always tend to harvest carrots within the first ten days of August from my previous journals – but haven’t been too happy with the sweetness of them.


Well, several weeks ago all of the onions were harvested.  It took a couple of weeks to harvest them all – because I was waiting for nature to tell me they were ready.  When do you pull onions?  Well, you pull them when the tops start to fall over.  What I mean is this – down by where the bulb and the “leaves” of the onion join, the “leaves” will bend over on their own right near this spot.  When this happens, you know it is time to harvest!  I can definitely say that we got many more onions this year than last – and out of all the onions harvested, only four of them were rotten!  Last year it seems that about half of them rotted out.  Anyways, the onions are now fully dried and cured – since they were sitting out in the garage for a few weeks now.


Alright – what else is new this week?  Well, I turned over five of the ten black buckets that had Kennebec potatoes in them.  What I found was very discouraging.

The potato vines were looking very deathly – so I thought they needed watering.  Well, they didn’t!  it was a nasty gooey mess when I was digging for the potatoes – and only TWO of the five (the two that were by the patio garden) had potatoes in them.  The other three had completely rotten potatoes and they smelled horrendous.  So only five potatoes from five buckets – and only 11 3/8 ounces were achieved.  So, no more putting potatoes in those buckets.  It took at least an hour to dig through them, get the potatoes out, dump the soil, and then wash the buckets out.  Not worth it for less than a pound.

Kennebec Potatoes

I also picked – yet another – well-past due Burpee Pickler cucumber.  Good and yellow!  We haven’t sliced into it yet, but we had another one that was the same way and it tasted just fine.

Burpee Pickler Cucumber

The cucumber vines in the back are doing alright.  The two Burpee Pickler vines are doing the best with large, healthy leaves (towards the middle of the picture below).  But the other three – the Little Leaf H-19 Pickling Cucumbers – have very tiny leaves, a LOT of blooms, and ZERO cucumbers.  I won’t be using this variety anymore.  As for the potatoes in the back – they are about ready to be dug up.  Something to do next weekend I suppose.

Cucumber Plants

And for the garden beside the house – the watermelon are taking over!  You can see here that they continue to grow – and are growing past the fencing onto the driveway.

Crimson Sweet Watermelon

There are three good sized Crimson Sweet watermelons on the vines (three plants too!).  Two are pictred below.

Crimson Sweet Watermelon

Then, towards the left, the watermelon vines continue to grow!  They are growing on the pathway and landscaping now – and a new watermelon is growing at the very end of this mess!

Crimson Sweet Watermelon

That takes care of everything going on outside – but what about inside?  Yes!  I just started some lettuce seedlings on the 3rd (three days ago).  I planted seeds of Buttercrunch, Red Salad Bowl, Parris Island, and New Red Fire – and because Simpson Elite is our favorite, we planted twice as many of them.  I have eight black plastic 3-pack containers – so four cells were used for each plant – with eight being used for Simpson Elite.  I had to construct the PVC holding system for the flourescent light yesterday – because several Parris Island and Simpson Elite already have sprouted in TWO days!

Lettuce Seedlings

We never can get enough lettuce around the house (well, we can – because we actually wasted a bunch this year from the garden).  So, I’m going to try to grow it for a fall planting and use the floating row covers to give it a few extra weeks out in the garden.

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