Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My first 2012 garden catalog arrived

Now I am in hog heaven!  I got my first garden catalog in the mail.  Usually they don't start until January.  It was from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.  I ordered my potato onions from them last year.

The ones I am really anxious to receive are Baker Creek and Comstock-Ferre

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sweet success

I planted a 2 1/2 x 8 feet box of sweet potato slips (rooted from grocery store potatoes) in the Spring & yesterday was harvest day.  My grandkids were here & even the teenager got involved when they saw how big they were. 

We harvested 47.5 lbs out of that one box & they were HUGE.    When I planted them my mom remembered that her dad always said plant them straight down if you want large potatoes, plant at a slant for more longer, slender ones.  I planted most of them straight down and here is what I got:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm just glad I'm not a chicken

It has really been busy around here & I've not been blogging as I should, but the grandkids gathered the eggs and this is what they found.  Now, that had to have hurt, even though the eggs come out with a soft shell.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Time for Fall planting

Most cool weather crops, brassicas especially, do better in the Fall and it is time to start planning now.  A handy gadget I bought a few years ago is Clyde's Garden Planner.  I don't remember where I bought mine, but Amazon has one (link in my sidebar on the left). It's a slide chart, so you can see everything at a glance.  It is formatted in a "time phased" format so that it is possible to see at a glance the entire planting, growing and harvesting period. It shows proper indoor and outdoor planting times relative to spring and fall frost dates for several common garden vegetables. Since frost dates vary from region to region, the chart will slide, making it useful in most parts of the northern Hemisphere where frost is a critical gardening factor. The front of the chart shows the spring season, and the flip side acts as a guide for fall gardeners. Frost dates are included in the directions.

If you do not  know your average frost dates, you can find your dates by zip code at Dave's Garden.

The most important thing right now is protecting seedlings from the heat.  I have started some carrots in an area that gets afternoon shade from the larger plants around it. 

If you plan on cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower or broccoli, seeds should all be sown soon, late June-mid-July in most areas.  Depending on what squares I have open, I set up a "nursery" & make a seed bed in the garden, but usually plant in pots.  I let them germinate in the shade, but after that I keep them outdoors so they get at least 5-6 hours of sunshine daily,, with afternoon shade.   Just be careful not to let them dry out - this can happen quickly.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's happening around here

I have been picking green beans galore & discovered 10 foot pole beans don't work too well on a 5 foot trellis.  They were a tangled mess and I pulled the vines today.  There were lots of blossoms, but they were just too much of a headache to pick. 

Today I planted a 2 x 4 box of carrots, a 2 x 8 section of Ambrosia corn, several squares of bush Roma beans, some mixed gourds for the grandkids, and lots of late cucumbers, Boston Pickling and Marketmore.

The corn in the first section is almost finished and it sure has been good.  It was a new variety & I won't grow it again, but when Lowe's had their seeds BOGO I bought several different varieties.  This one was Early and Often that matured early, but just was not as sweet as Peaches & Cream.  I've got 3 other sections planted at various intervals, all different kinds, but right now I don't have my garden map available to tell you what kinds.

The blackberries have been outstanding!  Out of my little bitty patch I have made 3 cobblers, made 10 pints of jam and have almost enough in the fridge for another batch of jam.  Tomorrow's picking should be enough to make jam.   The berries have been HUGE and we have enjoyed them so much.  I have some branches that I weighted down to root so I can expand my garden and they seem to be doing fine.  These pictures were taken in May and the plants are about double this size now.  As best I can tell there are 5 plants here.  It was supposed to be a temporary holding spot when I planted them, so they are quite crowded.  DH built a frame for bird netting and it was worked really well.

I had also harvested onions and garlic a week or two ago and I am very pleased with the harvest.  I ordered garlic from We Grow Garlic.  You can order individual cloves (last year's prices were $1.45 to $2.90 for the varieties  I ordered).  It was an economical way to try different varieties.  They shipped large bulbs and I will order different varieties this year.  I will have a dedicated box for garlic, potato onions, shallots and leeks.

Varieties I tried last year:  Shandong, Thai Fire, Vostani, German Hardneck, Red Toch, Persian Star, Krasnodar white, Italian Mountain Red, Italian Late and Early Portugese.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June is busting out all over

Boy, that was an old song, but it is true.  My flowers are really putting on a show & I thought I would share some pictures.

I haven't had gladiolas in years, but I bought a mixed bag this year.  They are just starting to bloom and I love this color combo.

Cleome, AKA spider flower

Dwarf dahlia  from seed.  It's about 2 feet tall, so not so dwarf, huh?

Another dahlia

Love Lies Bleeding (amaranthus).  This is one of my all time faves.  The only drawback is that bugs love the leaves and they look like lace.

One of my garden totems I bought at Homestead Apple Festival last year.

Publish Post
A view of the border from the front porch.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blackberry harvest now totals 1 gallon

It may not sound like a lot to anyone else, but I'm tickled pink (black maybe?)  From today's picking I made 5 pints of blackberry jam plus about 2 inches of jam in another jar  I hid it as soon as it was cool since I plan on using it as gifts.  The little bit I will sneak out of the back of the fridge for toast.  It really was pretty jam. There are still lots of berries to ripen, so hopefully I can make another run of jam.  We have had 2 cobblers & even using gluten-free flour mix, they were excellent.

We are having green beans for supper from yesterday's picking, and cukes are coming in pretty steadily now.  Too bad DH doesn't like cukes.  Also there are lots of baby peppers, but none near big enough to eat.   I might have 2 more small tomatoes to pick & I'll have to check my Ping Tung eggplant. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm just waiting

Well, the grandkids were here this weekend and they love nature.  When I got back from the grocery store they came running to tell me they had found a box turtle.  Guess where they put it - yep, in my flower garden, which is connected to my SFG veggies.  We can't find it and I keep waiting to see big bites taken out of my tomatoes or beans.  I love the kids dearly, but......       

I have a huge Dixie Sweet tomato ripe & will pick it tonight. I can't wait til supper.  Beans need picking again, and so do the blackberries, but I've had a bad sinus headache today & wasn't able to go to church this morning, so those may not get taken care of until tomorrow.

Gertrude is doing fine, no one else around here likes her name,so I'm sure it will get changed.  She is only about 1/4 the size of the other piglets and one eye stays matted up, but she is back with her mom. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thank you Lord

Thank you Lord for sparing us damage from the storms and for the wonderful rain that we needed so badly.

Yesterday evening we had a series of severe thunderstorms with hail and LOTS of rain.  My corn usually gets blown over with a storm, but not a stalk was blown over this time.  The hail didn't damage my pole beans or cucumbers, no tree limbs down in the yard, just a wonderful rain.  I had left the wheelbarrow out and it is over half full of water from the storms.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Well, I never!

I would never in my wildest dreams have thought I would ever be sitting in the kitchen with a baby piglet wrapped in a towel trying to feed her a bottle!   Mama Pig and siblings were being mean & wouldn't let her eat today, so she had to be rescued since she was laying in the dirt with a chicken walking on her.  She ate a little bit, but perked up after coming to the house. 

Her name is Gertrude and she was born on Sunday, 6/12 and is a pot bellied mix and absolutely adorable. I never gave much thought about pigs as we have never had any.  My son adopted Bella when her owners didn't want her anymore and she lives in the chicken lot.  My son then somehow came up with a boar, type unknown, just a plain black hog with white markings. 

I'll keep you posted on her progress.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Today's Harvest

I had every intention of blogging at least once a week, but alas I just didn't make myself do it.  I was also going to keep a tally of my harvest this year,  but I'm behind on that too.  I didn't keep track of the lettuce, carrots and sugar snap peas, but today I am on target.

Don't let anyone tell you you can't get a decent harvest using the SFG method.  They are SO WRONG!  I planted McCaslan pole beans, a long, wide Italian type bean, in a 1 x 4' section.  I used a metal frame & strung string (sounds cute doesn't it?) for the vines to climb and planted on both sides of the trellis.  The string was a bad idea since the vines are so vigorous they just wrapped around several strings at a time, grew up, over and back down the other side of the frame.  Out of this 1 x 4' section I harvested 3 lbs of beans this evening!!

I also graveled out 2 3/4 lbs of red potatoes from one end section of the potatoes.   A lot of the vines are starting to dry up, so I will be able to dig pretty regularly now.

Another thing I am excited about is my garlic.  I bought several individual bulbs from We Grow Garlic last year.  They sell varieties by the individual bulb and I tried several different varieties.  I harvested it this week also and most of them are huge.  I am going to try and keep them separated so I can compare the different varieties by taste, but I can't promise anything. 

Today I got to eat the first ripe blackberries.  I didn't make it back to the house with too many of them for DH, but I certainly enjoyed them. 

I took some pictures to share:

My almost-83 year old Mom with Hannah Beth, her great-granddaughter,and posing next to my corn.  She hates to have her picture taken so I was quite pleased she let me, plus she SMILED for the camera.   Hannah Beth felt the need to play in the last batch of Mel's Mix DH fixed last night for me.  I know the feeling, it's irresistable.  The hens made a nice contribution with 10 eggs over the past 2 days.

God is good and I am truly blessed. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

The last strawberry

This is mostly a new strawberry bed, although there were a few plants there from last year.  We have had several berries, but not enough to freeze, but I'm confident next year will be better.  I don't know what kind they are, I got them at Lowe's and they had 2-3 varieties and I got some of each.   There are runners galore and that is a pepper plant on the right planted at the edge. 

I'm thinking about moving them in the Fall to an area away from the main SFG boxes since I don't like devoting this much space to something that only bears in the Spring.  We'll see..........

They're everywhere, they're everywhere!!

It seems like that was a line from an old Ray Stevens song, but I'm not sure.

This is my 2 year old Triple Crown blackberry.  I can't believe there are so many baby berries & blooms on it.  I just hope nothing happens to them before they are ripe.  I have bird netting that I will be putting on them soon.  I am really excited about these.

I pruned it to about 4' late last summer & it really bushed out. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Another beautiful day.

Today was a little cooler than the past few days, instead of around 90, today's high was only 73.  The skies were so clear and no smothering humidity, just a gorgeous day.  Vegetable gardening is boring right now since there are no weeds to pull in a square foot garden and everything is planted, I'm just waiting for more harvest.  In a few days I will need to re-tie my tomatoes since they are growing gangbusters, the pole beans are at the top of their trellis already.  I don't know what I will do about them, I may try trimming the tops of a few to see what happens.  They should begin to bloom soon.  I have a few lemon-sized tomatoes, but lots of blooms, plus some tomatoes that haven't started to bloom yet.   The pepper plants are slowly growing, the corn is close to knee-high.

This has been a crazy Spring and things are not as far along as last year:
May 17, 2010 corn: 

May 8, 2011 corn:

As you can see, quite a bit of difference, but this will come along fine & I expect a good harvest.

My new wind chimes!!!

I'm tickled pink with my new wind chimes from Dragon Wind Chimes that I received yesterday.  Karen is a stained glass artist and creates exquisite mosaic stained glass mirrors, birdhouse wind chimes and stained glass wind chimes.

My chimes have a wonderful tinkling sound, much nicer than the metal tube chimes, and are so soothing to listen to.

These are the ones I ordered:  

Here are some of her other designs:

Check out her web site at Dragon Wind Chimes and also and her store on Ebay.  I highly recommend her work, shipping was quick and the chimes were well packed.  Now, back out to the swing on the deck to enjoy.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 8 update

Yesterday I tied my tomatoes & suckered them, planted a few more sweet potato slips.  I still have more to plant, but their roots aren't developed enough to go outside.  I planted two rose bushes, a deep lavender with a heavenly fragrance.  The label said "heritage rose", but I don't know what variety.  I'll have to do some research & compare pictures of blooms.  I also have a yellow one to plant, very pretty blooms, but absolutely no fragrance. 

I have been working quite a bit in my flower bed at the front of the house.  I have transplanted iris, day lilies, phlox, purple coneflower, pink pincushion flower, dahlias, physotegia and gladiolas.  I bought two pitiful clematis half price at Lowe's, but they do have signs of life, so hopefully they will take off & grow.

The strawberries have been ripening, but my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter has gotten most of those. 

Here are a few pictures I took this afternoon.

Overall view: 





Eggplants are supposed to be very tender, but I kept mine in the cold frame through the early spring & after I planted them into the garden we had temps down to 37 and 34 and it didn't seem to faze them at all.  This variety is Ping Tung.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The garden on May 3, 2011

Well, I'm still having fun.  I finally got around to taking some pictures this morning.  It was very overcast and I probably should have waited until the sun was out.

After the cabbage disaster last yea, DH constructed a screen cage for my cabbages and it is working much better.  It is a little too big at 8x4', should have been slightly less than 4x4 so it would fit inside the box instead of on top of the boards, but hey, it works.  The cabbage is just starting to head and no damage so far. 

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