How I Spent My Summer Vacation

What summer vacation???

Honey spent his day off on Friday in the office, working to finish up a project that is due on Monday. Deadlines are good, I suppose. He’s been quarantined for a couple weeks and no one was allowed to bother him without permission from his supervisor! FINALLY!

We both spent the 4th working all morning. But as far as a vacation….well, with a cow that will calf in a month….there won’t be one this year. 😦 Unless we figure out how to get him out of quarantine and find someone to watch the animals this month before the calf comes….well….it ain’t happenin.

But today….with that sunrise and 65*F weather, it almost felt like vacation in the North Carolina mountains….except for the car noises.

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This is what I did on my 4th of July.

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I dug potatoes. Almost 5 gallons. They are beautiful! Mmmmm

I was hugely disappointed with the seed potatoes that I bought. I averaged 1 potato per plant!!!! That’s disgusting! I will let you know if the company stands by their satisfaction guarantee. If not, I’ll be sure the publish their name and if so….I’ll be sure to publish their name!

The Yukon Golds at the top are from potatoes I bought at the health food store for a couple bucks! Why I buy seed potatoes….I’ll never know. I’m always disappointed. Make note to self: NEVER BUY SEED POTATOES EVER AGAIN! No matter what they claim!!!

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My sunflowers are huge with squash, melons and pumpkins plants growing underneath.

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It’s the first year I’ve planted the Three Sisters! Corn, Squash and Beans. I planted beans to climb the corn and squash and cucs under the corn to also climb. It’s working.

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We’ve almost eaten all of our brined pickles from last year….all 2 gallons!

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I hung the garlic under the deck to dry. I still need to dig half of them. The elephant garlic turned out great….in fact all the garlic did. I bought these from Territorial Seed Co. I’ll use lots of them in our brined pickles! Mmmm

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I’ll probably cut the cabbage soon and make kraut. Last year I let them go too long and the worms got most of them.

It’s time to start planning my fall/winter garden with several beds emptying. I’ll start some eyes on my potatoes and plant them this month in the pea bed. Then they will be ready by the first frost in mid October.

I hope you had a lovely 4th.

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Summer Means Winter….huh?

Yes, summer means winter.  As I was contemplating digging my potatoes and pulling the peas, I realized that it’s time to replant for our fall and winter crops!

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Yikes, I haven’t even harvested my first green bean, and now I’m thinking of winter?  It’s kinda weird….in the winter, I’m thinking of Summer and in the Summer I’m thinking of Winter.  But that’s just the way it is in the world of gardening.  Especially if you plan on a winter garden.  I’ll get my potatoes dug and replant a bed so I can harvest more for the winter.  Last year, my fall potatoes were marvelous!

I’ll put in lots and lots of carrots in my small hoop houses since they did very well last winter.  AND it’s my hope to build a bigger hoop house using some left over cattle panels.  The cattle panels are 4X16, and I have three to use.  I’ll use T-post to anchor them to the ground and cinder blocks to hold down the 6 ml plastic.  It ought to be about 6 ft at the center ridge and since I’m only 5’3″ and shrinking daily….I can at least stand in the center.  I’ll use some 50 gal barrels to hold water for heat retention and try to build tables or shelves for the plants.  I don’t think I’m going to plant directly in the ground.  That’s my plan for now and of course since I’m a woman, I have the prerogative to change my mind!!!  😉

I’ll probably plant greens, including Kale, Spinach, Arugula and Lettuce, Beets, Turnips and I’ll transfer some Tomato Plants and possibly a couple Eggplants.  We’ll see.

Here’s a planting chart from Territorial Seed Co.

Territorial Seed Company

Territorial Seed Company

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.

Heirloom Seeds

I found this wonderful Heirloom Seeds site. Yes, that’s their name; Heirloom Seeds. They have a really large variety of seeds and they are ALL Heirloom. You don’t have to guess like with most other seed dealers. I suppose that if it’s not stated then you can safely assume it’s Hybrid and not Heirloom.

It’s just about time to start some seeds. I’ll probably start some Tomato and Eggplant seeds this week. My seed starter soil and dome tops arrived the other day from Cook’s Garden. And some of my seeds should arrive any day from Territorial Seed Company. I’m really getting the itch to be out doors and dig my fingers into the warm soil.

About Them:

“Located in South Western Pennsylvania, we are a small, family run seed house that has been in the mail order business since 1988. When we started this business, our first priority was to offer old fashioned vegetables noted for their taste. All of the varieties we offer are open pollinated (non hybrid) and have been grown by generations of backyard gardeners. The flower varieties that we offer have that simple, old fashioned beauty of days gone by. We added herb seeds to our catalog after many requests from our customers to do so. We have a network of gardeners throughout the United States that are constantly testing the varieties we offer for sale, to ensure they do well in a backyard garden setting. Many of the seeds we offer have come from backyard gardeners, whose families have saved the seeds for generations, throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and overseas. We sell quality seeds (meet or exceed federal standards) at low prices.”

Spring Is In The Air!

Yesterday it was over 50*F!  We got rid of most of our ice except for the piles on the northside of the house!  Those will be there until June!!!  This morning even though it was 32*F the birds were singing a happy tune and I could smell spring!!!

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I ordered most of my seeds this weekend.  I decided on Territorial Seed Company and Abundant Life Seeds.  I tried to only order heirloom seeds so that I will eventually become independent of the seed companies, except when I want to try a new variety.  It will also be fun trading with friends and family.

I only grow now what we actually like to eat.  I use to always grow broccoli, but frankly I don’t like broccoli!  So I don’t grow it anymore.  I want to plant plenty of corn and pray that the crows don’t get it this year.  We didn’t have near enough in the freezer.  It really was one of our favorites this winter; butterbeans and corn!  I didn’t have near enough butterbeans either.  In fact I planned on having them for Christmas only to be disappointed to find them gone!

Hopefully I’ll add a few more square feet to my garden for vines.  I ordered Cinderella Pumpkins and Turnips to give to my milk cows.  And of course the chickens always get all the compost they can eat.  Boy I can’t wait to dig my fingers into the dirt!

The days are worth counting now…..45!  The first day of spring, March 20 and my 27th wedding anniversary!