Tag Archives: greenhouses

Harvest Monday

January 19, 2015

We are only getting a few eggs/day. That and wild onions are our only harvests.

I told my kids I would pay them 1c/onion. They went right to work 🙂© Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher Nieto(8, 5, & 4yo holding up their harvests)

I did ‘harvest’ chicken manure by cleaning out the coop this week. I either need to clean it out 10 more times before spring (not going to happen) or go get some horse manure to finish prepping the garden for planting.

Speaking of chickens, a friend of ours had an extra rooster she offered to us this week. It is about 7mo and is beautiful. It is getting picked on quite a bit, being the new guy and all. Such is life.© Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher NietoOur other rooster, Whitey, we hatched out ourselves, this past March.  © Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher Nieto

Another new critter on the homestead is Chip. She (yes, she. they thought she was a he when they named him/her. poor cat.) was brought to us when a relative had to move and could not take her with them. We have her in a dog crate this week and are giving her lots of yummy food so hopefully she will know this is her new home.© Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher Nieto

This week finally warmed up enough to start planting in greenhouses. I planted some onions and some celery. The soil I use is stored outside in covered buckets. I was only able to plant two greenhouses because most of it was frozen solid 🙂 I put it out in the sun to warm and I will hopefully be able to plant more later in the month.© Nieto Photography - Nietophotography.com - 919.495.5916 - Christopher Nieto

What are you up to this week? Are you harvesting? Check out what other gardeners across the globe are doing at Daphne’s Dandelions.


Getting Things DONE!

June 4, 2014


This week has been all about weeding. Normally, there is not much weeding to be done in the Back to Eden garden. However, the round of storms we had last month washed away a lot of mulch. Uncovered ground (dirt) + a lot of rain = TONS of weeds 😛

I have been going out little by little every day and weeding each section of the garden. It looks great now 🙂 Of course, if I do not cover the bare patches with more mulch, it will all be for nothing. To get the motivation up for that…

The chickens have had limited greens because the chicks are still little enough to get out of the tunnel so they have really enjoyed the fruits of my labor.

My daughter has helped some, especially with all of the wild onions. The other night, I was weeding a section of the garden when I hear, ‘Oh look, another onion!’ I look behind me and see my daughter has pulled one of my onions our of a raised bed (NOT where wild onions grow) that I grew from seed!

I have never grown onions before. It was something new I was going to try this year. I think I was able to grow about 10 successfully from the 100 seeds I planted in the greenhouses and transplant them. This one was the most impressive one. The others are not very big yet, so she didn’t see them. I replanted it right away but assume it will die 😦 so I told her to take a picture so at least I could remember how pretty it was… 😉DSC_4314Trellises

Another thing on the TO DO list is to put up trellises for the tomatoes and make the fencing for the pinto beans higher. That finally got done the other day when my husband was home from work.IMG_8094(Stakes in…) IMG_8241 (fencing up – 5 rows of tomatoes & 2.5 rows of sweet peppers)IMG_9185(stakes up for volunteer tomatoes (and my daughter’s on the far R with 2 green tomatoes already!)) _DSC1261(only had enough fencing for one side. I’ll have to figure out something for the other side.)

This is the ‘overflow garden’. Notice the apple tree on the left & right. L to R, there are two sunflower circles: yellow and then red. As you can see, the red had spotty germination. Both are new seeds from the same company. I wonder why…

There is a patch of unplanted area behind the red sunflower circle. I think I am going to plant some sweet potatoes there. I have so many slips, I am looking for more and more areas to plant them so they don’t go to waste!

The volunteer tomatoes are planted where the stakes are. In front of them are marigolds and behind them are bush beans.


I still had some more tomatoes to transplant and some volunteer marigolds 🙂 For some reason, the marigold seeds I planted in the tomato/pepper patch did not do well so I was thankful to see some volunteers from last year!_DSF9589Marigolds

I transplanted some tomatoes into pots. I have never had luck growing in pots but I had so many extra tomato plants, I thought I would give it a try. I planted the rest in the ‘overflow’ area of the garden._DSF9627Speaking of volunteers, we have some volunteer watermelon!!!_DSF9574 I planted some watermelon seed but it never germinated (was in the raised bed that does not like sprouting seeds). We saw these plants (and a couple more!) next to the tomato patch just the other day when weeding. A bird must have eaten our neighbor’s seed from his garden (he plants watermelon every year) and left us with some presents 😀 We are very excited! 🙂

Greenhouses…Lessons learned:

The only greenhouses that did well were onions planted mid January, tomato and sunflower seeds planted at the very beginning of February, and cool crops planted at the very end of February.

None of the celery seeds (planted mid January) sprouted, none of the seeds planted mid-February did anything,  nor did any of the other seeds (non-tomato) planted at the beginning of February.

I am going to do a number of things differently next year:

  • Duct tape the greenhouses (seal them) – you are supposed to and I did last year but did not this year
  • Put labels INSIDE the greenhouses (maybe the snow and rain won’t wash off the label so I can tell what was planted)
  • Wait longer? I feel like maybe some did not sprout because I was impatient with planting times but the blogger who does this year after year says they need to be in the winter weather in order to become stronger plants so…idk.

So the last TO DO chore for this week was to clean out the greenhouses and put them in the shed (so I don’t have to beg as much next year 😉 ). Once that was done, I could do a final weeding of the garden and breathe…until I realized I needed to plant the next round of succession crops AND plant up all of the sweet potato slips before the end of June.


I planted lettuce, kale, carrots (which the cat promptly scratched up), cucumbers, and zucchini this week. Next week, I’ll plant some bush beans but my main goal for next week is to plant all of the sweet potato slips! I want to have them all planted up by mid-June. Quite the lofty goal…we’ll see how it goes…

Ahhhh! I feel very productive each day, as I am getting a lot done in the garden…but it just doesn’t seem to end! When can I JUST harvest 😉 That would be nice 🙂

Harvest Monday – Looking Ahead

April 14, 2014

Nothing was planted this week. I mainly weeded (stinking wild onions), spread more newspaper and mulch, and watched seedlings come up.

Nieto Family - April 10 13 - 0134(before…) Nieto Family - April 13 13 - 0303-Edit(after)

It may be difficult to see but the light-colored mulch on the left is the section I did about a month ago. Moving to the right, around the Magnolia tree, is a section we did earlier in the week. The darkest section is the last bit we covered in mulch at the end of last week. As the weather warms and the grass grows, I feel more and more pressure/motivation to cover everything with mulch, seeing how we do not have a lawn mower that works…


A warm weather crop sprouted in my greenhouse — a tomato!…or a pepper…we had more snow than normal this winter so, even though I wrote what was in each greenhouse in permanent ink, it has all faded. Of course, this week we are going to have one night that will hit 32 degrees so that greenhouse will have to be covered.

I’ll have to wait and see as it gets bigger whether it is a tomato or a pepper. As far as varieties, I guess I’ll have to wait until harvest for those. I planted eight varieties of tomatoes, two of cantaloupe, three of winter squash… There is nothing I can do about it now.

I made a note in my gardening notebook about making markers to put on the inside of the greenhouses to see if that makes a difference next year.

Though no plant harvests, seedlings are giving me some hope: peas, kale, carrots, lettuce, spinach

Nieto Family - April 11 13 - 0137(Peas on left were the ‘old’ seed, sewn too heavily. Peas on right are peas I ordered, planted two weeks later, and spaced out much better!)

Nieto Family - April 11 13 - 0194Kale planted a month ago is doing well (I apologize for the blurriness).

Nieto Family - April 11 13 - 0103(I found this lettuce had overwintered on its own! 🙂 )

Nieto Family - April 11 13 - 0162 Nieto Family - April 11 13 - 0167 Chicks are getting their wing feathers 🙂 So cute! Actually, not as cute but still neat!

Nieto Family - April 08 13 - 0007 Nieto Family - April 11 13 - 0066Still getting about 16 eggs a day from our 18 layers. Not too shabby!


Strawberries are looking healthy. I’m pinching off one or two flowers/day.

Nieto Family - April 11 13 - 0197Of the MANY raspberry plants ordered last year, only a couple came up. They did well at the beginning of last summer but it was such a wet summer, many of them molded and did not return.

Nieto Family - April 11 13 - 0209We cut a line out of tarp because we heard they spread so much – we were trying to control where they spread. Some of the raspberries did not get the memo…

Nieto Family - April 11 13 - 0218(These grew through some apparent holes in the mulch)

Lastly, our blueberry bushes are beginning to bloom and the bees are loving it!

Nieto Family - April 11 13 - 0159Whew! That ended up being a longer update than intended. Sorry about that!

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

Harvest Monday

April 7, 2014

This week, we finally have some things sprouting in the garden 🙂 The children do not know where to step and where to not step because at this stage, the garden looks like a wide expanse of mulch. I know where everything is but it will be nice when greenery helps everyone else know where paths are and where vegetation is.

Some spinach, planted 3 weeks ago, is starting to sprout in the strawberry patch.

Nieto Family - April 03 14 - 0063Spinach is also doing well in the greenhouses.

Nieto Family - April 03 14 - 0068Some strawberries are starting to flower. Those will be pinched off this year but it is still nice to see.

Nieto Family - April 03 14 - 0051Peas, planted 3 weeks ago, are beginning to sprout as well.

Nieto Family - April 03 14 - 0017I was given this seed and told it was old so I went ahead and just sprinkled the seeds, thinking germination would be spotty. Boy was I wrong! Oh well 🙂 Peas are pretty forgiving.

Nieto Family - April 06 14 - 0029Once the weather allows, I like to plant a little bit every two weeks so we will have more of a continual harvest. I prefer to eat in season, all season long, rather than plant all of my seeds and be overwhelmed as everything has to be harvested at once and preserved, put away, or eaten or it will go bad.


So this week, I planted blue potatoes (the last potatoes of my tri-colored potato patch), spinach, lettuce, kale, carrots, and bunching onions.

Nieto Family - April 06 14 - 0008The dark patch is the blue potatoes. To the left are the rest of the potatoes. Hopefully, in less than a month, I’ll be showing pictures of sprouting potatoes! 🙂

I know I need to keep the faith when it comes to my greenhouses but since no celery has sprouted yet and seed is so cheap and seed does not keep forever, I went ahead and direct-seeded some celery, cabbage, and broccoli. It may be a waste of seed but I’ll never know if I don’t try. I like to test things like this every year. Sometimes, it does not work out but other times, I am pleasantly surprised. For example, last year, I direct seeded some tomato plants and they did really well throughout the whole season!

I weeded one day this week and while in the process, found one carrot from a year ago and some carrots from this past fall. They were little and pretty wrinkly but we still ate them!

Nieto Family - April 03 14 - 0081Still harvesting about 16 eggs/day. Hoping to add spinach to that harvest total someday soon!

Nieto Family - March 30 14 - 0014We have one bantam (we think) Barred Rock, and the rest of our hens are Buff Orpingtons and Black Australorps. It is interesting to see the differences between our egg harvests everyday though. We consistently get a tiny one (I assume the Barred Rock), a HUGE one, one that is torpedo shaped (we have a skinny Orpington so maybe this is hers?), a speckled one, and many large eggs. This is 5 different types of eggs and we only have 3 types of hens. Very interesting, indeed 🙂

What are you harvesting? Check out what gardeners worldwide are doing at Daphne’s Dandelions.

The Weather Is Warmer So Things Are Getting DONE!

March 31, 2014

We had some more below freezing nights and days in the 30s but I am hoping we are done with those days!


We allowed the chicks to do some monitored free-ranging once the temps rose above freezing. They are so cute!

Nieto Family - March 27 14 - 0068 1547951_717975918253260_1950278981_o


There was a tree trimming company last week at a neighbor’s house so we invited them to dump the mulch at our house.


(load #1 of 6 or so)

They stayed in the area for a whole week. We now have about as much mulch as we did when Asplundh came two years ago. I am using the new mulch on areas that we want to suppress grass-growth and saving the old, decomposed mulch for planting areas. IMG_8459(You can see the newer mulch in the foreground. We’re just trying to cover more grass — less places to mow. Only a little got done that day because it was so windy and because I’m so stinkin’ pregnant!)

The edges of the garden are the worst for creeping grass so my husband is trying to nip that in the bud by putting chicken tunnel around the majority of the garden. The chickens are loving it and are doing a wonderful job. The only problem is, they are eating grass faster than it is growing right now, since we are still at the beginning of spring.


(Tunnel goes all around the garden area. You can see the raised mulch area – potato patch – and beyond that are all of the blueberry bushes, which you cannot see yet because they are still bare right now)


My mom ordered strawberries for me for Christmas this past year. They came in this week and as soon as the weather warmed (to about 60), I planted them. I had already prepared a strawberry patch this past fall with chicken & horse manure and wood chips. I measured it and thought I could fit 90 plants. She ordered 50 so I went ahead and planted spinach and lettuce on the border of the patch. Not surprisingly, I must have measured incorrectly or something because only about 40 strawberry plants fit in my strawberry patch 😉 No worries. I planted the rest close by. I plan on expanding every year anyway.

Nieto Family - March 27 14 - 0015 Nieto Family - March 27 14 - 0008


(25 of the plants — look at those beautiful roots!)

Nieto Family - March 27 14 - 0011 (I found some cow compost in the shed when I cleaned it out last month so I mixed that compost with some of our chicken compost from out of the run for a planting medium for the strawberry plants.) (It is really difficult to see the baby plants right now so here is a close-up of one of them.)Nieto Family - March 27 14 - 0399

The weekend was warmer but extremely windy and rainy so I planted here and there when I could. Along with my strawberry plants, I was able to get all of my peas planted, some beets, and some onions.

My 6th child/third trimester body can only do so much at once. I find that after only an hour of planting, I am worn out! Just pitiful! With all that needs to be planted, I’ll have to just go out when I can and stick with it until everything is planted…especially since we are at a later start than normal because of our long winter this year.

So from now until…? I will be planting, little by little and when I am not planting, I will be weeding. There are not many weeds, thanks to the mulch. However, two types are relentless: bermuda grass and wild onion 😛 I’ve gotta say though, pulling weeds in the mulch is a whole different ball game than pulling in dirt. It is easier, it does not need to be done as frequently…comparatively, it is wonderful! If you have not yet, go check out the Back to Eden Film!

I am still nervous (because of my impatience) about the lack of sprouts in my greenhouses but I looked over my posts from last year and saw that it was not until mid/late April of 2013 that I started getting sprouts in my greenhouses. That is also when my potato plants started to come up. I am so thankful to have this blog, if for no other reason than to keep myself in check 😉

I haven’t spoken much of harvests because, though that is the goal (hence the planting), I have yet to have any plant harvests this year. We are still harvesting eggs daily and are extremely thankful for those! Check out what everyone else is doing at Daphne’s Dandelions today 🙂