Sunday, January 17, 2016

Procrastinate I Do

Quite by accident I have learned that waiting works. Also known as procrastinating, not doing led to a small harvest of early winter turnips and radishes. This summer, not cutting the flowers from basil yielded a summer-long pollinator. Basil, not my favorite herb, did really well this year. I had three huge plants. Letting one go to seed was unknown wisdom. Bees hovered around it until frost a pollinator plant in plain site for all these many years, unloved and unheralded. I gained a lifetime supply of seeds as well. I missed planting garlic in our backyard beds this October and finally got around to planting them in late November. They missed historic rains and may do better than our off site garlic plants that quite frankly look beat-down, bedraggled, sick. Too much rain can be the kiss of death.
Oakleaf. I take them out on sunny days. 
Witness our kale plants and spinach. I had a nice bed of spinach but the Christmas rains and sodden earth from previous rains proved too much. Gone they are, in Yoda speak. The kale plants are slowly dying from too much wet. Initially twenty plants, there are now eleven. The stems rot. It is an ugly way to die. Hope sits on the kitchen window sill, however. I have small lettuces emerging. Soon every sunny window will be home to a planter of growing seedlings. Soon.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Rain! Rain! Too Much Rain!

    There can be too much rain, much as I hate to say it. The drought we had a few years back made me think I would never call "Uncle!" on rain. The collateral damage of too much of too much wet includes moldy take-over of my entire spinach bed and lettuces and halving of our kale plants. It's just ugly. The turnips are beaten down into a mushy mess. Cabbages have died too. The India mustard is barely hanging on and the Swiss Chard is a wait-n-see. Two back-to-back nights of hard frost did not help matters. Perhaps a greenhouse would help...Today we have brisk twenty mile an hour winds, warm temperatures and bright sunshine that will, hopefully, dry things out a bit.
     It is seed catalog time. Every evening I take time to study and think happy thoughts about what I will grow this Spring and Summer. So much to grow. Potatoes and tomatoes, peas and beans, more lettuce and broccoli, I am overwhelmed at the thought of so much goodness growing! Soon I'll be planting all kinds seeds in pots because time is on our side now that we've crossed over the longest day.
Turnips harvested before the five inch Christmas rain. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016


A new gardening year begins with seed catalogs and a wish list. This year, however, poking around on the world wide web I found that Johnny's Seeds was having a sale on lettuce seeds. Sweet! More than any other seed I wanted some Red Sails! They add color to a salad, taste good and tolerate the heat on oncoming summer. And so, before Christmas, with lettuce at it's peak in our Fall garden,
planning and purchases for our Spring garden began. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 11, 2015

December Gardening

We here, in Southeastern North Carolina, have had a fabulous garden month! It's not southern California but if it were we wouldn't have tasty greens. We've had a few interspersed light frosts to moderate the bitterness of the turnips, mustard, kale and collards. Ample rain and warm, sunny days have pushed growth so everything is lush, green and productive. Frost put the kibosh on the buggy, bugs, temperatures have been just right, and rain has come perfectly in intermittent spurts.

Today there was freshly harvested salad for lunch with a small turnip sliced and pecans harvested from the neighborhood. Just delicious! Tonight we had green peppers in our stir fry. Earlier this week we had creamed Swiss chard. A special treat with the stems saved for soup. Broccoli has been coming on strong for a month. As is typical we are taking it for granted but soon it will end and we will miss it. There are a few cabbages and brussels sprouts but it is uncertain if they will make. I planted peas for shoots. They germinated and every few days I pick some to toss in a salad with arugula and small mustard leaves for spicey kick in our salad.

It was so warm today I spent most of the day outside neatening up around beds, planting pansies, moving pots, cutting back dead plants and string trimming around beds. I couldn't stop! It is so much fun when the weather is nice. Define nice? Seventy degrees, blue sky, birds singing and dogs lying in sunbeams with clean clothes blowing in a gentle breeze. That's nice.

The best part of gardening this time of year? Everything. Beautiful sunny days. Temperatures allowing for long hours outdoors  and everything growing without fussing over water and bugs.
It is, hands down, our favorite time to grow.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Growing still!

The little broccoli featured November 7th grew into a nice sized head that was eaten this week. There was enough for two adults.  Lovely sweet-tart steamed, in the microwave, broccoli with lemon juice.

We have also been having salads for the past two weeks. Amish, an heirloom Bibb is the star but there are some lovely Oak Leaf and blousy, pale green Grand Rapid lettuces in the bowl. Arugula planted in October adds a peppery bite. I planted peas really close together in a little spot by the spinach bed after reading an article reminding me that it will grow during these warm Fall days. Snipped shoots will add to the beauty and flavor of our salads. Yesterday I picked a handful of Clementine salad tomatoes, probably the last of those.

Cold nights are coming so I will be harvesting broccoli and maybe all the salad. There are still peppers, jalapeƱo, bell and banana, that need picking too. No worries. I need a bed to plant more garlic and maybe just a handful more of peas for stir-fried pea shoots. Mustard greens do not tolerate a hard freeze so they may need to come out as well. We'll see. It takes courage to wait out temperatures that may get down to 32 degrees, but may not.

The kale is, like, wow! this year. And maybe we will have Brussels. Maybe. If not the sprouts, we'll have the greens. That's be beauty for brassicas if they don't perform as advertised we eat the greens.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Rainiest Fall Ever?

The South has had a long, wet 2015 Fall. Very wet. South Carolina's wet was epic, history making, wet. Up here in North Carolina we watched the new feeds and were grateful it wasn't us. The rain we got from Hurricane  Joaquin here was more than enough to ruin crops unharvested, like cotton. Somehow our garden survived. Other gardeners in town reported their seedlings we pummeled to death by the rain. Twice. Between rain showers I rush out and garden. Last  weekend we put down weed suppressing wheat straw on all the beds. It looks so much better now.
I did a spot check this morning. Six of the nine broccoli have formed heads. We may get three cabbage heads if I stay on top of the caterpillars. Kale is robust. We ate it in a frittata this week. Nom. Mustard, lettuce, arugula and chard are all good. We've had a few salads, yay! We might get a few beets. Carrots have beautiful, ferny tops. Herbs are great. We still have a basil. Which leads me to peppers. All the pepper plants are still producing! Amazing.

Getting bigger every day! 

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Yes. I mis-labled a packet of seeds as turnips. They are my best looking mustard greens!
Oh joy! The spinach took! I have the most wonderful bed of itty bitty spinach plants that will grow slowly over the winter. They will produce abundantly next Spring. If the weather holds...
Turnips. I planted them again. Maybe we'll have a warm winter and get something from them.
Peppers! They are still forming! It has been a great year for peppers.
Onions have sprouted in our St Pauls community garden bed. When the beans come out, garlic goes in!