Tag Archives: beets

Harvest Monday

August 17, 2015

We harvested a few raspberries and strawberries, cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, our first watermelons, beans, sunflowers, cilantro seed, and some late-planted carrots and beets this week. Nieto Photography 2015

Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015(the 4yo’s job every day is to collect tomatoes)

I freeze about 4-5 gallons of tomatoes each week. Not to mention all of the tomatoes I give away! I think we’re going to be good with soup, pizza sauce, and marinara sauce this winter!

If you have been keeping up, we have harvested 2 watermelon and 3 cantaloupe this year. The groundhogs ate about 20 and the raccoons have eaten the last 10 or 15. We have now bought electric wire and are playing with it, getting it just right before we test it out. I want the charge to be HIGH! I am fighting back!

We have been cleaning up a lot these past few weeks as well as planting for the fall/winter garden.

  • The remaining potato plants that were all beautiful and green? Yeah, I found those a couple of days later COVERED in potato bugs. I covered them in DE and they have recovered pretty well.
  • I tied up the tomatoes (they had outgrown their previous tyings).
  • I planted another round of brassicas for the fall/winter garden and covered them.
  • I chased the groundhog out of the garden a few times (still can’t find its hole).
  • Remember the raspberries about to ripen? A deer (or something tall) ate those so we fenced in the raspberry area (which has watermelons and cantaloupes so the fence does double duty).
  • We continued to try to outsmart the raccoons with fencing…
  • I collected some compost from our soil manufacturers and spread it around 1/2 of the garden.

Last week, we:

  • Planted another round of beans, and planted more beets, carrots, kale, and peas for the fall garden.
  • Cleaned up all of the spent bean plants (most of which had been eaten down by deer).
  • Harvested the dried beans and sunflowers.
  • Spread more chicken compost on the newly-cleaned up areas.
  • Started fencing in the garden with electric wire low (raccoons and groundhogs) and fishing wire high (deer). The plan is to, next year, shoot a crow and hang it up in the middle of the garden, like Paul does. They have gotten WAY too comfortable walking around in the garden!

Unfortunately, our cat hasn’t figured out the electric fencing either and she has gotten shocked šŸ˜¦ Not what I wanted but…what can I say? I want FRUIT next year!!!

This next week, we will spread some more compost, plant some more fall/winter seeds, and finish up the fencing.

What are you harvesting? What gardening chores are you doing this time of year? I am linking up with Daphne’s Dandelions today to see what others are harvesting around the world šŸ™‚

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Harvest Monday

July 13, 2015

We are harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, patty pan squash, zucchini, carrots, beets, lettuce, cucumbers, and a few strawberries here and there. Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015
Some cucumber and watermelon vines are creeping into the strawberry patch and in turn are keeping the groundhog out! šŸ™‚ The raspberries are being stolen by that stinkin’ groundhog we have yet to catch and he ate all of our ripening blackberries. I am thinking of putting fencing around the raspberries…AND I am thinking about putting fencing around the whole garden next year!

Originally, I was planning on planting enough food for us, 3-4 other families, the chickens, and enough to put up for the winter. Because of the lovely animals who found our garden this year and the fact that I am probably working at about 50% energy right now (June was more like 10-30% energy), we are only able to grow enough for 1/2 of the chicken’s food, fresh eating for us, and enough for 2 other families.

For example, instead of 10 gallons of berries frozen, I have 0. I was planning on growing lots of kale, cucumbers, and celery to juice and freeze while in season so I would not have to buy it later. I do not have enough energy for that currently even though we are getting plenty of those things. So, I am letting most of my cucumbers get HUGE and overripe for the chickens. They LOVE them and it really keeps them satisfied on the hot days we’ve been having!

Energy was up a bit more this week šŸ™‚ We were able to tie up most of the tomatoes and get the last of the weeding done. I can’t believe it! This WHOLE garden is weeded.Nieto Photography 2015

Amazing what you can do when you have some helpers! This is the first year I’ve asked for their help weeding (9yo, 7yo, 6yo, 4yo) and unfortunately for them, they were so helpful, they will be more involved from now on! šŸ™‚ Also, thanks to the BTE method of gardening, as long as we stick with it, there will be no more big weeding weeks, like there have been these past two weeks. The weeds got HUGE because I was out of commission for about 6 weeks. Now, we just need to go out once a week probably and walk the garden for small weeds.

Of course, this does not mean there is nothing to do! This week, we are tying up the rest of the tomatoes, planting another round of cucumbers, beans, squash, melons, and fall broccoli and cabbage, weeding the bricks by our house, weeding the perennial beds by our house, possibly putting netting around the raspberries, and definitely covering our ripening melons with fencing. I hear groundhogs LOVE watermelon and cantaloupes. We have quite a few that are close to being ready to harvest and I do not want to lose them!

Chickens

I read a couple of weeks ago that chickens need about Ā½ cup of feed/day. I always thought our chickens could handle less feed but I never knew how much. I didn’t want to feed them too little and lose our egg production but I don’t want to spend money on feed when I don’t have to! So this week, I took the time to measure how much we were giving them daily…about twice as much as they needed!

Considering the fact that half of their run is filled with grass and we give them a HUGE cart-full of weeds and food from the garden each day, they do NOT need that much feed. I feel much better about how much feed we are giving them now. I would still like to cut back more but until I am feeling 100%, I am going to keep everything as is.

We have 12 2yo laying hens, 2 roosters, 3 hens sitting on eggs or with chicks, and 12 chicks (and 5 eggs due to hatch in two weeks). I think some of our older chicks may have started to lay. I found a small egg in with the rest of the larger ones the other day. We’ll see!

What is going on in your garden? Is weeding taking over your life or do you have it under control? Are you preparing for a fall garden? Head over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what other gardeners are harvesting this week.

Harvest Monday

July 6, 2015

We harvested our first tomatoes this week šŸ™‚ Right on schedule! We also harvested our first blackberry. We moved the blackberry plant this spring (we’ve had it 8 years and it never gave us fruit where it was previously) and it is growing so much and fruiting beautifully. Other harvests included:

  • cucumbers
  • onions
  • zucchini
  • patty pan squash
  • strawberries & blueberries (here & there)
  • beets
  • carrots
  • potatoes
  • coriander (I used all of my cilantro seeds so I let some go to seed – cilantro all winter!)
  • celery (potato salad)

Nieto Photography 2015Beets went to neighbors and potatoes were turned into fries and potato salad. Yum!Nieto Photography 2015First tomato was given to neighbors. Carrots are eaten raw for lunch.Nieto Photography 2015Cucumbers are eaten for lunch and when we have too many, the chickens enjoy them.Nieto Photography 2015(zucchini, patty pan, tomatoes) Nieto Photography 2015I normally do not have much luck growing onions but this one looks good! So far so good šŸ™‚Nieto Photography 2015My lovely husband grilled the onion, zucchini, and patty pan squash for me on the 4th. It was such a treat since I can’t stand to smell anything cooking inside and I have been unable to eat any veggies this past month. I ate these up, no problem šŸ˜€

I have slightly more energy in the mornings (such a blessing!) so we are really getting the garden weeded. We neglected it for a month or so. After only a week of weeding (a wheelbarrow full each day), we are about 3/4 of the way through. I hope to finish up this week and start spreading mulch to keep the weeds at bay.

I try to succession plant almost everything every two weeks, depending on the season. However, for the past month, I have not planted anything. So this week, with my newfound energy (for an hour šŸ˜‰ ) I planted melons, squash, beans, cucumbers, cabbages and broccoli (for the fall garden).

What are you up to in your garden? Check out what’s happening in gardens around the world at Daphne’s Dandelions.

Garden in July, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

July 2, 2015

I know I’m not the only one who is wondering how it is the beginning of July already. Craziness.

Beginning of JuneNieto Photography 2015Beginning of JulyNieto Photography 2015It did not rain here in Eastern NC for about a month. I also did not water. The temps were also in the 90s/100s most of the month.

The potatoes (and possibly the corn) are the only plants that suffered from the lack of water. That and the fact that I put my 6yo in charge of bug duty (6yos just aren’t as diligent as adults – imagine that), they all died back without producing much at all. Oh well, there’s always next year.Nieto Photography 2015The section above was also planted in a new BTE section, so that did not help. Nieto Photography 2015This section of potatoes that are dying off but are not dead yet were planted in a higher section, getting less rain, which is interesting – I would not think they would have done better. However, this area is a 2nd year BTE section so…

The old potato patch was planted in peas and salad greens. The peas have been ripped up and all that is left in that section right now are greens that are going to seed. Those will go to the chickens and this section, which is shaded most of the day, will house my fall and winter seedlings, if ever I get the energy to plant them.Nieto Photography 2015At the beginning of June, the cabbages were sizing up and I had not seen any cabbage moths so I uncovered them. BIG mistake. The cabbages, broccoli, and kale are now all ruined. Lesson.Learned.Nieto Photography 2015Some are still decent. Nieto Photography 2015Most are not. Nieto Photography 2015Check out all those cabbage worms. The ruined brassicas are being fed to the chickens each day. Between these and the weeds, which grew like crazy once we did start getting rain about a week ago, the chickens are getting enough food from the garden, they do not need any chicken feed. I still give them some because…I don’t know…I’m a slave to those spoiled egg makers. šŸ˜›

Last year I stopped giving them feed AND forgot to give them enough food from the garden some days and they did an early molt. Since I do not have enough energy (though I am getting more) to make sure they get garden food every day, we feed them chicken feed as well. One day, one day…

Speaking of weeds…The children spent May weeding all of the sections where I put fresh horse manure (NEVER.AGAIN.). Most of June, nothing was weeded because I did not have the energy to even tell the kids where to weed. At the end of June, it started raining a lot so the weeds have really been vigorous!

We have gone out there every day this week and weeded until we fill the garden cart, then we dump it for the chickens. This equates about 3 buckets per person. By doing this, we have gotten about 2/3 of the garden weeded in about a week. Very impressive! Now we need Daddy to haul mulch for us so the weeds won’t come back!

Anywho, on to more pictures šŸ™‚ Here is the carrot/beet patch, turned into melon/summer squash patch. Most of the carrots and beets have been pulled, while the melons are sprawling and the squash plants are producing baby squash. Nieto Photography 2015I would LOVE a cattle panel to be able to grow the melons on but we don’t have a truck to transport it from the store to here so… šŸ˜› Maybe one day we can bribe someone to do that for us. It would save SO much room! It is amazing how much watermelon plants spread! Check out the watermelon vine below. ONE seed and it is already spreading into my sweet potato patch!Nieto Photography 2015This section has tomatoes on the right, patty pan, zucchini, and spaghetti squash in the middle (along with a holey cabbage), and lots of weeds in the background (those were actually pulled this morning).

Nieto Photography 2015We are seeing some watermelon fruit, so that’s always fun šŸ™‚ Nieto Photography 2015We are also seeing some fruit on our butternut squash.Nieto Photography 2015Whenever I plant seeds or seedlings, I NEVER leave enough room! It always seems like such a waste of space to space them out properly when they’re little! Then, in the middle of the summer, I regret such foolishness šŸ˜› Like when it comes time to harvest cucumbers…

Nieto Photography 2015What else? Let’s see…our tomatoes are sizing up…The onions look like they will be ready to harvest soon (some are popping out of the ground).Nieto Photography 2015My first year of planting flowers and I have no regrets! I love seeing all the pretty colors šŸ™‚Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015The sweet potatoes are starting to spread.Nieto Photography 2015 I need to plant the rest of the slips that are growing in the pots before it is too late. Nieto Photography 2015I also should be getting my late season potatoes soon from Sand Hill Preservation.

Lastly, on my garden list, is my corn, pole beans, and sunflowers. In years past, I have planted corn by itself (knocked down by storm) and corn with pole beans (less knocked down by storm but still some). Last year, I planted sunflowers for the first time and I noticed they never got knocked down by storms. So this year, I thought I would plant my corn with sunflowers! I thought it was genius. Not so much.

  1. The sunflowers grew faster than the corn and beans and subsequently shaded them.
  2. Someone told me (after I planted) that beans do not do well with sunflowers.

These beans were ones I grew and saved seed from last year. Now, they are not producing at all. Sad. The corn is pitiful. I don’t think we’ll get even an ear. Nothing I can do about it now except make a big, bold note about it in my gardening journal and learn for next year! (six year old stood next to the corn for reference)Nieto Photography 2015The section above has never had manure on it and was only covered in woodchips two years ago. That could have something to do with the stunted growth as well. Nieto Photography 2015However, this section never had manure in it and was covered less than a year ago. The corn is even more pitiful here but the sunflowers (same variety) are outshining those in the previous patch. Amazing how microclimates work! Nieto Photography 2015If you have been reading my other posts, you know we have had a critter issue this summer like no other. Our strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries were mostly taken from us. Very sad. I was not able to freeze any and normally I freeze 10 gallons easy. My next thought goes to the melons — I need to figure out something before they ripen and are stolen from us as well. Suggestions?

Chickens

We are still hatching out chicks. Another hen went broody this week. Our first Australorp. Previously, we’ve only had Orpingtons go broody.

We had at least 3 chicks hatch out last week but something got into the dog crate, ate two of them and 2 eggs and got out somehow. I assume a snake but we don’t know how it got in (the last time a snake got in, the door was off the crate – this time it was on) and I don’t know why it would eat 2 chicks and 2 eggs but leave one chick (though I’m thankful).

Also, because of miscommunication, the door to the coop was left off one night and a mama hen and her two chicks were taken away by something šŸ˜¦ This mama originally hatched out 4 chicks but left 2 out in the rain one day so they died. They were in a caged-in area in the coop so thankfully, whatever got them, could not get to the other chickens roosting in the coop.

Although we are upset about the deaths, we are thankful no more chickens or chicks have died because of whatever they were getting into before we moved the run.

With all of the broody hens (5 in total) and eggs put under them (25), we were able to collect 185 eggs in the month of June (about 6 eggs/day). It is interesting to see how few eggs we are getting compared to last year (our hens’ first year laying). Last year we were getting about 1egg/hen/day. This year we are getting about 1egg/hen/2days. The eggs are bigger but still…

As I type this month’s garden update, it seems sad that many things are not doing well. However, other summers when I have had morning sickness, I was unable to do a garden AT.ALL. So the fact that I am able to do what I can is a blessing.

This month I need to:

  • Continue to weed and mulch the garden
  • Plant the fall/winter seeds
  • Plant the rest of the sweet potato slips
  • Figure out a way to keep critters out so we will have some fruit (melons) from the garden in August and September

I will try to continue to succession plant but my energy level is just not there yet. Last month, I was not able to do anything in the garden. This week, I have been able to work for about an hour in the garden. When I get all of my energy back in September, watch out! But until then, I just have to go at this slow, baby-growin’ pace. Such is life šŸ™‚

How is your garden growing? Any tips you would like to throw my way?

I am linking up with FarmHopFriday today

Harvest Monday + A Call for Fruit Advice

June 29, 2015

What are you harvesting this week? We are harvesting:

  • kale
  • cabbage
  • broccoli
  • kohlrabi
  • carrots
  • beets
  • beans
  • zucchini
  • cucumbers
  • potatoes
Nieto Photography 2015

(I apologize for the blurry picture and the lack of pictures. I’ll load you down with pics for the beginning of July post šŸ˜‰ )

Only 2 of the 5 kids liked the kohlrabi so I will not be ordering any seeds next year. It was nice to be able to taste test without buying a whole packet.

We gave away everything but the carrots and kohlrabi because truthfully, I just don’t have the energy to do anything with it and I don’t want it to go to waste.

Fruit Conundrum

I am sad to say, one thing we are NOT harvesting is blueberries šŸ˜¦ We had PLENTY on the bushes as they were forming. I am not positive why we have no more blueberries. I have not been harvesting them, my oldest two have, so I couldn’t tell you if they all disappeared one day or little by little…

The chicks and chickens have been getting out and heading straight for the blueberry patch and we never did catch what was eating our strawberries so it could be critters.

HOWEVER, the strawberries are no longer blooming or fruiting. This time last year, I was harvesting GALLONS of blueberries each day and a few handfuls of our first-year strawberries.

Last year (the last two years, really) was unseasonably wet and chilly. This June, we had a steady stream of high 90s/low 100sĀ  with no rain. Could it be that everything ripened early? Or that it was too hot so they stopped producing? (I’m thinking of the strawberries now)

What do you think? It is very odd and very sad šŸ˜¦ I typically freeze 10+ gallons every year of blueberries and this year, I froze 0.

Background on the blueberries:

  • bought 8.5yrs ago (3yrs old I think)
  • started harvesting 7.5 yrs ago
  • pruned every year but one (VERY few blueberries that year and they were tiny)
  • have had more and more blueberries each year

Any ideas? I am saddened and baffled.

Check out what other gardeners are up to at Daphne’s Dandelions today.