August 2012 Heirloom Garden Update;The Appalachian Splish and Splash

Friends Drift Inn Farm – Gardening

August Heirloom Gardening Update 2012 It's wet!

Click for August 2012 Friends Drift Inn TV Show Video “Inn the Heirloom Garden”


Slips Sliding Away in Appalachia – Up to my Boot Tops

While much of the nation is suffering through a drought that’s not the case down here in Kentucky’s Appalachia, Zone 6b for you garden geeks.

It is wet. It is soaking wet.

When we filmed the August episode of Friends Drift Inn in the garden, we saw storm rotations, hail, and a torrential downpour.

A few days later; more rain and a flood threat that left me posting frantic messages on facebook that I was about too loose my garden.

My garden is a few miles from the barn, on the old Pinson home place. By the time I got there armed with buckets for a quick save harvest, several neighbors were waiting at the bridge with buckets and baskets in hand. (Thanks Jeff and Sis!)

We dodged the flood for now...August 2012 Johns Creek

Sissy, Charlie’s cousin, stuck a branch in the ground and we watched the currents. Fortunately, the flood subsided and we were not swept away. No flood water reached the garden; but the rains have persisted.

I started cushaws under the lights this year, something I never do. I promised Chef Ashby I would have cushaws in time for the James Beard Dinner in September. The transplants have been doing well, and were well on the way to producing the monstrous cushaws I am so fond of championing.

Loosing several of my prized cushaws to rot brought me to tears

But it rained more. I lost the 6 most beautiful cushaws to rot – it is just too wet here.We plowed all of our neighbor’s cushaws under due to wet rot. So sad!

Harvesting Cushaws early to get them off the rain soaked ground

Fearing total crop loss, Charlie and I pulled most of the largest winter squash so Ashby would have his bounty. There is a second flush of squash coming on, but with all this rain I wonder if they will make it to maturity.

It’s still raining.Johns Creek did not flood yesterday, but boy howdy Joes Creek was not a pretty sight! My Pointy Toed Shoe Sister Tracy got trapped in her driveway, unable to get back to the main road. If you know of a good source for pointy toed wader boots, she is in the market.

Freshly  canned tomato sauce featuring heirloom tomatoes of course!  Romas!

Here’s evidence the tomatoes are fairing very well, will few signs of blight. I am amazed. We did a “Florida Weave” support system this year; using posts every two plants and running twine in and out of the plants for support. We did not keep up as we should have, fearing working in the wet plants would spread disease. However, those first three tiers of twine were enough to keep the tomatoes off the ground and allowed air to circulate around the finicky plants. If I lost every tomato plant today, I would still have a better harvest than I have had for the past three blight stricken years.

The cucumbers are not much this year; and the peppers are sulking. I’ve made a few batches of bread and butter pickles,     sweet and spicy pickles, and some relishes. Nothing like last year’s bumper crop.

The okra is coming on, and for all you okra pickle fans there will be plenty to go around – IF you get me back last year’s empty jars. Come on people, I will fill them up if you give them up. Giggles

Heirloom Pumpkins just setting on August 2012

Lastly, here’s the little buttons that will turn into the French pumpkins that I am known for growing.I can only hope it stops raining so they do not rot.

For all my friends suffering from drought conditions, I am truly sorry. But I got some issues of my own.

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About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.