Tag Archives: cucumbers

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?


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

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 😉

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 🙂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 🙂

Harvest Monday

September 1, 2014

Quick Harvest Monday update…

This week, we harvested:

Peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, our first butternut squash!

Nieto Family - August 24 14 - 0444Raspberries, Strawberries

Nieto Family - August 25 14 - 0007I meant to take a picture before I doled them out. We harvested this x5 🙂 Only a trickle but what a treat!

More beans

Nieto Family - August 25 14 - 0009Our last zucchini 😦

Nieto Family - August 30 14 - 0028and…drum roll please!

Our first watermelon!!!Nieto Family - August 26 14 - 0005About a foot and a half long,  Nieto Family - August 26 14 - 0006about 8 inches long Nieto Family - August 26 14 - 0009Red, juicy, and sweet on the inside!

We were really nervous when cutting into this one. Our last one was not ripe yet :\ But this one was great! We ate two (comparable sizes) this week ad have about 6 more waiting for us.Yay fresh fruit! Yay lower grocery bill 😉

Check out what others harvested this week at Daphne’s Dandelions 🙂

Harvest Monday

August 25, 2014

Our Harvests for the week:


Nieto Family - August 21 14 - 0009Our first few vines are spent but because of succession planting, we are still harvesting cucumbers!

Beans Nieto Family - August 20 14 - 0001Because we have been getting so many beans from our neighbors, I have been forgetting to pick ours. These are MUCH healthier-looking (less bug bites) than the rest we have been growing this year. The question is, why?

  • They are planted later in the season
  • They are planted in the strawberry patch (in not very good soil)
  • They are planted further away from where the rest of the beans are planted.

Which of these factors affected the beans? I have a feeling it was the last but I have more plants that were planted after these so we’ll see if that has anything to do with it.

Marigolds Nieto Family - August 20 14 - 0002The kids just about filled up a 5 gallon bucket with marigolds this week. I dried them to give to the chickens this winter. The marigold bushes are still bursting with flowers!

Potatoes DSC_5282I have been digging up potatoes as needed but the last time I dug some up, I noticed they were starting to rot. We have had a ton of rain this summer. I decided to go ahead and dig the rest of them up and store them in the basement.

I missed some potatoes last year while I was digging so we had some more potato plants sprout up at the end of the season. After the first frost killed the plants, I replanted those potatoes in our new potato patch. This is what Paul Gautschi does (replants the same day he harvests) so I thought I would give it a try.

It did NOT go well. Gardening the Back to Eden way, I have never had to hill my potatoes. However, after a year of those potatoes sitting under the mulch, and the mulch breaking down all that time, I had a few reach the surface and turn green. This does not happen when I plant in the spring.

About half of the ones planted last fall were oddly-shaped.DSC_5283(This is what those planted this spring looked like for shape-comparison) DSC_5284The other half planted last fall were rotted. DSC_5285There were quite a few I could not salvage. DSC_5286Ah well…as long as I’m learning, I don’t count it as a failure 🙂


We picked our first raspberry this week!!! We were gifted raspberry plants, Christmas of 2012. They all looked great last summer but we had such a cool, wet summer, they all seemed to get some type of fungus and die. We were so excited that a few survived but we did not get any berries this spring.

I was excited when I saw they were loaded with potential berries this summer and this week, we were able to start picking!!!Nieto Family - August 19 14 - 0003Our everbearing strawberries are also starting to produce again. I am expanding one of the patches to plant some runners this fall.Nieto Family - August 22 14 - 0127There was a LOT more going on at the homestead this week but I’ll save all of that news for a later post. Check out what other gardeners are harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions.

Harvest Monday

August 18, 2014

We continued to harvest zucchini, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, and beans this week. Nieto Family - August 10 14 - 0023 Nieto Family - August 10 14 - 0039 Nieto Family - August 13 14 - 0012 Nieto Family - August 15 14 - 0023Because of the size of our heavily-producing zucchini plants, I missed a VERY large zucchini.DSC_5096 Nieto Family - August 10 14 - 0022The zucchini plants have since been pulled. They succumbed to squash bugs. They had a good run though (planted May 17; pulled August 17) and some other zucchini plants are already starting to produce 🙂 I used the outside of this zucchini for many dishes and I saved the seeds from the inside to plant for next year so it turns out, it’s a good thing to let one zucchini go.

I also let one cucumber get quite large on accident (hidden by sunflower plants) but it was still used in juicing – I try to let NOTHING go to waste.Nieto Family - August 13 14 - 0013I am definitely thankful for each and every harvest but, unfortunately, I think we are on the downswing of many crops – tomatoes especially. Disease has just taken out too many of them. I am definitely going to have to find a new spot for them next year.Nieto Family - August 16 14 - 0251(You can see there are very few tomatoes OR leaves left on any of the tomato plants.) Nieto Family - August 16 14 - 0260(I have had to rip up about five plants already.)

We harvested our last egg (for awhile) this week. The chickens are moulting. At first, I thought it was because we stopped feeding them chicken feed (like, we accidentally ‘force moulted’ them) but the more I researched, the more I saw that 11 months is a typical cycle for layers. We got our first eggs last September so it would make sense for them to moult in August. I don’t think we ruined them afterall 😉

Here is a picture of our last egg and a store-bought egg. Can you tell which is which?Nieto Family - August 14 14 - 0018The good news with the chickens moulting is that at least we will be able to tell for sure when my daughter’s chick starts laying. It was born at the end of March so it should be laying any day now. My daughter can’t wait until she can start getting paid for eggs!

What are you harvesting this week? Head on over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what other gardeners are up to.