A month of Harvest Mondays and goodbye possums

Ack, I haven’t done a Harvest Monday blog post since July 4.  It’s catch-up time.

My plot at the Huntington Beach Community Garden in mid-July

Because of all of the raiding of our garden and fruit trees this year, I’ve been more relentless recently in setting our live trap and removing the larger night critters from the home garden. I’ve trapped and released three opossums in as many weeks.

This female opossum is carrying young in her pouch. Note the bulge.

And off she runs, to happily raise her babies in the wilds of Huntington Central Park, not in my vegetable garden.

We also called Orange County Vector Control, and had them leave three bait traps for rats. I plan to set some snap traps soon as well. The rats are running rampant and eating whatever the possums don’t.

My home garden isn’t the only thing being depredated. The bunny continues to plague my community garden plot. It has now chewed 11 holes in the fence. It chews them faster than I patch them. Gotta put up a sturdier fence. Meanwhile, I don’t dare plant anything new at the community garden because the bunny loves new sprouts of anything.

But I can plant at home. And I did indeed plant something–yams. Out of the 18 yams that I planted (from yams that I grew last year that were too small to eat), 16 have sent up sprouts and are turning into thriving vines. I’m hoping that the first pot will be ready to harvest by Thanksgiving.

And where am I growing them? In my driveway! I use fabric Grow Pots, and keep using the potting soil over and over. I just add more EB Stone Sure Start fertilizer. So far I’ve harvested 2 and 3 crops of potatoes of various kinds (Blue, Gold, Russet, German Butterball and yams) out of the grow pots. I get about three pounds of organic potatoes per harvest per pot, nothing like the 50 lbs that the ads claim. Maybe I need more fertilizer?!?!?!?

My 3-year-old granddaughter Megan harvested the last batch of potatoes. She loved digging in the loose potting soil with her hands. She is quite the little gardener and loves picking and eating tomatoes, snow peas, sugar snap peas and even kale.

A mini Red Kuri winter squash from a seed mix from Cook's Garden

Here’s my harvest for the last three weeks of July.

Week ending July 10

FRUIT

0.5 oz Blueberries

0.5 oz Blackberries

5 oz Lemon, Meyer

4 oz Limes

12 oz  Orange, Navel

Subtotal Fruit 1 lb 6 oz

VEGETABLES

3 oz Bell Pepper

12 oz Cucumber

11 oz Green Beans, Blue Lake and Golden Wax

5 oz Green Onion

4 oz Herbs (mint and parsley)

3 oz Peas, Sugar Snap

8 oz Squash, Summer

3 lbs Tomatoes

Subtotal Vegetables 7 lbs 14 oz

Week Ending July 17

FRUIT

Zip, Zero, Nada

VEGETABLES

15 lbs Beet (won 2nd prize at OC Fair for largest beet)

8 oz Bell Pepper

11 oz Cucumber

2 oz Green Onion

2 lbs 14 oz Onions, Red (won 3rd prize at OC Fair)

2 oz Peas, Sugar Snap

8 oz Squash, Summer

1 lb Squash, Winter

3 lb 1.5 oz Tomatoes

Subtotal Vegetables 8 lbs 14.5 oz

Week ending July 24

FRUIT

12 oz Lemon, Meyer

1 lb 12 oz Oranges, Navel

12 oz Peaches

Subtotal 3 lbs 4 oz

VEGETABLES

10 oz Chard

6 oz Eggplant, Japanese

1 lb 12 oz Pumpkin, Amish Pie

1 lb 4 oz Tomatoes

Subtotal Vegetables 4 lbs

Week Ending July 31

FRUIT

Big Fat Zero

VEGETABLES

10 oz Bell Pepper

3 lbs 10 oz Corn (first of harvest, dwarfed and riddled with corn borers– it took three little ears to make a single serving)

6 oz Cucumber

1 lb Eggplant, Japanese

2 oz Mizuna (took 2nd Place at OC Fair)

6 lbs 3 oz Onions

6 oz Radish, White Icicle (took 2nd Place at OC Fair)

4 lbs 12 oz Pumpkin, Amish Pie

2 lbs 11 oz Squash, Winter (Red Kuri)

2 lbs 8 oz Squash, Winter (mini Blue Hubbard)

2 lbs 12 oz Tomatoes

Subtotal Vegetables 25 WHOPPING lbs

TOTAL FRUIT, 3 weeks: 4 lbs 10 oz

TOTAL VEGETABLES, 3 weeks: 45 lbs 12 oz

TOTAL PRODUCE, 3 weeks: 50 lbs 6 oz plus eggs (I lost count of eggs in July, but only one hen is laying right now, so about a dozen and a half eggs)

A mini Blue Hubbard nearing harvest readiness. These were from a mix of winter squash seeds from Cook's Garden

Yippee, bring on August! Visit Daphne’s Dandelions if you have a harvest to report.

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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12 Responses to A month of Harvest Mondays and goodbye possums

  1. Villager says:

    I feel your pain with the rabbits. They chew holes in our plastic deer fencing too. I had to run chicken wire around the bottom, in addition to the fencing.

    • Villager, I had a great fence that kept out the rabbits. It’s metal and called rabbit fencing, with narrower holes at the bottom. Edison made us remove all metal fencing, even vinyl coated metal. Now the rabbits are in my garden all the time. Very frustrating. At least I don’t have to deal with DEER!

  2. mac says:

    Good to see your garden again.
    The mini hubbard squash look so cute.

  3. You have had some great harvests! Congrats on your ribbons at the fair! The is so nice that your granddaughter enjoys being in the garden too 🙂

  4. Brenda K says:

    Fearsome looking opossum there! I wonder if that’s the type of critter that’s been devouring my veggies before they’re even ripe yet, or if the rats have moved out from under the house and are not infesting my wine barrel garden out back?? Gotta do something….

    My garden (and blog) have suffered total neglect this summer (pre-empted by a massive household demolition project), and ironically, the only thing that’s done well out front are a few baby squash seedlings a neighbor gave me (we don’t have any common language, so I couldn’t ask her what kind it was) that I just tucked into a tiny still-open spot that doesn’t get a whole lot of sun since I was totally out of space by then. Now that it has begun producing squashes, I first thought they might be butternuts, but from your photo of the hubbard, the immature squash look sort of like that too. Now they’re vigorously climbing up the guava tree!

    • Brenda, the guy from Vector Control told us that raccoons have been a major problem this year. It’s hard being an urban gardener. Sounds like your squash should be used as winter squash. Good luck.

  5. Brenda K says:

    Raccoons? Yikes! I was almost sure I saw a black shadowy thing about the size of a rat go racing across the tomato/squash trellis out back when we came home from a gig around midnight last night….

    You’re right about the difficulties of urban gardening – especially with predation by biped invaders. I almost wished we didn’t have gun control laws when I noticed that our neighbors (or someone who frequents our street) were eating our mandarin oranges before they were even completely ripe and leaving the empty peels right on the garden wall! And somebody just helped themselves to the last of my big, ripe poblano chiles that I was going to use to make chile relleno….

    • Oh, Brenda, that is so disheartening when PEOPLE take your produce. I can understand the animals because they don’t understand ownership, but for people that’s inexcusable. And if it raced, it was probably a rat. I found one drowned in our back yard this morning. It fell into a water bucket and couldn’t get out. One down, a gazillion to go!

  6. Daphne says:

    Possums eat the fruit out of trees? Ack. We do have possums nearby but they haven never touched my garden. I can only hope they are gone before my fruit trees start to bear.

    • Sadly, Daphne, they do indeed eat the fruit out of trees. I’ve now trapped four opossums in four weeks. I haven’t even been setting out the trap very often. But each time I do, SNAP, another live-caught possum. It isn’t the same one over and over, its a new one each time. We’re overrun with them.

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