Edit: I have imported this from my The Black Thumb of Death Gardening Blog to my regular blog...
I am very lucky. I planted the garden and left for a month in May. The sprinklers "moved" some of the seeds. We had unusual heat that killed the tomatoes and peppers I started and planted besides putting in the other vegetable seeds, I was lucky to have anything come up. We had a month of heavy downpours and rains that wiped out a lot of people's gardens up here. If it is not one thing, it is another. I have grasshoppers trying to kill the potatoes. I hope the neem oil will take care of them. I have squashed all I can catch, but they really did a number on the leaves. I feel I am lucky to have what appeared and thrived compared to others' gardens.
Yesterday, I found a lot of peas had ripened. I shelled them, giving a pods-worth to Sally. She loves fresh peas. I then briefly steamed them, patted them dry then put them on a tray to freeze before putting them in a bag. I got a good two cups-worth, even with the occasional one ending up in the mouth while shelling. I had picked a few pods last week and froze them without blanching first. I added them to the strainer before steaming. They are the really dark peas in the photo.
Today, I found a few more pea pods were ready, along with a few small beets, turnips and green beans. One bell pepper had not grown in weeks (only 2" long), so I picked that and a couple of wax peppers. One red onion lost its top, so I dug that up. I peeled the turnips, sliced in half the peppers and steamed them for freezing.
The beets, I boiled 25 minutes. The book said 25 to 30 minutes for baby beets. I will do them 20 minutes the next time. They seemed to be almost overdone. The book was right, run them under cold water right after they are done and the skins did come right off. I sliced those, made a pickling juice and put them in a tiny 1/2 pint jar for quick refrigerator pickling. I added a clove of garlic and that small, teeny-weeny onion for extra flavor on top of the dill seed I added. Yum. I love beets, especially pickled.
If you noticed, the plastic Halloween cauldron I use to gather vegetables from the garden with, had a bunch of dirt from the turnips and beets. I did not notice it. I was rinsing the green beans so I could snap them and get them steamed and frozen. I became impatient and dumped them all in the sink, not noticing all that dirt first. Yuck. I rinsed everything well, then washed each bean well while popping off the ends as I went. That was so dumb. I upped my time at the sink. I have quite a bit of green beans, a favorite in this house. I cut them instead of snapping them because I wanted to go soak in the tub a bit, not hang over the sink all afternoon.
Note to self: What WAS I thinking!? I planted the corn (stunted from high heat and then hard thunderstorms) and the sunflowers on an edge. I then planted pole beans. Next in line was the peas. I added strings going up for the peas and pole green beans to go up, besides the corn and sunflowers. All fine and working out well. Then, stupidly, I planted the bush green beans, not the dry beans. Dry beans are flattish, so at least I know what is what. You do not pick them until they dry on the vine. The bush green beans have to be picked as they appear and ripen. What I did was put the plants that should be in easy reach in a hard reach, add hidden because of the thick foliage on top of it all. Why did I not put them in the front? I was not thinking. Next year.
Himself has been picking the berries that ripen every day or two. We are getting strawberries, Josta berries (a gooseberry and currant cross), and blueberries. We wash them and then freeze for later use. It will take a while to gather enough to make something. I only have one Josta bush/vine, two blueberry bushes (one is tiny and hanging by a thread to life, though producing a few berries that are starting to ripen), and a lot of strawberry plants that are finally doing their thing.
I am planning next year's garden garden. I know pretty much what grows well together. I will put the bush green beans to the front. I will also try to find a way to plant the spinach, mustard, cabbages and collards much earlier. then replant mid-summer for fall. the ground was too frozen, it may not be a choice next year. I will also cover the tomatoes and peppers to help them along while not going away for so long. the birth of our second grandson prevailed, of course He was way more important, no?
I did not add herbs in pots this year. I have noticed the difference. Herbs really do help keep away the bad bugs. not earwigs and mormon crickets, but everything else. this year, I found a couple of the aforementioned bugs. This year, it is grasshoppers in the potatoes. Oh well, everything cycles. I should of not set the potatoes before the fourth of July. I knew better and rushed. Not next year.
I will try to journal all I learned this year. The beds are set up for rotation. That will "fool" insects, usually. It also helps set up the bed for the next set of plants that come in by the nutrients they leave behind in the soil. Each year, I will need to add little to none of the organic fertilizers. I would be very happy to never use the fish-poop stuff again. As nicely as it helps seedlings, it is hard to get the smell off your hands.
Since the gestapo (DHS) and FBI lists those of us who garden and put away food as "terrorists" and against the Gummit (for being responsible and not wanting them to wipe our rears), I will sign off as- Subversively yours...