Tag Archives: butternut squash

Garden in October, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

October 1, 2015

Beginning of SeptemberNieto Photography 2015Beginning of OctoberNieto Photography 2015At first glance, the garden at the beginning of September and the beginning of October looks pretty much the same. I have cleared out a few patches, and we now have hoops up but other than that, nothing looks like it has changed much. Until you glance to the left side… the weeds are trying to creep into the garden and take over! We’ll have to take care of that this month!!!

I am still growing brassicas to transplant, though time is running out to do so. The covered seedlings are doing better than the uncovered ones (surprise, surprise).

Nieto Photography 2015Our late-season butternut squash are getting bigger. I am skeptical they will have enough time to size up fully though. Our first fall frost is in middle/late October. At the very least, I’ll let them grow as big as possible so the chickens can have a treat. Nieto Photography 2015Walking through the garden, you can see how pitiful our tomato plants look. We are still harvesting about 1/2 a gallon each day but my OCD self can’t stand the ugly so I am clearing out the tomato patches whenever I get a chance.Nieto Photography 2015Under our covers, we have broccoli that is growing well. I know there will be no fall harvest but if I can keep them alive throughout the winter, maybe an early spring harvest is possible. I am playing with ideas on how to have a fall harvest of cabbage and broccoli (since I am unable to start them indoors).Nieto Photography 2015And cabbage…Nieto Photography 2015Next to the covered brassicas, we have our fall beans that are producing like MAD.Nieto Photography 2015And our fall peas. The kids said they saw some that were ready to harvest. I’ll have to go check it out. We look forward to fresh peas each spring and fall!Nieto Photography 2015As far as fruit goes, we are harvesting about 3 cups or so of raspberries every other day. Nieto Photography 2015A few strawberries here and there…Nieto Photography 2015And we have a few late-season watermelons. I am not sure how they are going to do but if we can keep the critters out, we’ll see šŸ™‚ Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015We also have some celery we have been growing all summer. The plan was to have them shaded by the tomato plants growing all around them. It seems to have worked! I am going to harvest most of the celery this week but it will grow back. These are celery plants I transplanted from a stump of store-bought celery. Nieto Photography 2015 Oh! And the sweet potatoes! They have bounced back from the deer attacks. They are looking great! We just finished the last of our garden potatoes and are looking forward to harvesting our sweet potatoes this month!Nieto Photography 2015Chickens

The chickens are right in the middle of moulting so we are only getting an egg every other day or so. We are eating a lot of oatmeal as we patiently wait for their feathers to grow back. This month, we harvested 58 eggs, our lowest number for the whole year. January was our previous low, with only 61 eggs. I am glad we have kept up with our egg harvests this year. It has been very interesting to see the fluctuations and the reasons behind them. Seeing it on paper helps me be more determined to eat with the seasons and not just buy eggs when we feel like it.

Our TO DO list for October includes:

  • Harvesting beans, peas, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, and maybe some watermelon
  • Clearing out the tomatoes
  • Planting more leafy greens and root veggies to eat throughout the winter and early spring
  • Spreading more compost over the whole garden
  • Cutting down old raspberry canes
  • Transplanting new raspberry canes

What does your garden look like at the beginning of October? Are you attempting a fall/winter garden? Any tips for me?

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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…

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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 IĀ  planted last week and most of the carrots and beets šŸ˜¦ I am so sick of that bird! šŸ˜›

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 šŸ™‚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. šŸ˜› 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 šŸ™‚Nieto Photography 2015What are you harvesting? What are you planting for the fall? Check out what other gardeners are doing at Daphne’s Dandelions.

Harvest Monday

August 3, 2015

I spent the week harvesting onionsNieto Photography 2015tomatoes (We’re freezing about 3 gallons/week.)

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beans (and cucumbers)Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015 a few raspberries and strawberriesNieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 a few cantaloupeNieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015summer and winter squash (I have more plants growing that will hopefully yield more later but the plants that produced these were done.)Nieto Photography 2015 and potatoes.Nieto Photography 2015I spent a couple of days harvesting potatoes. I let them dry on the mulch for a day, inside for two days, and then wrapped them in newspaper and put them in the cool basement in a milk crate.

Last year, I alternated a layer of potatoes and newspaper. However, last fall, I wrapped my sweet potatoes in newspaper (individually) and they kept for over 6 months. I thought I would try it for garden potatoes.

One thing I found interesting: When I harvested the potatoes, they were smooth and beautiful. I laid them out to cure for three days. As I wrapped them up, certain varieties were wrinkly. They looked like potatoes look after a few months in the basement. There is no way we could eat all of them now so I still wrapped them and put them in the basement anyway but I am curious to see what will happen. Part of me wonders if it is just various types don’t cure/store well because the Yukon Gold were not wrinkly after curing.

I need to figure out what varieties I want to order for next year. The Yukon Gold did not wrinkle when they cured but they also rotted in the ground more than I would like. The Red Adirondack (an impulse buy) produced wonderfully; however, they were the ones that wrinkled when curing. I will just have to make sure we eat those fresh and store another variety. Red Norlunds, which are very popular in my area, rotted worse than any other variety. Part of me wonders if it was just where they were planted (a new section, with not as much sun)…I may give them another year but I haven’t decided yet. I need to find a few good storage potatotes. Anyone in a fairly rainy zone 7b have suggestions?

Another interesting potato observance is that although the vast majority of the plants died completely back, there is a section that is still going strong. I wonder if this is the unknown storage potatoes I bought at the feed store. I can’t remember exactly where I planted certain varieties. We’ll see when they do die back. Nieto Photography 2015(all of the mulch in the pic above was potato plants) Nieto Photography 2015This week, we went ahead and stripped the corn stalks (with no edible corn) this week. The beans that were climbing up the corn stalks were picked and are drying in the kitchen. The beans that were not climbing were left to (hopefully) dry, even though they are not climbing up anything anymore.Nieto Photography 2015(beans left in a canopy of sunflowers) Nieto Photography 2015What are you harvesting? Check out what other gardeners are up to at Daphne’s Dandelions today!

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

September 8, 2014

I have not been very good about taking pictures of harvests this week.

We harvested about 15 unpictured cucumbers, a couple of unpictured peppers, and a number of unpictured tomatoes šŸ˜‰

Here is what we DID take a picture of:DSC_5383Our second, and last, butternut squash, one cucumber, and a number of tomatoes.

I went ahead and harvested all of our watermelons from the watermelon patch and cleaned it up. DSC_5430(This area was COVERED in watermelon vines previously)

In all, we harvested 10 watermelons. I’m not sure the few little ones are completely ripe but everything was dying so…

All of these watermelons were from ONE volunteer plant! Quite a pleasant surprise šŸ™‚DSC_5406The raspberries are still trickling in…DSC_5413I have a question for raspberry growers. Most of the raspberries look like this on one side… DSC_5414It’s like they didn’t pollinate everywhere? Any suggestions?

What are you harvesting? Check out what other gardeners are doing at Daphne’s Dandelions šŸ™‚