Monday, May 3, 2010

May? Again?

I have taken 3 shots of the "back" garden to show the progress. For the most part everything was planted approximately 6 weeks ago in three-ish sections.

The first is around 12' wide, 7 rows of new potatoes.
These are already setting flowers and I think we'll be digging them up in around 4 weeks time.

This section is roughly 12' wide and from front to back we have squash, butternut squash, cucumbers of a frame, bush beans which look dreadful, 2 rows of black-eyed peas, and 2 rows of Kentucky Wonders
The squash are either yellow crook necks or zucs; at this point in time I can't remember but it doesn't matter. It's one or the other. The butternuts are really growing and have started flowering but so far only the females have opened. Only one row of the black eyed peas are planted. I was spacing them 3 weeks apart to stagger the harvesting a bit. The Kentucky Wonders were planted at the same time and that might have been a mistake.

This section is roughly 20' wide and has one row of cantaloupes up front, 1 row of jalapenos and Carmen peppers, 1 row with 3 squash and 2 Celebrities, 1 row of Celebrity tomatoes, 1 row of Cherokee Purple tomatoes, 1 row of both Early Girl and Better Boy tomatoes, 1 short framed row of luffa gourds and 3 wide rows of Silver Queen corn which got hammered by the storms yesterday and we need to go out and help by staking up, and then one short row of Baby Bear pumpkins in the back.

All of the tomatoes have fruit set and are thriving in this climate of late. So far no signs of bugs and I have not used the Seven dust as yet but I do have it handy and I think I will sprinkle a bit soon. We have been seeing lots of lady bugs over on the potatoes and I think that is supposed to be a good sign so I might try to hold off as long as possible and try to not use pesticides.
I planted marigolds between the tomatoes as well as companion plants.

Now this is NOT bragging, but rather marveling, when I write: To think with the one exception of the Carmen peppers, everything out there was planted by seeds and we didn't lose a single plant! I can't believe it!!!!!! Such a far cry from our old house with the limited sunlight that made growing veg a difficult proposition. It didn't STOP me, mind you but it certainly wasn't as, shall we say, rewarding? as this is turning out to be.

The raised bed enclosure is also doing quite well.
The tomatillos are what have shocked me so much, I have never grown this before or even seen what the plant looks like so color me surprised to see how LARGE the plants are and how PROLIFIC and abundant the output is going to be, provided they survive totally. I see no signs of otherwise but you never know......

Here's a short video showing the raised beds:

I have been harvesting the peas now for more than a week and there are 3 varieties. Again, I have gotten confused as to which are Sugar Snaps and Snowpeas and they are so similar it hardly matters. I find with one that if I allow it to grow to peas, the outer shell is woody and the pea sweet. In both cases, they taste great when picked small like chinese snowpeas. I wonder if Sugar Snaps is just a variety name for the snowpea. The English peas are marvelous!!!!!! The true peas-in-a-pod type and I am almost to the point where I can harvest enough for a meal. At this point I just stand out there and shell a few and eat them. I feed a few to the chickens as well. THEY LOVE THEM!!!!
We are at the tailend of the broccoli and kale and chard. The neon chards we planted a month ago are great and so pretty! The strawberries are actually producing but and speaking of chickens....

Those rascals are clever birds. I think they keep a close eye on us when we're out there and as soon as they see us head to the house, over they fly and start scratching and eating. So we have been hard at work devising ways to keep them inside the runs and NOT clip their wings but they outsmart us at every turn. We strung lines up around 4" above the fence and they use it as a springboard to leap higher as they escape the confines. They don't know what's coming next but I can tell you it will involve scissors!

Another thing: Okay we have 4 laying hens, 3 little biddies and 1 randy rooster. We HAD a roost with two rows on a ladder for them at night but and although they ALL fit on the top roost (and no one wants to be on the lower rung. go figure), they won't let the 3 little girls up there so they were ending up in the nest boxes at night. poor things. (half the time the three older hens won't let LB and Stu up there either.....meanies!)

So I asked John if he could come up with a better arrangement. He did:

Now the two roosts are at the same level and go around the corner and they STILL won't let the little girls up there. The 3 jerky hens take the one on the left and Rooster Stu and LB sit on the one to the right and the girls are still in the nest boxes. Not Fair!

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