SPRING IN THE SOUTH CAROLINA LOWCOUNTRY HAS ARRIVED!

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Posted by Gordon | Posted in News | Posted on 18-03-2015

KEEFER PEAR IN BLOOM

KEEFER PEAR IN BLOOM

Wow! What a winter!  Cold!  Cold! Cold! And now the rain starts.  It could have been worse.  We could have been up North where they are still wondering if Spring is going to arrive.  It was cold enough to give the climate warming skeptics something to chew on.  I suggest they come south and enjoy the July and August afternoons here if they have any questions as to the warming of the climate.   But that is another topic so let us move on to our garden story.

I believe the last entry on this blog was in September.  Much has happened since then but not in the garden.  I could blame it on the weather but that would be incorrect.  Although a small fall and winter garden was planted, most of my time was spent on the construction of a barn and tack room to house the two new horses my wife, Glenda, got.  You may ask what that has to do with the garden but let me tell you that the 80 lbs. of raw compost that they produce each and every day has a lot to do with our garden.  Besides the many hours of scooping, turning and hauling there is the spreading and mixing.  We have great expectations for a very green spring garden.  It is good to move a healthy, natural, indigenous population of earthworms along with the compost into our raised beds.

NEW BARN

It is early in the spring process so I will copy the email I sent to our garden co-op yesterday to bring everyone up to date.

 

HI GUYS:
NOW THAT THE BARN IS FINISHED AND MOST OF THE CRITICAL PROBLEMS WITH GLENDAS HEALTH HAVE DIMINISHED, I AM ABLE TO START WORKING IN THE GARDEN AGAIN.
I AM ADDING SOME OF THE 80 LBS. OF COMPOSTED MANURE THAT THE HORSES PRODUCE DAILY.  I AM MIXING IT 50-50 WITH TOPSOIL FROM THE FOREST AND ADDING IT TO THE RAISED BEDS AS WELL AS TO ALL OTHER PLANTS AND TREES AROUND THE GARDEN AND HOUSE. 80 LBS. A DAY IS A LOT OF MANURE. I PLAN TO AUGMENT THIS WITH A GENEROUS ADDITION OF 10-10-10 THROUGHOUT THE GROWING SEASON AND WILL GET THE WATERING SYSTEM HOOKED BACK UP. THIS SHOULD ENSURE A FANTASTIC GARDEN WITH AMPLE PRODUCTION. AS WE HAVE LEARNED, OUR HOT SUMMERS LIMIT WHAT WE CAN GROW IN JULY – OCTOBER BUT WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET A GOOD SPRING GARDEN GOING. THE PEPPERS, MALABAR SPINACH AND OKRA WILL CARRY US THROUGH THE SUMMER TO THE FALL GARDEN.
LAST WEEK I PREPARED BEDS AND PLANTED 6 TOMATO PLANTS, 9 BRUSSELS SPROUTS, 16 LETTUCE PLANTS AND A BED OF COLE PLANTS (EITHER COLLARDS OR BROCCOLI).  THESE WERE ALL PLANTED IN REFRESHED RAISED BEDS.  DAVIS HAS ADDED COMPOSTED MANURE TO ONE OF THE BEDS AND IS PLANNING TO COVER THE MARY WASHINGTON ASPARAGUS WITH MANURE AS WELL AS PREPARE THE BED NEXT TO THE FENCE INSIDE THE GARDEN NEXT TO THE GATE SIDE. I WILL TRANSPLANT THE JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES IN THIS REFRESHED BED AS THIS SUNFLOWER IS TALL AND WILL SHADE THE GARDEN IF LEFT WHERE IT NOW IS.  BY THE WAY, THERE ARE A LOT OF ARTICHOKES IN THE GROUND THAT NEED TO BE HARVESTED. THEY MAKE GREAT PICKLES AS WELL AS BEING GOOD COOKED LIKE POTATOES OR EATEN RAW IN SALADS.  IF YOU HAVE NOT TRIED THEM, YOU SHOULD.  I WILL BE HARVESTING THEM LATER THIS WEEK AND PLANTING A FEW SEED TUBERS BACK IN THE NEW BED.  IT LOOKS LIKE WE GET ABOUT A QUART AND A HALF FROM EACH PLANT.  LAST YEAR I PLANTED TWO $6 BAGS (ABOUT 8 BULBS EACH) THAT I PURCHASED FROM PUBLIX.  AFTER BREAKING THE BULBS APART, I GOT ABOUT 30 PLANTS.  THIS IS A VERY EASY CROP THAT THEY SAY ONCE YOU PLANT THEM, YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE THEM.
I ALSO PURCHASED TWO BAGS OF NEW JERSEY ASPARAGUS (A VARIETY THAT IS 4 TIMES AS PRODUCTIVE AS THE MARY WASHINGTON TYPE WE NOW HAVE.  I PLANTED THESE OUTSIDE THE GARDEN FENCE NEXT TO THE WIRE ACROSS FROM THE BLACKBERRIES.  I ALSO AM TRANSPLANTING ALL THE DAYLILIES TO THIS AREA NEXT TO THE FENCE.  WE ALL NEED TO START EATING THE DAYLILY BLOOMS (BUDS) AS THEY CAN BE EATEN AS A FRESH ADDITION TO A SALAD OR BOILED AS A COOKED VEGETABLE.  THEY ARE QUITE GOOD AND A STAPLE VEGETABLE IN ASIA.  COOK AS YOU WOULD ANY VEGETABLE.  WE HAVE ABOUT 300 PLANTS NOW AND THE NUMBER IS GROWING SO WE NEED TO DISCOVER OUR DAYLILIES.
YESTERDAY AND TODAY, I PREPARED THE BED AND PLANTED OUR SUGAR PEAS.  I THINK I FOUND THE ORIGINAL PEA WE GREW TWO YEARS AGO THAT WERE SO GOOD.  I WILL PLANT THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BED (ACROSS THE TRELLIS) WITH THE SMALL CHERRY TOMATOES I AM GROWING UNDER THE ROOTING BENCH.  THIS IS THE LONG RAISED BED BETWEEN THE GARDEN AND THE BLACKBERRIES.  WE NEED TO WEED THAT SIDE AND TRANSPLANT THE REMAINING DAYLILIES TO ANOTHER LOCATION. THEN WE NEED TO ADD A LOT OF MANURE IN PREPARATION FOR THE TRANSPLANT TOMATOES IN THREE WEEKS.
THAT BRINGS ME TO THE BLACKBERRIES.  THEY NEED TO BE WEEDED (NOT MANY WEEDS) AND I NEED TO CUT THE OLD CANES OUT LEAVING THE NEW CANES TO PRODUCE BERRIES THIS YEAR.  WE NEED TO TOP THE BED WITH 4 TO 6 INCHES OF COMPOST AND THEN ADD 2 INCHES OF THE NEW DROP OF OAK LEAVES. WE CAN THEM COVER THE CANES WITH THE OLD NETTING AND REPAIR ANY BREAKS. THESE CANE ARE STARTING TO SPROUT THIS WEEK SO WE SHOULD HAVE BERRIES IN 3 WEEKS.
I HAVE FIXED THE WATERING SYSTEM FOR THE FIG HEDGES SO WE SHOULD SEE A LOT OF CHANGE WITH THEM THIS YEAR ESPECIALLY AFTER WE MULCH WITH THE COMPOST NOTE: FIGS LIKE A BASIC SOIL AND THE COMPOST WILL BE ACIDIC SO WE WILL HAVE TO ADD LIME TO THE COMPOST OR CHEAT AND POUR CONCRETE RINGS AROUND THE PLANTINGS. (FIGS DO WELL NEXT TO CONCRETE FOUNDATIONS).
I HAVE PURCHASED ABOUT $60 WORTH OF NEW SEEDS. THINGS LIKE ARTICHOKES, SEVERAL INTERESTING CUCUMBERS, A SQUASH THAT WE CAN PLANT UNDER A COVER TO DISCOURAGE THE SQUASH BORE AND GET SQUASH BECAUSE INSECT POLLINATION IS NOT REQUIRED (PARTHENOCARPY), OUR FAVORITE POLE BEAN (GARDEN OF EDEN), RED MALABAR SPINACH AND CELERIAC. I WILL PURCHASE BELL PEPPER PLANTS FROM LOWES AS WELL AS ROMA TOMATO PLANTS. THESE SEEDS WILL BE PLACED IN THE GARDEN BEDS AFTER WE REFRESH THEM. I PLAN TO COVER EVERYTHING WITH THE 2 INCH LAYER OF OAK LEAVES AS IT REALLY CONTROLLED THE WEEDS LAST YEAR AS WELL AS KEPT THE ROOTS COOL AND MOIST. THE DRIVEWAY IS COVERED WITH THE LEAVES AS IS THE HORSE PADDOCK SO WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET ALL THE MULCH THAT WE NEED.
THINGS TO DO NOW:
RAKE LEAVES INTO PILES TO BE HAULED TO THE GARDEN.
WEED THE HALF BED ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PEA TRELLIS AND ADD COMPOST IN PREPARATION FOR THE CHERRY TOMATOES.
WEED COMPOST AND MULCH THE BLACKBERRIES.
REFRESH WITH COMPOST THE MARY WASHINGTON ASPARAGUS BED.
HARVEST THE JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES AND TRANSPLANT THE SEED BULBS TO THE NEW ARTICHOKE BED THAT NEEDS TO BE WEEDED (MINT) AND COMPOSTED.
COMPOST THE OLD ARTICHOKE BED AS THIS IS WHERE MORE LETTUCE IS GOING TO BE PLANTED.
ADD COMPOST TO THE HALF OF THE TOMATO BED IN THE CENTER OF THE GARDEN IN PREPARATION FOR THE 6 ROMA TOMATO PLANTS.
MULCH EVERYTHING WITH OAK LEAVES AS THE BEDS ARE REFRESHED AND PLANTED.
THIS WILL GET US GOING IN A BIG WAY. WE WILL ADD OTHER ITEMS AS SPRING PROGRESSES.
THE BLUE BERRY PLANTS THAT I PURCHASED LAST YEAR AND WE THOUGHT WERE DEAD ARE STILL ALIVE AND WILL SURVIVE WITH WATER, COMPOST AND CARE.  THAT WILL GIVE US A FULL ROW OF BLUE BERRIES THAT WE WILL EVENTUALLY HAVE TO NET TO GET BERRIES BEFORE THE BIRDS GET THEM.  WE HAVE ABOUT A DOZEN NEW BLACKBERRY PLANTS THAT I WILL PLANT IN THE NEW BERRY ROW BY THE FIG HEDGE.  I AM GOING TO KEEP THESE PRUNED SHORT AS MY. FIELDS SHOWED ME BEFORE HE DIED. HE JUST KEPT PLANTING VINES AND CUTTING THEM INTO 4 FEET CLUMPS AND FED THE BIRDS BUT HAD ENOUGH LEFT TO SELL TO HIS DATAW CUSTOMERS.  WE HAVE ONE NICE ARTICHOKE PLANT.  I AM GOING TO TRY TO GET A BED OF THEM GOING THIS YEAR FROM BOTH SEED AND YOUNG PURCHASED PLANTS. ONCE WE GET 12 TO 16 PLANTS GOING, WE WILL HAVE ALL THE ARTICHOKES WE WILL NEED (CAN YOU TELL THAT I REALLY LIKE ARTICHOKES).
THE CITRUS GOT HIT AGAIN THIS WINTER BUT WE MAY GET A BLOOM SO CROSS YOUR FINGERS. WE WILL BE SPREADING COMPOST UNDER THE TREES ONCE WE FINISH WITH THE GARDEN AREA.
I PLAN TO GET 12 NEW PULLETS TO RAISE FROM CHICKS TO BRING THE FLOCK BACK TO 20 OR SO. WE ARE NOW GETTING 6 TO 8 EGGS A DAY.
THAT BRINGS ME TO THE BEES. WE HAVE 3 GOOD HEALTHY HIVES. I WANT TO PUT SUPERS ON THEM THIS SUMMER AND HARVEST THE HONEY AS COMB HONEY. WE WILL GENERATE 4 TO 6 SWARMS THIS YEAR. I HAVE PURCHASED AND INSTALLED A SWARM TRAP IN THE WOODS AND WILL GET ANOTHER ONE NEXT WEEK. THIS SHOULD ENSURE THAT WE GET A COUPLE NEW SWARMS. I WANT TO GET THE TOP BAR HIVE STARTED WITH ONE OF THEM. PEGGY HAS INDICATED THAT SHE WANTS TO GET BACK INTO BEES SO IF WE GET THE SWARMS, I PLAN TO GIVE HER ONE TO START A HIVE. OUR BEES ARE VERY SPECIAL. ASIDE FROM BEING VERY EASY TO WORK (DO NOT STING) THEY ARE GENETICALLY RESISTANT TO THE VERONA MITE WHICH IS A MAJOR PLAGUE IN A HIVE AND WILL WEAKEN THE HIVE WHICH THEN LEADS TO HIVE BEETLES AND WAX MOTH DESTRUCTION. ALL OUR SWARMS ARE OF THIS GENETICALLY SUPERIOR VARIETY. OUR BEES WERE COLLECTING POLLEN AND NECTAR THROUGHOUT THE WINTER WHEN IT WAS WARM ENOUGH TO FLY. I GUESS THEY WERE GOING TO THE PORCH FLOWERS IN COOSAW POINT. WHO KNOWS? I WAS ASTOUNDED. THESE ARE VERY PRODUCTIVE BEES.
ONE LAST THING. I AM WATCHING THE WISTERIA. IT LOOKS LIKE THE BUDS ARE STARTING TO SWELL. WE ARE PROBABLY WITHIN TWO OR THREE WEEKS OF THE SOIRÉE. PLEASE START THINKING ABOUT PEOPLE TO INVITE. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE 30 OR MORE THIS YEAR. YOU ALL KNOW A LOT OF INTERESTING PEOPLE THAT WILL MAKE FOR A GREAT EVENING.
THAT IS IT FOR NOW.  JOIN ME IN THE GARDEN ANY TIME YOU GET A CHANCE.
GORDON
EMPTY GARDEN

EMPTY GARDEN

 

 

 

APIARYSHYPEAS WAITING FOR LEAF MULCH

Comments (1)

Hi Gordon I’m Ruthie’s brother I knew your brother Jackie. How is he doing? I live in lady lake fl. I took 13 bath tubs bolted together in a u shape and that’s my garden I grew tomatoes all winter this year. they never vine ripen in the cold weather. I would pick and bring inside for a week. they also looked deformed found out that tomatoes will do this in cold weather they call it cat faced tomatoes. well the last freeze 1 week in march got them. getting ready to replant most of the tubs.

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