GARDEN WORK MAKES THE TIME FLY!

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Posted by Gordon | Posted in News | Posted on 09-06-2013

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It seems like just yesterday that I made a post to this blog.  I went back and revisited several of the photographs I had taken for this posting and found that they were no longer applicable as the garden is in full speed growth.  We have already harvested peppers (In fact – the very ones presented here.)

PEPPERS ALREADY STUFFED AND BAKED

as well as many others.  They are green, yellow and red bells mixed with a few jalapenos (which I use to add to vinegar as a salad dressing and to add punch to cooked greens).  We will get peppers all the way to the first hard frost which did not come last year so I had to remove the old (and spent) plants before I planted new ones.  Carrots, radish, greens and turnips have come and gone but things are about to heat up and I don’t mean the weather.

I picked the first of the blackberries (a mere handful) a week ago and since then we  have picked several quarts.  In fact, I picked a quart Friday to take to my daughter.  They were quite impressive until I tripped on a hose and fell on the Ziploc bag.  So, Glenda is making a blackberry cobbler as I write this.

THE FIRST HANDFUL

Other fruit are growing and will provide bumper crops later this summer.  The blue berries are starting to turn blue and the birds will get most of them because I have not had time to construct the bird netting support over them so this year we will supplement the bird’s diet.  I have a preference to high bush blueberries as they produce much heaver crops here.  I will purchase 10 more high bush plants to add to the 5 we now have.  The low bush plants should continue to grow under the high bush varieties and together will produce ample blueberries in the future.  Our fig hedges are doing very well this spring after I installed the drip irrigation to each plant..  We even have a few figs on several of the plants.  The parent plant, a 12 foot, 10 year old brown turkey tree is covered with 1 inch fruit.  When they reach 2 inches and start to turn a brownish pink, the race will be on with the raccoons.  We should get enough to eat all the fresh figs we want and make a years worth of fig jam.  The trick is to pick them the day before the raccoons come and let them ripen in the frig – about 3 days.

 

OUR BROWN TURKEY FIGS

 

PEST

You may remember that in an effort to outsmart the squash borer (a moth), I decided to plant a variety that did not require insect pollination.  This would allow me to cover the plants with an insect barrier and deprive the squash borer access to the plants.  It was a great idea and I can tell you that we have grown beautiful 4 foot tall plants under the barrier.  Unfortunately, the barrier keeps the humidity too high.  Most of our lovely young squash get a fungus and shrivel and die before they get to eating size.  This does not mean that I have given up on trying to grow squash.  I plan to screen in the sides of the hoop covering to reduce the moisture buildup and have planted a trial planting exposed to the environment which I have covered with a light dusting of diatomaceous earth (DE).  This is supposed to be picked up by the larvae as they hatch and kill them by cutting into their skin after which they dehydrate.  It works on the exterior and interior pest of our chickens as well as on our dogs and cats so I am hoping that it will work in the garden.

FOUR FOOT HIGH SQUASH PLANTS WITHOUT SQUASH

We have already had our first two attacks from the new pest known as the wisteria bug.  Last year, they wiped out our pole beans even after we resorted to a pesticide.  This year they have come to a Celeste fig.  I have applied a spray mixture of green bug, DE and dish soap and have moved them off the fig with some evidence of dead insects.  I know this battle is not over and will keep a watchful eye throughout the garden for the next attack.   It just seems that organic gardening is becoming more and more difficult with all the imported pest we get (especially from Asia).   Another new pest is the bacteria carrying midge (from Asia) that inoculate our citrus with a fungus causing what is called the greening disease and kills the trees in 4 to 5 years.  I was excited after purchasing a cold hardy avocado tree ($150) from a Georgia nursery and started to look forward to 1000 home grown fruit/year, as stated by the nursery, after I saw how robust the new growth was this spring.  Well that expectation was short lived as I watched, within 1 week, everything die back.  I researched the literature and found that three years ago a small borer was introduced through Charleston, SC via shipping pallets that harbors a fungus in their mandibles that is their main food source.  This ambrosia beetle (Polyphagous shot hole borer) inoculates avocado and Southern Sweet Bay trees with a  fusarium fungus which clogs the vascular tubes and kills the trees.  This pest is also an Asian introduction.

We are going to have to restrict our crop selection to only those varieties that are not affected by a deadly pest or build green houses and grow everything inside them.  That is what the citrus tree supply growers are doing to avoid the greening disease and thus get a clear Florida inspection report so they can sell their product.

 

BACK TO THE GARDEN

This year’s artichoke experiment looks to be successful. We may actually get artichokes off our two year old plants next year.  I only planted four this year as opposed to a dozen last year but I placed them in the new raised bed with good purchased soil and drip irrigation.  It has made a difference.

LATE APRIL ARTICHOKES

LATE MAY ARTICHOKES

Note the tomatoes on both sides are starting to crowd the plants.  I may have to remove some of the tomato plants.

We have a developing problem with the invasive nature of spearmint plants.  I love the smell of the plant in the garden and enjoy the fresh tea I brew but the patch now measures 8 feet by10 and that is a lot of tea.  I hate to do it but I will have to start treating it like a weed.  We grow several other herbs but I keep them contained within 10 gallon pots.

SPEARMINT

HERBS

 

We planted another 40 foot row of pole beans (rattlesnake variety) on a new 10 foot trellis.  I don’t know how we are going to harvest that high but the beans don’t seem to have any trouble climbing that high.  I took a photograph a week and a half ago when they were only 4 feet high and today they are almost to the top.  I picked a few young 5 inch long pods Friday which never made it to the house.

NEW CROP OF POLE BEANS

 

The garden is doing what we all like to see it do.  GROW!  After installing the drip irrigation and new mulch along with the improved soil, there is not as much work to do so we can sit in our garden chairs and watch it do just that.  This is good since two of our partners have run off to France for 8 weeks – just means more goodies for Chris and I.  We will probably have to share some of it with friends which we seem to have many of lately.

LOOKING NORTH

RHUBARB

LOOKING SOUTH

 

I fully expect to be complaining about the abundant supply of fresh home grown tomatoes and how tired I am getting of eating tomato sandwiches in my next blog entry.  I wish!  I have been known to eat 5 sandwiches for lunch and still want more.  I can only dream.

NEED I SAY MORE!

 

Well, I have to go sample the blackberry cobbler…

MMMMM!

 

 

 

Comments (9)

Looks great! We actually have a bird trapped in the blackberry netting. I found a small access point on the lower back side that you will need to secure. How was the cobbler? Going to get started on the hedge trimming soon. Oh Joy. Happy Gardening!

I’LL HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF THAT AS I AM NOT IN A SHARING MODE AFTER TASTING MOM’S COBBLER. DAD

Surely enjoyed looking at your great photos. Up here in Montana, our gardens grow (actually start–date of last frost is mid-May) a little slower. But we already have had several cuttings of rhubarb for pies and cobblers. Keep on posting!

GAIL:

SEND ME SOME INSTRUCTIONS ON WHEN AND HOW TO HARVEST AND HOW TO MAKE A RHUBARB PIE.

GORDON

love your site. deb stirling turned me on to it. y’all are great gardeners.

susan

You make me sick Gordon.I am So Green with envy.I was shocked to see Rhubarb growing.Didn’t think it could grow in the South. Everything looks Great! Do you have Horseradish or Zuccini in your Garden?

HI JIM:

THE SQUASH I AM TRYING TO GROW UNDER THE INSECT BARRIER IS A TYPE OF ZUCCHINI BUT WE ARE NOT SUCCESSFUL YET. NO HORSERADISH. GORDON

Hi, Gordon. I also have so many figs I don’t know what to do with them all. It makes me sad to see so many perish before I can pick them, literally falling off the tree daily. I will share any recipes I come up with … post any you find, too! Best regards! Cindy

GREAT! I DID FIND ONE THAT USED LINGUINI IN THE RECIPE THAT SOUNDED GOOD. I’LL TRY TO RELOCATE IT AND SEND IT TO YOU. LAST YEAR THE RACCOONS GOT TO THE FIGS SO I WAS IN COMPETITION WITH THEM BUT THEY HAVE NOT FOUND THEM THIS YEAR AND I AM REALIZING HOW MANY FIGS THAT ONE TREE PRODUCES. DO THE BIRDS OR RACCOONS GET ANY OF YOURS?
GORDON

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