Tag Archives: brassicas

Garden in April, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

April 4, 2016

Garden at the beginning of March

Nieto Photography 2016Garden at the beginning of AprilNieto Photography 2016Sooooo much has changed already! As we walk through the garden, you can see to the right, the fencing has been taken down and in its place is a big mound of mulch. That mound of mulch is one of our many potato patches. Behind it are some brassicas I transplanted from the greenhouses. Nieto Photography 2016To the left of that are some winter squash and nasturtiums that were transplanted from the greenhouses.Nieto Photography 2016 Nieto Photography 2016As we continue, there is another patch of brassicas. Nieto Photography 2016Sorry for the blurr…These were transplanted from the brassicas that overwintered on accident (brassicas I planted and had planned on transplanting last fall but never got around to it). I am definitely doing this every year! I put a shade cloth over them to protect them from bugs but nothing to protect them from the cold. It seemed as though they died but they came back this spring! I thinned them out and planted them in the cover to the left. I am going to transplant the rest this week.  Nieto Photography 2016Between the two covered areas, I planted peas. they are just starting to push through the mulch. Nieto Photography 2016 And the purple sprouting broccoli under the cover to the right are doing well (as well as some cilantro that overwintered). The next section has some more potato patches, some lettuce I transplanted from the greenhouses, and boxes. Nieto Photography 2016In the boxes, I have some eggplant and tomatoes, transplanted from the greenhouses, some overwintered spinach and carrots, and more potatoes! Nieto Photography 2016We moved the old chicken tractor (we grew tomatoes on this last year) past the boxes and are going to grow different types of melons over it this year. Nieto Photography 2016To the right of the chicken tractor is another patch of brassicas aaaaaaaaaand…another potato patch! This is the first one I planted and it has started sprouting!Nieto Photography 2016 Nieto Photography 2016

As far as our perennial vegetables and fruits, more raspberries are popping up in our raspberry patch (we need to go ahead and put up supports), Nieto Photography 2016strawberries are popping through the mulch (and flowering!), Nieto Photography 2016 Nieto Photography 2016the blueberries are being polinated, Nieto Photography 2016the new strawberry plants (June bearing) are becoming established, Nieto Photography 2016the asparagus are popping up (newly planted bed!), Nieto Photography 2016 Nieto Photography 2016and the trees are setting fruit!Nieto Photography 2016(peaches) Nieto Photography 2016(apples – can’t tell if it has really set fruit or not…) Nieto Photography 2016(pears)

I finished most of my TO DO list for March (plant potatoes, plant all of the greenhouses, plant cool weather seeds). All we lack to do is expand the chicken runs. For April, the TO DO list is pretty straight forward. PLANT, PLANT, PLANT and then plant some more! Our last frost date is April 21st. I have planted everything early because we have had an incredibly warm spring so far. Of course this week, some of our nights are dropping below freezing. Wonderful. I am going to cover the transplants with tops of milk jugs and hope for the best!

What are you doing in your garden? Are you harvesting already? We are harvesting some PSB and spinach here and there but mainly just waiting. Nieto Photography 2016There is SOOOO much work to be done! Always. Happy Gardening! 🙂
Check out what others are harvesting at Our Happy Acres today!

Coming Back After A Break…

September 14, 2015

It rained quite a bit while we were gone on vacation this past week. It is always interesting to see the garden come alive after a good soaking.

Here’s what I came home to…

The tomato plants are terribly ugly at the bottom. Last year, I pruned the plants, trying to keep them healthy longer. This year, I did not have the time or energy to prune. They are still producing just as much, they just have a lot of ugly, black leaves at the bottom. The tops are beautiful though, and we are still harvesting tomatoes!Nieto Photography 2015 All of the potatoes we missed are sprouting. We’ll have to dig those up this week.

The uncovered brassicas are basically dead but will likely bounce back if I cover them soon. Nieto Photography 2015Right next to them, the covered brassicas are flourishing and need to be planted this.week. Now to figure out where…

Nieto Photography 2015

We have one stinkin’ chicken that gets out no matter how many times we put her back in the run. So…she has dug up all of the greens I  planted last week and most of the carrots and beets 😦 I am so sick of that bird! 😛

The raspberries, as the tomatoes, are producing really well, though the plants are ugly-looking. We need to harvest strawberries as well.Nieto Photography 2015

The fall beans and peas are sizing up well. The bugs are leaving the beans alone for the most part and the peas are starting to flower 🙂Nieto Photography 2015The sweet potatoes have bounced back for the most part. Hopefully, they will have another month or so to bulk up before we harvest them.Nieto Photography 2015

Another part of the garden that enjoyed all of the wonderful rain – the weed seeds. We’ll have to take care of that this week.Nieto Photography 2015

SOOOOO, what was it we need to do this week?

  1. WEED
  2. Harvest potatoes (that have sprouted), strawberries, raspberries, beans, and tomatoes
  3. Plant all of the brassicas
  4. Cover the uncovered brassicas
  5. Replant all of the greens
  6. Oh, and the kids are bugging me to start school with them this week. 😛 Welcome back from vacation – now, hit the ground RUNNING!!!!

Two other random pics I wanted to share: we have a moon and stars watermelon sizing up.Nieto Photography 2015We have yet to harvest one of these because of the critters. I saw something scratched at this one so I put a fence loosely around it. It is also right next to the electric fence.

The other pic is of a baby butternut squash. I have a bear of a time each year with squash bugs so we do not harvest many squashes (summer or winter) at all. It is always exciting to see this 🙂Nieto Photography 2015What are you harvesting? What are you planting for the fall? Check out what other gardeners are doing at Daphne’s Dandelions.

Garden in September, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

September 2, 2015

Beginning of AugustNieto Photography 2015Beginning of SeptemberNieto Photography 2015The most noticeable difference between the beginning of August and the beginning of September is the lack of sunflowers. However, there are many more differences, if you look a bit closer. For one, we have electric fencing all around the garden, to deter the raccoons and groundhogs.

Walking through the garden, to the left, I have more brassica seedlings sizing up under shade cloth. Nieto Photography 2015(planted 2 weeks ago) Nieto Photography 2015(broccoli planted mid-July. may transplant these next week)

To the right, there is the former potato patch with one struggling winter squash. Nieto Photography 2015Further to the right is the former sunflower patch with some leftover watermelon and cantaloupe plants. I need to put some caging over them to protect them from the crows.Nieto Photography 2015Moving on is the former cabbage patch (with some volunteer tomatoes). I have tried planting carrots and peas here. The carrots are going to be replanted but the peas are trying to poke through. I assume it was just too hot for the carrots to sprout but I can’t figure out why the peas did not germinate well. I planted peas elsewhere in the garden that are doing great. This spot has more shade but not an extreme amount and both places have plenty of manure and compost. Conundrum…Nieto Photography 2015Moving along, in the former melon patch, I am planting all of my leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, kale) for the fall. To the left and right of this patch, are my ugly (but still producing) tomato plants.Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015(still getting about a gallon of tomatoes/day)

I have some boxes that are empty right now. I will plant brassicas in half of them and carrots and beets in the other half shortly. To the left of the boxes are the strawberry patches and the raspberry patch. Strawberries are trickling in (they do better in the spring). Nieto Photography 2015The raspberries give us a wonderful treat in the fall! I need to prune all of the raspberry canes that produced this year. I also need to replant ALL of the MANY raspberry shoots that have popped up everywhere! I haven’t decided where I want them though…Nieto Photography 2015(at the top of the photo, outside of the trellises and even outside of the fencing – raspberry shoots everywhere!) Nieto Photography 2015 (We get a nice handful each (all 8 of us) every other day – not too shabby 🙂 ) Nieto Photography 2015(more just starting to form)

To the far right of the boxes is the old potato patch and my daughter’s old garden (she ripped it up at the end of August – she was tired of harvesting so everything was rotting). OH! And the tunnels! Don’t want to forget the tunnels! The former broccoli and kale beds (under tunnels) house beautiful purple beans currently (as well as some melon plants).Nieto Photography 2015Under the tree, there is quite the hodge-podge.Nieto Photography 2015(another round of beans to the left, flowering cilantro to the right, a cucumber plant in front of the tree…and in the bottom of the photo – our fall peas!)

This was a new section. Earlier this summer, we ripped up tarp that was laid here years ago and put down chicken manure and wood shavings from when we cleaned out the coop.  (all of the dark mulch is where the tarp was ripped up)DSC_8441I was not going to plant in it until spring but I was running out of room when it was time to plant more peas/beans so I gave it a shot. Everything is doing well here (the beans to the left were just planted a couple of weeks ago). The peas are ready to be trellised.Nieto Photography 2015At the end of the garden, we have the sweet potato patch (partially eaten) and the (other) former sunflower patch. Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015(sweet potato blooms are a good sign though, right? 🙂 )

I will harvest the sweet potatoes sometime in October, around the first frost. I am not expecting as many sweet potatoes as last year but I will have about 13? or so varieties as compared to last year’s one. We are going to taste test these, decide which ones we want, and will save many for slips for next year.

Trees

The trees seem to be doing well. They are growing every year. The ones in the mulch grow better than the ones in grass. However, still no fruit. I don’t know what I can do to remedy this. I am going to just keep adding compost around the trunks, like I do with the rest of the garden, continue to cover them with mulch as we are able, and be patient. Maybe one day we will not have to buy fruit at the store! (the dream)

Chickens

We actually harvested MORE eggs in August than June or July! I am pretty sure it is because some of our spring-hatched chicks have started laying. I do not see any red combs but there are some eggs that are significantly smaller than the rest (our other hens are 2yo) and our older hens are moulting so that would be the only logical reason we are getting slightly more.

Since the children do such a great job taking care of the baby chicks, I told them I would pay them once their chicks started laying (after taking out the cost of feed). So now, we are keeping up with how many eggs we are collecting each day AND how many small eggs we are collecting. I’m excited for them – we’ve had such a hard time keeping chicks alive (btwn snakes, foxes, other chickens, and bad mamas leaving them out in the rain… 😦 )Nieto Photography 2015As a matter of fact, our latest batch of chicks (and last for this year) is not fairing well either. Of the 5 hatched out, one was killed by other chickens before we got a chance to separate them. This past week, one was taken by a snake, one was found dead in the coop one morning, and the two left are sluggish most of the day. I am not expecting them to make it but don’t know what’s going on! We have lost 1/2 of the chicks we have hatched out this year 😦

The older chickens are doing a great job being our soil manufacturers, though. This is the first year I have been able to cover the whole garden with chicken compost from the run! Exciting 🙂Nieto Photography 2015What does your garden look like that the beginning of September? Are you able to plant a fall/winter garden? What do you use for protection for your plants during the winter? Are you drowning in weeds? Have you given up? Check out backtoedenfilm.com and see how many people around the world are gardening with minimal weeding and watering!

2014 Garden Issues, 2015 Solutions (hopefully!)

January 22, 2015

Throughout 2014, I have been keeping a gardening journal. Because of that journal and this blog, I hope I will be able to make some changes in 2015 in order to produce more food for our family and our community. My goal is to give away 20% of all we grow this year (including eggs).

Here are some issues and possible solutions:

CarrotsDSC_6137Issue: trouble sprouting                                                            Possible Solution: DE

Brassicas (kale, cabbage, broccoli)DSC_6003Issue: cabbage worms                                                               Possible Solution: Cover with agribon

Tomatoes & Peppers (most things in the greenhouses)

Issue: nothing grew well in the greenhouses this year        Possible Solution: duct tape them (Greenhouses did well in ’13. The only difference is I did not duct tape them closed in ’14)

Onions, Beets

Issue: they never grew very large                                            Solution? (not sure): plant more 🙂

RaspberriesDSC_5587Issue: Rotted on the ground, ants ate them                          Solution: trellis them

Fruit:

Issues: cantaloupe never grew & want more!                       Solution: plant in full sun, grow more    (I planted cantaloupe at the base of sunflowers (too much shade) and I am growing 9 more types of fruit this year, including two cherry trees and fig trees I ordered this winter.)

Chickens, Eggs, Run

Issues: Lost some chickens                                                       Solution: hatch out more chicks             .            Had to buy eggs from the store                                                 : freeze eggs, new pullets          .           Trouble making sure they had enough grass                          : designing the run differently

We’ll see if these solutions really do solve anything 😉

Today is the official end of our Persephone Days! Planting starts soon!

I am linking up with Simlple Lives Thursday and Green Thumb Thursday. Maybe someone can suggest solutions to my beet and onion issues (not bulbing as big as they should).

Garden in October, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

October 2, 2014

How on earth is it the beginning of October?

Here is what my garden (Eastern NC, Zone 7b) looks like at the beginning of October and how it has changed in a month.

First, for a point of reference, here is the garden at the beginning of September:Untitled_Panorama1And the beginning of October:DSC_5590-Edit-2Doesn’t look like much has changed from afar but up close is a different story. I thought maybe some side by sides would be helpful… [walking from east to west (bottom to top of photo) in the garden]

collagePotato Patch (future Three Sisters Patch?): Kale and Cabbage seedlings have been transplanted. All that is left is some celery and a lone lettuce plant. The rest will rest over the winter. (The area was scratched up a bit after the cows let out the chickens last week. Don’t ask.)DSC_5572Celery DSC_5573Lettuce. We just keep harvesting as we are able from this plant 🙂

The future potato patch, scratched up as it is.DSC_5570

Tomato/Pepper Patch (September/October)collage1Some of the tomato plants have gotten over the blight and are coming back strong. DSC_5575 DSC_5576The main sweet potato patch (September/October). I notice more insect holes this month. I have been waiting for first frost to harvest but I wonder if I should go ahead so there is no more damage. We are still in the mid/high-70s most days. What say you?collage4I also noticed there are A LOT of sweet potatoes popping up above the ground (still under the canopy of leaves). Is this bad? Should I go ahead and harvest them since they are doing this? DSC_5589The peas in the pea/roots patch are doing really well. Some of my roots were scratched up and others never germinated. I replanted carrots and onions and they are just starting to sprout. Hopefully they will ‘take’. Maybe if I cover them, they will continue to grow this fall so we can harvest them throughout the winter. (Sept/Oct)collage2We are getting plenty of flowers and pods and some are fat enough to harvest 🙂DSC_5580My children’s little garden is doing pretty well (at the base of sweet potato patch #2)DSC_5583 In the raised beds, spinach was planted, along with more root crops that are refusing to sprout and some more brassicas. (Sept/Oct)collage3

The over flow garden is looking a little scraggly and needs to be cleaned out.collage5but the brassicas that were transplanted from the potato patch are doing well…for the most part. I am having a hard time keeping them covered. Some of my largest cabbage plants have been eaten down to the nub. 😦 One day I’ll figure out how to properly cover crops…one day…DSC_5585This is one of the cabbages I planted from seed directly into the chicken tractor/hoop house. DSC_5586The larger of the kale were those that were transplanted from the potato patch.

The raspberries are still producing well. We need to stake them and move stragglers back into their row. That will be a winter chore.DSC_5588Below are all of the raspberry shoots that have popped outside of the row. Anyone ever had success transplanting them in the winter? I assume it will be fine but I haven’t looked into it yet. DSC_5587I am not getting any fall strawberries. I thought everbearing bore in the spring and fall. Hmmm. A little disappointing.

That’s it – our garden at the beginning of October. Harvesting a little, willing little plants to become big plants before it gets too cold, and dreaming of next year 🙂

What does your garden look like in October?

I am linking up to Green Thumb Thursdays  and Simple Lives Thursday to see what is going on in other people’s gardens.