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.


  1. Four weeks of tomatoes????????? I haven't even had ONE single tomato ripen yet. ARGH! One of the disadvantages of living way north. Sigh.

    Your fencing project looks great and I wish you luck on the critter control next year. No one got my corn, but it didn't taste as sweet as I would have hoped. I'm trying a different variety next year.
    All in all, your garden looks great considering the horrible heat and drought you have had to contend with.
    Happy Gardening. And send tomatoes-LOL!

  2. Dave, Your tomatoes look fantastic. My garden was a bust this year. The only thing that I had running out of my ears were cucumbers by the ton, and summer squash until the bugs got to them. My acorn squash has bugs too, but I am going to leave those until they are ready to be picked. My melons did fairly good. I am getting a few Romas and a few patio tomatoes.
    It has finally cooled down, what a blessing! It has gotten down to 47 a few mornings ago, and now my patio tomatoes are coming along and looking good.
    The weather for us shows highs in the 70's for Thursday! Yah!! No rain yet. Hopefully we will get some.
    Your garden fencing looks wonderful and a spring, you lucky little devil.
    Have a great weekend.

  3. How lovely to hear from you, I was beginning to think you'd got lost. Our season is a lot later than yours, by the sound of it. I am harvesting tomatoes but nowhere near the end of them. Climbing beans have been OK (eventually) and the blackberries are coming in now. It's gonna be a terrible year for apples and plums in this area this year. Loads of trees with no fruit or very fruit on.

    Hope to hear more of your news soon.

  4. Dave,
    With that much ground water you might drive a very shallow well with a well point and steel pipe. You could then use a 12volt pump to pump to water barrels. That could support a gravity drip system to provide water to your fenced area.
    just an idea. Frank from Virginia

  5. I've been fascinated by the development of your Terra Nova Gardens. I can only wish they were here in Lincoln! My lush stand of broccoli won't develop heads and the green beans are only scrawny plants but the tomatoes are bearing decently and the ground cherries are flourishing. I had only a quarter bushel of potatoes from 13 plants but they were each and every spud smooth and sound.

    I've been rehabing these raised beds this past year after neglecting them five years so the crabgrass had worn out the soil rather thoroughly and I've been working in compost as fast as I can get it broken down. Next year should be a lot better in terms of production. At least I've managed to stay ahead of the weeds and the garden looks pretty good even if production is minimal.

  6. Frank, I looked into the sandpoint well system. The standing water in the pit took two days to fill so it's not a real active spring. The other thing is that it's inside city limits and technically I would have to get a permit for a well, have the water tested, and jump through many hoops to satisfy city hall. If I just dig a big hole in the ground and it happens to fill up with water, I'm not sure anyone could say anything about that. With platform and hand pump that I'm installing, I wouldn't think it would be a well. I'm just removing water from a pit in the ground. Hopefully, it will work that way. :0)

  7. Ana, it shouldn't be the end of our season here just yet. Normally, the season don't end for another month but due to the mild winter and early spring everything is a month head this year. Hopefully, I will get another flush of tomatoes but the temperatures aren't right for that to happen. When the temperatures start dropping into the lower 60s (teens in Celsius), tomatoes don't ripen very well. Tomatoes ripen during warm moist nights.

    Anyway, I'm alive and well just busy.

    Have a great day in the garden.

  8. How great to have a water source. It is amazing how much you've done at Terra Nova. Glad the fence is now secure.

  9. Your gardens looking great Dave. I enjoy reading your posts. Our gardens a month ahead of schedule too. It's been a strange growing season here in north central Kansas. The squash bugs here have been terrible. Have you had any problems with them?

  10. Lori, I didn't have any trouble with squash bugs. Our plague is always with the vine borer. I experimented with my zucchini and planted one plant around the 4th of July which I read would be after the life cycle of the dreaded vine borer. It has seemed to work so far. I will be harvesting zucchini soon. My friend who planted squash had only one small squash before the borers destroyed the stem and killed the plant.

    The garden has really surprised me as how well it has grown this year. The tomatoes are still coming when all my friends say theirs have given up and quit producing.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Have a great day in the garden.

  11. Wow..your garden has really come along!

    1. DesertSnowDrop, the garden really has come a long way for the first year. This year was one of building fences and cleaning up weeds. Next year will be more about gardening and harvesting to preserve. The garden for this year is winding down for the winter rest. Fall is upon us here with dropping temperatures in the 40s at night and 70s during the day.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.