Thursday, August 22, 2013

Late Summer Harvest

It’s late August and back-to-school time is upon us, so we decided to escape the pressures of shopping and head out to the garden to see what’s ready for picking.

The kids learned a lot about gardening and responsibility this summer, so it made us really happy to see them enjoy the fruits of their labor (and ours)!

Looks like the Sugar Daddy snap peas are coming to an end for the season. And yes… we up-cycled an old mattress frame as our trellis. It was free and worked great!

Picking snap beans is a lot easier when you have four sets of hands. This is our second harvest through these plants and we hope to get several more. There’s plenty of blossoms and young beans out there.

“Hey dad… beat this one!”

We were happy with how well our sweet corn variety turned out. This particular variety seemed to have two suckers on some plants. This is common in sweet corn and won’t affect the plant’s yield.

According to Iowa State University, suckers are common on some sweet corn varieties and should be left alone. Another recent study showed that with the right fertilization, these little guys actually benefit the yield, but if removed, can negatively impact yield.

Crazy huh? So put down those knives!

Also, stay tuned for an upcoming post on the benefits of Compost Tea to maximize the yield potential of your crop.

We also learned that standard sweet corn cultivars may lose 50 percent of their sugar within 12 hours of harvest if not refrigerated. So get those guys from field to fridge as quickly as you can.

Unhusked sweet corn can be stored in the refrigerator at 32° F for 4 to 8 days. New high sugar varieties are slower to convert sugar to starch and may be harvested over a longer period of time. The high sugar types also have a longer storage life. Sweet corn may be canned or frozen for year-round use.

This information and more (such as growing baby corn for salads) is available in this free PDF Iowa State University Horticulture Guide – Home Gardening Sweet Corn. We love the simplicity of the research they shared. After all, these guys know their corn!

And finally… our youngest was thrilled that our watermelon plants are coming along nicely as well. This is just one of the 15 melons we have so far. Grow baby, grow!

The kids have been naming each melon, but I think we’ll need to come up with something better for this one. “Fatty-bo-batty” simply won’t due.

As we left the garden, we made one last check to ensure that the electric fence was re-hooked up properly… oh, no need. Rufus our guard dog was having a heart-to-heart with his big watermelon-eating brother Chester.