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


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.

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.

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.

Pesky Critters

Grrrr!First a mouse was eating the bean and sunflower seeds right out of the soil blocks in the house. Then the birds were pulling up young seedlings outside. Then a rat ate some of the pepper plants to the ground, just as they were blooming. Now a blasted rabbit has been eating up the cantaloupes and blue jays are stealing the tomatoes! Very Very aggravating!

I did get some bird netting over the strawberry bed and finally got a couple more strawberries [the jays steal them before they even turn pink!] Today I’ll be getting some more netting to put over the tomatoes. I’m not sure how to solve the rabbit problem as the melons are growing on the compost and there’s so much junk sitting around up there it would be hard to put up a fence…..

Tomatoes are a comin’ on!

Well, we’ve been picking and eating tomatoes for a week or two now, just a trickle of ripe ones. If Harmony has her way they disappear nearly as fast as I can pick them.

gardenJune09 007These are the Princepe Borghese tomatoes. I’m afraid the blue jays have discovered them though. Now I have to buy more bird netting.

gardenJune09 006The west side of the patio is beginning to look like a jungle, potted potatoes on the left, tomatoes on the right. More potatoes in the background. The orange pots have pepper plants in them. They are sitting on the 55 gal drum which is the sand filter for the grey water from the washing machine.

gardenJune09 005Here’s a new compost pile. It is built over several tree stumps that I’m trying to get rid of. I’ve managed to kill an oleander by building a hot compost pile on top of the stump. This pile was built of horse manure and sawdust, topped off with some leaf litter, then some finished compost on top of that. I’ll be planting watermelons on it soon.

gardenJune09 004The Kabocha squash in the grey water tub is going strong. On the right is a canna lilly.

gardenJune09 001King of the Garden Lima beans on the arch trellis. The tallest one has hit 5’6″ and still climbing.

gardenJune09 003The new garden beds out front, with Bloody Butcher corn, popping sorghum, broom corn and quinoa. In the foreground are some madder plants.

gardenJune09 008The trombocino squash has hit the roof and started sideways.

gardenJune09 009The greenhouse looking from the outside in. The sugar snap peas have been pulled out and replaced with various beans. A volunteer squash plant is taking over the corner. You can’t see them in the pic but lots of Malabar spinach in there too. Left side of the pic you can just see part of Miracle’s sunflower and the bed of baby corn.

gardenJune09 011Another view of the greenhouse. Looks like I need to do a little housekeeping in there! The big green bushes are the huckleberries I grew from seed. They are beginning to bloom. I’ve never grown them before, but they are supposed to taste like blueberries.

gardenJune09 010On the right are large paste tomatoes. On the left Burgandy Okra. Some of the okra seedlings didn’t make it and were replaced with my 6 Beauregard sweet potatoe plants.

Things are Growing On

The heat wave has been broken by unusually cool and cloudy weather and even some rain. The garden is loving it.

gardenapril09 001Miracle’s sunflower has really grown the last 2 weeks. Compare this pic with the one from May 11th

gardenapril09 006One of my little plant nurseries. These are different kinds of beans & corn sprouting in 2″ soil blocks. I have to keep them covered with a row cover to keep the birds from eating them. The 3 yr old wants to know why I put the plants to bed & cover them with a blanket.

gardenapril09 008Looking through the arch. The poppies are almost done along the fence and will be replaced by mixed sunflowers.

gardenapril09 009The hairy vetch [purple flowers] is almost as tall as the dwarf peach tree.

gardenapril09 010The buckwheat is growing fast, it is even beginning to flower.

gardenapril09 011The tub, in the back, Kabocha squash, in front a canna and some daylillies sprouting.

gardenapril09 013Green tomatoes!

gardenapril09 014A Trombocino squash starts to take off. It’s growing in a 19 gallon tub.

gardenapril09 016Potted potatoes are blooming.

gardenapril09 017More seedlings, top row some herb cuttings and some sorrel. On the bottom shelf are the basil plants that have overwintered in the house.

gardenapril09 018Basella or Malabar spinach seedlings.

gardenapril09 019New Zealand spinach seedlings.

gardenapril09 020Popping sorghum seedlings in the kitchen window. I had to put them in  the house to keep the birds from pulling them up, but now there is a mouse munching on them!

gardenapril09 021Also in the kitchen window, sweet potatoe cuttings rooting in a jar, lima beans sprouting in pots. The green in the background are the tomatoe plants out on the patio.