Monday, October 18, 2010

Very Busy Summer

A friend of mine told me tonight that I really needed to update my blog. Well, I tried to tell her that it has been a very busy summer. We've been doing a lot of things with the family, including the garden and I have not had time to update my blog. She did not take that for an answer so here I am updating my blog. Thanks Janet, I needed the extra push.
The garden got out of control this year, between the heat and the sunny days things just took off and had a mind of  there own. We could have had a little more rain (according to my water bill) but things were just perfect.
Here are some pictures of what things looked like in August.
As you can see things were growing pretty good. This was the first year we tried trash can potatoes. This was Tam's project. It did pretty good. We got a lot of produce from the garden this year. We canned and froze most of what we did not give away. This year we did a lot of different flowers and experimented with cut flowers. It was fun way to try different kinds of plants. It was really nice to have cut flowers in the house all summer. Wish they would last all winter.

September brought the big harvest and the time to think about closing up shop. I started bringing in some of the pumpkins and other squashes and started pulling up the spent plants. We were canning fools. We have run out of place in our freezer (deep) and I don't have anymore shelf space for canned goods. I also have started collecting seeds for next year. All this is now sitting on my porch waiting for me to do something with it. 


So today 2 weeks into October I pull up the rest of the lettuce and a brussel sprout that did not sprout and put the beds to bed. I tilled them, put some compost down with about 2-3 inches of mulched leaves and covered them up for the winter. Hoping the covers will buy me some time in the spring and offer me an early start. So this will be the last of my blogs for a few months until I start the seeds again. I think I will actually start some of the flowers in January. Until then hunker down it is going to be an interesting winter. Bye


Friday, July 30, 2010

What to do with it all!!

Tam & I went on vacation and friends of ours Carolyn & Paula took care of the garden for us. They will probably never volunteer for that job again but they did an awesome job and we thank them very much for the much needed vacation.
The flowers in the yard are in full bloom and growing like weeds. Some of them like the Tithonia are just out of control. I grew some impatiences by seed this year but they just started blooming now. I think I will start them a little earlier next year.

While we were gone there was some bad weather and the wind knocked over some of the tomato plants. The girls picked them up and tied them down. They also collected all the tomatoes that had fallen off and they are now ripening in a window sill. A lot fell off but there are still an abundance still on the vine ripening rapidly.
All the pumpkins & other squashes are growing rapidly, I'm harvesting something everyday. The pumpkins I have tied up in old onion bags I have saved through out the winter. They are already starting to turn orange. I have 2 huge Blue Hubbard. I told Tam that I want to enter them in the Fryeburg Fair but she says that they keep them. The Zucchini & Summer sq have been very prolific. I would like more of the Patty Pan maybe do another plant of it next year. The butternut sq. is just starting, we have got a couple started.
The peas and snap peas produced a lot but have gone by now. We tore down the plants before we went on vacation and planted another couple rows of peas for a fall crop. When we got home they are already a few inches tall. I really need to get the trellis back up for them. The beans have grown out and are starting to produce. Pretty soon we wont be able to keep up with them. Although the Japanese beetles have had quite a meal of them lately.

The rest of the plants are coming along. The wind knocked over the onion stalks but I have left them in for a little while longer to see what happens. The sweet bell & banana peppers are starting to grow well. We have already harvested a few bell peppers. It has not been a good year for the cucumbers. we have harvested some but they are odd shaped and the plants themselves look wilted & stressed.

So all in all it has been a pretty good year. Now it is time to keep up with the harvest and try to preserve all this good veggies. This year I was able to even make our own compost and so far we have got 5 wheel barrels of compost out of the bins and composter. Hope to get a few more before the weather starts to cool down to much.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Harvesting & Canning

The weather seems to be the garden's best friend this year. We are having a hard time keeping up with the harvest. I have a quart size bag of each one of the herbs dried & processed already. The beets came up huge, we are eating them as fast as we can pull them along with the lettuce & peas. Radishes & Strawberries are finished but they were tasty. I think we have had Zucchini & summer squash every night for the past 2 weeks. We have some Patty pans coming and 2 very huge Blue Hubbards. The Zinnias have been gorgeous. I grew Tithonias for the first time this year and they are beautiful. I'll get a picture up next time.

We have already made Blueberry Jam, some from blueberries that came from our friend Janet(we need more this year 8-) ) and some from our bushes. Tam is hoping to make a pie with the rest of them. Then we made Zucchini relish & then in case that was not enough we went raspberry picking @ Doles today and Tam made some raspberry jam. I do the beginning dishes, help can and then do the ending dishes so I do help somewhere in the process.

The Japanese beetle & cucumber beetle have been a plenty this year but my biggest problem has been earwigs. I tried the rolled up paper and the paper towel roll. They didn't work, but I found a recipe that works awesome.
Take a small can (cat food or Tuna can) put in the following and then set it in the garden, preferably under some shadowy, moist area, such as under the hosta or the broccoli leafs.

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Molasses

It truly works, set it out and the next morning check the can and you will see a ton of earwigs in the can dead. Very gross but satisfying knowing they are no longer eating my plants down to a stub.

I still don't have my poles set up for the hammock, but Tam did get some pea gravel to put in the holes, hopeful this will hold the buckets in the ground. If not I will cement the buggers in.

I cleaned out the composter and the compost bin. I actually got 5 wheelbarrows full of the black gold. Very nice to see all that. Making a good pile behind the garage for next years garden. I'm actually out of compost raw material now, but it wont take long to replenish from the garden.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What a difference a few days make

Wow, have things taken off! With the hot, wet weather we have been having the yard has become a virtual jungle. We have started reaping the benefits of the hard work early this years. We have already been picking and drying batches of herbs but also have had some summer squash, zucchini, and some blueberries have already started turning blue.

The squash and pumpkin has taken off to the point it is overshadowing the other plants. I think I'm going to put in a couple 4X4 boxes and use them just for the squash plants next year. I still have some grass left in the yard I can put more boxes in. I might just till a space instead of putting a box. I haven't decided yet. I have some stripped cucumber beetles hanging out but I have been able to control them by handpicking them along with some of the caterpillars I have seen on the broccoli. Today I did see my first Japanese beetle, got the little bugger. Will try to control them by handpicking but we will see. If not I have some home remedies to try. I really want to stay organic this year but I'm not willing to give my garden up to the bugs for it!

We added a new garden bed in on the west side of the house. We did the corner this year and the plan is to go down the side of the house in subsequent summers. The hardest thing about it was getting the sod up. The soil underneath was awesome, just tilled it up really did not require any additives. Going to try to keep this mainly perennials with a few annuals in the front to change out each year. Tam has also joined me in the yard this year. She started two trash cans full of potatoes. They have just started to sprout. I think she has got the bug. Watch Out we truly wont have any lawn left.

The boxes on the front porch are finely done, I actually bought the plants for these. The impatiens take to long to grow by seed. I still feel pretty good considering 95% + of the yard this year was grown by seed in my living room.

And last but not least. We are trying to put in 2 poles to be bird feeders/hammock. Now we dug the holes and put a 5 gallon bucket in each one. We put the poles in the bucket and filled the bucket with cement. Of course, we did the level thing and staked them until the cement hardened. We took off and went geocaching and camping for the night. The next day we came home I filled the rest of the hole with dirt, Tam put on the hooks for the hammock. I set up the hammock and couldn't wait to put my big butt in that hammock and enjoy the yard and all the hard work we put into it. I sat down and landed completely on the ground sprawled out like a very big fish out of water, both poles had pulled forward. If that is not a big hint to go on a stricter diet nothing is. So I did a little research and low and behold I really need to cement the bucket and everything in the hole. The soil around it is not strong enough to hold the poles. Well I feel better, I'll stick to the DQ Blizzards Thank YOU!
Happy Summer, Enjoy