Monday, May 28, 2018

Harvest Monday May 28, 2018

It's Harvest Monday at Our Happy Acres!
I've been picking a LOT of strawberries this week. The most I have ever had! I didn't even take pics of them all cause that would be quite boring! And they are getting eaten up so quickly. We have mostly been eating them plain but I did make some biscuits one day for shortcake. That is my favorite way  to have shortcake.  I used the Gluten Free Bisquick because it is sort of sweet already and makes them good for shortcakes! I haven't found a good homemade GF recipe for biscuits yet.
Strawberries, mixed lettuces, beet greens, kale.

So many of these bowls have been filled this week. Almost every day.

My first zucchini, pickling cucumber, and snap peas of the season! Yay!
I ran my first 5K this last Saturday with my kids. They are all 3 cross country runners and 2 just finished their track season. There is a great program here called Parkrun where you can go every Saturday to run a timed 5K for free (it is in many cities worldwide). I thought it would be a good way to help them stay in running shape between track and cross country season. My younger one had to have an adult with him at all times though so I did it. This is no easy task for me (Multiple Sclerosis). So I am feeling quite proud of myself.....but today, I can barely walk. Ha ha! I hope I can continue to do it with him cause I really enjoyed it but I won't be able to keep up with his quick young energetic body for long!
My daughter, who is quite the runner, did this in 25 minutes and was 7th overall and first for her gender and age group. Her twin brother did it in 35Minutes and the young one did it in  38Minutes, he's 8 years old.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Deadheading Salvia And Destructive Pests

I love Salvia. Snowhill Salvia below is my favorite. I have had Snowhill salvia at both my old house and it was one of the first plants I got for the new house. It is beautiful this year. I love how it has filled in to this beautiful 2 foot mound. It is such an easy plant that comes back year after year without a whole lot of fuss.
 I'm not sure I took much care in deadheading before this year. Maybe I didn't at all or maybe I just cut it back with sheers hoping for new flowers. Little did I know that there is a technique to it and I was probably cutting off new buds.
The flowers have started to dry up and brown, so it is time for a trim.

This did take a little time for a plant this size. I went looking for new buds to the outside of each flower stalk.

The arrows point to the two new buds, and the circle is where I will trim.
 I went through the whole plant and now I will wait for it to put on a new beautiful display of white flower stalks.

This year I bought some new colors.  Merleau Blue Salvia and New Dimension Rose Salvia. 
This one below, East Friesland Salvia, was purchased from a big box store that obviously didn't care for it well. Probably watered too harshly and didn't get enough sun and therefore got leggy and does not have good form. I imagine it will be as beautiful as the white one next year after some love. But I did trim it back as well as the others.
East Friesland Salvia
Merleau Blue Salvia - new buds.

New Dimension Rose Salvia about a week ago.
New Dimension Rose Salvia half trimmed.

In bug news. Did you know that fireflies are a predator of cutworms and slugs? I learned this on the Farmers Almanac website. I'm glad I saw a couple in the strawberry patch as I was cleaning it yesterday. 
I found between 5-10 of these very large creatures in the strawberry bed and lots of little ones too.

Ugly huh? My kids were very intrigued by these gross pests.
 Between my driveway and house I have a 3 foot by about 20 foot flower bed. I had it all imagined and planted with flower seedlings to attract butterflies and bees. Cosmos, persian carpet zinnias, blue bedder salvia (differnt from above), shasta daisy's, gaillardia, etc. These buggers below practically cleaned it all out! GRRR! And I had a LOT of extras to replace damaged plants with. They ate them all! I now have a different vision with more fully grown plants purchased from the nursery, including some of the salvias above.
Note to self. Start Flowers indoors much earlier so they can withstand the damage of slugs and cutworms. The grown plants out there are full of holes now but at least they are alive.

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.