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Photos of Joseph Lofthouse's Garden

 
steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I acquired a broody hen last fall. She got disturbed when I moved her to my farm, so she didn't raise a batch of chicks. She went broody again first thing this spring, and we allowed her to sit on 8 eggs. They started hatching a few days ago. Six chicks have survived so far.
eggs-sage-2019-1.jpg
Eggs for broody hen. Marked so that eggs that the other hens add to the nest can be removed.
Eggs for broody hen. Marked so that eggs that the other hens add to the nest can be removed.
broody-hen.jpg
Broody Sage.
Broody Sage.
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Newly hatched chicks.
Newly hatched chicks.
houseplant-mushroom.jpg
Totally random photo of a mushroom that's growing in a houseplant's pot.
Totally random photo of a mushroom that's growing in a houseplant's pot.
 
pollinator
Posts: 611
Location: Scioto county, Ohio, USA - Zone 6b
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Mary Hysong wrote:I have been trying every variety of winter squash at the grocery store and so far have discovered I DON"T LIKE acorn, butternut, carnival, turks turban, or hubbard but I LOVE Buttercup! I really liked the first one I ate and saved all the seed. Then I got another one and it was even better so I save it's seed separately. I haven't seen any other different kinds of squash at the store tho and this year there weren't even any different kinds of pumpkins, just standard orange or white jack o'lantern types.

I know you like Buttercup best also but I was wondering if you have a runner up that isn't like the others I listed? all of the above were terribly bland and some just tasted nasty to me.



I was buying pumpkins last november to make pie with and a lady asked me why I was buying them since haloween was already over. I said they were a huge amount of food for minimal expense and could be made into custards, pastries, soup, etc. She about lost it, said something about she wouldn't eat it, and huffed off. I don't know what I did to offend her but she seemed genuinely disgusted at the thought of eating a pumpkin.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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After days of steady cold rain, it has cleared up, and is warming. Time to check for mushrooms. Yup. They are pinning. Looks like they'll be ready to harvest in two days. Woot! Time for a wildcrafting expedition.
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Plenty of mud right now.
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Oyster mushrooms fruiting on log in super-secret location.
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Oyster mushrooms fruiting from an underground root.
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Pruning 150 apple trees that haven't been pruned for a decade.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I traveled recently to a gathering of people of the pinch seed-keepers in Idaho. We started a few melon landraces, by mixing 13 seeds from dozens of varieties, so that they will promiscuously cross pollinate in many new and wonderful ways.

Blackberries were on sale, so I bottled some.
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People of the pinch ascend the mount to start a melon landrace.
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The older I get, the more sacred planting becomes, and the less mechanical. Plants seem thrive on ritual.
The older I get, the more sacred planting becomes, and the less mechanical. Plants seem thrive on ritual.
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Bottled blackberries
Bottled blackberries
 
pollinator
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Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
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"The older I get, the more sacred planting becomes, and the less mechanical. Plants seem thrive on ritual."

The cleansing ritual of the thermal spring-fed bath seems to have been equally good for the soul and the soles!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Phil Gardener wrote:The cleansing ritual of the thermal spring-fed bath seems to have been equally good for the soul and the soles!



Good times indeed. Here's a couple of more playful photos from the trip.

Today, I direct seeded about 3000 tomato seeds from around 40 varieties. They are mostly for the Beautifully Promiscuous and Tasty Tomatoes project, with a few of the domestic varieties that I developed on my farm. I'm being really serious about this project, so I put in survey markers, and kept a notebook. Ha!!!

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Enjoying an artesian hot spring.
Enjoying an artesian hot spring.
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Mother I feel you, under my feet.
Mother I feel you, under my feet.
surveyor-stakes.jpg
Maps and a notebook in Joseph's garden? WTF?
Maps and a notebook in Joseph's garden? WTF?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
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I planted beans a month too early... Wanting to give them a cold/frost tolerance trial. About 10% didn't grow well, or died. I'd rather that about half die, but since I don't control the weather, I'll take what I can get. This is the third generation that I have treated them this way, and I didn't plant a control, so I can't really tell if they were generally cold/frost tolerant, or if we just didn't get cold enough weather. I'm pleased with progress. The most cold/frost sensitive have died three years in a row.

I love foraging the garden!!!

beans-frost-trial.JPG
Beans, planted close together to trial a large population in a small space.
Beans, planted close together to trial a large population in a small space.
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Bean that didn't thrive.
Bean that didn't thrive.
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Bean that looks like it might have got frosted.
Bean that looks like it might have got frosted.
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Foraging mustard flowers. Mmm, mmm, mmm!
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Can plant twice as fast with two corn seeders.
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This time of year, things grow fast, fast, fast. Here's a 2 week old photo.
This time of year, things grow fast, fast, fast. Here's a 2 week old photo.
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Hybrid lettuce. A relatively new breeding project for me. They are crazy vigorous!!!
Hybrid lettuce. A relatively new breeding project for me. They are crazy vigorous!!!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
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I grow a mixed species cover crop each year. It is composed of self-regenerating weeds, so I don't have to replant it. I chop and drop twice a year. Once in the spring, a few days before I plant the annual crops, and once in the fall, just before snowcover arrives. The growth of crops, plus wild animal visitation and droppings are the source of fertility for my garden. I don't import solid nutrients from elsewhere. After planting, I often allow the mixed species cover crop to grow between rows of vegetables.

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Chop and drop immediately before planting.
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Mixed species cover crop between rows of vegetables.
mixed-species-cover-crop.JPG
Mixed species cover crop
Mixed species cover crop
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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What a great day to be a farmer!
strawberry.jpg
Strawberries
Strawberries
rhubarb.jpg
Rhubarb
Rhubarb
strawberry-rhubarb.jpg
Guess that I aughta bottle something!
Guess that I aughta bottle something!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
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Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.
rhubarb-strawberry.JPG
Chopped and cleaned
Chopped and cleaned
bottled-strawberry-rhubarb.jpg
Bottled
Bottled
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Crisp
Crisp
 
gardener & author
Posts: 1865
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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Oooh, I've got fruit envy!

Hey, going back to something you posted months ago about chickens who eat high carotene foods having yummy flesh and yummy dark egg yolks: Can chickens be fed grated carrots, and would that have a good effect? (I'm considering keeping chickens, and wouldn't have commercial feed or corn at all here, so I'm dreaming of possible winter feeds...)
 
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Rebecca Norman wrote:Oooh, I've got fruit envy!

Hey, going back to something you posted months ago about chickens who eat high carotene foods having yummy flesh and yummy dark egg yolks: Can chickens be fed grated carrots, and would that have a good effect? (I'm considering keeping chickens, and wouldn't have commercial feed or corn at all here, so I'm dreaming of possible winter feeds...)




Yep, we sliced leftover cooked carrot into fine slithers and they suck them up like pasta! We also buy cheap Asian noodles and cook them up with leftovers like potato skins and other vegetable trimmings - they disappear in a feathered frenzy. Every so often I buy the cheapest tinned cat food just to give the chooks a treat - just make sure it's seafood based, not chicken.


 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I bottled spiced pickled beets yesterday.

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[Thumbnail for 0708190028-00.jpg]
Spiced pickled beets
spiced-pickled-beets.JPG
local goodness
local goodness
 
pollinator
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Joseph, could you post how to make that if you have time?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Trace: I was wishing last night that I could bring myself to take photos. Beet mess is so visible and in my face that I didn't. I spent 8 hours on the project, and it was getting way late.

Here's my recipe:

Boil beets for about 25 to 35 minutes until skin slips off easily. I boiled them in two batches, cause smaller beets get done quicker than larger. Cool. Peel by rubbing off loose skin in a pan of water. Chop. (I used an egg slicer to do the chopping.)

Chop onions.  I used 3 cups of chopped onions per 4 pounds of beets.

Make a very light syrup from:

2.5 cups 5% vinegar
1.5 cups water
1 cup organic sugar
3 sticks of cinnamon
1 teaspoon  whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon salt
about a teaspoon of mixed pickling spice (same ingredients as above plus mustard seed. Just wanted it out of the cupboard.)

Brought the syrup to a slow simmer while I was cooking, peeling, and chopping the vegetables. Dumped it through a colander before use to remove the spice chunks.

Then, combine the beets, onions, and syrup and bring to a boil. Pack into jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace and process in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes (for my high elevation kitchen).

My recipe follows the Ball Blue Book. A similar recipe is available from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.


 
Trace Oswald
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Thank you Joseph! That sounds awesome, I can't wait to try it.
 
pollinator
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This is a fun possibility that originated in Josephs garden and is now growing in mine. I think I have a couple plants of maximoss the Tetsukoboto descended interspecies hybrid between Moschata and Maxima.
20190809_082023.jpg
Squash one, mixed in with the mospermia with maxima type leaves
Squash one, mixed in with the mospermia with maxima type leaves
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Squash two in amongst the maxima
Squash two in amongst the maxima
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Squash two has spotty leaves like a moschata
Squash two has spotty leaves like a moschata
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Delightful William. Thanks for the grow report. I have been hoping that the Mospermia (argyrosperma X moschata) would eventually cross with the Maximoss (maxima X moschata).

Is the peduncle on squash two looking like a moschata peduncle?
 
William Schlegel
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I don't think it has, I put some of the maximoss seeds in the mospermia bag intentionally because of that same hope. Then I didn't grow mospermia out last year. Though might be some hybrids inside that forming squash given the isolation and surrounding plants.

Squash two is a question. I can't remember spotted maxima leaves in my maxima grex. I'll take a close look at that peduncle next time I am out there. The maximoss seeds I mixed in last year didn't set a fruit as far as I noticed but they did set pollen and so it might be a 3/4 maxima or not.  I should take another look at your squash ID guide. http://garden.lofthouse.com/how-to-identify-squash.phtml
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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This year I planted the Mospermia and the Maximoss in rows 8 feet apart. Hoping for some cross fertilization. I suppose that I could go out and do manual pollination. That sounds too much like work!

I was chasing some spotted maxima leaves for a few years, but it was barely a hint of the palest spotting imaginable. Plant two looks archetypal Maximoss.
 
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You have a delightful looking garden. I am jealous of those strawberries you posted!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I been having a lot of fun bottling garden produce this summer:

Monday I bottled dilled carrots, and dilled yellow cucumbers.
Tuesday I bottled marinated 3 bean salad.

It's really nice to take processed food to market instead of fresh vegetables. They don't spoil before the end of market. They can be harvested and used when they are at their peak, rather than picking to match market schedule. The workload is easier, cause there is not the day-before-market-rush. What doesn't sell this week can be taken to market again next week.



bottled-3-bean-salad.jpg
bottled food
Three bean salad from yesterday, and dilled carrots and cucumbers from the previous day.
 
William Schlegel
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This kind of reminds me of some of your long term breeding projects Joseph. I planted a Blue Elderberry (propagated by Helen Atthowe, some permies may remember her from other threads) in the front yard and a American Elderberry from now defunct Mellinger''s nursery in the backyard around 2000. So a volunteer came up a few years ago. Last year it seemed an ordinary Sambucus americana. This year I just noticed a blue blush. Rather intermediate between the two species in appearance. 19 years, making good progress.
20190901_202419.jpg
Blue blush
Blue blush
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Intermediate looking
Intermediate looking
 
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Just thought I'd share that out of the 5 seed potato starts that survived my utter neglect in the dry farm field this year I harvested the first two today. 3 smallish potatoes each, one plant a beautiful ruby red, the other a seriously deep black purple. This ground was not prepared for potatoes and the beds were not weeded or watered or anything. I'm excited to see what comes of the other 3 and to plant out small patches of each variety next year to try the product. I'll try to remember to post a photo of tubers from all 5 plants once they are all done.
 
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"Mother I feel you under my feet"- Well said.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Rahul Swain wrote:"Mother I feel you under my feet"- Well said.



It's from the lyrics of one of my call/response planting songs:

Mother I feel you under my feet.
Mother I hear your heartbeat.

-repeated 1 time-

heya heya heya, ya heya heya ho
heya heya heya heya heya ho-o-o

-repeated 1 time-

I often rattle a birdhouse gourd while singing it. I often
dance to the music. It's lovely to
sing in a drum circle, or with pals. I love ritual while
planting, weeding, and harvesting.




 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I attended a seed swap last winter, and acquired a lot of new bean varieties. Planted them this spring with my usual dry bean protocol of no weeding. Most of them died. Some lived but didn't produce seed. Some thrived. They will get added to my dry bean landrace.

It was so cold this year, that the honey harvest took a loooooooooong time. It was more like having a taffy pull.

New-types-of-beans.jpg
New types of beans
New types of beans
Finished-robbing-honey.jpg
Finished robbing honey
Finished robbing honey
bush-beans-2018.jpg
Will be adding the new beans to this population
Will be adding the new beans to this population
 
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Nice! I like all the variation in the beans.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I harvested squash some time ago. Finally had to bring it indoors to keep it from freezing solid. So here's some photos. It was a really bad year for growing squash, so survival of the fittest was strong this year. (We had a frost on the summer solstice.)

Cucurbita ficifolia. Fig-leaved gourd. Shark-fin melon.

It is used in soup in the orient to mimic the texture of shark-fin. Mature seeds are large and black. I prefer to eat it as a summer squash.

As a species, it tends to be day-length sensitive so flowers and sets fruit very late in the season. Each year, I select for the earliest fruits, hoping to move it towards earlier maturity. I haven't found any interspecies hybrids among the offspring, but I keep inter-planting it with them, hoping that eventually some will show up.
ficifolia-2019.JPG
cucurbita ficifolia
Ficifolia. Fig-leaved gourd. Shark fin melon.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Lagenaria snake gourd. This is great as a summer squash. I suspect that when pepo squash went to Europe, that the zucchini was developed to mimic the culinary traits of this squash. The skin turns hard and woody when mature: The classic birdhouse gourd kind of skin. It is a night-flowering squash, so the flowers are white to show up better after dark. I suspect that it is pollinated by moths. The smell of the leaves is really off-putting, but it doesn't end up marring the taste of the fruit.

This is the result of a 10 year breeding project. The lagenaria really grew poorly here when I first started planting them.



lagenaria-2019.JPG
lagenaria squash
lagenaria snake gourd
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The third year developing a pepo winter squash. Ancestors included acorn squash and delicata.

This year, the main focus of selection will be flavor.
acorn-delicata.jpg
acorn delicata grex
Pepo winter squash. Acorn/delicata grex.
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One of the favorite phenotypes
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pepo winter squash
Another crate of acorn/delicata and hybrids
 
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what's your process for harvesting and processing dry beans at scale?  Do you have some sort of threshing machine, or just throw the entire plants on a tarp and stomp on them?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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My favorite dry bean harvesting technique, is to let the plants fully dry in the field, then pull the plants up by the roots and smash them against the inside of a garbage can. I try to make sure there isn't a clump of dirt on the roots. Followed by winnowing.

Throwing whole plants on a tarp and stomping them is a good technique during damp weather. I don't have a covered shed, so I do harvesting right in the field.




 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Mospermia: An interspecies hybrid between Cushaw and Butternut (argyrosperma X moschata). There is a tremendous amount of hybrid vigor running through this population. It's an easy cross to make, because cushaw and butternut are not quite separate species. It works best with cushaw as the mother and moschata as the pollen donor.

mospermia-2019.JPG
mospermia
Mospermia: Cushaw X Butternut
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Maximoss: Interspecies hybrid between maxima and moschata. Re-selected for skinny vines, skinny peduncles, and maxima flavor. The idea behind this breeding project is to move the thin vine (vine borer resistant) of the moschata into a plant that produces the lovely flavors of maxima squash.

maximoss-2019aaaa.jpg
maxima X moschata interspecies squash population.
maxima X moschata interspecies squash population.
maximoss-archetype-aaaaa.jpg
Achtype of the maximoss population. Skinny vines and peduncle.
Achtype of the maximoss population. Skinny vines and peduncle.
 
William Schlegel
pollinator
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Maximoss: Interspecies hybrid between maxima and moschata. Re-selected for skinny vines, skinny peduncles, and maxima flavor. The idea behind this breeding project is to move the thin vine (vine borer resistant) of the moschata into a plant that produces the lovely flavors of maxima squash.



I really like this. It seems to me like a great way potentially to improve both species and it's just fun.

Of the four squash species I am most partial to maxima for winter squash because of the great flavor, and Joseph Lofthouse maximas have some great flavor. Had a second or third generation in my garden Lofthouse buttercup for dessert last night.

It's great to see more color in the population. I recall 2017's as being pretty green.

In my own garden 2018 was a bad year for Moschata in my garden and I didn't get much after a great 2017. However somehow at least a little maximoss genetics made it to into 2019 and will be seed saved for 2020.  
 
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Any selection in the maximos population related to skin hardness?  Maxima seems pretty animal proof but Id prefer butternuts relative tenderness in the kitchen.  Tetsukabuto was pretty hard as I recall...after all it translates to Iron helmet !
 
Chance Selva
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I must try ficifolia again.  I grew an accession from SoCal over in VA at 37N and it didn’t even start flowering until maybe mid October.  That must mean you have a relatively early variety.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Chance Selva wrote:Any selection in the maximos population related to skin hardness?  



Yes. I select all my squash varieties for tender skin. One of my collaborators published a recipe recently for "Squash-Skin Fries".

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Chance Selva wrote:I must try ficifolia again.  I grew an accession from SoCal over in VA at 37N and it didn’t even start flowering until maybe mid October.  That must mean you have a relatively early variety.



My garden is at 41 N. The seed came to me from a garden at about 43 N. I'm surprized every year that it makes fruit just before frost in mid-September.
 
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