Fall Gardening

St Francis of Assisi

It is said that St Francis of Assisi preached to the birds of the air saying;

“My sister birds, you owe much to God, and you must always and in everyplace give praise to Him; for He has given you freedom to wing through the sky and He has clothed you…you neither sow nor reap, and God feeds you and gives you rivers and fountains for your thirst, and mountains and valleys for shelter, and tall trees for your nests. And although you neither know how to spin or weave, God dresses you and your children, for the Creator loves you greatly and He blesses you abundantly. Therefore… always seek to praise God.”

This is not much different than what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:25-27:

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]?

Scripture also reminds us that all of creation knows it’s Creator.

I find my time in the garden one of great peace and tranquility. I suppose it’s because I see the hand of my Creator God everywhere I look. To imagine that a tiny mustard seed can spring up out of the hard clods of dirt and produce a beautiful crop of greens, how can one not believe in Creator God? To see the earth worm wiggle his way into the soil and create for me a rich bed that I had no part in, how can one not believe in Creator God? To listen as the Canadian Geese migrate south every winter and sing choruses of praise to Creator God, how can one not believe?

I didn’t get the grass cut, but I did clean out my garden for a couple hours. My back is not happy about the pulling and tugging I did and it has given out on me again. I managed to plant several beds of fall crops that will be protected by my new winter tunnels.

I planted Winter Kale, Beets, Osaka Purple Mustard, and Perpetual Spinach. Our night time temps will remain above freezing for at least another week. I hope with some good sunny days these seeds will germinate and will grow with some protection. I’ll place 5 gallon buckets painted black inside the tunnels to help generate some heat especially during the cold winter months.

I cleared enough beds to plant my garlic crop. It will be ready to harvest in the spring. So, it’s my plan to use that space for a rotating crop. I’m not sure which one that will be right now. But I’ve got a lot of time to figure it out. I plan to start my tomatoes very early indoors for an earlier tomato season next year. And God willing, with my health holding out and improving over the winter, I’ll enlarge my borders!!!

That reminds me of a great prayer that has “infected” my life. The prayer of Jabez. “Lord, bless me indeed. Enlarge my borders and may Your hand always be with me. Keep me from evil so I do not cause pain.” And God granted Jabez’s request. I’ve been praying this prayer from II Chronicles for 9 years now and I’ve seen incredible miracles of God’s blessings and His enlarging my borders.

My kale that this little bug ate to nothin.

Anybody know what this bug is??? Mary????

Thankfully he didn’t eat my spinach. I planted 3 more rows.

And he didn’t eat my beet greens. I planted 2 more rows.

Nor my carrots.

Thank goodness not my lettuce! It’s these top two beds that will have tunnels to protect my winter greens.

I only planted a small row of green beans in August. I wish I’d planted 2 more. The pole beans are looking great, but I don’t think they have time to grow beans before winter.

Here’s a nice big leek. I pulled a bunch and used them in some chicken soup.

I got this bed cleaned out from the climbers. Cuc’s, melons and even a few onions. The onions remaining are heirlooms and I’m going to cover them with straw and hopefully they will winter over just fine.

My sweet Italian and Hungarian peppers are still turning red. I’ll leave them until the first threat of frost.

Plus lots of Jalapeño that have turned red. I’m not sure what to do with all of them.

It was pulling the corn stalks that did my back in…but it looks nice now and I’ll probably put my garlic here.

The leeks are suppose to winter over in the garden. Some of them are rotting, so I’ll just pull them up and cover the rest with straw.

The biggest mess in my book is cleaning up the tomatoes. I saved seeds from all of them. So I can just compost the mess and be done with it. And then next year, just like this year, I’ll have a lovely crop in my compost bins!

I can’t wait to harvest my sweet potatoes out of the compost boxes. They are amazing. And to think that I threw the left over slips in there and the ones I lovingly planted in the garden died.

Again, it points to Creator God!!!!

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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!

My Growing Challenge~Sweet Potatoes!!!

I hope Melinda takes a look at my blog sometime soon, because this is truly my growing challenge; sweet potatoes! I’ve never grown them. I didn’t know what to expect. I am totally out of my element with these babies. We live where the soil is more clay then sand….my folks have sandy soil on the Eastern Shore of MD. But not here. So, Honey built me more boxes as you can see and I used sand, peat and vermiculite for the sweet potatoes…..I know it’s probably not warm enough for them quite yet, BUT they had to go in the ground. Honey and I are taking some R&R. We’re heading to our favorite place on earth; the mountains. In order for everything not to die while I’m gone, I’ve had to get it in the ground. It has a much better chance of survival there with God taking care of it. The neighbor’s oldest daughter is tending to the dogs and the garden, but there’s only so much to ask a person to do. Here’s how it looks……

They’re a little wilted after being transferred to soil….I hope they put on their happy faces….SOON!

They are climbers, so I strung up some twine.

If you’ve read any of my blog, you know how much I love color, and how it’s been a part of my healing from Lyme Disease. I’ve had this old retro chair that I found at a yard sale about 10 yrs ago….it was ugly! Just as a way of measuring my milestones….10 yrs…and I finally got it sanded, primed and painted my favorite color…PINK! I think it adds just the right amount of whimsy to my garden.

I’ll get those two empty beds ready when I get back from R&R. Right now they are growing grass! YUCK! I spent another 4.5 hrs today mowing. I was pretty impressed with my time….I’ve figured out that the fastest way to get it done is in circles! Boy, that’s all I need…more ditzy Di! But today while I was mowing God gave me a little treat….other than finding several ticks crawling….I saw my most prized bird…a Bluebird! I’ve got a box my blind dad built that I need to get up, but that will have to wait. Now, time for some R&R!

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

Sweet Potatoes Galore!

Vines everywhere

I just had to show off my sweet potatoes one more time before I plant them. I’m amazed. I had no idea what I was doing, but it worked! 😉 For those of you who were in my shoes a month or so ago, sit back and enjoy. I’ll try to give you steps so when it’s your turn you’ll be able to answer intelligently what a slip is….clue it’s not ladies underwear!!!!

Sweet Potato with Slips (roots are growing from slips)

Sweet Potato without slips

Naked Sweet Potato after Slips were pulled Off

Slip with roots

That’s it in a nut shell. Now I’ll move on to another challenge. This was a good one! Hopefully these babies will be in warm soil this weekend! 8)

Dilemma Update

I kid you not these sweet potato slips are growing 4-5″ overnight. Look at the difference in just 2 days! If anyone has any suggestions PLEASE PLEASE pass them on to me. This is my first attempt at growing sweet potatoes and I didn’t realize when I started them soooooo early that I would be in this dilemma!

Growth on 4-8-08

Grow on Sunday 4-6-08

Gardening Dilemma

I’ve had so much fun starting plants from seed this year. My “friends” on OGH Yahoo grp have been extremely helpful. I’ve learned from them and really can’t wait until next year to expand my indoor garden and explore many more varieties of veggies. My dilemma is with my sweet potato slips as I’ve come to know them. They have gone gangbusters!!!! They are getting so big that I’m not sure how I’m going to wait until warm weather to plant them. They will be in doors for at least another 1 1/2 months and by that time, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to make our way threw the jungle.

Compare this growth to a week ago and you’ll see my dilemma!

I’d say I’m in big trouble! They must be growing 2-3 inches a day!

My treasured Sweet Italian Peppers and Hungarian Hot Peppers finally came up. I think I replanted them 3 times and then suddenly they appeared after weeks of waiting. I finally got a tip from my “friends” at OGH that made the difference and that was to place them in the pearlite not the soil. I also have had success with Sage, Nasturtium and Sweet William. I’m very excited.

These are Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes that I salvaged after the seeds wintered over in the garden bed.

Everything got a good drink today with some fish fertilizer…except the Sweet Potatoes! 😉