Sunday, April 23, 2017

Southern Peas & Beans

pink-eyed purple-hulled peas
We love southern peas, and these are our favorite. They grow best in the heat, but I sowed one row of seed to try for an early start. With a little luck, they will survive the cool/hot/cool temps of late spring without rotting in the ground. I'll sow a 2nd row in a few weeks, after I harvest the last bit of red russian kale, which is currently putting on a nice encore.

jade & roma II bush beans
I planted one row of our favorite bush bean, jade, and one row of a new-to-me Italian flat-bean variety, roma II. Based on internet reviews of the roma II, I'm expecting some prolific, good eating!

rattlesnake pole beans
Our favorite pole bean, I failed to order the rattlesnake seed! Actually, I thought I had some saved from last year's crop, but no. Order for new seed placed today.

Saturday, April 22, 2017


We are beginning again. This time, we are raising up a small flock of Speckled Sussex biddies.

Why Speckled Sussex?

  • A heritage breed, known to be gentle and friendly
  • Good egg layers, 4-5 light brown eggs per week
  • Does well with cold temperatures, but can take the heat
  • Excellent foragers, but also happy in containment
  • Lovely speckled feathering
  • Heavy birds, less likely to 'fly the coop'

We placed an order for chicks at the local feed & seed store for a shipment expected on May 24, but while buying plants and seed yesterday, Rouse the Spouse noticed these cuties in the 'chicks for sale' area. Alas, no rooster available. We'll be looking for a roo to add to the flock. Check out the nice containment area Rouse the Spouse prepared for the chicks. Easy to move from place to place while they're still too little to fend for themselves in the chicken coop.

kale, radishes, salad turnips, spinach harvested ... beans and okra seed planted

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Summer Crops Start Now

Yesterday, Evalyn and I visited our local feed and seed store to pick up a few garden plants. She chose some garden art.

All the plants have been transplanted into the garden and lady bug on a stick is watching over all. Grow on!

  • sun sugar gold cherry tomatoes
  • super sweet 100 red cherry tomatoes
  • cherokee purple heirloom tomatoes
  • tomatillas
  • poblano peppers
  • jalapeƱa peppers
  • hot banana peppers
  • hot cow horn peppers
  • gypsy sweet frying peppers
  • pimiento cheese peppers
  • pickling cucumbers
  • flat parsley
  • curly parsley
  • celeriac
  • fennel
  • epazote

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sue has NOT been in the garden, but Mother Nature never stops!

We have been traipsing about the lush rain forests of Panama, looking for birds. Wow... what birds!
traditional kuna indian mola, san blas islands, panama

We returned to spring in full bloom and a garden full of green goodness. I can not believe the difference one week makes in the garden this time of year! It is definitely salad season. Here's what's growing:

sugar snaps climbing the string trellis
radishes down the center
red radishes and white salad turnips
spinach, lettuce, arugula
one of two beds of garlic
also growing onions and shallots
In addition, we're cutting asparagus. The potato plants have emerged through their thick cover of leaves. The squash, tomato, and basil starts are thriving. It looks as if we WILL have blueberries this year! Yippee!!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Risky Business

I don't have the proper space required for growing "starts," so I cheat. Today I bought a few seedlings (Bonnie Plants) at our local home improvement store. Trying to get a little head-start on the season with some basic plants... straight-neck yellow squash, black beauty zucchini, Heinz super roma tomatoes, sweet basil.

I had sworn off squash the last couple of years because of an ever-expanding number of squash bugs in previous years. I'm hoping to get an early start this spring, raise the plants to maturity, then get out of the squash business before the bugs have a chance to take over. Wish me luck.

I had good success with roma tomatoes last year. They are great for sauces and stews, canning, grilling, juicing, etc. I plan to buy my slicing tomatoes from the farmer's market.

It's a little risky putting plants into the ground right now. We're still two weeks before the official end-of-frost-danger date. But if I'm lucky, we'll have reasonably warm weather resulting in early enjoyment of the fruits of my labor.

As April 15 approaches, I'll check out the seedlings at the feed and seed store in town to see what the local growers have to offer. I'll be looking for interesting varieties of peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, etc to fill up the beds. I'll directly seed other crops, such as beans and okra, into the garden.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Pollen is Fallin'

Mid to upper-sixties in the garden this morning, with mostly cloudy skies ... and the green dust of pine pollen floating through the air.

First, fill in spaces left by unsuccessful germination of seeds:
~The radish row had a big gap. I planted more Early Scarlet variety. This later planting gives the added benefit of spreading out the harvest.
~Only one row of beets (the middle) germinated well. I planted two more rows, one on each side. Trying Ruby Queen variety this time.
Picked my first red radish yesterday.

Red Russian - the last to bolt
The end of the winter kale season has finally arrived. We sure have enjoyed fresh kale salads and tender cooked greens. I harvested a tub full of the Red Russian variety and cut the last bit of the Curly Blue Scotch variety. The aphids had settled in and were quite prolific on these mature plants. The row of Red Russian was hardest hit. The reason? I believe the aphids came over from the raised bed "next-door". Last fall, aphids had taken over the sweet potato plants. When I pulled up all those plants the aphids moved over to the first row of kale they came to ... the Red Russian. The next row, lacinato kale, had a few aphids. The row furthest from the sweet potato vines? Almost none. All three rows growing in the same bed. No worries, though. Those bugs can't compete with a little soak in cold salt water and will not interfere with the edibility of the greens.

I put up a string trellis to support the sugar snaps as they grow. I don't know why I didn't first remove the hoops from the winter row cover system! Oh, well. Just another good reason to spend time in the garden.