This has been the most severe winter here since we started the garden and raised beds. We have had two periods over the last three weeks when it reached single digit temps, the most recent this week when it got down to 2 degrees one morning. Even with the cold frame covers, we lost most everything, kale, chard, lettuce, etc. Looks like the garlic and carrots made it, but it will be a wait and see situation.
Today it is partly sunny and 65 degrees. Welcome to winter in North Carolina. I pulled all the dead stuff and replanted kale and chard and arugula and spinach and crossing fingers that it will be more “normal” until Spring.
Haven’t updated in a bit and I want to make sure to keep track for future reference in years to come. As you can see, the broccoli is doing great, probably the best head development we have had so far. There is also cabbage starting to come around and still waiting on cauliflower, maybe early Spring.
Starting to get some Brussels sprouts as you can see. This bed had plenty of water and I have not opened it in a bit, partly due to our being out of town for Christmas. Some of the sprouts plants had considerable mold, at least that is what it looked like. I cut them back to the dirt and tossed them on the compost. I am hoping for more new sprouts in a couple of weeks.
The lettuce bed is still producing, though it’s days are numbered except for the arugula. I will replant the same mix for salad into early Summer. We have been eating it as hard as we can for the last two months at least.
And of course the greens are doing great, fresh in my morning smoothie every day. I will probably braise a mess for New Years Eve dinner tomorrow.
The root veggie bed just didn’t do much. I replanted it and hope for a Spring crop. That’s it for now.
We may be in for a different winter this year. There is a freeze, not frost, warning out for tonight and I had to get the cold frame covers out of summer hibernation. I had intended to get them out this past weekend and do some maintenance/reinforcing, but Sandy’s wind and rain made that a poor choice. In any case they are on and will hopefully do their job. It was late November before we needed them last year.
I took some photos of the “crops” before I covered them. We have been enjoying all the salad we can eat with mixed lettuce, arugula and spinach.
The far end of the above bed also has some pepper plants still producing, but I fear the cold will shut them down pretty soon.
This bed has swiss chard and three kinds of kale plus some spinach on the side.
This one has turnips and beets with some arugula at the ends.
This one has brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, all coming along very slowly. The cover buckwheat crowded out the new starts at first and I am hoping they make a comeback with the extended season covers.
This is our spaghetti squash tree. The vines climbed the crepe myrtle and also latched on to the fence.
There was a volunteer sweet 100 grape tomato plant that I was letting grow in the greens bed that started very late in the season. With the freeze coming I harvested all the fruit and have put a couple of bananas in the basket to hasten the ripening process. Maybe fresh tomato candy for Thanksgiving?
Filed under Arugula, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, Kale, Lettuce, Root Vegetables, Spinach, Squash, Tomatoes, Vegetables
Been a while since I last posted here. There has been mostly eating, though the summer returns have been a bit sporadic. The early excessive heat and the inconsistent rain has had it’s effect on production. The summer squash finally ran it’s course and I was pretty much ready. I was a bit tired of it. I expect that I will not plant so much of it next spring. We are into Fall and Winter planting right now and I have added two new beds. Lowes had self-contained kits on sale made of cedar, so I thought I would give them a try. I have planted buckwheat in one for the bees to forage during the slow season.
They have been a bit slow in finding it, but have been more interested lately. Kitty pulled the feeders from the hives about a week ago. We are watching to see how they do now that Goldenrod is plentiful and they have Buckwheat just outside their front doors. This morning I planted more Buckwheat in the mulch between five of the Hazelnut bushes just to see if it will sprout there. If so, I will plant more. It grows quickly and lasts until the first frost and is supposed to be a great green compost.
Moving on to the new stuff. Last month I planted Butternut and Spaghetti squash in the other new bed. It is about to take over the yard. There is already fruit and many blossoms. I tend to prefer the winter squash varieties over the summer.
In the bed beside the Buckwheat, I have planted carrots, beets and turnips. In the bed beside the squash, I have planted cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. In the other upper bed I have planted three varieties of kale. That bed still has thriving chard and a leftover okra plant that is still producing.
In the last lower bed I have planted lettuce, arugula and spinach. Yesterday I planted peas in the cinder block holes along one whole side of that bed. The rest of the okra plants doing fine and I expect them to keep producing for a few more weeks. I have also planted Parsnips in the half of the cinder block holes in that bed.
We had mixed results with tomatoes. The corner bed away from the raised beds produced wonderful German Johnsons and some very tasty Cherokee Purples, but the plants in the beds seemed to wilt in the early heat. We are still enjoying tomatoes and have been able to share with family and friends.
I planted Buckwheat in some of the other beds. The one below is where the cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli have been planted. You can see the greyish leaves of the returning brussel sprouts plants that I just cut back in the middle of the summer. I am a bit concerned that the Buckwheat will impair the sprouting of the new stuff.
Anyway, that’s pretty much it for now.
Filed under Arugula, Bees, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, hazelnuts, Kale, Lettuce, Okra, planting, Root Vegetables, Spinach, Squash, Tomatoes, Vegetables
Before we had bees, these were called weeds in our yard. When I was a kid we called them “shooters”, because you could loop the stem around itself and pull the top to the loop and shoot it at someone as it popped off.
We now know that Plantains are a source of bee food in this area, and along with the Clover in the yard, help the girls get through our slow period of the season for other pollen and nectar sources.
So this summer, instead of mowing them down, I am mowing pathways through the yard for the humans.
Garden status with pictures. This one is going to be kinda long. Showing fruit trees too.
Serious peas. We tend to just graze on them right out of the pod like candy.
Squash and Eggplant were overpowering the Okra, so I have attempted to transplant them to the bed where the cabbage was.
Moved seven of them. Hoping they will bounce back with a little watering. Tomatoes and peppers in there too. Harvested what was left of the cabbage to make room for the Okra.
Arugula and Fava beans are doing great. Been eating arugula for a while now.
Cantaloupe is in a different location, but is coming along. Tomatoes are still behind where I expected them to be based on the warm Spring. They are healthy and when they do come in we are going to have way more than we can eat.
We expected our fruit trees to do better this year, especially with the new bee hives. Most of them bloomed out very early and then the April freezes came. We covered what we could, but I think the cold nipped them at a vulnerable time. We had peaches starting, but they disappeared except for one sick looking one. We have very few cherries and only a couple of damson plums on one of the three plum trees.
The orange tree, however, is looking pretty good.
Herbs in pots on the deck are doing fine.
Also picked chard and brussels sprouts today.
And yes the bees look great today, especially Isabella. Just looked in on them. You would never guess that hive swarmed a week ago based on the number of bees.
Filed under Arugula, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Chard, Cherry, Eggplant, Fruit and berries, Herbs, Legumes, Melons, Okra, orchard, Peach, Pear, Peppers, Squash, Tomatoes, Vegetables
Kitty and I were checking them out this evening. Here is the hive where the swarm came from. Last week you could not even see comb for all the bees.
Kitty and I both saw a queen, but she disappeared before I could get a photo. Here is a queen cell that clearly had hatched and had workers cleaning it out this evening.
And this is what the other hive looks like right now.