Sunday, June 26, 2011

Garden Update

These are pictures from our garden in the very beginning of the month. We were late for our area getting our plants in, due to heavy spring rains. I can only imagine, if we had it in on time. A lot of what I have planted this year is experiential, for the coming years. We hope to put in a roof cellar before too long and I have chosen several varieties that were listed for "keeping" well, to see how they grow in our area. The corn you see here, I am very excited about. It's called Wade's Giant Indian and can be used as a feed corn for animals or for cornmeal. After over four years of thinking about it I have ordered a grain grinder, and am VERY hopeful that we may be able to eat corn bread from our very own corn. Might sounds silly to you but the idea gets me alllll excited! I have been reading up on seed saving and learned that if you want to save corn seeds you need to cover up several ears (at least 12 is recommended so you have several nice ears to choose from) with a paper bag if anyone is growing corn within two miles of you, to keep the variety pure. Then you take off the bags when they are ready to be pollinated and cut a tassel off and shake it over each ear of corn. We'll see how I do.
A neighbor hayed our field earlier this month. We all had a lot of fun watching. I was surprised to learn that they got 310 square bails from our lower field. As you can see the garden has changed a LOT in the last 20 days or so. It's just amazing! The corn is almost as tall as me. I have six or seven different varieties of tomatoes. We eat a lot of tomato products around here, and I'm hoping to put up a lot of them, canned sauce and dried. I think in a few more weeks my red and white potatoes will be ready to come in. We've been eating zucchini and yellow squash for a little over a week now. I just planted three total plants, and we're are getting more than enough. I'm going to try slicing, and a quick steam or blanching, and then putting them on trays to dry in the car. I plan on adding them to soups and stews in the winter and fall. We also have a watermelon plant, which is taking up a LOT of room, but I'm not sure is producing any watermelon. I only planted it because it was free. I hope next year to try some European varieties of melons. I still remember some of the melons I tried in France (way before I was a foodie or a gardener) and they were so much better than anything I've tasted in the states. We eat a lot of dried beans, which are of course very easy to store, and I have discovered that heirloom varieties taste so amazing compared to the stuff you can buy at the store. This year we are trying Black Valentine (should have planted more of these, two plants got eaten which leaves me with only four, the bugs have eaten the leaves a lot, but they still seem to be producing), Holy Spirit in the Red Eye (pretty bug eaten leaves, but still flowering well also), Christmas Lima beans (doing WONDERFUL so far, certainly the least bug eaten of my beans so far. I grew these from 4 or 5 year old seeds given to me, and the flavor is just amazing, sort of creamy and nutty, not anything like a typical lima and they are very large with burgundy and white splashes. I really glad they are doing well, cause I want to eat LOTS of these), and Lazy Housewife (these grow very well, the Japanese beetles have been eating them to lace (I've been picking them off the throwing them in a bucket of water), and an animal, rabbit probably, ate off two plants, but I think I will still get a good crop). I also tried Yellow China and that was a complete flop, lost a whole row. As soon as they came up something would eat those first two leaves. So they never had a chance.
I decided to try Black Fustu Squash this year, as the description really intrigued me: insect resistant, good keeper, and tastes of hazelnuts. They have really been my crowning glory in the garden. They were sowed in the ground and all of them came up no problem and so far from five plants I have at least 20 baby squash, with what looks like the hopes of many more on the way. And it has proven to be very insect resistance. All the plants looks great, even pretty I think, with sliver white splotched big soft leaves. Summer is no time to boast of the harvest, but if things continue in the way they have gone, I would certainly recommend them, provided they are right for your zone.I've also plants several sun flowers and herbs....much later than the garden. Some of them are just coming up, we'll see how they do in the summer heat. I figure a little something is better than nothing. I've done very little to maintain the garden, weeding and watering when I can find the time. I decided if I was going to do a garden this big I was going to need keep it as a lower priority and just be thankful for anything I got out of it, since so much of my time goes to the girls these days. It's amazing to see God's handiwork in both my growing girls and my growing garden.


  1. Everything looks so big and beautiful!! I have a touch of garden envy, but hopefully it will dissipate in the coming weeks. Appreciating the corn tip in particular... I have some heirloom dent corn and would never have know to do that! They haven't planted across the street yet (don't know if they will- it seems to late, but I think that every year) but it will be either corn or soy, the only two crops grown in the area by big farmers. Shocking, huh?

  2. Well, I know how to fix that garden envy: there are 40 lovely rolling acres for sale right next door *smile*. And then you would have someone to milk your cow when you want to a vacation. Yep, corn and soy. It's no wonder it's in EVERYTHING for sale at the grocery store.

  3. Looks wonderful.