Tag Archives: broccoli

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 šŸ™‚ ) 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.Ā  (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? šŸ™‚ )

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.


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)


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… šŸ˜¦ )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 šŸ˜¦

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 šŸ™‚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!


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.

Harvest Monday

June 22, 2015

This week, my oldest 4 are in VBS most of the day. This means I am fresh out of helpers. Let’s face it, the 2yo and 1yo can’t tell a weed from a seedling so I try to keep them out of the garden.

The oldest two are going to help me harvest before they leave each day but there will be no weeding happening this week.

This week, we have been harvesting:

  • cucumbers
  • carrots
  • zucchini
  • blueberries
  • raspberries (the groundhog gets most of them)
  • baby lettuce
  • kale
  • potatoes

Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015I picked about 8 tomato horn worms off of my tomato plants this week. It’s weird because last year, we had a lot of them but they never did any damage because the wasps did such a wonderful job laying their eggs on them. I’m not sure why the wasps are missing this year.

Some of our broccoli is starting to head and I noticed, I got a stray kohlrabi seed when I ordered my broccoli seed. I have been meaning to try kohlrabi so here’s my chance. What a treat šŸ™‚Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015

I need to go ahead and harvest some cabbage before it gets decimated by all of the cabbage worms! I never got a chance to cover the brassicas again šŸ˜›

Nieto Photography 2015All of the harvesting and weeding has been happening before 8:30 or 9am each morning because this June, we have had unseasonably warm weather. It has been in the mid to high 90s all week (some days more than 100) with no end in sight. We typically see these temperatures at the end of July. It will be interesting to see what the rest of the summer looks like.

Our daily summer schedule looks something like this:

  1. Wake up
  2. Harvest
  3. Let chickens out and check on their water
  4. Eat breakfast
  5. Get dressed, do inside chores
  6. Music practice
  7. Math drills
  8. Play while baby sleeps
  9. TV while baby nurses and I fix lunch
  10. Lunch
  11. Pool
  12. Naps
  13. Supper
  14. Sometimes work in the garden (if we have energy and it’s not too hot still)

Thankfully, we have started seeing some late evening storms. Even though our crops were doing pretty well (thanks to BTE -no need to water), the rain was really welcome. It had been maybe a month since we had a good soaking. This weather is quite the contrast from the last 2 years. The last two summers have been unseasonably cool (I don’t think we ever reached 100 last year) and wet.

A couple other fun pictures: This is the first year I’ve planted zinnias šŸ™‚ So pretty!Nieto Photography 2015This is also the first year I’ve grown ground cherries. They are looking good so far šŸ™‚ Nieto Photography 2015What are you harvesting? Head over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what other gardeners are up to this week.

Garden in June, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

June 4, 2015

I have been looking forward to this post for a couple of weeks now. There is SO much to share – beware: this is a LONG post with LOTS of pictures šŸ˜€

Beginning of MayNieto Photography 2015

Beginning of JuneNieto Photography 2015Loving all the green! At first glance, the peas that I was worried about (yellow) greened up on their own, the peas surpassed the cabbage hoops, the fruit bushes and trees have really filled out! A lot more green altogether. Love it! šŸ™‚

As always, I’ll start from the front of the picture and work my way to the back:

Shaded Patch…quite the hodgepodge. This is shaded most of the day. It is more of an experimental area than anything.Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015Lettuce Nieto Photography 2015Peas Nieto Photography 2015Beans Nieto Photography 2015More lettuce (maybe if I harvest them small (rather than heads), they won’t be as bitter?) Nieto Photography 2015Pretty pitiful patch of spinach Nieto Photography 2015another sowing of lettuce Nieto Photography 2015Kale Nieto Photography 2015and some carrots

Corn, Sunflowers, Beans, and Melons (Patch #1)Nieto Photography 2015the section by the driveway is doing much better (see pic below) Nieto Photography 2015(green and beautiful above, yellow and pitiful below – same patch) Nieto Photography 2015I threw some chicken manure on the yellow corn. This week has been really rainy so I am hoping all of the compost tea will help with the color and growth.

Peas and CabbagesNieto Photography 2015We are harvesting LARGE amounts of peas every other day.Nieto Photography 2015Cabbages are not ready to be harvested but they are sizing up nicely. I am going to uncover them and see if they are healthy enough to withstand ‘the elements’ (ie. bugs). Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015Here is a recently weeded and mulched section. So pretty šŸ™‚ Nieto Photography 2015Potatoes. Doing well. Flowering more than in past years. I assume that means they are healthy. I can’t wait to harvest them but I am trying to be patient šŸ™‚

Nieto Photography 2015

Carrot and Beet bed: I just realized I don’t have a picture for that bed! We are harvesting carrots and beets now. YUM! I’ll post pics on Harvest Monday, for sure šŸ™‚ I planted a row of melons where we have ripped up lettuces. A friend is giving us a cattle panel so the hope is they will climb that and not overtake our garden. We’ll see.

Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Ground CherriesNieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015These are the smaller of the tomatoes. The larger ones are setting fruit but I found horn worm droppings on them yesterday so I’m going to have to keep my eye out! Nieto Photography 2015Our summer and winter squash seem to be doing well (though I’ve already found 4 squash bugs – HATE those things!!!). The cucumber plant in the pic above actually has baby cucs on it now šŸ™‚Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015

The ground cherries have always had holes in them but continue to grow. I do not know the culprit but I assume they are okay for now?

Onions and Celery. Between our larger tomatoes, we have onions and celery growing.

Nieto Photography 2015

Nieto Photography 2015

Raspberries are starting to ripen. We have been able to harvest about 7 in June so far šŸ™‚

Nieto Photography 2015

Crops planted in the ‘new’ raspberry bed: I had some extra room in the raspberry bed so I planted some kale, beans, lettuce, and carrots.

Nieto Photography 2015

Blueberries: bushes are LOADED! Just waiting for them to ripen! We typically get our first harvest mid/late June.Nieto Photography 2015

Broccoli: nothing is heading up but I’ve never had such healthy broccoli!Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015

Strawberries: the plants eaten down are starting to bounce back.Nieto Photography 2015Looking healthy! See the fencing falling down to the right of the picture? I didn’t notice and that night, something got in there and ate most of the berries šŸ˜¦ The fence is back up and hopefully the strawberries are, once again, protected. Nieto Photography 2015

More Corn, Beans, and Sunflowers: much healthier than the patch by the house.Nieto Photography 2015Greener, and growing bigger, faster. Nieto Photography 2015There are quite a few crops I am missing…more sunflowers and zinnias, kale, sweet potatoes, more tomatoes, more onions, more spinach…I am planting every couple of weeks but one sprout looks like another so I spared you šŸ™‚

Chickens & Eggs

We harvested 223 eggs in May. Down 50 from April. We currently have 2 mamas with their babies and another broody sitting on eggs. I thought we were done with broodies; and frankly, I was ready. Then another one decided she was ready to be a mama.

Thinking long term, we need to keep hatching chicks in order to feed our family and others. Right now, with our 16 hens (12 layers), we are getting about 6 eggs a day. That is barely enough to feed our family. I would like to get enough eggs to feed other families as well. In order to do that, we need to keep hatching them out (do you hear me rationalizing?)!

What is going on in your garden? I am linking up with Green Thumb Thursday today.

Transplant or Direct-Seed

May 20, 2015

Three years ago, I learned about making greenhouses in order to winter-sow seeds so I could get a jump start on the season. Over the past three years, I have used the greenhouses to winter-sow everything from onions and celery to tomatoes and green peppers and everything in between. It has been great…mainly because it gives me something to do during the winter months šŸ˜‰

Last winter, I realized the spinach I winter-sowed and then transplanted did not help me get a jump start on the season at all. The direct-sowed spinach caught up with the transplanted spinach so quickly that I wrote in my gardening journal to NOT winter-sow spinach this year.

This year, I winter-sowed basically everything but spinach, carrots, and beets. Because seeds are so cheap, I also start direct-seeding early and often (every 2 weeks). You never know what kind of spring you are going to get, after all.

Here are some pictures of plants that were direct-sown vs. started in greenhouses and transplanted.

The green cabbage was direct-seeded March 16. The purple cabbage were transplanted from the greenhouses April 13. Look at the difference!Nieto Photography 2015Broccoli
I direct-seeded some broccoli March 16DSC_8421 and then transplanted the greenhouse plants April 13.DSC_8422Lettuce
I direct-seeded lettuce March 16 (one of the frosts killed some of the seedlings, which is why there are some ‘blank’ spaces)DSC_8420 and transplanted the greenhouse plants April 16. Both have been harvested from heavily.DSC_8414Tomatoes
Full disclosure: the greenhouse tomatoes were killed because of frost and replanted twice; therefore, they were not as large as they were in years past (when they were not killed by frosts).

However, the tomato seeds were planted March 30 (I wonder if being planted by a wooden board helped them not be killed by a frost we had the first of April – wind protection and added warmth?)DSC_8415and the greenhouse tomatoes were transplanted April 22.DSC_8417Summer Squash
Again, the greenhouse summer squash were replanted twice. That being said, the seeds were direct-sown April 22 (in a bed with fresh horse manure added – what a difference in weeding this makes!)DSC_8418while the greenhouse plants were transplanted April 20.DSC_8419The only plant I have not been able to direct-sow (yet) is green peppers.


I wanted to get a ‘jump start’ on more chickens this year and instead of waiting on a hen to go broody, I went ahead and bought 10 from the feed store. This meant having them in our house for 6 weeks, making sure the heat lamp was at the right temperature, having to put them in the coop on rainy, cold days so they would not die (3 did), etc, etc, etc.DSC_8426If I had waited just a little longer, we have had 4 hens go broody in the past 5 weeks and they are hatching out chicks left and right. We do not need to keep them warm, safe, or even fed, for the most part because their mama does all of this wonderfully!

Nieto Photography 2015


Back to the Garden…

Even with all of that evidence, I am having a hard time making a firm decision to not winter-sow anymore. Why do I fight so hard to do difficult things when something much more simple is presented/available? I listen to videos of Paul’s tours all the time and one thing he talks about is working with nature instead of against it…using a cover instead of ‘leaving the skin off’, not planting in a greenhouse (at least not with the roof on), etc.

Paul still tries to push the boundaries; but for the most part, he tries to do it naturally. He grows grapes along a firewood pile, which creates a heat-sink…he grows a fig tree in a south-facing area with trees on the north side to protect them in the winter…he grows kale under his cherry tree in the winter so when he gets snow, the branches break the blanket of snow so he can still harvest kale.

He still uses transplants for tomatoes and peppers but for the most part, he direct seeds. Listening to him is always inspiring in many ways. One aspect that has been coming loud and clear as of late is that when I try to rely on man’s wisdom (trying to ‘get a jump on the season’), it is more labor-intensive and I find I am not getting the intended results. When I do things in God’s timing (in His seasons), I see the plants tend to be healthier.

Now, I know I will get comments about ‘I live in an area where I HAVE to start seeds’, etc. I am NOT at all judging anyone who starts seeds or saying you shouldn’t. This is a blog about our garden and all I am doing is sharing about our garden and what God is teaching me through my time in the garden. šŸ™‚

He has been impressing on me: patience – about His seasons and my ‘need’ to rush things or try to hold onto them…thankfulness – that in every season there is something to be thankful for; instead of focusing on how I wish x,y,or z would happen like last season, be thankful for what is going on now…and oh so many other things.

I grew up hearing about ‘tree huggers’ and basically that if anyone loved nature, they were not worshipers of God. As an adult, I have never learned so much about God and His nature before gardening. There are so many parts of the Bible that never made much sense before I had a garden (pruning comes to mind). I love it!

What are you learning lately as you spend time in God’s creation? Today, I am linking up with green-thumb Thursday