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!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Brief, But Beautiful, Life

And then, we had an early frost. The beans took it hard.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Great Green Bean Experiment

I read or watch a video about gardening and food everyday. It's my thing. Back in June when the green beans played out I went into mourning. They are easy to grow, easy to cook and yummy to eat. The only negative is they stop bearing as soon as daytime temperatures rise. Self-pollinators, their pollen literally dies when it gets over 85 degrees. You can plant them in mid-summer, they will grow, they will flower, but, they will not make fruit.
I thought and thought about this problem and devised a solution. Then I began an internet search to confirm my hypothesis. Bingo. At least one other Southern string bean lover had tried and succeeded with a Fall planting. Thus began the Great String Bean Experiment. August 8th we replanted Blue Lake with my guesstimation date for fruit bearing of early October noted in my journal. Sunday, October 4th we harvested enough for one meal. Tuesday, October 6th another small harvest. Yesterday, Sunday, October 10th...
a big bag full of beans! Woop!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Falling into Transition

Geeeet ready!  The easiest Southern gardening season has arrived. 'Tis also the season of tough love. Summer plants that have waned gotta go. That real estate is better used cool weather vegetables like broccoli, swiss chard, spinach, turnips, kale, collards, mustard and lettuce. Okra, peppers, eggplant and surviving tomatoes get to stay. They produce abundantly right up to frost. Peppers and eggplant go crazy this time of year. Neighbors say thank you when I share but I sometime wonder if they're just being Southern nice. I've started apologizing when I give peppers...
We have more than five banana pepper plants...

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Grow herbs! They're easy! They smell good! On the more practical side, they are packed with vitamins and make food taste better. Scrambled eggs with mixed herbs?! Delish! Turns breakfast-for-supper into a gourmet experience.

I grew some newbies this summer. I bought a small lemongrass plant on a whim at Whole Foods in June. Uh. Two months later it is three feet wide and chest high. Now, I will learn how to cook with it. Also, I am assessing it's place in my 4x4 raised bed. Nice plant but maybe it will work better in my flower border. Guys. It is BIG. And it's year one.
Lemongrass, sage, basil, parsley, garlic chives in four foot square bed. 
When I purchased the lemongrass I also bought an herbal hibiscus. The critical ingredient in Red Zinger herbal tea which I love to drink in the cold, dark days of winter. The tiny plant in the 3-inch pot that is now five feet tall and four feet wide. I wanted it for tea this winter but I have enough to share with everyone I know. I'm thinking Christmas gifts right now.
The red stems and leaf veins give the hibiscus tea it's color.
The blue ribbon winner this year in the herb category is fennel. A gift from neighbor Suzy, it grew to six feet, was topped with umbrels of tiny yellow flowers, each became a fennel seed. The bees loved it. The butterflies loved it. I loved it. When I brushed against it while working the whole garden would be filled the the bold, spicy, fragrance of licorice. I harvested the seeds, gave them to neighbors, saved some for winter, then packed some up mailed it to my son who likes to cook. A happy surprise for us all!

Single petaled flowers, like these atop our fennel, are fast food for bees!