Thursday, July 2, 2015


There is a time in the life of every garden when all comes together and it's just beautiful. This is that time for our garden beds. All the work and care is worth it to come to this time in the garden. Behold.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Brain spasm

It happens. You know stuff but it doesn't bubble up into your conscious mind until you've made the mistake. No biggie. I just pulled out green (snap) bean spouts because, this is really im-por-tant, they will not self-pollinate when temperatures get over 95 degrees F. I knew that. From experience. So out came the shoots and in went field peas. They love heat! They don't care at all if it is hot. They are from Africa! They don't mind at all that it's 104 degrees for the rest of the month. Neither does the okra. I will replant green beans in late July, early August, when I can start sowing all kinds of interesting things like pumpkins and winter squash and beets and carrots and collars and kale and even more cucumbers if I liked them. Or I could plant another round of field peas which I do love so much!
Question. How long does it take field peas to germinate and send up a sprout? 48 hours tops!
In no time at all we'll have peas this big! 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

prop 'em ups

If ten year old boy scouts can do it, so can I. 

A few years back I resolved to learn how to lash long poles into a tripod for peas. Using Google as my guide I found a source for all manner of lashings. Every summer I take up the tripod, store it in our makeshift garden shed, and pull it out the next year. The rope lashing allows it to be folded flat you see. I feel so satisfied and happy when I do this. Made of scavenged poles, saved cord and my own two hands my tripod is perfect for growing field peas. The tripod is up, rain is predicted, and I will plant peas of the Southern variety today. Having one of those Life Is Good days so I am going to stay home and keep it that way. Even got my LIG T-shirt on to go with it. Putter, putter, putter, around the house and garden, I will.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


They grow together like peas and carrots. 
Our yellow wax beans are planted in a raised 4'x4' bed . Intensively planted. I cannot see the bed for the bean plants. They are so thick the weeds get no light. No light, no weed. They have been very prolific this year with just right temperatures, soaking rains becoming the prettiest beans I have ever grown. French beans and early potatoes with just a bit of bacon (I am talking one slice) is early summer food of the gods. Oh my! So I made a big 'ole pot of beans and we have eaten them for days. This is a good thing. Blessed with beans, I may experiment with canning. That'll keep me busy for a day or two.

In a bed further back in our yard is a 4' by 4' bed of broccoli. They too are lovely. We will be fine in the brassica category for a while which is a another good thing. I've harvested six good sized heads this week with more coming. That time for sweet, homegrown, steamed broccoli with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice we love has arrived. 

Snow peas are out. All lettuce has been harvested. Planting it under the broccoli was just brilliant! Potatoes are on the down side of their growing curve soon to be harvested. Two tomatoes have been pulled due to wilt but others are healthy, for now. I dream of canning my own marinara. Herbs are on go. In fact, to say they are grand is to describe their size and vigor. Onions are coming out as needed. Okra has formed true leaves. Squash is a we'll see.

Yesterday, I popped in to Whole Foods-Raleigh, following a 2 hour drive there, and bought lemongrass and herbaceous hibiscus (flowers for teas). I was really hoping for bay tree. Reckon I'll have to try Raleigh Farmers Market next. Need a rest before I make the pilgrimage again, though. It's a four hour haul with hours in my feet to get everything done. Patience, Grasshopper.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Tater Friends

Potatoes like it cool. It has been cool, mostly, this spring and our potatoes are just gorgeous. This scares me. What if they are beautiful up top but forming no spuds? I am a fearful woman.

Our potatoes are from three sources; four varieties. 2015 is the year of the potato experiment. First, I ordered seed potatoes from Territorial Seed Company. German butterballs and Norland Reds because they are supposed to be good keepers. (I have a problem with the keeping of potatoes.) Then I panicked and bought a $5.00 bag of Yukon Gold seed potatoes from Walmart because it was March and I still hadn't gotten my order from TSC. I also planted my own chitted seed tubers from last year. If they all make, I will be seeking tater friends. I am a hopeful.

I harvested garlic this week. It is so fragrant! Much better than the store bought stuff I'd had to fall back on for the last month. I will make more garlic salt this year so I won't have to buy next spring.

It has been warm enough this week to dry herbs in the car. Below is a picture of car cured oregano. Folks. Oregano is a weed here in southeastern NC. I need oregano friends...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Garden Theories

Yes, they go together, seasonally speaking. 

I have garden theories:
1. Weeding makes holes for water to be better absorbed.
2. It is best to mulch after a good soaking rain.
3. If there is a fire ant out there it will find me and bite me while I happily gardening. Which is why I am inside, typing, nursing my wounds.

All things are coming together in our garden. Seasons are overlapping. Here's a list, barring the zombie apocalypse, of what we have going for us. Lettuce, asparagus, carrots and pea are amazing. Garlic, onions, peas, potatoes, broccoli, turnips and cabbage are chugging right along. French beans (yellow) are about to bloom. All herbs are brilliant! Shallots, my special project this (fall, winter, spring) are lookin' good. I planted them from seed in the fall and they survived being stepped on and this cold, wet winter. Right now, they need rain.

Tomatoes. A moment of prayer for the tomatoes, please. Grown from seed, planted early, some are starting to form fruit! Varieties out and doing A, OK, are Juliet (a small Roma type), Mountain Magic, Clementine and a Patio in a pot.

Everblooming strawberries look good.

For the record, the beets look like shit. What? They do!

And can I just give James Joyce a shout out here for making run on sentences with poor punctuation acceptable

A moment of silence for Joseph Mitchell whose writer's block was epic. Joe Gould's Secret made it acceptable.

And a gold star for Harper Lee who made race a topic in Southern literature but swore To Kill A Mockingbird was a love story. Girl, don't lie.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Perennial Vegetables

Ready to be eaten!
Asparagus is one of a few perennial vegetables. Annuals that are self-seeding perennials in the South include the brassica's (kale, collards, mustard, turnips) . If you let them go to seed they will reappear in a season or two which is a good thing. Just dig them up and put them where you want them or leave them be and they will chug along right where they are. Asparagus is different. Plant the crowns, wait three years, keep them weeded and watered, and for years to come they will reward you with early spring delights. We did just that a few years ago and this is the year! We didn't plant many. Some died over time, never quite strong enough to begin with. The plant count is about ten with some still not producing well. We collect the spears over a period of a week. Then, we have enough for the two of us to have a generous portion. Asparagus steamed with a light, lemon vinaigrette and a sprinkle of chive flowers is the perfect seasonal dish, I say. 
Almost ready to be cut.