Tag Archives: sunflower

Harvest Monday

July 27, 2015

I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of July! I typically do not look forward to the end of the summer but this year, the end of the summer means a return to full energy for me so I am excited 🙂

This week, we:

Finished cleaning up the brick path and the perennial beds around the brick path. I’m impressed, personally. It was HARD.WORK.Nieto Photography 2015We started tackling the new garden area that was overtaken by weeds this spring and by the end of the week, we finished – weeded, covered with newspaper, and mulch.Nieto Photography 2015Thick weeds on right. Holes where bermuda grass was ripped out, ready to be covered with newspaper and mulch. Nieto Photography 2015Dark mulch – finished product. Hills in the forefront – more holes where bermuda grass was ripped up, ready to be filled!

Finally, I planted more fall cabbage and broccoli and covered the seedlings with shade cloth.Nieto Photography 2015We also pulled bermuda grass that is creeping into our walking path.

Next week, we need to:

  • plant the next succession of beans and fall carrots, kale, and peas.
  • harvest the rest of the potatoes (they rot if we leave them in the soil longer than July), cure, and store
  • harvest and dry onions


This week, we harvested zucchini, patty pan squash, tomatoes, green (and purple) beans, strawberries, and potatoes. Nieto Photography 2015 (oops! I waited a bit too long 🙂 That made 2.5 zucchini quiches! Yum!)Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Nieto Photography 2015 Now that the weather has cooled out of the 100s, we are getting strawberries again! (they are caged in to keep critters out) Nieto Photography 2015We’re getting a few tomatoes 😉 We are freezing them to make marinara in the winter – basically, I cut them in half, roast them with herbs, onions, and garlic, then blend them (skins and all) in the Vitamix to make a thick, yummy sauce!

Unfortunately, every day, we find more cantaloupe and watermelon eaten. Fortunately, none of the ones we put cages over have been messed with.Nieto Photography 2015Nieto Photography 2015We were able to harvest our first melon this week! I saw a cantaloupe that looked yellow/orange. I went to check it out and saw it had already started to separate itself from the vine. I am so excited to eat it this week!Nieto Photography 2015The racoons tore apart what little corn we had this year 😦 Maybe next week, if time allows, I’ll clean up the corn patches since we won’t be harvesting any corn. There are drying beans growing up them so we’ll have to pull and dry those as we rip up the corn. The sunflowers look great but I don’t think the seeds are quite ready to harvest so we’ll leave those up a bit longer. We harvested them around the end of August last year.Nieto Photography 2015

This is the first year I have had REAL problems with critters. We will have to figure something out for next year. I was thinking about putting up netting/fencing around (AND ABOVE) the whole garden (sounds extreme but if people were stealing your food, how extreme would you get?) BUT the cat needs to get in because she keeps moles/voles out of the garden so I don’t know yet. But something needs to be done. We are losing our most expensive crops (as far as how much it would cost to buy them at the store – raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, corn, tomatoes) so something needs to be done. If only one of my kids would show interest in dog training… :\

What are you harvesting? Do you have any tried and true ways to combat critters? Check out what other gardeners are harvesting at Daphne’s Dandelions.


Getting Things DONE!

June 4, 2014


This week has been all about weeding. Normally, there is not much weeding to be done in the Back to Eden garden. However, the round of storms we had last month washed away a lot of mulch. Uncovered ground (dirt) + a lot of rain = TONS of weeds 😛

I have been going out little by little every day and weeding each section of the garden. It looks great now 🙂 Of course, if I do not cover the bare patches with more mulch, it will all be for nothing. To get the motivation up for that…

The chickens have had limited greens because the chicks are still little enough to get out of the tunnel so they have really enjoyed the fruits of my labor.

My daughter has helped some, especially with all of the wild onions. The other night, I was weeding a section of the garden when I hear, ‘Oh look, another onion!’ I look behind me and see my daughter has pulled one of my onions our of a raised bed (NOT where wild onions grow) that I grew from seed!

I have never grown onions before. It was something new I was going to try this year. I think I was able to grow about 10 successfully from the 100 seeds I planted in the greenhouses and transplant them. This one was the most impressive one. The others are not very big yet, so she didn’t see them. I replanted it right away but assume it will die 😦 so I told her to take a picture so at least I could remember how pretty it was… 😉DSC_4314Trellises

Another thing on the TO DO list is to put up trellises for the tomatoes and make the fencing for the pinto beans higher. That finally got done the other day when my husband was home from work.IMG_8094(Stakes in…) IMG_8241 (fencing up – 5 rows of tomatoes & 2.5 rows of sweet peppers)IMG_9185(stakes up for volunteer tomatoes (and my daughter’s on the far R with 2 green tomatoes already!)) _DSC1261(only had enough fencing for one side. I’ll have to figure out something for the other side.)

This is the ‘overflow garden’. Notice the apple tree on the left & right. L to R, there are two sunflower circles: yellow and then red. As you can see, the red had spotty germination. Both are new seeds from the same company. I wonder why…

There is a patch of unplanted area behind the red sunflower circle. I think I am going to plant some sweet potatoes there. I have so many slips, I am looking for more and more areas to plant them so they don’t go to waste!

The volunteer tomatoes are planted where the stakes are. In front of them are marigolds and behind them are bush beans.


I still had some more tomatoes to transplant and some volunteer marigolds 🙂 For some reason, the marigold seeds I planted in the tomato/pepper patch did not do well so I was thankful to see some volunteers from last year!_DSF9589Marigolds

I transplanted some tomatoes into pots. I have never had luck growing in pots but I had so many extra tomato plants, I thought I would give it a try. I planted the rest in the ‘overflow’ area of the garden._DSF9627Speaking of volunteers, we have some volunteer watermelon!!!_DSF9574 I planted some watermelon seed but it never germinated (was in the raised bed that does not like sprouting seeds). We saw these plants (and a couple more!) next to the tomato patch just the other day when weeding. A bird must have eaten our neighbor’s seed from his garden (he plants watermelon every year) and left us with some presents 😀 We are very excited! 🙂

Greenhouses…Lessons learned:

The only greenhouses that did well were onions planted mid January, tomato and sunflower seeds planted at the very beginning of February, and cool crops planted at the very end of February.

None of the celery seeds (planted mid January) sprouted, none of the seeds planted mid-February did anything,  nor did any of the other seeds (non-tomato) planted at the beginning of February.

I am going to do a number of things differently next year:

  • Duct tape the greenhouses (seal them) – you are supposed to and I did last year but did not this year
  • Put labels INSIDE the greenhouses (maybe the snow and rain won’t wash off the label so I can tell what was planted)
  • Wait longer? I feel like maybe some did not sprout because I was impatient with planting times but the blogger who does this year after year says they need to be in the winter weather in order to become stronger plants so…idk.

So the last TO DO chore for this week was to clean out the greenhouses and put them in the shed (so I don’t have to beg as much next year 😉 ). Once that was done, I could do a final weeding of the garden and breathe…until I realized I needed to plant the next round of succession crops AND plant up all of the sweet potato slips before the end of June.


I planted lettuce, kale, carrots (which the cat promptly scratched up), cucumbers, and zucchini this week. Next week, I’ll plant some bush beans but my main goal for next week is to plant all of the sweet potato slips! I want to have them all planted up by mid-June. Quite the lofty goal…we’ll see how it goes…

Ahhhh! I feel very productive each day, as I am getting a lot done in the garden…but it just doesn’t seem to end! When can I JUST harvest 😉 That would be nice 🙂