Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Notes Fail Me

I have done a miserable job of documenting the garden lately.  The summer was miserably hot.  But the Okra, planted late responded with awesome growth and a bountiful crop.  The Mustard Greens recently put in are growing by leaps and bounds.  I even tried juicing some, along with apples, carrots, etc.  Man did it add a spiciness to the juice.  The fall tomatoes have finally started to move now that highs have moved down the upper 80s and low 90s, with some cooler evenings.  I have several in the 1 inch size.  Other fall plantings are going in this week, such as Kale, Lettuce, etc.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2011 Growing Season Continues to be a Challenge

I added a couple of Big Beef Tomatoes to the mix.  Got some squash as well.  I also have some volunteers popping up, which are either Yellow Neck Squash or possible Zucchini.   It is a bit early to tell.  The week situation also continues to be insane.  Possibly I brought in the seeds in some of the bags of Oak Leaves and Grass clippings.  I may have result to herbicides to get this back under control as environmental and manual measures are no good with this kind of mass infestation.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tomato/Okra Update, Oh, and Some Peas, Too

I have 8 fall tomatoes in the ground now, planted on the first row of the garden.  From right to left are 4 Solar Fire, 2 Heat Wave II, and 2 Creole.   The Solar Fire went in about a week ago, and have already double in size thanks to this nearly every day rains we are getting.   The Okra are starting to establish as well.  

Today, I also fertilized each plant with Alfalfa pellets and Garden-tone.   The plan was to drench with compost tea as well, but time rain out, so that will have to be done in a few days when time allows.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Okra and Tomatoes

I finally got the Okra seedlings in the ground, a month late.  Shame on me.  I also got 4 Solar Fire Tomatoes to try for the fall and just put them in.  The Bell Pepper plants still look good, too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rains, Holy Palms, and Chickens

Finally, we had the first rains since June, and two days in a row.  Just under an inch both days, and the ground soaked it up like a sponge.  I was about to toss in the towel on the veggie garden and just start preparing for fall, but with the rains, we might get a second wind and a few more weeks of harvest before fall preparations begin.

On the ornamental side, the Phoenix palm seeds from Kumar in India has sprung forth with life.  I have 4 little palms.  We'll see if I can keep these alive.  I have a pretty sad track record with palm seedlings, no doubt, due to the lack of a greenhouse.

My two little survivor egg chickens returned home this week.   A rooster and a hen, and they are two young beauties.  I can't wait to see them grow up.  The kids that hatched and raised them named the rooster Napoleon.   So, of course I had to name hen Pauline, in honor of the real Napoleon's sister, and the exisitng Barred Rock hen, Josephine. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tomato Notes

Noting the last post of less than optimal conditions, I do want to record some tomato notes.

Yellow Tomatoes - First time to grow the yellows.  The Yellow Grape tomatoes  (Blondkopfchen) were both prolific and delightfull.  The Plum Lemon Tomato from Bill in Florida was the same.  And the big surprise was the Yellow Peach Tomato, the Garden Peach from Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection's name comes from the fact that the fruit is a little fuzzy, just like a Peach, and it has a very refreshing taste to go along with it.

Everyglades Wild Tomato was also quite tasty and very prolific, preferring to travel the ground, rather than to gow upwards.  This was a little problematic as I was always walking on them, but it hardiness made up for its awkwardness.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spring Turbulance

Hard to believe how long it has been since my last post.   Nearly 2 months ago.   If you read this and see other posts it will be because I backfilled with my memory.

All in all it has been a really tough spring in the garden.  Drought has been relentlous.  For the exception of a day or two, my plants have not know real rain water, only irrigation.  After this weekend, I will let most of the garden go, and the water bills are no longer   I will keep the drip irrigation running only on the row of tomato plants. 

The Seven Rows

On rows one and two, we harvested the corn, just under 200 ears in all.   Would have been double that if we had rain.  The tomato what were interplanted are alive, but just not making potatoes are there simply is not enough water.

Row three was the melons and cucumbers.  Save for a handfull of cucumbers this row was a complete failure.

Row four was the tomatoes.  An OK crops, thanks to the drip irrigation.  It is still going

Row five was the peas.  Thankfully these guys don't need much water at all and the pea harvest, mostly Dixie Lee were quite respectable.

Row six was the Bell Pepper and Eggplant.   The harvest of Bell Pepper  is OK and still going.  The Eggplant does not look good at all.

Row seven were the squashes, and we got a few, but again, all in all rated a failure.

So, spring 2011 winds to a pretty bad close with drought ruling the days.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thank You God, For Such a Wonderful Weekend.

No rain, so no grass to mow.   Cool temps, breezy, and sunny.   Could not ask for better weather.   The plants are thirsty, but irrigation will have to do.

I planted the Moonflowers on Paw Joe's Grate Arbor on Sunday.   Can't wait for the smell of their sweet blossoms in a month or two.  And speaking of sweet blossums, the Jasmine has been blooming for over a week now.  The scent fills the entire front yards and is as heavenly as any perfume. 

I got my seeds in from Kumar in India on Friday, and potted them today.  I love plants with a story, and these to have a story.  

Kumar's description was "dates of the 'Maktoum' variety (From the holy city of Medina). These are quite large, brown rather than black, with a crusty peel and a dry interior that requires a bit of chewing - not one of those melt-in-your-mouth candy varieties. The taste is very agreeable though and it does not become sticky inside the mouth." 

According to Kumar, the second seeds were from the "stalk of our solitary Caryota urens begins ripening - and that means an unending litter of fruit all day everywhere and plenty of curses and grumbles as the inevitable cleanup is ordered - not to mention a freeze in our relations with the neighbours."

Also, today, my new hens started laying.  Well apparently she started laying yesterday, but I found the egg this morning, and another this afternoon.  It is great to have the fresh yard egg train moving again. 

I also harvested the first Cucumbers or the vegetable garden today.   Got some tomatoes starting to get on, a couple nearing 3 inches across.  Probably more cucumbers and melons coming along, but the weeds are atrocious this year. 

The Mulberries are doing well in spite of the drought.  Certainly they would be bigger and juicier had we gotten some rain, but I did some supplemental irrigation to help a bit.     Our newest Mulberry on the east sid eof the driveway also fruited for the first time this year.  And its berries do seem a bit sweeter than out large tree, which was a cutting from Mr. Picard.

Most of the Citrus trees have flowered and are making fruit.  Again, the drought has had an impact on fruit retention, and again, I have used some supplemental irrigation to help.  It looks like we will have a respectable Citrus crop, and certainly more Limes than we can use.

Same comments as above, but with the Avocado.   Its flowered insanely this year.  Although most flowers dropped without fruiting, there is still tons of fruit left on the tree.  This year, for sure, it looks like we will have an Avocado crop.

Too early to tell on the Olive Tree.  It too has lots and lots of small fruit, and this tree should not be bothered at all by the lack of rain, as it comes from a Mediterannean climate.   Its challenge will come later as the summer rains arrive.   We'll see if this year, we might actually ripens some Olives.

Lots more to talk about this spring, but not all in one post.  Tomorrow will come another.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Garden is a Fight This Year, Lack of Rain, Carnage, and Disease

The last 2 rains weren't much, so I am again watering the garden.  I had to replace a couple of plants in the garden, and was amazed at how dry it was down in the soil.   And I was replacing the plants because while the last storm brought little rains, but it did bring very damaging winds.  Gusts were clocked over 50 mph, and over 80 mph in a nearby town.  Some of the Tomato plant were busted up pretty good.  I also seem to be fighting some kind of wilt here and there.  Have replaced multiple tomatoes so far.

I finally got around to pulling the stake on the L. decipiens palm on the west side of the drive.   And finally move the little L. saribus that has struggled so bad as well.  The new planting this year are manageable, but a little natural rain sure would be appreciated.

Other notes.  The Jasmine on the pole is ready to flower, but waiting for moisture, as is the rose on the old Pig Trailer.  They Yellow Lady Banks put on a nice show this year, but it was cut short by lack of moisture as well.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

God Gave Me Another Blessed Day

Started out the day by weeding the garden.  Hard on the back, but good immediate gratification work.   I spread out  another 20 or so bags of scavenged Oak Leaves, did some cleanup here and there, and got my last Oak planted out in the front.  I nicknamed him "Big Nut" after his large acorns.   Did a little watering, too, as things are getting dry again.  We didn't get a whole lot of rain the other night.   Hopefully we'll get a big rain storm soon. 

I put some Zinnia and Cosmos seeds in one of the propagators.  I also took out quite a few bags of old seeds too, but spread haphazardly in a cutting bed area.

Finished out the evening with family out at Cypremort Point and took a few great sunset photos over the bay.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Finally, Rain

Last night, I finally heard the patter of rain drops.  My veggies must have been in shock, as it was the first real nature provided rain many of them have ever experienced.  Cool temps followed, along with clouds.   It will give them time to soak the rain, and the fertlizer I put out, really well.  When the sun returns on Friday along with a bit of eat, I am expecting some explosive growth to follow.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Running Around Like a Fertilizer With My Head Cut Off

Rains are finally on the way.  Got tied up earlier so was covering ground fast trying to spread fertilizer.  Still using up the last of my old chemical ferts on the non-food items.  In the food producing areas, it was a compost tea, organic Tone products, and some good old Alfalfa pellets.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Planting Odds and Ends

Today, I planted the Althea cuttings that I made last year along the East Side (New) side of the driveway.  I also planted the little volunteer Oak from the broken pot under the Oaks.  Last to go in the ground was the old Antique Rose that originally came from the side of St. Joe's Tower.  And ironically, I planted it back on the tower, in the center this time, after 2 years in a pot.  And when I pulled it out of the pot I was amazed it have even survived with so little soil for the last two year.  It is one amazingly tough rose for sure.   I only one Oak left to plant, nicknamed Big Nuts, after its large acorns.   I'll stick that in the ground this coming weekend for sure.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Leaves, Leaves and More Leaves.

I gathered, loaded, unloaded and spread around 80 bags of Live Oak leaves over the weekend. Best year yet, and more to go before spring cleaning ends. Some of those were mega bags from the Gorilla yard men. This was down the road from the first, and with the same industrial strength bags, so no doubt is was the same gorillas. At any rate, the four mega beds are covered with 6 inches of leaves, and should do it for both weed control, and soil building.

Back at the ranch, it was still cleanup, cleanup, and cleanup. We burned the last of the burn pile. That will be the last of burning of winter debris. Composting will be able to keep up with it from here.

I replaced the northwest Azalea in the statue beds once again. This is my fourth attempt there. It is a tough spot for sure, but every year the Crepe Myrtles get larger. And it is definitely a water issues, which I took some technical steps to resolve as well, aka water absorbing crystals.

Pa Joe’s Bougainvillea rises again like a Phoenix from the ashes. This is an amazing Bougainvillea. It has endured incredible cold, yet year after year it returns from the roots. I weeded it, but on a half inch of compost, and gave it a good watering. This should be its best year in quite a while.

I moved the compost pot over to the head of the gardens, where it will be at its best. Best of all it is most convenient there. And excessive rains, if it leaches the nutrients will leach them right in the vegetable garden. The question becomes how to hide it from plain view. I thought of bananas, which would do great, but I need to be able to work my little Mantis tiller in there from several directions, so something shorter is needed. Then it hit me. I need to move those Cannas, the ones whose seeds I brought back from Miami, for the dog yard. Perfect height to surround the Compost Pot. Tall enough to hide it, but not too tall that I can’t throw the tiller up in there and work it. Yeehaa.

Hmm, what else. Still haven’t found the courage to dump the rest of the seedlings in the compost bin. And a good thing as my brother in law came by and wanted some more. Sure wish I could give them all away. I have a plan, lol.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Maters, We's Gonna Have Maters

Today, I tied up all of the tomatoes their stakes.  As I was doing so, I noticed my first tomato flowers.   It won't be long now, before I see those little round green fruit starting to form.  Yeehaa.   I went ahead and gave them their first fertilizer today as well, and watered it in.  Actually I fertlized everything but the corn.  I read somewhere not to fertilize corn too early.   Got to go look that up and find out when is not too early, lol.

Saw some catepillar damage down on the EggPlant seedlings.  I may have to address that, but will continue to monitor for now as I also say some beneficial insects out there as well.  BT might be a safe organic bet, if I have to resolve it through controls.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gorillas in the Yard

Well, not my yard.  I hauled a dozen bags of Oak Leaves home to mulch the outlying beds. And these were mega-bags. Their yard men must have been gorillas.  And there are still six more at the road there, and another 8 or 10 normal sized a little bit down.   Still got a ton of beds left to mulch, so I guess I'll get out early tomorrow and grab them, before trying to make a living.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sweat and Hard Work Today

We continue to make headway in the spring cleaning.  More mowing, weedwhaching to start.   Today, we also pruned the Crepe Mytles.  No Crepe murder here, just removed the suckers.  We also shaped up the Parkinsonia.  I found more disturbing damage and fear this year may be its last, but then again, I have said that every year for the last 3 years.   Who know, but its replacement was planted last year, so when it goes it goes.

I gave a lot of seedlings away today, too, so that was awesome.   I hated to see them go in the compost bin, but my garden is full, and so are my friend's gardens too, with a little help from me, lol. 

It's back out tomorrow.   And we won't finish the job, but maybe just one more weekend after this, and we can cruise into summer with just upkeep.

One last positive, too.  A friend with an incubator took the last 3 of my hen's eggs.  With a little luck we might get some progeny from my sadly missed hens.

Surprise Surprise

Guineas woke us early morning.   As I neared the pen, the sickening realization that my big Rooster was gone, set in.  Despite my fortifications, the predator had made his way in yet again.  I was beside myself.   Since it was 5:30ish, I decided to just make a pot of coffee and stay up, rather than going back to bed.   It wasn't long after, that the Guineas started making a rukkus again.   As I snuck around the side of the house, I spotted what I thought, was a dog out in the fog.  As I continued to sneak forward and squint, it turned, the head and tail came up to reveal a Fox.   Our predator is a Fox.  I was quite shocked, never expecting to see a Fox on our property.  With dogs, cats, lights, etc. I would have throught it way too busy for the shy Fox to be around.

So, I am out one Rooster and my two best Laying Hens.  I added even more fortifications to the pen.   And looking at trapping options for the Fox.  Once I am sure the Fox issue is resolved, it will be time to go Hen shopping.  I am thinking some Cochins would be really cool, but those steady laying Buff Orpingtons have me spoiled.   Two of each?

Never Take Beauty for Granted

Each year we are blessed with the Azalea bloom.  Last spring, after the big freeze it was pretty much a non-event, but maybe this year nature will make up for it.   This is my first year to get a really pretty bloom from this one.  I raised it from a baby.  I am happy to show it to you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Sad Day Today. The World Hates a Predator

Something burrowed into the chicken pen last night.  My two hens are no more.  When I walked out in the afternoon to feed the chickens I began to see Guinea feathers all over the place.  As I got closer, I could see the Guineas were OK, a bit beat up, but OK.  The big Rooster was there, but my two hens were nowhere to be seen.  Then I saw the hole on the backside of the pen where a predator had dug its way in.   As I began to expand my circle of search, I found the one of the hen's body, deheaded and disembowels.   I only found feathers of the second about 50 yards away.   I am gonna miss my two girls.  They rewarded my feedings with many eggs over the last 2 years.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Edamame Rising

Amazingly, too, because I didn't even water them in when I planted, and there has been no rain.

Elsewhere in the garden, cooler temps and lack of rainfall have slowed the growth down a bit on the tomatoes and corn.  The potatoes have still not broken ground, but should any day.  Bell Pepper are perking up, but the Eggplant are pouting from the cold.  All of the squash have broken ground, finally.  And the cucumbers and melons got a bit sunburned when the sun returned after several cloudy days, but are recovering just fine.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Long Day Out Today

More spring cleaning.  I weedeated the large front beds in preparation for mulching.   I'll be crusing for bags of Live Oak leaves thrown to curb, again this year.  If others won't conserve by mulching and composting what they already have, I'll help.  I did this in only a few beds, and in the vegetable garden last year and was quite pleased with the results.    This year, I plan to do all beds like that, including the vegetable garden.  I am certain the results will be even better than last year.  

I removed the the litte weeping Mulberry, and the Ichy Persimmon, and the Corkscrew Willow this spring.  I may removed a Loquat as well.  All were diseased or damaged beyond recovery from the 09/10 freeze.    I still have a few minor things to remove, but for the most part that is it in the discard phase of spring cleanup. 

All in all, I spent 10 hours of hard labor out there today.  I am beat, but it is a good beat.

Here is a picture of this year's garden seedlings from a couple of weeks ago just before I did the planting.

An Odd Day

Lots of spring cleanup today.  Burned back some bananas and other brush.  Cut down some cold damaged things from year before last that obviously was not going to recover.   Actually had to water the garden today.  The recent cool snaps have slowed growth down to a crawl, but also reduced humidity.

Discovered a large hive of bees in the big Live Oaks.  The current debate is whether to have a bee keeper remove them, of just let them be.   No decision.  They are only 100 feet or so from the veggie garden, so the pollination help would be appreciated and probably quite productive as well.

What else?  The Bay Tree is blooming.  As far as I know this the first time ever for that to happen.  I'll try to grab a few interesting pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Good Health is Built on Brix, Not Bricks, Brix

I got this in an email today from Jon at   Good info.

Last of the Edamame.And,,,,Cutworms, I Must Kill All Cutworms.

Lost a melon, a Bell Pepper, and an Eggplant to cutworms.  Pretty sure one of my tomatoes was hit as well.  Tough year for those little buggers.  And I have millions of little tomato, cucumber, and squaash volunteers out there.  Why can't they mess with them instead of my prize babies.

Anyway, I planted the last Edamame bed, the Midori Giants are in the ground, in the raised bed to the right.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Broken Angel Watches Over My Garden and Me

She was in many pieces when I found her, today, reinstated she stands watch over the garden and me.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

When You Use Compost, You Never Know What Will Pop Up

I suspect these are Butternut Squash Seedling.  Gonna hate to weed them out, but they came up in the wrong row, lo.  Actaully, I'll leave two just for the fun of it.

Heavy rains and nasty weather yesterday.  Today was sunny, but a little chilly.  I drove in the Tomato stakes, and put up the first section of netting for the peas.  I even got most of the Edamame planted.  And that danged Cutworm struck again, cutting down my Black Krim for the second time.

In the left raised bed, I planted Black Pearl from Territorial, and finished up a small space with Disoy from Ferry Morse.  In the center bed, I planted more the remaining Disoy, Misono from Territorial, and just labeled Edamame from Naylor Bros.   The right bed is still unplanted.but I have a bag of Midori Giant to go there, but back was tired before I got to that one.

And they pop up in the Compost Bin as well.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Heavy Rains Today

We needed rains, but this was some pretty heavy stuff.  I was out, so I won't get to see if there was any damage till the morning's daylight arrives.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day Started and End With Limestone, But In Between,,,,,,,,,,,,

Got home last night with a load of Limstone in the back of the pickup, well not that late, but too late to shovel it out.   What a way to start the day, but shoveling 2 tons of Limestone out of the back of a truck.  But I got it done, and then work.  Over lunch I ran out and planted the Bell Pepper and Eggplant seedlings.  The Bell Pepper looked great, the Eggplant not so great, but the all went in the ground regardless.  We'll see.  So, then at the end of the day, with all of the big holes filled the big truck showed up with the Limestone to reconstitute the driveway, or at least the first hundred feet, or so, of it.  Then I had to go drive over it a few times and rack the limestone from the center back to the tracks of my truck.  Boy am I whipped.  Now, if we can just get the rain tonight they are predicting,,,,

Almost forgot, I planted the two Goji Berries as well.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Louisiana Harvest Calendar

I ran across this the other day on the Internet.  It was meant mostly as a guide for those seeking local produce, but is also a great guide for what is commonly grown here.  Click to see a legible copy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Up, Up, and Away

Six of the seven rows of the garden are now planted. Only the row of Bell Peppers and Eggplant remain. That will be planted in the next couple of days. The Edamame Soy Beans will be planted into the raised beds at that time as well.

The chicken are in their summer home now via the chicken tractor, well OK, not really a tractor as I have to drag the pen by hand over a hundred feet. Not much fun, but it got done. And now the pen sits over the old gravel road bed, that will not only help with drainage and mud, but will also give them access the grit they need as well. A third benefit it that it significantly reduced the likelihood of a predator digging its way in.

On the ornamental side of things, I moved and divided the daylily by the driveway back within the bounds of the flower bed. I planted the little Iris Denny gave us over by the front brick steps on the right side. I grab some out of the front later to do the same of the left side of the steps. I am slowly picking through the remains of the house plants, repotting what is still alive and tossing the rest into the compost.

I hauled my first thousand pounds of Limstone yesterday to fix holes in the driveway. My little Loadhandler made the job far easier than a shovel alone. As near as I can tell, I will need to do that at least 2 more times or 3 more times before bringing in the big truck for a gate pour.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Great Spring Weekend in the Garden, Oh, and the Corn is Up

Lots of cleanup work this weekend, and lots more to go.  Almost done planting the veggie garden.  Got the Squash, and the Peas planted, including a surprise batch at the end of the driveway.  Only thing left is to finish out the Melon row, and the Bell Pepper/Eggplant Row.  The seedlings for the last are still quite small, but I might just stick them out anyway, as I have spares in the seedling tray.

I walked around the garden for nearly 2 days before noticing that the corn was up, and about an inch high.  Well, at least half of it is up.   Now, where the heck are those potatoes?

Winds blew all day at 20 mph and above.  Poor tomato seedlings were hanging on by the tips of their roots.  I hope they were damaged. Over by the Artichoke seedlings, of which only one of the three remains, I looks like a little tomato is volunteering.  I thinned out the seedlings so it will have a chance.  I also seeded some of the Purple Peppers where the two Artichoke seedlings are no more.

Hmmm, what else.  I pruned the grape vines today.  And the chickens are steady on their march from under the oaks to their new home at the head of the veggie garden.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

God Gave Me a Good Day

Lots of clean up here and there, but the best part was the garden.   Got the first row planted with various Squash and Zucchini.   The peas are basking in a Ziplock with their innoculant tonight and will go in tomorrow along witth the Bell Pepper and Eggplants.  By the end of the day tomorrow, the garden will be fully planted.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Planted Cucumbers and Melons Late Afternoon

Left to right, starting mid row on Row 3 to the end are:

Longfellow Cucumber (Freedom Seeds)
Fanfare Cucumber (TruValue)
Cucumber (Rafe wedding)**
Giant Cucumbers (fall garden 2010)
Rich Sweetness 305 Asian Melon – Baker Creek
Mexican Melon – Gotreaux Farms
Sun Jewel Melon – Gotreaux Farms
Midyat Melon - ebay
Tigger Melon – Baker Creek
Hales Best Jumbo Canteloupe – True Value

For the size of the top, I was very surprised at how little root development there was on these seedlings.  The were just starting to emerge from the seed plugs, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

One last update for the night.  I just planted out another seed tray with Hot Peppers.

1. Jalapeno Pepper - from Bill, labeled Publix
2. Cayenne, Large Red Thick - Martha Stewart (2003)
3-8. Hot Pepper Mixture - from Bill, Burpee (2009) (mixture of Anaheim Chili, Ancho, Hungarian Wax, Jalapeno M, and Long Red Cayenne.

Another Tomato Bites The Dust, Then So Does the Culprit

As suspected, another tomato was felled by the cutworm last night.  I could almost forgive it, if it actually was seeking food.  Instead they just bite the stem of the seedling in half, leaving both parts then uneaten.  A total waste on all accounts.   So far, the  Rutger’s Tomato and Wild Everglades Tomato were the victims.  This morning, after a bit of excavating I found one worm, and dispatched it.  Hopefully, that was the one.  I rebuilt the row and planted the replacements.

Hopefully we are done with this circumstance.

After this original post, I went back out and noticed that the third tomato in the short row was gone.  It was the Brandywine.  Unlike the others, I could find no trace of it, any of it.  I replaced it also.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Hate Cutworms

My tomatoes made it through the first night looking good, except for one.  Fell victim to a Cutworms on the first night.  Now this is gonna be fun.  No doubt he'll claim another tonight, but I'll make time to find him and dig him out tomorrow.  Glad I seeded spares of each variety.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tomatoes are Spending Their First Night With Their Toes in the Soil

Tomatoes are in the ground.

Row 4 (Looking left to right, #1 is nearest bayou)

1. Hillbilly Gary – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
2. Box Car Willie – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
3. Garden Peach – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
4. Black Zebra – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
5. Brandywine OTV – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
6. Paul Robeson – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
7. Orange Strawberry – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
8. Blondkophchen – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
9. Julia Child – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
10. Costuluto Genovese – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
11. Ugly Ripe Tomato – Bill from Florida
12. Plum Lemon Tomato – Bill for Florida
13. June Flame Tomato – Bill for Florida
14. Big Rainbow Tomato – Burpee
15. Mortgage Lifter Tomato – Burpee
16. Burpee’s Supersteak Hybrid VFM – Burpee
17. Big Rainbow Tomato – Park Seed
18. Rutger’s Tomato – Ferry Morse
19. Wild Everglades – Bill in Florida
20. Cherokee Purple – Bill in Florida
21. Black Krim – Ferry Morse Heirloom Seeds
22. Pruden’s Purple – Ferry Morse Heirloom Seeds
23. German Pink – Seed Savers Exchange
24. Amelia Hydbrid – Top Notch Seed
25. Chocolate Strips Purple – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
26. Giant Delicious “World Record Variety” – Weeks Seed Company
27. Dixie Golden Giant - Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Giant Collection
28. Ultimate Giant - Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Giant Collection
29. Cosmonaut Volkov Slicing – High Mowing Organic Seeds

Row 2 (left to right in last 3 spots next to Artichokes*)

1. Brandywine – High Mowing Organic Seeds
2. Giant Oxheart - Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Giant Collection
3. Giant II – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Giant Collection

Rows were freshly tilled, with a very light bit of homemade compost worked in. Each planting hole had about a tablespoon of Espoma Organic Bio-Tone Starter Plus worked into the planting hole. They were then watered in with a combination mixture of Sea Magic Seaweed from Bonadea Gardens, and DIEHARD™ BioRush®. Yep, I got a Orgientific on em’.

*Note on the Artichokes.  The first two, on the west side came from Naylor's in Baton Rouge.  Note sure the label said much other than Artichoke.  They are a silver grey like my old ones.  The three new seedlings are Emerald Artichoke from Ferry-Morse.  Actually the seeds came from Bill in So. Florida.  There were 6 in all, so I got a 50% germination rate.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Old Nellie's Coming Out Party

I have decided to give Old Nellie a "coming-out party" here on FB. No, not that kind of coming out party. As you can tell, even when young, Nellie wasn't much of a looker, so her parents (before I adopted her) never gave a coming out to society party for her. So, here you go Old Nellie, the world awaits you. Now go dance in the garden with me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blisters on Both Thumbs, Yep, It Was a Good Day in the Garden

Retilled and hilled a few rows today.  On the last row and second to last row, I planted the first five steps with Candy Corn Sweet Corn.   And I planted the last five steps on the first row with Painted Mountain Ornamental Corn and the last five steps on the second row with Earth Tones Dent Ornamental Corn.  In the middle of the I planted Silver Queen Sweet Corn.   And then,,,,,,,,,I remembered I had planted the first row with potatoes.  Awe, poop.  After a bit of laughing at myself, and a little web research, I found that I can find interplanting corn and potatoes is not unheard of.   I had planned on interplanting beans anyway, so this is a slightly different variation on the plan, right, still laughing.

So, I went ahead and planted the middle of the second to last row with Silver Queen corn as well.  And that row, I will interplant with beans, after the corn is 12 to 18 inches tall.

So tomorrow, I think I'll put down my first Cucumbers, and maybe a Melon or two.


Good day in the garden. Planted the corn. Sat back, thinking about my succession planting, then I realized. I planted my corn right over the top of my row of potatoes. Awe poop. Planting another row of corn was easy, Weeding the corn out of my potatoes, well. Still laughing at myself over a glass of wine.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Little Me Time in the Garden

Beautiful weather today prompted me to get out in the garden.  My neighbor had already done the heavy tilling with his tractor, so normally, I would just pull out the mantis to assist in building the rows.  But the Mantis is in the shop, so I pulled out Old Nellie.  In spite of the fact that Old Nellie is a thousand years old and rescued from my old bosses junk pile, she did an admirable job.  Anyway, I hilled up the corn row.  But after looking at the long range forecast, I am ready to pronouce winter over, so I am going to start putting the Cucumbers and Tomatoes too.   Of course, I'll keep some backup seedings in reserve, just in case.

Well, it's late, but maybe another update tomorrow with pictures.

Veggies Go In

Time for bed, got to wake up and plant. Was only gonna plant corn tomorrow, but with the date and long range weather forecast, I am going for it. Tomatoes and Cucumbers are going in the ground tomorrow. But I'll keep some backup seedlings in reserve too, just in case.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Seedlings, Seedlings Everywhere, But Not a Vegetable to Eat,,,,,Yet

The Egg Plant seedlings started to pop up today.

And I seedling a propagator full of melons today, as well,

Propagator – Melons

1. Midyat Melon - ebay
2. Sun Jewel Melon – Gotreaux Farms
3. Mexican Melon – Gotreaux Farms
4. Ogen Melon - Rons-Seed-Store, ebay
5. Charentais Melon - Rons-Seed-Store, ebay
6. Rich Sweetness 305 Asian Melon – Baker Creek
7. Rocky Ford Melon – Rons-Seed-Store, ebay
8. Delicious 51 American Melon – Baker Creek
9. Tigger Melon – Baker Creek
10. Hales Best Jumbo Canteloupe – True Value
11. Petit Gris de Rennes Canteloupe – Baker Creek
12. Ambrosia Hybrid Canteloupe – Martha Stewart, 2004 Seedlot

Only thing left to go in propagators now, are the Squashs.  I hope to get to that tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

But God, I Don't Like Grass

God checked out my seedlings, and said, “You don't need those, I plant the garden for you.” “Well, God, I just haven’t developed a taste for grass,” I replied. God then added “Sorry about that. I gave the best taste buds to the cows you know, but I did slip some into a few vegans as an experiment.” I asked, “so, how’s that working.” He chuckled, “Well, the cows are happy about it”.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Soak Up the Sun

The Tomato seedlings are now hardened off, thanks to this moderate weather, and are spending full days in the sun.

The Bell Peppers spent their first full day with the propagator hood off and got a couple of hours of evening sun.  Over the next three days, I'll work them up to full sun as well.

I'll do the same with my little Artichoke seedlings too.

Another Tray of Seeds Goes Into a Propagator

Another Seed Propagator Tray (Very Experimental)*

1 – Lemon Cucumber (from plant that has volunteered here for several years, seeds likely came from Maria, NorCal.)
2 – Giant Cucumbers (came from fall garden in 2010, do not remember origin)
3 – Tomato (Rafe wedding)**
4 – Cucumber (Rafe wedding)**
5 – Banana Pepper (Rafe wedding)**
6 – Fanfare Cucumber (TruValue)
7 – Longfellow Cucumber (Freedom Seeds)
8 – Sugar Crunch Hybrid Cucumber (Martha Stewart, 2003 lot)

*These reused cells were very old, and didn’t expand enough to completely refill the tray sockets. The seeds were place on top of the cells and the final quarter inch on top was fill with “Compost and Cow Manure” from the local store. Not the sterile environment typically recommended for seed starting, but it they make it, the seedling should be much healthier.

**At a friend’s son’s wedding reception, small containers of seeds were offered as a parting gift. I took one of the three different kinds. These are those seeds. Should they make it, it would be cool to send them a basket of vegetables from those seeds.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Potatoes Are In, Corn Coming Up Next

The ground is still a little wetter than optimum, but not bad.  I was running late on the potatoes, I so I hand raked a 60 foot row and got them down today.   I still have a dozen or so seed potatoes left, maybe I'll stick them in one of those raised beds, since I don't have a clue what to do with those beds anyway.

Tomato seedlings got a taste of real sun yesterday and today, thanks to the moderating weather.  It'll be good all week, it looks like so they'll appreciate that, for sure.   The Bell Pepper seeds are all up as well, so I'll start hardening them off as well.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tomatoes Saw Their First Sun, Egg Plant Seeds Saw Their First Soil

Temps moderated today with a high of 60 and sunny skies, so I put the tomato seedling out at noon and let them enjoy their first taste of real sun for nearly 5 hours.  I have to think they are feeling a bit satisfied tonight.

On the seedling side, I did a tray of 40 Egg Plant seeds today.  Here is the layout.

1. Burpee Hybrid, Martha Stewart, Seedlot 2002/2003
2. Pandora Striped Rose, Baker Creek , Seedlot 2011
3. Cookstown Organ, Baker Creek, Seedlot 2011
4. Rosa Bianca, Freedom Seeds, Seedlot 2010
5. Turkish Orange, Rons-Seeds-Store on ebay
6. Black Beauty, Top Notch Seeds, Seedlot 2009
7. White Egg, Martha Steward, Seedlot 2002
8. Black, Gotreaux Farms, 2010
It will be fun to see how these shape up, especially those old seedlots. 


The Tomato seedlings have been thinned to one per cell.  Tomorrow, they'll even get their first taste of real unfiltered through glass sun. 

The Bell Peppers are almost all awake in their propagator as well.  This weekend I'll seed the Eggplant.  Next week, the Melons and Cucumbers go into the propagator.  We are well on our way for spring in 4 weeks.  I have started more than enough seedlings to plant in the garden, survive a late frosts, and still have many to give away to friends.  Now that is gardening at its finest.

I am still designing the layout of the seven 60 foot rows of this years garden.  And the three 8x15 foot raised beds, and the vegetables that will be interspersed into the ornamental beds. And, whatever I have yet to dream up.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Does God Get Cold

God was out in the garden this evening. “Where have you been, it has been a while?” I asked. “I’m here every night, you just having been in the right frame of mind to see me” he replied. We just sat for a while, and then I said “It is pretty cold out here tonight, so I guess I’ll be going inside now.” “Right behind you,” God chuckled.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My one attempt at catching the effect of the frozen icy mist on the trees this morning. Kind of a ghostly, almost twilight zone look.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tomatoes Anyone?

Tomatoes seedlings are popping up around here like popcorn in a microwave.  Well over half of them are up and awake.   Unfortunately, this is reminiscent of last year.   Last year they popped up, but winter and overcast days lingered on, and I have tall stringy weak seedlings.

Sure as I put these in we have an uncharacterisically late cold snap, days of overcast skies, and another cold week predicted next week as well.   Thankfully, I started them late, after seeing what happened last year.  Hopefully, I can keep them strong this year.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Another Seedling Tray - This time the BellPeppers, etc.

Tray 1 - Bell Peppers (save two) (old seed playbox)
Carnival Mix Bell Pepper - Burpee 2010 (from Bill in Fl.)
Red Ruffled Bell Pepper - Territorial Seed Company 2011
Flavorburst Hybrid Bell Pepper - Park Seed 2011 (Holland)
Habanero - Martha Stewart 2003
California Wonder Bell Pepper - Martha Stewart 2003
Big Dipper Bell Pepper - Martha Stewart 2004
Cubanelle Sweet Pepper - Martha Steward 2002
Carnival Mix Belle Pepper - Martha Stewart 2003
Peter Pepper - Top Notch Seed

Winter's Last Fling, or At Least I Hope So.

Looks like an early February arctic blast is coming through.  Dropping from a high in the mid-60s today, down to a low of 26 and a very chilly next 4 days with lows below freezing 3 of the 4 nights.  Fortunately it has been cool winter, so nothing out there has attempted an early awakening for spring.  Things are nice and hardened off, so this should be no biggie in the plant world, or at least in my plant world.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Late on the Potatoes, Just Right on the Tomatoes

I am two weeks late planting the potatoes, and that will likely extend another week or two, with the cold and rains. 

But I planted out the Tomato seed trays tonight, right on schedule for planting at 6 weeks old.  Here is the layout for 2011.

2011 Seedlings

Tray 1 - Tomatoes (fun tray)
Wild Everglades – Bill in Florida
Cherokee Purple – Bill in Florida
Black Krim – Ferry Morse Heirloom Seeds
Pruden’s Purple – Ferry Morse Heirloom Seeds
German Pink – Seed Savers Exchange
Amelia Hydbrid – Top Notch Seed
Chocolate Strips Purple – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Giant Delicious “World Record Variety” – Weeks Seed Company
Dixie Golden Giant - Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Giant Collection
Ultimate Giant - Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Giant Collection
Cosmonaut Volkov Slicing – High Mowing Organic Seeds
Brandywine – High Mowing Organic Seeds
Giant Oxheart - Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Giant Collection
Giant II – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Giant Collection

Tray 2 (fun tray)
Hillbilly Gary – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
Box Car Willie – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
Garden Peach – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
Black Zebra – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
Brandywine OTV – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
Paul Robeson – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
Orange Strawberry – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
Blondkophchen – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
Costuluto Genovese – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
Julia Child – Gary Isben’s TomatoFest Gourmet Collection
Ugly Ripe Tomato – Bill from Florida
Plum Lemon Tomato – Bill for Florida
June Flame Tomato – Bill for Florida
Big Rainbow Tomato – Burpee
Mortgage Lifter Tomato – Burpee
Black Truffle Hybrid – Burpee
Burpee’s Supersteak Hybrid VFM – Burpee
Big Rainbow Tomato – Park Seed
Rutger’s Tomato – Ferry Morse

So, what does fun tray mean.  First it means that these seed plugs were used last year and that means that there are other seeds from last year still in the plugs alongside the new Tomato seeds.  Now, by all accounts those seeds were duds, but sometimes they surprise you and pop up a year later after having been allowed to go completely dry.  No doubt some surprise things will pop up.   Second, they are not central to the 2011 Tomato crop which will be more proven hybrids.  In other words these seedlings are for fun and pleasant surprises, both Tomato and non-Tomato.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hmmm, Something Looks Different. Gonna Be Some Happy Earthworms Tonigh

My neighbor showed up with the tractor and made short work of tilling in the remains of the winter crops.  There is a ton of organic matter in that soil.  I suppose it will be an Earthworm paradise, till I do it again in about 5 weeks, till it up again, and hill it. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's Another Cold Winter. Not Quite as Cold as Last Year, But Plenty Cold Enough

This big Philodendrun lost every least last year, with out coldest year in 15 years.  This year it is a bit bronzed around the edges, but it'll look fine in no time.

I have decided to harvest out the garden, and as soon as it is dry enough to go ahead and till it/hill it in preparation for spring.   I still have the 3 raised beds to grow some late winter veggies.   They'll get some Broccoli, Cauliflower, Potatoes and some Snow Peas as well.  I think I'll even transplant the onions and garlics from the main garden as well.

Still got Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Cabbage, and Kale out there, but its got to go. One more cutting, and we're tilling for spring.

Those rows just don't look 60 feet long, do they?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Purple or Red

Dead Red. Amazing number of peppers still left on that plant. Surprised it had room for leaves.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Time Marches on to Spring

I am now certain that I will not do a second planting this winter in the main garden.  Now, I may play around in the 3 raised beds a bit, but that is it.  All activity in the main garden will be the continued harvesting of items still growing like Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Red Russian Kale, etc. and most importantly preparing for spring.  After my experience this fall with the vigorous growth, I am moving my rows from 3.5' on center to 4' on center.  I am fairly certain that will be better for the plants, and 100% certain it will be easier on the gardener.  As soon as it dries up enough, I'll get my neighbor to bring in the tractor, bust it up good, work in the amendments and wait for spring.   And depending on how this year goes, spring is only 5 to 7 weeks away.

In the meantime, looks like the nasties are heading our way tomorrow with an 80% chance of rain with temps in the mid to low 30s.  Buhyuck.