Tag Archives: lettuce

Harvest Monday

June 8, 2015

We harvest Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On these days, we are harvesting

  • a little bit of spinach and baby lettuce (isn’t bitter like heads of lettuce)
  • strawberries (the groundhog has taken to digging so we are not getting very many)
  • raspberries here and there
  • starting to get a few blueberries! (no pics – never made it out of the garden)
  • carrots
  • beets
  • peas
  • potatoes

Nieto Photography 2015

Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015The beginning of the week was the last of the strawberries. The stinking groundhog is stealing them all—except for the ones in the trap, of course 😛

Nieto Photography 2015

Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015

Nieto Photography 2015

We picked the beets and potatoes for friends.  This is what we were able to deliver this week.Nieto Photography 2015Our potatoes are starting to die off though so weekly potato harvests will begin to increase. This is it for the first planting of peas. We are going to pull the plants this week. The second planting of peas is starting to produce pods but I am not expecting much, as it is in the shade so much.


Last year, we expanded the chicken run in the summer; which resulted in 4 chicken deaths. They were spaced out about every 3 weeks. It was odd but we assumed they just got into something.

This winter, we split the run into two runs so the grass could grow some while they rotated They spent most of their days in the original run and were let into the other run once or twice a day. The deaths stopped but we didn’t think it was related.

This spring, we bought chicks from the feed store. We have also been hatching chicks out. The chicks went into the second run. The feed store chicks kept dying (about two weeks apart) but the chicks with their mama were fine so we thought it was just weak feed store chicks. Lesson learned.

We separated the mama from her chicks because they were old enough and she was picking on the feed store chicks. Not a week later, one of the chicks we hatched out died. My husband was researching, trying to figure out what’s going on and he found that acorns can be deadly to chickens.

That is when it all started coming together. The second run includes a HUGE oak tree. When we originally expanded the run, including the oak tree, 4 adult chickens died. When we split the run and they spent most of their time away from the oak tree, the deaths stopped. When we moved the chicks into the run with the oak tree, chicks were dying.

SO, we have rearranged the runs again. The oak tree is not in any of the runs – hopefully no more deaths!

As we were moving the runs, I discovered all the work the chickens have been doing. The soil is beautiful! I am thinking about making a section of my garden like Paul’s. I am nervous to do it though. The woodchips are my safety net. I know they will keep the weeds at bay. I am nervous that if I put this soil on top, I will be inviting weeds. But this is the ultimate goal…It is why we got the chickens in the first place, afterall – to be our soil manufacturers.

The biggest issue right now is that I am going through morning sickness right now so the energy involved to haul all of this beautiful soil out of the run and into the garden is just not there. We’ll see if soil transfer becomes enough of a priority or not to get it done this summer.

Winter Garden

This week starts planting for the winter garden! If you remember from last year, I do not plant indoors so in order to start my winter crops, I have to start them in an incredibly shady area. We are sowing some cabbage seeds this week. I have chosen this spot:Nieto Photography 2015Very shaded most of the day (a little too shaded for these cabbages to grow but I think it will be perfect for growing seedlings to be planted out later this summer).

What is your garden up to these days? Are you already planting for winter harvests? I am linking up with Daphne’s Dandelions today.


Garden in June, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

June 4, 2015

I have been looking forward to this post for a couple of weeks now. There is SO much to share – beware: this is a LONG post with LOTS of pictures 😀

Beginning of MayNieto Photography 2015

Beginning of JuneNieto Photography 2015Loving all the green! At first glance, the peas that I was worried about (yellow) greened up on their own, the peas surpassed the cabbage hoops, the fruit bushes and trees have really filled out! A lot more green altogether. Love it! 🙂

As always, I’ll start from the front of the picture and work my way to the back:

Shaded Patch…quite the hodgepodge. This is shaded most of the day. It is more of an experimental area than anything.Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015Lettuce Nieto Photography 2015Peas Nieto Photography 2015Beans Nieto Photography 2015More lettuce (maybe if I harvest them small (rather than heads), they won’t be as bitter?) Nieto Photography 2015Pretty pitiful patch of spinach Nieto Photography 2015another sowing of lettuce Nieto Photography 2015Kale Nieto Photography 2015and some carrots

Corn, Sunflowers, Beans, and Melons (Patch #1)Nieto Photography 2015the section by the driveway is doing much better (see pic below) Nieto Photography 2015(green and beautiful above, yellow and pitiful below – same patch) Nieto Photography 2015I threw some chicken manure on the yellow corn. This week has been really rainy so I am hoping all of the compost tea will help with the color and growth.

Peas and CabbagesNieto Photography 2015We are harvesting LARGE amounts of peas every other day.Nieto Photography 2015Cabbages are not ready to be harvested but they are sizing up nicely. I am going to uncover them and see if they are healthy enough to withstand ‘the elements’ (ie. bugs). Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015Here is a recently weeded and mulched section. So pretty 🙂 Nieto Photography 2015Potatoes. Doing well. Flowering more than in past years. I assume that means they are healthy. I can’t wait to harvest them but I am trying to be patient 🙂

Nieto Photography 2015

Carrot and Beet bed: I just realized I don’t have a picture for that bed! We are harvesting carrots and beets now. YUM! I’ll post pics on Harvest Monday, for sure 🙂 I planted a row of melons where we have ripped up lettuces. A friend is giving us a cattle panel so the hope is they will climb that and not overtake our garden. We’ll see.

Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Ground CherriesNieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015These are the smaller of the tomatoes. The larger ones are setting fruit but I found horn worm droppings on them yesterday so I’m going to have to keep my eye out! Nieto Photography 2015Our summer and winter squash seem to be doing well (though I’ve already found 4 squash bugs – HATE those things!!!). The cucumber plant in the pic above actually has baby cucs on it now 🙂Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015

The ground cherries have always had holes in them but continue to grow. I do not know the culprit but I assume they are okay for now?

Onions and Celery. Between our larger tomatoes, we have onions and celery growing.

Nieto Photography 2015

Nieto Photography 2015

Raspberries are starting to ripen. We have been able to harvest about 7 in June so far 🙂

Nieto Photography 2015

Crops planted in the ‘new’ raspberry bed: I had some extra room in the raspberry bed so I planted some kale, beans, lettuce, and carrots.

Nieto Photography 2015

Blueberries: bushes are LOADED! Just waiting for them to ripen! We typically get our first harvest mid/late June.Nieto Photography 2015

Broccoli: nothing is heading up but I’ve never had such healthy broccoli!Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015

Strawberries: the plants eaten down are starting to bounce back.Nieto Photography 2015Looking healthy! See the fencing falling down to the right of the picture? I didn’t notice and that night, something got in there and ate most of the berries 😦 The fence is back up and hopefully the strawberries are, once again, protected. Nieto Photography 2015

More Corn, Beans, and Sunflowers: much healthier than the patch by the house.Nieto Photography 2015Greener, and growing bigger, faster. Nieto Photography 2015There are quite a few crops I am missing…more sunflowers and zinnias, kale, sweet potatoes, more tomatoes, more onions, more spinach…I am planting every couple of weeks but one sprout looks like another so I spared you 🙂

Chickens & Eggs

We harvested 223 eggs in May. Down 50 from April. We currently have 2 mamas with their babies and another broody sitting on eggs. I thought we were done with broodies; and frankly, I was ready. Then another one decided she was ready to be a mama.

Thinking long term, we need to keep hatching chicks in order to feed our family and others. Right now, with our 16 hens (12 layers), we are getting about 6 eggs a day. That is barely enough to feed our family. I would like to get enough eggs to feed other families as well. In order to do that, we need to keep hatching them out (do you hear me rationalizing?)!

What is going on in your garden? I am linking up with Green Thumb Thursday 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.


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.

Transplant or Direct-Seed

May 20, 2015

Three years ago, I learned about making greenhouses in order to winter-sow seeds so I could get a jump start on the season. Over the past three years, I have used the greenhouses to winter-sow everything from onions and celery to tomatoes and green peppers and everything in between. It has been great…mainly because it gives me something to do during the winter months 😉

Last winter, I realized the spinach I winter-sowed and then transplanted did not help me get a jump start on the season at all. The direct-sowed spinach caught up with the transplanted spinach so quickly that I wrote in my gardening journal to NOT winter-sow spinach this year.

This year, I winter-sowed basically everything but spinach, carrots, and beets. Because seeds are so cheap, I also start direct-seeding early and often (every 2 weeks). You never know what kind of spring you are going to get, after all.

Here are some pictures of plants that were direct-sown vs. started in greenhouses and transplanted.

The green cabbage was direct-seeded March 16. The purple cabbage were transplanted from the greenhouses April 13. Look at the difference!Nieto Photography 2015Broccoli
I direct-seeded some broccoli March 16DSC_8421 and then transplanted the greenhouse plants April 13.DSC_8422Lettuce
I direct-seeded lettuce March 16 (one of the frosts killed some of the seedlings, which is why there are some ‘blank’ spaces)DSC_8420 and transplanted the greenhouse plants April 16. Both have been harvested from heavily.DSC_8414Tomatoes
Full disclosure: the greenhouse tomatoes were killed because of frost and replanted twice; therefore, they were not as large as they were in years past (when they were not killed by frosts).

However, the tomato seeds were planted March 30 (I wonder if being planted by a wooden board helped them not be killed by a frost we had the first of April – wind protection and added warmth?)DSC_8415and the greenhouse tomatoes were transplanted April 22.DSC_8417Summer Squash
Again, the greenhouse summer squash were replanted twice. That being said, the seeds were direct-sown April 22 (in a bed with fresh horse manure added – what a difference in weeding this makes!)DSC_8418while the greenhouse plants were transplanted April 20.DSC_8419The only plant I have not been able to direct-sow (yet) is green peppers.


I wanted to get a ‘jump start’ on more chickens this year and instead of waiting on a hen to go broody, I went ahead and bought 10 from the feed store. This meant having them in our house for 6 weeks, making sure the heat lamp was at the right temperature, having to put them in the coop on rainy, cold days so they would not die (3 did), etc, etc, etc.DSC_8426If I had waited just a little longer, we have had 4 hens go broody in the past 5 weeks and they are hatching out chicks left and right. We do not need to keep them warm, safe, or even fed, for the most part because their mama does all of this wonderfully!

Nieto Photography 2015


Back to the Garden…

Even with all of that evidence, I am having a hard time making a firm decision to not winter-sow anymore. Why do I fight so hard to do difficult things when something much more simple is presented/available? I listen to videos of Paul’s tours all the time and one thing he talks about is working with nature instead of against it…using a cover instead of ‘leaving the skin off’, not planting in a greenhouse (at least not with the roof on), etc.

Paul still tries to push the boundaries; but for the most part, he tries to do it naturally. He grows grapes along a firewood pile, which creates a heat-sink…he grows a fig tree in a south-facing area with trees on the north side to protect them in the winter…he grows kale under his cherry tree in the winter so when he gets snow, the branches break the blanket of snow so he can still harvest kale.

He still uses transplants for tomatoes and peppers but for the most part, he direct seeds. Listening to him is always inspiring in many ways. One aspect that has been coming loud and clear as of late is that when I try to rely on man’s wisdom (trying to ‘get a jump on the season’), it is more labor-intensive and I find I am not getting the intended results. When I do things in God’s timing (in His seasons), I see the plants tend to be healthier.

Now, I know I will get comments about ‘I live in an area where I HAVE to start seeds’, etc. I am NOT at all judging anyone who starts seeds or saying you shouldn’t. This is a blog about our garden and all I am doing is sharing about our garden and what God is teaching me through my time in the garden. 🙂

He has been impressing on me: patience – about His seasons and my ‘need’ to rush things or try to hold onto them…thankfulness – that in every season there is something to be thankful for; instead of focusing on how I wish x,y,or z would happen like last season, be thankful for what is going on now…and oh so many other things.

I grew up hearing about ‘tree huggers’ and basically that if anyone loved nature, they were not worshipers of God. As an adult, I have never learned so much about God and His nature before gardening. There are so many parts of the Bible that never made much sense before I had a garden (pruning comes to mind). I love it!

What are you learning lately as you spend time in God’s creation? Today, I am linking up with green-thumb Thursday

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 🙂