Monday, September 1, 2014

Hot and dry

Yep. It's been hot and dry this week. Not good for seedlings. Even the established plants get wilty late in the day. Use it or lose it. Water, that is. Watering is, hands down, my least favorite gardening task. But I hate losing plants more so I get up early to get it done before the heat and humidity crank up.

Tomatoes, okra and herbs are reliable now. We have a bowl of field peas ready for tomorrow and potatoes from early summer and a little zucchini in the freezer. Keeping things varied gets hard toward the end of every season. Hoping for green beans soon and field peas to follow. Spinach has germinated (yay). I look closely every morning for signs  lettuce is sprouting. Mustard looks good, turnips look good, beets are a bust. Broccoli and cabbage are on go for transplanting soon.

Seed saving. Just do it. These are Celia's seed progeny from the 1940's. Hell yes! If I can do it you can too.  Do. It. 
And that's the news from Biggie's Garden where all the women are strong (in one way or another), the children are smart and interesting, and the man is indispensable.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Replanting

Within a week of sowing beet and turnip seed, we had a gully washer. No other way to say it, the beets took a beating and the turnips floated away-yay-yay. Mustard took a hit when Buffy-The-Vampire-Slayer took a walk through. Today I replanted.Whoever wrote Butternut Squash are impervious to squash borers, lied. They. do. too. I pulled them out in disgust and sowed spinach. Spinach is a crapshoot. Maybe we'll get lucky again. Lettuce goes in next. Happy, happy, joy, joy! We love lettuce, all kinds. Broccoli and cabbage seedlings are healthy. They'll get transplanted soon. Yellow french beans, can't call them green beans, are flowering. Scott's mom always grew the yellow variety so we do it too. Soon, very soon, we'll have beans on our dinner plates again. I love them-easy to grow, easy to pick, easy to prep, easy to cook. Pick them up and eat them with your fingers like french fries, folks, and they become the ultimate fun food. C'est bon.
The leaves of yellow beans have a yellow hue, fear not, they are well.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Waiting

We are now in wait mode. Tomatoes are regrouping for another blush of red. Just pulled out lima beans and replaced with mustard, one of my favorite greens. Our next harvest of field peas is a week away, I'm guessing. Okra and banana peppers are cut daily, the current steady date. Tonight we'll have them as a fry-up with grilled chicken. Last night we had Joy's eggs, baked with tomato and basil, and toast with homemade apple jam. A locavore's feast!  Should have taken pictures but, hungry I was. I divided chives this morning. Mother Earth's "What To Plant Now" for the southeast is also recommending outdoor sowing of kale, summer squash, spinach, chard and collards to name a few. But who has room? I've been advocating for a raised bed in the front yard but am getting serious push back from Scott. Done right it would look good 80% of the time. Smile. This is the time of year when vegetable gardens look a mess. Stay calm and carry on gardening...
Field peas are most lovely plants.

Ode to Joy and egg.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Winter Gardeners! Start your engines!


2012 Easter carrots
Yes, it is that time, again. I am please to announce purple-top turnip seeds sowed this week were up in two days. Detroit beets, the same, though they took a beating in last night's rain. Nantes carrots took a few more days but they are just darling. God and family know I just love the sound of carrots being pulled from the ground. There is nothing like it, absolutely nothing. Makes my heart happy.

Rounding out the summer season is a new crop of field peas and green beans. Sunflowers are coming on great-guns and parsley is ab-fab. Okra is just before overwhelming us which suits me just fine. Cannot wait to grill it on the barbie. Yesterday I transplanted broccoli and cabbage to bigger pots. Golden Grimes apples are ripening one a day and I am eating them right off the ground. Lovely! Fig jam is made and canned for winter. Today, friends, I am a satisfied gardener.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tomatoes

And pretty maids all in a row. 

This summer we have sliced tomatoes with every meal. It is wonderful! The Mountain Magic's are working for us with more ripening on the bushes every day. That's right. We are letting them ripen on the plants. There's Buffy-(The -Vampire-Slayer) our newest dog and a scarecrow that scares even me holding a balloon, to deter squirrels. To date it is working.

Okra. It's huge. It's healthy. It isn't making pods. Is that the area of the garden where we spread Joy's  chicken fertilizer? May be. Maybe we overdid it. Time will tell.

This week I:
1. Sowed beet seed. They are up.
2. Sowed yellow snap beans (Scott really likes them.) They are up.
3. Sowed carrots. They are not up.
4. Found aphids on field peas. What?! Sprayed with garden hose and smushed in hand to bug combat.       Argh! A win/lose deal. Icky bug juice on fingers. Yuk.
5. Sowed broccoli and cabbage seed. They are up.
6. Did not join the fitness center because digging the garden is workout enough for me.

Ooooo! And I ordered seed potato for fall planting from Burpee's. This will be my experiment for the year. Will it work? Mother Earth News says it will.




Sunday, July 27, 2014

It's perfect!

Weather is everything in gardening down South. We have had a perfect balance of rain, sun, hot and moderate days. A blooming miracle for which I am most grateful. It's been cool and cloudy enough to work outside most mornings, rainy enough, with sunny days and afternoon showers in between.

I started gardening during a drought cycle that dried up the South. Atlanta's water supply was down to 30 days and our own little Lumber up here in NC got so low there were sandbars you could walk across. It was a regional drought. In my mind it was epic. I watered ever single day and gave up on flower pots for years after. It wasn't just dry, it was very hot as well. Take away: we are still at the mercy of the elements. Wind, sun, rain, the ever lovin' tilt of the earth and what we've done to it, rule.
Treasure Falls, Colorado


Hot, hot, hot potato

NC Cooperative Extension agents advise that replanting of squash in late summer is a likely fail. They are still right. Frustrated and defeated I pulled up some beautiful, bugged-out zucchini, dug the soil for a new planting of beans, and found more potatoes. This a a happy thing. I found enough for two more meals. Cool.

Okra is the big deal right now. It loves heat so it is huge and beautiful. Best I can tell, only aphids like okra and they can be blasted off with the hose.  You have to keep and eye out for them. They love to suck at the new top growth. So far, so good. No aphids.

Grilled okra. Yes, please! 
I went ku-razy and planted twice as many plants this year which had me looking for hot, okra pickle recipes today.  The internet is a lovely thing. Should we have an over-abundance, pickles will be every neighbor's Christmas box. Think of it, a six pack of locally brewed ale and hot, spicey pickled okra at Duncan's outdoor kitchen, round an open fire pit. Very satisfying thought, it is. Cool nights, cool friends, cold beer. Very nice day-dreamy-thingy on this hot, hot day.

Two days ago I planted broccoli and cabbage seed and they are up! Surprised me. I dug weeds and watered for a carrot bed this morning and will plant the seed tomorrow. Our fall garden is in the making. Looking forward. One foot firmly planted in the present, the other on a banana peel.