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A Harvest Full for August
As the sun-kissed days of August stretch out before us, we find ourselves immersed in a breathtaking season of growth and bounty on our humble family farm. This is our third Summer in East Tennessee, and while there are two growing seasons and plenty of humid heat to keep the growing going, I have not had the successes that I expected. I thought it would be easy with the years of growing in different climates with only one growing season (Northwest U.S. and Midwest/ The Great Lakes regions), but it posed new challenges with it being a new growing climate and biodiversity.
After much trial and error, the pallet garden beds have proven to be successful this year, and the rewards are even more sweet. I also experienced some health issues in the midst of the growing season and am grateful for the abundant rain we received to make up for my inability to tend to the garden. It speaks to the beauty and resilience of God’s creation and design in nature. Join us as we reflect on the treasures of this month’s harvest and the sense of gratitude that has flourished alongside our crops.
Standing tall amongst the beds stands a volunteer sunflower plant amidst other deliberately planted sunflowers. It’s a volunteer because I did not plant it. It simply appeared.
The Carpet of Tomatoes
Our tomato vines have woven a rich carpet of reds, oranges, and greens along the ground. I missed the timeframe to stake them up, and they snaked along the ground sending out roots from their stalk and firmly rooting themselves to the ground far beyond their beds.
Companion Planting Successes
The cool-friendly plants have continued to thrive as they sit protected from the direct sun by heat-loving plants. Merlot lettuce thrives under the bushy snakes of tomato tendrils. Kale survives under the tall volunteer sunflower. Tangible proof of how companion planting works.
I seeded fairly heavily since I was growing everything from older seeds. I really wanted basil because that is one of my favorite fresh herbs. It appears that most of the basil successfully germinated and grew. Now I have basil for days.
Mysteriously Planted Red Clover
Throughout our pallet bed garden space we have purple clover popping up all over. It is no where else on our property and is a mystery as to how it came about. I theorize though that it arrived via our rabbit manure and let me tell you why.
I used rabbit manure that had been stored in bags to fill the beds. The rabbit manure I used came from our colony rabbits where I attempted to grow red clover for them by throwing a bunch of seeds down. Anything that grew was eaten up immediately so I assumed that it all died and disappeared. Yet, two summers later, here we are with red clover in the exact locations that I had so long ago scooped the manure from their living space to reused feed bags.
Even More Herbs
Another favorite herb is cilantro, but I only harvested a little this year. For next year, I plan to take a note from basil and overseed galore.
I learned that dill likes to be pruned. I harvested some one day to use in a roast dish for dinner, and when I returned to visit a couple of days later, it had grown strong and tall. The stalk was thicker, and there were many more leaves. This taught me a good lesson on pruning, and that is that some plants love it.
Grateful Beyond Measure
Between health issues, growing from old seeds, and short on time — I am beyond grateful for the harvest that we have had and are still reaping the benefits of. This has restored my belief and confidence in myself regarding gardening.
I would not call myself a natural gardener. In fact, I was known for my black thumb because I have always loved plants but I was forgetful and lacked the proper patience or drive to study and research when issues arose. It has been 10 years since I killed a rubber tree and I started gardening. It has led me to be more patient and thoughtful. To plan and execute better.
With the prior two Summers being unsuccessful I doubted myself and questioned my growth. While I still am growing, this has restored within me my trust in myself to know that I have in fact grown up some from my youthful self.