Garden Update 6/10/2018

It’s not yet official, but it is squarely summertime. In 11 days the title will match the weather. Austin gets lovely rainy breaks this time of year. Thunderstorms blow in and out and that is how we get the majority of our rain. We had a DOOZY on Monday. It pushed over the fig tree which has a trunk over 5 inches across completely over to the ground. It is a rather top-heavy tree. It blew over fences. It tossed pillows into neighbors yards. It blew trampolines onto roofs…

Out at the Garden Patch

It was a pleasant surprise to find that the garden patch weathered the storm fairly well. Instead of being destroyed, it got a big drink. No real damage was done at all. The pole tents with climbing beans were a little bent out of shape and wonky leaning to one side, but other than tossing the dill and sunchokes about which will now require staking, everything else looked great.

Peas and beans

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The right side is dried beans. The majority of the bush black turtle beans planted around the bottom are done flowering. I’m mostly just waiting for the plants to finish developing their last pods then I’ll tear up the whole plants. It’s early enough that I can probably squeeze in another planting of tepary beans in their place. Tepary’s should be able to endure crazy hot summer climates since they are Arizona natives. The right side are mostly fresh eating beans. I’ve learned some things:

IMG_0476The middle row in the picture above contains the three fresh eating bush varieties.

Fresh eating Bush beans

Dragon Tongue (fastest earliest producer) are my favorite so far. They are NOT hot weather happy plants. They like 80 degree highs and stopped looking so happy on our first day of 90 degrees. well it’s been in the high 90’s for weeks now, they have suffered. The plants that were put in the ground after April 15th in the succession planting have not yet produced anything. I think it got too hot before the plant was fully developed and I doubt if I’ll see anything. So pro tip for these, plant them all early to give them the best chance before hot weather sets in and stresses them out. The sweet spot is to pick them when they are yellow and have dark purple splotches like the picture, if left on the plant too long they get tougher and the purple fades to just a butter yellow color. This happens in a matter of a day or two so check often.

Cantare (mid producer) are less tender than the dragon tongue. More of a typical store green-bean, but MAN they produce. The hot weather has not even phased them. I also only have about three plants producing anything planted after April 15th is not doing anything yet either, but I think they got shaded out from some of the pole bean varieties planted too closely, this one is a great hot weather producer.

Soybeans (late producer) are chugging along, they are the best suited to handle the heat of the three it appears. Even the latest planted are doing just fine with now signs of stress. Everything I have read says to wait until a few leaves turn yellow on a plant to start harvesting the pods. Every plant looks green and like it is still growing even though it is loaded with pods. I’m just playing the waiting game.

Fresh eating Pole beans:

Purple Thai yard long beans

Look at this Lovely plant:

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Fresh they aren’t the absolute worst, but on the baker creek website they said they are best pan-fried. I put a handful in some Thai bun I made the other night for dinner. I pan fried in olive oil with some minced garlic until the garlic browned then took them off the heat and let them cool down in the pan. They were great. The key to these I believe is to pick them before they got too big and fat. They get a little weird the bigger they get. There is a few I have clearly missed the window on and I’m leaving them for seed. I think pencil thickness is probably the largest they should be. I have a few that look larger than fingers and I’m certain they won’t taste the same as the tender small ones. These guys absolutely love the hot weather and look like they will be a star producer.

Asian winged beans I haven’t seen anything on these plants. They honestly look like they are struggling and slow-growing. I’m not sure what they need to get them to kick off.

Beans greasy grits these are NOT fresh eating. I think it says that they can be eaten fresh at 2-3 inches long. A) good luck finding the beans when they are that small B) they are too tough in texture to bother with eating fresh compared to the other bush beans and Thai yard long beans. I’m re-purposing these as dried beans and we’ll see if they taste better that way.

Dried Bush Beans

Black turtle: Looks like it loved being planted at the end of march and has produced enough to make me thing they were really happy. I hope they taste good because i think we will have a decent amount of them.

Dried Pole Beans

Purple Cowpea looks pretty happy like it is producing a few pods. It doesn’t seem to be as prolific as I was hoping. Not sure If I shouldn’t be letting the beans mature on the plant to continue production??

Tepary beans look weak and pitiful but if I remember correctly they tend to pick up in fall so it’s ok that they aren’t doing much right now. I’ll replant to pulled up black turtles with more of these soon.

Rattle Snake Pole are the heaviest setting beans I have other than the thai yard long. The stakes are super heavy and positively covered in these pods.

Peppers and Eggplants

IMG_1120I think I might have to thin out the lower leaves of the eggplant to keep the peppers from getting too much shade. They all appear to be doing well still for the most part. Sweet peppers are on the right, hot peppers on the left. Other than Jalapeno’s I’ve decided to pick peppers only once they turn color. So I’ll get fewer per plant but they will taste better and be more vitamin rich. Also, I planted WAY more than two people need so It’s ok if I get fewer.

Sweet Peppers

Jimmy Nardellos’ are the best producer by far. They are just starting to turn red. I’ll be looking forward to these roasted on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Red pepper cheese are maybe one or two per plant and that is it so far. They don’t even look like they are close to turning red yet. They are also a lot bigger than I thought they would be.

Coro Ditoro almost looks like it isn’t doing anything. I think there might be one pepper on one plant and that is it.

Hot peppers

These guys are all doing great. chugging along, cranking out some fun things to play with in the kitchen. I have no complaints or observations worth noting. Here’s a pretty poblano.

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Eggplants

Eggplants are going nuts. I Spent a few hours on pinterest to try to find recipes for them. These little dudes should continue to produce right through fall so there should be no shortage of eggplant experiments.

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Dill and Carrots

The lovely dill that crowned the corner is reduced to a bowing heap after the storm. It’s partially shading out the carrots. Even though it looks worse for wear I’ve decided to keep it there. I’ll probably come up with a better staking solution so it stays more upright. I’ll be collecting the seeds from the flower heads when the mature.

Carrots are starting to bolt. I noticed every few days I go out to water there are one or two that look like flower stalks are forming I made the mistake of using one in the Thai bun dinner the other night. Bolted carrots turn woody. I think the temperature has proved too much for them. I decided to pick all of them this weekend. I’ll roast them with some beans and onions and bring it for work lunches. I’ve decided to replant the carrot bed with basil. The basil I had between the eggplants and peppers is getting shaded out. This new-found space will provide a perfect place for some new baby herbs.

Brassica Beds

The beets are still surviving though I don’t believe they appreciate the weather. I should really have picked the green top flat of egypt variety by now. The look like they are having the hardest time. I don’t think they will be nearly as good now that they have struggled through this hot weather. I see a lot of beet soup in my future. I’m surprised the bulls blood is doing as well as it is. That variety seems like it can handle the heat a little better.  In the middle I’ve planted some squash and melons that are still pretty small.

Here’s what’s left after giving away half of the eggplants and peppers and some beans:

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I love all of the beautiful colors.

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The Start of Eggplant Season 6/3/2018

This year we are going to have a HOT summer. In fact we mostly skipped spring. We went from winter to full on 100 degree summer super quickly. This weather stinks for Carrots, parsnips, and beets. However, 100 degree temp days are great for eggplants and peppers.

The inspection of the Japanese eggplants revealed more eggplants than expected and required some plucking. Eggplants are among one of the most unpleasant foods to pick. If not properly armed with a knife, forget it. Evil little invisible spikes live all along the flower cap at the top of the fruit. Stabbed more than I cared to be, this was my trophy:

IMG_1097About 10 eggplants.  What to do with this many? well… I had already made my work lunches for the week consisting of baked roasted carrots with herbs, onions, peppers and green beans. So baba ganoush it was! I made one fresh batch and the rest of the roasted eggplant was de-skinned and put into a zip lock bag in the freezer. That way next time I want to make it all that I need to do is defrost for less than 5 minutes instead of roast for 45.

The husband was watching me peel the eggplants and mentioned how he disliked knowing how the sausage was made. It truly doesn’t look appetizing. Especially for someone whom does not appreciate eggplant in its other forms.

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Purple morning glories

 

Tomato Thief 5/25/2017

Tomatoes are a quintessential summer crop. Almost every home gardener seems to grow them. They taste SO MUCH different from what you can get in the store. They are very rewarding when they work out, and for me at least, so disappointing when they don’t. I had put bird netting over the tomato plants two days before our trip. Shortly after that I noticed some pest damage:

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These were sort of close to the bird netting. I was pretty certain that a bird could perch on the surrounding fence and manage to peck in. Because of this I picked the largest / ripest but still all green tomatoes and left all the green ones that were only half-developed in size. We left and came back from our trip. EVERY SINGLE TOMATO is gone. There is literally no evidence the plant ever set fruit. The few green ones I brought in are all that I have.

My wonderful husband set up the trail cam, but we didn’t catch anything on it. We’ll try again to see if some prowler comes back to the scene of the crime so I have a better idea of how to fight them off.

Sometimes organic gardening feels more like a battle and war waging than a tranquil hobby.

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May Home and Garden Patch Update 5/19/2018

The Back Yard

This afternoon was a perfect day to take a cruise around the back yard to see what there was to see. It’s time to use bug spray. The effect of todays little adventure resulted in no less than 30 bug bites. But this is Texas, and things bite here. I’ve gotten used to it, or rather accepted it for what it is at least.

Plum tree

IMG_0721Today the plum received protective coverings on the 6 fruits that were visible.

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One was a little too high up for me to put a cover on so I snagged it off the tree to test how ripe it was. Still a little tart, but getting close.

IMG_1001Loquat Tree

a few weeks ago I kept an eye out for the loquat fruit to ripen. Well… the loads of peaches were so distracting that I apparently forgot about them long enough the birds had their way and I didn’t get any.

IMG_0840Maybe next year… maybe next year. Until then I’ll just wonder how best to use you.

Pomegranate Tree

IMG_0995It’s starting to look as though we will actually be getting a few this year. I’m very excited by this prospect! I love pomegranates, and dreaming of pomegranate mint salads.

FlowersIMG_0996Monarda is making its first appearance of the year. I love these beauties. They’ve attracted resident humming birds in the past. And this tough little plant is one of my favorite easy growing spreaders for empty area.

IMG_0998The Echinacea patch is also just starting to bloom. I noticed it is naturalizing into the lawn. I’ll have to move clumps to other areas to keep them from getting moved over. Not a bad plant to have spread, it has such a gorgeous color.

Tomatoes and Squash

The first picture is 4/1/2018 the second picture is 4/22/2018

IMG_1002This is 5/20/2018.  Yes. the tomatoes are now covered in bird net and taller than their supports. There’s also some surprise sunchokes in the foreground.

Cucumbers and Volunteer Tomatoes

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Everything is starting to get big quickly. Most of the plants have a few flowers or immature buds.

Garden Patch

IMG_0981I’m busily pulling beets and rutabagas from the ground.

Beans

The two fresh eating beans planted first are starting to make fresh beans now. I think the dragon tongue is my favorite of the two.  Below is a picture of the dried beans that I will just continue to let produce and leave on the plant. They will be brown and leathery when the whole pant is pulled out of the ground.

IMG_1009Soy beans are getting bigger too. Lots of edamame in our future!

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Peppers

I’ve been picking hot peppers for a few weeks now. Last week I picked about 8 large Poblanos and a few Jalapeños to make a shredded chicken crock pot dish that we put into corn tortillas and poured some homemade salsa verde over.

The sweet peppers are finally starting to come on.

The right is a few Jimmy Nardelo’s that I’ll pick and roast when they start to turn red. The Right is red pepper cheese. A cute little turbine pepper reminiscent a Habanero but sweet and will also turn red. The Italian Yellow bells didn’t appear to have any impressive looking fruit that popped out at me yet.

Eggplant

IMG_1006My little Japanese long eggplants are starting to produce. It wont be long before we can start picking them now.

IMG_1013This is the haul for this week. I ran out to the garden patch this morning right before a thunderstorm hit so I didn’t have time to wash everything like I would normally do before I bring it into the house.

I’ve got about 10 poblano peppers we will stuff with chicken and cheese and cover in more salsa verde. I found the BEST recipe for salsa verde which I’ll use an onion and jalapeno for. I’m roasting the beets and other root vegetables for Lunches with some herbs sprinkled over the top and a drizzle of oil.

IMG_1014Things are starting to really pick up out at the garden. It has been a great feeling to be able to eat the things that are worked so hard and cared for.

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Veggie Patch 5/13/2018

The Veggie patch is now in Full-swing. Every few days I get to come home with a batch of fresh produce. There’s enough beets in the fridge for me to eat for a few weeks. That will be turned into some sort of beet soup for work lunches since the husband isn’t a fan. There are unfortunately still turnips in the fridge. I’m going to just roast and eat to get over with. In the corner to the left of the picture below you see the first pulled Rutabaga which may or may not have been a mistake like the turnips. Unfortunately there are even more rutabagas than turnips…. That is an experiment for later. One that my dear husband and I are a little hesitant to try…

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Onions are being plucked from the ground weekly. Only the Georgia Sweets are impressive in size. That is the impressive variety. Texas onions are still puny. The combination of a little later than recommended planting plus too much shade from the dill that has grown out of hand is likely the reason why they are suffering.

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Carrots are ready! Much to my surprise the carrots are ready to be picked. Equally surprising; they taste good even though it’s been in the 90’s for a few weeks. We roasted them with an onion and some new potatoes last night and MAN was that delicious! Sprinkled a little avocado oil and some of the rosemary-sage salt. My favorite variety just based off looks alone were the black ones but they are equally delicious.

Peppers are starting to produce like crazy too. The hot peppers aren’t really totally ready they are still smaller than full size but I’ve been using the Jalapeno’s for peach salsa.  I also picked some mystery peppers to try to figure out what they are. I’m guessing they are actually Hungarian yellow wax peppers.They are NOT Anaheim peppers. A few Anaheim peppers were picked too just because they were touching the ground since the plants were buried deeply and I didn’t want pest problems. The sweet peppers are still a little behind. Most are just starting to make flower buds, a few have baby peppers.

The beans are finally starting to gain some momentum. It is ridiculous how fast they are starting to grow now. The picture on the right was 15 days ago compared to the left which was today:

The climbing ones are starting to climb, some of the dried beans are starting to put on flowers and a few tiny beans. The first planted fresh eating bean is the french dragon which I got to try today for the first time.

Today I planted some squash (might be too late for that but I already have some at home.) And some melons. Here’s an overview of what the garden looks like right now:

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I even found a frog:

IMG_0969 2I love going out there. It’s much less work and much more enjoyable. Happy gardening!

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Coriander 5/5/2018

The cilantro went to seed that was planted last winter. I like leaving flowering plants for the bees. It wasn’t helping the garlic which was completely shaded out by it in parts though. Here is the massively unruly plant below:

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It’s going to be used as coriander now. After 1/2 of the plant seeds on the plant have turned brown, The whole plant is pulled out of the ground and dried. I cut the stalks to a reasonable length, bound them together and stuck them upside down in a ventilated paper bag about a week or two ago.

Today I think it’s dry enough to shake all the seeds off. Once the seeds are bone dry, rub them off the stalks or shake them off. I found a big cardboard box and collected all the seeds there.

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Then the fastest way to separate all the seeds from the dried leaves and stems is to winnow the seed like wheat. Just pass the seeds back and forth between two containers and the wind will carry off the stuff that is lighter than the seeds. You have to do it a few times but end up with a decent product.

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Now we have fresh coriander for curries or stews. I’m going to let it air out for another week or so then put it in a mason jar. It took about 20 minutes to create more coriander than we will use in the next year. Worth it.

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Home Garden for Spring 2018

This year since I have the luxury of having a full sun plot away from the house I’m just focusing on the fun things here at home rather than the more industrial crops like beets.

Home is where my tomatoes and squash and melons and cucumbers live. Along with my salad greens (eventually) where they will be more easily picked and used.

Raised Bed #1 Planted 4/1/2018

The picture to the right is 4/1/2018 the picture to the left is 4/22/2018

There are three squash varieties on the left which were just seeds in the dirt on the first picture but you can see little seedlings now.

Squash (top to bottom):

  • Kogigu Winter Squash
  • Sucrine Du berry Winter Squash
  • Long Island Cheese Winter Squash

All are C. moschata types because of their supposed resistance to squash vine borer which is prevalent here.

Tomatoes:

There are four tomato plants total 3 are the tried and true early girl. The second from the top is better boy.

Basil:

  • Sweet basil
  • Purple basil
  • Thai Basil

Raised Bed #2 Planted 4/1/2018

The picture to the right is 4/1/2018 the picture to the left is 4/22/2018

There are five varieties of cucumbers on the left which were just seeds in the dirt on the first picture but you can see little seedlings now. The glob in the top center of the right hand picture is some kitchen waste I toss onto the garden It’s not beautiful but red worms love it.

Cucumbers (Lower left to upper right):

  • Patio Snacker
  • Picolino F1 (favorite variety last year)
  • Syrian Smooth
  • Armenian Cucumber
  • Melon Metki Dark Green Serpent

I stuck a Jimmy Nardello Sweet pepper plant and a Garden salsa hot pepper out there for quick access while cooking and to keep an eye out on the pepper progress at the plot for comparison purposes.

There are also a few volunteer tomato plants which will probably not amount too much. You’ll notice a whole bunch of empty space in this bed. This bed is mostly shaded and the empty spots are on the shady side of the bed that is reserved for what I hope to make a perennial salad garden. I purchased a whole bunch of varieties of perennial greens and after I start them from seeds this summer and transplant them this fall this will be their home.

Small bed planted 4/1/2018

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Is currently home to dill. Some volunteers popped up so I decided to transplant them here. It will be good to have dill at home too for all the cucumber plants that are planted!

Long bed

IMG_0556This is where I planned to plant some melons, but plans don’t always work. There doesn’t really look to be enough space for melon roots with the garlic. This bed is essentially untouched since the winter planting and looks quite unruly. The cilantro that was planted is going to seed and I decided to leave it there for the flowers that bees love and I’ll use the dried coriander seeds from this plant.

Honestly the garlic looks like it is struggling. I’m thinking the cilantro shaded it out a little too much and made it sort of spindly looking. Or perhaps it doesn’t like the soil or perhaps I should have watered it a little more.

So for now, the bed will stay planted with garlic along one side and coriander and dill and pansies dotted throughout. Perhaps I’ll stick in a watermelon a little later if it looks like there is room, but for now there definitely is not.

 

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Cold Snap and Turnips 4/8/2018

Cold Snap

Friday was 85 degrees and humid. Yesterday was 43 degrees during the day it dropped into the 30’s last night. Just as the warm season things were starting to flourish a cold snap blew through the area dropping temperatures in a matter of hours. It was so uncomfortable outside. All I was able to do at the garden patch yesterday was stake the remaining sweet peppers that were getting whipped around in the wind, put up an unwieldy frost blanket tent over the peppers and pick a few turnips that were loving the cold weather. I also had to cover my tomato plants that I just got in the ground last weekend at home.

Turnips

The first crop to produce for 2018!! Baby turnips are ready for the picking.

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Note to self: Nagasaki Akari Kabu Turnips were sowed on 2/17/2018 and last week and April 1st Baby turnips were ready for picking. 1.5 ish months of growing time before they are ready to start picking. Luckily they are all growing at different rates too which is making it so I can pick a few of the largest ones each week. The purple top white globe turnips have finally started bulbing also. Just not as reliably. They have a lot more foliage and the skin is tougher. They also have a much harsher peppery taste more like a radish.

IMG_0583After spritzing them down with a hose they’re ready to bring home.

Turnip recipe trial and error

Turnip Greens

Last weekend I tried making collard greens with their tops which was pretty good. I think I need to experiment with different recipes a little. This is a possibility for future experiments.

Mashed Turnips

I tried mashing the turnip bottoms with some bacon and chives following a recipe I found on Pinterest. This was TERRIBLE. NEVER AGAIN. Part of that might be my fault. I used turnips we got from a farmers market the week before. I boiled the turnips with their skins on which was probably most of the problem. The skins of the farmers market turnips were bitter and very harsh tasting like super spicy hot radishes and I think maybe that flavor boiled into the turnip even though I peeled the skins off after. Anyways, the results were Blech. That and.. Turnips don’t mash. I had to get out the stick blender. My husband and I both agree that was bad and not to be repeated.

Roasted Turnips

Today I lightly coated them in olive oil and broiled for 15 minutes until golden stuck them in a bowl and put a tiny pad of butter on top and sprinkled some fresh dill from the garden on it. Basically following another Pinterest recipe I had found. I was extra careful and taste tested the skins both varieties. Nagasaki Akari Kabu don’t even have a hint of that terrible bitter harsh flavor so I left the skins on for roasting. The purple top white globe turnips are less superior by far in their early maturing and in their taste. The skin had that gross hot-radishy flavor again so that one was peeled. Chris HATED this dish He said that it tasted like he just put a mushroom in his mouth (which he hates). I on the other hand did not think it was terrible, but it was kind of disappointing because its pretty tasteless. It seems like turnips are not meant to be the star of the show. Maybe I need to look at recipes where they play a support role to something more interesting.

Right now in my mind turnips are valuable as an early producer but not because they taste amazing… I need to hunt for more recipes.

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Staking peppers plot progress 3/31/2018

Pepper Beds

The hot pepper bed has really been taking off. I got some advise from my plot neighbors to stake the peppers because it gets extremely windy.

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They’ve already doubled in size since they were put in the ground. Most have little buds in their growing point and a few are already flowering.

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I planted them extra deep but now I’m wondering if that was a bad idea, The buds are fairly close to the ground. I might have to devise a way of keeping the peppers from growing down into the dirt.

The sweet pepper transplants are still dinky so maybe in a week or two they will get staked. There was not much change since last week.

Onions Carrots/Dill Beds

Look how wimpy the onions along the border to the left are compared to the right. The spacing is the same, They were purchased and planted at the same time. This is the difference between Texas Sweet (left) and Georgia Sweet (right). Both have the same watering schedule and have been supplemented with the same nutrients. I realized about two weeks ago I really messed up with the onions. These are all non-storage onions. Yeah. There’s about 200 of them total. My husband and I are not going to be able to use them all within 30 days…. I think I’ll be bringing them in to work and giving them away to friends if they actually produce. This prompted me to do research on short-day storing types. I was shocked at how limited the options were. I’ll be figuring out what to do about those here shortly to order seeds for fall.

the Carrots and Dill look like they are chugging away just fine. I’ll be starting to cut back the dill for salads here shortly.

Beets Turnips Rutabagas

This is the turnip and beet bed. These turnips have yet to produce a visible bulb but they are sure churning out the greenery. I’ll probably thin the greens and use some in a collard green recipe experiment here shortly. They are already shading out the marigolds! I’m not sure if they will bulb or not. It seems like they should have started by now.

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The Bulls Blood beets on the right had side have red leaves which was unexpected. They seem to grow slightly faster than the Flat of Egypt beets. Neither variety is bulbing yet.

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These are the turnip Nagasaki Akari Kabu which are giving me beautiful bulbs already. These are my favorite so far. They are surrounded by a most likely failed experiment of Rutabagas. The Rutabagas grow so slowly by comparison I doubt I’ll be able to keep them alive through the hot summer here. I’ll try planting them again in fall if they do not pull through to see if maybe they are a fall crop. Same thing with the really leafy turnip variety. Maybe I’m figuring out what will work in spring and possibly something different will work in fall.

Both of these beds were covered with shade cloth. The sun is getting so warm its 80 degrees and these plants like the 60’s.

Bean Beds

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The dry bean bed is doing great so far. The plants need to be thinned pretty soon but I saw some pricked out so I want to keep my numbers large until they are big enough to not be bothered by cutworms or birds.

IMG_0533The fresh bean bed is progressing nicely also. This is the first time I’ve done succession planting of the same crop. I don’t know if it works well for my situation yet but right now there are three fresh-eating beans in three different stages. full on little leafy plants, new sprouts and seeds just poked in the ground. The winged beans are planted in the middle row with the trellises in the center. They are the most sorry-looking of all the beans right now. I’m fairly certain they require more heat to really get moving than what we’ve had so far. They may have been planted a little bit early but I’m not familiar enough with the variety to know for sure.

Other beds

There’s some flower seeds that are starting to leaf out in their first true leaves, same with the parsnips. The hamburg parsley has yet to make an appearance. I don’t know if any of them germinated or ever will. Sunchokes have awoken from their slumber. I’m trying to decide if I want to plant flowers or a melon at the only unclaimed raised bed.

Things are really starting to take off. Its amazing how fast everything has grown this month!

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Crepe Myrtle

 

 

 

Sweet Peppers and Plot Update 3/24/2017

Another weekend day out at the Garden patch

The to-do list is short, but time-consuming.

  1. Transplant sweet peppers to their new home
  2. Plant the next successive week of bean plants in the fresh-eating bed
  3. Water the beds
  4. Try to finish mulching the pathways

Sweet Pepper Transplanting

The sweet pepper seedlings have hardened off over the past week and they are ready to go in the ground. I mixed on extra bone meal, blood meal and all-purpose organic fertilizer in each planting hole. They are planted extra deep with a mulch of worm castings. I’m going to do everything possible to try to help them out since I have no experience with sweet peppers in the area.

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Bean Planting

The fresh beans have not yet sprouted yet from the planting last week. It’s a little concerning, might need to re-do the first batch. The dry bean bed however has sprouted nicely.

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Watering the beds

There’s two methods of watering done here (hopefully soon to be three). For hot weather pepper beds where there are few plants but they are larger I’m spot watering, Filling up a bucket and deep watering them twice with a large splash of water right at the base of the plant. This conserves water and is fast. It also has a bonus of not helping weed seeds germinate around the peppers since they are staying dry. Because the peppers are planted deeply, I can ensure their roots get plenty of water and the soil above acts as a heavy mulch so the water they get does not evaporate. Also, this is fast which I’m a huge fan of.

The other beds were all started from seed so I use a different method of watering. Each seed-sown bed is wet with a quick initial spray. This is to make sure the surface will be receptive to water. if one area is soaked and the soil isn’t primed wet it has a higher probability of just running off the bed and down the sides not really soaking in. Then a successive two or three pass by’s of deep watering each bed  happens. I do this about every other day. It takes about 30-40 minutes.

Hopefully drip irrigation can be installed on a timer and that will limit the amount of time spent watering.

Mulching the pathways

IMG_0494Most of the interior pathways are done now. The remaining perimeter is going to be a chore. Things are starting to look more finished!

Progress

The turnips are starting to bulb out!! I’m so excited!!! I’m worried it will bet to hot and the bulbing will stop but for now it’s amazing how fast they are maturing! a few days ago a very slight purple spot was visible at the base of the plant. Now it’s definitely a bulb. A small one, but a bulb.

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The hot pepper bed has grown a significant amount in one week also. Most of the plants have immature flower bulbs in their growing point now. This Anaheim pepper is actually flowering. It’s awesome to think that at the end of April there might be some hot peppers ripening up.

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Observations

  1. The Georgia sweet onions appear to be much larger and faster growing than the Texas sweet onions.
  2. Rutabagas appear to be MUCH slower growing than anticipated. Either they are a whole year-in-one-place crop, or the weather is too variable or to hot too quickly for them to really get established.
  3. Sunscreen is a MUST going forward in order to avoid an even more horrific farmers tan.
  4. Parsnips are popping out of the ground. No hamburg parsley yet.
  5. I think the love-in-a-mist is sporadically germinating, unless they are actually weeds that I’ll regret leaving in the ground later.
  6. lychnis has germinated. (perennial flower)
  7. Sunchokes are popping out of the ground.

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