Veggie Tales - August 2019

August 1, 2019

It’s August (where has the summer gone?) We have had a decent summer season by many of our plants are slowing down due to the heat. After a bit of a vacation, we will be clearing out a couple of the beds and preparing them for fall and winter crops.

Successes this season: cucumber and zucchini (as well as winter squashes)

Moderate success: tomatoes

poor performers: beans, peppers

Comments (447)

  • Robin Morris

    So many lovely harvest pictures on this thread!

    I am new to trying to save seeds... do you have to ferment them? I was just drying them and assuming that was enough.

    I came back from a trip to find my backyard garden overrun with whiteflies. Had to pull out all the beans (which were done anyway) and most of of the squash leaves. They are even on my basil and marigolds which are supposed to deter them. Been going crazy with the neem oil trying to save my nearby fruit trees. Going to unleash an army of lady bugs soon. We are going on an even longer trip in September, so I have a week to get them under control before we leave.... I have never had whiteflies before. They are awful! Really concerned I'm going to come back to find everything dead.

    Just learned that if you let romano beans go too far, you can shell them and use them like cannellini beans.... I wonder if this is true of all green beans. I enjoyed reading Len's bean tasting! I also, didn't like my purple beans this year. Grew a red one that is pretty good though. Next year I should do a more scientific tasting like that!

    My tomatoes are going full swing as we've had a really hot August. Luckily they are in the front yard and don't have a whitefly issue. This year I tried a few new ones. My only new keeper is the chocolate cherry. My favorites are as Sudduth Brandywine and Sungolds... which is the same as before. Next year I will have to start my own tomatoes from seeds as there are so many varieties wonderful sounding varieties that you all are growing...

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa


    I grew 11 different varieties of tomatoes from seed that I saved from last years tomatoes, and I didn't buy any new tomato seeds, or seedlings. I've never fermented tomato seeds. I dip a teaspoon into a seed cavity and spread them on a half sheet of paper towel folded in half. I mark the variety and the year I'm saving them for. I sometimes mark a note about the tomato and I'll usually try to save seed from the first ripening tomato of a variety.

    I store a stack of towel sheets on a bookcase in the office. But I never use seeds older than the following spring, although I do have a couple years worth.

    This year I grew 25 tomato plants, plus a couple volunteers. in the dirt. in what last year was my clay lawn. I amended the clay with nothing but mushroom compost in the tomatoes and horse manure in the potato patch, 43 plants. I dug in the horse manure last fall to follow my rule of not growing root crops in manure dug in the year of growing the crops. I also added lime and wood ashes for the potash. I added a tablespoon of bonemeal for each tomato plant. No insecticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers.

    I plan to dig new plots in my lawn starting soon, for next year. I'll rent a truck and go to a fellows place I've known for 25 years for more horse manure. Last year I had to quit after 1 cu yard, because of fatigue. This year I'm hoping to fill the truck with 2 cu yards. I expect to get at least two truck loads this fall. When I rent the truck I plan to check on what they have for trailers. I'm thinking If I push a wheelbarrow up the trailer ramp and then up a double wide plank ramp would be safer than up a single wide plank onto a pair of concrete blocks, and then another single wide plank into the truck.

  • naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan


    Beans that mature and dry on the plants can be cooked as you would any dry bean such as pinto, or kidney beans. Some varieties taste better, some are large and others small, and some yield more. Or you can save the seeds and plant them the next year. Common bush and pole beans (Phaseolus vulgaris varieties) are not likely to cross pollinate even when grown near each other so they usually grow true to type the next year. Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) are more likely to cross, but most people I know only grow one variety in a given year. Crosses would not be likely unless a close by neighbor was growing a different variety of runner bean.

    I've grown tomatoes from fermented and unfermented seeds. All did okay. If your plants were diseased, fermenting could possibly help eliminate that. I've also cleaned them with a soak in Comet cleanser. After 30 minutes or so the gel layer breaks down and you can rinse them in a sieve. I think that method would sanitize them, too. And it eliminates having to deal with stinky containers of fermenting seeds :)

    I've not dealt with whitefly troubles and don't know how to treat them. I hope your control methods get them knocked back before you go away. Enjoy your travels!

  • cindy_7

    Jamie - Were you able to get some saffron crocus in the ground?

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    So here is an interesting twist on growing "full beans". I took bags of beans to office for all to enjoy early this week and two couples became very ill after eating the beans. It turns out that they :"like" blanching beans for a couple of minutes and then eating them "crunchy" This is not a good recipe for "full beans" which are chemically protected from preditors and need to be cooked for 10 minutes plus in boiling water. Just saying...

  • Jamie

    I was not, Cindy. I got occupied with other things and didn’t get to planting any of them. I’ll try again next spring

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    Jamie - my mandolin came with one of those kevlar gloves but I've never used it. Not sure why though. Wonder where I put it?

    It's raining dogs and cats here this morning. News said that some areas have already received over 4". I had to divert around a couple flooded roads on the way to my office. My Dwarf Brandyfred in a bucket got blown over by the storm but it was raining too hard for me to stand it back up when I left the house. The damage had already been done anyway. There are only 5 or 6 tomatoes left on it.

    I'm trying to decide whether to plant out my lettuce starts before we head for the lake or wait until I get back on Monday. It will be going into my shadiest bed.

  • Jamie

    I hope you can find it, Jack haha! They made things a lot easier!

    The cabbage and Brussels Sprouts seedlings I put out a couple of weeks ago are doing ok, but not great. They have suffered some pest damage- and I've been using pyrethrin as well as Bt. The Brussels Sprouts are growing much more slowly than the other cabbages. I am thinking that it might have been the heat and maybe they will perk up now that the days are not so hot.

  • Jamie

    Most of the seeds we started last weekend are up- except for the spinach, grrr.

    Here's what we are growing so far

    Red Ursa Kale

    Black Tuscan Kale

    Siber Frills Kale

    Ornamental Fringe Kale

    Thousandhead Kale


    Japanese Giant Red Mustard

    Purple Lady Bok Choy

    Yellow Heart Winter Choy

    Bloomsdale Long-Standing Spinach

    Bright Lights Swiss Chard

    Fordhook Giant Swiss CHard

    Green Top Bunching beets

    Starfighter Leaf Lettuce

    Oakleaf Lettuce

    Red Sweet Crisp Lettuce

    Green Incised Lettuce

    Rucola Lettuce

    I will start another round of the choy and lettuce seeds in another week or so, and we will sow mustard and turnip greens in the beds. I will start some collard green this weekend- I forgot to do that last weekend!

  • cindy_7

    Jamie - Now is the time to order the saffron crocus bulbs. They are usually planted in the fall.


  • Jamie

    OH, thanks for the reminder, Cindy! I'll order some. For some reason, I thought you planted them in the Spring, but they I wasn't thinking clearly hahaha They are still crocuses and should go in the ground in the fall.

  • itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)

    Jamie - Thanks for the link for the glove to use with my mandolin. One came with the mandolin, but it is not cut resistant at all. I have holes in the finger tips to prove it!

    Jack - Storms blew through here last night. Only about an inch in my rain gauge which is about perfect. It came with lots of lightning. I was super busy this morning and I didn't manage to get out to check on the garden before I came to work.

    Family dinner tonight to celebrate my oldest's birthday. Then tomorrow morning we'll all go out to breakfast to celebrate my birthday which will be followed up with a trip to the zoo with our 16 month old grandson. Love it when our birthdays fall on Labor Day weekend. We get that treat every so often. It's like a bonus birthday present.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    Happy birthday Margi! Hope you have a great weekend! The glove that came with my mandolin seemed pretty wimpy too. Might have to order some of those in Jamie's link.

    My area is showing to be in the 1-2" range according to the estimated rainfall map. I'm guessing we were closer to 2". Areas to the southwest got the most with one area along the state line in the 4-8" range.

    Jamie - you must really like salads! I think I'm going to go ahead and plant out my lettuce tonight since it's supposed to be cloudy today and partly cloudy over the weekend. Monday and Tuesday will be in the upper 80s before it cools back down again.

    My broccoli and cauliflower are hanging in there. I need to check them for worms tonight and spray with BT again.

  • Jamie

    We do eat a lot of them (almost every day), Jack- and I'll give a lot of it away to relatives hahaha!

  • Jamie

    Margi- the gloves I have eventually do start getting holes, but it took over a year or so. I get enough use out of them that I don't mind replacing them every year or so

    Cindy- I ordered some saffron crocus bulbs from High Country Gardens- sale price of $8.99 a dozen. https://www.highcountrygardens.com/flower-bulbs/crocus-flower-bulbs/saffron-crocus

  • 14tomatoes_md_7a

    Ever since I was a kid when I read The Portrait of Dorian Gray I hated the name Dorian! Now even more -- what happened, Dorian was supposed to be a tropical storm ...now a Cat 4 Hurricane (the most damaging in a generation)?!?!

    Prayers to all those affected.


  • RD Texas

    Robin, I only ferment my tomato seeds because of the membrane surrounding them. I dip out the whole seed cavity and squeeze all the juice out of the tomato into a see through small container stir the mixture around to try to separate the seeds somewhat then set them aside stir every 13 hours or so. All the good seeds will sink to the bottom and a layer of crap will form above them. After 3-5 days rinse them lightly, drain the excess water and spread the seeds out on a piece of wax paper then you can carefully soak up the excess water and let them dry for a couple of days and you will usually get 80% + germination

  • RD Texas

    Robin I use Neem oil for all my pest problems. It is even an effective fungicide. Only put it on the plant early in the morning or just before dusk in the summer which is also when insects are most active

  • cindy_7

    Jamie - It takes quite a few crocus flowers to accumulation much saffron. I've planted three different orders so far and it seems like I never have enough saffron. Last year I used it all up in one large paella dinner.

    (Yes, I know I can buy it, but I'd rather grow my own.)

  • Jamie

    Yes, I can imagine it does! I ordered 36 bulbs, and that'll only make about 100 stamens, but I'll add them to my stash of saffron that I have in the pantry (are there 2 or 3 stamens per flower? I've forgotten)

  • RD Texas

    Jamie it looks like 3 in the picture

    Jamie thanked RD Texas
  • Jamie

    Thanks, Richard!

    I'm about to leave work a little early today... pretty much everyone else has already left to start the long weekend. It's a beautiful day here today and I hope all of y'all have a nice holiday weekend!

  • cindy_7

    Richard is correct - three.

    Enjoy your long weekend, too! It's almost September!!

  • RD Texas

    The 100 degree nightmare might actually end for a day. It was 100 yesterday and it actually rained, which dropped the temp 13 degrees and it rained again today and it is only 87 now

  • cindy_7

    Glad to hear it, Richard. You deserve a break.

    Next Wednesday is supposed to be our last 90+ degree day for the foreseeable future, and then things will really change with highs only in the 70s.

  • Robin Morris

    John D Zn6a PIT Pa, glad just saving the seeds on a paper towel will work. That is what I've been doing! Shoveling/loading soil is exhausting! I had 10 yards of dirt that we moved from my our driveway into our backyard and I almost through my back out getting 1/2 a yard of compost into my Honda civic. It is so much heavier than it looks! I least once you build the new beds, they will only need topped off in the future.

    naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan, thanks for the bean info... Was thrilled I didn't have to throw all those mature romano beans out (I do not need 100s of seeds). Next year I will stagger my plantings so I don't get them all at once. There is so much to learn! Compared to most of my friends/neighbors, I am the "expert" gardner, but I know I really am just getting started!

    RD Texas, that is what I have been using the last few days (wish I has been using it earlier). Everyday I've been vacuuming the leaves I see that are covered (Now the neighbors really think I'm nuts!) and spraying with a diluted neem oil/dish liquid mixture. I also have some yellow sticky traps. It is definitely helping, but spraying the underside of every single leaf is impossible and the neem oil only seems to last 12-24 hours before the leaf is reinvested. Even my basil and marigolds are infested (and they are supposed to repel them!). I'm hoping that if I keep this up for the next few days and then unleash the ladybugs, it will be ok.

    Hope everyone enjoys their holiday!

  • naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan

    Len, It makes sense that eating full beans without much cooking would result in problems. Mature bean seeds have high lectin levels and that can cause problems if they are not well cooked to break down most of the lectins. It can also be a problem if people cook dried beans in a crock pot at lower than boiling temps. I would think that your beans would have had very chewy, maybe even tough seeds, if not well cooked. Not quite the same as crunchy immature pods.

    Lectins are one of the reasons I still prefer to do an overnight or longer soak of dried beans before cooking. And it's a reason I (the usual cook-it-from-scratch person) don't mind buying commercially canned "dried" beans since the high pressure used in canning them results in higher temps that destroy more of the lectins.

    I hope those you shared beans with are recovered and feeling okay soon.

  • RD Texas

    Robin, here is a pretty good article. https://m.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-the-Whitefly

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa


    With all the tomatoes you grow I'm wondering if you grow the tomatoes to supply SSE with seeds????

  • cindy_7

    No, John. I don't grow enough of one variety to supply seeds. I usually only have one or two of any varieties for seed saving. I just supply a chef with tomatoes for seafood! Works for me and him. I just love seafood.

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa


    I think it's easier to dig in amendments than to fill a raised bed. Think of it this way. After I turned over my clay twice it was fluffed up maybe 8 inches high. If I fill a 24" high raised bed up digging at least twice as much dirt. Assuming my spade gets down about a foot. But I figure it's easier to turn over a spade full of dirt than it is to lift it into and out of a wheelbarrow twice. But then they suggest loosening up the native soil under your raised bed.


    I'm still working on my mower. Can't get the hydraulic pump belt over the last pulley. Started out I couldn't move the idler pulley to relax the tension on the spring. Then I went to buy a 12"pry bar, looks like a bent screwdriver to me. With that I could move the idler but couldn't thread the belt. I got the pry bar from the local auto supply store, as a free rental. I notice that with that I can relax the idler so far that it butts up against the other hydraulic pumps pulley. No way to go farther. So I broke out the heavyweights, my neighbor. He can't thread it either. He's got enuf power to pull the spring without the pry bar. Recheck the belt length, remeasured the old belt. DW swears I measured the new one. The old belt might have stretched, but it didn't shrink!

  • Robin Morris

    Thanks Richard! It is reassuring to see that I am doing everything in those articles. Good news: today there was about an 90% reduction in flies from two days ago! Now I just need my ladybugs and lacewig eggs to arrive for long term management while I'm out of town. I just hope my fruit trees recover. My fig, muscadines, and pomegranates are very unhappy, but my bananas, avocado, sapote, and guavas didn't even seem to notice even though they definitely were infested. Whatever kind of whiteflies these are, they don't really like the citrus or passion fruit at least. The pepper suffered the worse, but they are mostly done for the season, so if they don't recover so be it.

    John, I agree it is way easier to just amend. I built some raised beds around our new deck for aesthetic/privacy reasons. It was so much work! Don't plan on doing that again anytime soon.

  • Jamie

    The Kratky seedlings are doing well. The lids are a bit uneven and the water level is just below one of the net cups. I saw a little root poking through and going into the nutrient solution. The seeings are getting their first true leaves now.

  • cindy_7

    Looks like the projected path of Hurricane Dorian is changing. Now they think that it will come up the east coast and be near South Carolina next Thursday. Late Wednesday we have a cold front predicted and that may just steer the storm away from land, hopefully.

  • Jamie

    Let’s hope so, Cindy.

    We got the rest of the raised beds cleaned up for fall today. We also put compost onto 4 of them. 3 bags of Black Kow on a couple and 2 bags each of a blend of cotton burr, humus, and chicken manure on the other two. we will use our homemade compost on the other three.

    It was a pleasant, sunny morning but stated to get hot around noon when we finished.

  • Jamie

    a couple of folks asked about crop rotation on a home scale recently. Here’s some info from Huw Richards. He’s young, but has a lot of experience and success. I hadn’t thought about year-round gardening as being a form a rotation, haha,


  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    Thanks Jamie...I'm sold on not rotating except for simple stuff like swapping beans and tomatoes.

  • cindy_7

    Went to Trader Joe's today and picked up some eggplant fruit. I can honestly say that these are the mildest and sweetest eggplant that I have ever tasted. No bitterness at all. Planning to grow this one next year for sure. Variety: Listada De Gandia.

  • Jamie

    Nice! How large are they, Cindy?

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa

    I replaced the belt on my mower today. It was easy, buy the correct belt, start over"; 2 hours and done. Well I still want to drain the hydraulic fluid and replace the filter. I replaced the belt myself. My neighbor came over early in the morning and worked on it some more and made the flat statement. Wrong Belt! I had fed the manufacturers number into the Bay and one sellers listing said that PN was a 52 inch belt. The one I bought today measured 52 3/4. The interim belt measures 52", what I asked for at the auto parts store. Can't take it back.

    Had BLT's for dinner tonight.

    I swear by crop rotation. Either that or garden rotation. Only problem with rotation is you need 3 or 4 times the space of your largest crop. I fenced in a 34' x 64' space this year and amended about 450 sq ft. A lot of the space is taken up by fruit trees already there. I would say this has been my best year since I started having Septoria/blight about 8 years ago. Out of 25 tomato plants 2 have the problem. The Mortgage Lifter had the problem early on, then I thought it had shucked off the problem. Now it's only on the north side of the plant. The Belgium Gigant only started showing the problem about the time it started ripening. I've harvested about a dozen huge tomatoes off that plant in the last week or so. Re-enforces my theory that the problem is triggered by the ripening process.... maybe.

    So I have 23 plants without the problem. I never used any product on the tomatoes, no insecticides, fungicides, herbicides fertilizers. I amended the soil with mushroom manure, wood ash, lime and a tablespoon of bone meal for each plant. I haven't trimmed a single plant, even the ones showing the problem. I did water only the base of the plant with a garden hose, maybe a half dozen times. The rest of the watering was via rain.

    Another benefit of my huge space is 43 potato plants. I never grew them for space reasons. I would never grow potatoes without rotating. It cost me $43 for seed potatoes. I'd like to plant future crops with seed from the previous years production. Not rotating is just asking for trouble.

    Jamie thanked John D Zn6a PIT Pa
  • cindy_7

    Jamie - About 5" across and 6 or 7 inches long. A very nice eggplant. I would measure it but I already cut it up and am roasting it.

    I remember watching a cooking episode on PBS Create years ago where Lidia Bastianich said that this was her favorite eggplant. I can see why.

    Jamie thanked cindy_7
  • 14tomatoes_md_7a

    Here you go Cindy -- just add it to your cart.


  • cindy_7

    Tony - I already did! Plus, I saved seeds from the two that I bought.

  • cindy_7

    Jamie - New thread tomorrow?

  • Jamie

    Yep! It’s hard to believe August is over!

  • Jamie

    I made this tonight With the green tomatoes we pulled off the vines today.

    Its pretty good. I did add a dash of dry sherry to the onions after I caramelized them.

    . https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/parmesan-crusted-green-tomato-gratin

  • cindy_7

    Looks delicious. Hope to make it once the peak of the tomato harvest is over here.

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268