Hmmm….. I need to grow more food

I haven’t felt this way in a while. This year has been a normal garden season, no urgency, just grow our own healthy food and put it on the shelf for another year’s supply of homegrown food. The garden is a little smaller and would be even smaller still if we hadn’t decided to grow a little corn for the first time in many years. Just another year. Right? Waiting for the collapse, watching the shenanigans of our congress, observing the demise of civility, avoiding crowds if at all possible.

We had this same flooding about two weeks ago. Here it is again.

We have had an over abundance of rain this year, with over four inches in the last 24 hours, and more falling from the sky as I type. Everything is growing well, not necessarily producing a harvest yet, but growing well, except maybe the okra. It’s barely over knee high and is just starting to bloom. The peppers are in the same shape, starting to bloom. The tomatoes are green, but there are quite a few of them. 

Our great bread basket across the country has been flooding and flooding and flooding. Stories have been coming out about the impact to major crop harvests. Some say there will be shortages and rising prices, some say all is well. What do we believe? We have been fortunate to get comments from CW who lives in Iowa’s corn country. We like hearing from boots on the ground.

Somewhere along the way we ran into a link for the YouTube channel of the Ice Age Farmer. I watched him to see what he had to say about farms underwater and the country’s major crop harvest. It doesn’t look good according to him. And then he started talking about the grand solar minimum. I didn’t think a lot of it at first. I knew the sun cycle was at the low end because of how it is affecting radio propagation. Then I remembered an article I wrote back in 2014, What is a Maunder Minimum? I went back and read it, then went in search of more information about the grand solar minimum that the Ice Age Farmer was talking about. This took me to these two articles.

Winter is Coming – Super Grand Solar Minimum

Evidence of Grand Solar Minimum Continues to Mount

Hmmm….. comparison to another mini ice age? I sure hope not. But Colorado did just have two feet of snow in some places on the first day of summer. The same storm that caused major storms in other parts of the country. I have never believed in the current global warming paradigm. Man’s carbon emissions are not causing the planet to warm. The planet has always gone through cycles of warming and cooling. Just like the sun cycles. Either we adjust or we don’t. We learn new ways of living and producing food, or we don’t. If we as a society don’t learn to adjust, we die. To me, it’s that simple.


Is this the only reason I feel like I need to grow more food, after the growing season has started and the garden is already planted and growing? No. But you probably suspected that didn’t you? Our last few articles discuss the ways of the world, our country, our politics, the invasion of foreigners from all over the world, and the potential conflicts between countries worldwide. Is that it? No, not entirely.


In the last few weeks Frank has begun working on a project to provide another source of water to our house. We will write about it before long showing the steps, equipment and results. But just yesterday Frank looked at me and said, “After all this time, I don’t know why I am doing this project now.” You see, we have had the supplies, parts and equipment for a long time, in some instances up to ten years. It has all been on a shelf, waiting in the wings for the time it was needed. But recently, he took these things down, looked them over and started to work. The scary part is he doesn’t have a distinct reason why.

Amaranth will be planted here.


As I harvested the carrots and cleared up the area between the tomatoes, Frank asked what I was going to plant there. My response? Nothing, we don’t need anything else. Then we harvested the beets. Again, same response, we don’t need anything else. As the amaranth has grown well and started to produce large seed heads I have been reading about harvesting and winnowing the seeds for use in our bread, reviewing the nutritive value and how it can benefit both us and our chickens and goats.


Then, in just the last week, I have had this need to grow more food. Densely nutritious food. Just this morning at breakfast I asked Frank what shorter season crop we can grow once the pinto bean crop is finished. I plan to plant some carrots for winter eating in a portion of that area, but there will be a lot of room left over. Cow peas are a 75-85 day crop, high in protein and other good nutrients, good for animals and humans. That’s why I planted some yesterday after I tilled the space where the beets and winter squash had been. This is what lead me to pull up the winter squash before it was fully finished with it’s production.

And instead of leaving the winter squash to cure so we can bake one every now and then, or bake and freeze some if the need arises, I am going to can them all. We can add a jar to soup and it will be ready on the shelf for another food option as desired or needed. Why? I’m not sure. It’s just another one of those food options I have been impressed to change from my original plan.

The areas I showed you between the rows of corn and between the tomato trellises will be planted with amaranth as soon as the new seedlings come up. I have two trays planted and more pot maker pots made up today for planting. And if there is time once the corn is harvested, the rest of this area will be planted with amaranth.

Wire cat protectors for the seedlings as they grow.

Just like Frank and the water project. I don’t know why, but I need to grow more food. We have lived our lives listening to that little voice of warning and instruction and it has served us well. So, it’s time to plant, tend, harvest and preserve. The why can take care of itself in it’s own time. Heed the warnings you are given. Listen. Act. 

Until next time – Fern

Electric Tiller & Mower

After research, reading reviews and watching some videos, we bought an Earthwise electric tiller. One of the reasons for this model is the difference in the tines compared to our Mantis. The Mantis does a good job cultivating areas that don’t have much plant or weed growth, but it isn’t very effective on crabgrass that has much of a root system.

 

Earthwise on the left, Mantis on the right


We chose the 10 amp version for size and tine options. This model is eleven inches wide which will allow it to get into small areas. You can also remove the outer set of tines and till a much smaller area. The machine is still as wide, but the hood over the tines should be able to move through some plants without any damage.

After the carrots were pulled

The area where the carrots were growing had a very happy crop of crabgrass and weeds growing about a foot tall.

After being mowed

First, we mowed that area. I shouldn’t have planted that Cushaw winter squash right in the middle of this row. It would have made it easier to get the riding mower in there if I hadn’t.

Then for the tilling. We used a 100′ extension cord plugged into the house. It was easy enough to keep the cord to my right and pull it on behind me as I tilled down the left half of this area. On the return trip tilling on the right side (from the perspective of this picture) of the row, Frank lined out the cord to my right side again, which allowed me a view of it. This prevented any close calls or mishaps with the cord. I find that keeping up with the cord is very similar to running the vacuum sweeper. You just have to make sure you don’t run over the cord with the tiller or mower, unlike the sweeper, there could be shocking consequences if you do.

After tilling

This electric tiller worked very well on these established roots. We were very impressed. A few grass and weed roots and stems had wound around the shaft, but a few minutes of works and they were easily removed.

Day of tilling
Day of tilling
A week later

A week later we were surprised to see that the vast majority of the grass roots were killed, very few places had any grass coming back at all. Now I am more than impressed, I am very pleased. The difference is the tines. The Mantis does not clear out the grass roots the way the Earthwise does. It’s funny. I have been very pleased with the Mantis until I tried a different option with better tines. They both function just about the same – the amount of effort to run them is very similar, they both require a source of energy, either gas or electricity. The lack of carbon emissions didn’t play into our decision to go electric, ease of use and the ability to manipulate in tightly planted areas, did. Age of the operator is also one of the main considerations. 

When Frank and I were first married, we owned no electric tools. Frank used a brace and bit and a hand saw. As we got older, we went to electric tools and they worked great. Then battery operated tools came along. Though not as strong, the battery operated tools do a good job in most areas. We also learned how valuable an air compressor is, too, especially when framing upside down and backwards inside a closet. There is a big difference between the age of 35 and 65. Sometimes changes are good. So are these electric garden machines heavy duty? No. But they make our life easier and more productive. Another small example. When we moved to Oklahoma from Alaska, we sold our big guns and got smaller guns. Times change. We are trying to do our part to feed ourselves and be as self sufficient as possible.

About a week or so after purchasing and using the tiller, we got to thinking how beneficial it would be to be able to mow some of the small places in and around the garden. Each year we have substantial weeds and grass growing in areas that we just can’t get to. I actually planted some things with the hope of using the riding mower in some places, but that takes up a lot of planting space. With the success of the new tiller, we began looking at the Earthwise electric mowers.

We chose the 14 inch model to use in small areas. I was racing the weather trying to get a few things done in the garden before the rain, so this picture is in the shed instead of in the garden.

I have to tell you. When we unpacked the mower, we were not impressed at all. The body is plastic, does not appear to be very durable, and we did not think it would be able to tackle the job we had planned for it. We were pleasantly surprised. I mowed these areas on the highest setting and the pictures don’t really reflect the outcome very well.

Between the corn before

Between corn after mowing

Where the beets were before

Where the beets were after mowing

I have never used a mulching mower before. There was an option to snap on a standard discharge port, but it would make the mower a little wider, so I chose to leave it off. Using the mower with the mulching flap engaged prevented piles of mowed grass in the wake of the tall grass I was mowing and prevented it from being blown onto the existing plants. After using it, I considered this to be an added benefit I wasn’t expecting.

Next, I tilled this area where the beets and winter squash were. It took about five minutes. I will tell you more about this area in the next garden article.

Where the beets and winter squash were after tilling

For now, we would highly recommend this tiller and mower if an electric version is the desired product. We can’t speak to the long term durability of the machines, but for initial use, they have out performed our expectations. Granted, if the electricity is off, they won’t work, so this is not a purchase for the coming SHTF life we still expect to be living one of these days. If the electricity is off, gasoline won’t be available either. So until those days arrive, these machines do an excellent job at helping us maintain our garden.

Until next time – Fern

Prove Me Wrong

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

I’ve been itching to get something off my chest lately. No, it’s not body lice or fleas, it’s a different kind of itch. It’s the type that just doesn’t sit well with you or anybody else. What I’m about to say some people will find distasteful. Saying it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. This is not a story about making cheese or what’s your favorite grinder. It is grinding in nature, it grinds on your spirit and soul. It grinds down to the very core of mankind.

If you need to, stop reading now. This is not going to be a feel good type talk, because boys and girls, I don’t have a solution for where we are heading. For you regular readers, you might find some of the language out of character. My mother-in-law asked me a time or two, “Why can’t they make war movies without all of that bad language?” Because war and Mary Poppins just don’t fit together in the same movie.

The following is just my opinion, take it for what it’s worth. We are in serious, serious trouble. And I mean all of humanity is in serious trouble.

I’m a coward, you’re a coward. Prove me wrong. You want the truth? Here it is, but you’re not going to like it. Go into a Wal-Mart and look at all the fat asses waddling around. You think we’re going to fight? You’re out of your mind. Maybe over the last jelly filled donut, but that’s about it ladies and gentlemen. We’re not going to fight, we are fat, lazy and stupid. We can’t get anyone to join the military because we are cowards. If we will let TSA grope our little girls and not fight back, when will we draw the line and fight? We’re not. We’re cowards.

IQ levels are decreasing. Too many people are ignorant and stupid, but the fact is they are out breeding us. That’s not going to change. Go to any maternity ward, look around, how many people speak English? We are losing this battle on every front. Public schools, next time you go to pick up a child, look at the population that looks like you. Ask your child how many students have a hard time speaking English.They can pick any bathroom they choose. Is that guy in a suit really a guy?

In polar bear country they always recommend to keep one last round in your gun. I’ve lived in polar bear country, I’ve seen polar bears walk by. When polar bears come to town, kids don’t go out to recess that day. You and I are the invaders, the unwanted guests in our own country. Keep one last round in your gun. You may need it.

Abortion is murdering babies. Can you believe this? Okay, so one day I wake up and I decide that I just don’t want my baby anymore. I’ll just take it down to the local doctor’s office and let him kill it. How long is the warranty on that baby? One day, two days, six months. Oh, I changed my mind. Will you kill this thing for me? It is just too inconvenient right now. 

If we as a society have stooped to a level that it’s okay to murder a child that we don’t want, then there is no hope for us. But that’s where we are. Our politicians that we elected, along with their Hollywood friends, celebrate this as an achievement. Yes, we are cowards. Sick, perverted, deranged cowards watching those cheerleaders bounce up and down stuffing our faces with Cheetos.

Moving on here. We all know the world is changing, it can’t continue the way it is. So what are we going to do then? If something can’t continue, it won’t.

What are you going to eat when everything falls apart? What are you going to feed the kids that you decided to keep? For those of you that actually believe in keeping your kids alive. Do you have replacement handles for that shovel? The guy that used to come around and tin the pots for everyone, he’s not around anymore. Do you have any seeds? What are you going to feed those chickens and goats?

Look at some of the figures. We are now an oil exporting nation. How is that possible? Anything that doesn’t make sense is a lie. We are still importing millions of barrels of oil, so how can we be an exporting nation?

There is talk about shutting down the border. When? What about those African people coming across the border? They’re not coming from Central America. Those people that are coming from the Congo didn’t come on a rubber boat, they flew in on a jet! God only knows what kinds of diseases they are bringing with them. And those are the ones we catch. What about all the ones we don’t catch? Where’s the wall???

Go to a major city, not even a major city, just a big town. Pull up a seat in a mall and get a pop at a food court. Sit and watch the people go by for a little while and listen to their language. I don’t mean their profanity, I mean the language you don’t understand. Then go down to Sam’s and Costco. Look around, open your eyes. And if you believe the government numbers about anything, then – here it comes again – you are a special kind of stupid. Wake up!

The packages in the grocery are getting smaller. The toilet paper rolls are getting smaller. Snickers bars are getting smaller. Not trying to be insensitive here, but I would appreciate it if they would leave the size of a pat of toilet paper alone. Just charge more. But I guess some government study said our toilet paper pats are too big and need to be smaller to accommodate the average American. Due to the invasion, the average Americans are smaller in size, so we need smaller pats of toilet paper.

I am truly sorry there is slavery anywhere in the world, but slavery is color blind. Read your history. Speaking of reading history, you are aware that the Civil War was not fought over slavery. And you are aware that the Vietnam War did not start in the Gulf of Tonkin. And you are aware that the Twin Towers falling did not happen because of being hit by jets. And you are aware that John Kennedy was not killed by a single bullet. That means that you are aware that our government will kill any of us any time they want to. In my life time our good buddies, the Chinese government, killed millions of their own people, millions and millions and millions, it made Hitler look like an amateur. They kill their citizens, our government kills our citizens. Anything the government tells you is probably a lie. They control the way you think, how you are taught, what you eat, and if you disagree with them, they will kill you.

Got seeds, water, shelter, food, protection? Probably not. Because you believe what the government tells you. Here it comes again. THAT MAKES YOU A SPECIAL KIND OF STUPID.

I know, I’ll just take my family and run out in the woods and survive. I saw a guy on Dancing With the Stars do it. Pull your head out of your ass. That’s TV, that’s entertainment. Well, I’m just going to drag my travel trailer out to my relatives and live happily ever after. What are you going to eat, Bubba? I know you’ve got a case of chili, good for you. Got a shovel? Got two shovels? Got canning jars? Got a canner? Got beans to put in those jars? Got the soil ready? Or are you still chasing that rainbow? Seriously. What is your family going to eat while they’re chasing that citified rainbow sprinkled with pixie dust?

What about your neighbors? Your current ones and your future ones? Do you know them? Are they strung out on opiates like a huge part of our population? Not just opiates, that’s just one small category. Look at all the other mind altering drugs that way too many people take everyday.

Got that garden turned yet? I doubt it. Got your mind screwed on right to deal with the things that are coming? Are you prepared to defend yourself while you’re sitting on your ass watching Dancing With the Stars or some other unrealistic ‘reality’ show? I know it’s more fun to watch cheer leaders bouncing up and down while eating frozen burritos, Cheetos and drinking Pepsi cola. Don’t forget your Xanax, of course. If that’s the way you live, you are dead. And so is your family after those neighbors that you don’t know get finished with your wife and kids. How do those cheerleaders look on TV now? How does that burrito taste now? Pulled your head out yet? Got that garden turned over yet? Ready to work your ass off from dawn till dusk and then some just to survive?

Do you know what a sanctuary city is? Well, you’re not welcome there. I live in a sanctuary city, population of two and no one is welcome here. I am not the government, what I say is true. Don’t come to my sanctuary city unless you are invited. You better call before you come. These sanctuary city things are unbelievable. How can this be? There are big cities now that don’t investigate or enforce what are considered to be petty crimes. Like my home town, where I was born and raised, Dallas, Texas. People are moving in there faster than they can move out. Multiple sources tell me crime is escalating rapidly. This is happening in every major city. Look at the homelessness nationwide. Go tell those people that the economy is doing better. All skewed government lies.

The stuff you were taught in school, no matter how old you are, is not true. What the government says is not true. Walk into a new wave style church, God forgive me, but what is being taught is not true. There are not solutions to the plethora of problems mentioned above. We can’t go back to something that didn’t work the first time. We can’t deport millions of people from other countries. We can’t do it. If you think we can, then you are a special kind of stupid.

So what do we do, realistically? Well, let’s see. We need to go back to God. We need to go back to the Constitution. Do you really think that’s going to work? That is what got us to where we are today. In my humble opinion, there is going to be a major reset in this country and the rest of the world, also. Things cannot continue the way they are. How is that reset going to look? That’s like trying to predict what a car crash is going to look like before it happens. You know it’s not going to be pretty. Some will choose to continue to sit and watch the cheerleaders bounce up and down. Some, but very few, will grab a shovel and a package of seeds.

What most of us don’t understand is that everything that we have has been built on a forward progressing model. None of us have ever seen an negative reverse model on a large scale. Everything we have been taught is a lie. It’s not true, it’s not realistic and it is not sustainable. Remember the story about the tower of Babel? Some things just can’t continue upward. It’s impossible. Pixie dust will not solve our problems. 

There are many things not mentioned here. What happens when the population exceeds it’s limit? Read the story about the coyote and the rabbit. One goes up in population, then the other goes down. We have too many people on the planet. There is going to be a reset. I don’t expect our government to tell us that the sky is falling and we’re all going to die. I don’t expect our government to tell us the truth. I would hope that most people were capable of intelligent thought, but hope is a poor strategy. Whatever term you want to use for what is coming, whether SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, brace for impact, it doesn’t make any difference. The coyotes and the rabbits fluctuate, and so will we as humans. Are we going to survive this thing? Most of us, myself included, will not.

I would recommend you get a good shovel and a package of seeds. Make sure it’s a good shovel because you’re going to be digging a lot of six foot deep holes.

We’ll talk more later – Frank

Grinding Flax & Other Bread Making Lore

We finally used the ground flax we bought for our sourdough bread and have begun grinding our own. We found a place to buy bulk flax in 50 lb. bags that we pour into five gallon buckets with Gamma seal lids. This is explained in this article with our bread recipe, well what used to be our bread recipe, I have changed it somewhat – again.

We are grinding the flax using the KitchenAid grinding attachment. It is slow, but does the job. When making the last batch of bread, we switched the grind to a coarser setting than what we started out with, so it doesn’t take as long and the texture is good. Some folks may want a finer grind, but we like it this way.


This grind is definitely more coarse than the store bought, and it also is more oily, which shows me that ground flax has some things removed to make it shelf stable, just like whole wheat flour. We are really happy to add our own ground flax to our bread.

The difference in the recipe came when Frank asked me to make biscuits and gravy one day for a treat. I dug out the sourdough biscuit recipe I had used before and realized the only real difference was the addition of two tablespoons of baking soda. I also didn’t knead the dough with the KitchenAid dough hooks like I did for bread. The biscuits turned out really good, they weren’t crumbly from lack of kneading, so now I make regular bread the same way. I stir it in the bowl with a spoon and my hands if needed, but no kneading. That’s it. Doesn’t take as long and reminds me of how I used to make regular whole wheat bread without the assistance of the dough hooks and a machine.

Everyday starter on the left, stored refrigerator starter on the right.


It was time to feed the extra sourdough starter I keep in the frig when I made this batch of bread, so I also put the everyday starter in a clean jar. I pour about half of the stored starter in the everyday jar, refresh what is left with more water and flour, then return it to the frig. It’s then good to go for about a month or so. Did you know that the vertical ridges down the side of a half gallon jar have an indention on the inside of the jar? Me neither, until one time I was washing the sourdough starter jar, which takes more elbow grease than a milk jar. The starter leaves a film on the inside of the jar that needs to be scrubbed well. If anyone had ever asked me, I would have said the inside of the jar is smooth and flat. It’s not, and starter wants to stay in those little grooves. An old toothbrush works well to clean the grooves.


One of our new buckets of hard red winter wheat ended up being white wheat, even though the bucket was labeled red. I knew the berries were almost twice as big as the previous bucket of hard red wheat, but didn’t realize it was white wheat until we made a batch of bread out of it. It’s okay, and some folks probably prefer the taste of white wheat since it is more like a store bought bread flavor, but we prefer the taste of hard red wheat. It is a hardier kind of taste and hard to describe. So we resealed the bucket of white wheat and marked it ‘open’ and ‘white’ so we can skip over it. If we need it someday, it will be there, but for now, we will continue to eat hard red wheat.

Do you know what you do when the squash starts producing? You eat lots of squash, even on your pizza. We use the same sourdough bread recipe for pizza dough that we use for everyday bread. The toppings change from time to time, depending on what we have available. This version has ground pork, frozen peppers from last summer, fresh crookneck squash, tomato sauce we canned last summer and our mozzarella. Well done, just like we like it. But the dough came out thicker than we like, so I’ll leave the baking soda out of the pizza dough next time. Like Frank says, our bread and pizza never taste quite the same from batch to batch.

Enjoy what you have. Learn everyday. Appreciate the opportunities, talents and challenges you’ve been given. It’s what makes life worth living.
Until next time – Fern

Carrots on the Shelf

The carrots have been pulled and processed. We were very pleased with the amount of the harvest since it was more than we expected. We grow Danver’s half longs since our rocky soil lends itself to non-straight carrots, even the short version.

That small dirt path down the middle is where the carrots were. As with most canning projects, preparing the food is the most time consuming part of the process.

Why is this one lonely carrot yellow? It was the only one. Interesting. By the way, about half of these carrots were grown from the seeds we saved last year. Two years ago, I planted a patch of carrots in the herb bed so I could leave them for two years to go to seed since they are biennial. It worked! This year, I put a small patch of beets in the herb bed that grew in the greenhouse all winter. I hope they will reward us with seeds as well.

Instead of cutting each carrot by hand, we chose to use a slicing wheel on the KitchenAid. It was much faster and easier on the aging bodies.

 

 We had exactly enough to fill up two canners – 32 pints.

One of those all purpose shelves. From left to right, top to bottom.
Row 1: Handheld radios we use everyday, work gloves, cookie sheet and bucket to dry eggshells for the garden, Frank’s hat and gloves. 
Row 2: Towel lined shelf for hot jars to cool after removing from the canner
Row 3: Milk buckets, extra bucket for scraps
 

The next morning the chickens got the carrot scraps and the garden got the whey from the soft cheese that was making while we canned the carrots.

We are grateful for the harvest and the nutrition on the shelf. A very satisfying days work.

Until next time – Fern

What’s Growin’ in the Garden 2

Interesting that I was thinking of doing a garden update today since we had rain forecast. I have some pictures from May 25th and was going to add a few more today. Well, it is raining. We had and inch of rain in five minutes, then ended up with 2″ in about 30 minutes and it arrived with 25MPH winds. Here are some pictures from the porch.

Our creek has extended into the backyard.

North side of the house, water running, now the corn is facing west laying over.

Our new creek through the turnip bed.

Lots of water – this is normally dry

I won’t know if there is any permanent damage for a few days and will let you know about that in the next update. Message for me – always plan for the unexpected. Always…..always.

Here are a few comparisons from the last article. Then pictures and comments about what’s growing out there – or was – or maybe is still growing. Time will tell.
 

April 22nd

May 25th

We are still using coffee grounds for acidity around some plants, these were for the blueberries. The eggs shells have made their way around the base of all squashes and tomatoes, so these were given to the peppers.

 

 

Pinto beans

The pinto beans are doing well and I have learned something. They vine like pole beans. I thought they were a bush bean, but they look just like the Missouri Wonders, except they don’t have a trellis to grow on. Another thing we’ve noticed is that some of them appear to have the same type of curly top problem some of the tomatoes have. Because of that I think the person that commented about the soil being too fertile is probably right. Some of the beans look great and some of them are wrinkled up. Another good learning experience.



Missouri Wonder green beans next to the pinto beans


While we are in this corner of the garden, here are the two apple trees. In the past we have harvested about 20 apples altogether in the seven or eight years these trees have been here. This year there are many apples. We hope they remain on the trees long enough to ripen and harvest. I’m wondering if I will have enough to can a few which leads me to pondering the best way to do that without any added sugar or other ingredients. Any ideas?

Comfrey by the apples. The chickens get a handful each morning.

Sunflowers are planted at the end of each trellis and here and there in a couple of other places.

 I told you about the potatoes Frank bought for me in the last article. Well, right after we planted them it rained and rained and rained. Four plants survived the wet soil. They look healthy and vigorous, though, so we will see what kind of harvest we get.


We have had a few meals of the first small yellow crook neck squash. There is nothing like those first few meals, they always taste so good. Soon we will be overrun with too many, but that’s not such a bad problem to have. We can always share with the chickens. We lost a few winter squash and one yellow squash plant to vine borers before I got the wood ashes around the base of the plants. I’ll put some more out after this rainy week passes.


The carrots, and all of the surrounding weeds and crabgrass, are doing very well. I started the carrot seedlings in pot makers again this year which makes all the difference. They get a good head start and produce much better than direct seeding.

 

Our winter squash this year is Thelma Sanders which is a type of acorn squash, along with some seeds we saved last year. They are a mixture of five different winter squashes we grew last summer. We’ll see what they produce.

 

There are a few pots of nasturtiums, marjoram and basil here and there throughout the garden.

 
The Japanese beetles really like the amaranth. Even so, it is growing well.

 The beets are doing well this year due to being seedlings in pot makers just like the carrots. I hope to can some this year.

The okra has not liked the cool, rainy weather. It is very slowly coming along.

The corn is doing okay. The 2008 Painted Mountain seed germinated very well, much to our surprise. It has tasseled first when the open pollinated sweet corn has barely begun. We hoped to cross pollinate them, but that won’t be happening since the timing is off. And now, after the rain and wind, we’ll have to see if any makes at all.

 


Our experimental patch of sorghum is coming up. It will be very interesting to see how it does, along with the amaranth. We’re curious about the harvest, the labor involved and how we can add these to our diet. Learning, just can’t do without it. There is always something to learn.

That small patch of dirt back there is the sorghum.

 

I planted some lettuce in pots on the porch to see if we can have some through most of the summer. Another experiment. This pot has a marigold coming up in it along with the Romaine.

What is surprising is how much the garden has grown in the last week since these pictures were taken. We’ve had sunshine and many things are really taking off. I realized when looking through these pictures that there aren’t any of the tomatoes, but they’re out there, along both sides of the carrots.
 
Well, that’s it for now. We hear thunder not too far off and there is more rain on the way. Just hope it doesn’t have any hail or high winds with it this time.

How are things growing in your neck of the woods?

Until next time – Fern

P.S. We have a question. Do any of you have experience with a corded electric tiller? We are reviewing this one. Please tell us what you think or if you have other recommendations. I have a Mantis and it works fine, but it just won’t till. It is a cultivator, not a tiller. I need something vastly smaller than the tractor with the tiller attachment to help take care of some of these weeds. Please tell us what you think. Your thoughts are appreciated.