Tag Archives: onions

Harvest Monday

August 3, 2015

I spent the week harvesting onionsNieto Photography 2015tomatoes (We’re freezing about 3 gallons/week.)

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beans (and cucumbers)Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015 a few raspberries and strawberriesNieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 a few cantaloupeNieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015summer and winter squash (I have more plants growing that will hopefully yield more later but the plants that produced these were done.)Nieto Photography 2015 and potatoes.Nieto Photography 2015I spent a couple of days harvesting potatoes. I let them dry on the mulch for a day, inside for two days, and then wrapped them in newspaper and put them in the cool basement in a milk crate.

Last year, I alternated a layer of potatoes and newspaper. However, last fall, I wrapped my sweet potatoes in newspaper (individually) and they kept for over 6 months. I thought I would try it for garden potatoes.

One thing I found interesting: When I harvested the potatoes, they were smooth and beautiful. I laid them out to cure for three days. As I wrapped them up, certain varieties were wrinkly. They looked like potatoes look after a few months in the basement. There is no way we could eat all of them now so I still wrapped them and put them in the basement anyway but I am curious to see what will happen. Part of me wonders if it is just various types don’t cure/store well because the Yukon Gold were not wrinkly after curing.

I need to figure out what varieties I want to order for next year. The Yukon Gold did not wrinkle when they cured but they also rotted in the ground more than I would like. The Red Adirondack (an impulse buy) produced wonderfully; however, they were the ones that wrinkled when curing. I will just have to make sure we eat those fresh and store another variety. Red Norlunds, which are very popular in my area, rotted worse than any other variety. Part of me wonders if it was just where they were planted (a new section, with not as much sun)…I may give them another year but I haven’t decided yet. I need to find a few good storage potatotes. Anyone in a fairly rainy zone 7b have suggestions?

Another interesting potato observance is that although the vast majority of the plants died completely back, there is a section that is still going strong. I wonder if this is the unknown storage potatoes I bought at the feed store. I can’t remember exactly where I planted certain varieties. We’ll see when they do die back. Nieto Photography 2015(all of the mulch in the pic above was potato plants) Nieto Photography 2015This week, we went ahead and stripped the corn stalks (with no edible corn) this week. The beans that were climbing up the corn stalks were picked and are drying in the kitchen. The beans that were not climbing were left to (hopefully) dry, even though they are not climbing up anything anymore.Nieto Photography 2015(beans left in a canopy of sunflowers) Nieto Photography 2015What are you harvesting? Check out what other gardeners are up to at Daphne’s Dandelions today!


Harvest Monday

July 13, 2015

We are harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, patty pan squash, zucchini, carrots, beets, lettuce, cucumbers, and a few strawberries here and there. Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015
Some cucumber and watermelon vines are creeping into the strawberry patch and in turn are keeping the groundhog out! 🙂 The raspberries are being stolen by that stinkin’ groundhog we have yet to catch and he ate all of our ripening blackberries. I am thinking of putting fencing around the raspberries…AND I am thinking about putting fencing around the whole garden next year!

Originally, I was planning on planting enough food for us, 3-4 other families, the chickens, and enough to put up for the winter. Because of the lovely animals who found our garden this year and the fact that I am probably working at about 50% energy right now (June was more like 10-30% energy), we are only able to grow enough for 1/2 of the chicken’s food, fresh eating for us, and enough for 2 other families.

For example, instead of 10 gallons of berries frozen, I have 0. I was planning on growing lots of kale, cucumbers, and celery to juice and freeze while in season so I would not have to buy it later. I do not have enough energy for that currently even though we are getting plenty of those things. So, I am letting most of my cucumbers get HUGE and overripe for the chickens. They LOVE them and it really keeps them satisfied on the hot days we’ve been having!

Energy was up a bit more this week 🙂 We were able to tie up most of the tomatoes and get the last of the weeding done. I can’t believe it! This WHOLE garden is weeded.Nieto Photography 2015

Amazing what you can do when you have some helpers! This is the first year I’ve asked for their help weeding (9yo, 7yo, 6yo, 4yo) and unfortunately for them, they were so helpful, they will be more involved from now on! 🙂 Also, thanks to the BTE method of gardening, as long as we stick with it, there will be no more big weeding weeks, like there have been these past two weeks. The weeds got HUGE because I was out of commission for about 6 weeks. Now, we just need to go out once a week probably and walk the garden for small weeds.

Of course, this does not mean there is nothing to do! This week, we are tying up the rest of the tomatoes, planting another round of cucumbers, beans, squash, melons, and fall broccoli and cabbage, weeding the bricks by our house, weeding the perennial beds by our house, possibly putting netting around the raspberries, and definitely covering our ripening melons with fencing. I hear groundhogs LOVE watermelon and cantaloupes. We have quite a few that are close to being ready to harvest and I do not want to lose them!


I read a couple of weeks ago that chickens need about ½ cup of feed/day. I always thought our chickens could handle less feed but I never knew how much. I didn’t want to feed them too little and lose our egg production but I don’t want to spend money on feed when I don’t have to! So this week, I took the time to measure how much we were giving them daily…about twice as much as they needed!

Considering the fact that half of their run is filled with grass and we give them a HUGE cart-full of weeds and food from the garden each day, they do NOT need that much feed. I feel much better about how much feed we are giving them now. I would still like to cut back more but until I am feeling 100%, I am going to keep everything as is.

We have 12 2yo laying hens, 2 roosters, 3 hens sitting on eggs or with chicks, and 12 chicks (and 5 eggs due to hatch in two weeks). I think some of our older chicks may have started to lay. I found a small egg in with the rest of the larger ones the other day. We’ll see!

What is going on in your garden? Is weeding taking over your life or do you have it under control? Are you preparing for a fall garden? Head over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what other gardeners are harvesting this week.

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

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 🙂

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

Planting, Covering, and CHICKS!!!

April 18, 2015

Thursday was a big day for us!

I planted 80-90 onion seedlings, 28 buttercrunch lettuce, and 14 garnet rose lettuce. I also transplanted about 5 celery plants. I am unsure what happened to them in the greenhouses but most of them died. I went ahead and planted the ones that survived, even though they were itty-bitty. I am not expecting anything from them but we’ll see.

The plan was to harvest 100 onion plants each year so depending on how these do, I’m in pretty good shape. Last year was the first year I had ever grown onions from seed and they never got very large at all. I learned AFTER I had ordered all of my seed for this year that I have been ordering and planting the wrong kind of onion seed! I have been ordering long-day onions when I need to order short-day onions. Oh well. I try not to waste anything so I will just see what happens to these and I’ll be sure to order the correct kind next time.Nieto Photography 2015(See those itty-bitty pieces of grass? Yeah, those are onion seedlings) Nieto Photography 2015(more planted under the apple tree)

The lettuce I planted in the greenhouses were looking lovely until our unexpected frost Easter morning. It killed the lettuces (or so I thought). A few days of good, soaking rains brought most of them back to life. They all were frost-bitten a bit but alive. We’ll see how they do after being transplanted.Nieto Photography 2015Our broody hen also hatched out FIVE chicks!!! When she went broody, we went ahead and put 11 eggs under her. I had been checking for weeks to see if our eggs were fertile (looking for the bulls eye) and only half or less than half were fertile whenever I checked. Because of this, I was not expecting much. She lost 3 throughout her 3 weeks of sitting (they were kicked out and eaten by other hens). The last time she was broody, a hen stole one of her baby chicks and ate it so Tuesday night (two days before her due date), we put her and her eggs in a dog crate, to keep everyone safe.

We checked on her about 8 times throughout the day Thursday (her due date). We didn’t want to mess with her too much until all the eggs that were going to hatch did so. Each time we went in, we were able to see more and more chicks peeking from behind her. So exciting 😀 We found the fifth chick Friday. Two more eggs are under her so we’ll see if we get any more chicks. One egg was crushed (not sure how).chicks5(I apologize for quality. I was getting ready to post and realized, although we look at them 10x/day, we had yet to take any pics! Here they are, 2 days old 🙂 )

Last year we tried to hatch out our own chicks when a hen went broody 3 times. We did not have a rooster then so we ‘borrowed’ fertile eggs from a friend. We were able to hatch out two chicks first (one died at 5mo, one is our rooster 🙂 ), no chicks the second time, and one chick the third time (was put with the other hens too early and was trampled). This year, when a hen went broody, we were able to use our own eggs. We are super excited so many ended up being viable 😀

I spent Friday morning covering all of the brassicas. I used old covers to cover the cabbages. I ordered 50 feet of agribon insect barrier from Johnny’s and used that to cover my broccoli and kale tunnels. When we were unrolling them, they were stuck together and left holes every foot or so 😦 I called Johnny’s and they said they would mail me a new one first thing Monday. They aren’t kidding when they say ‘satisfaction guaranteed’. Color me impressed.Nieto Photography 2015(cabbage rows between peas, covered haphazardly. covered low tunnels in the back) Nieto Photography 2015Kale low tunnel (75 sq. feet) Nieto Photography 2015Broccoli low tunnel (100 sq. feet) Nieto Photography 2015

Since I had planted all of the cool-weather greenhouse plants and the afternoon turned out to be quite hot, I spent it indoors, making carrot, beet, and spinach seed mats to plant out Saturday morning.

I hope to plant out peas, carrots, beets, spinach, and maybe lettuce today and Monday I’ll have an actual harvest to post!!!!!