Planting Beans, Potatoes, & the Great Garden Cleanup

Well I have been working on the yard and garden at least 15 minutes every day. Some days it’s mostly watering things and pulling a few weeds. At other times I’ve actually spent the whole time on pulling weeds and picking up trash. I worked in and around the greenhouse the other day. You can see before pictures in my post on May 30, 2011 

This photo is after just a couple of 15 minute sessions. I have a piece of black shade cloth over the green house frame to help shade my bedroom window until the morning glories take over the job.

green house after some clean up

The potatoes planted recently have mostly sprouted so I have begun mulching the open spaces between them. Not every piece planted has sprouted yet, which is ok, they should all make an appearance eventually.

I just try not to put a lot of mulch over the ones that haven’t come up yet.potato plants sprouting up

Since I’m going on vacation in August & September I’m trying hard not to plant too much stuff that will need a lot of attention. But I did decided to plant some Apache Purple Pod beans. These make nice green beans, shelly beans and dried beans.

getting ready to plant beans First I dug a good size trench next to the trellis and watered it well. The ground is very very dry and I’m trying to get moisture to the root zone.

After the water soaked in I made the trench even deeper and set out the bean seeds.planting beans











I then watered them in and covered them with about an inch of soil by directing the water to the side of the trench so the soil would wash down over the seeds. I then used  old screens to cover them to try and protect them as best I can from the birds. Right now the desert is very dry and the birds will dig up and eat any little green sprout they can find. June is a very difficult month to start any kind of seeds directly in the garden for that reason.

protecting the bean seeds from the birds

Tally Ho!

Well, here’s the numbers for October:

Eggs, 107

Produce, 45.19 pounds. Mostly beans, squash with some pepper, tomato, eggplant and sweet potato. Also our Bloody Butcher corn. Still have to shell out and test our popcorn.

Since there’s been so much trouble with the wildlife there won’t be much to harvest for awhile, need to get busy planting.

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.

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.


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.

It’s a Jungle Out There

Well, here’s a few pics from around the yard to catch up since I missed so much of August.

gardensept09 001Heavenly Blue morning glories cover an arch by the front gate.

gardensept09 002The small sunflowers are still blooming. They attract a lot of butterflies and bees of all kinds.

gardensept09 003One of the surviving Heritage raspberries has put on a few fruits.

gardensept09 004The Moon & Stars watermelon is going strong, tho no fruit yet.

gardensept09 005Elephant Ears & Canna lily

gardensept09 006The Jicama are going strong, just hope they are making nice big roots!

gardensept09 007Can’t hardly walk beside the house for all the plants out there.

gardensept09 008Delicata squash almost ready to pick.

gardensept09 009The eggplants in pots on the patio are doing very well.

gardensept09 010A couple of Rio Grande pepper plants loaded with fruit.

gardensept09 011The back garden. The two empy beds in the middle are for carrots and parsnips.

gardensept09 012Kentucky Wonder green beans cover a 5′ wire cage. So far it’s been so hot they haven’t set any beans, but I found one yesterday so we should have lots of them soon.

gardensept09 013Apache Purple pod beans cover part of the greenhouse. They are just beginning to bloom.

gardensept09 014Cucumbers & beans. I don’t think we’ll get many more cukes tho, they are severly infested with aphids. I think I should probably just pull them out.

gardensept09 015Four o’clocks bloom by the front gate.

gardensept09 01616 baby artichoke plants in their pots. Just not sure where I’m going to plant them!

gardensept09 017The 11′ Lima beans, which still have yeilded no beans.

Tally HO! And in the Kitchen

WOWSERS! The tally for July is in and a big surprise!

Eggs, 102, which is down a bit from previous months. That isn’t really a surprise, since it has been so hot, the hens have been in a bit of a moult, which always lowers production.

alfalfa & comfrey, which I grow for the rabbits and chickens: 4.8 pounds

Produce: 101.75 That is the big surprise. The bulk of the poundage has been potatoes, tomatoes and onions, but includes strawberries, several kinds of beans, swiss chard, tomatillos, peppers, cucumbers, Tromboccino squash, eggplant, basil, apples, watermelon, mesquite beans [which will be ground into a flour when really crispy dry,  high in protien with a sweet lemon taste] and baby corn.

And there is more to come. It has been too hot for the lima beans to set pods, but as soon as it cools off a bit I think we’ll have lots, the cukes and yard long beans are just now hitting their stride. The baby corn is just coming in, to the girls delight [they’ve been waiting all summer for baby corn and are eating it raw!] The Kabocha squash will probably tote up a lot of poundage, there’s the yellow Moon & Stars and the Jubilee watermelons, the cantaloupes, a couple of kinds of pole beans, peppers and eggplants, to say nothing of the fact that there are still potatoes in their pots.  While it’s been too hot for the large paste tomatoes to set new fruit, once the daytime temps stay under 90, they should set a lot.

So it is quite possible for Aug and Sept to show even more poundage than July.

Each time I go to the grocery store my list gets shorter and shorter, partly due to the produce coming in from the garden. Part of it is because I am making more and more things from scratch at home. For instance milk was very cheap when I went shopping yesterday so I picked up an extra gallon and it is ‘ripening’ right now to make cottage cheese. I have found a really delicious brand of yogurt and while I am also going to begin making my own, especially when milk is cheap, it was on sale too so I got extra. The extra carton is now draining to make ‘yogurt cheese’. This is a soft and creamy spreadable ‘cheese’ to which I will add fresh herbs and eat on crackers.

Peelings, cores and bruised bits of apples sit in a gallon jar becoming vinegar. The cucumber crop is in various jars becoming fermented dill pickles. Scott eats tons of mayo so that is another one I’ll start making at home. He also loves garlic and I have a garlic mayo recipe to try out on him.

I’ve really been disappointed with BBQ sauce and salad dressings since I started really reading labels. Also with ketchup. They all have tons of corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup in them along with chemicals I can’t pronounce.  This makes most of them way too sweet and of course any non organic corn product is likely to be genetically modified, something I don’t want to eat. So I have been experimenting with making my own sauces. One really good one has been garlic & ginger. When I get it tweaked just right I’ll post it here.

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

gardenJuly09 012Pickles on the vine.

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

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 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!

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