Weekend Work

Ripping Out the Peas

The pea vines have yield their20150620_094843 bounty and it is time to rip them out… along with the weeds that have hijacked my soil. We were able to dehydrate 2 full quarts of peas, so that is probably 4 quarts or more re-hydrated. We also ate some fresh, and ate snap peas fresh. I am not going to do snow peas again – we are just not a snow pea family. The snap peas – pr20150620_101728obably not as much. They are fun and novel, but I don’t see them as a family favorite either. In the fall, I am going grow mainly garden peas.

So Saturday morning we were out filling the wheelbarrow full of dead and slightly rotting pea vines and those pesky weeds. The east garden gets shade until about 11am, so we focused on that. I have been doing quite a bit of thinking and planning, and this area will all be for the fall crops. I will be direct seeding lettuce, carrots, rutabaga, and turnips. I will be transplanting cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and kalettes. It was a lot of work and is still not fully weeded yet.

Fall Seed Starts

Speaking of transplants – it is not yet July20150621_181627, but the gardener must think ahead… and it almost seems to compress time, to think of fall and winter now. But, in order to get plants in the ground in August, some seeds must be started now. I made soil blocks in the spring and liked how easy it was to do, so I did the same again. The picture shows a full tray of blocks and most of the seeds I started. The cauliflower packet was mostly empty, so I put some more on order (a white and a purple, both Italian), along with more carrot seed.

Kalettes are a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts, with the little heads being like kale rather than cabbage. What can I say, I was just intrigued. The cabbage is a French variety, yielding smallish cone heads that are supposed to be tender. Collards – Morris heading of course! A Carolina staple. I will also be making kale and chard soil blocks, but won’t start them for a few more weeks.

All these plants (except chard) are all apart of the Brassica family, and I think it is interesting that all their seeds look exactly alike, yet yields vastly different plant type and “fruit”.

Insecticide Soap!

I mentioned previously that I had 20150620_08412520150620_094904killed a few caterpillars feasting on my tomatoes, and so ordered some of this insecticidal soap to keep the pests at bay. One bottle is specifically for the tomatoes and hornworms, the other for the other plants to keep aphids, mites, etc. away. It is supposed to not affect beneficial insects (those that eat pests), and can be used up to the day of harvest and should wash easily off the fruit. I have never used this before, and will keep an eye on how well it appears to work. I sprayed the tomatoes down with the tomato specific soap, and the rest of my garden with the other – no matter whether I see infestation or not. This will be a weekly chore…

Tuesday Morning Harvest

20150623_074701I am very happy with the harvest this morning. I was waiting to see if the celery may grow more, since it is the first time I have grown it. But I googled when to harvest it last night, and was advised to harvest before temperatures started to soar. Since it has been in the 90’s for the last two weeks, it was time to harvest. These will mostly go into the dehydrator. My cucumbers are really growing well, and I want to get these into the dehydrator as well… to make pickles! Suck the water out (and some onion, if you want), boil your pickling liquid and re-hydrate! I haven’t tried it, but soon will…

There is also some delicious yellow pear tomatoes and a big cherokee purple tomato. Two scalloped yellow squash, which are not doing too well. As I was planning for the fall, I was looking at companion plants and noticed that potatoes and squash are antagonists (inhibit each other’s growth), and guess what the squash is growing next to? We learn by experience. I am glad I have more squash growing out front! I also picked quite a few of the Kentucky wonder and long beans.

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