Season Review

Well since summer seems to be gone, I thought it would be a good idea to think about this past year and make some notes for next year.

It seems that last spring I could have planted more lettuce, radishes, beets & carrots later in the season. This would have helped with the gap in late May. While the kids enjoyed the baby corn, it seems they really wanted regular fresh corn.

I definately need to plant more melons. Plant less small tomatoes and a lot more large ones.  Give the large tomatoes more space, they probably need a good 24 inches each. I only had about 2 doz large tomatoes, could probably use upwards of 75-100. It takes a lot to make sauce, ketchup and other tomato based things.

Twenty to thirty row feet of snap and snow peas are probably enough, since I don’t like the way they are when you freeze them. But we could use 50 or more row feet of shelling peas for freezing little green peas and probably 25 feet or so of the Blueshokker soup peas.

Since the Lima beans didn’t set pods until late September, they could probably go in a lot later than they did.

I need more bird protection, especially in the summer and fall. Not only did I lose a lot of seedlings to the birds, but also a lot of sunflower and popping sorghum seeds.

I need more rat/squirrel/rabbit  control, they got some melons, tomatoes, squash and other things.

I want more peppers of all types. The amount of squash was fine, as we don’t eat much, especially of the summer types.

We would probably eat more spinach type greens, but mustard and turnip greens were a bust at the table.

We could probably eat more dry beans. The amount of green beans might have been too much, they weren’t a big thrill for the kids so I anticipate the 21 pints I canned to be more than enough. Though I will plant less yard long beans and more Kentucky Wonders.

We could use a lot more strawberry plants. Nobody likes Huckleberries, so I will just invest in more blueberry bushes.

We needed a lot more cucumbers. So this year watch out for the aphids and try to get rid of them ASAP.

I really need to work on the succession plantings. Not keeping up lead to a lot of gaps this year.

chickie update

Well some good news. the two hurt chickies seem to be doing better. One has been up walking around for a couple of days. The other one that couldn’t stand at all was standiing up this morning.

Some bad news. I didn’t put small enough mesh wire on the rabbit cages and a little bunny fell out and died. Also, the 50 or broccoli and cauliflower seedlings that were ready to go in the garden were sitting on top of one of the rabbit cages that the dogs tore apart, so now I have to start over there too.


I came home to a slaughter house. 3 big dogs, somebody’s pets! tore open a rabbit pen and killed one of my bucks and injured another one. They got in to the baby chicks and killed most of them. There are only 5 left out of 14 and 2 of them are injured; I”m not too sure they will make it.

The worst thing is that my gun jammed so I couldn’t get even one shot off at them, or they would be dead dogs right now.

Be sure you keep your dogs at home because if they come to my place they aren’t gonna leave.


I grew six varieties of peas last spring and have written a review of them. You can read it here:

In the Garden

The garden continues to produce, though at a slower rate than before. The summer crops are winding down, but the fall and winter crops are a little slow taking off. It doesn’t help that a flock of quail helped themselves to the radishes and lettuce seedlings.

gardenoctt09 001Here are the King of the Garden Limas, finally! I picked 1 1/2 pounds the other day, which shelled out to about a quart of beans, cooked them up with bacon & onion, delish! Even Liberty liked them.

gardenoctt09 002Here a Trombocino squash {seeds available from} hides in the Red Currant tomato

gardenoctt09 005The bed at the bottom of the picture has baby carrots, the one farther away, Golden Globe turnips and parsnips. The bigger green plants are hollyhocks.

gardenoctt09 008Broccoli and cauliflower seedlings wait in the wings.

gardenoctt09 019Kabocha squash volunteers have run over quite a bit of the garden. The one in the front isn’t quite ready to pick. The ones in the back weighed 7 & 10 pounds each. The other one is twice as big, can’t wait to see how much it weighs.

gardenoctt09 023Lovely Hopi purple pod beans. These are yummy as fresh or dried shellies.

Tractor Work

For more than a year we have worked towards putting culverts in the dry wash so we could drive over to the other side. That project got a big push in the right direction this weekend when our friend brought the backhoe in and started leveling the area on the other side.

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Once all the tractor work is done and culverts are laid we’ll be able to work on some other projects, such as a work space, guest trailer, green house, gardens, animal pens.

Beans & More Beans

After waiting most of the summer for the beans to come in, they are here in abundance.

gardenoctt09 001As predicted, once the weather began to cool off those 11 foot tall Lima beans began setting pods.


gardenoctt09 007Hopi Purple Pod beans, a Native American variety, have set thick clusters of pods. I love this bean because it sets bunches of pods, I can fill the bowl in a few minutes, picking fistfuls of beans at a time. Picked really tiny you _can_ eat them as green beans, but they are at their best as green or dried shelled beans. They look a little like red pinto beans and have a full bodied meaty bean taste.

The Kentucky Wonder pole beans have come on strong too, with several pickings of 3-4 pounds of green beans, along with Pencil Pod Wax [a yellow bush bean] and Provider, a green bush bean available from


Some of my family & friends do not understand my passion for my garden and canning and preserving the food I grow. To me this is my own form of  Social Security. If things go to pot me and mine will be provided for. If, when I retire, the system doesn’t give me enough money to live on, I will be fine, because I have taken on the responsibility of providing for myself.  Some object that it is cheaper to buy things at the store. That could be, in some cases, modern agriculture and mass production have given us cheap food and goods. However, cheaper is not necessarily better. Some of these systems are actually making us sick! Look at Mad Cow disease, swine flu, bird flu. There is evidence that genetically modified foods are very bad for us [and, if given a choice between natural and GM grain, animals will eat the first and refuse the second! Lets be as smart as the animals!] Besides all these reasons, I enjoy what I do. It gives me a great sense of pride and accomplishment to look at the shelves in my kitchen, bursting with food I put there myself. Besides which, there are many things I can make at home that you cannot possibly buy at any price.

gardenoctt09 009Bean soup, potatoe soup, dilly beans, green beans, pickled peppers, tomato sauce, pickled eggs… there’s more you can’t see, blueberries, apple sauce, jams, jellies, pickles, sauces, marinades. This year not everything was grown at home. I took advantage of terrific sales and the farmer’s market. But next year most of the cupboards will be filled with home grown goodness.  Also not in this picture are the things that I’ve dried, plums, apples, raisins, tomatoes, jerky, herbs for seasoning and tea.

New Chickies

Well last weekend I made an all day trip to a breeder’s and picked up 14 Buff Orpington chicks. They were from one to a few days old. I have been looking for someone in state that had Buffs. They are a Heritage breed. I had decided to raise and breed one of the Heritage breeds to keep them alive. While Buffs are not currently endangered, they very much suit my purpose. They are good brown egg layers and also grow fairly quickly for meat. Out of these 14 chicks I will probably keep 4-6 hens and 1 rooster. The rest will go in the freezer. Then next summer when they are laying well I’ll begin to hatch out batches of chicks to supply the table and perhaps sell a few.

gardenoctt09 002Here they are enjoying some fresh air & sunshine. The rest of the time they are staying in a box in the living room. Little chicks have to stay warm until they get all their feathers. If their momma hatches them out she will take care of them, otherwise it’s up to you.