Garden in March, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

March 7, 2016

Here is our first harvest of 2016:shoShe joins the rest of the girls, who now outnumber the boys! 🙂 the girls(# 1, 2, 6, and 7)

There are joys and challenges of having a newborn in any season. I can’t take her out in the garden to sit in the bouncy seat while I work like I would a spring, summer, or fall baby. However, it’s winter — I’m not spending much time in the garden anyway 🙂 So it works out.

Here is a look at what the garden looked like last month versus what it looks like currently…

Garden at the beginning of February:Nieto Photography 2016Garden at the beginning of March:Nieto Photography 2016At first glance, you will see:

  1. A LOT of tarp has been ripped up and recovered with new mulch.
  2. The hoops are uncovered (though they are still covered with fencing to keep the deer away).
  3. The bushes and trees have been pruned.

If you look a bit closer, you will see:

Nieto Photography 2016Many of my broccoli plants died BUT…Nieto Photography 2016A few sprouting broccoli survived and…Nieto Photography 2016There are some small cabbages that did not rot and have not yet been eaten.

You will also see we have some spinach that survived the winter, mostly uncovered…Nieto Photography 2016And some carrots as well! Nieto Photography 2016This past month, I have been pruning…Nieto Photography 2016Planting seeds in my milk jug greenhouses… (I have planted all of my cool weather seeds and most of my warm weather seeds. I need to make a few more greenhouses to plant more tomato seeds.)Nieto Photography 2016Planting asparagus crowns (no pic) and I just started planting potatoes this week. I planted 50lbs last year. This year, I will plant 60 or 70lbs. I planted the early season potatoes first…Nieto Photography 2016Purple Viking, Purple Majesty, and Mountain Rose (5lbs each) were planted here and then covered with 8 inches of mulch.

The TO DO list for the rest of March is:

  • Finish planting potatoes
  • Finish planting seeds in the greenhouse
  • Plant peas, spinach and possibly some other cool-weather crops like lettuce, and root vegetables
  • Plan out and expand the chicken run so we can cut back on our feed bill

What are your plans for March? Are you planting yet? Happy Gardening!

I will leave you with another spring bulb that has bloomed already 🙂Nieto Photography 2016(Crocus)

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Working on the Gardening TO DO List

February 22, 2016

You know those beautiful purple cabbages I was just waiting to grow? Nieto Photography 2016Yeah, the deer got to those a couple of days after that picture was taken 😦 I still have 3 cabbages left in other tunnels and I am determined to keep those covered until they are ready to be harvested!

We have been taking advantage of the nice weather we had this week since we made it out of the 30s. I finished pruning the blueberry bushes, the fruiting trees, and the ornamental trees and bushes.

We prepared a section for the new raspberries I ordered by ripping up tarp then putting down chicken manure and woodchips. Nieto Photography 2016First, we rip up multiple layers of mulch. Nieto Photography 2016This section is now tarp-free. Nieto Photography 2016Step 2: Spread chicken manure from the coop onto the bare clay. Nieto Photography 2016Step 3: cover with 4-6 inches of woodchips.

I will be planting raspberry canes in this section in a couple of months.

My husband ripped up a lot more tarp in the garden as well. Nieto Photography 2016(This is on the opposite side of the garden from the raspberry patches, by the house. I am planning on planting sweet potato slips in this area…I think 😉 ) Nieto Photography 2016(The final section that was ripped up finishes this side of the garden. Only portions of the garden to the right of the blueberry bushes still have tarp under them…about 1/4 of the garden or less. Soon, the whole area will be plantable 😀

This week, as long as the weather cooperates, I am planning on planting all of my cool weather seeds and possibly some warm weather seeds in the milk jug greenhouses.

Last week, my husband bought a bunch of t-posts from someone who was ripping up their cow fencing. I would like to split up the chicken run into 3-4 sections so we can rotate them and they can have more grass. With all of our new/used t-posts, I feel like we can accomplish that 🙂 AND maybe we can protect our garden from all of the critters this year as well.

How is your garden going? Are you prepping for the new planting season? Have you started planting already? Happy Gardening!

Garden in February, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

February 8, 2016

Sorry this is about a week late. January threw me for a loop. Baby #7 was due at the end of January. I have never had a baby come any earlier than 41 weeks or so. When my water broke at 38 weeks, it was a shock, to say the least. Anyway, here is what the garden looked like at the beginning of January.

Nieto Photography 2015

And here is what it looks like at the beginning of February.Nieto Photography 2016

We had an ice storm at the end of January and about a week later, we reached the low 70s.

Our spring bulbs are very confused.Nieto Photography 2016

I uncovered the hoops and the cabbages looked fabulous! They weathered the high teens beautifully. Because of the warmer temperatures, I kept them uncovered. And the deer appreciated that because they ate two of my cabbages that were just about ready to be harvested. 😦 So sad. Part of me thinks – when do I throw in the towel? while another part of me thinks – one day I’ll get this!Nieto Photography 2016(this is all the deer left 😦 )

The broccoli did not fair well in the ice storm. I need to write down in my garden journal to use thicker fabric for the broccoli next year.Nieto Photography 2016Most of the young, purple cabbages are looking pretty good. I just need to keep them alive about another month then I think we’ll be able to harvest them 😀Nieto Photography 2016 Nieto Photography 2016I was able to prune about 10 blueberry plants before I went into labor.Nieto Photography 2016I still have about 20 or so more to go. I have recovered for the most part from labor and delivery so I plan on pruning the rest this month.Nieto Photography 2016(This is what the bushes look like before being pruned)

I have SOOOOO much to do this month! I hope we continue to have some pretty days so that I can get all of it done!

HAVE TO DO in February:

  • Prune blueberry bushes
  • Prune fruit and ornamental trees
  • Prepare the new raspberry patch (rip up tarp, cover with manure and mulch)

Would like TO DO:

  • Clean out the chicken coop.
  • Expand the chicken run.
  • Plant all the seeds in the milk jug greenhouses.

Are you in the dreaming stages of your 2016 garden? Are you harvesting? Or are you just trying to keep things alive, like me? 😉 Happy gardening!

SEEDS and Harvest Monday

January 11, 2016

All of my seeds, plants, and tubers are ordered for this year and all of my seeds have come in! I am so excited! First, the seeds. I have plenty of tomato, beet, cabbage, bush bean, squash (winter and summer), and melon (watermelon and cantaloupe) seeds. The seeds I needed to replenish were:

  • Peas (wando and green arrow)
  • Pole Beans (purple)
  • Dried Beans (adzuki and black turtle soup)
  • Broccoli (de cicco)
  • Carrots (rainbow blend, nantes, tendersweet, and dragon purple)

I ordered three types of corn seed, each one is to mature at different times:

  • Texas Honey June
  • Country Gentleman
  • Yukon Supreme

I was sent a few tomato varieties for free. Thankfully, I do not have either variety.:

  • Livingston Beauty
  • Red Russian

And there are quite a few new plants I am excited to try growing this year:

  • Lacinato Kale (dinosaur kale)
  • Collard Greens (HIGH in calcium – I am planning on growing, dehydrating, grinding, and adding to all.the.things.)
  • Jericho Lettuce (bred in the deserts of Jerusalem so should hold up to our NC summers quite well! I am very excited about this seed!)
  • Lima Bean
  • Cauliflower
  • Nasturtium (not only a pretty flower and edible but known to keep the dreaded squash bug away!!!)
  • Eggplant
  • Apsaragus (seed)

Nieto Photography 2015In addition to all of these seeds, I also ordered some June-bearing raspberries, three varieties of strawberries (early, mid, and late summer harvests), some purple asparagus plants, and TEN varieties of garden potatoes (early, mid, and late season as well as fingerlings).

Where will I plant these, you ask? What a question! I have NO IDEA, of course!

I am planning on putting the strawberries around the large apple tree (North side of the garden). The asparagus will be planted on the Northern edge of the garden. And I plan on having a bit of a sunflower fence around the whole garden (instead of sunflower patches). I think I know where I am going to plant the raspberries. I have some idea where I am going to plant my spring garden but the 60+ lbs of potatoes? And the three varieties of corn? Yeah, no idea where I’m going to find room for those!

If anyone local wants to offer their help this winter, preparing the garden for the spring (this involves ripping up tarp and pitching and hauling woodchips), I will welcome your help with many thanks!

Our only harvest this week was this head of lettuce. But that’s not too bad as far as Januarys go 🙂Nieto Photography 2015

Garden in January, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

January 6, 2016

Here is what the garden looked like at the beginning of December.DSC_1018-EditAnd after a very warm and wet December, here is what it looks like at the beginning of January.

Nieto Photography 2015

The grass is greener, what with the warm, wet weather. But the blueberry bushes have lost most of their leaves.

My husband had some extra time this weekend and decided to help me cover the strawberry beds, rip up some tarp, and haul a LARGE amount of mulch!

Nieto Photography 2015Strawberry beds before…

Nieto Photography 2015And after (covered with poop and mulch).Nieto Photography 2015I scraped all of the poop off of the roosting table, spread it over the strawberry beds and over some bare ground after he ripped up some tarp. Then, I spread all of the mulch he hauled. The kids’ job was to weed where we were spreading mulch.

Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015(that patch of green is a small patch of overwintering spinach)`

We got SOOO much done, it seems, but in reality, we only weeded, put down manure, and covered about 1/10th of the garden with mulch. Ah well, there’s only so much we can do at a time. All of that pitching, hauling, and raking of the mulch does a number on your back, arms, and hands!

We have picked the spot for our new raspberry plants so the next time my husband has a free day, we will weed, rip up tarp and cover that area with manure and mulch as well.

The garden looks a bit different now than in the first picture. The temperatures really dropped yesterday and we had our first snow! Just flurries. Not much stuck. Anyway, before the snow, we covered everything with the lightweight garden fabric. Part of me thinks we should have gone with the heavier garden fabric but it is only going to be in the low 20s for two nights then it will jump back into lows in the 40s and 50s. I am hoping everything will be okay and I will put the heavier fabric on when the low temps are here to stay.

Here is an overview of what the garden looks like in early January:Nieto Photography 2015Brassica transplants to be…? idk. transplanted later? eaten off of? We’ll see. Nieto Photography 2015Purple headed cabbage. Hopefully we will get an early spring harvest from these. Nieto Photography 2015celery Nieto Photography 2015cilantro Nieto Photography 2015Carrots & spinach Nieto Photography 2015Brassicas (broccoli, sprouting broccoli, and cabbage)

I love seeing the changes from month to month. I wonder what it will look like at the beginning of February?