Wishetwurra Farm, August 2014 Overview

There ain’t been much heat this summer. Our tomatoes have been backwards, here it is the first week in August, and from a dozen and a half otherwise happy and healthy tomato plants, we’ve not yet harvested four pounds of ripe tomatoes. The are lots of tomatoes on the plants, and of those, many have started turning whitish, a sign of ripening, but the usual summer “red tide” of tomatoes has not yet begun. Other crops have not been backwards, we’ve had the earliest, most prolific summer squash season in years, if not ever. Two of the three varieties of corn in the “milpa” are taller than the proverbial elephant’s eye, assuming that the eye of the average elephant is eight feet two inches. We’ve had some nights in the sixties, in the low sixties, up here in the Mill Hill piedmont. Out in the flats of the outwash plain, where cold air drains from the hills, night temperature have approached fifty on a number of occasions. At last the ground is well watered, for we’ve had some decent rains of late. We know this, because the weeds, big fans of surface moisture, are growing like crazy.

As usual, The Three Views: The North.


Next to the fence outside, a few remnant currants straggle on their strigs. The catbirds will finish them off, if they ever run out of blueberries. Inside the fence, asparagus rises high. The new roots, put in gaps between old clumps, are taking hold nicely. Could it be that the nine new inches of horse pucky are taking effect? The “bare” patches of earth with boards down their middles are where next winter’s carrots were planted a few weeks ago. The plants are there, but too small to be seen in this photo. Dark green mound in the middle is one of the rows of tomatoes, the main crop ones. The distant framework is the new blueberry cage, made to replace the one destroyed by last winter’s snow loads.

The Middle.


Near the fence are summer leeks. Paths between raised beds are getting filled with manure/shavings mixture. Worms like to hang out there. So do weeds, dammit. Then come the new strawberries, below them mixed groups of everything from carrots and fennel to flowers. The triangular area filled with squash leaves is where we hope we’ll harvest an abundance of winter squash and pumpkins. Below the squash are peppers, celeriac, edamame, and herbs. Last bed, near far fence, is onionlandia.

The South.


Much of what’s here has been described in “The Middle”. The far end, behind the inner posts that support another group of tomatoes, is the “milpa” where the corn, elephant-eye-high and taller, is in full tassel.

So much for the view from on high, from the Herbert Poindexter Memorial Ladder. Let’s go down to earth, to see some of what’s happening, from up close. Set camera to “macro”….


Kubocha type japanese winter squash, bulking up.

The flowers have been fabulous.


I’ve always been fond of small flowers. I love these wee Mexican zinnias, amongst cosmos stems and marigolds.

By late summer, butterflies discover the Eden of Wishetwurra farm, and are a constant presence in the garden.


Taking a rest to catch some warmth, in between sips.

Butterflies are not the only critters.


I think this is what’s called a “scorpion fly”.

The last planting of summer squash is coming along.


New hill of squash, safe for now in a screened playpen. Without the shelter, cucumber beetles and squash bugs would be partying down on these babies.

Here come the ‘maters!


Full summer’s harbingers, from green, to white to coloring-up to almost-ripe.

A picture for Peter Piper.


A crop of heat, for our friend Jorge.

Teenage hollyhocks.


Started from seed this spring, pink powderpuff hollyhock flowers in their first blooming. The caterpillar in the top blossom likes ’em, too.



No disaster, this first blossom is pretty in pink.

A yellow Benary’s Giant Zinnia.


Origin of YELLOW Middle English yelwe, yelow, from Old English geolu; akin to Old High German gelo yellow, Latin helvus light bay, Greek chlōros greenish yellow, Sanskrit hari yellowish First Known Use: before 12th century

And lastly, some “Ah!”.


Volunteers. The chickadees are messy when they strip the ripe seeds from the flowerheads, so there are always plenty of little sunflowers that pop up unbidden.

Ah! Sunflower!

You could go read Blake’s poem of that title, if you have the time.



One response to “Wishetwurra Farm, August 2014 Overview

  1. I’ll take that tomato. Though I’m happy to report that the farmer who comes to our parking lot on Tuesdays has some pretty fine tomatoes of his own. And corn. Ah, summer! In Baltimore, even.

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