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.

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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 http://www.freedomseeds.com

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 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.

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.

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.

Busy Busy

Well it’s really busy around here, just not enough hours in a day to keep up with everything!

gardenapril09 001The Maxi Golt peas were done for, so out they came, to be replaced by Burgandy okra and several inches of sawdust mulch

gardenapril09 004Some of the Sugar Snap peas come out and are placed by Double Yield cucumbers [thanks! http://www.freedomseeds.com] and Kentucky Wonder pole beans

gardenapril09 005Chires Baby Corn seedlings. These are the little baby corns in Chinese cooking, or left to mature they make popcorn.

gardenapril09 006The strawberry bed is interplanted with purple bush beans.

gardenapril09 007The Elephant Garlic is blooming. We got almost 5 pounds!

gardenapril09 008A spell of cool rainy weather gave the Blueshokker peas a new lease on life.

gardenapril09 010A Grimes Golden apple grows with Mammoth sunflowers, asparagus, Swiss chard, cosmos and nasturtiums.

gardenapril09 011Super Italian Paste tomatoes in large cages. Despite a wind storm knocking them over and breaking some branches, they are doing ok.

gardenapril09 012A Lemon Gem marigold. It really does smell and taste of citrus.

gardenapril09 013On the patio looking down the SW side of the house. The big green bushes in front are some of the potted potatoes.

gardenapril09 014This sad looking Red Currant tomato nealy drowned. It’s planted in an old ice chest and I didn’t realize the drain plug got closed up. But it’s making a come back and even delivered up our first taste of homegrown tomatoes.

gardenapril09 015Yard long bean seedlings in a planter by the house. They’ll grow up to shade the laundry room windows.

gardenapril09 016The trombocino squash is taking off.

gardenapril09 017On the patio tomatoes grow in old ice chests and peppers in the orange pots.

gardenapril09 018!st big red tomato, an Imur Prior Beta, it weighed 1 1/2 ounces and tasted delicious.

gardenapril09 020The Kabocha squash was rudely pruned by a pack rat

gardenapril09 021The buckwheat is blooming. mmmm buckwheat pancakes, coming up!
gardenapril09 022The chickens enjoy scratching in their new spot.

gardenapril09 023A wild sunflower with very tiny seeds volunteers in the raspberry bed.

gardenapril09 025The Baba raspberries are showing some color.

gardenapril09 026The new garden area: paths laid, beds made, planted with popping sorghum, quinoa and Bloody Butcher corn.

gardenapril09 027Potatoes in the ground out front aren’t as big and lush as the potted ones on the patio, but doing ok under 6 inches of sawdust mulch.

gardenapril09 028Bloody Butcher corn seedlings. The sticks along the edge of the bed are guides to keep small children on the path.

gardenapril09 030King of the Garden Lima beans are taking off up their trellis.

gardenapril09 031Pencil pod yellow wax beans await transplanting.

gardenapril09 032Poppies and wildflowers bloom along the driveway.

gardenapril09 033A strong smelling sage blooms

gardenapril09 034WOW! look at those melons taking off.

gardenapril09 035Yippee! A baby watermelon

gardenapril09 036The Baby Blue Hubbards are blooming. That compost pile is still hot, 138 degrees!

gardenapril09 037More wild flowers, poppies, a corn flower and a baby apple along the drive way

gardenapril09 038A bee buzzes a bright red poppy full of pollen.