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Garden Update ~ 7/30 ~ Braiding onions & Please send rain

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My kids and I packed up the van on Sunday and drove down to Central Missouri to spend some time with my parents. My two oldest kiddos are attending a fine arts camp at the college I teach at this week, and I was looking forward to hanging out with my mom and helping them with their garden.

My garden is looking pretty good still. I officially lost the battle with the squash bugs. I pulled out all of my squash plants except one, and it’s not far behind. That’s fine with me, I guess. I have a fridge full of squash and I’m sick to death of it. I would have liked more zucchini, though!

Here is but a bit of the bounty I got out of my garden last week.

blankI picked 5 / 8 of my cabbages. The others were a bit small so I left them to grow a tad bigger. Two friends gave me cucumbers and I hope to can pickles with them at my Mom’s house this week. I also dug up the last of my beets and tried to make beet chips. They were nasty, but the beets sure are pretty. I might try to grow them again since I don’t have any more left. Maybe pickled beets would be better! 😉 Cheery tomatoes, a last squash, and the secondary heads of broccoli also came out of my garden last week. Let’s not forget kale. Oh no. And gorgeous swiss chard – which I also have no idea what to do with!

blankWe were busy last week braiding onions – something I have never tried to do before. I am quite proud of my onion crop. The first year I tried to grow onions, I didn’t really get much. But this year I did! Braiding them wasn’t that hard, but it did make a nice mess! I followed the tutorial here. I didn’t like having to click through to new pictures and then click back and forth between steps, so maybe I will have to make my own onion braiding tutorial one of these days! But I love the way they look! Next year, I’m growing 400 onions instead of 100. 😉

While my bounty is still quite good, I am officially worried about my garden. It’s been really, really hot. We’ve had next to no rain. And well water just isn’t as good at keeping my garden happy. The local crops are mixed – some still look good and some are totally fried.

I was really hit with the severity of the weather on my way south to my parents’ house. The crops look absolutely terrible. I’d say, at least 80% of the corn I saw is just fried. Totally done. As in, there will be no crop to harvest.

My dad’s garden, which looked so nice only 6 short weeks ago, is also done. I can’t believe what a difference 6 weeks make. May 7th was the last somewhat significant rainfall they’ve had. Since that time, they’ve only had 3 inches of rain – that’s 3 inches in 84 days. The bad thing about that, is each rain wasn’t big enough to make any difference. Normal rainfall for that time period is 10 -12 inches, according to my dad. They’ve had many, many hot and windy days (more than 20 days of 100 degrees + temps ~ and it’s not even August yet). My 91 year old grandmother says she can’t remember a hotter summer. Ever.

blankHere are pictures of my Dad’s strawberries – which he has watered – and they’re still dead. And other pictures of the rest of his garden. Dead squash plants. Dead corn. Dead beans. Dead. My father in law (a traditional Iowan corn and soybean farmer) says rich soil can help plants withstand droughts. But I’m guessing nothing but weeds can tolerate the terrible weather they’ve had this summer in Central Missouri.

blankThese are pictures of my Dad’s dead corn and dead dill. The upper right hand picture is of a corn cob with no corn. It never pollinated because it was so hot. This is what most of the field corn looked like on my drive down to their house. I’m especially bummed because I forgot to bring my own fresh dill for the pickles I want to make. I have some. I just didn’t consider that they wouldn’t!

blankAnd here is the dried up pond just outside my Dad’s property. I’ve never seen it like this. They’ve lived here over 20 years. And the last picture is of his super thirsty tomatoes, which he has also been watering. They just can’t produce in this weather.

It really makes me sad. In 20 years, I have never seen the countryside look like it does right now. It’s not even August yet, and the ground looks worse now than it usually does after the hottest August.

Frankly, it scares me. I’m not normally a doomsdayer, but I’m building up my food stockpile. I hope the areas of the country that need rain get a lot really soon. But for most gardens and farms {like my dad’s}, it’s simply too late. 🙁

Please send rain!

Linking up: Tuesday Garden Party;

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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long time green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.


  1. blanksandi fisher says

    I chop up tomatoes and freeze them for winter use. This year I have an overabundance of cherry tomatoes. Has anyone frozen them and what are some hints. I don’t use them for sauce as the skin ratio is too much.
    I love this site with the information and pictures of plants and people! Comments from readers have been great as well.
    Thanks, Sandi

  2. blankzentMRS says

    I can’t believe the difference in just 6 weeks! I feel terrible for everyone who lives in those drought areas.

    I do love your onion braids though!

  3. blankEmily says

    The onions are gorgeous I must say! But the garden is horrible! It’s been hot here too, my starters didn’t even have a chance

  4. blankCara Ivey says

    Not sure if you ever found ways to use up kale, I found a soup recipe we LOVE (yes even in this hot weather) and it uses 2 bunches of kale!!

    Suate 1 chopped onion, TONS of garlic ( 8-12 cloves), and 2 sliced leeks. Get it nice and soft. Add 2 bunches of chopped kale, sprinkle with nutmeg and saute another 5 minutes . Add 2 quarts chicken stock and 8 cups water. Bring to a simmer.
    Meanwhile make up some simple meatballs. I used 2 lbs. Turkey, onion, garlic, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
    Once simmering add 8 chopped, unpeeled russet potatoes. Drop in meatball mixture 1 tbls. at a time . I added an old parmesan rind to mine. If you dont have one sprikle finished soup with parm.
    Simmer until potatoes are soft and meatballs cooked through. Done! Season with salt and pepper to taste of course…

    I LOVED this, my kids LOVED it, and Jon (my “I hate soup man”) liked it too!! We ate it for DAYS!! Makes tons, use a huge pot and freeze the rest for fall!

  5. blankApril Decheine says

    I am heading out to the garden today to pull up the zucchini and squash plants and add some fall plantings in. Your cabbage looks great, this is my first year growing cabbage, they not folding into little balls LOL. I am so tired of the heat here myself!

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