Archive for the ‘Critters’ Category

Weekly Update: 1/30/11

January 30, 2011

Weekly Update:  1/30/2011

Planting time has started.

 

Yesterday we (once again) removed covers from some of our boxes since we have a few days of weather averaging above freezing.

 

Voles continue to be a periodic problem.  Other than saturation bombing our garden I’m not sure there is a way to get rid of all of them.

 

*Something* chewed through the plastic fencing to get into a box that has nothing planted in it.  Then it dug around in a wide shallow area.  We have no idea what possessed whatever critter it was.

 

We also cleaned the seed germination area and got everything ready for today.  We’re planting yellow granex onions, dawn giant leeks, and what might be our last effort at broccoli and cauliflower, three varieties of the broccoli and two of the cauliflower.  We’ve not had much luck with them the past several years, and if we don’t get some production this year we’ll probably just reassign the garden space to something that does produce.

 

We have been doing mung bean sprouts for over a year now, when the fit hits us.  We like them in salads, particularly.  We recently purchased a mason jar sprouting lid so that we can do smaller seeds, and picked up a sprout mixture at the same time consisting of alfalfa, radish, mung bean, lentil, and broccoli.  Grabbed one of our quart canning jars, and now we’re off to the races.

 

We’ve been enjoying the fruits of our canning efforts from this summer.  Pepper jelly, pickles (cucumbers), pickled jalapenos, green beans, tomato sauce, and other products.  So far the feedback from our Christmas gifts of pepper jelly and watermelon rind pickles has been very positive.

 

My father gifted me with venison and quail and wild ducks recently.  Last night I cooked duck breasts, and tomorrow I’m doing some venison steaks.  I’ll attach the recipe for the duck breasts in the recipe section, they were delicious.  For the other of us, it was the first time she’d had wild duck, so I’m pleased they came out.

 

 

9/5 Weekly Garden Update

September 5, 2010

Green beans

We are now clearly into late season garden phases here.  No rain for at least the past couple weeks (Earl notwithstanding) and there is none forecast for the next 10 days either.

Garden 1

Garden 2

The cursed deer ate my 6 apples on the other apple tree that was producing this year.  I would curse them less had I had a chance to have eaten just one from it.  They also stripped the tips of several limbs of leaves.

Garden 3

Garden 4

We have begun ripping out a few tomato vines, all the blue lake bush beans, and we plan to continue as items stop producing.

Garden 5

However we’re still getting harvests of cucumbers, tomatoes, Dutch half-runner green beans, field peas, butter beans, and all kinds of peppers.  I have enough picked anchos now to dry, and they should make the base of a nice chili powder.

Anchos, etc.

Melons, etc.

Charentais

We got 2 charentais melons, and 1 moon & stars watermelon.  We have more ripening of both.  The butternut squash is now putting more of its efforts into making little squashes, if it continues at this rate and we are able to harvest all of them we might get as many as 20 to store in the basement and eat throughout the winter.

Field peas & Eggplant

We’re still putting up green beans.  The last time I canned them, I had a rare occurrence, i.e., a jar that didn’t seal.  We warmed them up in the microwave and they were really really good, clearly the next best thing ever to having them fresh from being picked.  They beat the dickens out of the blanched and frozen ones we did last year.

Bucket o' Harvest

One day's pickins'

Voles are seeking to make inroads.  I keep trying to poison them as fast as they show new tunnels.  Sammie Squirrels are stealing tomatoes and running off to the woods with them, little orang- red blobs in their mouths.  Deer are starting to nibble on our green bean vines.  I seriously contemplate building a deer blind on my porch so that I can have some nice venison tenderloins, squirrel stew & barbecued squirrel.

Peppers

Sage

Mustard and kale seedlings are doing well!  Cabbages, broccoli and other brassicas are coming along.  The lettuce and carrots could not stand the heat and the desiccation we are currently having and will have to be replanted.

Seedlings

Seedlings 2

We put up another cover on a box.  This morning it was 67 degrees outside, fall is peeking over the horizon of Labor Day.

Irrepressible Basil

Squash & Melon plants

Parsley

Lettuce in a Box

Well that’s all for now!

Weekly Garden Update: August 22

August 22, 2010

Well we’ve had an eventful week.

The dog discovered 3 small rabbits living in amongst the butter beans.  She got one, thankfully killed it quickly.  One ran across the yard into the woods, and one hid successfully (except from us) in the box.  Three days later I was mowing by a large oak stump, and one of the two remaining small rabbits leaped out from under an oak sucker and then froze in a patch of tall grass.  I picked it up, and carried out into the woods past the invisible fence, and let it go in the brushpile hedgerow I’ve been building since we moved in, telling it “This is where you can live, if you are smart.  Learn to avoid the dog, and don’t dig in my boxes and you’ll be just fine.”

Squash!

BIG squash

Lettuce, broccoli raab, broccoli, cauliflower, the kale, brussels sprouts, mustards, swiss chard, and beets are all coming up and doing well.  We’ve decided we want to cover at least 2 more boxes for the fall / winter.

The tomatoes have begun the “losing leaves” process a bit more stringently.  We’re still getting a decent harvest, but it is clear now that the peak has come and gone.

Volunteers

Box 1

Box 2

Box 3

The melons and the butternut continue their mad plan to “cover the earth”.  I’ve named them Pinky and Brain.

Melons & Butternut

We had a delicious eggplant this week, and we have another one to harvest tomorrow or the next day for another meal, and yet another one that will be ready the next week.  We’ve decided that one eggplant a week production is ideal.

Harvest!

More Harvest!

We have harvested green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, 1/2 a melon, field peas, butter beans, and all sorts of peppers.

Pimientos, Anchos, Cucumber, Serranos

Peas and a few Butter Beans

Did ya see how I slipped in that “1/2 a melon”?  Yeah, that’s right.  We came down the morning we were going to harvest the charentais melon, and some critter had removed it from the vine, moved it, and carefully carefully eaten one-half of it, leaving a nice little pile of seeds next to it.  I just have to figure it was a raccoon.  I took pictures of in “in-situ”, brought it in and washed it, cleaned out the seeds and pulp, and got 5 nice little slices out of it.  I can only imagine the joy of the critter that got to eat the other half.

Half a charentais

In canning news, I pickled oodles of Jalapenos this week, as well as tomato sauce, and green beans.

And last, but not least THE APPLE

The Apple

This is the first apple ever from this particular tree.  Being so, it occupies a unique position in my wee brain, rather like having the first sip of water from a well.  I put it on some porcelain and took pictures of it, and we plan to eat it with great ceremony.   Ok, fine, so I’m a romantic.

Marconi 1

Another Marconi

Oregano

Russets

Yukons

Bells

Basil

Cayenne & Serrano

Cayenne, Serrano, Jalapeno

Ancho

Little House on the Piedmont

June 27, 2010

On the vine

We’re feeling like we live in Little House on the Prairie this week, as we bought canning supplies, wide-mouth canning jars, and a small (16-qt) Presto Pressure Canner.

New Canner

Canned Green Beans!

Our first experiment today was 3 pints of haricot vert, and we’re surprisingly excited.  We are already developing a list of things to can, and gathering treasured recipes (like Peach Pickles!) from family.  Watermelon rind pickles, cucumber pickles, radish pickles, HOT pepper jelly, etc.  Next thing you know I’m going to seriously need a pickling crock and grape leaves.

The voles have been absent – no losses on our part, no vole sign or dead voles in traps.  Is this just a cease-fire, or have we won ….until next time?

Tomatoes 1

Tomatoes 3

Tomatoes 6

We are harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers and haricot vert and yellow summer squash daily.  I just haven’t been able to get myself worked up about weighing any of it so far, though I think about it sometimes.  There are really only two of us, and we measure our success more by what we end up buying (or the lack of) than what we are producing, since she keeps excellent records on what we buy as part of the budget process.

Ready to Eat

Little onions

Squash

New Potatoes

From now on we can harvest celery whenever we please, until we run out or the frost comes.

Celery box

Eggplants are blossoming, as are the Blue Lake green beans.  Dutch half-runners and butter beans are putting out tendrils.

Eggplant blossom

Blue Lakes

The sage, tarragon, and rosemary have completely restored themselves since the last harvesting, and the dill is out-growing my efforts to use it.  Basil is setting up nicely, and we have 2 different mints that I just mow back whenever we have to mow.

Sage

Basil

Potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers are still growing.  I am topping and suckering each tomato plant as it reaches 8’.  We got some new potatoes this week, and plan to harvest the rest of the box most affected by the voles, then replant organic russets, like we already replanted the organic Yukon golds, which are growing nicely.

Potatoes

Potatoes

Recent Yukon Golds

We have some really large cayenne peppers growing, as well as pimento, Serrano, anaheims (harvested 2 more this week), anchos, jalapenos (harvested 3 for another round of the muffins)…well we have a lot of peppers.

Peppers

The Japanese beetle season is here, and it is open season on them.  We have beetle bag traps up, and they’re filling nicely.  No significant damage from them yet except for a few apple trees leaves, so far.

Happy Cucumber

We had to pull up a box of cucumbers and zucchini, which is always frustrating and disappointing.  We replanted in another open box, and the plants are already leaping up.  We’re not sure, but we *think* they were hit hard by an unidentified (so far) brown bug that were all over them.  We squished them, and have been squishing any signs of them, and no replication of the problem yet.  If anyone had a clue about this vague problem, we’d be pleased to consider any theories.

Flower

Weekly Garden Update: Summer Solstice 2010

June 20, 2010

8' Tomato

Tomatoes have once again outgrown our 8’ trellis.  Last year they grew up and then started back down, with the longest one having a total length of approximately 14 feet.  This year I’m topping them as they hit the 8’ mark, and plan to sucker more of them as well.

Tomatoes

San Marzanos

The war of attrition against the vole menace seems to be tilting our way.  In the last 2 weeks we’ve only lost 1 celery plant and 1 eggplant, and we have racked up 2 voles in traps, and a total lack of new vole hole activity.  (I started humming the Ballad of Roger Young while I wrote this (chuckle)).

We took another step this week away from the mainstream:  we bought canning supply implements and wide-mouth pint Mason jars.  With our large metal pots, this will allow us to do water-bath canning.  We’re seriously considering splurging on a pressure canner at some point as well.

Haricot Verts

We harvested haricot vert at least 4 days out of the past 6!  Oh, snap beans galore to be steamed and gobbled.  We’ve been harvesting a few yellow squash which were promptly sautéed in butter and devoured.  We got our first Anaheim pepper off the vine, and we have jalapenos, cayenne, and Italian Rellenos growing.  At least one tomato is coming off the vines daily.

Squash!

Harvest

Today we harvested our first cucumber, and more celery.  More cucumbers will be harvestable tomorrow or the next day.

Cucumber

Celery

It has been 15 days since we racked the garlic, and this morning I cleaned and polished the bulbs after trimming down the stems and the roots.  I separated damaged bulbs or bulbs with little or no paper covering to be eaten sooner.  I smell like garlic.

We pulled up all the snow peas this morning, and reworked the bed.  And we weeded and tidied up and picked squash bugs, etc.

Field Peas (Cow Peas)

Butter Beans

Dutch Half-Runners

The butter beans, field peas, and Dutch half-runners are growing nicely, as you can see here.

Here is our butternut squash growing up the trellis, and in the background are the tomatillos.

Butternut Squash

Last but not least, this is a color of day lily of which I am particularly fond, and a couple of extra photos from the garden.

Day Lily

Melons

Yukon Gold Potatoes - Planted recently

Haricot Vert

Weekly Garden Update: June 5&6

June 6, 2010

Let the Sun Shine…

It is 87 degrees in the shade at 10:30 am.  Tomorrow is supposed to be hotter.  The Relative humidity is around 80%.  So yeah, it’s hot and muggy.  What did you expect in rural North Carolina?

This week we harvested dill, rosemary, and sage.  Herb harvests have settled in to become a weekly thing, and so I’m taking to flavoring what we eat accordingly.

Harvested Celery

We harvested some heads of celery, snowpeas, the rest of the broccoli.  We have finished harvesting all our mature lettuces.  We harvested cauliflower, and have still a head or two before we’re done with them for the spring.  We harvested the rest of the garlic scapes, and froze most of them.

Curing Garlic 1

Curing Garlic 2

Also, we did our Garlic Harvest, all hardnecks:

45 French Rose

28 Purple Glaze

22 Brown Tempest

13 Random Bulbs of the above 3 (last week)

03 Green Garlic (previous harvest, eaten)

111 Garlic Total.  This is very close to the number that we planted October 17th, and we’re counting garlic as a rousing success.  Surprising and happy-making because it was the first time either of us has fooled with garlic.  A local farmer is using a piece of lattice to hang and cure their garlic on, so we followed suit and hung some plastic netting on a cattle panel under our screened porch to cure them.  With any luck, this will give us enough garlic to eat for at least half a year, plus enough seed garlic to plant most of this fall’s crop, though we are planning on supplementing this with some softnecks from a local source that has been growing one particular variety as seed stock (and eating stock) for over 25 years.

Cauliflower

This weekend we are planting:  running conch field peas (cow peas), Henderson bush baby lima beans, old Dutch half-runner green beans (these bear profusely and accounted for a plurality of our green beans last year), Yukon gold potatoes.  These are going into the garlic boxes and broccoli and cauliflower boxes.  The potatoes are going into a radish and carrot box which has been resting for about a month.  We had to amend our planting plan because the snowpeas are still producing and we didn’t want to tear them up.

Bloody Butchers

We have tomatoes ripening on the vine, 3 of them are red already, all Bloody Butchers.  The san marzano tomatoes are growing nicely.  I predict tomato biscuits in my future.  There is nothing like biting into a hot fresh biscuit with a slice of a real tomato that has been salted and peppered with a dab of butter melting over it.  We get our butter from the dairy 4 miles down the road and I find that it compares favorably with most European butters that are available in the fancier grocery stores locally.

San Marzanos

Acorn squash and yellow squash are lurking behind golden blossoms.  Zucchini and butternuts are not far behind.

Acorns

Yellow Squash

The haricot vert are in full bloom.  Hopefully the green bean deluge will begin soon.

Haricot Vert in Bloom

Cucumbers and climbing squash are attempting to take over the world with their little pale green clutching tendrils.  I find myself talking to them as I would to a pet (or myself) as I alternatively scold and encourage them to grow properly up the cattle panels, and not through the border fencing or into the neighboring bush squash.

Cucumbers

We have actual peppers on the vines, in this case, cayennes.  Oh those practical, prolific, satisfying hot peppers that make you feel like you might know what you’re doing.  In my humble opinion these are easier to grow than radishes anytime, if someone is a beginning gardener.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne #2

We’ve killed 2 more voles in traps in the past 10 days.  Vole depredations are down again, perhaps our continued efforts are actually whittling them down.  The warfarin we get from Kaput is now being applied every 4 days rather than only when we get an outbreak.   I worry about our hawks that live near us, but just yesterday both of them were overflying the garden and the yard as usual.  The local squirrel population doesn’t seem to have been affected yet, and they are the only other critters that we regularly see in the garden.  Just this morning we watched from our windows as one in the potato box scaled a potato plant, and balancing delicately, swayed back and forth, then jumped out over the fencing.  He jumped twice and landed on a t-post on the celery box, perched there and chattered, then leapt down into this box as well.  We ran out onto the screen porch and hollered at him:  the celery box is littered with mouse traps and buried warfarin – he cleared out in a hurry at the unwanted introduction of the crazy humans.

Tomatoes 6

We’re not sure what to do with extra celery leaves.  Neither of us thinks they will freeze as well as the stalks, and we’re not sure that they can be dried and used effectively either, though we are likely to try.  We have more leaves than we can chop and eat this week, so please, if you have any suggestions, leave a comment.

In the Celery Forest

Welcome to the Jungle

Tomatoes 1

Soil worked Box ready for planting

Squash

Peppers

Weekly Garden Update: May 30th

May 30, 2010

Weekly Garden Update:  May 30th

Episode V:  The Voles Strike Back

Voles got 4-6 more potato stalks this week, 4 more celery plants, and forced us to harvest carrots which could have used more time, but which were being decimated.  We shall not give up the fight.  There is no try, do or do not.

We harvested 9 18” long tarragon stalks today, and they are currently drying on a cookie sheet in a 175 degree oven.

Tarragon

Yesterday we harvested fresh dill, and we have more we can grab whenever we need it.

Dill

We have been harvesting garlic scapes as they get ready, and I’ll be posting a brief “things to do with garlic scapes” just before this update, so there will be a link here.  Also we have started testing some of the garlic bulbs and are beginning to cure them.

Curing Garlic

Snow peas have been coming in faster than we can eat them for some time now, so we are eating raw snow peas in salads, lightly steamed snow peas as sides, and snow peas in nearly all the dishes in which we put mixed veggies.  We are freezing a lot of them as well.  It is looking like they are slowing down however, as there are few new blooms, so maybe the snow pea harvest is coming to an end.

Tomatoes

The strawberry season in central northern NC came to an abrupt halt, as no one at 3 farmers’ markets I know of had any this week, and the pick-your-own place across the street from us has closed for the season.  One farmer speculated that it was the lack of rain followed by 4 inches in one week followed by increasing temperatures that caused the strawberries to close up shop and return to fairy-strawberry-land so quickly (“…And the little streams of alcohol come a-trickling down the rocks…”).

Tomatoes!

Tomatoes

There are over 50 tomatoes on the vines!  Long oblong ones, small spheroid ones, clusters of them, and blooms blooms blooms are all toot-tootin’ along.

Celery

Celery that isn’t being attacked by voles is doing very well.  In fact, we were able to rescue some of the stalks of the ones that had their roots eaten by voles, and I used fresh celery in the clam chowder I made up last night.  From now until the end of the season we have celery that can be harvested at will (at least those the voles don’t get).  We still have over 36 stalks going, so hopefully we’ll still be harvesting celery at Thanksgiving.

Peppers

We replanted eggplants and peppers this week, and transplanted basil and cilantro we have been growing in containers inside.  We have oregano, rosemary, and lemongrass to be harvested at will.  We harvested another whole row of lettuces this week, lettuce production is finally petering off, though we have some new mesclun mix which is coming up nicely.

Squash

Cucumbers starting Tendrils

Garlic

May 23 Garden Update

May 23, 2010

The Vole War continues, and we seem to be winning a few rounds.  We’ve found 3 dead voles in traps and 1 just lying on the ground.  We haven’t lost any celery plants in over a week, and most of the rest of the predation seems to have slowed down since Thursday.

Cucumbers

However before this we lost 6 of 8 eggplants, 5 pepper plants, and one of our potato boxes has had about 75% of its stalks wiped out.  I put down Warfarin again today in those three boxes, hoping that the cessation of activity since Thursday is a result of many dead little furry bodies somewhere.

Zucchini

We harvested the rest of our spring kale this week, along with more carrots and 4 separate harvests of snow peas.

Carrots & Snowpeas

The watermelon radishes were not making in accordance with her expectations (none to date) and she pulled them up as an example to any other non-performing plants.

Yellow squash

We planted a box of blue lake green beans where the kale was, along with replanting of eggplant and pepper seedlings we got from a local gardening center.  We’re seriously considering if we can reseed some potatoes.

Celery

The tomatoes are couldn’t be happier, and are flowering like crazy.

Tomatoes

Peppers

Winter Squash

More tomatoes

Haricot Verts

Even more Tomatoes

RAIN.

May 19, 2010

We have almost 4 inches of rain in the big gauge from the past 72 hours.  Over 3 inches of it on Monday, enough to put a gully through the mulch at one place, and another gully down the driveway.

After only having 0.75 inches in the previous 45 days, we certainly needed rain.  It came down in sheets, thick enough to obscure the green forest around us in a blur, drumming on the roof in that thick quiet hum, like standing in the middle of a power station, feeling the electricity thrum through you.

The garden loved it.

A couple of weeks ago, right after we put the peppers in, it got down to the upper 30s at night two nights in a row.  It seems to have halted the peppers’ growth a bit, hopefully they will pick up again now.

Snow Peas

We direct seeded Greek and Genovese basil this past week to augment the container plantings, as we harvested some lettuce plants (enough for 2 weeks of eating).  There is still at least a month’s worth of lettuce out there.  We harvested all the spinach we had left, as it was starting to bolt.

Lettuces

The haricot verts are growing well, as are the cucumbers.  We filled in a few gaps where some seeds didn’t germinate with new seed.

Lettuces

Spinach

This is our first really successful planting of snow peas.  We have tried them 3 times before, and were about to give up on them in this environment.  Lo and behold, they are growing up to 6 feet high, and we’ve now harvested 2 meals from them, with a lot more coming.  The blossoms are lovely on them.

Snow Peas

Taters

Some of the potatoes are blooming.  Apparently voles ate 8 of the stalks coming up, ruining at least 4 hills of our potatoes in the lowest box and 2 hills in another box.

Our onions are doing waaaay better than last year.  The sets are still much farther ahead than the seeded ones, but one of the varieties of the seeded ones are far ahead of the rest.  Hopefully they will make this year.  At this time last year we already knew the onion crop was a failure.

Carrots

Celery

Carrots are happy in several box locations.  The rabbit has not been caught again leaping over the 2 foot high fencing.

We started 9 each of the watermelon and charentais melons 3 weeks ago.  Only 4 charentais and 3 watermelons germinated.  We will direct seed once we put them out in place of where the sugar snap peas are now.

Tarragon

There is apparent deer nibbling on some of the potatoes in the box at the edge of the woods, but they must not have been a meal of preference because it has been relatively minor overall.

Two of the 8 eggplants have been lost to voles, as have a few more celeries and 2 ancho peppers.  I’m stunned that they’re attacking eggplants and peppers, and it brings out the Marvin the Martian in me (“I hope you realize that this means war”).

Traps have gotten 2 of the little you-know-whats so far.  We’ve disseminated mothballs in the mulch and down some of their holes and placed mouse traps out for them.  In addition, we gave up and bought some warfarin.  Warfarin has the least risk and rate of secondary poisoning (things that eat things killed by it).  I am limiting it down their holes in boxes with fences and covering netting.  We don’t want to be killing hawks, and I don’t want the dog, or even the rabbits and squirrels to get at it.  On the other hand, we really need to get the voles, or they are going to destroy the garden.  We’ve never cared if  voles or moles or anything dug in the yard, but the count is up to over 10 celery plants, 6-8 potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and sugar snap peas.  We don’t have the space, the inclination, or the resources to afford to house a vole colony, though we don’t like putting down even controlled bait stations.  When even the resident rabid animal welfarist says “kill them”, I know it is time.

Garlic is looking like it should.  We plan on grabbing a garlic every week and eating it, not only to enjoy the fresh green garlic, but to monitor the grow of the bulbs.   Summer and winter squash seedlings are spreading their big leaves, already you can see the variegations in the leaves from the house.  The tomatoes are growing like there is no tomorrow.

We have achieved broccoli!  We have 4 heads of broccoli making.  This is the first broccoli we’ve started ourselves and we’re very excited.  The cauliflower is looking indecisive.  The (mostly) early heat this year may inhibit this spring’s crop; several of the farmers I’ve talked to have indicated that all the field broccoli looks fairly stunted in this county.

Broccoli

We’re trying to figure out why stuff we’re growing in containers inside and on the porch don’t do as well as things we put in the boxes.  It’s the same dirt, and we try to treat them the same.  The only thing we can figure is that maybe the containers dry out faster than we think.  They all look a bit leggy compared to the same stuff in boxes.  I’m going to seed some more mycorrhizal fungi into them; maybe that will help.

This update is late because of the weekend goings on, see the previous post.

Heat Wave

April 11, 2010

The heat wave is over, for now.  From March 31 until April 9, we had at least 10 days with highs in the low 90s, and one day that got to 98.  Evening lows were in the 60s.  Yesterday and today we have lows around 38.  Wow.

Parts of the garden therefore kicked into overdrive.  I had to mound potatoes yesterday for the first time, as we had a bunch that were in the 3-6 inch range.  The onions and garlic continue to grow at alarming rates.  The pretty redbud from Easter is now all leaves.

Potatoes

Snow Peas

Cauliflower and broccoli are growing like weeds, and the lettuces have reached that cute stage where they are large enough to actually *look like* lettuces, but so small they look unreal.

She thinks we have voles, and I am inclined to agree.  So yesterday we picked up some caster oil granules and strew them into the boxes.  I can never think of castor oil without thinking of cod liver oil.  My parents decided on advice (of who, I forget; perhaps a mean doctor or a meddling great-aunt) that at the age of five I needed dousing with the stuff.  I could tell right away that this was going to be awful, but they looked very serious so I opened up and let them feed me a big spoonful.  It was the worst thing.  I’m told I looked up at them like a beaten animal and said, “I wouldn’t feed that to a dog” then went outside and sat on the rear steps staring off into space.  They never had the heart to give me another dose.

We harvested lettuces this week,  enough for 2 weeks of regularly eating salads, and only got about 25% of the lettuces.  So we’ll be eating salads for at least a month, by which time, I expect the next planting will be ready.  We also harvested radishes and carrots, small but tasty.

The Kentucky colonel mint is coming up next to the compressor, but my lime mint hasn’t made an appearance yet, though I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  The blueberry bushes are busy generating little pods that will become blueberries.  The fig bushes have nice leaves now.

The snow peas are doing well.  The sugar snap peas look as though the heat has inspired them to say, “Well, we never germinated well this spring, what with the 20 degree February all month, so we just give up”.  Actually I trellised 2/3rds of a box of them, but that is far short of the 2 boxes we planted in them.

Radishes

Radishes

Broccoli Raab

Indoors, the seedlings are doing their best to make our efforts last year look laughable.  It is a veritable jungle in the basement, all our tomatoes are 8” high or more, and we had to raise the light over them 3 times in the past 10 days.  The celery is booming, and all the peppers are gamely and uniformly pluggin’ along.

Celery

Tomato Seedlings

When she saw the planting jig made by Laura at Modern Victory Garden, I knew by the look on her face that soon I’d be making one.  And I did.  The instructions for making one were easily followed, and the result is a prideful thing.  I used scrap plywood.  The first one is 20″  by 24″, and has 2” spacing.  The second one I’m making is pegged at 1” intervals and is only 4” wide but 48” long.  This will allow us to easily make long rows down one side of a box, so if we’re growing tomatoes or cucumbers or something else tall and trellised on one side, we can move to the other side and run a row of something.

2" planting jib

Jig with handles

4" by 4' jig

For the mathematically inclined, if you are planting something like radishes or carrots on the long narrow one, that is 192 plants per jig, or 576 plants in a 12′ row.  If you wanted to plant a whole 12′ box of them, it would be 2880 plants.  For anything on a 2″ or 3″ spacing, the results are 96 for the jig, or 288 plants in a row.  That’s a nice addition along side a row of 10 tomatoes in a box.

My father gave us 2 brandywine and 2 better boy seedlings he grew from seed, along with 4 water wall day-glo plant protectors.  I set them out in a box, set the water walls around each one this past Monday, and they’re looking fine.  With luck, these 4 plants will start producing tomatoes weeks ahead of the rest of ours.

Water walled tomatoes

These are moonflower pods.  In them were these seeds.

Moonflower

Moonflower Pods

Pod

Pod Close-up

Seeds

Moonflower Seeds

The last average frost date is this week.  That means that as of tax day we can start direct seeding, and putting many of the rest of our seedlings in the ground..