April 16, 2014

A Late Spring Frost

written by Yvonne
The snow, snap, and cow peas are all coming up (foreground).
This weekend I planted three kinds of beans and some crowder peas.
We're going to try this patch next to the house again for melons. No mystery melons that turn out to be squash, but actual melons. I planted four varieties and we'll see what happens. This area gets plenty of sun so that won't be an issue. The soil, however, is pretty dense so if things don't grow here we're going to have to work the soil more.
All the white flowers shown here will turn to blueberries. Wow! Now, if we can get to them before the birds do, we'll be in business.
The blackberries have come back as well.
To show just how fast the berries are growing, the first picture shown below is from last weekend. The next one down is one week later. If they produce as many berries as leaves, man we're gonna be happy campers!
The NC Extension service listed the last frost date as April 15. Guess they know what they're talking about because although it's been in the high 70s for about a week, all of a sudden we had a frost last night with another one tonight! Tom covered the peas, spinach, and lettuce before going to bed so hopefully they'll all survive these next two cold nights.

April 9, 2014

Spring Garden Well Under Way

written by Yvonne

One day these berry canes were just bare sticks. Next day, poof! They sprouted leaves. Tom chopped them all the way to the ground last fall. We'll see if they produce berries this year or not. Hopefully they will.

Another surprise? The oregano came back in the herb box and it's growing fast too. I cut some for drying because we are all out.

The three types of peas (snow, snap, cow) I planted two weeks ago have ALL sprouted. There are about 15 plants in all that have come up. One set of peas I forgot to plant were crowder peas Dan (Tom's brother) brought us last year. I'll get those planted this weekend or the next.

It's hard to see, but the small rows of green are lettuce. We've gotten some good rain over the last several days which has really made everything spring up.

These carrots were actually planted at the end of last fall. They survived the winter under the hoop houses and are now coming up.

Seeds were started in pots for the following items: cilantro, basil, thyme, chives, dill, two kinds of summer squash, two varieties of cucumbers, six kinds of tomatoes. Seeds were sown directly in the beds for beets and Swiss chard.

The rain really brought on a lot of spinach. Before the current plants bolt, I wanted to harvest as much as possible.

All of the collard plants began to bolt (even though it hasn't been that hot, so I'm not sure what's up with that) so I harvested all I could get from them before pulling them out. The two Russian kale plants still looked good so I left them in the ground but there wasn't enough to harvest this week.

This is the oregano to be dried after getting a quick bath.

This week's harvest produced four bags of spinach and three bags of collards. Guess what we're eating this week? Green, greens and more greens!

April 2, 2014

First Day of Spring

written by Yvonne

The seeds Tom planted several weeks ago have begun to sprout. So far what's sprouted is broccoli and/or cauliflower (yes, we're trying them both yet again).

The winter winds really made a mess of the hoop houses this year. When we put them up next fall we'll have some repairs to do for sure.

Olive always hates to see the hoop houses taken down because it means no more cats hiding underneath.

Honey did her part to help by eating as much grass as possible.

We have a great cookbook called "Greens, Glorious Greens" and it's all about how to cook all kinds of greens (imagine that).  There's one whole chapter on dandelion greens - yes, those dandelion green. The weeds that grow in your yard (pictured below.)

Bed #2 was chock full of dandelion greens. Tom has been dying to try them out in a dish but I was skeptical. I agreed to give them a try if he agreed to only harvest ones from the garden beds and not any from the yard where any number of dogs may have peed on them.  Ewww!

This is a before of bed #3 - chock full of weeds and possibly spinach.

Sure enough there was some good spinach in there!

On the other half of bed #3, I planted six varieties of lettuce. Hopefully they'll come up before it gets too hot.

Bed #2 wasn't as full of weeds because I'd already weeded half the bed not long ago.

After Tom pulled out all the dandelion greens, he uncovered some great collards, a little bit of kale, and some beets.

At the other end of bed #2 I planted cow peas, snap peas, and snow peas. That might be a bit too much for this small of an area, but we'll see.

Now THIS looks much better. The hoop houses are down for the season, three out of four beds have been weeded and planted, and the tall grass around the beds cut back.

The dogs were SO happy to enjoy the day outside, as were we.