Category Archives: Gardening

Quick Garden Update 5-16-17

 

Just a few pictures of my garden over the weekend. Most plants are now producing and have been picking squash and zucchini for a while.

I am so ready for the tomatoes to get ripe.  We also have onions that should be close to pulling and jalapenos that have a good flavor to them. Hopefully we can make some salsa.

Our green beans are producing and the okra are starting to produce flowers. Definitely will have some uses for the okra… fried, sautéed, gumbo, jambalaya, and baked.

We picked some red potatoes. We tried potato boxes but never had any grow higher than the seed potato… but we still had a good crop from 16-18 plants. Next time, I will start the potatoes earlier to see if we can do a better crop. I am going to see what fall vegetables I can do with them.

If you have had success doing potato boxes, let me know what you did in order to grow potatoes higher than the seed.  Also, if anyone has had success in their garden, let us know. Pictures are always welcomed.

Thank you.

Go. Live your life, and enjoy your freedom.

Garden Update 5-6-17

The garden is growing. The squash and zucchini have already produced more than we can eat weekly. We just harvested our potatoes. Take a look at the garden and the veggies we have already picked.

 

(We already ate some of the potatoes before I even thought about getting pictures.)

Go. Live your life and enjoy your freedom.

Garden Update 4-24-17

This evening I picked 8 squash out of the garden.  I also started a YouTube channel and uploaded my very first Welcome to Freedom video… Its a little corny, but I am working on how to edit videos. Give me some time, and I will get better.

Please share your comments and subscribe to my YouTube Channel “Welcome to Freedom.”

 

Go, live life, and enjoy your freedom.

Thank you.

Garden 4-2-17

Over the last week, we have received about 3 inches of rain. This was great since my rain barrel was down below half full. We had some plants really take off and some plants that are not.

 

I line my rows with cardboard. Has anyone used yard clippings for mulch? I am using mine for compost but looking for free material for mulch.

This is a quick update. I wasn’t  able to do much this weekend with a tournament, rain, and just being exhausted. Over the next few weeks, I hope to have some more updates showing the rapid growth of the plants. Please check my other posts in the different categories.

Go, live life, and enjoy your freedom.

 

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Planting Day 3-25-17

 

 

IMG_0289Today was a beautiful day. Sun was shining and a breeze. I got in super late last night due to rain delay and lightning delay for our game. Weathermen said 80-90% chance of rain yesterday, but I think they may have meant  80-90 sprinkles at our house or we are in a geographical bubble. So, I needed to water today. I didn’t get my pump set up yet but I got another bed planted.

Today, I planted my okra, and most of my cantaloupes. I spaced theIMG_0285 cantaloupe and the okra in the row of 1 cantaloupe to every 3 okra seedlings. I found a companion planting chart (http://permaculturenews.org/2011/12/02/companion-planting-information-and-chart/) and showed that melons and okra have a symbiotic relationship. I planted 60+ okra and about 15 cantaloupe plants. If they all make, I guess I will set up a road side fruit and vegetable stand.

For the rest of the garden, the corn is coming in great, along with the potatoes. The potato box needs another level. The third picture is a close up of a potato plant. I believe those little guys in the middle coming off the stock are where the potatoes will be produced. I cannot find anything online to tell me for certain though. I need to get dirt around these if that’s the case. There are a lot on the 20 plants I have. I have cardboard lining the walking/picking rows. I am trying to find some mulch to lay over it. I also have paper to line what I could not cover with the boxes. We did this in our front flower bed as a weed barrier, and worked like a charm. It helps with moisture absorption and retention, worm food, and weed barrier. I will biodegrade and will add nutrients back to the soil. Since I am a geometry teacher, I took all the old worksheets and will be lining the garden. I will have the smartest worms in all of Texas.

The squash is coming along nicely. I have a few plants that are about 8 inches across. This IMG_0291guy here is pretty nice. His little brother not doing well but I will keep him because I am doing a trellis (field fence) with the all my vine growing vegetables. Melons will not be so lucky. I will just trim them once onset of fruit is showing to make the plant pump more energy in producing the melon.  I will be using some fish emulsion this weekend as well. I was waiting for the secondary leaves to sprout. Most postings I have read for fertilizing told me to wait until secondary leaves are formed. Next feeding will be at onset of fruit. I will double check the different plants to make sure I am feeding them the right thing.

Yes, I see the grass growing next to the fence, and I will handle that. I will be trying the vinegar and salt mixture to see if it will solve my issues. I have some ants invading, so I will use the sugar, borax and water to get rid of them. The harvesters stripped my peach tree last year and I will not let that happen this year. I think my peach tree never reached its required chill hours to produce. Not a single bloom or leaf yet. Wait and see on this one.

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Garden Update 3-23-17

Plants are looking good. I am waiting just a bit longer to plant the cantaloupe and watermelon. The okra is doing awesome in my seeding cups and will be transplanted to the garden bed. My cucumber plants are not looking great but they are growing. The squash and zucchini are looking good and the green beans are sprouting.

I still have plenty of jalapeno and bell pepper seedlings, but they are not growing much. My wife went ahead and bought 6 plants from the store and they are doing terrific. I am still going to try to get the seedlings to grow. You cannot have too many peppers. Salsa, pickled, and just eating them on everything.

The corn is doing fantastic. I have a few that are 10 inches tall, and the others are looking well. My potato plants are already needing another level built. I have seen blogs and Youtube videos that tell you to add dirt when they are 6 inches, but I am letting them get about a foot tall. I think the little buds are where the potatoes actually are produced. I am letting them develop before covering. I have to be cautious because potatoes exposed to the sun while growing are toxic.

I got a pump for my rain barrel, I am hoping to hook it up this weekend (and it works). I am still looking to get another water tote (or 2) in order to have plenty or water for this hotter than normal summer that is predicted. I wish I could dig a well, but I don’t have time or the money to do it. The best way for me to store water is using rain barrels hooked up to our gutter system. A cistern would be ideal, but with our septic system located in the worst spot in our yard, it would be impractical.

I recently put in the compost bin (3 x 3 x 3) and it is almost filled up. I need to make a few more so I don’t overfill the original one. I have plenty of space to put them at the end of the garden. They will serve 2 purposes; for the compost and a border of the garden.

I need to weed the garden. I want to wait so I can see if the seeds sown directly will be disturbed if weeding early. I have seen some natural weed killer, and I am going to try some of it on the fence line where I couldn’t get the tiller close enough to break apart the roots and rake them out. 1 gallon of vinegar, 2 cups of epsom salt, and a 1/4 cup of Dawn. I am probably only going to make a small batch to test out. I don’t want to waste more than I need.

I am sorry I do not have pictures. I get home at dusk and there is not enough light to get good shots. I will try to get some this weekend.

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Garden Update 3-15

Its been a few days since I have posted anything. With the rain and getting softball fields ready for our games, I didn’t have time to sit down to post anything.

My main garden bed is completely filled and I have tons of seedlings left to plant. Today, I spent time preparing rows in a second bed with mapping out potential 3rd bed. I bought some okra seeds, soaked them in water, and planted them in my seedling cups. What happened, I have 90+ seedling cups now and most of the plants are looking really good. I will be giving some to my mother in law along with a few squash, cantaloupe and watermelon  seedlings. I am hoping we have a great spring and mild summer so my family can reap a good harvest this year.

Along with making rows, I planted my corn, green beans, chives, oregano, and a few extra strawberry plants. I am still trying to figure out a watering system that is cheap(free would be good) and maintenance free. It would be nice if I could pressurize my rain barrel to create water pressure so I could use a water hose to water the garden. Anyone with suggestions? I also need to put another level on my original potato box since the bigger plants are roughly 10-12 inches tall. It will be another week before the second box needs it second level.

Over the weekend, I also baited most of our fire ant hills. I can’t seem to get rid of them though. I look at the old hills and see all the dead ones, so the bait is working. I just have to be diligent on baiting. I also bought a broadcast fire ant bait once I mow later this week. I am mixing borax and sugar today and soaking cotton balls. I will try everything that is going to kill those pests just shy of dumping gas(want to but not going to) on the hills.

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Garden: 3-5-16

Raised rows are done on the main portion. The potatoes are coming in pretty good. I cut most of the seed potatoes in half because they had multiple eyes growing from them. The morning glory flowers are popping up at the end of my potatoes. I am leaving them just to add more color to the garden. For my trellises, I am using 2×4 field fencing held up by rebar. I had a small section of it last year that my cucumbers grew on and worked pretty well.

I planted my most of my squash, all of my zucchini, and all of my cucumber. The seedlings were too big for the grow area and needed to keep the lights low for the other seedlings that are sprouting. The seedling cups (picture right) did great! The paper cups held together long enough to be able to transplant the whole thing to the garden. The roots found their way through the bottom, which is fine because I know the paper will dissolve enough for the roots to grow deeper.  I dipped the whole cup into a bucket of water to help that process and to make sure it had enough moisture for the plant.

We had rain all weekend but it only rained about 8 tenths of an inch. Over the last month, we have had enough rain to fill 2 or more of the 330 gallon totes. I need to get at least one more to help offset the cost of watering the garden this summer.

I need to figure out how to do a gravity fed irrigation so I don’t have to hand water the garden. I think I could find something better to do with my time instead hand watering. If you have any suggestions or comments, let me know.

 

Garden 2017: Preparation Update

Seedlings are looking good. I have cucumbers, zucchini, 2 types of squash that will probably be put out into the garden this weekend. This past weekend, I built my raised rows, put in my fence for trellises, and planted my onions and the rest of my potatoes. I have 2 potato beds that I will be growing vertically. I have never done potatoes, so this should be interesting.

My mother-in-law was over for Saturday and wanting to know what I used as fertilizer last year (since she was jealous with the harvest). I said nothing, which was true. I burned some yard waste over the garden area and tilled in the ash but other than that, nothing. I have pictures of worms found in my garden, and they are MASSIVE.  She brought me 2 bags of rabbit droppings to add to my compost. I used one bag in the compost, and will use some of the other bag to fertilize around the peppers, corn and tomatoes. I didn’t do so well with peppers last year, hopefully they will yield this year.

I see the corn farmers about to start sowing, so I will get my corn going this weekend as well. I will soak them first and let them plump back up so they will be ready to plant. I will also do this with my green beans and okra. Letting them get that first little root to grow will help.

Next Post, I will have pictures of the garden.

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Richard

2017 Garden

I prepared my garden space by tilling and conditioning it with wood ash, sawdust, and leaves. I built the base for the potato box, since I want to build this up and not out. I have never planted potatoes but I wanted to try. I purchased some rolled fencing that has 2×3 inch rectangular holes in it for my trellis. I used a small section last year for my cucumbers, and it worked great. I was going to run rope for the plants to climb on, but as I  started with it, I noticed too much play in the rope and eventually would sag. I did not want to keep fixing it later so fencing was the next available option.

To water the garden, I purchased a 300+ gallon cube tote and hooked it up to the gutters we installed 2 years ago. We just got a couple of good rains, and the tote is overflowing. I am strongly considering purchasing at least 1 more. A couple of years ago, I bought 2 55 gallon barrels for our front flower bed. To keep them from being an eyesore, I broke apart some pallets and lined the outside of the barrel to make them to appear as wooden barrels. That was a great success. To the water tote, I will do something like that but create a “wellhouse” look to it. No one wants to look at a plastic tote that has a metal exoskeleton. Once I do this, I will document and do another post for your information.

I started my seeds 10-12 days ago. They are growing strong. I started with toilet paper rolls to be able to stick it straight into the ground without disturbing  the roots. I quickly ran out. So I improvised with paper cups I made from old bills and students’ work. I guess I could theoretically say, “I am sorry, but worms ate your work.” After seeding 300+ of them, I ran out. So I will be making more. I found bread delivery trays, and cut them shorter to fit in my grow area.

I bought a bag of strawberry plants, I have 4 viable plants growing. Hopefully the other 4 will survive (not looking good for them).  I have squash (2 variations), cucumber, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, zucchini, cantaloupe, and watermelon started. I will also plant okra, corn, green beans, onions, carrots, potatoes and tomatoes. I am getting seedlings from my mother-in-law. I may plant more, if I had time.

I haven’t decided yet, but I will more than likely line the area of the garden between the rows with old worksheets from my students to act as a weed barrier. Newspaper would be better, but who receives newspaper anymore? My school’s library don’t even receive it anymore. I have used cardboard in the past, but just don’t have enough. I will probably break them down and put in my compost. I figure if people are cardboard for worm castings, it should be fine in the compost.

I will try to find some type of mulch to use. I don’t want to use bag mulch since it is processed so much. I am looking at hay, pine needles(checking if it will make my soil to acidic) or just buy bulk mulch from a landscaping yard. If you have any suggestions, I would welcome your responses and ideas.