Tag Archives: apple tree

Harvest Monday

March 28, 2016

We are starting to be able to harvest, thanks to some overwintered veggies. Some spinach

Nieto Photography 2016

A few carrotsNieto Photography 2016

And a few purple sprouting broccoli survived the winter under minimal protection.Nieto Photography 2016

I will order thicker agribon next year for the broccoli and sprouting broccoli. The cabbage did not need much, if any, protection from the cold. From the deer on the other hand…that is a different story :\

Peas, beets, carrots, spinach, and lettuce have all been planted but it will be awhile before we are able to harvest anything from the spring garden.

All of the fruit trees are blossoming. Nieto Photography 2016(Pear) Nieto Photography 2016(Peach not mulched. Just starting to bloom.) Nieto Photography 2016(Peach tree mulched. Bloomed several weeks earlier than the other.) Nieto Photography 2016(Blueberries with a carpenter?mason?bumble?bee. I don’t know but those fat bees that never sting are our main pollinators this time of year. LOVE them!) Nieto Photography 2016(Apple Tree)

The raspberries and strawberries are doing well.Nieto Photography 2016The raspberry patch is newly mulched, keeping the weeds at bay. The raspberries are popping through the mulch.Nieto Photography 2016As are the strawberries. They are a little yellow when they first pop through from being sun deprived all winter but they green up really quickly. We already have a couple of flowers.

Speaking of raspberries and strawberries, I planted about 75 June-bearing strawberry plants this week and 10 June-bearing raspberry canes. I am hoping for non-stop berries from May (possibly April) until September, starting next year.

And we have a chicken sitting on some eggs due to hatch early in April. Spring is here!

Check out what others are harvesting at Our Happy Acres today ๐Ÿ™‚


Observations in the Garden

November 13, 2014

I grew up in the suburbs; just 20 minutes from downtown Raleigh, NC. Certainly no NYC but country living could not be further from my mind. We never frequented a farmer’s market and the only tractor or cow, pig, etc. I ever saw was at the State Fair.

I moved to the country right before I got married (10 yrs ago) so according to those in my town, I’m a newcomer ๐Ÿ™‚ I love all that I am learning, living out here, gardening, raising chickens. I love that the children are learning right along with me. So, if all of this country living is old hat to you, bare with me as I share some things I’ve noticed of late.

Observation #1:

Our first frost hit over a week ago. All of the heat-lovers died: sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers…all except for one. We had a lean-to over the chicken door that fell this winter. My husband just set it up against the fence to get it out of the way. This summer, a tomato plant sprouted there. Because it was blocked by the lean-to roof, the chickens left it alone. I have been so busy digging up sweet potatoes and prepping the garden for next year, I didn’t notice until yesterday — it is still alive!DSC_6075I have read about south-facing walls being warmer than others but our house is set back in the woods so I have never been able to test it out. We unwittingly made our own south-facing wall this year! I wonder how much longer the tomato plant will live. This weekend is getting into the 40s during the day. Now my mind is going crazy with ideas of what to plant here throughout the winter and in the early spring! ๐Ÿ˜€

Observation #2:

My children LOVE picking flowers and giving them to people. We had a friend over the other day and my daughter brought her a flower, which drew my eye to the bush from which she was picking.DSC_6073This bush is just outside of the chicken run. My eye scanned just past this bush to a bush INSIDE the run:DSC_6072As you can see, the chickens love this bush. They hang out under it quite frequently.

These two bushes were purchased and planted the same winter. They are pruned the same. They are very close to one another:DSC_6074Now, that has me thinking: I am now deciding how many fruit trees we can fit into the run this winter. That is my dream anyway — that I have an orchard where the chickens live, giving back to the trees while the trees protect them from aerial predators.

Another thing that will be done to the trees is that they will be heavily mulched. If you know anything about me or my blog, you know I am really into mulching. Here is an example of the difference mulching can make (there are many, by the way):

Here is an apple tree that has been covered with mulch for two years (and heavily pruned).DSC_6006And 15 feet away, another apple tree. This one was just covered by mulch a few months ago. I suspect it will get healthier as the years go by. DSC_6007These trees were purchased and planted the same day and these pictures were taken the same day (not the same day they were purchased — the same day this week).

What are you learning from your garden? I am linking up with Green Thumb Thursdays to learn even more through other people’s gardens! ๐Ÿ™‚

Harvest Monday

June 9, 2014

Garden Chores

Last week was all about weeding. The main chores for this week were planting sweet potatoes and spreading mulch. We were in the 90s almost every day so pretty much everything needed to be done by 9:30am or so for it to be bearable.

I decided to spread three loads of mulch each day, covering bare spots in the garden little by little. I finished the garden by the end of the week and my husband helped me finish the blueberry patch one day when he was off work.

I planted sweet potato slips just about every day this week. I filled up the sweet potato patch, a raised bed, and part of the ‘overflow garden’. I’m in the process of writing a post on the whole sweet potato experiment…

Other chores completed this week…

  • Bush beans planted
  • Tomato plants pruned (bottom leaves)
  • Squash eggs, nymphs, and bugs picked (yay for Duct Tape!)
  • Potato bugs picked and fed to the chickens


I planted two rounds of peas in March. I pulled up the first round this week. The aphids were swarming!..and only three lady bugs in sight. I tried to collect as many aphids as possible and feed them to the chickens. They enjoyed their treat of aphids and pea shells very much!

We are eating peas fresh every day but can’t eat them fast enough so we went ahead and shelled, blanched, and froze these.Nieto Family - June 06 14 - 0852(the 3yo has been really helpful in the garden this year!) Nieto Family - June 07 14 - 0086The second round still looks healthy. The pea shells are much longer than the first round and are plumping up nicely. I wonder if that has more to do with being planted at a better time (mid-March vs. early March)? or if it has to do with spacing. The first round were planted WAY too close while the second round were spaced properly.

When the second round is ripped up, I am planning on putting a tunnel on it and letting a few chickens eat the rest of the aphids and prepare the plot for some more planting. ๐Ÿ™‚

I harvested more lettuce, kale, and spinach this week. Nieto Family - June 02 14 - 0005 Nieto Family - June 08 14 - 0122Some lettuce was from my daughter’s garden. She was excited to make her first profit of the season ๐Ÿ™‚

We have been eating a lot of spinach this spring for many reasons:

  • because lettuce takes longer to grow
  • because we planted so much spinach and we don’t like it cooked (so freezing’s out)
  • because it has a shorter season than lettuce
  • because we like spinach salads more then lettuce salads

I am starting to rip up the first plantings of spinach (planted in mid-March). The spinach planted under the apple tree (mid-April) is doing really well. Too bad I only planted 5 or so plants under there :\ I’ll have to make a note for next year to plant more under the tree.

Everything seems to like it under the apple tree! The kale, spinach, beets, lettuce, and carrots planted under the tree are ALL bigger and grew faster than those seeds planted in full sun. I am not very surprised… I’ll have to be sure to prepare other trees this fall so I can have more places to plant shade-loving plants next year!

By the end of the week, I had ripped up about half of the spinach plants (bolting) and the lettuce seemed to be ready to harvest all at once so we had a BIG lettuce harvest — it should last us about a week…Nieto Family - June 07 14 - 0004

Egg production has slowed a bit as we have three broody hens and have been in a heat wave recently. We only put eggs under one broody hen (too much to keep up with otherwise; for me, at least) and are trying to discourage the others from sitting for the time being. I am welcoming the ‘slowing’ of egg production as this means we are only getting a dozen a day instead ofย  one and a half dozen a day ๐Ÿ™‚

A friend gave us one of her roosters that her granddaughter is afraid of. She thinks he’s fine (not aggressive) but since her granddaughter is afraid of him, she offered him to us. I was wary but my husband said we’d try him out ๐Ÿ˜‰ The kids are scared of him, just because of their last experience with a rooster. Hopefully they’ll get over that. The good news is, if he works out, we won’t have to borrow any fertile eggs for our broody hens anymore! ๐Ÿ˜€Nieto Family - June 08 14 - 0533

Check out what others are harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions!

Some Progress…

May 5, 2014

Another round of storms came through the area in the middle of this week. I managed to get more kale, lettuce, beets, and carrots planted before the storm. I went ahead and uncovered the sweet potatoes so they could get a good soaking and covered them back up when it was all over.

The storms were not as bad as last week’s…we were not hit with the tornadoes or flooding that others had to endure.


  • Beans (pole, black, pinto, and bush/snap)Nieto Family - May 04 14 - 0391(pinto)Nieto Family - May 04 14 - 0502(bush beans are just starting to sprout) Nieto Family - May 04 14 - 0505 (bush beans)Nieto Family - May 04 14 - 0397(pole beans surrounded by a *tiny* sprout of corn)
  • Blue PotatoesNieto Family - May 04 14 - 0349
  • Potatoes planted last fallNieto Family - May 04 14 - 0356
  • Corn (shown in the pole bean picture)

More Progress

  • Peas are beginning to flower!Nieto Family - May 04 14 - 0416
  • Lettuce is teasing me that harvest time is around the bendNieto Family - May 04 14 - 0463
  • Sweet potato experiment seems to be working!!!Nieto Family - May 04 14 - 0454(as soon as the slips get 6-9 inches long, I can knick them off and plant in my sweet potato patch…theoretically…we’ll see! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Potatoes (Red & Gold) are looking good!Nieto Family - May 04 14 - 0303Blueberries are doing well (do not seem to be affected by the late frosts we had in April) Nieto Family - May 04 14 - 0371After one round of storms, I noticed our leaning apple tree was leaning more and more. The wet ground was not holding it up! My husband staked it before the last round of storms. It looks like a new tree!Nieto Family - April 29 14 - 0041(before) Nieto Family - April 29 14 - 0048(after)

The strawberry plants are staying healthy and flowering all over the place but we are staying diligent in pinching off the flowers so the plants have a chance to get well-established before putting energy into making fruit. In the meantime, we went strawberry picking to stock up on our yearly supply! We try to eat them only in season so when they are in season, we EAT them!!! We went twice and got about 62lbs in total. I froze most of them & I make and freeze jam as we need it. We also ate plenty of strawberries fresh!Nieto Family - May 03 14 - 0121Please tell me you are harvesting! As a matter of fact, tell everyone!…over at Daphne’s Dandelions ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. Happy 100th blog post to me ๐Ÿ˜‰