August on the Homestead

August is always a hectic month for us. There are birthdays, school prep - and lots of gardening, harvesting, and preserving.

The summer squash (pattypan and zucchini) are growing like mad. We eat some squash almost every day, and I'm preserving zucchini by making zucchini chips - a huge favorite in this household. (I still have lots of last year's shredded, frozen zucchini for things like cookies, soups, spaghetti sauce, and zucchini bread.) The pattypan is outregeously abundant. I'm giving away quite a bit, but we still have tons. I may feed the chickens with the extras - or I might try chunking it up and freezing it for soups and stews. (I might also try grating it to use like shredded zucchini.)

Butternut squash.
 The winter squash has given mixed results. I tried one buttercup plant this year, and it's not been very happy. I lost many buttercup to blossom end rot, even after removing blossoms from the bottoms of growing squash. Then aphids attacked the plant - and while I keep spraying them away with cold water, they keep coming back. I have so far only harvested one buttercup squash. The butternut squash, on the hand, is doing extremely well. I can't wait for it to turn color so we can begin eating it!

Because we are so inundated with squash and other fresh veggies, I decided to harvest all the kale and collards, leaving just three leaves behind on each plant. I chopped it, blanched it, and froze it (just like the dandelion greens here) - and we'll be grateful for it, come winter. (When sauteed, they really do taste just as good as fresh greens.) And by the time the summer squash is winding down, we'll have more kale and collards, as they perk up with the cooler weather.

The carrots are large and I could harvest them any time. I've decided to wait until a good frost, though,
because it increase their flavor so dramatically. I'll soon be harvesting parsnips, cabbage, and kohlrabi, too.

In the fruit department, our small columnar apple trees are pumping out apples - more this year than the last. So far, I'm leaving them on the tree and harvesting as needed. We are still getting a few strawberries and blackberries, too - and the wonderberries are beginning to come on.

Oh, and the tomatoes! This has been my best year ever growing them. I'm watering my plants less, which seems to make the green tomatoes turn red more quickly. We have more than enough to eat fresh, and I'm also freezing some to can later, when life is a little less hectic.

The critters continue to be sweet - and functional. The chickens are laying more and more consistently, and their eggs are getting larger. I keep about five or six 18-count egg cartons full of eggs in the fridge, plus some frozen eggs in the freezer - plus we give some away. The rabbit makes fantastic fertilizer at an amazing rate. And my husband almost brought home a pig this month. Yes, a pig. Even though we live in the suburbs. Even though we don't, in my opinion, have room for one. He thought it would make a great house pet. Ahem. I barely dodged that one!
The cabbage isn't very big this year. (Notice how I share them with the slugs and snails.)
One of the potato grow bags did splendidly. Another was diseased and produced nothing. Another is recovering from a major eating by slugs and snails.
I have several jars of zucchini chips.
This is the first year our thornless blackberry has really produced. Look at the size of those berries!

2013 Produce Totals 

(All but the squash and tomatoes are from a 12 x 14 ft. garden plot; the squash and tomatoes are in an area measuring 33 x 3 ft.)

Eggs 550
Chicken meat 20 ½ lbs.

Apples 6 1/2 lbs.
Basil 1/2 lb.
Beets 1
Blackberries 3 lbs.
Blueberries 7 1/2 lb.
Buttercup squash 20 1/2 lbs.
Calendula 8 lb.
Chives 6 lbs.
Cilantro 1 lb.
Collards 11 lbs.
Dandelion flowers ½ lb.
Dandelion greens 35 lb.
Dandelion Root 2 lb.
Garlic: ½ lb. scapes + 1 lb. heads
Green onions 1 lb.
Kale 11 ½ lbs.
Kiwi 1 lb.
Leeks 5 lbs.
Lettuce 11 lb.
Mint 1/4 lb.
Oregano 1 1/4 lb.
Pattypan squash 28  lbs.
Parsnips 1 lb.
Passion vine 1 lb.
Peas 5 1/2 lbs.
Potatoes 11 1/4 lbs.
Radishes 8 lb.
Rosemary ¼ lb.
Sage 1 1/2 lb.
Spinach 1 1/4 lb.
Squash blossoms 2 1/2 lbs.
Sunchokes 40 lbs.
Strawberry 3 1/2 lbs.
Tomato 19 1/2 lbs.
Wild onion 2 lb.
Wonderberries ¼ lb.
Zucchini 37 1/2 lb.


  1. oh, my! YOu did awesome! We had so much rain this summer that all my tomatoes had bad blight. Still we were able to harvest and eat lots of tomatoes. I planted some late ones and they are still producing. The good news: it stopped raining! I too shared my cabbages with slugs but they were still good enough to eat. I tried growing a spaghetti squash but got nothing at all. I planted 2 pots of potatoes. I am harvesting them this weekend. And I got a whole raised bed 8'x4' with sweet potatoes. Got my fingers crossed! :) How do you use your rabbit poop as fertilizer? Do you just throw it in the garden or do you compost it first?? as always your blog is such an inspiration. :) thanks for sharing.

  2. Can you post a pic of your garden plot layout?? That would be a great inspiration for how to plan mine...

  3. Tereza, I use the rabbit pellets two ways: Sometimes I dump it into the compost bin, and sometimes I dig a trench around plants, pour in some pellets, cover them back up, and water well.

    Kelly, are you wanting a photo or a drawing? If you look at old "...on the Homestead" posts, you can see my two garden beds. I could try doing a drawing, though, too, if you think it would be helpful.

  4. A drawing of the plots would be wonderful. I have very limited space for gardening and am trying to plan for next year.

  5. Kelly, I can do that :) It might be a week or two.