Tag Archives: pole beans

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. πŸ˜›

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 πŸ™‚ 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… πŸ˜› 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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜› 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 πŸ™‚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 πŸ™‚

How is your garden growing? Any tips you would like to throw my way?

I am linking up with FarmHopFriday today

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Harvest Monday

June 30, 2014

I only get about an hour every day that I can work in the garden; basically from sunup until the kids wake up. By the time I feed the baby, feed the kids breakfast, and get the baby down for a nap, it’s too hot already! I go out a couple more times for various small tasks but that is the only time I can get a large chunk of picking done.

I picked blueberries for one hour every day this week. In one hour, I was able to pick 3 bushes and got 8 Quarts of blueberries. It took me 5 days in a row to get through our 15 blueberry bushes (we have about 30 in various stages of maturity but 15 that are large enough to fruit). I’m calling it: It is officially blueberry season!

I got through all of the blueberry bushes in 5 days and other than the ones I just recently picked, they look untouched! It is hard work! But a good problem to have πŸ™‚ Starting over…

From the 40 Quarts we picked this week, I guesstimate the kids ate about 2c/day each (10c/day: 50c this week). We also have about 5 1-gallon freezer bags full of blueberries in the freezer.

A typical day’s worth of harvests this week would be 8 Quarts of blueberries, a handful of strawberries, and a cucumber (starting mid-week). Considering we thought we would not get to harvest our own strawberries until the fall or even next spring, this is quite a treat πŸ™‚ They are VERY sweet πŸ™‚

DSC_4617 DSC_4588(This was our first cucumber. They have gotten larger as the week has gone on.)

I also harvested all of our beets this week. We are going to plant more this fall and A LOT more next year!DSC_4618 DSC_4619(Small but respectable, considering the hard ground some of them were planted in.)

For breakfast Saturday morning, we had beet juice, beet-blueberry pancakes (made with the pulp from the beet juice), scrambled eggs (from our chickens), more blueberries, and one strawberry. ALL from our garden/chickens!!! πŸ˜€ I LOVE eating meals like this πŸ™‚

We also had honey-whole wheat pancakes and seconds of beet-blueberry pancakes were had by all! Btw, they are all cleansed now πŸ˜›DSC_4623(This is how I serve everyone so I don’t have to reach across the table. Ready to eat!) DSC_4625(Picture does not do the blueberry-beet pancake justice. It was a beautiful pink!)DSC_4631(Everyone loved the beet juice as well πŸ™‚ )

We also harvested a lot of kale this week. We always make mean green juice with our kale (we also eat kale salads & saute our kale to eat) but this week, we were able to add beet greens as well to the juice.DSC_4616

We are still buying our cucumbers for juicing because one/day is not enough for all the juicing we do but we are enjoying munching on our cucumber for lunches. Nothing is going to waste, that is for sure!DSC_4615

Remember those sweet potatoes I pulled up last week? No sense in those going to waste! I was not sure which were my ‘seed’ potatoes so I was unsure what they looked like on the inside after growing slips for 2 months. I decided to cut them up and roast them with cinnamon.

Along with that, we had baked beans made in the crockpot, green beans from the garden and salad from the garden. I apologize for the picture. The darkness makes it look less appetizing than it was. It was yummy! πŸ™‚DSC_4612 DSC_4614Oh yeah, that was the other thing harvested this week! Pole beans! I planted pole beans all throughout the corn patch. I can only pick those that are on the outside because everything has grown so densely but the point of them was to vine up the corn to keep the raccoons away so I am okay with only harvesting the outsides. They were leftover seeds anyway πŸ˜‰

I think that’s everything! I look at people’s vacation photos and am jealous — I so long for a week at the beach! — but at the same time, I would never want to go on vacation when there are so many wonderful things to eat from the garden! Maybe in September when harvests slow down a bit…we’ll see…

We are getting about 16 eggs/day. We had to get rid of the lovely rooster this week. It attacked my 5yo when he went to give compost to the chickens one day 😦 scratchWe are hoping our white chick (we’re pretty sure it is a roo) will not attack our little people. We would LOVE to have (and keep!) a rooster one day :\

Head on over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others are harvesting and how they are consuming their harvests πŸ™‚

Harvest Monday

September 9, 2013

Last week we harvested the last cantaloupe 😦 No more fresh garden fruit until next year…but I am hoping to have strawberries in the Spring so I am looking forward to that already!

We harvested plenty of veggies this week, however!

DSC_2922Do you see the tomato? The bugs are enjoying them. A lot. So I have started picking them earlier and letting them ripen on the counter instead of on the vine. And do you see my peas?!?! They are long! and filled out πŸ™‚

DSC_2933Here are some more πŸ™‚ I was starting to get excited about upcoming harvests!

DSC_2925And then…

DSC_2924Of course it wasn’t this bad right away but when I saw it was munched down quite a bit, we assumed it was a deer, gave haircuts, and hoped for the best. Well, the hair did nothing and the next day we saw rabbitΒ  poop in the garden and all the peas were chewed down to the nub. Sigh. Very sad.

So, once all the peas were gone, I started noticing a shortage of carrot tops. I have a few beds covered but I only have so much bird netting – it is on the list to buy soon!

One bed was eaten up so much, I decided to go ahead and pull the baby carrots…better little carrots than no carrots at all πŸ™‚ They were pretty sweet.

September 07 13 - 0001I also harvested a sweet red pepper and some less-than-ripe tomatoes. By the way, you can see in the photo how many of the tops were being nibbled down.

We are continuing to harvest pole and bush beans. I can’t believe the kids haven’t gotten sick of them yet! I’m not complaining though. πŸ™‚

DSC_2931(some lettuce thinnings, spinach, and pole beans)September 07 13 - 0002(bottom of bowl filled with beans, top with lettuce)

I am SO enjoying eating greens from the garden! I love that it is organic! I love that it is free! πŸ˜€

What are you harvesting? Are you still harvesting summer veggies? Harvesting any fall veggies yet? Are you about to go crazy with the critters?

By the way, we got a cat this week (my mother-in-law’s). We are training it to stay at our house and trying to cover the crops temporarily. This cat is huge and apparently has been known to ‘take care’ of bunnies so…we’ll see. I like the fact that I am able to collect rabbit poo in the chicken run but not too excited about having rabbits in my garden, eating my favorite veggies!!!

I am linking up with Daphne’s Dandelions this week – go see what everyone else is up to!

PS. Chickens are 27 weeks old today. Anyone ever heard of healthy chickens NEVER laying? πŸ˜‰

Harvest Monday

September 2, 2013

This week, I harvested one cantaloupe, two cucumbers, many pole and snap beans, one bell pepper, a few peas and some tomatoes.

August 28 13 - 0001 August 28 13 - 0008 August 29 13 - 0024 August 30 13 - 0021 My tomato plants are starting to look pretty ragged. The tomatoes that are unripened look great but as soon as they start to ripen, a brown caterpillar is eating holes all through them. Yuck. Friday, I cleaned up the garden & picked many bugs, hoping to be able to harvest more tomatoes a bit longer.

August 29 13 - 0013(Before pruning the tomatoes and getting rid of some un-producing cantaloupe vines)

August 31 13 - 0014

(after…I may have pruned too much but I guess we’ll see!)

A new thing I am harvesting again is lettuce! and Spinach!August 30 13 - 0022I needed to thin the lettuce and went ahead and picked all of the baby spinach. It is enough for a meal and a half. We ate most of it one night with shredded apple on top (the kids’ favorite) and the other night, we just ate it raw with other fresh veggies (pepper, peas, and cucumber).

Eating these things from the garden means

  • NOT buying them from the store (we eat A LOT of salads)
  • eating organic produce (there are no organic lettuce options in our small town)

And I always LOVE growing a fall garden. This is my third year gardening year round and the fall garden is by far my favorite – way more laid back than a summer garden or even a spring garden, what with all the seed starting, and we are able to eat some of our favorite produce during this season πŸ™‚

Lastly, we STILL have not collected a single egg 😦 Just a recap, I have 8 Buff Orpington Hens, 1 Buff Orpington Rooster, 10 Black Australorp Hens, and 1 Barred Rock Hen (Bantam, I think). They are 26 weeks old today. From 7am until it gets dark, each bird has 15 sq.ft (300 sq. ft total) of grassy area to roam, eat, sleep, etc. They have access to their coop (with 6 nesting boxes). Periodically, we allow them to go into the run, which is a large wooded area with plenty of room for shade and dust baths. We keep them out of the run for the most part right now for two reasons:

  1. We have not clipped their wings and they fly out (where foxes get them).
  2. They have not laid any eggs and there are plenty of places to hide eggs there…we want them to ‘know’ where the proper place to lay is first.

Let’s talk about what they look like:

August 29 13 - 0022I have about 3 Australorps and 1 Orpington whose combs and wattles are growing larger and redder but the rest look like the Orpington in the picture: very fat and healthy looking but barely any comb and the comb they do have is pale. If they were younger, I would say these are healthy signs that they are going to lay soon. (The ones with red combs are allowing the rooster to ‘mount’ them as well.) But as they are already 26 weeks, I am wondering if something could be wrong? Or maybe the only thing that’s wrong is how impatient I am πŸ˜‰ Any chicken people, PLEASE give me your thoughts! πŸ™‚

How are your gardens growing? Check out what everyone else is harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions!

Harvest Monday

August 26, 2013

I was able to harvest my first cantaloupe this week (and 2nd, 3rd, & 4th)! They are pretty small but sweet so we are happy with them. I am going to order new seeds next year.

lope1(first cantaloupe) 20 harvest(second cantaloupe, first peas, Roma, cherry, and Amish Paste tomatoes, cucumber, and red bell pepper)

Because of the craziness this spring of transplanting everything, I just assumed I was harvesting Roma tomatoes this whole season. After I harvested that one Cherokee purple tomato though, I started really noticing how pointy some of my ‘Romas’ were… Lo and behold, they are Amish Paste! – the other tomato seeds Daphne sent me a number of years ago – and they are doing great! πŸ™‚

I freeze the tomatoes and in the winter I will use them in soups and make them into sauce. I don’t want to heat up my kitchen in the summer if I can help it. The cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, and cantaloupe were eaten that night with our supper.

Our cucumber plant is being shaded by our pole beans so it is not giving us many cucumbers. I have another cucumber plant growing but we’ll see – nothing yet from that plant.

Our squash plant had a short season as well. I have had 4 die, never producing fruit. I stayed really diligent with those – keeping all of the bugs and eggs off. I left this one alone though, thinking maybe I poked and prodded the others too much? Anyway, the bugs have completely taken over the producing squash plant so I had to just throw it to the chickens. They’ll enjoy the bugs and maybe that added protein will help them finally give me some eggs! πŸ˜› Twenty-five weeks and counting! I wish someone could come over and tell me what I’m doing wrong, if anything…

My pea plants are looking good but the peas they are producing are really small! Well, the pods, anyway. The peas are nice and fat but most of the pods only have 1,2 or 3 peas in them. Is this because of the heat? I’ve never had a lot of success with fall-planted garden peas so I am not sure if this is normal or not…

harvest2(more cantaloupes, tomatoes, peas, red bell peppers, pole beans)

We are continuing to pick beans (pole and bush) a couple of times a week. I can’t believe we are not tired of them yet! The plan was to freeze them once we got sick of eating them fresh so we would have plenty for the winter. I do not even have a gallon freezer bag full yet! I’ll have to make a note to plant MANY more next year!

Two other things that were ‘harvested’ this week: Tomato Horn Worms and POISON IVY.

We have poison ivy growing around one of our blueberry bushes. Every year my husband pulls it but it is wrapped around the base & roots so it grows back again. This year, I was pulling weeds so I went ahead and pulled it, put it in the woods, and went inside to wash my hands with dish soap. I have never reacted to poison ivy so I was surprised the next day when I saw some on my forearm. It has been almost a week and a half now and I am COVERED. Arms, hands, torso, legs…no pics (you’re welcome). I have not slept in the past 4Β  nights so I am constantly exhausted and oh so much fun to be around. Please tell me it goes away eventually!!!

We were doing our nightly walk around the garden last night and I saw a horn worm.

waspsI told my 7yo to get her camera and while she was getting it, I saw 3 more.

lots o worms(look carefully! there are three here (bottom one covered in wasp eggs)

We walked around, taking pictures of horn worms, paralyzed by hornets & covered in eggs and picking off horn worms not yet paralyzed. There were 15 in all! (only three were not covered in eggs)

3 hornThe chickens were not interested in eating the horn worms, which I thought was curious. Anyone else had their chickens turn their noses up to horn worms?

Speaking of the chickens, the rooster is mounting a couple hens whose combs are growing larger and redder every day! The anticipation is at a feverish pitch!

Check out what everyone else is harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions this week πŸ™‚