Too Darn Hot!

whew! It has been about 105 for several days, last night at 9:00 it was still 93.  I don’t do well in the heat and would much rather lay around in the shade drinking icy mint tea, but no rest for the wicked as they say. So in the garden I am busy trying to keep everything watered so it won’t die and it repays me with abundance. [I looked at the tally sheet for July and I think we are pushing 100 pounds of produce for the month ;-)]

gardenJuly09 003Here’s the big corn patch, most of what you can see here is the Bloody Butcher beginning to tassel. Also the patch of small seeded sunflowers. Close up is a part of an old greeting card rack, which has become a trellis for a couple of luffa plants.

gardenJuly09 002I love the color of this small seeded sunflower!

gardenJuly09 004Compare this shot of the yellow Moon & Stars watermelon plants with the one from July 4th and realize that is only 24 days of growth!

gardenJuly09 005The Elephant Ears are getting huge and the canna isn’t doing too shabby either!

gardenJuly09 006A tomato forest. After I took this pic I actually pruned these back a bit. With it being over 100 degrees every day I know that none of the current blossoms are going to set, so I took out some of the excess suckers and branches. That way the plants will stay shorter and are less likely to break later when they do start setting fruit again.

gardenJuly09 008Here you see Miracle’s triple header sunflower is falling down on the baby corn. Her giant 8 & 1/2 foot one is in the background.

gardenJuly09 009If you look closely where the leaves clasp the stalks you can see the little ear shoots coming out on our baby corn. The girls haven’t seen it yet, but they will be excited when they do-they have been waiting for the baby corn all summer.

gardenJuly09 010The yard long beans are growing like crazy in the heat. The yellow blossoms are the Double Yield cukes from http://www.freedomseeds.com

gardenJuly09 012Pickles on the vine.

gardenJuly09 011The Kabocha squash by the greenhouse is turning orange already.

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Back to Basics

A lot of folks are getting back to basics these days. Around here that means pickle making, canning tomatoes, drying fruits, vegetables and herbs. It means making our own bisquick type mix for biscuits and pancakes, with 100% whole wheat flour, making 100% whole wheat noodles. It means trying to get rid of all the plastic in our life. This has been really hard to do. I didn’t realize how pervasive plastic is. For now I’ve stopped buying plastic wrap and just have reusable plastic containers. I also recycle anything I get from the store. I don’t usually use aluminum foil either.

Once upon a time I didn’t buy any household cleaners or paper towels and I’m going back to that again. I used baking soda instead of comet and diluted ammonia and vinegar for different things. I also made my own soap. I used paper grocery sacks instead of paper towels to drain bacon on and just used washable rags and dish towels for cleaning up instead of paper towels.

I have some different books that give recipes for different mixes which I’m going to be trying out. I used to make my own soup mix. When ever I had extra bits of celery, onions, carrots, etc. I’d dry them and put them in a jar. Then toss them in a couple of quarts of home canned chicken stock along with some rice or noodles and it was soup.

Way back when I could buy chicken for 25 CENTS ! a pound, I’d buy a dozen whole fryers, go home and cut them up for the freezer. I’d save all the necks, ribs, wings and tail pieces, boil them up with bay leaves, onions and garlic, then strain out the bones. Pick off the meat and put it back in, then can it all up in quart jars. If you have freezer space you can always freeze it.

There are a lot of little money saving things you can do every day. Learn to cook from scratch and skip all the packaged stuff. You will eat better food and save a lot of money.

The internet is a great resource; cruise around and you will find recipes for anything you want, soap, candles, snacks, crackers, breads, the list is endless.

It just keeps on growing

The warm nights especially have everything in a growth spurt. It’s beginning to look like a jungle around here!

gardenJuly09 001An apple of unknown variety.

gardenJuly09 002In spite of the earlier rodent attack, the cantaloupes on the compost pile are making a come back. This one will be ready soon.

gardenJuly09 003A view of the back garden, with hollyhocks and sunflowers.

gardenJuly09 005These are Polish Linquisa paste tomatoes. Almost ready for makin’ sauce!

gardenJuly09 006That roque squash plant turns out to be a Kabocha.

gardenJuly09 007A yard long bean. They do love the heat.

gardenJuly09 008Double Yield cucumbers from http://www.freedomseeds.com are bloomin up a storm

gardenJuly09 010Huckleberries. I’ve never grown this before. They are loaded with fruit and while it is black it doesn’t seem to be ready to pick yet.

gardenJuly09 011The front yard grain patch. In the front the small seeded sunflowers are beginning to bloom. In the back ground the bloody butcher corn, popping sorhgum and broom corn.

gardenJuly09 012This is the raspberry bed that was overseeded to buckwheat. I discovered I probably planted the buckwheat too thick and with the heat it was taking a lot of water to keep it from wilting. So I pulled it up, picked off a few ripe seeds and laid it back down, along with the wild sunflowers, as mulch for the raspberries. We will probably have more buckwheat and sunflowers later on when the monsoon gets around to giving up some rain.

gardenJuly09 013The moon & stars watermelon plants are taking off and outgrowing their little cages.

gardenJuly09 014No Vacancy. The new rabbit condo is full with our 4 does in place. When the weather cools off I’ll build another like it for the 2 bucks, which will also give me space to hold fryers over if I need to.

gardenJuly09 015The greywater filter tub, with canna lilly, elephant ears and kabocha squash.

gardenJuly09 016The Jicama are really taking off now that it is really hot. I just don’t know why the leaves are scorching like this.

gardenJuly09 017More ‘maters. These are the Imur Prior Beta, nice 1 ounce fruits.

gardenJuly09 020The yellow peppers are Rio Grande, with a nice mild heat. There are some green bells hiding in the back ground.

Tally Ho! June 2009

I forgot to post the harvest numbers for June, so here they are:

Eggs: 104

Produce 24.37 pounds, lots of the small fruited tomatoes like Imur Prior Beta, Princepe Borhese, Yellow Marble, Snow White, Red Currant and Yellow Pear, some potatoes, Yukon Gold, Purple Peruvian, Red LaSoda. Green onions, lambs quarters, chard, a pound of wheat, some purple beans, some herbs of different sorts, a couple of Black Beauty eggplants.

Alfalfa & Comfrey for the rabbits and chickens, 2.3 pounds fresh wet weight.

Just a glance at the numbers for July, I think we are already close to the total for June, so the total should be a lot bigger this month. While the small fruited tomatoes continue to come in, the big paste tomatoes are coloring up. I’ve harvested the white storage onions, and they are curing now. There’s more potatoes to come and more little purple and yellow beans coming on. Oh and don’t forget the cukes! They are just getting started.

Even though it’s 100+ degrees this week, it’s time to start thinking about the fall garden and what we want to grow during the cool season. I’ve already made a list and soon it will be time to start the seeds.

So How’s your garden growing? Are you free of the grocery store yet? Beat the high price of food by growing your own!

Wow, it’s July Already!

My how time has flown this year. I can’t believe it is already July, so much has been going on around here! With hotter weather and especially warmer nights things have really been putting on some growth.

gardenJuly09 001This squash started out innocently enough, just a little sprout in the compost in the corner of the greenhouse bed…..I now believe it is an alien bent on taking over the garden!

gardenJuly09 002Liberty said we had to grow pickles and so we are, here’s a couple still on the vine 😉

gardenJuly09 009Here’s the greenhouse from the other side. The big bushy plants in the tubs are huckleberries. I haven’t grown them before but they are doing very well, loaded with flowers and green fruit.

gardenJuly09 010I just finished potting on some eggplants and peppers into these 2 1/2 gallon containers. The peppers are Rio Grande. The large leaved plant just behind the peppers is my little fig tree, growing from a cutting I took last fall. Behind everything are some of the potted potatoes.

gardenJuly09 014A Delicata squash grown in a large tub. I love these little winter squash, they are very sweet and tasty. Much better than any acorn I’ve ever tried.

gardenJuly09 015Purple de Milpa, a purple tomatillo from the Seed Saver’s Exchange.

gardenJuly09 016On the patio the Trombocinno is taking off and so are the yard long beans.

gardenJuly09 017A young Trombocinno squash

gardenJuly09 019these “Snow White” tomatoes are certainly misnamed, tho they are sweet and juicy.

gardenJuly09 020The Jicama have finally quit pouting and started growing now that is warmer.

gardenJuly09 022The grey water filter tub is growing a good crop too. Kabocha squash, Elephant ears, canna lilly

gardenJuly09 023A Moon & stars Heirloom watermelon seedling. This time of year nothing is safe from the birds and every little seedling has to be caged to keep them from being ripped up and eaten.

gardenJuly09 025The King of the Garden Lima beans are still going at it. They are now 11 FEET tall!

gardenJuly09 026Bloody Butcher corn is doing well. some of the popping sorghum and broom corn were wiped out in an afternoon when the chickens got loose, but there are still some plants left.

gardenJuly09 028Looking along the driveway from the front steps, the bergamot is blooming, the grape vine thinks that everything is there just for it to climb on, like the apple tree.

gardenJuly09 029This is a Blacktail Mountain watermelon. It’s one of the ones growing on the compost pile out back.

gardenJuly09 030Here’s another little watermelon along with a cantaloupe. We would be much closer to eating cantaloupes except for the darn rodents that ate every single developing fruit! as well as munching on the vines. They are making a comeback now though.

gardenJuly09 032Baby Blue Hubbard squash on their compost pile. They look a bit sad because I forgot to water them one day and when I got to them they were badly wilted. They are doing fine now though, with several small squash coming on.

gardenJuly09 035Here’s one of those Baby Blues, next to the compost thermometer, which still registers 140 degrees. It actually went down to 130 but a good watering and it went up to 150, but has settled back down to 140 again.

gardenJuly09 039We had a nice thunderstorm this evening and I spied this double rainbow when I went outside after the rain.