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.

23 thoughts on “What’s Growin’ in the Garden 2

  1. About your apples. I found a post that I had remembered reading a few years back. It is on the rural-revolution dot com blog. She has a search function and I entered 'apples' and got to the post eventually. She basically canned 'apple bits' in plain water. But she had given the 'bits' a sprinkling of lemon juice prior to putting in her canning jars. Then she water bathed the batch. She did hers up in pint jars and said she uses them in fruit salad during the winter. Thought you'd be interested.I harvested my first yellow squash yesterday. I have 3 yellow squash and 2 zucchini planted. And they are all healthy and blooming. Yikes, I will be swimming in squash soon. LOL – what was I thinking???Cheers, SJ in Vancouver BC

  2. Hi again I just remembered that I once read an article by someone who made applesauce. They peeled their apples to make the sauce then they dried the peels. They ground up the peels and used them to flavor and sweeten other foods, I have not tried it but it sounds like it would work.Shirley

  3. Hi Have you thought of a wheel hoe. We have a Hoss wheel hoe, if you use it a little every day you can keep up with the weeds. We had pouring, cool rain for 2 days straight and now we are in the 90s. Some of the garden is wilting in the heat. Shirley

  4. Hi, Grammy. Sorry to hear about your corn. Isn't it funny how things can get dry so quick? Wonder what our forefathers did? I can turn on a faucet and water at leisure, many of them did not have that advantage. I remember seeing a lady watering plants one day with a ladle and this was just a couple of years back. Yep, she was carrying a bucket and was watering each individual plant. I've never used that technique, but I will never forget that image. 85-90 days on the corn? Maybe. It depends on the variety. Good luck.Frank

  5. Hi CW, good news on your garden and your crops. It's either feast or famine.Speaking of rain. This morning we had a zero percent chance of rain forecast. I just sat down at 9:30am, opened the radar and there is a large swath of rain heading our direction. Now we have a 60% chance of rain today.The grass crop in the garden is growing great. We did pull the carrots yesterday and will can them today. When it rains, it pours.Frank

  6. Fern and Frank, there is great news to share! Today we managed to get in the garden, till it even though it was hard as a rock from the pounding rains, AND get some plants in the ground. I am truly blessed with a helpful son. He picked up some plants since all my seedlings died waiting to get out of their pots and into the great outdoors. He then got the very old tiller running, tilled and planted all of our tomato, pepper, cabbage, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, and cabbage plants and seeds. Now we are praying for rain showers …yes, I know it sounds crazy but we are now a bit dry. We need the rain to help get all of our replanted corn up through the crusty surface. The farmers are planting as fast as they are able, but it will never make up for all that has been lost. We are so thankful for the progress we have been able to make so far. Your gardens look amazing! Take care and prepare, CWfromIowa

  7. I love seeing photos of your homestead, and I'm sorry you're dealing with so much rain. I planted a lot of green beans, too, and I'm hoping to can a lot this year. I like Contenders. It's what I grew up tending and eating. In fact, Aunt Betty Ann didn't talk about green beans. She always referred to them as \”Contenders.\” We just returned from a thirteen day camping trip, and I couldn't wait to see my garden. It needed weeding, but wasn't too bad. The one disappointment was the corn. I had to replant it all. I hope it's not too late in the year to get a crop. It seems that the rain just won't stop, but I know it will. When it does, I'm afraid we'll be dealing with drought conditions. There's no need to worry. It won't change anything.

  8. No till would be a good advantage in a collapse situation, Bluesman. More things to ponder. We have read about it and talked to a few people that have used that technique, but never seriously looked at how we could accomplish that. Please let us know how yours works out next year.Fern

  9. Dehydrating is a good idea, SJ! I haven't thought of that yet. We bought some dehydrated apples years ago that were very good. They go well in oatmeal, too. Thanks for another learning opportunity! Fern

  10. The corn has recovered somewhat, CW. We got another 2.25\” of rain in an hour yesterday. We continue to see that there are large portions of the country that are unable to plant their crops and wonder what the impact will be to the food supply come fall. Please continue to keep us updated. Fern

  11. Fern, So sorry to see the rain/wind damage to your garden. We hope things work out and you end up having a bountiful harvest.Weather is just something we have to deal with in the process of growing a garden. We can't change it , just have to deal with it. We had an unusual hailstorm 2 years ago and suffered a lot of leaf damage , but things came through pretty good. Right now we are dealing with slugs and peach leaf curl. We only have a gas powered front tine tiller . No experience with anything else. We are looking at doing some no till gardening next year. In theory it should save lots of tilling time as well as manure use. We'll see how that goes. A friend is retired county ext. agent and has been using no till for a few years in his garden and is a great mentor. I think of no till gardening as survival gardening in a real SHTF scenario . Bluesman

  12. Will look forward to seeing your new tiller and to hear how it worked for you. In reading the comments, yes my little tiller jumped around a bit compared to a monster gas tiller. But it was manageable and did the job I wanted done. I've kept it thinking that one of these days I'll buy a little inverter generator and then I'll have power at the community garden and can use the tiller again.About the apples – have you considered dehydrating them?Years ago, I canned apples as 'apple pie filling' per the Ball Canning guide. Really just a very chunky applesauce. Very yummy but did require sugar per the recipe. And I'm not one to deviate from the canning instructions.Cheers, SJ in Vancouver

  13. Fern and Frank, thank you for sharing your wonderful garden pictures. I do hope your corn comes back up for you. We have experienced many a windstorm causing the corn to lean over. I have a small gas tiller so cannot offer any advice. We have not been able to plant our garden yet with wet conditions…maybe later this week. Blessings to you both, CWfromIowa

  14. Thank you for the information, Brenda! Now I'll have to look up applesauce instructions. Questions. Did you leave the peels on? There are a lot of nutrients in the peels I would like to keep.Thanks again, Fern

  15. It does sound like our garden adventures are about the same for now, Mary. The Cub Cadet looks like a good machine. I'll let you know how the electric model we have chosen works out.Happy gardening, Fern

  16. We have tried some different types of mulch over the years, Tim, mostly hay left over from the previous winter, but have never been very successful with it.The Mantis will skip around some depending on the ground moisture and the vegetation. It will be interesting to see if an electric one can tackle our crabgrass once it is established. I'll be trying it out in a few days and will let you know.Thanks for the information, we appreciate it. Fern

  17. Good information about the tiller, SJ. We have ordered one and will have to see how it goes. Thanks for telling us about your mishap with the cord. I figure that is something I will have to watch very closely. It's easy to concentrate on what you're tilling and not what else is around, at least I found that to be so with the Mantis.No major damage in the garden. The corn is still leaning precariously, but most things look ok. We hope to have a bountiful harvest over the next few months.Good to hear from you, Fern

  18. On canning apples: I used to can as many apples off the neighbors tree that she would give me. They were green apples and I suspect they were granny smiths but the neighbor didn't know. I made gallons of apple sauce with no sugar, just a little water, if necessary, for the grand kids. Moms wanted no sugar. Sometimes I added a touch of cinnamon. It tasted good and there were no problems. Did it for years until we moved.

  19. Well Fern, your gardens look similar to ours in Texas with all the rain we've had. Your corn will probably be ok; ours looked like that after several downpours, but then perked right back up. Our okra didn't germinate for some reason, and had to be re-planted. Also had to fill in some of the bean rows, where they didn't come up, but that's the way it goes, isn't it? Mother Nature has really tested us this spring. It's been difficult to garden in between LOTS of rain, but we've been chasing the sunshine as much as we can. All of your garden looks very good, all things considered. I hope the latest rains drain off and dry up soon. I can't get out in the garden this morning, as another round of thunderstorms moved through last night. I have half of the new garden plot well weeded and cultivated, along with the 6 raised beds, but the other half of the garden plot will have to dry out before I can get back in it. And all the while, working around the TX high temperatures that are starting up. It's been exciting, concerning, and most of all, a race with nature! I have a plaque hanging on my back porch that states \”Despite the gardener's best intentions, Mother Nature will improvise.\” So true. Best of luck with your gardens! BTW, we also have a tractor with tiller implement for large areas, as well as a hand tiller (a Cub Cadet) from Tractor Supply. It's one of the larger hand tillers, takes a bit of finesse to use, but it works great. We also have a smaller cultivator, but it just doesn't cover much and is really on suitable for small spaces. I hope you find one that works for you.

  20. Have you considered not going the tiller route to deal with weeds and instead cover with something? I used to put down several layers of newspaper (no glossy ads, just the newspaper) followed by a thick layer of grass clippings. Worked well. Cardboard plus grass clippings also works. I've also done a thick layer of shredded leaves plus grass to try and \”compost in place\”. While I've never used a small tiller such as the one you are considering, I have a lot of experience with a BCS walk behind tractor onto which is mounted a 30\” tiller. Its very robust. After having used that I'd think anything not sufficiently heavy would just have a tendency to skip around on top of the soil and be more trouble than its worth. That said, I understand not wanting to deal with a gas engine and having something larger than a mantis. Tim(fromOhio)

  21. Nice to see your garden pictures and read your update. I hope the storm didn't cause any major damage.I have an electric tiller that looks similar to the one you linked. I bought mine back in 2008 or so and is made by YardWorks and sold here in Canada. Given my very small city lot, I didn't need nor could I justify the expense of the Mantis. My little tiller easily worked my beds in the backyard of my house. I love the light weight and not having to start a gas engine. I still have it even though it's been in storage the last few years. There is no power source at my community gardens. I did clip a power cord when I was first using it and wasn't paying attention to where the cord was. No damage to me but the cord had a big nick in it and was replaced. A little scary actually. I learned quickly to really pay attention to where the cord was.Cheers, SJ in Vancouver BC

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s