A Short Pencil

Alloway Creek Herb Farm

Alloway Creek Herb Farm

Honey always says, “A short pencil is better than a long memory!” He’s right. But what happens when your pencil marks fade???

The rain has finally stopped for a little while and I made it out to the garden very early this morning (6:00-cows & chicks, 6:30-garden) before the heat of the day settles in. Although it seems as if it may be a rather pleasant sunny day with less humidity….none the less, I got all my outside work done by 10:30 AM and now I’m faced with a mountain of cleaning to do inside. Yuck! I’d much rather be outside playing in the dirt.

I have some important memory notes to jot to myself about the garden. I wish I could actually make a graph on here….but that’s a bit too challenging for me even if I could. So, I have my trusty paper and pencil at hand. But, come next year, I’ll have lost it and just throw it all to the wind and start from scratch!

1. I’m not pleased with the seeds that I purchased from Territorial Seed Co. They did not germinate well.

2. I’m mostly pleased with the veggie seeds that I bought from Cook’s Garden last year. They germinate well and the seeds that I saved germinated this year very very well.

3. Mama Lima’s did not germinate….only 3 came up. I replanted that bed with 3/4 row of Henderson Lima (saved seed), 1/8 Emerite Pole Beans (saved seed) and 1/8 Provider Bush Beans. I still need to run some twine. The rest of that bed is Golden Bantam Sweet Corn (I think 3 rows).

4. Henderson & Emerite seeds I saved germinated very very well. I put in posts and ran twine for them.

5. My tags faded in the sun. I’m not sure anymore which tomatoes are which. I think that the two in the center of the rear narrow bed are the Heirloom that Jennifer gave me last yr. Other than that I’ll have to wait until they produce and then I’ll know. They are either Heirloom Brandywine, Compost Cherry, or Compost Plum. (seeds that came from plants out of the compost!) BUT all of the tomatoes are doing amazing! I tied again. They are at least 18″ tall.

6. The Fordhook Lima and Jackson Wonder Lima from Organica came up very well. Their packets have a nice little chart on them.

7. The lace bugs (?) are eating my eggplants leaves up! Have sprayed with Hot Pepper Spray and Neem Mix. Hopefully they will stop and not kill my plants.

8. The raspberry plants are doing great!

9. Need to pull the Purple Mustard….it’s very hot and tangy…not sweet like last yrs…even though it’s the same seed and variety. ???

10. Spinach has gone to seed.

11. Emerite Pole Beans from Cook’s Garden do very well. Saved seeds germinated very very well.

12. Reseeded some Okra….half germinated.

13. Use Oil Pencil for tags next yr…not sharpie.

14. Put in 3 hills of Summer Squash among the corn as well as Cuc’s maybe 4-5 hills..???

15. Cut Garlic Scapes and will eat for lunch!

16. Seeds of Change herb seeds all germinated well-indoors and outdoors!

17. Grape plants are growing like crazy. Blueberries finally got chicken wire cages….but rabbits ate most of the leaves off of two…one is full of leaves and one looks like it might die.

18. Finally finished planting all the Petunias.

Spring Fever

I love this time of year! I wait expectantly for the man in brown to appear at my door with packages just waiting to burst forth with life. Yep, I’m talking about my garden seeds. Nothing excites me more! Well……just about nothing.

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I’m trying to sprout my India Eggplant seeds. I don’t know if they are Hybrid, so I soaked them overnight and figured, what the heck, it’s worth the try. If they do sprout, then I will be extremely delighted!!!

I received my seed from Territorial Seed Company the other day. I can never remember what I order so it’s quite the surprise to read all the packages. I like the companies that tell you how many seeds are in a pack….not this 3 grams, 1/2 gram. Who the heck knows what a gram of seeds looks like??? Not me. Territorial does say how many seeds are per package.

To my surprise, I ordered 1 lb of corn! All I know is that a pound is 16 oz. I don’t even think I have room to plant a pound of corn! I’ll have to plow the back 40 for this one. Oh, well, I’ll have enough for next year and the next after that too. Plus, it’s an heirloom…..go figure.

My big question is….if it doesn’t say that it’s a hybrid seed, then can you presume that it’s an heirloom??? Or does it mean that it’s open pollination??? Does anyone know the answer to that. I’d hate to go to all the trouble collecting seed that will never sprout. I did that last year! I just ordered Seed To Seed and hopefully will find all the answers to my questions.

So far, here’s what I’ve got planned:

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Renegade Beans 1 oz

Red Ace Beets 1 oz

Golden Bantam Heirloom Corn (yep 1 lb!)

Twinkle Eggplant 1/8 gram (???)

Micro Greens Blend 4 grams

Osaka Purple Mustard 4 grams

Dakota Peas 1/2#

Cinderella Heirloom Pumpkin 3 grams

Bloomsdale Savory Spinach 1 oz

Winter Buttercup Squash 3 grams

Winter Waltham Butternut Squash 3 grams

Purple Turnips 2 grams

Homemade Pickle Cuc’s 1 gram

Soil Thermometer, 100 2″ Peat Pots, 5 Flats and Domes, Natural Jute Twine (2), and plant tags

I pulled my seeds out of the freezer to find LOTS of greens! That’s ok, Honey and I really like them. Most of them are left from last falls order to Cook’s Garden.

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My friend Val sent me a couple neat seeds. Collecting Heirloom seeds could prove to be a very fun thing to do!

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The picture below is of Val’s Chinese 5 Color Hot Peppers. Aren’t they gorgeous!!! I hope they’re not tooooo hot!!!

Courtesy of Plantain Pixie on Flickr.com

I feel so blessed to have a few seeds from Val and hope that I can get them to germinate. Then I’ll have some to share.

Annie Get Your Gun!

Our families have a long history of hunters. My dad was a duck & goose hunter. He also hunted deer and I remember a trip he took to Canada to hunt bear. Honey’s former job was in Wildlife Management when he hunted a lot. In fact since deer hunting with a gun is in the fall, we’d only been married for 8 months when he came home at dusk to get me. He’d shot a deer and the sun was quickly setting. He needed me to hold the flash light while he gutted the thing. That was a trauma for me which I quickly recovered from. I then proceeded to process that same deer a few days later, packing it for the freezer. Since that day, I’ve helped with many deer.

Honey’s Gpa, Uncle Wallace and his dad were great hunters. His dad worked for the USDA in Maryland as a geneticist where he had farm plots for his research. He always got lots and lots of kill permits since the deer were damaging his research plots. We always had plenty of venison to go around.

His Gma went out and bought a diamond ring when Gpa started hunting. She spent the same amount of money he did. Then every year when he’d spend more on hunting, she’d upgrade her diamond ring. We call it the “deer hunting ring”! It’s a a beaut!!!!!!

I told you a few days ago of a doe who found my garden smörgåsbords. I was down picking watermelon, peppers and popcorn this AM and found that she’d been back. She chopped my pole beans off at the knee and left her hoof prints as more evidence of her invasion.

That’s ENOUGH.

I’m mad now.

I’m really fit to be tied. Yesterday, my new swimming buddy, Kathy, told me, “she’ll be back tonight while you’re sleeping.” And sure enough she was.

For now our plan is to put Lady on a long chain tied to the apple tree tonight. We’ll leave her a little crate to sleep in. She’ll think we don’t love her anymore, but she’s our real guard dog. She’s a hunter to the very core of her being. Once she gets a sniff of that doe, she’s going to let her know who’s territory this is! Either that or she’ll howl at the moon all night!

However, in the past I’ve watched an encounter between Lady and the deer. Our electric dog fence only covers 2 acres of our 5. So she charges down to the line, chasing the deer. Once the deer are over the line they know the dogs can’t come any further. Then they stood there and stomped their feet at Lady. Then they jumped at her and said, “you’re no wolf!” (Ladies a little cocker mix) At that challenge she took off and ran toward the house with her tail between her legs! She’s not a big wolf like Boomer, but Boomer is old and tired. He’d never make a good guard dog at the garden. He only protects me!

I’m hoping she’ll have the guts to stand her ground tonight.

We’ll see.

A 7-8 foot fence is going to cost a fortune. I think a .22 locked and loaded is a better choice! But since it’s illegal to discharge one with this many houses this close, we’ll have to get the cross bow and practice so we can pack the freezer for the winter!

Venison stew is sounding yummy!

My question is, why have we allow the deer population in parts of Maryland to get out to control? In our county they allow you an unlimited number of does killed with a bow from, I think Oct-Jan! We have at least 8 does on our property alone. And at least 2-4 bucks. And every single year they have cute little fawns dancing in our back 40.

They cause crop damage and huge personal damage when they hit your car.

This is minor damage. In 1993 only two miles from my home, a deer went through a ladies windshield. It kicked her nearly to death. Put her in a coma of which she eventually died from injuries.

Please don’t tell me that Bambi is too cute to kill.

God gave man dominion over the animals.

My Growing Challenge

Thyme

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged for so long about The Growing Challenge. I guess with R&R, I plum ran out of time. Today as I was mowing our 5 acres, which if I can brag a bit, I made record time on my John Deere~48″ mower; 3.5 hrs. That’s some serious circles! 🙂 As I ran past the garden while mowing I stuck my neck out for a look….it’s been so rainy here, that I haven’t been out. Boy things are growing and the joy with raised beds is there’s practically NO weeding….did you get that, NO WEEDING!!!! BUT those dangbum crows have plucked out most of my corn that was up and they’re picking in the soil for my seed. How on earth do they know what’s planted there?????? Stupid crows. I’ve got the BB Gun loaded, cocked and ready to shot!!! 😉

This is my first yr growing onions and leeks and they are looking lovely.

My little Jalapeño.

Dag…my tatters are looking great.

Man!

My pole beans are growing up the twine nicely.

Cabbage looking good.

Beautiful Greens and Lettuce that we are totally enjoying!

Here is a new bed that we bought top soil for $30 yd and it is as hard as a rock. I tried to add compost to it, but it just can’t be worked. The other beds we got top soil for $12 yd and it was great. Honey’s taking this out and going to get some cheap stuff. Boy, they get ya coming and going.

Here’s another growing challenge. I’ve never grown CA Poppies from seed and they look really great!

The real challenge for me this yr was starting seeds indoors and it went very well. Just about everything survived. EXCEPT those beautiful Sweet Potatoes…..they just couldn’t handle it here in my garden. I don’t think I’ll try again. We don’t really have the soil for it and it was too much trouble. It was fun growing them in the jars and finding out what a slip was, other than the one I’m wearing! 😉

This is my Cherry Tomato that I started by seed.

This is the same seed as a volunteer. Does anyone know why it’s leaves look different?

My tomatoes that I started indoors is doing splendid. Compared to the ones that are volunteers they are prettier. The Tomatios are looking good too. The Jalepeno are a little small still. All the peppers that I started indoors are very small. I’m not sure why, but I’m hoping they don’t take the same route as the Sweet Potatoes!

I do love this time of year and I’m so glad to be well. Praise the One and only One who is able to heal. Jesus! He has brought me out of the pit of destruction and set my feet on a rock and put a new song in my mouth a hymn of praise to my God, many will see and fear and put their trust in Him! Jesus is God, and He is healing me.

Look who came home to shoot him some crows!!! 😉 Crow Pie!

Growing Challenge Update

I’m not really sure what week I’m suppose to be on with The Growing Challenge, but I sure have been motivated and busy. I’ve actually been so busy I haven’t had time to blog. Wow! That’s truly amazing and truly a miracle! God has been blessing me with absolute, divine health and every day I’m truly grateful.

This morning I was awake with the dawn…however I didn’t rise until nearly an hour later….Oh the life of an empty nester!!! During these years of resting, I’ve learned to do just that; rest. What’s the hurry? We live in such a fast paced society just outside of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Even the slow lane is fast. So, when I can, I rest….BUT today was not a day of rest….thank goodness tomorrow IS!

I pulled weeds in my garden and went to our local garden store. I bought lots of herbs that I couldn’t grow from seed and a few annuals for potting. I’m really very much a perennial girl. I prefer plants that can stand on their own once they get established. It’s that leaky memory I have and if I have to water it then it usually dies. Honey finished the two boxes that he started lasts weekend before he had his little accident. Thank God, his eye is fine and he hasn’t given it any thought. In my quest to make room for the two boxes I decided to push the fence back further for…..well….. two more!!!! Honey built them without my even asking. So, now I have to fill them with dirt and get them planted in a snap. I got the sweet potato boxes filled with peat, sand & vermiculite. Hopefully they will be happy there. I still need to put in a couple posts and string them up for the vines to climb. BUT for today, I’m finished, I’m exhausted and it feels soooo GOOD! 🙂

I planted 100 onion & leeks

onions & leeks

My kitchen garden of herbs

Borage & Basil seedlings….not too big yet

new annuals to plant

lots of new herbs to use as medicinal and culinary, not to mention beauty