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

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You Will Love These Folks!

Imagine a space one fifth of an acre in size, about the average city lot, 66×132 feet. Now of course on that space is a little house, a garage, driveway, paths et.  So when you subtract all of those you end up with one tenth of an acre. Gosh doesn’t sound like a very big space does it? And you are right, it isn’t a very big space.

But with a great deal of effort and determination that small space has done something really really amazing. In 2010 that ONE TENTH of an acre,( just .1) produced 7,030 pounds of fruits and vegetables! WOW! NO GMO crop could possibly do that! NO Chemical Company can produce those kinds of yields in modern American Agriculture in any way shape or form! They do not even come close!

BECAUSE in PER ACRE amounts it totals: 70,300 pounds. No current big farm agriculture can possibly produce 35 TONS of fruits and veggies on an acre of land!

NOW, imagine if every person that could possibly do this, would do it. Where ever they live. Even if they didn’t manage these ginormous yields, but just think if every one grew their own salad, potatoes and green beans?

Think of how beautiful our cities would become with all that green. Think of how much pollution of all sorts would be reduced. How about whole city blocks of people getting together and landscaping the whole neighborhood together, with everyone sharing the produce of the different trees? That alone would be priceless.

One of the things America has surely lost in most places: a sense of place, of belonging, a local food system, a sense of caring and community. This is a way of beginning to get it back.

The Dervaes family have a number of websites, all of which you can access from this link.

Now around here, it is hotter than blazes and half the state of AZ seems like it is burning up with no rain or let up in sight. So I will dream of fall and winter and early next spring….hopefully the next pea crop will be as good as this ones was:

Potatoe Planting Time!

June is a good time to start potatoes in the garden here in the desert foothills. While I really should have bought certified seed potatoes, I just went ahead and planted the sprouting spuds growing in my kitchen. some purple/blue ones, some with red skin and white meat and a few regular russet bakers.

I have also written an article about potatoes, Growing Potatoes.

seed potatoes

sprouting potatoes

Potatoe Time

June is a good time to plant potatoes here in the desert foothills. I had a few purple and red potatoes sprouting in the kitchen so got them put in today. I’ll be writing an article about planting potatoes and will let you know when it’s published!

Resurrection; bringing the dead back to life

Well folks as you can see I haven’t been too active here for a long time. I’m hoping to change all that now. At the moment the garden is quite dead but I am working on bringing it back to life. Just got side tracked down a byway on life’s hiway. 😉

So here is what a section of the back yard looked like before:

 

And then after I did 15 minutes of work. Yes in just 15 minutes I picked up a bag of trash and pulled quite a big pile of weeds.

 

I’m going to try and work at least 15 minutes in the garden every day. I’m missing having my hands in the dirt.

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 http://www.freedomseeds.com} 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.

HOME GROWN FOOD SECURITY

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!

All right, I’ve gotten a bit behind posting here, just soooo much going on in Aug! The grand kids went back to school and so did their mom, so we have children 7 days a week now. But the numbers are in for August; 100 eggs and 79.5 pounds of produce.

gardensept09 001Heavenly Blue morning glories cover part of the greenhouse. You can just see one of the Kabocha squash in the leaves at the lower left.

gardensept09 003Here  you can see that corner of the greenhouse on the right, then the baby corn, the row of paste tomatoes and on the left some cucumbers and an apple tree still in it’s pot.

gardensept09 004Yesterday and again today it is raining. Actually when I took this pic through the front door it was also hailing. We got .4″ of rain yesterday and it is very dark and rainy again today. We were going to go to the lizard walk at the arboretum today, but don’t think that is going to happen. This rain looks like it might hang out all day. It is 9 AM and it is as dark outside as if the sun were nearly down! And I’m loving it and so it the garden.

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.

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