It can be a big chore to have a garden here in Minnesota that can grow vegetables like those pictured above. It has been tough here for me because the soil is so sandy and sometimes it gets really dry. In the Philippines, the soil is usually much better and rain is definitely not a problem in the right season. My hubby and I have been working on building up the soil for several years now and it is finally beginning to produce something worthwhile. Thanks to all those fish cleanings, coffee grounds and other organics, the soil is growing more fertile. But yes, the fish cleaning are our best fertilizer. Hopefully, we will get enough warm weather yet to get everything to ripen. I harvested this basket of vegetables last Sunday. I mixed the okra, tomatoes, beans and some squash with a little bit of beef for a nice fresh stew.
Two weeks after pollinating our squash plant by hand, we now have many fruit growing very rapidly. Up until now, the fruit had been forming and then withering and dropping off the vine. Apparently, they were not getting properly pollinated. Had we known earlier about this hand pollination thing, we could have harvested many squash from the plant already. The squash are growing very rapidly at this point and hopefully we will still get a good harvest before the first hard freeze comes. Next year I will take pictures of how this hand pollination is done for anyone who might be wondering about how to do it.
Usually, insects come around to pollinate the plants but for some reason we have had a shortage of pollinators this year. Hand pollinating is actually pretty easy to do with squash plants. The first thing you need to know is the difference between male and female flowers. The male flowers have a plain stem and the female flowers have a tiny squash beneath the flower. You pick a male flower and rub it on the female flower and that is all there is to it. Be sure to remove only the male flower for hand pollination and leave the female flowers on the plant.
This has been a good year gardening here in northern Minnesota. It is definitely the best crop our garden has ever produced. That means we have been able to share our blessings. This basket is for my sister in-law. She has never tried long string beans before and I am anxious to hear her reaction. I gave her the basket of vegetables pictured above a few days ago. When we went to their place today, she told me that the beans were very good and they enjoyed all of our home grown produce.
Both my hubby and I will be enjoying our first corn harvest of the season. I was surprised when my hubby brought that plate of corn to show me and it tasted like the best sweet corn I have ever eaten. We will be harvesting more in the next few days.
In addition to long string beans, corn, okra and tomatoes, we also have a huge squash plant growing in our garden. We did not plant it and did not know what the vine was until the fruit started to come out. My hubby thought that it might be a musk melon plant because the leaves are very similar. The squash started growing in our corn patch by itself right next to our deck. It is a really large plant and if the freezing temperatures don’t come too soon we will also have a good squash harvest this year.
Here in northern Minnesota we are always a little late when it comes to gardening and planting season compared to people in the southern states. I love growing plants and gardening. It is one of the many outdoor activities that I enjoy doing during summer. Though I usually have a green thumb, I need a lot of help because the soil here is very poor and sandy and we generally have a really short growing season.
The advantage of having a garden in our front yard is that we know that the vegetables we grow are free from chemical insect and weed killers. My hubby has been enjoying green salads that are grown in our garden and vegetables that we have planted. Even though I don’t like to eat many of the vegetables, I do like to plant them and I’m glad that my hubby likes to eat them. Tomatoes, corn, spinach, lettuce, onions, okra and beans are just a few of the vegetables that we have planted in our little hobby garden.
Our garden looks very promising this year. It is probably the best we have ever had. The plants look green and healthy. We got rain right on time just about every time we needed it. We planted a lot more corn than we usually do. This year is my first time to plant long string beans and okra and the harvest has been really good already. I did not expect that they would grow so well in our poor soil. I will be planting more long string beans in the future and will try planting eggplant next season.