Monday, May 21, 2018

Harvest Monday May 21, 2018

It is Harvest Monday over at Our Happy Acres.

 The garden is starting to produce more and more every day and I love it. It is so satisfying to begin harvesting what you started from seed.
I'm getting lots of greens right now, but we must enjoy them now because all the heat we are having will cause them to bolt rather quickly so they won't be around much longer. We have gotten some much needed rain though and the garden is thriving because of it!

Mix of lettuces, beet greens, Red Russian kale and spinach..


Trimmed up the basil so it can bush out more.

The first round of strawberries that I am sharing with the birds and bugs...though not by choice.  It's ok, I can cut around it. Just hope I get more than they do.

More Lettuce, kale, spinach and beet greens.

The second round of strawberries and a big batch of cilantro that will definitely be bolting soon. It is getting taller and taller which is a sure sign.
This is how I dry my herbs much of the time. Sometimes I use the dehydrator but this is just easier sometimes. They are reusable mesh produce bags.

We are still working on finishing up our fall harvest of sweet potatoes. This is a mix of Beauregard,  Jewel and All Purple. I usually like to cook them up with apples, we like the combination but I was out this time. I roasted these up. The purple sweet potatoes are much dryer than the orange varieties so I find it helpful to cook them with a fruit.

Happy Gardening! Have a great gardening week!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bugs and Blooms

The Mantis' have hatched! 
 I spread them all around the garden.
They are enjoying the vegetables.
 Butterflies are making a return for spring. Waiting on a lot of flowers to bloom to see more.

I ordered Lady bugs, Lacewings larvae, nematodes and Mantis sacks a few weeks ago. All have been released, but I kept the mantis sacks in a bug box until they hatched and then released them with the kids.  I have seen the Lady bugs hanging around in a variety of flowers. I didn't have any aphids at the moment so I am glad to still be seeing a few of them hanging around. I used the nematodes around the Raspberries. Hopefully that will keep the Japanese beetle numbers down.

Snowhill Salvia

Garlic Chives

Snow in Summer started from seed last spring. This is its first time to flower.

Potato Flower


Monday, May 14, 2018

Monday May 14, 2018

I have not participated in Harvest Monday in about 3 or more years. My posting has been hit and miss and far between since 2014 for health reasons. Hoping I can keep up with at least a few Harvest Mondays this season. Hope I remembered how to do this right! Please correct me if I didn't!
One of my favorite breakfasts, Poached eggs on Against the grain Rolls with potatoes, spinach and bacon. I've cut spinach from the garden twice now this season.

Bowl of Red Sails lettuce


Mix of lettuces including red sails, red oak leaf and buttercrunch.

Spinach for breakfast!
I am off to an appointment so I will catch you all later!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

May Garden 2nd Year in New House

It's been a long time! I hope there are still some friendly readers out there! 
This is our second year in the new house, and I am so happy with how the garden is shaping up. And I realized I have yet to share it with you all! How bout a short tour!
Peach tree. I am surprised to see any peaches on it, the tree at our old house took at least 3 years or more. We planted this last spring. It has 4 small peaches.

 One of my favorites, this is a SnowBall Viburnum. It is not as fragrant as the viburnum I had before but it sure is beautiful!

First lettuce of the season. We will be enjoying some of this on grassfed burgers this evening!
My favorite thing about this garden is it is right off the back porch! This makes it much easier for me with my MS. It is right outside of my kitchen! I love this!

greens and peppers

Peas, cucumbers, dill, cilantro and tomatoes.

Potatoes going strong in the middle bed.

Raspberries along the fence..I brought these from the old house!

Blueberries and strawberries, also from the old house! They are SOOOOOO full of blooms and green berries!

This area was empty last year. I used a few of the leftover house brick to create a path to put corn on each side. It is very small still!

View from north side of garden

Asparagus did not make it from the old house, the church garden was just too weedy and it suffocated my asparagus. So these are new. I planted these green starts last year and have planted some purple ones this early spring, late winter, but only one has come up so far. If more don't come up I will start them in a pot next year then transplant because they just don't seem to want to come up!
In all I have 10 raised beds that my hubby built for me and he keeps them filled for me as well! 
So far this year I have planted corn (blue and sweet), heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, beans, potatoes of all colors, purple and orange sweet potatoes, cilantro, parsley, onions, garlic, dill, asparagus, carrots, celery (a first for me), basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano.

And at the new place I have some nice young boys about the age of my kids who love to help in the garden and watch it grow regularly. My kids could care less! Ha ha!

Maybe next time I will show the flower beds! I'm trying to plant as many flowers to attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees! Some are planted throughout the vegetable garden. Sunflowers, blue bedder salvia, gaillardia, salvias, shasta's, coneflowers, lavender, zinnias, cosmos, butterfly bush and more.

Look forward to hearing from some old gardening friends. I hope my energy remains and I can keep up with this a little better. But I just never know, sadly.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

It's been a while

It has been 2 years since I have updated my blog. There is a good reason for my absence that I will share. I have not been absent from my garden but I just couldn't keep up with both garden and blog. I still can't but maybe I can occasionally update.

At the end of 2014 my journey with MS (multiple sclerosis) began. It has made me exhausted and unable to keep up with both blogging and garden upkeep. I love my garden so much. I haven't let it go. I have reduced it a tiny bit, but not too much. I refuse to give up something I love so much and makes me feel so accomplished, as well as joy.

This year, we decided to sell our 2 story house and build a one story ranch style home to help me out. Right now we are in temporary housing as we build. So, in the meantime I have a garden at my church that I am encouraging others to be involved in and share in the bounty. It is nine 3 foot by 25 foot rows. I transplanted some of my perennials there in order to save and take with me. My husband is SOOO much help! He does so much heavy lifting and work for me. He must love me :) 
I am truly thankful for him!

DH has tilled, and composted and built things and more!

Earlier in the season.
 We have peas, lettuce, chard, spinach, kale, beets, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, potatoes, beans, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, asparagus, and more! Oh my!
It is really taking off now!
My kids scavenging for berries!

I put so much work into the church garden so late, I am taking the opportunity to get planning my new garden for next year in the new house so I am not so behind, as I feel I am this year! I needed to plan an arrangement and I hope this is going to work! I may need to do some tweaking but hopefully I have the room for what I want to do! The yard will be smaller since the house will be more spread out being one story.

The ten boxes around the outside will be 3x6 cedar beds and the inside beds will be brick. We plan to have them lay sod except for around a 26x29 foot area where I plan to mulch it thick and then build beds on top and have them ready by late winter!
my kids playing in the 'basement' ha ha!
Well, I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the summer gardening season! 
Happy Gardening! 
I'll try to update on occasion.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My First Batch of Kombucha

Last summer I made fermented dill pickles and Beet Kvass, my first two ferments. I was very happy with both of those. Since then I had been hoping to start making my own Kombucha too! Well, recently my friend was able to share some of her SCOBY's (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) with me. This makes a fermented tea full of probiotics and enzymes. She started me off with a batch already made, which I spilled most of on the way home and had to start all over, it all worked out! Just glad my car isn't stinky!
The bottles there are on their second ferment with grape juice, my favorite kombucha flavor! The big jar has my SCOBY and a new batch of sweet tea ready to ferment. I fermented the big jar about 7 days and the second ferment with juice in smaller bottles and jars I did for about 3 days.

Here are my 2 SCOBY's. One smaller one that my friend shared and the larger one is from my big jar, the baby. It makes a new baby every 2 batches or so. So I can share with my friends! My mom already wants to give this a try.
All my kids love the grape Kombucha, I am glad I now can make it so I can feel free to share. I didn't feel very free to share when I was paying $3-4 a 16 oz bottle! I know, not nice.  My DH on the other hand hates it. Maybe I will find a recipe he will enjoy sometime. It definitely has a tart, maybe sweet and sour taste, sometimes strong depending on the flavor. But I like the bubbly that the second ferment gives it.

Here are the directions I followed from various sources and friends:
Made 2 gallons of tea (I have a BIG jar), I used a mixture of Yerbe Mate, black, and rooibos teas. Boiled the water up on the stove (I bought purified drinking water), added 1 cup of sugar per gallon and then steeped the bags in it for 15 minutes. Once it was completely cooled I put the SCOBY and 1 cup of reserved plain kombucha into the big jar with the tea. Then I covered with a light towel and put a elastic band on it and put it in the closet for 7 days. Then I removed the SCOBY and put it in a glass bowl with 1 cup of the kombucha and I mixed the remaining kombucha with a bottle of organic 100% grape juice and put it in bottles or jars with tight fitting lids and put it again in the closet for 3 days until bubbly or to my taste. I had to unscrew once a day or so to make sure the bottle did not bust from the pressure. Then I started a new batch with the SCOBY and reserved kombucha. 
note: I never used metal or plastic utensils or containers, only glass and wooden spoons. Except for the stainless steel pot I used to make the tea, but the SCOBY never touched that.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Harvest Monday 5/19

It has been a while since I have participated in the Harvest Monday hop at Daphne's Dandelions. I thought maybe I would jump in with today's harvest. Not much variety, but a good bunch of spinach and lettuce that I am pleased to be getting in abundance. I attempted to make my own creamed spinach the other day with the bags I had pulled in then, but I wasn't too happy with it. If you have a good creamed spinach recipe, please share!
Spinach and Lettuce

My daughter had herself a plant stand sale instead of the typical lemonade stand. She made $16 in 1 1/2 hours. I'm pretty sure that is way better than a lemonade stand! ;) She still has more to sell too. Hopefully there are still folks looking for some tomato plants.
Happy Harvesting!