Tag Archives: cilantro

Garden in January, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

January 6, 2016

Here is what the garden looked like at the beginning of December.DSC_1018-EditAnd after a very warm and wet December, here is what it looks like at the beginning of January.

Nieto Photography 2015

The grass is greener, what with the warm, wet weather. But the blueberry bushes have lost most of their leaves.

My husband had some extra time this weekend and decided to help me cover the strawberry beds, rip up some tarp, and haul a LARGE amount of mulch!

Nieto Photography 2015Strawberry beds before…

Nieto Photography 2015And after (covered with poop and mulch).Nieto Photography 2015I scraped all of the poop off of the roosting table, spread it over the strawberry beds and over some bare ground after he ripped up some tarp. Then, I spread all of the mulch he hauled. The kids’ job was to weed where we were spreading mulch.

Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015(that patch of green is a small patch of overwintering spinach)`

We got SOOO much done, it seems, but in reality, we only weeded, put down manure, and covered about 1/10th of the garden with mulch. Ah well, there’s only so much we can do at a time. All of that pitching, hauling, and raking of the mulch does a number on your back, arms, and hands!

We have picked the spot for our new raspberry plants so the next time my husband has a free day, we will weed, rip up tarp and cover that area with manure and mulch as well.

The garden looks a bit different now than in the first picture. The temperatures really dropped yesterday and we had our first snow! Just flurries. Not much stuck. Anyway, before the snow, we covered everything with the lightweight garden fabric. Part of me thinks we should have gone with the heavier garden fabric but it is only going to be in the low 20s for two nights then it will jump back into lows in the 40s and 50s. I am hoping everything will be okay and I will put the heavier fabric on when the low temps are here to stay.

Here is an overview of what the garden looks like in early January:Nieto Photography 2015Brassica transplants to be…? idk. transplanted later? eaten off of? We’ll see. Nieto Photography 2015Purple headed cabbage. Hopefully we will get an early spring harvest from these. Nieto Photography 2015celery Nieto Photography 2015cilantro Nieto Photography 2015Carrots & spinach Nieto Photography 2015Brassicas (broccoli, sprouting broccoli, and cabbage)

I love seeing the changes from month to month. I wonder what it will look like at the beginning of February?

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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. 😛

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 🙂 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… 😛 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 🙂 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 😛 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 🙂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 😦 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 🙂

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

I am linking up with FarmHopFriday today

Harvest Monday and Creative Problem Solving

April 25, 2015

I harvested our greens for the week, soaked them in cold water and then spun-dried them…well, tried to.DSC_8401We ended up using pillows and spinning the pillows around our heads (like a sprinkler) to get the water out of the lettuce, spinach, and cilantro 🙂DSC_8394 DSC_8393 DSC_8392Later in the week, I bought a new salad spinner. I am harvesting this amount of lettuce and spinach about twice a week. The lettuce is starting to bolt so I am ripping some up every day now to give to the chickens. The first planting of spinach is bolting but I am still harvesting from the second, third, and even 4th planting still (I started planting beginning of March and have continued every 2 weeks).

Some days, we had a little bit of strawberry harvest (because of the critters)…DSC_8366Other days we had a larger strawberry harvest (thanks to new fencing).DSC_8413DSC_8451We are now harvesting a large bowlful of strawberries like this every other day.

During the winter, we bought 3 bags of apples and 3 bunches of bananas at the grocery store. Right now, we are down to 2 bags of apples and 2 bunches of bananas. Whenever the blueberries and raspberries start to ripen, hopefully we’ll be done buying apples and bananas until September (when the apples go on sale).

Insect Issues

Two insect issues I have been battling the past 3 years are cabbage worms and bean beetles. This year, I am covering my brassicas in order to keep the cabbage moths off.

I am covering my bean plants in DE (diatomaceous earth) this year to try to battle the bean beetles. I have never used DE before this year. I know I need to make sure I do not put any on flowers because it will kill bees as well, but other than that, I have little knowledge, other than it is safe (not a pesticide). DSC_8363 DSC_8364Most of my bean plants already had holes in them but one section did not yet (newly-planted) so that will be the real test to see how well DE works on bean beetles.

Expansion

We’re always expanding! If we have cardboard, we spend our time expanding out. When we do not have cardboard, we spend time ripping up old tarp and covering with mulch. That is what we did this week. Look at the zig-zag pattern. Forward, turn to the right, then turn to the left and walk forward — basically all of the dark mulched areas. This all used to be tarp. Now it is mulch. DSC_8441I am going to cover this area with chicken manure from the coop but I need woodshavings from the local lumberyard first to refill the chicken coop. Maybe I can get that done next week. It will be ready to be planted in spring of 2016!

For those new to BTE gardening (or gardening in general), please do not be overwhelmed by our garden. For perspective, our first year gardening, we had 3 raised beds. The next year, we started our BTE garden and had those raised beds and the bed you see to the right (with lettuce, beets, and carrots). That’s it. Each year, we have expanded. When you’re not spending all of your time weeding, you have time to expand more! 😀

Check out what other gardeners are harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions.

Harvest Monday

May 18, 2015

Well, one year ago today, I was reporting about a long awaited harvest 🙂

Penelopeand one year later…(beach trip to celebrate her & her sister’s birthday)11220120_936163869767796_3151179291642059605_nVeggie Harvests:

We are harvesting a lot more greens! Yay! We have enough to share with a few other families, which is the goal!Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015We love having a taste of strawberries everyday but the kids wanted to go strawberry picking one more time at the U-pick farm up the street from us. We picked 15lbs of strawberries… Nieto Photography 2015And I was able to get some runners. I’m used to being seen as the crazy lady with all the kids but at this farm, they just think I’m off my rocker! 😉 They buy their starts every fall from the mountains so they do not have diseased strawberries. So when I asked if I could have their old plants or runners, they said ‘sure (crazy lady)’. Well, I added that last part but 😉Nieto Photography 2015I only got a few runners. It is not quiet late enough. But I went ahead and planted them in some aged woodchips, between our fig trees.Nieto Photography 2015They have gone through transplant shock, for sure. My husband thinks they’re gonners. I’ve seen plants come back though. We shall see. I may have to go get runners later in the season when they’re bigger. These are June-bearers. I already have everbearers. If these do well, I’ll have strawberries for about 1/3 of the year! Awesome. I am hoping to get some June-bearing raspberries to add to my everbearing raspberries to have the same harvesting siutation there as well.
We are having a lot of salads topped with strawberries these days 🙂

Nieto Photography 2015(Beet, spinach, tomato pasta salad with chickpeas, raisins, peas, and apples. Spinach salad with strawberries)

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

Garden in May, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

May 6, 2015

The garden has changed quite a bit in a month!DSC_7737-Edit(beginning of April)Nieto Photography 2015(beginning of May)     A lot more green but the real story is up close.

Peas and CabbagesNieto Photography 2015The first planting of peas never did well. I think it was too early and too wet. This is the second planting (mid-March). It has doubled or tripled in size since last month’s update. Nieto Photography 2015The cabbages are looking good under the covers. ^^^ Green cabbages above. Purple cabbage below. Nieto Photography 2015The third planting of peas are doing well. A little yellow, which is weird because they are planted in aged chicken manure. I’m just going to wait them out. Maybe I won’t need to add any compost tea. Lettuce is growing to the left. They were both planted at the end of March (2nd planting of lettuce). Nieto Photography 20154th and last planting of peas are just starting to come up. Nieto Photography 2015Spinach: First planting (first of March) on left, 2nd planting (mid-March) on right. I have succession planted 5 plantings. I am just starting to harvest the 3rd planting. The 4th planting is just starting to come up. The 5th and last planting was just planted under the shade of the apple tree.Nieto Photography 2015Lettuce: First planting (mid-March) is a little sparse. Some sprouts died in the Easter morning frost. We are just starting to harvest from these. I have made 4 succession plantings so far. The 4th was just planted this week.Nieto Photography 2015Cilantro is a new plant for me this year. We are enjoying nibbling on these Vitamin C treasures. Nieto Photography 2015I also grew some lettuce in the milk jug greenhouses. These are the greenhouse transplants (transplanted in the carrot/beet bed).  Nieto Photography 2015Carrots and Beets:  This is where most of the carrots and beets are planted. Going counter-clockwise, starting at the bottom… The carrots at the bottom were planted first of March. Beets were planted to the left of them but the Easter morning frost killed the beet sprouts.Nieto Photography 2015 First planting of carrots (first of March)Nieto Photography 2015 Moving counter clockwise, here is the second planting of carrots and beets (planted mid-March). Nieto Photography 2015If you keep moving counterclockwise in the first picture, you will see the transplanted lettuce and then from the 12o’clock position to the 9o’clock position are the 4th and 5th carrot and beet plantings.

Potatoes: The first plantings of potatoes are coming up nicely all over the garden. We are still waiting on the second planting (beginning of April).Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015Strawberries: The plants are looking as lush as ever. They are flowering beautifully…Nieto Photography 2015And are starting to set fruit 🙂 Nieto Photography 2015The blueberries are coming along as well. The bees are almost finished pollinating them. SO thankful for the bees!!!Nieto Photography 2015Kale: the transplants are coming along…not as big as I would like but I’m sure as it warms up, their growth will speed up.Nieto Photography 2015Broccoli: doing well under the cover.Nieto Photography 2015Flowers: Some sunflowers, zinnias, and Asters (I think?) are starting to sprout.Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015My tulips, on the other hand, just sit there and tease me. Meanies.Nieto Photography 2015The warm-weather crops I planted have not sprouted yet (summer squash, winter squash, beans, corn, melons) but last week gave them a good soaking and this week is starting a warming trend so hopefully they’re not far behind.

Lastly, the mulch path I made this past winter because of all the mud needs another layer of mulch. How do I know?Nieto Photography 2015 Bermuda grass is coming through like crazy! :\ It’s one of those things that is not high on the list of priorities but at the same time, it needs to be done before it gets too overrun.

CHICKENS

Our chicks are getting bigger (both sets)! And more eggs are set to hatch next week 🙂Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015(the 5th chick was under its mama) Nieto Photography 2015(one of the 10 chicks we bought at the tractor-supply store – 2 died this past week because of all the rain and chilly weather 😦 smart chicks didn’t know to go inside the coop to get warm) Nieto Photography 2015Our old biddies (2yrs old with the 1yo rooster) don’t know what to think about all the hulabaloo 😉

That’s what it going on in our Back to Eden Garden at the Beginning of May in Eastern NC, Zone 7b. The plan for May is:

  1. Continue to succession plant carrots, lettuce, beans, summer squash, and winter squash.
  2. Harvest Strawberries.
  3. Continue to harvest spinach and lettuce.
  4. Possibly harvest kale, peas, and carrots?

What does your garden look like at the beginning of May? I am linking up with Green Thumb Thursday today.