It seems that everything is coming ripe at the same time this year. Add our seed business, requiring hundreds of varieties of seeds which need harvesting and drying, and then the canning that goes with harvest, and wow! Our spare time is spent sleeping.

Most of the Seneca Round Nose corn is more than a foot long.

I’ve been madly hand harvesting our beans in between rains. It’s best to get them in dry but “not wet” sometimes has to do. And the corn is ready to pull for seed. Of course we like to wait till it dries on the stalk, but this year “ideal” doesn’t fly as the hordes of various blackbirds are attacking our gardens. If we waited until the stalks dried down there wouldn’t be any corn! We’re amazed by the corn harvest despite the blackbirds. Today we pulled in buckets full of Seneca Sunrise (Will’s sweet corn) and lots of Bear Island Chippewa (our ancient flour corn). Yep, the birds did peck some of the cobs, but there’s still plenty for seed and cornmeal. This morning I went to the Central garden and got two big buckets of Seneca Round Nose, one of the biggest heirloom Native corns I’ve ever seen. The cobs this year are from 12 inches to 14 inches long. I can’t wait to make some hominy and cornmeal.

The Seneca Sunrise sweet corn is great this year. Many cobs are 9 inches long with 15 rows!
We’re having to harvest the Bear Island Chippewa early before the blackbirds eat it all.

The tomato harvest also continues with dozens more varieties getting ripe at once. One of our new favorites is Chocolate Stripes, a gorgeous brick red and green slicer which was given to me by a new friend and tomato seed saver, Al Anderson. (Al offers 1,500 varieties of tomatoes in the Seed Saver’s Yearbook.) Not only is this tomato beautiful and productive but one of the very best tomatoes we’ve ever eaten. And that’s saying a lot!

Al Anderson bred a winning tomato in Chocolate Stripes.

— Jackie


  1. Bonnie Martin Norman: for your powdery and downy mildew and snow mold, the non-toxic cure (not just a treatment) is potassium bicarbonate (NOT sodium bicarbonate or baking soda) which you can get in a drug store or WalMart pharmacy and mix with a tiny bit of dish soap, horticultural oil and water to spray your plants. The big difference with potassium bicarbonate is that it kills the mildew spores on contact. It works on most fungi. Wet plants thoroughly about once a week, starting as soon as you see mildew signs. Potassium bicarbonate will kill a very active infection or you can use it as a preventative. You will save your plants. Remember not to touch uninfected plants with hands or clothes. You can buy a potassium bicarbonate ready to use solution under the brand names Kaligreen, Armicarb 100 and Milstop.

  2. Oops, I just noticed the captions on the first two corn photos got switched around. The yellow corn is Seneca Sunrise; the white corn is Seneca Round Nose.

  3. Great looking produce, Miss J. Here in western Maine, our gardens are all finished. We had 3 frosts last week. It’s warm again for now but the garden is done. We had such a short growing season this year. I couldn’t even get the beans to give me seed. Going to hoops for next year. So looking forward to it :-))

    • Eek! Three frosts??? We just escaped two by the hair on our chinny chin chins, and have been enjoying Indian summer.

  4. Love the way you and Will are busy all the time on the homestead. The corn and tomatoes look lovely and tasty also. I planted my fall garden and things are doing good. The Cherokee tomatoes came back and are in full blossom again. My kolirabi is trying but cabbage worms are at it and l just keep picking them off. You and Will inspire me to keep growing my own veggies in my raised beds by working your homestead. Love you all and keep on inspiring myself and others.

  5. Chocolate stripe has been my favorite for years! It is the perfect flavor ratio of acid to sweet, juice to meat. What a great tomato!

  6. Your corn is wonderful. The colored corn is very pretty!. I must give corn growing another try next year. Haven’t had a good harvest so quit growing. But now I am ready. I will poop the area for it this fall!!!

    I can’t wait for your catalog to come out. You have been showing a lot of interesting tomatoes to try!

    This week I am doing our grape harvest and juicing! Tastes awful good!

    Thank you for sharing!! Cindy

    • You’re welcome Cindy. We LOVE harvest season. It’s like Christmas every time we shuck an ear of corn or pop a pod of beans. Such blessings many folks will never understand.

  7. Wow, Jackie, it is so good to see that you have been getting good harvests from your gardens. We have fought this growing season with so many different weather anomalies we have all but about thrown in the towel, even for a fall garden. We are in COASTAL ALABAMA and been in a massive heatwave & drought since July. (Temps in mid to upper 90’s & low 100’s (F) with heat indexes of 105-125(F) and no measurable rain.) We got our summer rains early this year so most gardens dried up, burned up or didn’t get pollinated as the bee’s seemed to have disappeared. I had planted some Lantana to draw bee’s & butterflies to help pollinate BUT had no bee’s and the butterflies laid their eggs which made their larva (worms) that decimated my peppers & tomato’s & eggplants. Squash vine borers got our yellow summer squash (don’t know of anyone that got squash this year!). The heat & humidity have created diseases, powdery mildew so it has been one problem after another and only enough produce to have a meal or two but nothing to put back. We got a break in the excessive heat the past couple of days so now we fear (and reports we have gotten) that we will have an early fall and an extremely cold, wet winter. Most are not even going to plant fall crops. I am extending my greenhouse to try to grow SOMETHING this fall/winter as my pantry is not what it needs to be normally for this time of year. Consider yourself VERY BLESSED to have what you were able to produce. That corn sure looks great. Most of our corn tasseled at 2-3 ft and made NOTHING. The only folks I know that got corn this year were the ones that planted EARLY before the heat hit. Keep up the great gardening and the articles you post. It keeps me hopeful that we will get back to our normal growing routines soon and hopefully this next spring. The talk going around of food shortages has a lot of folks wondering what are we gonna do if we can’t grow enough to feed our families. BLESSINGS TO YOU & YOURS & KEEP THESE ARTICLES & PICTURES COMING!!

    • I sure feel for you Bonnie. There are years like that. But don’t give up. I don’t trust the forecasts a bit. They’re usually wrong. I do know if you don’t plant you don’t get a harvest and I’d rather gamble than lose without trying. I totally feel blessed every day! I hope your greenhouse will help make up for your pantry shortages this year. I know we love ours!

  8. Good morning from Spokane! I just wanted to tell you that you continue to be an inspiration. We are in the middle of harvesting apples, tomatoes and everything else. Sometimes I get very tired of the canning and other preserving I’m doing, but it isn’t nearly as intense as what you and Will do. So thanks for giving us a peek at your continuing adventures!

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