Friday, April 20, 2018

Garden Log --- April 20, 2018

Back from vacation and back into the garden! I missed it, and things have been growing.  We've started picking the snow peas and the sugar snap peas.  Almost half a pound so far between all the different plants.    


 This is why I grow these - so I can pick them young.  I can't stand the stringy ones that they sell in the stores that are way too old. These are sweet, snappy and delicious!
These beauties (Royal Snow) are purple, with such a pretty flower.

I'm picking kale already, too. Several varieties are already big enough for me to pick leaves around the bottom. Another plant I like to pick young and tender.  
 Siber Frill Kale

I came home to our first tomato! Hip hip hooray! Finally. These are on the Tomate Silbertanne plants.  The plant itself has the frilliest tomato leaves I've ever seen.  

They call this leaf type "carrot"
 The second tomato plants to produce fruit was the Karos.  Another one of the plants I'm growing for seed for one of the FB garden groups.  I believe this is a small red tomato, and there are 6 on each truss.  These two plants just look terrible. I think we made the mistake of adding too much of the manure to these, but they are recovering and I think they'll be okay.  I've pruned them and added more soil at the base to help counteract all the manure. On top of that, they are a "potato leaf" tomato, and have the biggest leaves on them. 
Karos Tomato

Updated picture of the Fava beans.  They continue to grow.  I'm going to stake them this weekend and the wind we've been having has been knocking them over.
I picked a few leaves this week (spinach, beet and kale) and made a Skinny Taste cheese stuffed turkey meatloaf with it.   
 Just chop these leaves up and put in the middle of the meat mixture. John even liked it!
 Turkey meatloaf, add shredded fat free cheese and roll up. It was good!

Most of the pole beans are starting to climb their tee-pee supports.

 We have our first tomatillo, too!  This is the Purple Coban, and there's a few on the Yellow also. 

On Thursday we planted the corn and okra out in the orchard field.  I didn't take even one picture, but there's nothing to see yet anyway.  Here's a photo of the red clover that came up that John planted during the winter, there's a few hold-overs out there.

Corn:
  1. Incredible (F1 Hybrid SE) - Pinetree Garden Seeds
  2. Jackpot Hybrid - Ferry Morse Seed Co.
  3. Treavor's Sweet Berries and Cream - FB Garden Group (Treavor created this cross, so no link.)

Okra:
  1. Philippine Lady Finger - Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  2. Gold Coast - Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  3. Orange Jing - FB Garden Group
  4. Cowhorn - FB Garden Group
  5. Alabama Red - FB Garden Group

Over in the fruit department --- ha! We've started bringing in the mulberries - they're ripening every day. This could be a lot of work, except that the birds are attacking these two trees pretty hard.  I watched about 8 birds land, grab a berry, and take off while I was working out there today. Arghhhh!!!! I hope they leave us just a part of the bounty this year.

All of the four pecan trees are tasseling now - hope that means more pecans! 
The oldest plum tree is pretty covered in plums. Last year there were hardly any, but maybe this year we will get some.  This is the Methley plum tree - they're not the biggest plums, but they are very sweet and delicious when ripe.
One of the pomegranate's got blooms already.  I don't know which is the Wonderful and which is the Angel Red. We failed to put an identity stake by them when we planted them (BIG FAIL!)  Maybe they will have some indication when they get a little bigger that I can detect the difference. Sigh....
I was so excited to find one pear on the tree this week!  This is the Orient pear, and it's held on through some pretty high winds.  I hope it will make it, wouldn't that be something!?

The baby wrens in the greenhouse are getting so big, they spend the day sitting up on top of their nest now.  I expect they'll take off in a short while, which means I can finally get in there and clean it up without disturbing their little mama.
 Wonder what kind of spider is living in the corner of the squash house? Yikes!!



Saturday, April 7, 2018

Garden Log --- April 7, 2018

Not much new planted the last few days except for a few winter squash I'm starting inside to put out after the peas are done on the squash house.  Hopefully they'll be ready to go at the right time.

I've been spending a few days potting up and refreshing the plants I pulled out of the greenhouse. They've all survived but always look a bit tattered after the winter. They appreciate new soil, fertilizer and fresh air.

Here's a few photos from my morning walks this week:
I hadn't even realized that the honeysuckle was blooming.  The bees have found it, however! 
The second patch of bearded iris is in full bloom right now as the older patch is fading. So beautiful and a constant reminder of my parents and dad's love of growing things.
The Mr. Lincoln climbing rose is in full bloom on the trellis out front. Just a beautiful old fashioned full blown rose.  
Ugh, that trellis really needs some TLC. I'll have to get
 the stain out...
The oldest blackberry plants are starting to bloom - this is our thornless Chester.

I potted up the baby succulents that I started during the winter - cute little guys!
This is the only "Chaya" Mayan spinach plant that made it from the four cuttings. I'm just glad I have one. I've potted it up and was so afraid it wouldn't react well, but it did fine and is sending out new little leaves. I'm excited to see what the adult plant will look like.
The pole beans that I planted a while back in the squash house are coming up.  Only one seed germinated of those 4 True Cranberry beans, so this little guy has the future of his family in his hands! Grow - grow - grow!!
The mammoth dill plant is really living up to its name. This plant is at least four times bigger then the other dill I have out there. Its a beautiful plant.
The cylindra beets are coming up and growing well. I wish I could say the same for the other varieties - they're all a little spotty.
Have I told you how much I love these gloves Colleen got me last year? I love those caps on the right glove - I use them to hand mix soil, dig up little weeds, and more.  These are a winner.
The snow peas have arrived!
The Cranberry Fielder beans have started to wrap around their poles. 
This is what I've been getting from the Rapini broccoli plants almost every single day. I'm not sure if this is normal, but this is what I'm dealing with. I cut these off daily, and the next day I have another bunch of shoots just like this. I'll use these in stir fry.
All of the summer squash are germinating, even the seeds that were three years old. Whew! I was worried that they were too old.
Here's the current state of the Broad (Fava) beans. They look healthy and happy so far.  I'm going to have to get some stakes to tie them up soon according to what I'm learning about them.
We ate our first 4 strawberries! As you can see, one didn't make it to the house. ha!
This is the purple ruffles basil - very dark purple.... 
...and this is the licorice basil.  I can't smell licorice yet, but its still a young plant and perhaps it takes a while to mature.
The Chinese cabbages continue to grow so much faster then the regular cabbages. I'm impressed by these. The Chirimen Hakusai is my favorite (almost lettuce like, although crunchier), the Michihili is good but has a "furry" feel to it, much like mustard plants do. 
I'm seeing the beginnings of a little cauliflower in the center of this plant.  These are Green Macereta.
The bunching onions are starting to flower. 
And I'm still waiting to find my first tomato.  There are flowers like this all over the garden, but no little green tomato yet.  Did I confess to you that I ended up with 23 tomato plants? What's wrong with me!? ha ha! Oh well, hopefully I'll be able to make a lot of salsa this year.
I'll leave you with a picture of the hummingbirds (can you see the two attacking this feeder?) They are draining my two feeders every few days - hungry little birds. I love hearing them buzzing in to feed every morning.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Garden Log --- April 3, 2017

On Saturday we planted the green beans out in the field.  John thinks we need more space with these, so he wanted to put them out in long rows, spread out so that we can pick them easily.  I'm a fan of this! Picking will be a lot easier.  He had already plowed out there and so just a back and forth with the tiller and we got to planting.

We stretched a 50 foot soaker hose in the middle of each row, covered it up, and then I planted the seeds. Then he hooked it all up to the water and it's on a regular timer. 

 The soil is beautiful out there, he's been spending years getting it like this, with very few rocks.

We have Calima (my favorite, I grow this one every year), Jade (my second favorite) and a new one for me this year, Maxibel. 

We'll be planting the corn and okra out there this year too, probably mid-April.

Meanwhile, today I planted the winter squash in cups, anticipating to be able to put them out in the garden in about 3 weeks.  They'll all go on the squash house when the peas are pulled up.




Not much more to do in the main garden now except keep an eye on it - I take a walk through every morning and again in the evening, if not more often! ha! There's always weeding to do.

The broccoli bed is growing well. I'm already bringing in the sprouts from the Rapini, almost daily. The purple peacock is interesting, such a ruffled leaf. 
Little Shin Kuroda carrots ....
and the summer squash are sprouting. This Zapallo del Tronco is a round, ball type zucchini.
This is a new one for me this year, Erba Stella Minutina. It came up fast and I don't know what to expect. Isn't it fun to try new things? It's in the greens category, goes in salads, etc. and can be grown as a perennial.  We'll see if it will survive here since Texas heat and environment may not allow it.
The grapes in the vineyard are starting to come alive again. These are the champanel grapes are usually the first - they have a pretty pink blush to them.

Just a few nectarines on the two trees we planted last year.
In the yard, the three rose bushes we planted last year on our anniversary are looking great.  I was, and still am, a little worried about one of them - its much smaller then the other two.  We'll see if it survives. Yellow roses are my favorite.
The second group of purple bearded iris are in full bloom as the older group has faded.