Posts Tagged ‘Garden’

Summer Gardening and Pizza!

Summer is in full bloom and though there was no big garden this year, the couple of raised beds my daughter helped me build are coming along nicely. I haven’t had the first tomato off yet. I think they were a bit late, because we’ve had an odd summer so far. Until recently it’s been raining more than usual and the temperatures have been cooler than our norm for this time of year.

The tomato plants are full of green tomatoes and growing taller than the tomato cages. I went outside today trying to figure out some way to keep the vines from falling over so much. I’m afraid they’ll break off. I ended up tying some twine around a couple of the branches to kind of gather them together for support, then tied the other end of the twine to the top of the stake holding the cucumber trellis on one side and the top of a neighboring tomato cage on the other side. (Sorry the picture’s not better—from phone as computer won’t recognize the camera card for some reason.)

Tomato and Cucumber Plants

Tomato and Cucumber Plants

All of the tomatoes are beefsteak except for one roma tomato plant that survived(unfortunately the goat ate my other ones at the beginning of the season—a tale for another day). In the front of the tomatoes in the second raised bed are the cucumber plants trailing up the piece of fencing and some jalepeno plants. The fencing was a leftover piece from last year’s garden. There are lots of blossoms on the plants and a couple of small cucumbers beginning…a little over an inch long with lots of prickles.

The first raised bed has two tomato plants on the end nearest the second bed. The rest of the bed has bell pepper plants and nasturtium flowers at the front in a beautiful array of yellow, orange, and red blossoms. I’m glad I planted the flowers. I know they’re edible, which I haven’t tried to do yet, but they add a nice pop of color to enjoy. There are a few plants in pots too : basil, another beefsteak tomato plant, and an eggplant(it may or may not produce—it’s been kind of puny looking).

I’m not too worried everything is a little late producing as thankfully we have a rather long growing season in NC. I need to look at trying to plant a few things for fall, but haven’t gotten that far. It’s been busy around here just with day to day stuff and caregiving. I’m trying to get back to blogging more and will try to share a few more recipes.

I’ve been enjoying doing more with whole wheat flour. I even made homemade pizza from scratch tonight…all the way from the crust to the pizza sauce(just not the cheese and I don’t see cheese making in my near future…lol). It may not be cheaper than frozen; but it is cheaper than take out(we’re so rural we don’t have delivery), healthier, and boy does it taste good!




Squash, Zucchini, and Projects for the Day

Flower of the zucchini plant.

Flower of the zucchini plant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We finally had some much needed rain last night.  Some time after supper it began raining and it rained for hours.  I could hear it just pouring outside.  This is wonderful for the garden and I won’t have to water the garden today.  It’s also cooled it off nicely outside.

As you probably know, I planted the garden a little on the late side, so we haven’t had a chance to enjoy much from it other than a few salad greens and some herbs.  Well, we are finally getting a bit more from the garden.  Last night we had fried squash and onions with squash fresh from the garden.  It took a few days to get enough squash, but it was worth it.  There will be tomatoes and jalapenos soon too.

I have a couple of zucchini, which we decided not to fix in with the squash.  I’m thinking about making zucchini bread.  I love the taste of zucchini bread, I’ve just never made any.  This means finding a recipe and grinding some wheat.  The recipe will be easy and I’ll probably end up modifying it.  I usually do.  The wheat will take a bit more work.

I am blessed to have an electric mill, but the thing is so loud it sounds like an aircraft taking off.  It also spews flour dust in the kitchen even though I’ve changed the filter.  I’m not sure why it continues to do this.  The solution I’ve come up with to take care of both these problems is to grind the wheat outdoors.  I just plug the mill up to an extension cord outdoors and lug a pail of wheat out too.  It’s not so loud since it’s not in an enclosed space and who cares if you get a little wheat dust on the grass.

So I guess I have at least a few projects to work on today.  I’m going to add to the list, because I’ve realized I need to do a bit of garden research to answer some questions.  As I was doing my usual morning garden walk around, I thought of a few things I didn’t know the answer to.  One, would be if carrots and onions grow in the ground, how do you know when they are ready?  I’m also wondering how long do eggplant plants take to reach maturity?

If you’ve read some of my past blog posts, you might recall that the big garden is a bit of an experimental garden.  I’ve been playing around with companion planting and trying to grow some things I’ve never attempted to grow before, such as watermelons and pumpkins.  I’m going to try to keep notes, so I know what worked and what didn’t.  For example, I know in our garden dirt, beets and bunching onions don’t seem to like it.  Neither would grow this year.  One of the things I thought interesting about Thomas Jefferson was learning he kept journals about his gardens.

P.S. – How’s that for easy?  Found a couple of zucchini bread recipes(found below) as I was finishing up this post.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve learned while gardening?  Any experiments in your garden this year?…

Garden Vegetables…Fresh Produce Begins…

The garden is not producing a lot right now, but it’s beautiful.  Thought I would share some photos. I just came in a little bit ago from checking on the garden and doing a little weeding. Luckily I have not had much deer or rabbit damage this year.  Something nibbled a few leaves from one zucchini and one okra plant, but the plants look like they’ll be fine.  Here are some of the vegetables I picked this morning, a zucchini and a couple of squash.

Zucchini and Squash

Zucchini and Squash

This is the first year I’ve tried to grow watermelon and I’m so excited.  There are a few baby watermelons on the vines.  Here is the largest baby “sugar baby” watermelon in the garden. It’s about the size of a half dollar so far.  You can also see how hard and rough our soil is, but at least some things still manage to grow and feel at home in it.

A Baby "Sugar Baby" Watermelon

A Baby “Sugar Baby” Watermelon

Tomatoes are my favorite in a garden.  This year I planted roma and beefsteak tomatoes.  Here are a few of the roma tomatoes getting a little bigger.  I’ve been enjoying tomato sandwiches with greenhouse tomatoes from our favorite farmer friend, but I can’t wait to eat some with a fresh tomato straight off the vine.

Roma Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes



Garden Helpers…

There has been more rain and warmth, which is helping the garden to blossom.  The tomato plants are getting nice and tall with more flowers.  The other plants are growing taller as well, but not flowering just yet.  I can’t wait to be able to start eating some vegetables fresh from the garden. 

I usually go out first thing in the morning to look over the garden to see how it’s doing and make sure the deer or rabbits haven’t caused any damage.  I’m the early riser in the house, so it’s my chance for a bit of peace.  Our dog Savanna enjoys keeping me company and likes to wander about the garden as well. 

Gardening with Savanna

Gardening with Savanna

Yesterday evening it rained, but I managed to get a few gardening tasks done while it was still cool.  I put up a support for the cucumbers.  Next, my daughter and her boyfriend gave me a hand putting up the support for the green beans.  We barely made it, but managed to get done before the rain started.

Both supports were made from pieces of found fencing from previous gardening years.  We used pieces of twine to tie the sections of fencing to plastic stakes pressed in the ground.  The stakes are the black ones about 3 feet tall with a piece sticking out at the base above the spike, which is used to press your foot onto make it go into the ground.  We got them at the Tractor Supply store a couple of years ago.

The other thing we got done yesterday was to move the swing.  It’s under a nice tall tree for shade in the front yard and is in a good position for a nice view of the garden.  Love the swing!  No picture of the supports or the swing, I’ll have to post one another day, but here’s one of the largest squash plant in my garden. 




Hopes in Midst of Rain and Changes…

English: Hopes Reservoir The water, seen from ...

English: Hopes Reservoir The water, seen from the dam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today has hopes of feeling like a good day.  A slow gentle rain has been falling for the last several hours.  Of course, don’t have to go water the garden today, but couldn’t resist going out there to see how things are progressing.  It’s looking nice and almost all the seeds I planted are sprouting.  Only saw one bit of deer mischief….they ate my four broccoli plants.  It’s time to get busy with my anti-deer plans.

Guess it will be one of those housework catch up days with a bit of reading and writing thrown in the mix.  Still reading a book I picked up the other day at the used bookstore, a book of Sylvia Plath‘s Journals.  Maybe I can think of something delicious to bake up.  Baking is always good to do on rainy days when you can’t really do much outdoors.  Not complaining though, we so need the rain and I wanted it for my garden.

Well in other news, my household has recently grown.  My daughter and her significant other have moved in so they can work on getting other jobs and saving up a little.  The other additions to the household include their two dogs, one of which is still a frisky little puppy.  They are almost completely done with the moving part.  Just finishing up a few odds and ends over the next couple of days.  So far, so good.

Still trying to not worry so much even though it seems like things want to start falling apart in spurts and too many changes happen at once.  If you are in need of an uplifting song, here’s Drinking From My Saucer by Michael Combs.  It’s a wonderful reminder to be grateful, which a friend shared with me.



The Plants Are Finally in The Ground!!!

The big garden was officially planted this weekend!  The babies I raised from seeds went into the ground finally.  I did pick up a few sweet bell pepper and jalapeno pepper plants at the feed store on Saturday as my bell pepper seedlings never made it.  They were a great price at $1.55 for 4 plants, which is less than 40 cents each.  I also planted seeds and can’t wait for them to come up.

The garden kind of looks straggly right now, but I have hopes it will blossom with growth in the coming months.  It’s an experimental garden in a way.  I’m playing with companion planting this year.  There are also going to be some flowers if all goes well.  The far end on the left has coneflower seeds planted and there are a couple of rows of sunflowers planted vertical to the garden on the far end.

There are still a few rows left if I think of anything else to plant in it.  I know I’d like to plant some more squash as I only had enough seed for a half a row and we like to freeze squash.  Right now I’ve been watering the garden daily in hopes of keeping the ground soft enough and the seeds moist enough to sprout.   The garden is blessed with mostly Carolina clay.



This morning I went out for my daily watering and checking things out.  I love looking for any sign of new plant growth.  So far only spotted a couple of seeds sprouting.  Most of the plants look like they’ll make it and there’s only been one tomato plant fatality so far.  The next big challenge will be attempting to deter the deer.  I love deer as long as they eat everything else and leave the garden be.

Over the next couple of days I hope to put stakes, I already have, around the garden.  I’ll use these to put twine around and dangle pie plates from to try to scare away the deer.  Maybe I’ll try to tie on some bright strips of plastic too, so they’ll blow in the wind.  I’ve also heard you can tie bits of soap around the garden to deter deer.  We’ll see how it goes.

How’s your garden growing?  Any favorite deer deterring tips? . . .

Tiny Treasures

Rabbit rabbit Alongside road to the mill.

Rabbit rabbit Alongside road to the mill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyday seems to have a bit of adventure in it somewhere.  Sometimes it’s in tiny bits of treasure found in the yard.  In the early mornings I love to go outdoors while it’s cool and there is still dew on the grass.

This morning there was a big brown rabbit sitting on the left of the driveway.  Even after I went outdoors he didn’t get startled and run away.  He just hopped a little bit further.  I like to think the animals are not scared in our yard and know it’s safe.  Deer linger longer as well.

I was so excited to find small “pea pods” in the little garden!  Everyday I have been looking and seen flowers on the plants, but no pea pods.  Excuse my overzealous excitement, but this is the first time ever I’ve grown peas and they made it long enough to get pods.  This time they are in the protection of the garden fence and safe from deer nibbling.

There are now pretty yellow flowers on the cucumber plants finally as well.  The cherokee purple tomato plant has about 4 small green tomatoes on it.  The largest is about the size of a plum.  Lettuce and the other herbs are growing bigger.  I know I keep saying it, but hopefully fresh salad soon.  Will only be a lettuce and tomato salad, but at least it will be fresh from the garden.

Yesterday morning it was still a little damp, but I decided to work on the little shade sitting area in the yard.  I raked the fallen leaves and those spiky gumballs from the trees up leaving bare ground, which is much nicer to walk on.  After clearing the area, I rearranged the benches, one on each side of the square raised planting bed.  There were treasures in the planting bed I unearthed beneath the leaves, an apple-crested maidenhair fern and some variegated hostas.  Both growing nicely!  Now I won’t have to plant everything from scratch in the bed.

The shade bed had not been tended to in about 2 years, so I was amazed anything was still thriving in it.  I gave up on it for a bit as the goats and chickens were eating anything I’d plant in it.  The last time my hosta was hanging from one of the goat’s mouths I thought it was a goner.  Another small project in the shade area is to take down the old string of lights I had strung between trees on both sides and replace it with new ones for soft night time lighting.  I’ll share a picture once I get it a little more spruced up.