Posted by: oceannah | September 15, 2013


new england pie pumpkinsI brought these in a bit early as I was out in the garden and found one of the largest pumpkins drilled out by chipmunks.  There are more out there, but they are greener than I’d like so hopefully they’ll color up/mature before being eaten by rodents.

The blasted tomatoes have been pretty much a total failure; late blight.  So sad to see them just wither up and drop dead while filled with green tomatoes.  I had a notion to allow the tomatoes to ripen on what was left of the vine, but that was a bad choice as without their foliage the tomatoes became sunburned.

I must say the sweet potatoes appear to be vying for ‘crop of the season.’  They look fantastic and after a wee sneak peak, appear to be filling out.  Hopefully that will continue but our weather has become rather cold and I’m not quite sure what they can tolerate.  This is our first year growing sweets so everything is new.  It’s nice to have one crop out there that is not bogged down by some pest or another.

It’s a bit hard to believe that summer is over.  We’ve begun our school year and it is nice to get back to some kind of schedule.  Teaching Moby Dick this semester is proving to be fun.

Not too long before the snow flies…must face some facts and get back to more serious leg workouts as ski season is around the corner.

Blessings to you all 🙂



  1. love your pumpkins–yes the season is changing and with it a change in flavours of what we do

    • and I thought I was the only one up way too early on a Sun morning.
      I like the changes…would not enjoy living in a climate that is stable year round.

      • been up for two hours–not a good thing for later in the day–will have to catch a nap sometime today I think

  2. I like that it’s cooling down and the seasons are changing. Getting back into a routine is comforting. It’s a shame about the tomatoes though – I’d give you some of ours if I could – they are still trying to take over the world.

    • Heidi I wish I could pick up some of those tomatoes 🙂 Me thinks I have a technical glitch as I am not getting updates to my new email from the blog. Must check into this problem.
      Hope all is well with you and yes…the schedule is a blessing, at least for the first few month 😉

  3. Tell me more about your teaching Moby Dick. it’s been years since I read that classic…. I think it starts with the line..”Ishmael is my name….” (or something like that) How do you teach it, and what does a time in class look like? (I am asking in part because I too am scheduled to teach a workshop on starting a small orchard next Saturday through our local community college. I love the interaction/ energy of facilitating a class i feel passionate about.

    • DM I hope your first classes went well at the CC on orchard building. Any time you teach from a place of passion, my experience has proven the class is a success. I used to teach environmental education and I never tired of working with young people.

      As far as Moby Dick, my daughter is home schooled and she takes some classes that interest her at the local CC…starting last year 13 y/o. As with every year we tend to study the classics, although reading contemporary literature is certainly encouraged 😉 We follow a Waldorf style time frame so MD is used as the Main Lesson Block-2 hours. The book choice was very intentional. My dd completed a sailing adventure for 2 weeks with Outward Bound this summer off the Boston coast and visited a few whaling ports including Mystic and Gloucester. It is challenging, but not out of reach. The language/vocabulary is at a significantly higher level (or tier two in Common Core Speak) than most current lit.

      I prefer to use a main/foundational piece of work each semester to branch off of. So our vocabulary is drawn from the work. Our study of literature eg: lyric/epic/dialogue as well as style, character development, is wrapped up in this one book. Historical information of the late 1800’s becomes part of the discussion, art work that is relevant to the story goes into the Main Lesson Book she creates. Pencil drawings of the NE coast of the time period with all the whaling ports, chalk drawings of cenotaphs from the actual Seaman’s Bethel, a detailed pen/ink drawing of a whaling vessel including terms for lines/sails. A ‘faux schrimshaw’ piece will be produced etc. etc. etc….it is as endless as the imagination.
      Some think a classic like MD is wasted at such a tender age. I don’t agree.

      Hope your apple harvest is in full swing. Here it seems the trimming was a boon to the production of apples.


  4. Hi Anna, the weather here had also “turned Fall” ‘way too early – ’til we caught the edge of that last Tropical Storm that is… Briefly and suddenly, for four days we were slammed into (a West Indies) Summer – but now, we’re back to COOL again. Having a really hard time with this rollercoaster weather (and summertime colds SUCK!):
    But (for next year; ) about all those stubbornly green tomatoes… Just like Heidi’s, mine have grown exponentially in the past month and, in spite of VIGOUROUS tip pruning, still showing no sign of slowing down. But, something I noticed a while back was that, once the Tomato Hornworms start chowing down, it seems to be the signal to “START RIPENING!” and the plants suddenly kick it into high gear – so, once it got to the point that Summer’s on the backside (and [mixed blessing]: as we haven’t had any Tomato Worms in this new garden yet) I escalated the tip pruning to include taking out any branches that didn’t have fruit already well-started and “BINGO!” Ripening has been amazing ever since – they’ve gone absolutely CRAZY and the race is on to beat Jack Frost: ) I also don’t wait for them to ripen completely on the vine, but instead pick all fruit that’s started to change colour and they will finish ripening in the house.
    Speaking of which, it’s turning sunny and I need to check whether the dew has dried off so I can go pick… Ciao Bella!

    • Deb that is a great idea, trim early to encourage ripening. Although I’m not sure it would have had the desired effect on these vines in particular…it happened fast and furious beginning w/ one vine that I just figured missed the boat on water then they all succumbed. *sigh* On a happy note, we did get several pounds of tomatoes coming back to us. Since I seeded out far more than I intended to plant we shared out a fair number of starts…those plants did not have blight and the folks who got starts from us all ended up giving us some tomatoes!
      Hope you are finding some lingering joy in the afternoon sun these cool days. I know I am 🙂

      • Hey Anna, GREAT to hear from you!: ) (and tech troubles suck!):
        You asked about the weather; well, if you read Heidi’s post from yesterday, you might be just a tad jealous, as she and I were under the same weather system (although the barometer dropped like a rock yesterday and this morning we’re overcast with rain overnight (but temps are still a pleasant 20*C/70F: ) These Heritage Cherry Toms are STILL going strong and picking every 2-3 days. It’s become a bit of a competition between me and the dog to see who can get to the ripest first… Although, he’s at least TRYING to be sneaky about his harvesting and twe “share” what I pick (he gets the grounders as they won’t last long enough to ripen and make it into the oven; )
        Been thinking about your blight…
        And mulching… Epsom Salts add magnesium and the plants don’t seem to get Blossom End Rot any more. BER is fungal. Blight is fungal. What if, next year (thank god, there’s always “next year” hey?; ) you leave off the mulch unless/until it becomes a necessity? Magnesium works a charm and caging and suckering the plants makes for better air flow/less chance of disease getting a foothold. Just a couple of thoughts… Hugs, D.

      • All great thoughts Deb! Can’t say if the mulching was the main culprit…but possibly a factor. Our season was just what the late blight ordered, rainy/damp/chilly. Yes, always next year, God willing 😉

  5. Just wondering if you’d had a frost down there yet?
    Had a few nights where it’s gotten close (and many warnings; ) but those awesome cherry toms are STILL going strong: )
    Probably shouldn’t have said that. Talk about a jinx… Fingers crossed for all of us “Northern Gardeners”, D.

    • Had a light frost about a week ago. SHORT season all round. Our attempt at sweet potatoes was an utter bust. Two foot long roots as big around as my thumb 😦

      • Oh boy, sounds pretty much like what happened when my parents tried growing them ‘way back in the 70’s… Lots of sprawling vegetation w/ nothing much to show for it): On the other hand, we’ve grown them here by accident – ornamentals in the patio pots that had scads of ‘taters on them – which we unfortunately did not find until tipping out the soil for replanting in spring… *ack!* (Speaking of tipping, it turns my stomach just thinking about it again) but they were big (mushy, but BIG; )

      • Well yes, they do make a nice ground cover and kept the weeds down-must make some lemonade!

      • Say, what if you just grew them instead of putting down mulch around the tomatoes?

  6. Re “caging” tomatoes… There’s a CSA just up the road that uses welded wire (like the kind used for reinforcing concrete) which they stake up with reRod… (Hmm, her husband’s a builder and I’m sensing a theme here; ). All of their “sprawling” plants are grown vertically: peas, fava/climbing beans, cukes… Makes for a gorgeous presentation, uses ‘WAY less space and the harvest is CLEAN!! (Oh yeah – it’s easy on the back too: )

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