Tag Archives: lettuce

Harvest Monday

June 6, 2016

It’s getting steamy here in eastern NC! We’re harvesting…Nieto Photography 2016a few raspberries a dayNieto Photography 2016a big bowl of spinach a day, a few heads of lettuce a day (unpictured) though they are starting to boltNieto Photography 2016whatever strawberries the stinkin’ racoon doesn’t steal 😦 and a couple handfuls each day of PEAS (not pictured)! We love peas but they rarely make it to the table 🙂

We eat our berries at meals and in our banana nice cream (blended frozen bananas & berries). We eat everything else at supper, paired with some type of bean dish (burgers, lentil loaf, falafels, baked beans, etc.) and maybe some potatoes (fries, hashbrowns, mashed). YUM!

What are you harvesting? Check out what others are harvesting at Our Happy Acres.

Has anyone overcome their local racoons? We are hoping to set up more electric fencing this week. Happy Gardening!

Harvest Monday

May 16, 2016

We have been harvesting lettuceNieto Photography 2015spinachNieto Photography 2016and strawberries this week.Nieto Photography 2016We have been dealing with a strawberry thief as well. Last year, we were sure it was a groundhog because we saw it roaming throughout the garden. So this year, we put up an electric fence. Something was still getting to the strawberries. My husband thought maybe a rabbit, since it can hop over the electric fence. So we put up a fence (not electric) specifically around the strawberries.

Nope. They are digging a hole under the fence and getting to the strawberries. They dig a hole about 5 inches deep so we are still thinking rabbit. We think a groundhog is too big to fit in a hole that size. I need to borrow my neighbor’s camera so we can see the critter in action!

Another thing we’re ‘harvesting’ is poop (I’ll spare you the picture). I am taking fresh manure from the roosting table and spreading it out in the sun to dry. When it dries, I’m going to sprinkle it around the base of the plants so when it rains, they will get manure tea. I am also making my own manure tea and watering the plants with it. Anything I can do to make my soil and plants healthy! This is how I am planning on combating bugs this year.

What are you harvesting? Check out what other gardeners are up to over at Our Happy Acres.

Garden in April, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

April 4, 2016

Garden at the beginning of March

Nieto Photography 2016Garden at the beginning of AprilNieto Photography 2016Sooooo much has changed already! As we walk through the garden, you can see to the right, the fencing has been taken down and in its place is a big mound of mulch. That mound of mulch is one of our many potato patches. Behind it are some brassicas I transplanted from the greenhouses. Nieto Photography 2016To the left of that are some winter squash and nasturtiums that were transplanted from the greenhouses.Nieto Photography 2016 Nieto Photography 2016As we continue, there is another patch of brassicas. Nieto Photography 2016Sorry for the blurr…These were transplanted from the brassicas that overwintered on accident (brassicas I planted and had planned on transplanting last fall but never got around to it). I am definitely doing this every year! I put a shade cloth over them to protect them from bugs but nothing to protect them from the cold. It seemed as though they died but they came back this spring! I thinned them out and planted them in the cover to the left. I am going to transplant the rest this week.  Nieto Photography 2016Between the two covered areas, I planted peas. they are just starting to push through the mulch. Nieto Photography 2016 And the purple sprouting broccoli under the cover to the right are doing well (as well as some cilantro that overwintered). The next section has some more potato patches, some lettuce I transplanted from the greenhouses, and boxes. Nieto Photography 2016In the boxes, I have some eggplant and tomatoes, transplanted from the greenhouses, some overwintered spinach and carrots, and more potatoes! Nieto Photography 2016We moved the old chicken tractor (we grew tomatoes on this last year) past the boxes and are going to grow different types of melons over it this year. Nieto Photography 2016To the right of the chicken tractor is another patch of brassicas aaaaaaaaaand…another potato patch! This is the first one I planted and it has started sprouting!Nieto Photography 2016 Nieto Photography 2016

As far as our perennial vegetables and fruits, more raspberries are popping up in our raspberry patch (we need to go ahead and put up supports), Nieto Photography 2016strawberries are popping through the mulch (and flowering!), Nieto Photography 2016 Nieto Photography 2016the blueberries are being polinated, Nieto Photography 2016the new strawberry plants (June bearing) are becoming established, Nieto Photography 2016the asparagus are popping up (newly planted bed!), Nieto Photography 2016 Nieto Photography 2016and the trees are setting fruit!Nieto Photography 2016(peaches) Nieto Photography 2016(apples – can’t tell if it has really set fruit or not…) Nieto Photography 2016(pears)

I finished most of my TO DO list for March (plant potatoes, plant all of the greenhouses, plant cool weather seeds). All we lack to do is expand the chicken runs. For April, the TO DO list is pretty straight forward. PLANT, PLANT, PLANT and then plant some more! Our last frost date is April 21st. I have planted everything early because we have had an incredibly warm spring so far. Of course this week, some of our nights are dropping below freezing. Wonderful. I am going to cover the transplants with tops of milk jugs and hope for the best!

What are you doing in your garden? Are you harvesting already? We are harvesting some PSB and spinach here and there but mainly just waiting. Nieto Photography 2016There is SOOOO much work to be done! Always. Happy Gardening! 🙂
Check out what others are harvesting at Our Happy Acres today!

Garden in December, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

December 1, 2015

Beginning of NovemberNieto Photography 2015Beginning of DecemberDSC_1018-EditAt first glance, the differences are in the leaves. The blueberry bushes are a lovely red while the peach tree and some of our shade bushes have lost most of their leaves.

Let’s take a walk in the garden and see what is growing! First, here are some transplants that never got planted. They are all hardy. I may eat the tender leaves in salads throughout the winter or maybe even attempt to transplant them as I harvest throughout the winter, as room becomes available under the tunnels. We’ll see. 🙂DSC_1003 DSC_1004 DSC_1005Next up, a test plot of some late planted lettuce, spinach, and carrots (you can’t see anything but the lettuce because they are so small right now). I also planted some lettuce stumps from store-bought lettuce. I’ll need to cover this section pretty soon but right now, it’s still pretty mild around here.DSC_1006Next up, the tunnels! In the first tunnel, there are late-planted purple cabbages. They are pretty small so I am not sure when we will harvest them. Hopefully, I will remember to write down when we do so I know for next year 🙂DSC_1007In the tunnel next to this one, I have some green cabbages, some broccoli, and a lot of sprouting broccoli (purple and green). I have never done sprouting broccoli before but last spring when all of you other bloggers were overrun with PSB, I was wishing for some good broccoli so I bought some seeds this summer. I hope it works out. I’m hopeful and excited 🙂DSC_1009Next to these covered tunnels is an uncovered tunnel of celery. These were planted from store-bought last fall. They were shaded over the summer by tomato plants and they are providing us with a lot of wonderfully flavorful celery this fall.DSC_1010We have really enjoyed our volunteer kale this fall in our morning smoothies 🙂DSC_1011In the last row of tunnels, we have some of our earliest-transplanted cabbages.DSC_1012They are planted super close (I am horrible about doing this!!!) but some of them are starting to head up nicely. DSC_1013I’m basically waiting for them to harden. I am looking forward to fresh cabbage in our coleslaw and soups this December!!!!

Next to that box is a box of lettuce (direct-sown and store-bought stumps), spinach, and carrots.DSC_1014If you follow this blog and/or if you watch L2Survive’s videos of Paul Gautschi, you know that in his garden, he does NOT put down woodchips anymore. He puts down compost from his run. I decided to try this. Someone warned me that it would just encourage weeds but I wanted to try it. It worked in some sections and did not in others.

It seems to come down to sections of the garden with plenty of woodchips down already vs. sections of the garden with only a thin layer of woodchips. Here is a section that is newly covered with woodchips. This section has only been planted in once.DSC_1015So, the bad news is, covering this area with compost (instead of woodchips) produced a mat of weeds. The good news is, because of the woodchips, these weeds come up incredibly easily. Now, not two feet away, here is another section that was covered with compost (instead of woodchips):

DSC_1016Not a weed in sight.  So, it’s still an experiment but I’m not giving up. I would like for my garden to look more like Paul’s eventually (more compost, less woodchips). It is easier to plant in when you don’t have to dig down 6″ every time you want to plant, that’s for sure! 🙂 At the same time, I don’t want to encourage weeds. So, again, I’ll just keep experimenting and I’ll be sure to keep you updated 🙂

As far as December chores go, whenever we are blessed with a mild day, we will:

  • WEED
  • Possibly expand the garden (depending on my husband’s schedule and my energy level)
  • ORDER SEEDS!!!!!! AND BERRIES!!!!! (can you tell I’m excited? 😉 )
  • order bees (yes, we are venturing into that part of homesteading. I’m pretty nervous)

What’s going on in your garden? Do you grow crops in the fall? winter? What do you grow? Do you cover anything? I am always in experiment mode so any suggestions are more than welcome! I don’t want December to pass by quickly but at the same time, I am looking forward to seeing what everything looks like in January 🙂

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