Notes from the Garden

Near-ripe tomatoes.

“The tomatoes which were remarkably free from “Blossom-end-rot” till about Sept. 7th, were immediately and seriously affected with it after the rain on Sept. 8th. This is in line with the belief that this malady is caused by a surcharge of water in the fruit, rupturing them and enabling mold spores to get in their dirty work.

The small white “navy beans” cast their leaves too early because of the drought, consequently the pods were not well-filled. On threshing them I had 10 1-2 lbs. of beans whereas I should have had 15, a loss of about 30 per cent. 

Soy beans.

The soybeans enjoyed the heat and the pods filled out well. They are just casting their leaves (Sept. 12). and can be cut and made into sheaves at any time now. The strain is quite acclimatized but the trouble is to fit the crop into the rotation. 

The rock-garden which has been under eclipse for good part of the summer has revived since the rains came and several plants are making a second show. The Cheddar Pink, the Harebell, the Perennial Candytuft, the beautiful scarlet Clove Carnation, and a spray of Phlox subulata, all lend a touch of color.”


August 8, 1956

#OnThisDay in 1956, the author of Ellen’s Diary talked about Prince Edward Island’s summer coming to a close, mechanization in farming, and how some Island farmers were still holding on to traditional methods.

PEI potato field

“Now the clouds we send our dreams sailing upon are August’s. They moved quietly today on a sunny sea of blue above the gleen-clad hilltops, great liners of smokey down, with a bit of austerity in their rigging an ominent edge of Autumn, it seemed. But not yet are we content to let Summer go. ‘Once the haying’s over’ one of the family said today noting the blackbirds in a flock gleaning tidbits of insects in a shorn hay hayland, ‘well, they days are noticeably shorter by then’ and her smile was wistful, ‘whether or not we like to acknowledge it, the heart of the summer is spent.’

‘Folks can commence then to store their fuel-wood’ another offered, thoughts evidently going on to envision the deserted lawns and verandahs, the closed doors, and hearthfires once more kept bright.

Today was still summer. We kept jealously every hour sunny and warm and breeze-fanned. It was pleasantly warm for the workers, for Rob in the field building the great loads of hay, for the younger farmer in the closeness of a mow at the storing. 

‘There’s no exceptional call for cooling drinks this haying.’ Jeanie said. Not a hot day- just warm, this one. And in the fields the hay making to a nicety for the farmers. And away in far places of the countryside, a dreamy haze of season veiling the hills.

…‘With machinery now to help, the haying is certainly much easier done than once,’ we commented remembering more toilsome days at it though nonetheless sweet. ‘The changes there have been!’

‘We still have an old mare in the lift- no change there.’ another chuckled. No, no change there. The hose still beats out a regular path along field or yard, retarding so far the march of progress at Alderlea it is true but keeping for our sake this nice item of old at the haying.”