Tag Archives: tomato starts

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!

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Harvest Monday

May 12, 2014

This week started off with more strawberry picking! 🙂 Yum! My back was not a fan though. I think we’ve had our fill of strawberry shortcake for awhile…well, I say we have. I know my kids could have it every night!

Because of the storms last week, the mulch guys had about three more loads to bring us this week. The smell of freshly chipped tree is HEAVENLY!

Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0503In the Garden

I planted some more bush beans, flowers, and spaghetti squash and we started putting up trellises for our climbing beans.Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0483

We’ll make the trellises taller as needed…

More things are sprouting!

  • Sunflowers
  • CornNieto Family - May 10 14 - 0467(look really closely! the corn is in the middle. i hope it is able to grow! i may take out a bean plant or two to give it a fighting chance)
  • Squash, Cucumbers, Melons (all look the same when they are seedlings)Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0447
  • Flowers

Chicks and another Broody Hen!

We put the 6 week old chicks with the rest of the chickens and it went really smoothly! They are getting BIG! Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0517(They are seven weeks old and do not compare at all to the other chicks we ordered when they were 7 weeks old. These are HUGE! Amazing what a difference it makes when chicks are raised with their mamas, on pasture from the very beginning!)

Another selling point to getting them out of the dog crate is that we have another broody hen! 😀 Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0553(Unfortunately, hers is the only nesting box that did not get cleaned out so it is all poopy 😦 But there was no moving her — she made sure of that!)

I was waiting to clean out the coop and add more wood shavings whenever we stopped putting the dog crate in and out every night. Wood shavings were getting pushed all around by doing that so it really was pointless to add more shavings.

So, the day after we moved the chicks in with everyone, moved the dog crate out, and right before a friend brought over more fertilized eggs, I went ahead and cleaned out the coop and added more wood shavings. I did not do a deep cleaning…just scraped the poop off of the roosting table and out of the nesting boxes, and added a lot more wood shavings.Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0554(Now all of the nesting boxes (save the one where the broody hen is) are nice and clean)

As before, I dumped all of the cleanings into the run. The flies had gotten pretty bad in the coop since it had been so long since I had cleaned it. The chickens enjoyed scratching through the ‘cleanings’, eating fly larvae, etc. after I dumped it into the run. I do not like doing it, but I sure do like the look and smell of a newly-cleaned chicken coop! And all of that aged poop, wood shavings, grass clippings, and chicken scraps make a great addition to the garden!

The last time we had a broody hen, we had issues with other hens taking over her box, trying to eat her eggs, etc. We decided the problem was that we did not have enough nesting boxes so after the chicks hatched, we added 4 more. We hope that will take care of that and we will not have any problems with this broody hen. My daughter is excited that we will get new chicks just a few days after her birthday! 🙂

She has done a good job staying on her nest…so well in fact, we have been unable to count her eggs. The day after our unpleasant surprise (see below), she was finally off of her nesting box, getting some water and we noticed 4 eggs missing! This same sort of thing happened with the other broody hen before (3 eggs went missing). I have no clue what happened to the eggs…either time. My husband mentioned that since the coop door could have been open the whole day prior, anything could have happened to them. She now has 8 eggs under her and it has been less than a week. As always, we’ll just have to wait and see…

(Unpleasant) Surprise

We decided to take a day beach trip and a trip to the Aquarium as a last hoorah before the baby comes. It was a wonderful day! We came home and…the coop door was WIDE open :\

We are always trying to teach the children responsibility. The oldest child is the only one who has picked up on it thus far…but we continue to try! My husband told child #2 (6.5yo) to give the chickens some food and guess who didn’t bother closing the coop correctly?

SO, when we got home, some of my corn was scratched up, my sweet potato slip growing area was dug up, some place where I planted spinach and tomatoes…the largest area to be nearly ruined was my potato patch…specifically, the beautiful blue potatoes!

If you recall, after we plant them, we cover them with 8″ of mulch. Chickens LOVE a pile of mulch! So, they dug up that patch really well! 😦 I tried to recover everything with mulch. I only saw one potato sprout completely eaten; most were just uncovered and moved around. I was very sad to see the destruction but it could have been MUCH, MUCH, MUCH worse so at the same time, I was very thankful that it was only as bad as it was.

Starts

I have never bought starts. I have always been able to start my own tomatoes and last year was able to start my own peppers. This year, very few of my greenhouses did well. Other than our unusually snowy, never-ending winter, I did fail to seal the greenhouses with duct tape. I did not think it would make much of a difference but I am making a note to do so next year.

I decided to go ahead and buy some tomato and pepper starts this year as I still do not have any respectable-looking tomato or pepper plants growing yet. My daughter’s birthday is coming up and she asked her grandparents for some tomato starts for her birthday. So, at the end of the week, we picked up some cherry tomatoes, brandywine, roma, and some early girl tomatoes to get our tomato patch started. We will pick up some peppers and more tomatoes this week. I am not used to spending this much on the garden (I generally spend money on seeds but nothing else) but it’s either this or no tomatoes this year and I do realize all of the tomatoes we will get from our starts will more than pay for themselves in the long run so I will just grin and bear it and next year, try to grow some more! 🙂

Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0497(my daughter’s tomato plant) Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0461(A volunteer tomato I discovered in the corn patch (was the tomato patch last year)! It will be transplanted when it gets older 🙂 ) Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0443(Early Girl, Brandywine, Roma Tomato Starts)

Harvests

We’re down to about 14 eggs/day. We have two hens not laying (new mama & broody) but production has gone down more than I expected. I would not be surprised if we found a nesting place somewhere in the near future…

I am hoping next week, I will be able to share our first harvest of kale, lettuce, and/or spinach. Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0480(Pinto beans to the left, then kale, and carrots to the right)

Then again, even more than that, I would love to share next week that we’ve ‘harvested’ our own baby 😉 That is not up to me, though. We’ll just see what the Lord has in store…

Check out what everyone else has going on in their gardens around the world at Daphne’s Dandelions 🙂