Thursday, July 26, 2012

Taking Flight!

Robins and Butterflies
We had an exciting morning today. We have had a Robin's next over the back porch light for several weeks now. My daughter noticed a broken robin's egg on the ground below and they got to see the birds hatch right out of their eggs. Momma bird and I think daddy bird too have been watching them very closely and every time we went out one or both would be waiting on the fence for us to go away so they could carry the babies their worms. Wish I had got a picture of them right out of their eggs, but I didn't. I took this photo a few days later. They grow super fast.

 Then I took this photo a few days after the last one. It sure was getting tight in that nest!
And this morning as I was going out to the garden they jumped out of the nest as soon as I opened the door. They didn't go far so I was able to show the kids and get pictures of each of them.
1st bird
second bird, this one was able to fly a little further than the other two, they mostly hopped.

Third bird.
 We also have been caring for some caterpillars we found in the carrots. We have been keeping them full on carrot greens. Notice the 2 caterpillars and one cocoon in the upper back.

 This morning one was hatched and there are two more cocoons. I think we will get a butterfly house today instead of the bug house. Seems a bit small for her. She probably won't stay in there long anyway, dd wants to release her soon. What a good girl! She really wants the butterfly and the birds to fly together.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Harvest Monday 7-23

Not a big week this week. Spent a good portion of the week traveling. The night I came home we had a big storm and I watched as the wind leveled my corn. I spent all morning Saturday staking them up with bamboo sticks. That was a lot of bamboo sticks. The peppers really liked the rain though. They have really filled out!
On to the harvests, join in at Daphne's Dandelions.
DH didn't harvest anything, so I found a giant zucchini, good for Pumpkin Zucchini bread that didn't last a day!
Chocolate cherry tomatoes, Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes. Mini sweet peppers, Strait 8 cucumbers (they don't really look like their description so I am not certain they are what they say they are.)

Picked a couple of carrots that looked sizable. Still a tad bit of bitterness to them, not totally ready. The peppers were quite large but something had been eating on them. So, I picked them and this is the first time my children have actually enjoyed eating a green pepper. Either their tastes are expanding or they just taste that much better from the garden.

Started peas indoors since it is so hot. Hope this works out. They are getting quite tall already and the roots are coming out the bottom on a couple which isn't good. Don't really want to put them outside this week with highs in the upper 90s!

Gonna save a few sunflower seeds for next year, we like this plant because it has a lot of flowers on one plant!  It is also attracting some yellow finches or other yellow birds. The fall raspberries are starting to show themselves. And I got the first Georgia Flaming Hot pepper.  The sweet orange pepper has end rot so I brought it in. No sizable tomatoes yet. I have a feeling it will be a while!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Harvest Monday July 16

Check out Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting! I always find great ideas for new things to try!
I pulled the rest of the sizable potatoes, not a ton of the Irish Cobbler, a bit more Red la Soda and about 3 Kennebec. The Kennebec were the ones in the potato bag tub. They were planted last year, did not do well, left some in there and they grew back really well. I was hoping to get some decent potatoes. But, several of the ones I did pull were rotten and soggy. Only a couple were good, and nothing of good size. Overall the Red la Soda did the best. I did leave some tiny ones, hopefully they will come back next year.

The first of the red bells were picked. One had sun-scold. I am not really a fan of the crookneck squash, it is kinda seedy and spongy. It will be going into something like zucchini bread.

Trimmed the purple basil a little, not much for using so I have left it to dry on a waxy paper plate. All the beans so far have been eaten. They are not doing well. The bed is looking fuller and greener but I am still getting a lot of hollow beans and some are just turning brown and dying while small. Any suggestions to help this problem would be greatly appreciated!

Oh, and the "first" tomatoes. 3 Matt's Wild Cherry and an Early Girl, that has BER.  The summer squash will be coming to an end here soon. The SVB's have done their work on them and the rain knocked them all down. They are too damaged to do surgery on so I am just going to let them go as long as they will and then get the bed ready for some fall planting! Yippee!
Now, I am off on a trip to TN with the kids and I will see how her garden in the woods is doing. She has finally moved it and is now using raised beds and homemade self watering containers. She tells me she has tomatoes and peppers in those topsy turvey type hangers and they are doing really well. I will have to see for myself as I had strawberries in one that did not do well at all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July Garden Tour

The garden is doing pretty well considering the heat, drought and our traveling. I have a total of 8 raised beds and 4 plots along the fence for corn. I have been trying to keep it good and watered though our record breaking recent temps! A few things have gotten burned, but overall pretty good. Especially for not starting ANYTHING indoors this year.
View from the NW side of the garden. The second planting of corn. Potato tub in bottom corner, it did not do well. I pulled the potatoes out of it today and most of them were soggy and rotten or small.

Picture taken in same direction just on other side of corn. These are the four 4X4 boxes with a 2X4 along the fence.

Bean bed, trellis and sunflower. The Japanese beetles have devoured most the plants on the trellis.

Another view of the beans, I planted more seeds in all the bare spots to fill it in.

Pepper bed with a few carrots, one Matt's wild cherry that popped up on its own and a purple basil.

Sweet potatoes, cucumber and more beans on the edges.

1 crookneck squash and 2 black beauty zucchini plants, all quite large. More beans planted in between.

Early Girl on rt and chocolate cherry on left with 2 small black beauty zucchini plants on the back corners and 2 sweet potato plants, and some new bean seedlings in the bare spots. I had to pick and throw away several Early girls because after we returned I gave them a good watering and they inevitably got end rot. But I have been keeping them well watered since and most of the ones remaining look fine!

The first planting of corn. Some are getting tassels. This is Ruby Queen, a maroon colored corn that we tried last year and really liked it!

The tomato plants are quite behind, I planted them by seed after it had warmed and did not start them inside. I am sure I will get some but probably much later. Plus this ridiculous heat has not helped them! Plus the beds are looking a bit bare because I just pulled all the potatoes out of them. There are also 2 sweet potatoes and a few carrots.

This one has three more small tomato plants and some carrots. I pulled all the potatoes I could find out of this bed too. There were a decent amount of Red la Soda potatoes but not too many Irish Cobbler. A little disappointing. But I still did better with potatoes this year than last year in the bags.

Another view of the 4X4s

And in the other direction the 4X8s and the one full of green is the raspberry bed and it is 3X8

If I get cranberries this year it will be the first year. Those little dark red things are cranberries but they look a bit dried out after the hot dry weather so we will see.

Along the deck is the cranberry, and strawberry plants alternating with  blueberry and azaleas. There are 3 blueberry's that we got about 5 berries off of this year. Maybe better next year!
I forgot the herb pot. It is looking pretty pitiful after all the heat and drought but it looks like it could recover. It has 3 thyme plants, oregano, and rosemary.

Well, this is the preview to what is to come! Many of the tomatoes will be a surprise. I planted seeds for a Pink Brandywine, and a White tomato, I do not know which ones made it and which did not. And a few have popped up that may be Black Cherry tomato and/or Cherokee purple. I am hoping for a Cherokee purple, but at least 2 of them look like cherry. Hopefully no more Matt's wild cherry because those are popping up all over the place around the 2X4 along the fence! Enough is enough. But my dd does love them cause they are so small and cute. We will see soon enough!
Happy Gardening!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Harvest Monday

~Edited 7/23Please see post for July 23rd as I mistakenly re-posted this past post for Harvest Monday July 23rd.~

It has been a long time since I have gotten in on Daphne's Harvest Monday! I got this one ready over the weekend so I wouldn't miss out this week! Hope your garden's are surviving the heat and droughts!
The first two cucumbers, they are looking much better than last year, but not producing much. Beans are struggling to survive after they got so dried out while on our vacation. One small onion that was planted last spring.

The raspberries are pretty much done until the next round which I am hoping will be in a few weeks. I have a mixture of summer bearing and everbearing plants. (Fall Red, Latham, and Heritage.) I have had about 4 strawberries this year. The plants look healthy, but just aren't producing much. These are from everbearing plants as well.

Thinned the carrots a bit and was hoping these would taste good, they did not, so I cooked them and poured honey over them and my daughter ate them right up!

The zucchini is doing well for now. I do see signs of SVB frass at the bases of some of the plants. 2 of the plants are just ginormous, so hoping that they can beat the svb's for a bit. And I was so thrilled to pick a bucket of potatoes! I tried those pop up potato bags last year and did not have much luck. I left some in one of the bags last year and they are growing crazy so maybe I will get some out of the bag this year. These are Red La Soda potatoes. I also have Irish Cobbler growing in another bed, but have not dug much for them.

Found this cucumber hiding and it was a bit big, and bitter, but the kids thought it was ok and ate most of it!
Found 2 more Dragon Tongue beans, hitting the big time now! The beans are doing pitifully right now. Maybe the heat or the bugs. Japanese beetles seem to be shredding the pole bean leaves. I also found Mrs. Potts out there, at a glance I thought it was something growing until I got a little closer. DD can scatter toys anywhere and everywhere worse than any kid I have ever met!

Last onion from last year. This crookneck squash plant is quite gigantic as well. And there is one lonely Dragon Tongue bean on the top of the pile there. They really are not producing anything. The zucchini plants have just gotten too big I guess and are shading them out.
This mornings small harvest. I couldn't help but pick one of these pretty sunflowers for the table. DD loved it!