Janice Riley, this garden is for you

You died and it is terrible. I can’t make it to the funeral–but you wouldn’t know if I did. So, I spend this lovely early fall morning working in my garden.  Planting a few fall vegetables and I can’t get you out of my head. I remember , so clearly, when I was lucky enough to have you make me NDO Community Services Director. One of NDO’s long standing and popular programs was the garden program   I never understood why that seed program which enabled people to have vegetable gardens was so popular. Yet, today, I am here in my little vegetable garden just as happy as can be– loving the dirt, the plants, and you.  This garden is for you old friend.

Finally cooler

Today was finally cool enough to spend some time in the garden. I spent a few hours pulling weeds getting ready to put in some fall vegetables. I have one raised bed ready to mulch and plant, only has 2 peppers and 1 eggplant still alive.

It was great!! Oh, how I missed time in the dirt. It always amazes me how I enjoy my garden. I can forget everything else and focus on the plants in front of me and the beautiful dirt.

My cardinal friend was chirping at me all morning. I think he was concerned that I would mess up the remaining tomato plants–he flies around in them all the time. About a week ago I was able to spend a little time trimming up dead branches and trying prop up and save the last of the still growing tomato plants. I have flowers on some of them so I am hoping for a few more small tomatoes.

Now I am hoping for more mornings like this one. I need to go over the remaining straw bales. I don’t think I will be able to plant anything in them because they have collapsed so much–have to decide whether to take them up and use for mulch or leave them for spring bed under new bales.

My blueberry bed is running over with weeds–that will probably take 2 mornings to get straightened out.

I just ordered some fall vegetable plants–so excited. They will be here early in September so I want to have beds ready!!!!

Garden updates

This year I have tried several different things, just to see what works best in my different beds and locations.

For example, I planted tomatoes in all my garden spaces except at the end of the house which I save for corn.

  1. So, I planted in my little raised bed, the one I call the tomato bed, like I have every year. I put in 3 or 4 plants from Lowe’s (to get a head start and earlier tomatoes) and the rest were my seedlings from heirloom tomatoes. Most of the tomatoes I am getting now are coming from this bed.
  2. I put many tomatoes in my straw bales, only one of the Lowe’s plants–which has gone crazy, producing much more that the others in tomato bed. My seedlings are producing but only one plant has mature enough fruit to pick any. Still waiting on others.
  3. My hugelkulture bed is all tomatoes and broccoli, with one eggplant, and they are doing very well, have starting picking some tomatoes.
  4. I put 2 tomatoes in 1st raised bed and they are struggling, as are the 2 tomatoes I put in 2nd bed. Don’t plan to put tomatoes in these beds next year.

Very interesting, it seems that my tomatoes don’t like too much sun because the 2 beds that get the most sun are the ones with the struggling tomatoes.  I lost track of how many different types of tomatoes I planted.

My best potato crop is from my 1st bed not the potato bags I also used.

Last year my eggplant did nothing, planted close to house in old flower bed BUT this year I put in 1st bed and they look great and I can see a baby eggplant growing.

My zucchini plant has grown like crazy, leaves and stems, and collapsed its straw bale, still growing but not much zucchini, only one big one. I have to get the little ones before they start to collapse on blossom end–may be holding too much moisture.  Next year I will put in one of my raised beds. Yellow squash in bales did not do well either, but the ones in 3 sisters bed at end of house look good (in ground).

Cabbage did much better in 2nd raised bed than the ones in bales. The slugs and rolypolies found cabbage in bales but left the raised beds alone. When I planted cabbage in bales close to house some bug ate almost everything so this year I planted in outer bales and they did much better.

Broccoli has done well in bales and beds. I have frozen several bags of broccoli in  addition to what we ate. I read that you could cut the crown and leave the plant and it might produce small side heads, several have but some just rotted out.

Lettuce has been awesome in 2nd raised bed, spring mix is still going strong.

Okra planted in 1st raised bed again since it did so well last year. But I moved it to the other end for crop rotation and wind protection–hopefully a hurricane won’t end its life and production this year.

I planted a couple of watermelon plants for MK and they are going wild! I have lots of vines and flowers, we will see about whether we get watermelons. One in bale and one in 2nd raised bed, bale one is taking over!

I planted picking cucumbers but do not seem to be having much luck. Lost one completely, have another one growing in bale but have not seen any cukes and have another  one in 1st bed that appears to be growing up tomato rather than trellis, but I haven’t seen any cukes.

Sweet potatoes in bale and 1st bed seem to be doing well but too early to know about production.

Bell peppers in bales doing good. I only planted one bell and one purple in 2nd bed. Purples are too little to start producing. Have been freezing bells for a while now. Banana pepper in bale doing well.

Had trouble getting beans to grow from seed in bales but I have ended up with a couple of good vines with beans. 3 sisters beans too young to start producing yet.

Garlic and onions seem to be doing well but not getting large fruit.

I love my garden. I think it is saving my sanity in addition to making me healthier–from good fresh organic vegetables and old fashioned hard work.

Thank you for reading.

 

Life

I was just sitting on the back porch, early morning, listening to the birds and frogs.  Watching the bird feeder. Life is good in the U.S.  I pray we remember to appreciate our lives.  People in other countries don’t have what we have, the freedoms, the opportunities–even the freedom to disagree and say it publicly! I don’t always like everything going on BUT I am sure thankful to be here.