It has been hot and humid a lot of the time this summer. Not my favorite kind of weather, but the garden is loving it. The tomatoes are looking fantastic (I have red, orange, and yellow ones this year), and I made a good call putting all the peppers in pots rather than planting them in the ground. The ground cherries are going crazy, and for the first time I have ripe tomatillos at the beginning of August. I made green beans almandine tonight with the beans I've picked the past couple days. The winter squash is continuing to grow with some new ones forming, and I've got two large swan gourds that might be nearly ready to pick (pictures below the cut). Unfortunately, the zucchini is a casualty; apparently the groundhog that lives in the next yard over was chewing on the vine last week, and there don't seem to be any new leaves growing. Oh well, at least I got 3 zucchini from the plant.
My unexpected success of the summer is okra. All the 90+ degree days we've had have been exactly what the okra has wanted. I have three plants growing in containers, and once they got past the cooler than normal weather in early June, they've taken off. I've gotten 12 or so big pods so far, and the plants keep producing. I made fried okra using Paula Deen's recipe
-- YUM!! I'm going to make some gumbo next. I'll need to pick up some filé powder before I do; this might necessitate a trip to Christina's Spice & Specialty Foods in Cambridge (and then a trip to Christina's Ice Cream next door!).
I picked wild blueberries at Pitcher Mountain in New Hampshire last week. The locals I met up there said picking wasn't that great for August (like everywhere in southern New England, the blueberries came in early this year), but with diligence I was able to pick about a quart and a half. Blackberries were an unexpected find on the mountaintop, and I was able to get a cup or so of those too. I got to do some geocaching up there too, and found all four caches I searched for, so all in all I didn't mind the less-than-peak conditions.
Canning in the past few weeks has included blueberry jam, seedless blackberry jam, and charred chili salsa. I will be making peach salsa and jam soon, and will make salsa verde as soon as I get two pounds of tomatillos. It's time to make pickles too; the drop-off dates for canned goods at the Big E and Topsfield Fairs are coming up in about 4 weeks, and I want the pickles to sit in the jars for at least a couple weeks before the judging. ( Picures of delicious vegetables... )