Archive for the ‘Trellis’ Category

Weekly Garden Update: August 15

August 15, 2010

Today the post is late, because we got up this morning, and after coffee and an egg-white frittata with dill, cheddar, country ham, sweet sautéed peppers, and some leftover cornflake chicken (served on English muffin), we went out to the garden and started the Fall planting.

We just cut into the Charentais melon, and wow it is delicious.  It is sweet and has an excellent flavor, and the flesh is firm and crisp!

Covered Box

We put in cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, Red Winter Kale, and Italian Lacinato Nero Toscana Kale.  We set up the piping, and covered 3 boxes with ground cover to protect new seeds coming up.  This Wednesday we already had seeds coming up from our plantings last weekend.

Boxes 2

Boxes 1

Boxes 3

The Tabasco peppers are finally coming in, and we have bunches of little pimentos as well.  The jalapenos and serranos look like they’ll never quit; I plan to make whole pickled Jalapenos this week.  Later I’ll probably dry some serranos and cayennes and make powders out of them.

Tabascos

Pimentos

We have plenty of other peppers as well; ancho, bell, Anaheim, and Italian rellenos, as well as some Italian red marconis.

Peppers

Ancho

Harvest

We got 4 cucumbers this week, and are pleased by the progress of the 2nd succession of cucumbers.

Volunteer Tomatoes

I trellised the volunteer tomatoes, since it looks like they’re gonna produce.  We sprayed fish emulsion on the tomatoes and melons, and kaolin clay on the cucumbers, eggplants, and squash.

Butternut

The butternut squash is determined to make up for every squash or melon plant we’ve ever failed to grow.  It has spread the width of almost 3 box areas and is half way into the next column, with oodles of female blossoms, and little butternuts growing.

Some Tomatoes

Other harvest items for the week include another big crop of tomatoes (I am making tomato sauce again today), about 3.5 lbs of green beans (I’ll be canning more green beans this week), and our first harvests of field peas and butter beans.  We also got 2 tomatillos and another eggplant, and harvested the very last celery.

Butter beans

The last Celery

Harvest 2

Lemongrass

Field PeasGreen beans

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Weekly Garden Update: July 31st

August 1, 2010

July 31, Weekly Garden Update:

My son in a Tree when he was Younger

To start with, I want to express my extreme pleasure that my son just matriculated from high school a year early!  I’m so very proud of him.  He got his test scores back yesterday and consistently scored in the top 1-3% in the nation for high school students.  When he was 16 I thought we might have to kill him to get any peace, but a year and a half later he has finalized this period of his life by reverting to form, which is that of an extremely bright and thoughtful individual.

*                                                               *                                                             *

Apple in the Tree

We have blueberries, but the two blueberry pictures I took didn’t come out.  But look, here is an apple!  No figs this year, but the fig trees are growing on schedule, and are six feet tall.  In two years we should have 12’ fig trees and figs galore.

Black Jack Fig Tree

Our Yukon gold potatoes appear to be happy, and the russets are really springing up now.  This is our second succession of potatoes this year.

Russetts

Yukons

The Harvest has been good this week.  We have harvested cucumbers, Haricot Verts, Blue Lake green beans, Dutch-Half runner green beans, oodles of Tomatoes, Italian Sweet Relleno peppers, Ancho peppers, Anaheim peppers, Green bell peppers, Jalapenos, and Cayennes.  In addition, I dried an entire crop of basil, which doesn’t seem to have dented the production of same.  We got a lovely eggplant, which we’ll be eating this week.

Harvest 1

More harvest, different day

The whole garden is looking lush this week.  The melons and butternut squash are breaking free of their boxes and trellises and running wild.

Squash gone Wild!

Melons

The field peas are blooming, and the butter beans are too.

Field Peas

Butter Beans

Dutch Half-runners

Image if these dutch half-runners were full on pole beans…they’re already more than 8-9 feet long in places.

Fresh ground Cayenne Powder

I took all those cayenne peppers that you’ve been seeing pictures of and dried them for about 16 hours in a 170 degree oven.  Then this morning I put them all in my spice grinder and made some lovely cayenne powder that smells sweet like honeysuckle and then bites like moonshine.

An Eggplant in the Garden

We’ve been eating on the hot pepper jelly I made last week, and it seems to have addictive qualities.

A local biodynamic farmer is gonna give us some kaolin clay powder to spray on our plants and try out.  I’ll be going up to his farm this week to pick it up and deliver him a jar of the watermelon rind pickle from the watermelon he sold us.

Reach for the Sky!

Haricot Verts

Mycorrhizal Fungi - visible evidence

Flowers in the Apple Orchard

Weekly Garden Update 7/11

July 11, 2010

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My stepbrother got married yesterday in Missouri, so if you read this,

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE BOTH OF YOU!

Have a great honeymoon, and we look forward to seeing you two later!

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Kennebec Potatoes

In garden news, I just saw a squirrel make off with one of our san marzano tomatoes.  I don’t know if it picked it off the plant, or if the tomato was on the ground, or what, but the little devil ran across the yard with it and then up a big oak tree.  My word to the squirrels is, “…don’t make me put you on the same list with the voles….”.

Pimento Pepper

We ended up with more celery than we could eat, store, freeze, etc.  So we sold 14 heads we had left to A Southern Season, who paid us a premium for the non-conventional celery.  Feedback from them is that it has a lot of flavor, and they are pleased with it.  No, it wasn’t much money, but it was exciting to pick up some seed cash.

Eggplants

Speaking of seeds, we have several varieties of things we’ve tried to grow here that haven’t grown well or produced in this zone.  Once we catalog what we want to get rid of, we’d be pleased if anyone wants to do a seed swap.

Dying Acorn Squash 1

Dying Acorn Squash 2

Most things are growing well, but we are losing our second acorn squash plant.  Our biodynamic farmer friend at the Carrboro Farmer’s Market had the (informed) opinion that it is the cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and stink bugs.  Some small percentage of the insects carries bacterial wilt which subsequently can infect the plant.  The proximity of a community garden less than a thousand yards from us may be a contributing factor since apparently the range of these insects is fairly large.  We are attempting to pick up some kaolin clay powder as a natural deterrent for these plants and others in the garden.

Field Peas & More

We started our fall broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts seeds down in the basement.  “One of us” likes Brussels sprouts, and they look funny to grow, so we’re gonna try them out.

Tall Tomatoes on 8' Trellis

Even after I topped and suckered the tallest tomato plants, they just keep trying to kiss the sky.  We now have fruits ripening above the 8’ mark and I hate having to get a ladder out just to harvest.  Oh well.

Above the Trellis

We’ve been harvesting cucumbers, yellow squash, tomatoes galore, and more haricot vert.  And now the blue lake green beans are starting to produce.  We harvested more Italian relleno, cayenne, basil, and Anaheim peppers.  We have California wonder peppers which are making.

Tomato Harvest

Harvest of Plenty

Our watermelons are growing!  We are planning on slinging them this week.  One of the places we read up on slinging was Engineering Garden, one of the other gardening blogs we keep a link to here – he posted a small video on the melon slinging process.

Watermelons

Watermelons

Haricot Vert

Tomatillos

Tomato 6

Tomato 3

Butternuts

Yellow Squash

New Cucumbers

Dutch Half-runners Over the Trellis

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: 6/13

June 13, 2010

Our first actual squash rotted at the end, oh what a disappointment.  We have several more on the way, but another smaller one rotted as well.  Current theory is that it rotted because it was in contact with the ground, but we aren’t sure that it isn’t something else.   We only lost 1 celery plant to voles since the last vole war update.  Are we winning?  Who could say…

Squash

We harvested tomatoes this week (see the previous post, sonnet to the tomato).  The bloody butchers, which were listed as 60 day tomatoes, were the first to come off the vine.  We put them in the ground 3 days before the last frost date, only a slight gamble due to the weather report at the time, so these are really on the ball.

Maters!

We have tomatillos firming up, I can’t wait until I can make some hot tomatillos sauce and carnitas.

Haricot Vert, i.e., Snap Beans

Haricot vert!  Harvested this morning!  We eagerly embrace these green beans:  frozen ones from last year are fine, but they do not retain the fresh snappy green goodness of vine to table in less than 24 hours.

Haricot Vert on the Vine

The field peas (cow peas) we planted last Saturday all came up on Wednesday.  And now the lima beans and the dutch half-runners are as well – both came bursting up out of the ground on Thursday and Friday as though they were late for an appointment with the sun.

Apple

Here is a photo of apples on one of the trees, and we have figs on the Brown turkey.  The black mission fig and the black jack fig are growing very well this year, but I don’t expect to see figs on them until next year or the even the next.  People have told me that they won’t grow here, but I have grown them before and when I lived in my grandmother’s house I planted a black mission fig that is now over 24 feet high and provides enough figs for multiple families.

Black Jack & Black Mission

Flowers are food for the spirit:

Day Lily

Coneflower

Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus)

Day Lily

And here are some good photos of the garden as a whole:

"New Row"

"New Row"

"Middle Row"

"First Row"

Overall

Side View

Side Boxes

Wormfarm & Boxes

From the top, "First Row"

From the top, "Middle row"

From the top, "New Row"

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

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

Weekly Garden Update 5/9

May 9, 2010

Attack of the Varmints:

One day this past week we saw:  rabbits, hummingbirds, deer, bluejays, a hawk, squirrels, and cardinals all in the space of about 15 minutes.  That was a lot of fun.

What is not so fun is the very large rabbit who has decided that he wants to be clever.  He has patiently nibbled his way through the plastic green fencing in at least 2 boxes so that he can just hop through into them.  After we thwarted this effort, we saw him this morning jump over the 2 foot fence into a box with carrots, not realizing that we had a thin black plastic chickenwire netting on the top.  It freaked him out a bit, but not enough, and by the time I got downstairs and out the door he was sitting happily amongst the carrot greens.  I yelled, “get outta here, you pernicious thieving little sneak!” and he ran away, but only to the edge of the yard, where he sat arrogantly.  When the dog ran outside, he went further, but I suspect we are going to have to take more severe action against him.  Maybe I can do a post on my braised rabbit dish.

The real problem however is the voles.  They have just ruined one 4’ section of beets, and are starting to steal our celery plants, like eating one every other day or so.  Now they are attacking our sugar snap pea roots as well.  We are trying some organic repellants that don’t seem to be working, and have placed some mouse traps out that they aren’t going for.  We knew that putting mulch around the boxes had the potential to be a two-edged sword, but the pros seemed to outweigh the cons.  Something has to be done, and advice is welcome.

The two most recommended things to do are things we probably can’t:  get rid of the mulch, and buy a cat.  Our dog doesn’t play nice with cats, alas.  There are a lot of products out there that claim to help take care of the problem, from high-pitched rodent sound repellers to in-ground traps to poisons, etc.  I hesitate to leap from one idea to another unless I know that someone else has actually had success.  We don’t really want to put down poison unless we can find one that doesn’t have significant risk of secondary poisonings for pets and hawks, and we have no idea if the sound things work or if they would drive the dog crazy as well as the voles.

Other things in the garden are going well, though we had the driest April on record (120 years of record).

In the orchard parts, we have blueberries on the bush and apples in the tree.

Apples

Blueberries

The potatoes are growing so tall I’m starting to worry about their ability to support themselves; two blew over in the wind the other day.

Potato Box

Potatoes 2

We planted our eggplants under a hoop cover.  I made the hoops out of pex piping, held them to the box by using nail-on pex clips, and secured the cover with the same clips.  We have 8 eggplants and 2 thai peppers under the cover.  Flea beetles are death on eggplants in this area, all but one of ours was eaten last year they were so bad.  So this year we’re growing them under cover, hoping the additional heat will also help their growth.  We’ll be doing more of these covers over time, particularly for wintering various species that need just a bit more warmth.

New Hoop Cover

End View

We planted charentais melons and moon & stars watermelons.  They have germinated and are growing nicely, almost ready to put out.

Happy pepper

Broccoli

Haricot Verts

Snow Pea Blossoms

A tomato

Box 'o Tomatoes

Celery

Even more potatoes

It’s May! It’s May!

May 1, 2010

Tra la! It’s May!

The lusty month of May!

Chives

That lovely month when ev’ryone goes

Blissfully astray.

(end singing now)

Lettuce in Harvest Basket

Och Aye, It’s May.  Today we shopped at Carrboro Farmer’s Market and the South Estes Farmer’s Market, buying beets and carrots and biodynamic strawberries that taste like Vanessa Redgrave’s voice sounds.

Radishes

This afternoon we spent in the Garden.  We harvested green garlic, which makes great garlic bread, and oodles of radishes and enough lettuces to satisfy the entire Efrafa warren.  We harvested young spinach, and the last of the wintered cauliflower.

Trellised Peppers

Then we transplanted peppers to a box, only 21 of the ones we have ready to go.  We harvested lettuces and thinned the rest out by transplanting them so they had more room.

Pepper Seedlings

We have Sugar Snap Peas!  Not many, but enough have come in for a dish.  And we have blueberries growing!

Blueberries

And lit-tle ty-ny apples.  We have half a dozen tomato plants blossoming, plus both our tomatillos.  The snow peas have lovely purple and pink blossoms.

Tomato Blossom

We transplanted winter squash that we set to germinate last week into a box, and the summer squash are starting to unfurl from beneath the top layer of dirt.  The haricot vert are germinating as well as the cucumbers.

Squash Seedlings

Below are photos of many of our herbs we have growing in railing boxes and by windows and in large containers outside scattered amongst the Garden.

We’ve been growing mung bean sprouts from beans purchased at our local Co-Op, and have gotten nicely efficient at having them on hand most of the time.  Mostly they go into the salads.

Sometimes I feel redundant; shooting what seems to me to be similar pictures over and over.  Then I remind myself that a year from now it will be nice to have a visual record of the weeks passing in the garden.

More cilantro

Basil

More tomatillo blossoms

Tomatillo blossom

Thyme

Tarragon

Sage

Rosemary

Parsley

Oregano

Tomato Blossom

Lemongrass

Dill

Cilantro

April Garden Update

April 27, 2010

Lettuce!

More Lettuce!

Spinach & Lettuce

We have harvestable baby spinach, along with the ubercrop of lettuce and radishes.  The potatoes have been mounded yet again, the boxes are all full (we started with a 4” deep soil base, and have been adding to them since).

Bed o' Taters

Celery

Our broccoli and cauliflower are doing much better than the ones we did last year.  The seed onions needed thinning, and the set onions are way ahead of them in size.  All the garlic now has 5-7 leaves, a few of the stalks are nearly 4’ high.

We planted 30 tomato plants this past weekend, including green zebra, bloody butcher, brandywine, beefsteak, early girl, better boy, and san marzanos.  We also planted 2 tomatillos, 1 box of haricot vert (2 rows each 12’), and 6 summer squash:  yellow and zucchini.  We planted 3 varieties of cucumbers.  Winter squash seeds were set to germinate inside, both acorn and butternut.

Peppers

Peas

The pepper seedlings are in their final stages of hardening off, and we hope to plant them either this coming weekend or the next at the latest.

In the flower parts of the lot, we have azaleas and irises in bloom now, the daffodils and the tulips have faded away for the spring.  We have dahlia, oriental lily, day lily, and calla lily bulbs that will be coming along.  The moonflower vine almost looks like it is biding its time, though its growth is thick near the ground.

Irises

Azaleas

The apple trees have what look to be tiny apple pods on them.  Given their young age, we are most pleased!  The figs and the blueberries are puttering right along, doing nicely.  My lime mint hasn’t come back up so far this year, not sure why.  If it doesn’t, I’ll try to plant it again in a different location.

We gave away celery and tomato seedlings that had prospered, but that we had no room for, we hope that they will do well in their new homes.

After we planted everything last weekend, we went back in and put up the trellising for the year.

Black Jack Fig

Boxes

Boxes View

New boxes

Po-tay-toes