Monday, August 25, 2014

NJ State Fair Cuteness Recap

At the beginning of August, we visited the old Sussex County Farm and Horse Show and of course I had to document the cuteness going on in the animal tents. 

I guess bunnies like pinecones!

This stack of bunnies were all set for judging. We saw some getting examined and scored by 4H officials. I'm guessing there's more to it than just being adorable, because competition was tight in that regard!

The chicks were doing their part too. We happened to walk by while some eggs were hatching. Ahhh, the miracle of life. 

They even look good when they grow up!

I never get tired of these quackers. I was happy to see that they've gained in popularity. Several afro-sporting ducks were being shown this year.

In addition to the classic farm personalities, several exhibitors brought the new kids on the block to the show. 

See that sign in the background? This isn't a zoo, folks!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cool August Nights

The kale never took a break this summer. It grew tender stems and leaves in June, it continued to leaf out under the sunflower long bean canopy in July, and now it's appreciating the cool August weather we've been having. Mao Mao and I are both very thankful for the greens that just keep going. 

My little melon is still growing. It hasn't made much progress since last week. Maybe all this sunshine will speed things up. 

A few carrots, a handful of tomatoes, and enough greens for a salad. Perfect!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ladies and Gents, We Have a Melon!

After many weeks of blossom profusion, one tiny melon has finally decided to take shape. It's about the size of a small plum as of this afternoon. This variety is a petite muskmelon, so I'm thinking it won't exceed grapefruit dimensions, and it should have a "netted" exterior just like a cantelope. One can only hope!

The Philadelphia Fish peppers are also taking off. I might try my hand at pickling with these guys. 

I did some major chopping in the garden earlier this week. People don't realize how ruthless gardening can be sometimes. At a certain point, plants that aren't performing well, have already put on their big show, are crowding out new things, or are just overstaying their welcome must be pulled out. Bye bye sunflowers, long beans, and massively bushy marigolds. It's time to let the eggplant, hot peppers, and fall lettuce have a turn!

Last week I pulled in a huge long bean harvest and I think we've all grown a little tired of them. It seemed like the plants were producing tougher pods so the decision wasn't a hard one. The kale however is still leafing out like crazy with tender, flavorful foliage. How about those carrots? I'm not impressed with the flavor of the Amarillos despite their reliability. They are nowhere as sweet as the orange type. And the volunteer bottleneck tomatoes are as sweet as can be. I'm definitely letting a few fall into the bed for next year. 

This week I got two snow white, tender and delicious eggplant off a plant that's been overcrowded since June. I did most of my hacking in hopes that the plant will put on a couple more performances before it gets too cold. Speaking of cold, it's been getting pretty chilly at night here and I'm wondering if we're going to have an early fall. That won't be so great for the eggplant and peppers but the leafy stuff might love it. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Vegetable Exhibit at the Fair

Last weekend we spent the day at the New Jersey State Fair out in Sussex County, NJ. One of the highlights for me each year at the event is the gardening pavilion. Of course they have a zucchini contest for those forgotten fruits that balloon on the vine. I'm more interested in seeing different gardeners' bounty though. 

This lovely basket received a blue ribbon.  It showcases an impressive variety of veg grown in a home garden. We hit the fair during the first weekend this year so although that kohlrabi is already looking a little limp in the leaf, everything on display was pretty perky. 

This huge eggplant plant blew my socks off. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the thing had to be at least 4' tall and was covered with blossoms and tiny white eggplants. 

There are several different competitions in the garden tent. I think the gist of this one was to create a container garden in an unconventional container. I like the idea of possible seeing the root growth in this fish tank planter. 

This cooler tomato looks really happy so something about the container must be working. 

We had a great day with our 5yo niece in tow. I might do an animal post next from the fair!!