Monday, September 28, 2020

August of 2020 Update

Man with Vegetables
One of the many bountiful harvests of August 2020

August was a blur as the harvesting and preserving game continued.  When the last day of August rolled around I was in disbelief and it felt like August 1st had just been the day prior.  The weather continued to be hot, the plants kept producing bountiful amounts of delicious food and I attempted to keep up with everything as I harvested like a mad man and preserved what wasn't going to be used right away.  One downside to the landscaping fabric that I use is that the soil health underneath the landscaping fabric appears to be unchanged and is vastly different from the rows I have cut into the landscaping fabric where I plant the vegetables.  I attribute this to not putting any compost or old plants underneath the landscaping fabric, I've always just let it be.  Which really makes total sense, if you're not adding anything to it, why would it change?  I came to the realization that I really need to balance that out and it should result in more productive plants in the long run if I do so.  I started spreading out mulch (that I get for free from the city of Longmont, woohoo) as well as old plant residue UNDERNEATH the landscaping fabric and in-between the rows.  This should put more nutrients and food back into the soil for all of the critters and decomposers living in the soil to enjoy, which will keep them happy and the soil more healthy overall.  The landscaping fabric is permeable, so water gets through it, but it does block out light, but it should still decompose back into the soil just fine as it gets water and air.  Go consistent soil health leading to healthier and more abundant plants!

Composting was a challenge to keep up with and I was certainly not turning the compost piles as often as I should have been.  Lucky for me, with the Great Composting Experiment of 2020 that I have going on, not turning the compost pile as often as you should doesn't have a big detrimental affect as it does in a traditional composting pile.  I'm getting closer to writing a post on what that experiment actually is so stay tuned and I'll get it written and posted by the year 3000 or 4000 (hopefully slightly earlier than that).  I also attempted to add some beneficial gourmet mushrooms to the urban farm to further aid in decomposition and building up the soil health.

The bulk of preserving of food that I do is blanching, vacuum sealing, then freezing anything / everything for the winter.  However that can't necessarily be done with everything you grow as some things just don't freeze and thaw well in their natural state.  In August I made a whole lot of pickels, kimchi, sauerkraut, pesto, and papusas (which I've never made before)!  The pickels, kimchi, and sauerkraut are all in jars in a refrigerator while the pesto was put in jars and frozen.  I also juiced a lot of normal cucumbers (and lemon cucumbers) with mint and parsley then put that on the stove top and reduced it, added lime juice and it turned into a pretty great sauce for fish or whatever you want to add it to.  I froze the majority of that cucumber sauce concoction in jars to use over the winter.  I did the same thing with tomatoes and made a reduction out of it, I also added in salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, olive oil, chipotle, anise, fennel, and a pasta sprinkle.  It turned into a pretty epic sauce, the majority of which was also frozen in jars!  The papusas turned out great, I filled them with squash and eggplant, they're pretty tasty and I can't wait to eat them this winter.

One of the major wins of August as well as this year was corn!  I actually got a few cobs of okay sweet corn that was edible (much better than prior year attempts).  I do question why I try and grow corn when I put so much time, energy, and water into corn for an okay cob or two when I can just buy really good corn cobs from farmers around town.

Challenges for the month were slugs on the cabbage and powdery mildew on the squashes.  I would pick the slugs off whenever I'd see them and the cabbages were done anyways so I just harvested the cabbages.  The powdery mildew spread like wildfire across the squash plants (which it always does once it forms).  The squash plants are pretty resilient though so while it does hurt their production, the squash plants lived through it and kept producing what they could.  I don't know if it's possible to 100% prevent powdery mildew, but I'll try by increasing the soil health as much as possible so the plants have all the nutrients available to them that they need.

I also attempted to save sunflower seeds from a variety of the sunflowers that I grow, the birds and squirrels are usually much quicker than me at getting to the seeds but I did manage to get some.  Whether I saved them properly and if they actually grow, that'll be another story entirely and time will tell.

There was a mountain adventure and I saw a moose!  We startled each other and I was much closer to the moose than I would have liked.  We stared at each other for a few minutes during which the moose got comfortable with our close proximity, didn't charge me, kept on enjoying it's bath (it was laying in a cool stream) and I was on my way without incident.  Moose are cool!!!

How much food was harvested in August?  Well lets find out, shall we?!

Early to Mid August Bounty:

-Squash flowers
-Cucumbers = 10.84 lbs (4.92 kilos)
-16 Jars of Pickles made

-Beans = 3.32 lbs (1.51 kilos)
-Squash = 3.12 lbs (1.42 kilos)
-Lettuces = 2.41 lbs (1.09 kilos)
-Basil = 0.47 lbs (0.21 kilos)
-Borage = .072 lbs (0.03 kilos)

-Eggplant, Basil, and Beets = 1.67 lbs (0.76 kilos)

-Cabbage = 30.84 lbs (13.99 kilos)
-Cucumbers = 24.83 lbs (11.26 kilos)
-3 Jars of Kimchee made
-3 Jars of Sauerkraut made
-10 Jars of Pickles made

-Zucchini = 13.85 lbs (6.28 kilos)
-Yellow Squash - 8.18 lbs (3.71 kilos)

-Soybeans and Kale = 0.76 lbs (0.34 kilos)

-Cucumbers = 15.26 lbs (6.92 kilos)
-Beans = 11.11 lbs (5.04 kilos)
-Eggplant and Tomatoes - 5.24 lbs (2.38 kilos)
-Greens = 1.46 lbs (0.66 kilos)
-Peppers and Greens = 2.66 lbs (1.21 kilos)
-Basil = 0.64 lbs (0.29 kilos)
-Peppers = 7.46 lbs (3.38 kilos)
-Greens = 2.21 lbs (1.00 kilos)
-Squash = 25.66 lbs (11.64 kilos)

Mid to Late August Bounty:

-4 Jars of sunflower seed pesto made
-2 Jars of Kimchi made

-Tomatoes - 4.69 lbs (2.13 kilos)
-Mint, Parsley, & Onions - 1.97 lbs (0.89 kilos)

-Veggie Assortment = 2.58 lbs (1.17 kilos)

-Corn = 8.17 lbs (3.17 kilos, actually got a few edible and good cobs this year)

-Squash = 21.09 lbs (9.57 kilos)
-Cabbage = 48.15 lbs (21.84 kilos)
-Beans = 7.89 lbs (3.58 kilos)
-Cucumbers = 45.21 lbs (20.51 kilos)
-Onions = 6.91 lbs (3.13 kilos)
-Eggplant = 11.61 lbs (5.27 kilos)
-Tomatoes = 8.17 lbs (3.71 kilos)
-Peppers = 3.31 lbs (1.50 kilos)
-Okra & More = 0.92 lbs (0.42 kilos)

342.732 lbs (155.46 kilos) is the grand total of food grown for the month of August of 2020!  This is 1.93 times more than the prior month and this also brings the running grand total for the 2020 year to:

520.372 lbs (236.04 kilos)

of local, beyond organic, super fresh, hyper nutritious, (insert other hipster phrase here), food that I grew myself in the backyard of my house where normal people just grow grass!  Instead of growing grass that eats up lots of water and doesn't provide you with really anything (but hey, it looks good, right?), I've grown a little over a quarter ton of food (so far) in my backyard this summer!!!!  

Ssssooooooo why do people grow grass again???  I don't get it...

Pickling Station 2020




Slugs on Cabbage

Man with Cabbage

Cabbage on Table

Man with Veggies

Man with Cabbages

Sauerkraut & Kimchi

Stream in Mountains

James on Mountain Pass

Mountain View from Pass


Giant Zucchini & Feet

Sunflower Seeds

Man with Giant Sunflower Head

Blauhilde Beans

Marigolds & Sunflowers

Spaghetti Squash

Powdery Mildew on Leaves

Powdery Mildew on Squash



Sunflower Head

Shishito Peppers

Corbaci Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers

Pablano Pepper

Urban Farm Overview

Echinacea Flower

Borage Flowers


Dragon Tongue Beans


Brads Atomic Grape Tomatoes

Orange Okra

Striped Eggplant



Urban Farm Overview






Shishito Peppers


Giant Squash in Bucket

Various Squashes

Squash Being Preserved

Beans Being Preserved

Zucchini Being Preserved

Yellow Squash Being Preserved

Desi Squash Being Preserved

Beans Being Preserved

Zucchini Being Preserved

Fridge Full of Fresh Food

Zucchini Boat





Shishito Peppers

Harvest Haul

Sweet Corn




James with Harvest

Morning Glory Flower


Dahlia Opening

Black Eyed Susan


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