Sunday, January 8, 2017

Windy And Cold

My favorite! Windy AND cold! It is really cold down South. In the teens at night. This bright, sunny, Carolina-blue-skied, Sunday morning it is 23 degrees Fahrenheit AND it is so blowy I can here every note of my windchimes when it gusts. We were slatted for inches and inches of snow but got a not generous dusting of powder. It's not as cold as predicted but cold enough that I am glad I double covered my broccoli, cabbage and new lettuces. I'm hoping the kale, rutabagas and carrots are warm enough under a single layer. We left the garlic and onions to fend for themselves. Ahead of this cold front I harvested all the broccoli, mustard, kale and mature lettuce I could. The fridge is full. Now there is nothing to do but wait and see if Elliot Coleman's method works in my modified row covered structures. In a few days, we'll see...

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Holidays

There's been a lot, a lot, of cooking this year for me. Lots. Thanksgiving dinner we had collard greens from our garden and sweet potato pudding. Today we included kale salad with our Christmas dinner. Tuscan herb salts were used on our pork roast and parsley on the mashed potatoes. Our garden enriches our meals almost every day. This year the garden made our holiday meals just a little nicer.

We had a few really cold days spaced out over a week. Knowing nights in the 20s were coming we cover all our plants with Agribon and left it for several weeks. Last week I turned back the cover on our 4x4 beds. Amazing! Everything had grown exponentially! Lettuce, carrots, rutabagas, kale and mustard-beautiful! Today I peeled back the cover on the broccoli and there are some ready to eat! Yay! Cabbages have a ways to go but they will be nice if we continue to cover when really cold. Once again, the things newly planted just before Hurricane Matthew survived and thrive...Still amazed they survived the thrashing they took.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


I am beginning to feel like gardening again. Hurricane Matthew took the window out of my sails. (Insert choice word here.) We had minor flooding that was a major disruption to our daily schedule. Construction workers gone, clean up followed. Anyway. Out in the garden the broccoli is heading, as is the lettuce. Our pot of arugula is just right, right now and the garlic, put in late has just pushed up. Carrots are lush. Rutabagas are a maybe. Cabbage looks good. Herbs are beautiful. We are eating kale and collards. Altogether, not bad.
Pretty enough to share. And I do.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Hurricane, Schmurricane!

Well, I had no idea! Powerless for days, and worse, without water fit for human use, we got slammed by Hurricane Matthew. It sucked. It still sucks. Water, water, dirty water everywhere and then not sure that even the ground water was clean. The rains came down, hard, and the floods came up. With 15+inches of rain in less than 12 hours and a river basin already full of water, it was astounding how the dynamics of a dike, Jersey bumpers lining up to hold water and Mother Nature conspired to create homelessness across economic lines. We experienced discomfort. Many experienced personal change forever. Some pushed into poverty.
The garden was the least of my concerns the whole month of October. Water to drink, bathe, and wash clothes with was foremost in my mind and time. Yesterday, I planted garlic. Normally planted in early October, we'll see what happens. The broccoli seems OK. Lettuce looks good. Peppers are still making peppers. Herbs took a lashing but survived.
Ironically, we have had only one rain, about 1/4 inch since the hurricane. The soil remains damp, river water levels have dropped and homes are slowly being repaired.  Our city is working on the water situation allowing schools and businesses to reopen and we are recovering our daily routines. For this, we are thankful.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pre-Hurricane Pickings

I've got sunshine on a cloudy day.
It is a sad thing to get a good distance into a season and have it wracked by rain and wind but that is the nature of gardening. Times like this make me think of how close to the edge people lived before all the conveniences I enjoy. And then, there are the Haitians. People still living in our hemisphere with no cushion to protect them from one bad day.
A few days ahead of Hurricane Matthew I went out and picked lettuce, green tomatoes and all the peppers. Our in-ground beds are puddles. Today I am thankful I have raised beds though I do not have much belief that the lettuces can stand the hammering they are getting. As of this typing we have had 7" of rain and have many hours more to go. I have a few seedlings on the porch protected from the storm. And, on the sunny side and there will be a sunny side, there will still be enough warmth and sunshine to replant some things like kale, lettuce, Swiss Chard and turnips. Making plans even as we taking a lashing. Gardener, a synonym for optimist.

I Need Some Space, Man.

Fall planning and planting is in full swing here. Every day I plant, transplant or repot something. It really is the best time to garden here in Southeastern NC. Two days ago I planted a second round of mustard. This morning they are up! Here's where the space is important. Some plants require lots of space. Broccoli, kale and cabbage need space. Summer plants like tomatoes and okra do too. They get big. They require lots of water and food and produce for months. Mustard, carrots, turnips, beets and lettuce, not so much. They can be thinned, eaten as micro-greens in salads and the remaining plants left to get bigger. I broadcast turnips and mustard because when prepping for cooking, small is good. Big leaves require that the stems be removed. Whose got time for that? Mustard, too can be cut and will regrow. How cool is that?
The photos:
Broadcast mustard seeds will be thinned for salads.
Okra planted about 8" apart.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016