Tag Archives: fruit

Garden in April, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

April 2, 2015

Beginning of MarchNieto Photography 2015Beginning of AprilDSC_7737-EditRight off hand, you can see the loss of snow. Other than that, it does not look very different. Oh, but it is!


55lbs of potatoes were planted.DSC_7744 (10 more lbs arrived this week and were planted).

Peas, spinach, beets, and carrots have been planted 3x (every 2 weeks) in March. The first and second plantings are starting to show! Lettuce and cilantro have been planted twice and the first plantings are starting to sprout as well. Unfortunately, we had one night dip down to 24 degrees and we lost our beet sprouts from the first planting. 😦 DSC_7754(1)(Spinach planted beginning of March)DSC_7756(1)(Peas planted beginning of March) DSC_7757(1)(Peas planted mid-March – just starting to pop through)

All of the greenhouses have been planted. The cool-weather crops have sprouted and are enjoying the sunshine on nice days. DSC_7723 What is that, you say? DSC_7724Why, it’s CELERY!!!!! That’s right! I’ve been trying to grow celery for the past year and have never had success. Those are celery sprouts, my friend. Can you tell how excited I am?! 😀 DSC_7727 DSC_7728Some of the warm-weather crops sprouted as well. Earlier this week, we got down to 24 degrees one night. I covered the greenhouses with a sheet but the warm-weather crops were gonners. I replanted them this week. DSC_7725They’ll be a little behind but what are you going to do? The cool-weather crops (namely the cabbage and broccoli) were frost-bitten as well. I pray they bounce back! What do you think?DSC_7726(broccoli) DSC_7729(cabbage)


The pear trees are blooming.DSC_7750As is the other peach tree. DSC_7751 We have 3 apple trees. One was attacked by tent caterpillars 3 years ago and it is just starting to recover. One got some type of rust disease last year and I think it may be dead 😦 It is in the foreground of the picture below. DSC_7752The other is blooming. It is incredibly healthy 🙂 However, it does not have any other tree to  cross-polinate with 😦 We will definitely be buying another apple tree this fall/winter! DSC_7753I am so sad these apple blossoms will not turn into fruit 😦

Strawberry plants are still popping through.DSC_7745Raspberries are coming back to life (plant below was one I transplanted this fall).DSC_7747(1)I missed some sprouts when transplanting. There are still a handful outside of our raspberry line. I am just going to let them be and I will move them this fall. DSC_7749(1)Blueberry bushes have not yet bloomed. Frankly, I’m glad. When they bloom early, I am a basket case until we get past the last frost date!


Most of the bulbs have bloomed. I have decided to leave them where they are and just order more this fall to spread throughout the garden 🙂 I have become a flower-lover (if you know me at all, I know how surprised you are)!DSC_7758 DSC_7759 DSC_7760(1)Lastly, in garden news, we are continuing with our garden expansion (always).DSC_7742CHICKENS

Egg Harvests:

  • 61 eggs in January
  • 220 in February
  • 286 in March (plus 11 under a broody hen)

Last year at this time we were swimming in eggs. We couldn’t get rid of them fast enough! Not so this year.

The first year, chickens lay small eggs, very frequently. Last year, we had 19, 1yo chickens and we were getting about 18 eggs/day. This year, we have 16, 2yo chickens and we are getting about 10 eggs/day. The eggs are bigger, but the chickens are laying less frequently.

Our chicks are two weeks old and they are flying all over the place in their box. I keep waiting for the weather to warm up enough to let them explore 🙂DSC_7761 DSC_7762This is my husband’s sense of humor. I know I’m not alone. DSC_7779Some of our hens have gone broody. I am not expecting much, as our roosters are so young and inexperienced but maybe we’ll get a chick or two out of all the moodiness.

How are your gardens doing? Everyone around me I have talked to has not been able to start planting yet because it has been too wet to till. We have been SOOOO blessed by the BTE method of gardening! If you have not watched the film, go do it now! 🙂

Linking up with Green Thumb Thursday


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


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).

Harvest Monday

July 28, 2014

  • Fruit production has really slowed down these days. I think this may be the last week of blueberries. We may have gotten 2 quarts this week, total.DSC_4824 DSC_4859 We harvested some strawberries but again, production is slowing.DSC_4806 DSC_4830
  • Our raspberry plants are not producing any fruits.
  • I planted cantaloupe seeds right at the base of the sunflower circles so they are not growing very quickly at all. The sunflowers are 10 feet tall or taller now and are great shade producers!
  • The watermelon seems to be doing well. We rushed into harvesting one this week and were sourly disappointed :\ I learned my lesson!

DSC_4845On the other hand, non-fruit harvests are picking up!We harvested our first corn this week! They are quite large.DSC_4808 DSC_4809I planted heirloom and some hybrid. Can you guess which is which? 😉DSC_4810 DSC_4840We were able to harvest more in the middle of the week.DSC_4839(Along with some cucumbers)

We harvested the last of our spring carrots this week 😦 Need.to.plant.MORE.DSC_4783Other harvests from the beginning of the week…DSC_4859Beans DSC_4807Kale DSC_4838 DSC_4782LOTS of zucchini DSC_4822 DSC_4860Tomatoes DSC_4887and Peppers…(Bounty from the earlier part of the week)

At the end of the week, we were able to harvest more zucchini, cucumbers, beans, corn, tomatoes, and spaghetti squash. We also harvested some marigolds for the chickens.Nieto Family - July 26 14 - 0062 Nieto Family - July 26 14 - 0060Nieto Family - July 26 14 - 0155(It may look just about the same but other than a few zucchini and a few cucumbers, this is ALL new produce! I am having to ‘counter-ripen’ most of my tomatoes because of all the rain we’re getting. They’re all splitting and if I leave them on the vine to ripen, they completely burst open!)

The squash bugs had overtaken the spaghetti squash patch so I decided to just rip it up. We had 10 squashes that were ripe enough to harvest.Nieto Family - July 26 14 - 0061 They will cure on the counter for about a week before I put them in the basement to store.

What are you harvesting? Head on over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what other gardeners are harvesting around the world.

Permission to NOT be Perfect, Part 2

March 25, 2013

In Part 1 of my posts about being an imperfect blogger, kitchen cleaner, mother, etc, etc, etc. I showed you pictures of my kitchen. Why? Many reasons.

  1. I hate seeing Facebook posts about how inadequate mothers feel when they see/hear about what other mothers are doing – be it homeschooling, cooking, mothering, whatever – and I did not want anyone feeling inadequate by reading my blog
  2. I want to be real and transparent. I am always trying to find ways to be efficient so I can get everything done that I want but that means functional is more important to me than beauty – I just want to be upfront with you.

One last pic of my ‘functional is not pretty’ kitchen.March 20 2013 - 0096Apples are ripening pears and avocados. Older bananas are ripening new bananas. (Leaving pears in bags guarantees they never ripen and leaving apples in bags guarantees they will all be rotten pretty soon.) Yes, we eat this much fruit in a week (eat, juice, and in smoothies)!

Moving on to more inefficiency problems solved in a not so pretty way…I find myself telling my children to get dressed, brush your teeth, brush your hair… every day. Not nagging – I only tell them once – but they have come to expect me to tell them what to do so if I forget, it does not get done, which turns into some mad bed hair and yucky-smelling breath.

This clearly needed to be fixed. I saw that Michelle Duggar has chore packs. I thought it was a great idea so we implemented them right away. Again, they are not pretty, but they are functional.

March 20 2013 - 0103I had scrap pieces of paper – each child picked the color they wanted. I wrote down what they are to do every morning after breakfast. The children who can read get words. Those who cannot get pics. I am sure more will be added as they get older. We have been doing this for a week now and it seems to be working perfectly. The only reminder they need is to get their chore packs.

What are you doing to make life easier? Are you giving your young children more responsibility? Is it freaking you out as much as it does me? 😉

Oh my goodness! I forgot to link back to Simple Lives Thursday! Sorry ladies!