Friday, December 31, 2010

4th Quarter?

God popped in this evening. "Its been a while, where have you been?" I asked. "Just watching." God answered. "So, you're a lurker?", I asked. "Well, I wouldn't put quite that way" he answered. He elaborated, "I'm more like a coach. I sent the play in from the sidelines, and see how well you listen and execute." I answered, "I'm trying God, its not the 4th quarter, is it?"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happiness

Who could have possible known the happiness that millions of people would feel by the simple experience of planting a seed in the soil?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Could Pretty Much Repeat the Last Post

Its been warm for a few days, but the cold comes back in tonight.   Lows are heading down to the upper 20s in just a few days.   I tilled up the raised beds, and bought some Compost and Cow Manure to amend them.  I'll get that done tomorrow or day after, but I think I'll wait to put in my new Cauliflower seedlings till after this cold snap.  Hopefully we'll get a good rain by then as well.  Things are getting awefully dry out there.  What a contrast this is compared to last winter, when we up to our eyeballs in rain.  Oh well, that's nature.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Warm, Then Cold Again

We had a couple of warm days in the low 70s, but its back to cold again.  And next week it will be back to warm for a few days, then back to cold again.   We should call this the "see saw" season, instead of winter.

I was wondering through the garden today.  I tripped over an old vine, and out popped a nice Acorn Squash that I missed.  I split it, saved the seeds, and cooked it with a little butter and brown sugar.  Talk about goooood.   Wonderful complex flavors, but simple to prepare, and healthy.  Got to love that.  Its funny, that my family, in-laws, and no one else I know ate the winter squashes.  They sure were missing some good food, but I'm not.  They'll always be a part of my garden from here on out.

While I was in seed saving mood, I went out and got some Cucumber seeds.  I had read to let them get yellow and soft before harvesting the seeds.  Needless to say, I wasn't looking forward to this operation, but in spite of the fact that they were pretty disgusting looking, yellow and soggy, the insides still smelled like fresh Cucumber.  To say I was relieved is an understatement.

The second set of heads are starting on the Broccoli, in spite of the fact, that I let a couple of large first round heads go to flower.   Hey, at least the bees love me.  They are all over those pretty yellow Broccoli flowers.  I did lose a couple of Cauliflower heads, which turned yellow and ugly after the freeze of last week, but I had already harvested, and gave away so much, that I can't say that I minded.   I still have some Cheddar Cauliflower coming along, too.

And still got a great crop of lettuce, along with enough Georgia Collards to feed a small army.  My Curled Leaf Collards are shaping up great as well, while my spinach looks like really sorry.  Beets and Carrots don't look so good either.  Go figure.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lots of Cold Early This Year

We have a couple nice little freezes last week, and over the last two nights we've been down into the upper 20s. The fall garden is officially frozen and done.  Winter garden is not showing near the vigor of the fall garden.  Pretty much same soil, same prep, the weather hasn't been quite as friendly as the fall weather, which was darn near perfect as far as gardening goes.  I have to admit, I am tempted to just harvest out the rest of the winter garden crops, till it all up, cover and wait for spring.  I am just not sure that what I will harvest of what is still growing is worth the effort as opposed to being really ahead of the game in spring.  I'll wait till the first of the year to make a final decision, but sure am leaning to the early start for spring.

Last of the Mohicans, err, I Mean Last of the Bell Peppers

This was the last Bell Pepper harvest before winter finally did them in.  We stuffed and froze them.  Hopefully, there are enough of them to make it till spring.   I've always thought of stuffed Bell Peppers as kind of a winter food anyway.  I am funny that way.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Got Sick, and Winter Arrived

I got sick right after Thanksgiving.  Something flu like, but it kept me in bed for nearly a week.  And after than, in the first week of December winter slipped through the back door with a series of freezes and heavy frost.  Most of the grasses are now a nice warm brown, the bananas and elephant ears are melted, and the deciduous trees are losing leaves fast.  The fall veggie garden is toast, quite literally.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Am Not a One Trick Pony. I Can Be Mr. Cauliflower Head, Too

The fall garden was on steroids.  What can I say? 


And these were not isolated incidents.   Pretty much all of the Cauliflower and Broccoli were that big.  And I have enough Georgia Southern Collard Greens to feed a small army as well.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Jailbreak, Sound the Alarm

I'm not certain, but I think these Mirliton may be planning a jailbreak.  And I am going to let them.  Into the pots they go, for planting in the spring.

Can't Quite Put My Finger On It

It really didn't seem like I did anything all that different, other than making rows, but this year's fall garden has been nothing short of incredible.   This head of Broccoli is nearly twice the size of a basket ball, and it is the second one.  On the first, we ate fresh Broccoli, made Broccoli Soup, and froze 3 pints of blanched Broccoli.  And that was all from one head of Broccoli.  This is the second one, even bigger than the first, with several more on the way.  Beats everything I have ever grown, or even seen.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Everything is Burning

My pepper are fully dehydrated, to the point of having just a slight roasted taste. In spite of the fact that I had 1 tray of Bell Pepper (no heat), 3 trays of Banana Peppers (no heat), and only a half tray of my little Tabascos, this stuff will kill ya. As I was pouring the powder into my recycled shaker can through a funnel, I could taste the heat on my tongue from the airborne dust.  My nose started to burn next.  Wowza, this stuff is blazing.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Super Wet Winter, I Hope Not

I got my rain gauge mounted last week, just in time to measure 3.5 inches of rain.  I had hoped for little rain on my newly tilled and planted rows.  After 3.5 inches I only hoped the seeds might still be in the near vicinity of where they were planted.   It was tough on them for sure, and on the new rows as well.

Last night, today, and tonight I suspect we will be well over 2 inches, many more.

I sure hope this is not the beginning of another year like last year, when over the 3 months we call winter, we got as much rain as an average whole year total.

Oh, our nomadic skunk was back.  Smelled so strong when I opened the front door, I feared he might be under the front porch.  Needless to say, I didn't stick my head under to look.  Anyway, I call it nomadic because I only smell it every 2 or 3 months.  Then its gone again.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mixed Palette Today Signaled the Season End

Today was a mixed bag of activities.  I put out the last batch of compost tea for the season.  Temps are getting too cool for the stuff to cook effectively.  I'll wash it all up in the next few days and it'll go into storage till March.

I dehydrated some Bell Pepper, Banana Pepper, and Tabasco Peppers till they had a lightly roasted smell, and ground them up into a rough powder, and added a tad of salt.  I haven't done this in years, and may even get around to making a bit of hot sauce this year as well.  Its been nearly a decade since I've done that.

Also, used my Cajun Tipsy Cooker today.  Got a nice Smart Chicken at the grocery store, too.   The chicken was awesome.   Then I took the stock that the chicken produced and used that along with the last of the Yellow Squash of the season to make a new soup.   Assuming you like the taste of squash, that too, was awesome.

First frost should be showing up any week now, and that will bring big changes in the garden, opening up nearly a third for replanting when the melons, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes come out.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mixed Results/Mixed Emotions in the Garden

We narrowly missed an early frost in the garden last week, then as abruptly as that cold front swept
through, the heat returned.  To say that this is caused a bit of confusion with the plants in the garden, and the plants in the landscape as well, is a bit of an understated.

On the good side, the Tomatoes, Bell Pepper, Banana Pepper, Hot Peppers, Eggplant, Melons, etc. are still with us and still producing.   It sure is nice to run out to the garden to grab a fresh pepper when preparing a meal.  And to still taste a fresh tomato is great, cause when ther're gone it will be nearly 6 months before they return.

On the other hand bugs are taking their toll on the winter crops that are growing, and the ones that are just starting are hesitating.  The spinach is coming along OK, but the carrots and beets are sitting in a holding pattern. 

I think everything wish the weather would just go one way or the other.  I guess that is the norm for every spring and fall here in Louisiana, and some winters as well.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Is This The End, The End of the Fall Garden, That Is.

Its a nice cool crisp evening out there.  It dropped into the 40s pretty early on.  I've been sitting out on the back patio with my brother-in-law just soaking it in.  Its heading for a low of 33, according the weather service, but I sure hope they're wrong.  I fired up the bbq to a little extra warmth, and cooked some Sweet Potatoes while we were at it.  And there's no wind, so frost is likely, too.  I'm already mourning the loss of the fall garden.  I did throw some old blankets over the Tomatoes, but is about all I could do.  I will miss walking out during meal prep and just grabbing peppers, squash, etc. whenever needed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Little Spaghetti Anyone, Spaghetti Squash That Is?

Just prepared my first Spaghetti Squash. They are some cool to deal with, so I've got to grow some next year. Of course, I saved the seeds from these.  That means, except for a little labor, that will be a free effort next year.  Now, I'll have to get some seeds from a reputable seed source, too, as these may be hybridized, so who knows what may come out.  Seeds are a minimal expense anyway, so one way or the other, or both, I'll be raising some Spaghetti Squash next year.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Ain't That Scary, But It Is Delicious

I "put up" the Halloween Pumpkin today, in the freezer, that is. Well, at least I did the large one. I still have 3 more to do, but all together they are not as big as the big daddy.

Now, on to find some Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Pie, etc, recipes for a future nice cold day in January.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Canteloupe, mmmmm

Breakfast fresh off of the vine. Only a couple left out there, then its bye bye Canteloupe till spring.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Tomatoes are Falling, No Wait They're Not Falling, But It Is Fall Tomato Time

Almost forgot to mention, its fall tomato time.  I havested 3 yesterday and 2 today.  Haven't had any for months, so I can't wait to see if they have that awesome taste of spring tomatoes.   Maybe a tomato and egg sandwich for breakfast tomorrow morning?

My Back Hurts

It was a busy day in the garden today.  I pulled out the last of the Sun Jewel Melons and Yellow Crookneck Squash.  I then tilled and rehilled those areas, some unplanted areas, and some areas where I was trying old seeds.  In all it was probably around 150 of row that was reworked and planted.  On the carrot side I put down Carrot Nantes Coreless, Chateney, Danvers, and Imperator.   On the beet side, I planted Detroit Dark Red, Detroit Red, and Early Wonder.  I also planted some Red Creole Onion seed.  First time I have tried onions from seed.  I planted about 20 Onion sets also, some yellow, and a few reds that I found in the wheelbarrow from last year.  Last, and most certainly least, I planted some radish from that old 2003 seedlot named 'Easter Egg II Blend.'

So, now I am tired and my back hurts, but it hurts good.

Oh, I left the Mexican Melon and Canteloupe.  Yeah, there pretty much done, but there is so much fruit left on the vines, I have to give them just a little longer.  I am not sure I could have gone any longer, anyway.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Country Boy Simple Fun

Had a little simple country fun just now. I was just cleaning up in the garden, so everytime I found a melon that was a little over ripe, bugs in it even better, I threw it straight up in the air high as I could, watched it come down and explode, then watched the chickens come a running to devour.

Judging by the remains, I think the chickens really liked this Mexican Melon.

Something's Bugging Me

Actually something is bugging my garden.   First came the moths, then came the little green worms who are devouring everything in sight.  They started with the melons, the Cucumber, Mexican Mellon, and Sun Jewel Melon, and that was OK, cause they were about done anyway.  Then they headed to the Yellow Crookneck Squash, skelotonizing every leaf in sight.  And that was OK, too, cause I was about done with them.  And that was all in the space of a couple of weeks.  But now they must be stopped before they set their sights on the Cabbage, Mustard Greens, Kale, etc.  Fortunately a cool front arrives tonight which should slow them down.  Next, I'll move in with an organic insecticide, like BT, to finish them off.  One thing for sure is you can't take your eyes off of a southern garden for long, or the insects will pick it up and carry it away.  Kind of reminds my of a Borg episode on Star Trek.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Whole Lot of Shaking, Err, I Mean Harvesting Going On.

Been waiting for the recently planted seeds to come up, and for the moon to say its time to plant the root crops.  In the meantime, we have harvested so much we have run out of freezer space.   We have room for an upright freezer in the utility room, so its decision time.

I am getting ready for spring as well.  I used a gift certificate from Cel, to get 10 bags of chicken poop and other supplies, which are all stored away for winter. The two large compost bins are full and set to slow cook over the winter. Seeds are purchased and in storage. The only thing left for spring and summer crops is a good back. And after the cold of winter, that hard work and sweat in the sunshine of spring will hurt so good.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall Means Football.

And Sun Jewel Melons?   Well, I bought this cool melon from Gotreaux Family Farms in the late spring.   It was pretty cool so I saved the seeds, which I then planted this fall.  And I've got a ton of them, so this one definitely qualifies as botha  spring and a fall crop.

Kuato Says To Open Your Mind

The garden can be a little sci-fi'ish every once in a while.   Check out this wild pair.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Keith-Saver

Putting up squash tonight. Vacuum sealing the old fashioned way, with a straw zipped into the corner of the ziplock bag, inhale, squeeze the straw closed, remove and finish the zip in one smooth motion.  Flatten and freeze.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Moon Says to Plant, Who Am I To Argue.

First Quarter Moon - Plant above ground crops over the next 3 days, 14th to 16th, but be done by Saturday eve, no planting on Sunday. Here in Louisiana that includes Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustards, Brussel Sprouts, Lettuce. And maybe Swiss Chard. Who knows why Swiss Chard is maybe?


So, today I finished off the last 15 feet of Row 1 by seeding with Tall Utah Celery and Bright Lights Swiss Chard.
 
I planted Row 5 with Souther Curled Mustard, Even' Star Champion Collards, Red Russian Kale, and Long Island Brussel Sprouts, in that order from rear to front.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rains Said Yes, and Now, So Does the Moon

We had a really good rain yesterday in advance of cooler weather.  Its still quite warm out there, but not the record heat of last week.  And the rains were just in time as growth was starting to slow down.  Now things are back in high gear, although I am already tired of eating Cucumbers and by the numbers of Yellow Crookneck Squash out there, that will be the next thing to overwhelm my diet.  But at least the squash are easy to "put up."  

And about the moon.  I am paying more attention to planting by the moon this year.  Not that I am all that convinced of the science of it, at least not yet, but I have to say its fun.  And what's the harm anyway.  Who knows, maybe it works.  So, we are tomorrow is 1st quarter.   Got the next 3 days to plant above ground crops.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall Harvest is Kicking Off

Its a good fall harvest this year.  The weather is cooperating nicely and the bugs are being gentle.  Here is a picture of today's harvest.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Put de Lime in da Corona, Make You Feel Betta

Harvested some Limes today. Due to the freeze damage resulting from last year's 15 year record lows, the citrus harvest will be a fraction of what we got last year.  We'll have enough to enjoy through the fall, but it won't be like last year when I am sick of eating Citrus while the trees are still full in late winter.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Canes and Canes This Week

The Hurricane Lilies popped up out of nowhere over the last week.  I'll add a picture this weekend.

And also this week marks the beginning of Sugar Cane harvest, with cane trucks having popped out of nowhere as well.  Time for extra safe driving as we deal with slow moving tractor to barreling 18-wheelers hauling cane from here to there, and everywhere in between.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cucumbers or Aliens?

I just harvested a dozen Cucumber that are 18 to 24 inches long and over 2 inches in diameter.   Never seen anything like them.   The rains have been near perfect in timing.  The soil great in this area which is a new spot this year for the vegetable garden.  I have used only Espoma organic products.  But I still can't quite explain this.   Here is a picture of half of today's harvest.  And there are still many more Cucumbers on this vine.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Am Holier than a Pin Cushion

The fall palm pruning is done, well 95% of it, and it should have been done in mid summer, too, but with all of those disclaimers out of way, the palms look great.  Or at least as great as they can look having endured back to back hurricanes year before last, and a 15 year low freeze last year.  Let's just say Louisiana life has been hard on the them.  Yet, more are looking fine.  And shame on me for not doing the palm pruning earlier, too.   A quick touch with the weedeater at some point this week will finish off matters for the year.   Soon our normal dry fall will come into play at which point summer weeds and grass will bid their adiue.   Of course it won't be long thereafter that winter rains and winter weeds will their debut, but somehow they are much easier to tolerate giving a little green against the brown of winter.  As for the palms, all we can do is to pray we make it out of hurricane season storm free, and that we have a mild winter.   If that happens, we should be fully recovered by the end of next summer.

Here is a picture of my newly pruned Canary Island Date Palm (CIDP)



Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Vegetable Garden is Starting to Hit its Stride

The garden is starting to roll. The rains and overcast days are just what the young plants needed to get a break from recent low 90 degree temps.  We've got 4 to 6 inch long cucumbers all over the place.  Already, there is one Sun Jewel Melon already 6" long and 3" in diameter. The tomatoes plants are 2' tall and starting to flower heavily. We are up to 21 Potato plants are now showing above ground.  I saw at least 3 small Canteloupe about an inch in diameter starting to form.  The Yellow Squash seedling are now 1' x 1' and beautiful.  The newer seedlings are starting to put on new dark green leaves to replace those sickly light green "I was raising a greenhouse" leaves.  Its an exciting time in the garden.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Growing and Cooking

‎Potatoes have broken the surface, 18 in all. More additions to the veggie garden include some hardened off some Canteloupe seedlings from Shelton. I put them in the ground today. Recent heat and full sun days have been hard on seedlings of all sorts, but some rain is in the forecast soon, so, now I am hardening off 18 Georgia Collards and 6 Red Cabbage Seedlings to plant at the end of the week.

Tonight, I gently cooked down some Yellow Squash in a skillet with Olive Oil and Honey. In another pot I browned some pork in another pan along with Onion, Garlic, and my homemade Cayenne Hot Sauce.   Then I made a pot of rice and mixed it all together.  Cel and I ate it, and talk about good, cher.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

“He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.”


- Elbert Hubbard

The Garden Continues to Grow

I put the tomato cages up today, as the fall tomatos have topped the 2 foot mark.  Not sure what to do with the Cucumbers, I guess I'll just let them ramble around the garden.  The last few days have been very hot and dry.  My poor new seedlings were hanging on for life.  Just as I finished watering today, the clouds move in.   The rains were light, but hours of cloud cover were most appreciated by both the plants and me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Quote of the Day

Faith can move mountains, but don’t be surprised if God hands you a shovel. - Anonymous

Lots To Do Today, But I Just Don't Feel Like Doing It.

I put some of the furniture back on the porch.  Fired up the pressure washer for just a few minutes to touch up the door mats for the front porch.  Got out the remaining empty 5g gas cans, went down the corner to fill them, and the boat up, with gas.  Not that I am going fishing, but the boat holds 24 gallons of gas.  All of the equipment will be filled and remain full, as well.  We are entering the prime time of hurricane season, so having some extra fuel around is always a good idea.  I always add fuel stabilizer, and then try to burn the fuel over the winter, so that all the cans are empty again by spring.   This insures no stale gas around, which can cause lots of chaos (and expense) in the spring.  Stabil costs a bit more to add to the already high price of fuel, but is worth every penny in the long run.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More Additions to the Vegetable Garden

Just planted those Acorn Squash seeds, and the Acorn Squash seedlings. Hedging my Acorn bets with seeds and seedlings.  I also planted some Butternut Squash, Bok Choi, Swiss Chard, and a couple of Artichokes, too.  I planted those Artichokes down on the end where all those shells were.   Thought it might help.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It Was a Great Day, For a Bug, But,,,,,,,,,,,

Its late summer in Louisiana, which is a fine time, if you're a bug, including the most despicable of all, the roach,   So I pulled everthing off the front and back porches and finished power washed the house. You know, I dreamed of having a pressure washer until the second time I power washed the house. The first time it was Tim the Toolman (manly grunt) cool. After the second time, the dream changed. Now I dream of hiring someone to pressure wash the house. Not really, grunt.

The only bad thing after a good fall cleaning, is you really don't want to put all of the stuff back on the porches.  You just want to appreciate the clean.   But, the cooler fall weather is coming.  It's prime outside time in Louisiana.  And I can't wait to sit out on the porches and feel the cool breeze hitting my face, or back, or side, or heck, anywhere, just cool the heck off weather, would you.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Who Says Acorns Aren't Good to Eat

Cooked some good Acorn Squash tonight. Is it too late to go plant the seeds for a little fall crop?  Feedback says go for it, but don't delay.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Almost Forgot, The Squash is No Longer Squashed, it is Squash Again

OK, I am not sure that made any sense at all.  So, the real news is the newly planted Squash is up.   Amazing the different fresh seeds makes.   Of course there is always the odd chance that one of those plants is one of the old seeds, but I doubt it.   Either way, I am hoping for a small Squash harvest before winter sets in.

Some of my new seedlings are Butternut and Acorn Squashes as well.  Funny, until a few days ago when I cooked that Butternut Squash, I never even knew I like Squash.   Life is funny that way.

A Long Weekend or Not Much of Anything?

Well, it is certainly starting out that way.   Seedlings are still sitting on the back deck of the boat.  The garden is still unwatered, and the grass still unmowed.   And NOBODY is complaining, not even the grass.   Its a beautiful day with full sun, high of only 89, and 50% humidity.  After this summer's record heat, this is almost like winter time. But don't worry, I'll get out in the garden sooner or later, probably later.  There is still lots on tap for the weekend, I think, lol.  In the meantime, where is that glass of wine.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Squashing the Squash

I have declared the old 2002 seedlot squash seeds a failure.  After digging around in the row, not only can I find no sprouting seeds, I can find no seeds at all.  I assume they quickly went to, or are rapidly going to rot.  I re-seeded the row with fresh Ferry-Morse, certified organic, Yellow Summer Crookneck Squash seeds.  

Just heard that this was an all-time record hot August, and with a prediction for a warm fall as well.   That's good for the late fall garden plantings, but maybe not so good for the winter garden, so I'll wait an extra couple of weeks before putting those seeds in the rows.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rainy Days are "Relaxin, Maxin, All Cool" Days

It rained off and on several times today, with small bouts of sunshine in between long stretches of cloudy skies.   Good conditions for the garden, and especially for the small plants trying desperately to establish themselves in their struggle between life and death.

Still no sign from those 2002 seedlot Summer Squash, but I expected them to take a week or two, at best.  Still, if they don't show by the end of the week, I'll replant that section of row with fresh seeds, or even better with transplants if I can find them.  I am pushing slightly past the deadline on the fall stuff, but running slightly ahead on the winter stuff.  I'll pray for a cool fall, but with a late frost.  Hey, it never hurts to pray, right?

So, here is the overview.  The tomatoes look really good, save for one, which is not gonna make it, and won't be replaced.   Just for grins, I had a spot left over on the end of the row, so I put a few seeds in just to see what would happen.   The Cucumbers are going gangbusters.  The Melons look great, but better get a move on to beat the winter.   The potatoes should show in the next couple of weeks.  I planted the Celery too early, but I have lots of seeds to replant later.   The newer seedling, Cauliflower and Broccoli were pretty weak upon transplanting, and it was tough on them with sun and heat right after transplanting, but I think these moderating temperatures and rain now happening will allow them to get a grip.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Welcome Break From the Heat, and Some Good Hard Work to go With It.

This morning was overcast, breezy, and with some occaisional misting type rain.   Made for perfect conditions for me to get out and finish the new vegetable beds.  With my Mantis tiller in hand, which was running OK, but not great, I tilled the last 200 feet of vegetable rows and hand raked then into rows with a metal rake.   Can't say it was easy, but I kept telling myself this was the other half of the health benefits of my vegetables.  Benefit one being that they were mostly organic, but benefit two being the physical work I was doing to grow them.  Oh, and the three blisters on my hands will heal just fine.

Although a bit late, I will cram into the fall vegetable garden whatever seeds I have left, but the first real planting on these beds will be the winter garden.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"gretel, snowcrown, packman, and butterstick" No, It's Not 4 of the 7 Dwarves

More planting in the garden after work today. Seedlings included 2 Eggplant 'gretel' (white), 6 Broccoli 'packman', 6 Cauliflower 'snowcrown' were planted.

Another 15 feet of row was planted with Summer Squash 'butterstick hybrid' seeds.  These seeds were from a 2002 seedlot.  Storage was OK, but far from ideal, so it'll be interesting to see what becomes of them.  The seeds definitely looked old, but also looked like they were maybe still viable.  I love to experiment.  They'll be ample opportunity to replant the section with a nice winter crop if these fizzle.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Zoo Doo Gold

It all started a couple of weeks ago with an article on NOLA.com about Zoo Doo Gold from the Audubon Zoo.  "Created to be a mulch for top dressing existing garden beds or as a planting medium for new beds, ZooDoo Gold is made of tree chippings, plant trimmings, shredded cardboard boxes, Starbucks coffee grinds (with the appropriate acidic base), shredded Audubon office paper, grass clippings, and "contributions" from Audubon's ostrich, zebra and elephants." it read.   Well, just from the cool factor alone, I had to have some.  A friend was traveling that way to get some for himself and offered to grab me a couple of bags as well.  Even better, he was a member of the society and got a discount, which he passed along to me, too.

So, today I found my cabbage seedlings over at Chastant Bros.   I got a six pack of Dutch Flat, and another six pack of Rio Verde.  Down they went this evening, with a nice top and side dressing of Zoo Doo Gold.  I wonder if they'll taste different, like an elephant that's been drinking coffee, lol.  

Sunday, August 22, 2010

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four,,,

The potatoes went in the ground today (Sunday.)  I had 60 potatoes left from the spring crop, all Irish Potatoes except for 3 or 4 of the Yukon Purple Potatoes.  With even a modest 5 to 1 return, this should easily tide us over the winter, and provide another 60 potatoes to plant in the spring.  This has got to be one of the best (funnest, as my niece might say) crops.  Super easy to grow, fun to harvest, and a cinch to store.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When All Else Succeeds, Fertilize Anyway, But Organically Of Course

The seedlings are mostly looking great, but I know as they continue to put on growth, they will need more and more food.  Best to start early and gently.  I spread some Espoma Tomato Food, but wasn't particular.  I used the same food on the Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Melons, and even on the unsprouted Celery.  Gee, I wonder if my Celery will taste like Tomatoes.   That wouldn't be too bad.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Look at Those Melons

Sun Jewel Melon, Mexican Melon, and Canteloupe seeds have now all sprouted except one pod of Canteloupe, which I am sure will pop up any day, too. We just might have a mellony fall indeed.

And it was so cool to see those seedlings coming up, that I went back in the house, pulled out the seeds, and pulled out the planting guide, just so I could go plant something else. It is still a little early for the winter items, but I did find "Tall Utah Celery" seeds that the guide said could go in now.  I've never tried to grow Celery before, so I only planted about 6 feet of row.
 
Its a shame I didn't get those rows raked up this weekend, because it is time to put in the Irish potatoes.  I saved enough potatoes from last years crop to plant a row or two of those.  Since it rained last night, I'll have to wait a few days before raking rows.  And I'll have to till again as well, to kill the weeds that have popped up.   One way or the other, going in the ground later this week or weekend will be the Irish Potatoes cause they're easy to grow, fun to harvest, and I have a young niece that I think is going to have a ball doing just that.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

News Flash - Its the Sun, No, Not That Sun

Just went out in the garden to check my new plantings.  Seems that the Sun Jewel Melon seeds have sprouted in all 3 planting holes.  Wow, that was fast.   And I'll have to do some thinning, too.  There are multiple seeds sprouting in each hole. 

Still waiting on the Mexican Melon, and the Cantaelope.  I have a feeling they are close behind. 

All the Fun I Can Stand, on a Mid-90 August Day

Well, a couple or 3 hours on the end of a weed trimmer was just about all I could handle this morning.  Big thunder heads are all around, so come on rain, fall and remove my temptation to go out to do more. Wait, let me go prune the roses, then it can rain.

Back inside, pruned the 7 roses in the garden.  Hauled the Mimosa and Cumquat trimming up the burn pile in the front.   After that's burned, I'll spread those ashes out in the garden.   The rose prunings will just be mowed up and allowed to decompose back into the soils.  

I try to waste nothing here.  Its that sustainability thing, you know.   Well, we're not all the way there, but I'd say we're in the 90% range of reduce, reuse, recycle.  By this time next year, God willing, I think we might be around the range of producing 50% of our food.  We are getting to the exciting point.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Attack, and Counter Attack

Here is the vegetable garden, less than 2 weeks after tilling, and just a few days after a rain or two.  Note the voracity of the Coco Grass attempting a total reclaimation.


And this was a thorough tilling too.  Just scattered around the nuts.  Coco Grass is also know as Nut Grass, or Nutsedge.  Here is a closeup.   Don't worry, though, I'll get it.  Have tiller, will till, and re-till, and till again, till the energy of the nuts are expended.



Here's a shot of the first row, the only one I raked into a hill so far.  You can barely see the Tomato, Bell Pepper, and Cucumber seedling mentioned in the earlier post.  And the string laid out to rake up the second row, which I hope to get through this weekend.   Note the abundance of Oyster and other shells.  Guess this was an old parking spot or somthing decades ago.  Never know what you'll run across out here in the country.   Can't wait for the fall garden to come in, but I think I'll enjoy the winter garden even more.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seeds are Great, Seedlings are Easier, But,,,,

Can't seem to find cabbage seedlings anywhere.  They are always a no lose proposition.  My dog could grow a cabbage seedling.  Actually, he has, pee'd on the poor thing nearly everyday.  Grew up to be a fine cabbage, too.  Of course we could not quite bring out selves to eat it, but the chickens enjoyed it just fine.

So, anyway, I do have some Cabbage seeds somewhere.  Guess I run them down and get them planted.  Hoping to harvest a few by Thanksgiving so I can continue Pa Joe's tradition of giving them away to his less fortunate neighbors. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fall Planting Is Underway

I am running a little late, but am still gonna try to sneak in a fall garden, before swinging into the winter crops.   For the fall, I just put in 2 Florida 91 Tomatoes, 2 Heatwave Tomatoes, 2 Phoenix Tomatoes , 4 Bell Peppers, 3 Burpless Cucumbers, all as seedlings.   In the seed area I also planted 3 Cantelopes, 3 Mexican Melons, and 3 Sun Jewel Melons.  Its gonna be close, but I should make enough fruit to make it worth the effort. 

I found this neat little calculator to use to calculate days to harvest.  Just look at the seed pack to see days to harvest for whatever you are planting, then go to this site (http://www.timeanddate.com/date/dateadd.html) , put it in, and shazam.

Using that site, at 75 days, my Sun Jewel Melons should be producing by October 25th.  Most years that would give me around a full month of production, and a little longer, if I chose to provide some minimal frost protection.   Considering that my cost for the seeds was zero, having been saved from a organically grown melon I ate, I can hardly lose.

Here is another handy site for Gulf Coast Vegetable Gardeners as well.  This is LSU's planting guide for Louisiana, but should be good anywhere in Zone 9a/8b.  http://www.lsuagcenter.com/NR/rdonlyres/BA17B15B-099A-41BE-AB42-0D8861446228/56100/Pub1980VegetablePlantingGuide2009HIGHRES.pdf

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Great Escape

Last minute, long weekend, Ft. Walton Beach, no oil on beach.  Throw in an old hotel with a tropical garden.  Oh yeah, I am there.

But wait, I just bought seedlings, and they won't survive even a few days without care in this heat without constant attention.  No problem, seedlings are going to the beach, too.


Now, let's see that tropical garden.  Wow, yep, that is a tropical as it gets on the northern Gulf Coast.



And how about a 3 to 4 story tall rock grotto in the middle of the pool, with a swim in bar, and full grown palms on top.  Yep, this place speaks to my heart.


Made a friend at the beach too, and he's got a little Captain in him.



OK, last shot.  The bar at the beach.  Yeah, I told this was a great place.  Unfortunately, what should have been a miserable crowd was hardly anyone.  First, was the economy in general, and then the bad publicity of the BP Oil Spill.  Yes, these folks were hurting.  It was our pleasure to visit and contribute some money to the local economy.  They'll recover, but the pain will be remembered.



Well, back to the real world, and to the garden, yehaw!

Oh, funny story.  I found a little cubby hole in those beautiful tropical gardens and set my box of seedlings out to get a little sun.   A few hours later, when I checked on them, my box of seedlings was gone, kidnapped.   Some time later, I ran across one of the grounds keepers and explained my situation.   He quickly told me they were over in "the shop" and pointed me in the right direction.   Before I made my way that way, another of the groundskeeper showed up at my door with seedlings.  He explained they were all avid gardeners, and had assumed that a friend had dropped them off for them.  All ended happily, and the seedlings made it back to Louisiana soil.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What the Rains Bring, the Sun Taketh Away

The rains shut off like a faucet, then the heat and sun kicked in.  Temps cames close to the 3 digit mark.   I was just getting around to planting the fall garden, when a far better idea hit, long weekend on the Floriday panhandle.  There was no way my new flat of seedlings would make even a few days without being watered, so I through them in the truck too.  This was the first time I ever took seedlings on vacation.  They enjoyed the beach, and were no trouble at all.   Well, not much trouble.  There was this slight kidnapping by the grounds crew who snatched them up from the little spot in the gardens where I put them to get some sun.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Rain Not in Spain

Almost forgot to mention the rains.   Great for most plant growth, but making the fall garden prep just as problematic as they did for the spring garden.   I am enlarging considerably from the spring garden, so that means bringing in a small tractor to break the new ground.   Soils are awefully wet, but with a little sun and heat they will dry out fast.  We got no rain today, so I am hoping for Sunday or early next week.   This good part is that this did give me some time to add some soil amendments and compost, that will be tilled in well on original bed creation.

The Grapes of No Wrath

It is grape harvest time again.  My grapes were given to me as seedlings from a friend who now looks down upon them from heaven.  He told me they were "Champanele" grapes.   I didn't realize at the time what a unique grape Champanele was.  One thing for sure, its resistance to Pierce's disease make it one of the very few grapes we can grow reliably this close to the coast in our humid subtropical climate.

Here is one definition of the origin of the Champanele grape vine: "Champanel (from a cross of Vitis champini X Worden, a Concord seedling) is a rampant grower and widely adapted. It is reported to be long-lived in Mississippi and resistant to black rot and downy mildew. It was one of three dependable varieties in San Antonio tests. The others were Lukfata and Valhallah."

Other sites refer to this grape as Champanel grape (Vitis labrusca). 

Hybrid of a hybrid of a hybrid.  One thing for sure is, it's a mut.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Burning the Dead and Dying

Before heading out of town, I spent the evenings earlier this week removing the dead and dying, and delivering them to the burn pile.   It began with two Mimosas, a Plum Tree, and an Apricot tree.   All succumbed not to the unusually cold winter, but the also extremely wet winter.

Next was the Silk Floss Tree, and two large Triple Trunk Phoenix Robellini palms.   These did succumb tot he extremely cold winter, our coldest in nearly 20 years.   The palms saddened me the most, but onward we shall go.  Gardens are never static.  They continually evolve with the patterns of the weather, the large and the small, the strong and weak, and the cycle of life and death.  And so do gardeners, for that matter.

The vegetable garden is cleaned out and leveled from the spring/summer crops.   It is ready for tilling so that the fall/winter garden may commence.   Of course I'll put in some late summer plants, too, maybe a few more peppers, some cucumbers, and a few fall tomatoes.   But mostly I am looking forward to the greens that grow so well here all winter long.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bamboo Explosion

As I was pulling out of the driveway this morning, I notice a literal explosion of growth in the Alphonse Karr Bamboo fence row.  I'll snap a picture tomorrow morning, since that is when the best light happens.   I cannot express how delighted I am with the bamboo's performance in providing a quick and attractive visual border.  One hundred feet of fence of 8 feet high wooden would have cost between 1200 and 1500 dollars, would have been busted up in hurricanes, and lasted 15 to 20 years.  This cost me less than $400 dollars, any minimal damage in hurricanes will recover on it's own, and it will last for many decades.  Only drawback is that you have to wait 2 to 3 years for it to grow in, but that is a small inconvience compared to the benefit noted above.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rains Have Returned

The rains have returned, and pretty much right on target.  Things were just starting to get dry and a little dusty.  Of course, it all had been perfect, I would have preferred them to return later in the week, just after I got the vegetable garden tilled up.  Now that will have to wait a week, but we are still in good shaped.   If I get it done in the next couple of weeks, we'll still be on schedule for the fall planting.

I am still harvesting field peas, although I don't mind saying this is one of my least enjoyable crops.   Constant harvesting of small amounts does not bode well for efficiency.  Next year, I either need to not plant them, or plant a whole lot more of them.   I can see now, that this is one crop that is only efficient in large quantities.

I mowed the expanded portions of the garden down to Golf Green height, then I spread out the roughly 100 gallons of compost.   It didn't go far, but over the next 3 weeks I will prep this area extensively with bio active ingredients.  

The 3 beds adjacent to the tower, making up the cross bed will be tilled and used for a winter crop, afterward, in the spring I will till a final time, and expand the grape vine planting in those areas.   This will give me roughly a 3x increase in the feet of Grapevine plantings leading to some wine making in 2 to 3 years.

Back Roads are Often the Best Roads

These best roads are also not only the fastest, but also the most beautiful.   The are no mountains of hill tops vistas in Louisiana.   Really, the greatest places are best seen from the water, but that not available, a back road that follows a natural waterway is the next best thing.

Here a few shots of Acadiana's back roads, of which this is one of so many.










Friday, July 16, 2010

Figs Ready Now

The figs are just starting to ripen.  My in-laws Celeste figs began to ripen last week.  I have a cutting from it, but it is still too young to make fruit, although it is trying.   Our Texas Everbearing is just starting to have harvestable fruit now.   The LSU purple is still a couple of weeks off.   The combination of varieties should provide fruit here over a 4 to 6 week period.   Nothing is better than a fresh fig off the tree.  I have to say, that of the ones I have or have access to, the LSU Purple is by and far the taste winner.   I have an LSU Gold, but regretfully have never tasted its fruit.  Bad site, hurricanes, you name it.   It will be transplanted to a better location in the fall.  Then we will see.

New Dawn Gains the WolfBerry





Got a new addition to the gardens.  Who can't love a fruit called a Wolfberry.  Next full moon, I'll have to do my howling next to it.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfberry




en.wikipedia.org
Wolfberry, commercially called goji berry, is the common name for the fruit of two very closely related species: Lycium barbarum (Chinese: 寧夏枸杞; pinyin: Níngxià gǒuqǐ) and L. chinense (Chinese: 枸杞; pinyin: gǒuqǐ), two species of boxthorn in the family Solanaceae (which also includes the potato, toma...

Transition Time

Even though it is mid summer, it is time to transition to the fall garden. I pulled the frames out from the raised tomato beds.  Next out will be the tomato stakes, and then arrives the tractor mounted tiller.  Wouldn't normally need that here, but I am breaking new ground.  No till worked OK for the spring, but I'll be bringing in the tractor now for some cropping for the fall, and then for the winter crops as well.  I'll do no till again next spring, but I will need far more Oak leaves than I had this year, 2 to 4 times as many.  This is due to the fact that not only did I not have enough last year, but also because I am doubling the size of the vegetable garden.

Pictures to be added later.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wow, Its Been Two Weeks

Time flies when life gets a bit chaotic.   Since my last entry, the summer rains have arrived.  On one day, we got well in excess of 4 inches of rain.  The bayou rose nearly to the level it was during the back to back hurricanes of Gustav and Ike, but of course it did not stay that high nearly as long as it did back then. 

Between the heat and the bugs, the tomatoes are done for.  As soon as it dries out a bit, I'll pull them and get the soil ready for the next plantings.   But the Dixie Lea Field Peas and the Edamame are doing wonderfully.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Finally Had to Happen

I can't remember the last time, but I spent the entire weekend indoors.   Didn't even look out of the window that much.  Have to admit, the week before this was one of the hardest in my recent memory, or even long term memory, for that matter.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Fruit Inventory

I did a quick inventory today, by memory of what we have here at New Dawn.  Many of these trees are still small, but they will grow.

Blueberries (3)
Jujube (1)
Mayhaw (1)
Pear (2)
Pawpaw (1)
Plums (2)
Mulberry (2)
Pomegranate (6)
Texas Everbearing Fig (1)
LSU Gold Fig (1)
Celeste Fig (1)
LSU Purple Fig (3)
Loquat (5)
Arboqina Olive (1)
Ruby Red Grapefruit (2)
Rio Red Grapefruit (1)
Ponderosa Lemon (1)
Lisbon Lime (1)
Meyer Lemon (1)
Variegated Lemon (1)
Louisiana Sweet Orange (1)
Variegated Orange (1)
Moro Blood Orange (2)
 
That is what I recall off the top of mind, but there may be more.

Even The Best Laid Plans

We had a great Father's Day.  First my Dad, then Cel's Dad, then tradegy struck.  Mom fell in her home, off to the ER.   Cel went first to get her back home, while I cleaned up and then headed over there to provide nurse duty for the next 2 days.  Finally back at home, but still no rain, ugh.   I watered as best I could, but we really, really need rain.  Not just a little rain, but lots of rain. 

OK, I confess, the break from the weeds is welcome, but it is taking its toll on the things I treasure as well.  Truly established plantings are OK, but anything less than 2 or 3 years old is beginning to suffer.   Especially the vegetables.   And the really frustrating part is that it seems to be raining all around us.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Statue Wearing High Heels


There's a giant doing cartwheels a statue wearin' high heels.  Look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn. - Credence Clearwater Revival

OK, really, there's no giant, she's barefoot, I'm looking out my front door, and its way to hot for the happy creatures to be dancing.   So don't bother me about details, lol.
 
It's another scorcher.  There are thunderstorms in the area, but they are doing a great job at missing us so far.  We continue to hope.   One thing is for sure is that I have to quit using city water to water the garden.  At this rate, I'll be the next person to have the $64 Tomato.   I can either put down a well, which makes sense long term, but there is always that short term cash issue.  The other way is to tap the bayou.  Water quality is not great, but should be sufficient for irrigation.  The nature of the bank does make this a logistical challenge.   I need someone more experienced than me to come brainstorm this one with me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Getting Tired of Eating Them, So It's Time to Put Up Dem Maters

Even with the bugs and heat taking their toll, the Tomatoes are coming in faster than we care to eat them, so its time to put some up.   Tomatoes are by far one of the easiest vegetables to store, with proper preparation that is.  Fortunately, that preparation is quite easy.  Slip them in some boiling water until the skin splits, move them to some chilled water to make them easier to handle.  Remove the skins, which is quite easy at this point, put in Ziplocks, squeeze out the air, and freeze.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Making New Plants

With the right environment, many plants are very easy to reproduce from cuttings.  One little known is the tomato.   For folks in our area, Zone 9, there is little need to buy fall tomatoes or grow them from seed.  Just pick your best producing tomatoes from spring, take some cuttings in late June or early July, put them in the right environment to root, and whalla, you have your tomatoes for fall.   While going through some antique (junk) shops on vacation recently, I ran across this perfect little propagator (terrarium).   Should be great for propagating cuttings, holding most of the moisture with just a tiny bit of air circulation.  Not too bad for $20 with stand.

Another source for fall tomatoes, especially if you like to take a gamble on type, is to throw all of your bad tomatoes, bug damages, etc. in the compost bin.   Till it up good about mid June and then wait for the seedlings to pop up in the compost.   Now, this way you never know what you'll get, but that is a big part of the fun.

False Indigo


False Indigo is a delightful little plant. Tough as nails, too.   I don't remember where we got this start from, perhaps a friend, or an old abandoned house.  Cel probably remembers.  Either way, this is a very troublefree plant, yet non-invasive, a very unique quality.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

If You Want Blood, You Got It, and a Few Other Blooms, Too.

When the heat finally let up, I finished the porch cleanup.   Then did a little watering of the Tomato plants.   Oops, now that I am writing, I forgot to lock the chicken coup.  Be right back.  Headed out with the flashlight, but after being allowed to roam free all day, they were back in the coup waiting for me to come make them safe.

Hmmm, now what else.  I put some Cajun Delight Okra seeds in the seed starter.  I took the plastic top off of the Earth Box, and as I suspected, the soil was quite dry.   The upwards water percolation was just not happening.   I'll water it as a standard planter box to see if I can salvage the two tomatoes planted in there.  I was out there 2 hours, so I know I did some other stuff, but I'll be darned if it is coming to mind right now.  Oh well.

OK, how about some pictures.  First, the Blood Lilies have arrived.   Neatest things you ever saw.


And a little Jacobina, set back by winter, but not down for the count.


And I guess we can finish up with some Christmas Berry.




Heat is Brutal

Its a tough one out there today.  Cel put up tomatoes this morning, then she mowed the 3 acres today, then went out and picked 3 more grocery bags full of Tomatoes from the garden, and weeded it, too.   Somedays I prevail, but others she just plain puts me to shame.  I mostly cleaned up a month worth of poop being left around here and there.   The crawfish boiling equipment went up for the season.  The beach stuff was consolidated and stored in the attic where it will be nearby.  The crawfish may be over for the year, but the beach certainly isn't, if the BP oil doesn't ruin them all, that is.

I filled all of the gas cans, treated with Stabil in preparation for the hurricane season.   Always good to have fuel on hand, as just before, during, and for a while after gas can be hard to come by.  I keep 30 gallons in the shed.  I'll fill up the boat tank as well, so that's another 24 gallons at hand.  Oh, and another 2 - 1/2 gallons of 2 cycle for the chainsaw, blower, and tiller.   While I am not likely to need a tiller after a hurricane, the chainsaw is a must as many limbs and sometimes trees are down that need to be cleaned up.  Fortunately only once, during Hurricane Lily, did I have a tree come down on the house.  It took out a third of the garage, the greenhouse, and tried it best to take down the back of the house, which fortunately it was unsuccessful at doing.  Although it left several holes in the roof ruining floors, furniture, etc.  Still, having seen the destruction hurricanes can do here in the coastal regions we felt fortunate.

Hey, I got off track.   Back to the garden.  Well, its too hot to even go look.  I'll reserve that till the early even hours just before dark.  I may even snap a picture or two.

Friday, June 11, 2010

No Garden Work Today, Friday is House Cleaning Night

Long weeks, long days with work then outside work, but things change on Friday.   When I get home for work on Friday I don't venture outside, it's house cleaning time to set the proper stage for the weekend.  If I finish early enough, I get a few minutes outside, but most Fridays I don't.   But that's OK, really.   I enjoy a break from the heat one day a week, like today.   I am done, and there is at least another hour of daylight out there, but I think I'll watch it fade through the window with a cool beverage in my hand.

I always like to include a photo, I think a I took a few a couple of days ago, let's see.

Here we go, how about a pretty little mushroom growing in tall grass, both provided by recent rains.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I am Star Struck, Well Maybe Star Fruit Struck

My Star Fruit tree, which was 2 years old was really not meant for this climate.  So when our past colder than normal winter killed it, I wasn't surprised.   But what did surprise me this week is that it appears to be coming back from the roots.   We'll see what happens as time passes, but for now it is a very pleasant surprise.

It was hot and hard work, but I got the last 2 acres mowed today, so now I am a day ahead of schedule.  All I have left now is 3 to 4 hours of weed whacking and I'll have this place back under management.   The beginning of the rainy season was not the time to skip 3 weeks of maintenance.  I felt more like I was making hay, rather than mowing.   At any rate, if I have some energy after work tomorrow, and get that weed whacking done, I'll have a relaxing birthday weekend ahead.  Yeah!

I even got in a little extra work.  The old potato/spinach/onion bed that I till a couple of week ago, already had weeds 4 inches high with all of the recent rain, so I whipped out the Mantis and whipped it up again.  An 8 foot by 10 foot bed takes about 5 minutes with this little beast.  Yes, I know I am supposed to be working my way to no-till, and I am, but in between nothing is as sweet as fresh tilled earth.



I also tilled up the compost bin(pot).  I make compost a little differently than most folks.   One day while going down the road I noticed this humongous plastic pot.  I am guessing it is 150 to 200 gallons.  I didn't have a clue what I was going to do with it, but it was free, so I threw it in the back of the truck.  Over the months I throw in everything, leftovers, used paper towels and their cardboard tube center, the cardboard center for toilet tissue rolls, old potted plants, cardboard boxes, paper, just about anything that will rot.  Once it is full, I stop and let it rot down, but occasionally I stick the Mantis in, mix it up and rip anything resisting rot to shreds.   After a few rounds like that it finished up pretty quick and I get 2 batches of approx 75 to 100 gallons of compost a year.   And let me tell you, it is fine stuff.   My best tasting and best producing tomatoes are in the bed that I tilled a batch into in early spring.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Adapting is Sometimes Necessary

Plans last weekend and again this coming weekend, along with frequent rains are causing some variation from the normal Saturday morning yard routines.   So, today I mowed the front acre.  Tomorrow will be the middle and Friday the rear.   And sometime over the weekend I will have to find time for the once a mount weed whacking.


For today's image, I'll leave you with this funny little Bell Pepper.   It is oddly shaped, but coloring up in a quite beautiful fashion.  It may just find it's way into an omelet in the morning.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Today Was a Better Day





Felt a little better today.  Did some work out in the chicken coop freshening things up.   I planted the last few straggling seedlings.  Pick the Tomatoes for the day, and then started a new batch of compost tea.  Then I finally picked up the mess that had accumulated on the boat over the last month.  The most popular use of a boat is to catch things, I think.   Hmm, I tossed out some dead potted things into the compost bin, and pulled a few weeds that had popped up in the compost.   I bagged the potatoes that were recently dug from the garden, and hung the onions to dry as well.  A few photos were taken along the way, too, just to document the day.

Might Be My First Merlitons, Ever

I tried two Merliton vines this year.  One petered out, but the other has a foothold on St. Joe's Tower.   Here it is reaching the 10 foot mark.  No sign of fruit yet, but the summer is still early.   I remember these growing across the top of my Grandparents chicken coup, so growing my own would be super.  Passing on the legacy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Today Was Pretty Much a Nothing Day

Didn't feel well, and didn't venture outside other than to feed the chickens.   I did stumble upon this one mushroom.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Beauty is Everywhere, and Sometimes Just Slaps You in the Face


I was out of town earlier today.  I pulled in a parking, with an overgrown edge, and there they were, staring, begging for me to capture their beauty before they fade.   The Trumpet Vine is not in favor today, being a bit invasive in certain circumstances, but it is a beauty, non-the-less.   One can hardly blame today's gardeners, with life being so busy, but it is a shame to see so many beautiful plants fading away being labeled invasive, weedy, messy, etc.   But indeed, it is their very nature that will keep them alive and with us, not needy of our help at all.  Perhaps, that is why indeed many gardeners don't like them.  They plant themselves where they choose, expand where they choose.  They give us the impression that they own us and not the other way around.  What gardener would like that?  God for sure.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Rains Awaken Much Beauty

These rains are bringing one beauty after another.  As is typical, Louisiana is a rainforest existing between droughts.   It was a very dry spring, but summer can the rains, and the awakening of many things that struggled through a very tough winter.

Darth Maul Visited My Garden Today

I went out in the garden this morning, and God was not there. But Darth Maul was, all 3 inches of him, and he was ready to take me on. Good thing I misplaced my Light Saber or he would be in a thousand tiny pieces.