Monday, May 21, 2012

Peaches are getting Ripe

My peaches are getting ripe very quickly this year.
There are plenty of things coming from the garden this week.  I hope I can keep up with it all! 

Fresh Peaches that are almost ready to pick.

Kandy Korn in May

I planted my corn (Kandy Korn variety)  in late March from seeds started indoors several weeks earlier in peat pots. Corn does not transplant well according to my resources, but the peat pots worked great. I was worried about another hot and dry summer, so I worked and planned so that I could harvest in May and early June instead of July.  By July of last year most crops were lost due to the drought and excessive heat.

Tonight,  I picked about 32 ears of corn. I only found one worm and one cob with slight damage.  My crop has produced better than last year  -- likely due to more spring rains and supplementing additional drinks with soaker hoses placed between the rows covered in mulch. Last year much of my corn was lost to pesky worms. I was more vigilant this year in protecting my crop. I have been picking as many bugs as possible.  I also tried a new trick/tip. I  put a drop of mineral oil in the corn silk soon after it appeared. I have read this is a good deterrent because the worm suffocates. It appears to have helped. Batch #1 planting didn't get as tall as the Batch #2 planting. Warm sunny days make a big difference. Lessons learned for another year.....

Brody and I shucked the corn, and I blanched most of it and put 2 - 1 quart bags stuffed full in the freezer.  I saved about 8 ears for supper tomorrow night.  I sampled a few stray kernels and was very pleased with the fresh sweet flavor. It was perfect after a quick blanch.

Before I picked tonight.

The harvest!

Friday, May 4, 2012


This year I decided to try a new way to plant potatoes.  Since my garden plot was part of my back yard 2 short years ago, my soil is still mostly a heavy clay mix. I'm adding compost as I can.  With that said, after doing some research on-line, I decided that instead of digging a deep trench for potatoes this year I would plant mine at ground level and keep covering them with soil/compost.   It's not time to harvest yet, but I'm looking forward to peeking inside soon.  The pictures below will explain the process. 

February - Potato seeds prepared to plant.  Eyes have developed and I dusted
 in sulphur to  protect from disease. Seeds were purchased at Calloway's
Nursery in Plano.

Potato "seeds" placed in a shallow hole. tomato cage put in place.

Row of Potatoes being prepared

I lined the tomato cages with a weed prevention material (allows
sunlight and air to enter , while also keeping dirt in place). Chicken wire added
to help support weight of soil and hold in place. As potato plants develop green tops,
I add more compost on top until we reach the top. Picture taken in mid April.

Potato row as of May 1.  Healthy green leaves peeking out the tops and sides
of most of my cages.  Hopefully the plants will develop nice potatoes in the
soft compost /soil I added.  I'm not sure what to do with the side shoots.

To harvest my potatoes I will loosen the chicken wire and reach inside the soft soil to retrieve my potatoes. I should be able to do this easily without risking damage caused when you use a shovel or spade to dig in traditional trenches. I'm also working on companion planting in my garden, so that is why you see  horseradish - that tall green plant -- on the same row as my potatoes. Horseradish helps deter bugs that like to attack potatoes.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the horseradish sprouts this spring after our drought and relentless heat last summer. I'll update on progress of spuds in coming weeks.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Garden Update

April was a busy month at my house.  It turned out to be a warm month as well.  Everything seems to be about 2-3 weeks ahead of last year.  Since we had such a warm winter, apparently the bugs just rested and are now out in full force!   I have declared war on squash bugs and hope to keep them at bay long enough to get a good harvest this summer!  I have been planting, weeding, fertilizing, putting soaker hoses between rows, looking for squash bugs and/or their eggs, and mulching, mulching, mulching, etc.  Of course I have had some help along the way - Thank you James, Brody, Alicia, Brody, Hadley,Jackson and Taylor for any and all assistance you have provided!

April - Corn Rows

Corn Rows May 1

Summer Squash Early April / Pinto Bean Seeds planted. The cattle
panel behind the squash has two grape plants (red and green) and
more pole beans growing on it.  

May 1 - Summer Squash and Pinto Beans Sprouted
May 1 Summer Squash harvest!

Cabbage in the background last month

May 1 - Cabbage Heads

April - Bush Beans and Eggplant Row

May 1 - Bush Beans and Eggplant Row

Pole Beans planted in March are coming along nicely and will
hopefully cover the trellis. 

Cattle Panels and T-Posts should work fine for my cucumbers.
These are pickling cucumbers and they  were planted in April.

The compost bin is always a popular place for my hens! The get to roam
the pasture for a few hours each night and love to peck and scratch through
compost, grass, pastures, etc., but especially love bugs and worms!

I snuck in on them with my camera after they were settled for the night.
They were trying to rest/roost after roaming about that evening!

Our New Steer

James bought a steer from a friend a few weeks ago. He was a little shy when I was taking pictures, but you can see that he is quite handsome. Brody named this one and keeping with his food theme - the steer's name is "Steak."    We hope to get a few more cows, but with prices sky high - that plan may have to wait a few months.