Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fence building from Pallets
It's getting real close of Christmas.  My Christmas cards are all finished and mailed except for the hand delivered ones.  I think I've mailed out about 80 this year.  Three returned and had to be readdressed due to moving and sent out again.  It's why I try to get them mailed early so I can deal with the invariably returned cards.  Three birthdays around Christmas will generate the need for sending out some cards and the month will be over.  As for gifts, my logic over rides the creative and gift cards rule.  It's just too difficult for me to try to figure out what would be a great gift for the person I'm buying for.  So my line after Christmas becomes, "Hi, what did I get you for Christmas?"  You know it's exactly what they wanted.  Nice!
I've discovered a new source of free garden material.  This load of pallets came from a post on Craig's list free.  I hauled a couple more loads for the free wood.  What, you might want to know will they be used for.
 Why fencing panels of course.  I found a place called Green Acres Recycling that sets pallets on the curb quite regularly.  I want to build about 90 feet of fencing to surround a portion of Terra Nova Gardens in an attempt to keep the critters away from the garden.  Yes, I'm well aware of the fact that raccoons can climb wooden fences.  I might have to string up a battery operated electric fence to give them a little surprise if they feel the need to scale the wall. 
The wild turkeys are going to have a surprise as well if they decide as last year to scratch the corn seed out of the ground.  I'm planning on having four foot wide rows inside the fence with chicken wire laying flat on top of the rows anchored down with ground staples.  Four rows of corn will be planted through the grid of the chicken wire.  That should keep the ariel assault team from scratching out the seeds.  Another thing that may have to be tried is motion lights that are made to look like glowing eyes in the dark. 
I really wanted to have the scare crow family up this year but it just didn't happen.  Not that it would scare anything but it would just add to the character of the property.
I have my MSN calendar reminder set to sent out an alert when it's time to order my Rosa Rose bushes that I ordered too late in the season last year.  I should be reminded to get my order sent about the first of February.  The rose bushes are a very hardy Northeastern Maine variety that grows well even in the salty air of the coast.  They grow about six feet tall and five feet wide.   They are filled with flowers all year and are quite thorny.  I want to plant them right behind the wooden rail fence and close enough to become a hedge.  It's not so much to block the view but just to beautify the street view a little more.  I believe on HGTV they call it curb appeal. 
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas from my house to yours.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mulching Caper is over
Thanksgiving is done.  This year three days of feasting was almost too much for this old man.  Thanksgiving Eve day the immediate family dined at the buffet.  Thanksgiving day the family dined at my long time friend's house.  Black Friday dinner was served at half time of the Nebraska Football game.  Saturday I sat around all bloated up and did nothing.  It was great but I'm glad it's only once a year.
Now the focus becomes Christmas.  All the store decorations and special gift sales are in full swing.  As for me, I'm just not too creative.  Instead of trying to figure out what someone wants, a gift card will let them decide what they want.  The cost of sending presents to the grand kids in the Las Vegas and Green River Wyoming was approaching the cost of the presents.  Yeah, I know it's not really getting into the spirit of Christmas and all. I guess I'm just too practical.  My wife was always the festive creative decorative one.  I was just the lights guy.  I put up the lights and she did the rest.  Christmas is just not the same without her.  This will be my 11th Christmas flying solo.
The great mulching caper is over.  Here's the last of four weeks of foraging the neighborhood in the darkness of the night before yard waste pickup day.  The final tally was 694 bags of grass/leaf yard waste.  It covered the garden areas with about one foot of mulch.  I figure that I hauled about 8.5 tons of mulch to the garden.  Hopefully, that will mush down to about an inch or so over the Winter and become a composting weed barrier next year.  I'll just move the mulch enough to get the seeds in the ground and leave the mulch as it is.
The garden really has the Winter look about it and I'm really finished with all the cleanup so any visiting will be only check on things and see how it weathers the Winter.  The really nice days are over and only freezing cold nights and semi warm days are the norm.
I'm deep into sending out Christmas cards so gotta go for now.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to all
Well here it is the season of Thanksgiving.  I am boycotting the Christmas sections of the big box stores until after Thanksgiving.  Thankfully the stores have contained their Christmas area and it hasn't invaded the entire store just yet.  I'm just now starting to think about Thanksgiving and all the things that I am thankful.  This year has indeed been such a great year and has many things for thanksgiving.  I am really thankful for enough food to eat, shelter from the weather, clothes to wear, and for good friends and family.  I have truly been blessed richly this year with the acquisition of Terra Nova Gardens.  This has been a life long dream that has become a reality.  I have been given good health in my retirement season of life.  I hope that this season brings you thoughts of all the things during this past year that you can be thankful.
Here's a guy that hangs out in my garden.  He's about half way out of his den in this picture. I'm not too sure about whether I'm thankful for him or not.  I think it's a boy because as I was taking pictures of him, I was talking to him. He listened until I got to point of not being greedy when feeding on my garden.  He just turned his back and headed down the hole into his den.  It's just like a guy when they don't like what they hear to turn their head and pretend they didn't hear.  I have named him Nebraska Phil after the famous Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania.  Now I will be able to tell when winter will end right in my own Terra Nova Gardens.
Mulching the garden continues.  I'm into week number three of roaming the neighborhood gathering the grass/leaf mixture for garden mulch.  At last count I have hauled 233 bags of mulch to the garden.  I have covered the main part of the garden with one layer and am almost finished with a second layer.  When I'm finished, I want to have at east an eight inch layer of the mulch over the entire garden. 
Here's one week of neighborhood gathering.  The neighbors are thinking they have one crazy neighbor.  I'm guessing they won't be complaining next year when they get to eat the garden produce.

I am going to try an experiment this year.  Last Spring I noticed five volunteer tomatoes that had sprouted up in the tomato bed from the previous year.  This fall I decided to intentionally throw some over ripe tomatoes into the tomato bed for next year.  I'll clean up this bed a little more, mush the tomatoes just a tad, sprinkle a little soil over them and cover the whole bed with compost mulch.  Maybe since these tomatoes are Rutgers, which is an heirloom tomato, I'll have my own plants without the work of starting them under the grow lights next Spring.  It will be much easier if it works.
Well, I'm heading out to haul more mulch while I can.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I'm in a bunch of Tough Grit
Some of you may know that I have a blog on a National Magazine website.  This magazine is called "GRIT".  It's a magazine that talks about all aspects of gardening, harvesting, preserving, raising animals and every thing in general about living on the land as a homestead.  Way back in May they had a sign up for a new thing that they wanted to do this year.  It was called "Tough Grit".  It was a TV show slated to air on the RFDTV channel.  It would be about how to do things that would be done in a homestead environment.  I threw my name in the mix and quite frankly forgot all about it.  Through an amazing quirk of fate a cancellation for one of the episodes happened just a couple weeks before the filming date.  A message from the GRIT headquarters office came on a Monday during the day.  I didn't catch the call and a message was left on the voice mail of my phone.  Was I ever shocked when I found that they were looking for a contestant for the show.  Imagine me on TV.  So I packed my bag and left for Topeka Thursday morning on October 11 with that old tune of "Act Naturally" running through my head.  For those too young to remember Buck Owens or the Beatles it went something like this.
They're gonna put me in the movies
They're gonna make a big star out of me
We'll make a film about a man that's sad and lonely
And all I gotta do is act naturally

Well, I'll bet you I'm gonna be a big star
Might win an Oscar, you can never tell
The movies gonna make me a big star
'Cause I can play the part so well
Now I would change the line that said sad and lonely to wild and gritty.  Get it.  GRIT magazine.  Wild and Gritty.  Yeah, I knew you did.
Friday, the filming day, was spent at the farm and the competition between two teams to see how fast we could build fences began.  The first round was to pound 15 steel posts (T-posts) in the ground using a manual driver for the first five and a pneumatic driver for the rest.  The second round was the actual stringing of the barbed wire fence.  Five strands strung, stretched, and attached to the post.  This was a very physical day and my friends Alieve and Advil were welcome friends at the end of the day.  Oh, yeah, the episode will air on May 13th.  I know a long time down the road.  I'll have to send out a post to remind anyone who wants to see old  Dave drive himself to exhaustion pounding posts into the ground and play with barbed wire.  Yeah it's pretty funny.
Having some extra time on Thursday afternoon, I decided to take a tour of the Kansas state Capitol building.  It was just a stone's throw from the hotel where I was staying.  I didn't think to bring my camera and the secretary was kind enough to take a picture of me with a camera she uses for those forgetful folks like me.  It's not the best picture but I'm actually sitting at the desk of governor Sam Brownback.  Yeah, I'm not sure exactly how much time he spends here but it makes for a great picture.  The gal by my side was the tour guide.  The building was going through a major renovation so I didn't get to climb the 297 steps up to the top of the dome.  Whew, I'm glad for that.  It still was a great tour.
I made it back home in time to wake up on Saturday and help with the last minute preparations for Bradley's birthday party.  Fourteen boys with a few girls hit the house at 1:00pm and for the next two hours the yard was crawling with kids.  Cake, soda, candy fr0m the pinata were all consumed.  Yeah, we sugared them up and sent them home.
Wow, maybe this next week will settle down and get back to normal. .... Nah, what would be the point in that.
Have a great week.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Killing frost ends gardening
I haven't been to garden yet but I think 27 degrees will be the termination of all gardening for this year.  I'm ready for a winter rest.  It has been a long hot dry summer of gardening.  The massive water hauling project was indeed tiring.  Up at 5 am to haul water to the garden before the sun brought the dry 100 degree weather was a test of man (me) and nature (garden) for survival.  We both made  it through the tough times.  I just didn't have it in me to try a fall garden.  Maybe next year.
The mulching of Terra Nova Gardens has continued and is the primary focus at this point in time.  The two large bales of hay have finally been completely hauled to the garden area.  A total of 11 1/2 loads were hauled and spread over the growing area of next year's garden.  It covered all of the new area and half of the old growing area.  Next comes the yard waste mulch.
Foraging the neighborhood netted three loads of grass - leaf mixture slightly crunched up from the lawn mowers.  It's the best stuff ever to use on a garden.  Some would ask aren't you afraid of the chemicals that go on the yards?  Most of the chemical stuff is put on the lawns in the spring and summer.  Not much other than a winter fertilizer is spread on the lawn in the fall so nope not worried about the chemicals.  It would be very difficult in today's world to claim to be a 100 percent organic gardener.  Even the rain has become some what contaminated.  I try the best I can to keep the chemicals to a minimum and never use them directly on what I eat.  Nature has a way of cleansing the earth if you will just let it happen.  For the next two or three weeks, the process of covering the ground at Terra Nova Gardens will keep me busy.
I do get some odd looks as I roam the neighborhood looking for the precious mulch bags.  I'm just a little selective about what I take as I don't really want brush or weeds.  I leave those by the curb to be picked up by the yard waste truck.  They take the waste to a place where it's processed into a product called Omagro.  It's basically composted and sold back to the public for landscaping.  I have tried some and it's pretty good but my experience with it was that it dried out fast and wouldn't hold moisture very good.  I suppose if some peat moss was mixed in, it would improve the texture of the soil.
I found these guys on Craig's list for free.  When I get my pond finished I would like to build a platform over part of the pond.  The unsupported span would have to be about six feet and require some hefty beams to allow it to be stable.  These are bridge support timbers.  One is pretty solid but the other is not so good and can't be use for a support.  It will be placed on the ground by the fenced garden area to deter digging varmints.  I don't think I'll get to the placement of these beams until next year.
Bradley and I decided to go to the zoo on his day off from school.  It was a scheduled day off from school for what ever reason.  It sure does seem that the school system of today has way more days off than when I was in school.  We have a season pass so we don't have to see the entire zoo on any given day.  This day and almost every zoo visit the petting zoo is high on the list to things to see.  The other thing we almost always like to see is the "Kingdoms of the night."  It's the creepy, crawly, swampy part of the zoo.  There's alligators, beavers, frogs, toads, and other creepy night active things.  Boys love those things.  They also have many snakes, spiders, and bats in cages.  Sheesh, snakes.  I hate snakes.  They are just too sneaky for me.
The last couple days have been spent helping a friend of mine with storing up hay to feed his horses this winter.  Because of the drought this year in Nebraska the farmers have had to feed their winter hay to the livestock during the summer months.  My friend wants to be assured a good hay supply for his horses over the winter so he's in process of buying enough to get him through to next spring.  Of course hay has doubled in price because of the drought.  Many farmers are reducing their livestock herds because of the feed issue.  I'm guessing that this won't be felt in the supermarkets too much right away but about next summer food will increase in price even more than it has already.  I really think we are in for some tough times in the coming years.
I hauled a 47 inch TV for a gal at church and attempted to hook every thing up for her.  I did get the TV working but man with all the extra stuff now days, it's tough to get everything hooked up correctly.  There's the cable box, the sound system, the DVD player, and the Internet all have to be hooked together and play well with each other.  It was beyond my abilities to get it all to work.  She's a school teacher and knows a lot of techie kids that are a whiz at this new technology stuff so I'm sure she will find one to get it all to work right.
I hope all is well at your end of the world.  You'll find me out in the garden cleaning up today.
Until next time.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall cleanup begins
Fall is definitely upon us.  The promise of 30 something temperatures will put an end to the summer garden.  I'm not going to try fall gardening this year.  There are still many things in the works at the Urban Ranch (the house where I live) and Terra Nova Gardens (the new garden).
The hauling of hay continues.  You can see that I've nearly completed hauling the first bale to the garden.  I have about one more load then I can begin on the second bale.  I hope to have the hay hauling completed before winter comes.  It will be a good mulch cover to have on the ground over the Winter months for Terra Nova Gardens.  My neighbor Tim the lawn man promises me a large volume of grass leaf mixture to help with mulching the garden this fall.  That's a great blend of mixture that will compost in place over the winter.
This is the good stuff.  It's almost to the compost level.  I suspect that the Winter weather and snow will complete the process by next spring.  I'm already planning next year's garden.
It's amazing what a little work can do for a yard.  This is after the axe job on the sequoia weeds and taking a lawn mower after the crab grass.  It appears that the regular grass did not make it through the long hot dry summer.  I'm waiting until spring to see how much has survived before comprehensive seeding begins.
Another donation to Terra Nova Gardens has helped to protect the pond in progress.  The chain link fence was given to the project.  I used it to block the access of the unfinished pond.  As you can see some of the area has been dug out.  I want to expand that to about twice what you see.  Right now it's about 28 inches deep and I want to go to a depth of about four feet if I can.  From where you see the fence to six feet over the pond will have a deck with railing.  The rest of the pond will be open for the wild life get to the water to drink.  I would like to get the pond dug before winter weather prevents it but if not there's always next year.
The tomatoes have taken over the garden and by far are the best vegetable of the garden for this year.  They are done for this year.  There are still a truck load of green tomatoes that will never turn green with the cold night time temperatures.  Tomatoes need warm humid temperatures at night to ripen.  The pumpkins were awesome but were ready to harvest early in August.  The watermelons are still surprising me.  They just keep popping up out the dead vine mass.  Two more have showed up.   I don't really know how they can produce when the vines look dead at the roots.  It just amazes me how that can be.
A platform has been built up on the bank behind the pond to serve as a makeshift water tower for the garden.  It has about a 15 to 20 foot drop down to the garden level.  When I hauled water with my truck it was about  a three to four foot drop and it was surprising just how much water pressure came from that.  I watered through 100 feet of hose to any place in the garden with ease.  I can add more barrels to increase the capacity if needed.
This is the method of pumping the water up to the barrels on the bank.  It will pump about 150 gallons a minute so the two barrels will be filled in just over one minute.  it can pump from down to 20 feet deep and push it up to a 90 foot rise on the outlet.  Since there is no electricity on the property, it will be just the thing to pump water from the pond to the garden water storage supply.  These are ambitious plans that most likely won't get completed this year.
Have a great fall day and I'll see you again next week with more crazy ideas about how to tame the inner city garden called Terra Nova Gardens.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall is here
I must apologize to my faithful followers of this blog.  I've been so busy that I just noticed that it's been almost a month since I've blogged.  I promise on my honor to blog more often.

Temperatures indicate that fall has arrived.  The temperatures are falling regularly into the 50s with promises of 40s next week.  Gone are the 90 degree days of summer and 70s rule.  The trees are beginning the leaf shedding process and are most likely glad that the long hot dry summer is over.
Many projects of the summer have been left undone.  The fire pit that I've been working on for a couple years has been greatly neglected this year.  With the acquisition of the new garden, some projects flourish and others have been neglected.  Perhaps during the fall season more work will be completed on the fire pit.
Transition of the back yard raised beds will be on the list as well.  Next year the raised beds will be beds to grow the plants for the bigger garden and maybe a bed for salads.
This last weekend a friend and I traveled about two hours away from where we live and made plans to help with some tree cleanup.  We traveled there on Friday; worked all day Saturday; and came back home on Sunday.  It gave us a full day for tree work.
Early Saturday we started with stump removal.  Well, that is cutting stumps off at ground level. After lunch we set out to clean up a tree brush area in the camp ground.  This is a picture of the area when we started.  There were two widow makers (hanging branches) and lots of major branches and brush on the ground.
After the day was finished, it looked fairly decent.  I have to say that I was just a bit tired and glad that we were finished.  The pile you see in the picture is one of the two piles.  The other pile might have been just a smidgen bigger.  It really did clean up nice.  The owner of the place of prayer and refuge said that we could come back any time.
Both Vince and I are early to rise so we were on the road home by 6:30am on Sunday.  A great breakfast at the Summer Kitchen was a fun way to end this adventure.
Monday was another work day about an hour to the west of where I live at a non profit organization.
Steve, Al, and myself had five windows to replace in an old house that the non profit organization uses for their headquarters.  I'm about seven feet up from the ground pulling out a rope pulley from the window casing.  The old windows had weights in the wall to help with opening and closing of the windows.  The scariest window we replaced was one that measured five feet by six feet.  Everything went off without a hitch and all the windows were installed by noon.  We installed a dishwasher, a refrigerator ice maker water line, and helped with preparing some bulk mailing during the afternoon hours.  We got a lot accomplished.
We received 1.44 inches of rain a couple days ago.  That should really kick start the grass growing again.  I'm really going to have to get busy with yard cleanup.  I call the weeds in the picture above the "Nebraska Sequoia Weeds" because they are huge.  These weeds can grow in dead clay dirt with out any rain and still grow very large.  I'm sizing them up to plan how to cut them down with my axe.  Yes, they really are that big.  The stump at the base is two to three inches in diameter.  They did come down easier than a tree.
I hit the mother load of mulch for Terra Nova Gardens. This is two of the big square bales of what I thought was hay and turned out to be bromegrass hay.  That's even better for mulch. I watched the farmer load the hay onto a big semi truck and hall the load away.  All but these two bales.  One had broke which he just moved to the side and I believe he just didn't have room for the other.  These bales have been sitting beside the road for about four years.  They are far past being any good for live stock feed.  My thought was to use this for mulch in the garden.  It was difficult to track down any one that could give me permission to haul it away.  Finally one day I came upon a big green farm looking tractor mowing down the weeds by the road.  It didn't look like a city machine so I took a chance and asked the operator if he was the farmer of the land.  He said that he worked for the farmer and when I asked if I could use the hay on my garden, he said that I could. 
This is about three loads and much more is covered at this point in time.  I discovered that the bottom layer of about a foot to eighteen inches has almost turned to compost from sitting the four years in the weather.  That will go on the main part of the garden.
Even my daughter has gotten involved with Terra Nova Gardens.  She works for Walgreens and finds store bargains when they come on sale.  At the end of the season the manager was going to toss the garden seeds and write off the loss.  My daughter talked him into selling them to her for a penny a package.  She bought 250 vegetable seed packages for my next years planting.
What a stash it turned out to be.  I will have to purchase popcorn as my grandson wants to plant some next year.  He planted sweet corn this year but I was too busy with fence building and weed control to protect it from the critters.  He did get about four ears before the wild critters moved in and cleaned it out.  Next year we have a plan.
The tomatoes are just about done for the year and the green peppers never really got started.  The eggplant was a success but the squash succumbed to the dreaded vine borer.  My zucchini plan that I planted in July as an experiment circumvented the vine borer and did great until the deer ate it off most of the leaves.  (big sigh)  I didn't get my gate in place soon enough.  Next year we have a plan.  The gate is now in place and working.  Now the foot opening at the bottom of the north side of the fenced garden needs to be secured and the fenced garden will be finished.
Well, that's enough for now.  I hope you have had a great summer and will be having a wonderful fall season.  Back at you later.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The heat wave is over
The heat wave seems to be over for now.  Terra Nova Gardens is starting the summer end production slow down.  The first flush of tomatoes is over.  There are lots of green tomatoes but none are ripening at this time.  It has been a task to keep the garden plants watered this year but it has paid off with quite a lot of produce.  I tried to give away as much as I could but I still was forced to can four quarts of tomatoes.

I was harvesting this amount you see here every few days for about four weeks.  Now the harvest is much less and the size of the tomatoes are much smaller.  The season is winding down way early.

The pumpkins and watermelons have been harvested.  I'm not an expert in pumpkins or watermelons but it seems to be just a bit too early for harvesting them.  The neighbor that grew these wants to grow more watermelons and about the same pumpkins next year.

The eggplant is ready for harvesting.  That was planted by another friend of mine.  His squash was a bit of a bust and the cabbage grew strong but remained small.  The sweet corn was a hit by all the critters for miles around.  I harvested about a dozen and the rest was gobbled up in one weekend.  I wonder if wild animals can get a belly ache from over eating?
The latest project is to make a ground water natural spring usable to water the garden.  The water as puddled on the surface all summer long through the drought.

This is after the first day of digging.  I want to dig out about this much again.  It would then hold several hundred gallons of water.  This hole was full of water the next day.  I would say that there might be close to 300 gallons of water in the pit.  After I get this spring dug out, I will build a platform over the pool of water and secure the perimeter so animals won't be able to fall in a drown.   A regular old farm hand pump will be used to pump the water out of the ground.  I'm not sure what the system will be to water the garden just yet.  I've learned to take it just one step at a time.

Here the pit is full of water after two days.  You can see why a cover needs to be over the pit as lots of debris will blow or fall into it.  Yeah, I know it looks pretty ugly but it will be great for watering the garden.

I've received another donation to the garden project.  This is a deluxe composter.  It will be used to compost fall yard waste for my raised beds at the Urban Ranch (my backyard).  I have decided to decrease the number of beds in the back yard by one and use the remaining beds to grow the plants for the big garden (Terra Nova Gardens).  It's amazing how many donations that have been given to help with the gardening.

Finally the gate is in place.  It doesn't have the hinges installed yet but the gate is standing in its proper place.  Now if I can only get the rest of the fence bottom wired in place, the fenced area will be secure from all critters.  Yea!!

That's it for now.  Thanks for reading about the taming of Terra Nova Gardens.  Leave a message and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Garden Survival
The garden at Terra Nova Gardens is in survival mode.  The extreme 100 plus temperatures for consecutive days have given me the challenge to keep things alive.  Two 55 gallon drums of water hauled to the garden and gravity fed through a 70 foot hose has been the method of plant rescue.  We are getting a break from the hot temperatures for a couple days then once again the creep into the 90s begins.  The lack of rain has farmers on edge as well as the folks that like pristine lawns.  My lawn is overgrown and ragged at the moment but I'm hoping it will help getting though the hot dry time we are having.  I don't like watering much but may have to water the lawn just to keep it alive.  It's starting to look pretty bad so I suppose I'll have to raise up the lawn mower as high as it will go and just top off the tall grass and um other stuff growing in the yard.
                               Pumpkins are growing
At first glance, I thought these pumpkins were black but they are dark green which is normal for pumpkins in this stage of growth.  I discovered when trying to sign up for the Airforce that I was partially color blind.  The colors I can't see well are green and brown.  If they are bright and bold, I see them fine but the light shades kind look like gray to me.  Some folks might wonder about how I can see green traffic lights.  Well, I never knew that I couldn't really see the green light well, I just subconsciously knew that red and yellow could be seen real well.  The green light looks the same color as street lights at night.  I can tell if the green light is on the same as I can tell a street light is on.  It is interesting that I drove for a number of years before the Airforce told me I was color blind to greens and browns and didn't really know it.  It really hasn't been much of a problem through out my life.  Well, folks would look at little strangely at what I wore to work at times.  Colors that look good on me just happen to be green and brown but green and brown don't really look good together. :0)

Pumpkins going wild
The pumpkins are really doing well.  I've had to snip the little tentacles around the watermelons or the pumpkins would have smothered them.  The neighbor that planted them says they are nothing special that he knows.  He just bought the seeds from Wally World.  The combination of soil and weather must be just right for growing pumpkins here.

The potatoes on the right can barely be seen.  They are finished blooming and are starting to dry up.  I'm not a potato expert but I think that means they are just about ready to harvest.

I've been watching a couple large tomatoes.  They look like they are starting to blush so the tomatoes are going to start coming in soon.  The bell peppers are a bust this year.  I'm not sure if we will get any at all.  The plants just sat in the ground looking all wilted.  All my friends said the same thing about their bell peppers as well.  I'm not sure what's up with that.

My other friend that planted one bean plant has been harvesting beans.  The one plant is loaded with beans and he just picks them are munches them down.  His egg plants are looking good as well.  They are about two inches in diameter so far and are increasing is size daily.  The first planting of corn is tasseling but the second planting is a total loss.  The turkeys have acquired a taste for seeds and one inch corn shoots. What they don't scratch out of the ground and eat, they gobble up when the shoots break through the ground.  When I'm certain rain will come I have a spot ready to plant with a bird net cover.  Maybe it will keep the curious little creatures away from the corn.  After it gets to a height of about two feet they leave it alone.  So I might get one more planting of corn before the summer is over.
Fenced in garden area
The fenced in garden area finally got weed free in the pathways.  I spent the better part of one whole day cleaning up the weeds in the paths.  They are already regrouping and starting the next assault wave. 

It's been a great summer so far and the gardening really is looking great.

How about your garden?  I'd love to hear about your successes or your failures.