Yep, it’s raining again. (At least our orchard, grapes, and berry patch will go into the winter well-watered!) Luckily, we have our front porch. I’ve started shelling our corn varieties, having gotten the Painted Mountain well started with about five pounds done and today it’ll be the Bear Island Chippewa. The Bear Island Chippewa is a lot like Painted Mountain but has thicker cobs and fatter kernels. As it’s a Northern Minnesota Native corn, it’s also very early for a larger corn. We really love it. It’s basically a flour corn but can be eaten as “green corn” when just in the milk stage. (Not as sweet as sweet corn but has a good, old-timey corn taste.) Then I’ll move on to the Seneca Round Nose. I really like this new-to-us old Native corn! Big, long cobs with nice fat kernels. And the strongest roots of any corn I’ve seen growing.


I just seeded a big Atlantic Giant pumpkin. (Big for us, this year.) No, it didn’t weigh over a ton as the current recordholder did. But, hey, we didn’t baby it or feed it a scientific diet. It did weigh 100 pounds, though and had VERY thick meat! David took it home for a Halloween Jack o’ lantern and I kept the seeds. I really like those giant pumpkins. — they’re so much fun to grow. Maybe some day I’ll get a HUGE one.



I’ve got more carrots to get in. My friend Jeri only took one five-gallon bucket full and there’s still about two more buckets still growing in the garden. Plus the ones we’ll store in the basement in a cooler. Oh well, we’re so grateful for such a good growing year! Did all of you have one too? I’d love to hear what you all got harvested and put up. — Jackie


  1. Rick,

    Glad your garden turned out well, too! Hey, thanks so much for sending us those beautiful sweet potatoes!!! I will sprout several and plant them in our big hoop house. I was wondering what I should plant in there. We put peppers in there this year but ended up with an over-abundance of peppers. But we gave a lot away and I used the rest. But next year, it’s Pastor Rick’s lovely sweet potatoes! Wow.
    Yeah, deer are a problem. We finally gave up and fenced all our growing spaces; gardens, berry patch and orchard. Over the years I’m sure I spent more on sprays and dusts than the 6′ fence cost!

  2. Nancy,

    Yeah, my parsnips looked strange too; combination of lots of water and manure. Oh well. I’m glad your class got to pick some. I’ll bet they loved that!

  3. Joyce,

    Glad to hear your garden was a big success this year. Ours was too, except for fruits (late hard frost!) and cauliflower (too hot to head properly). I, too, love Sun Sugar. I would sure like to breed that tomato back from hybrid to open pollinated. Hmmm maybe I’ll give it a try. It does make yummy sauce and tomato preserves. I LOVE trying new things. We do it every year. This year we trialed fifty new-to-us tomatoes! Okay, I’m an addict!

  4. Ellendra,

    I haven’t heard of Magic Manna corn. I’ll have to check it out. In New Mexico we had trouble with our sunflowers blowing over and I cured that by driving in steel T posts every 15 feet or so and running a hay string along it the entire row of sunflowers. Then when the sunflowers get up shoulder high, be sure to tuck them on the up-wind side of the string. You can even gently tie the stalks to the horizontal string. Then let the wind blow!
    Keep us posted on your pumpkin breeding project. Isn’t developing your own varieties fun?

  5. Cindy,

    We use the corn for grinding into cornmeal and flour. The Seneca Roundnose can also be used for roasting ears when first in the milk stage for old-time corn-flavor. It does get tough quickly so you have to be on your toes. It does make great cornmeal!

    While I sure have made pumpkin pie from Atlantic Giant pumpkins, I have to be honest with you and say that others such as Winter Luxury and Hopi Pale Grey squash make better pies by far.

    We’re getting ready for winter too; never quite ready, but less “unready”.

  6. Anna,

    I’m so sorry to hear your husband passed away. But I’m also happy to hear your garden did so well in spite of all your trials. From experience, I know that helps you feel a little better. It’s neat that you’ve had no frost yet. Our fall has been pretty warm too, although we have had quite a few days of freezing sprinkled in between.

  7. Diana,
    Sorry to hear you had a dismal growing year. That happens. Which is why I kind of snicker when preppers who don’t garden store their “survival” seeds and say if TSHIF they’ll till up their backyard and eat from their garden. Good luck with that if they have a year like yours. Hey, it happens to all of us. Better luck next year. Keep trying!

  8. Over all we had a great garden. It was cold and wet in the spring and some crops had to be replanted. My tomatoes were LARGE and abundant.Green beans rotted and only about 40 seeds grew from a planting of a pound. I was tempted to compost them and replant, but decided to see what they would do spaced out so much…they produced crop after crop They just kept putting out new leaves and blossoms ( I hand picked the bean beetles) and I canned plenty of green beans and ate many fresh for suppers. I didn’t know so few plants could be that productive. After the late August flush of beans, I did compost those plants which were trying to grow and bloom again. The Fordhook lima beans were pretty much a failure thanks to a voracious groundhog and a hungry doe and fawn deer, the three of whom also loved the sweet potato vines. Despite critters the sweets were lovely, but about half of the crop were cracked from unusually heavy late summer rains (7 inches in 1 week) and some of the cracked ones rotted in the ground and had a consistency like huge globs of orange toothpaste only not as pleasant to smell.Those deer also loved the young apple trees. I went through a lot of bags of blood meal trying to dampen their appetites. I love my garden and wish we could plant a new one tomorrow….Alas winter interferes with that desire.

  9. Oh, I forgot to mention pumpkins! My pumpkin-breeding project is starting to show some progress. I was only able to grow 2 plants this year, but they produce 8 pumpkins each, for a total of 16! I baked up one of each last night. They both had hull-less seeds, but with one the seeds were big and tender, while the others were small and fibrous. The flesh of one was sweet, the other had kind of a yucky taste. But, this is the first time they all were hull-less, so I’m getting closer!

    My goal is a super-productive, disease-resistant, sweet-tasting pie pumpkin with tender hull-less seeds. I haven’t tested the disease-resistance, but I have one plant that met all the other requirements this year! Now I just have to refine it.

  10. My carrots are strange shaped but for the first time I have them. I planted in a very large tractor tire and got lots of carrots. My Sunday school class came and got some as I was gone to a fair or several fairs when I needed to be canning. Also lots of beets. SS class got some of them also. But some left to spice and glazed carrots. YUM!!!

  11. Everything except the beets & sprouts did really well. Our fruit trees were loaded – made lots of apple cider & sauce & wild plum sauce. The wild plums grow along my driveway too – I threw the pits out there 30 years ago. This is the 2nd year without late blight on the tomatoes – also the 2nd year using Serenade on them. Using my Sauce Master (thanks Jackie) I canned up a lot of thick Sun Sugar tomato sauce. I use it for a pizza sauce – very intense tomato taste (summer in the middle of winter) I had to put bird netting over my sweet corn as the birds kept pulling it up but still got a decent crop from the 2nd planting. I put in Winter Luxury Pumpkin for the first time – they do make a great pie. I’ll grow them again next year. One of the fun things about gardening is that there’s always something new to learn about & to plant.

  12. Sunflowers, flour corn, and garlic all did well. Potatoes were so-so, tomatoes barely produced enough to eat fresh, and cucumbers never sprouted.

    I’ve fallen in love with Magic Manna flour corn. Each ear is a solid color, but it could be any one of half a dozen colors, and since each color has a slightly different flavor, that gives you lots of variety from a single patch. It’s a descendent of Painted Mountain, developed by someone who thought each color tasted best a different way, but who didn’t want to pick individual kernels all day.

    This is the first year I’ve had enough of it to taste-test. I’m still expanding my seed supply. But, I can tell you the red ones make the best corn muffins I’ve ever tried, and the brown ones make a fine gravy!

    I’m still hunting for the best sunflower to suit my needs. I eat a lot of sunflower seeds, so it has to be productive. And, because of the strong winds at my land, I’d like it to stay around5-6 feet tall. This year I grew Hopi Black Dye sunflower, which according to the description was supposed to be that height, but it ended up growing twice that tall and getting blown over. Of course, once it’s laying down, the rodents have a field day because they can eat the seeds without climbing.

    I’m still threshing out sunflower heads, so i don’t have any numbers yet, but a 10×10 patch filled several grocery bags, even with the rodents eating some!

  13. Hi Jackie, So what do you use that corn for? I am not familiar with these types of corn. Would I make bread with them?

    That is one big pumpkin! Does that big of a pumpkin have enough flavor for good pies? I always have used the smaller ones.

    I really like looking at all of your pictures of your garden bounty! It inspires me to keep trying.

    We had irregular weather here in central WI this past summer. Lots of dry and up and down temps. Many things did really well, like potatoes, some tomatoes, peppers and a bumper crop of fall raspberries. Other things were so, so. I am way behind getting ready for winter so still need to seed cover crop.

  14. I had a decent year, but with dh being in and out of hospital, nursing home and passing away I wasn’t able to process a large percentage of my crop. The potatoes were only fair, sweet potatoes poor (only 3 out of 11 hills survived), but the tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, green beans and pinto beans were very productive. I gave most away but that was okay too. What is most amazing is we still have not had a freeze. I can’t recall another year when we’ve gone this late. I picked lettuce and a bouquet of flowers this week! I think we almost always have frost shortly after 9/15 and almost always before 10/15.

  15. My garden was pathetic this year. Our growing season here in Colorado Springs is so short anyway and we had rain all but 2 days in May so planting was delayed and then nothing seemed to grow well. Fortunately I didn’t plant all of my Hopi Pale Gray seeds as I didn’t get anything from what I planted. I got a few tomatoes, summer squash and Dragon Tongue beans and am hoping for a better year next year.

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