Tag Archives: peppers

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

November 3, 2014

Our first frost date is October 20th (zone 7b). The temps have held off for awhile but this week, we had our first frost and last night we got down to 30.

I knew, with how life is, that whenever the first frost was predicted, I would not have time to do anything in the garden that day. So I have been stripping the tomato and pepper plants and cleaning up the garden for the winter for the past couple of weeks.DSC_5832I have filled the wagon about seven times…

Tomato/Pepper patch cleaned out:
DSC_5831And half of it covered with manure from the coop (darker mulch on right & light mulch in front both from the coop):DSC_5924Our L-shaped volunteer tomato patch and all of the tomato plants in the raised beds and pots were cleaned up as well. DSC_5927I harvested all of the peppers and tomatoes.DSC_5834The peppers were chopped and frozen while the tomatoes are ripening on the counter.DSC_5856DSC_5858Other harvests this week include…

PeasDSC_5861A few beets randomly popped out of the ground on their own. DSC_5891I juiced these and froze the juice and pulp (separately) until the rest plump up. We drink the juice and use the pulp to make blueberry/beet pancakes.

Kale and Raspberries…DSC_5835 DSC_5837DSC_5915Every once in a while we are able to harvest a bit of spinach and lettuce. I’m not sure why most of the seeds did not germinate. We are thankful for whatever we get though 🙂DSC_5890I am happy to announce we were able to harvest strawberries this week! Our strawberries are everbearing strawberries. However, I have not seen any flowers or anything and as our first frost date is quickly approaching, I figured I may as well cover the strawberries for the winter.

I prepped the area this week by making sure all of the weeds were pulled and what do I see? Strawberries! It was a pleasant surprise, for sure 🙂DSC_5860DSC_5914We also were blessed by our neighbor this week as he allowed me to harvest some baby kale from his garden. He also allowed the children to pick some pecans from his tree. They needed to dry before we could open them.DSC_5862 DSC_5863The children have LOVED breaking them open with rocks and eating them as snacks. DSC_5916 DSC_5918We don’t eat snacks at our house so anything out of the garden is a treat 🙂 This past week, they have been playing campout. They have been eating peas, pecans, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and wild onions. Love it! 🙂

If only feeding them was that easy all the time 😉 We love eating from our garden! Here is an example: Sweet potato, green beans & kale from our garden. Only one pecan made it on the plate as the rest were eaten right before supper. We also had baked beans but I took the picture before serving those since they are not from our garden 🙂DSC_5919Are you harvesting still or prepping your garden for the winter…or both, like us?

Check out what others are harvesting over at Daphne’s Dandelions!

Harvest Monday

October 6, 2014

We’re still able to harvest raspberriesDSC_5694 and a little bit of lettuce.DSC_5573 We are officially finishing up our last watermelon. Two months of watermelon eating from one plant — not too shabby! I need to remember to just plant one or two plants next year. After sharing, that’s about as much watermelon as my kids can take 🙂

We had a new harvest this week: Peas! DSC_5595 DSC_5596They are plumping up quite nicely. The kids volunteered to pick some. This is what they got before they grew tired of that task. I’ll go pick the rest later. It is so nice to eat peas twice a year!DSC_5725Some other good news (hopefully) is that my late-planted carrots (9/15) have sprouted! I hope they continue to grow! The first round planted here did not sprout (planted 7/30). They will DEFINITELY need to be covered over the winter so they will continue to grow in early spring.

My daughter turned 7 this past week and she wanted twice-baked potatoes for her bday. I used up the last of our potatoes to make them. They were SOOOO goood 🙂 Since

  1. we were out of potatoes
  2. some sweet potatoes were popping out of the ground
  3. the sweet potato leaves seem to have more damage

I decided to go ahead and harvest one sweet potato patch. I decided on patch #2, the raised bed.

For the past 5yrs or so, an elderly friend has been getting permission to glean sweet potatoes from a local farmer and he always gives us some. It has been such a blessing. We always get the little ones so we have grown fond of that size 😉 This past year, I took about 5 of the leftover little sweet potatoes to use as slip-makers so this whole harvest is possible because of him. I am excited that I will be able to bless him with some sweet potatoes this year (as it is getting harder for him to do any gardening).

First, I ripped up the vines and gave them to the chickens.DSC_5713 Then I went section by section and dug up sweet potatoes.DSC_5714 I am not sure if this is good or bad but these were the only ones that had damage.DSC_5715 DSC_5716 Is that wire-worm damage? We set those aside to eat first.

We got a variety of sizes. The itty-bitty ones will be cut up and used in soups. The small ones are great because they bake quickly and are individual-sized for the kids. Though the large ones are impressive, they will take FOREVER to bake…I prefer the little ones 🙂DSC_5718(This is the entire haul of the undamaged sweet potatoes.) DSC_5719 DSC_5720 DSC_5721I had two sweet potatoes that had popped out of the ground that seemed to have green on them. I thought light didn’t have that effect on sweet potatoes like it does on regular potatoes but maybe I’m wrong?DSC_5717We set them out on our brick path (weedy as it is) to dry out_CGN0456and then crated them and set them in our pantry.  We will be eating those in the blue bucket first as those are the damaged ones.DSC_5723 DSC_5724 We got a couple more harvests towards the end of the week. More peppers and some celery from our grocery store cuttings! 🙂DSC_5726 DSC_5693Our temps are fluctuating quite a bit these days. Nighttime temps were in the 40s last night but in a couple of days, we’ll be back in the 80s. We are supposed to have a colder winter this year but hopefully, it will hold off for awhile. Our first frost date is October 20th.

Are you still harvesting? Head over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what other gardeners are harvesting this week.

Garden in October, Eastern NC, Zone 7b

October 2, 2014

How on earth is it the beginning of October?

Here is what my garden (Eastern NC, Zone 7b) looks like at the beginning of October and how it has changed in a month.

First, for a point of reference, here is the garden at the beginning of September:Untitled_Panorama1And the beginning of October:DSC_5590-Edit-2Doesn’t look like much has changed from afar but up close is a different story. I thought maybe some side by sides would be helpful… [walking from east to west (bottom to top of photo) in the garden]

collagePotato Patch (future Three Sisters Patch?): Kale and Cabbage seedlings have been transplanted. All that is left is some celery and a lone lettuce plant. The rest will rest over the winter. (The area was scratched up a bit after the cows let out the chickens last week. Don’t ask.)DSC_5572Celery DSC_5573Lettuce. We just keep harvesting as we are able from this plant 🙂

The future potato patch, scratched up as it is.DSC_5570

Tomato/Pepper Patch (September/October)collage1Some of the tomato plants have gotten over the blight and are coming back strong. DSC_5575 DSC_5576The main sweet potato patch (September/October). I notice more insect holes this month. I have been waiting for first frost to harvest but I wonder if I should go ahead so there is no more damage. We are still in the mid/high-70s most days. What say you?collage4I also noticed there are A LOT of sweet potatoes popping up above the ground (still under the canopy of leaves). Is this bad? Should I go ahead and harvest them since they are doing this? DSC_5589The peas in the pea/roots patch are doing really well. Some of my roots were scratched up and others never germinated. I replanted carrots and onions and they are just starting to sprout. Hopefully they will ‘take’. Maybe if I cover them, they will continue to grow this fall so we can harvest them throughout the winter. (Sept/Oct)collage2We are getting plenty of flowers and pods and some are fat enough to harvest 🙂DSC_5580My children’s little garden is doing pretty well (at the base of sweet potato patch #2)DSC_5583 In the raised beds, spinach was planted, along with more root crops that are refusing to sprout and some more brassicas. (Sept/Oct)collage3

The over flow garden is looking a little scraggly and needs to be cleaned out.collage5but the brassicas that were transplanted from the potato patch are doing well…for the most part. I am having a hard time keeping them covered. Some of my largest cabbage plants have been eaten down to the nub. 😦 One day I’ll figure out how to properly cover crops…one day…DSC_5585This is one of the cabbages I planted from seed directly into the chicken tractor/hoop house. DSC_5586The larger of the kale were those that were transplanted from the potato patch.

The raspberries are still producing well. We need to stake them and move stragglers back into their row. That will be a winter chore.DSC_5588Below are all of the raspberry shoots that have popped outside of the row. Anyone ever had success transplanting them in the winter? I assume it will be fine but I haven’t looked into it yet. DSC_5587I am not getting any fall strawberries. I thought everbearing bore in the spring and fall. Hmmm. A little disappointing.

That’s it – our garden at the beginning of October. Harvesting a little, willing little plants to become big plants before it gets too cold, and dreaming of next year 🙂

What does your garden look like in October?

I am linking up to Green Thumb Thursdays  and Simple Lives Thursday to see what is going on in other people’s gardens.

Harvest Monday

September 29, 2014

If you recall, I had quite the TO DO list for this week. Wipes, bread, & marinara sauce making, bean cooking & freezing, and potty training…I got all of it done, except for potty training the 2yo. I’ve potty trained four children now and it never gets any easier. 😛

We are in a harvesting lull these days. My carrots did not sprout (I am going to pick up diatomaceous earth for spring plantings, thanks to homegrown adventures), our tomatoes and peppers are few and far between,DSC_5544 and the chickens got out this week to scratch up my WHOLE garden, including some newly planted carrots and ALL of our wonderfully ripe raspberries 😦 We only got a handful this week.DSC_5488(Last week, this was one picking. This week, this is all we got.)

I was able to harvest our first bit of lettuce this week! It is the first time we have been able to eat lettuce since July. I’ve missed it, for sure! I am excited to be getting back into greens-eating weather. Spinach and lettuce, here we come!Nieto Family - September 22 14 - 0002

I’ll post soon about our wonderful marinara sauce.

Head over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what other gardeners are harvesting this week 🙂