Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Still Kicking!




This past month went on the records as being the driest May on record for the state.  There are grumblings of the possibility of using the "D" (drought)  word if we don't get more rain soon.  We are several inches behind for the year.  I can't tell you how wonderful it has been to have the drip line irrigation in the garden.  As far as I'm concerned the 200 bucks we invested in it this past winter has already proved its worth.  There is no way I could water this garden any other way and see progress.  
This past week we've been getting some storms roll through but here on the side of our hill we have missed most of the violent stuff.  We were blessed with a few inches of good rain overall though.  I sure was glad to see it.  The amaranth was glad to see it too!  I think its probably grown about a half a foot in the past few days.  It really got off to a slow start but I'm sure some of that was my being on a learning curve with growing it.  Of course it doesn't help that to get water to it I have to hook together about three hundred foot of hose since it isn't irrigated.  Anyway, it seems the bugs are leaving it alone now and have stopped eating all the leaves.  It's finally putting out new growth and starting to get the pretty reddish pink seed heads that it is famous for.  They are only about an inch long now but are supposed to get to over a foot long.  Guess we'll see....


The gardens doing pretty well so far.  Well, most of it anyway.  I don't know how long I'll be able to keep the bugs off the squash before they totally take over but I'm trying.  Anyone have any suggestions on how to effectively and safely get rid of the dang squash bugs???  I've been lucky enough so far to get some squash out of it but the dang buggers are definitely winning the battle.  I've got a nice amount of yellow squash from it so far but I'm afraid it's not going to end well.  I'm also trying to grow a new one this year.  It's called Lebanese squash.  It is supposed to produce a nice sweet squash that gets to about 6-7 lbs each.  I've never seen such a HUGE plant!  We still haven't eaten any yet but hopefully (if the bugs don't get it first) we will soon.  
 I've been pretty busy with canning and preserving stuff too.  All the beans are starting to produce now, some better than others but all in all it's looking good so far.  The purple hull peas are starting to come on so I'm beginning to see some evenings shelling peas in my very near future.  I've been able to put up 21 quarts of beans so far this year and it looks like much more is on the way.  

Most of the pepper plants are starting to produce.  The first jalapeno, banana and bell peppers are starting to come on pretty strong and I've been drying them as they do.  I've still got to make some (ok alot) pickled peppers for the year but as long as they keep producing like they are that shouldn't be a problem.  Anyone have a favorite pickled pepper recipe they would like to share?  


I was able to dry a nice bunch of cilantro to put up as well as some dill, parsley and basil.  I'm thinking I might need to start some more cilantro since what I have planted is already seeding.  The timing kinda sucked for making salsa using cilantro since the tomato's are just now putting out nice green tomato's.  So maybe if I start some more now it will be ready in time to make fresh Pico de Gallo (sp) and salsa.  


We had planted another garden area on the upper side of the hill with two 85 ft rows of pinto beans awhile back and unfortunately none of them came up. Not one stinking sprout!   So I guess this week we are going to try again with some different beans.  The main reason for even putting them in is to help the soil but I wouldn't mind having some pinto's to put up!  I don't think its too late yet but I guess we shall see.  The watermelon, cantaloupe, squash and sweet potato's are all doing ok so far up there though. Everything is green anyway! 


I have to admit that its pretty awesome these days to plan meals.  There isn't a much cooler thing than to be able to walk out your door and "shop" from your garden.  Beans, squash, turnips, peas, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, chard, radishes, spinach....and soon corn, tomato's and okra will be added to the list.  Of course the lettuce is starting to bolt and so until the fall planting I guess we won't be having a "proper" salad with tomato's... but shoot!!!!!!!  Who cares!!  LOL!!

I'm happy to say that so far, even with the temperatures climbing up to the 90 degree mark some days that we haven't turned on the A.C yet.  There's plenty of shade and most always a nice breeze so we take advantage of it as much as we can. I'd much rather be outside than holed up in this little RV all summer!  Sure does help the pocketbook and I'm hoping that we might even make it through June without firing it up.  Now THAT would be a first for this ol Texas Gal!!  

P.S.  I wish I could take me a Cat Nap!!!






15 comments:

  1. A good way to save the cilantro for the salsa is to pick,chop,then freeze( with water) in ice cube trays. Let the cubes thaw and add to the salsa. This is what we do at work before it goes bad..the pennies saved add up.

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    1. Hey! What a great idea!! I'm definitely going to try this. Thanks :)

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  2. Not a single pinto bean?! Man, that stinks! We had that happen with carrots one year, never know what happened. Glad you got some rain; we've been dry here also, but got about an inch of rain in the last week. It helps, but I don't think it's enough to get another good a hay crop :(

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    1. I know right? Weird. May have been because the beans were old but I guess I'll never know. I'll keep my fingers crossed for all of us to get more rain. I know many of us could use it around here. I just hope that the hay crops don't fair as badly as they did last summer. I know some folks that will actually have to get rid of their animals if they have a repeat of last year.

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  3. Sci,

    I ended up killing the darn squash bugs by hand last year and dug out the infected plants. But I hear you can use Neem oil on each plant and it deters the bug.

    Sounds like you have your hands full of fresh veggies to can. I'm sorry to hear about your pinto beans. I've noticed a few of the seeds I purchased have not produce. I need to make a mental note never to use that brand again on that particular seed. I love it when you go out your door and shop in your garden instead of a grocery store :-)
    It makes for such a relaxing time and is just overall satisfying because you produced the garden that produced the vegetable or fruit.

    Enjoy the cat nap!!! Have a great evening. :-)

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    1. Sandy, I've smashed so many bugs that my hands are getting stained!! LOL! I've been hearing about Neem oil as well, I think I'm going to have to pick some up next time I go to Little Big Town. It sure can't hurt!
      Have a great day!

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  4. A bountiful garden! With all the troubles you've weathered lately, that is a blessing. I look forward to seeing what you do as far as canning the extra.

    My Dad did zuchinni and ended up leaving bags of them on peoples porches, ringing the doorbell and running.

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    1. LOL Why is it I can just picture him dropping zucchini all over town!!!

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  5. I did a little looking and was surprised I couldn't find any natural control. Glad to see Sandy did.
    Here are links to what I did find.
    Simply Kitchen Garden
    And
    Dave's Garden.

    Let us know if you find anything besides 'squashing' bugs by hand. Everything else sounds like it's going great guns!

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    1. LindaG, Thanks for the links. I'll check them out. I've heard quite a few natural gardeners say that about the only way to keep the dang bugs off is to put them under row covers. Which sounds good in principle but dang.... those plants get BIG! Probably cost a fortune, not to mention the hassle of trying to pick them every day. I'm going to give the Neem Oil a shot and see how that does.... wish me luck!

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    2. Definitely wish you a LOT of luck!

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  6. Glad to hear that the garden is doing well! Nothing like watching it produce goodies for the table and pantry!

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  8. Squash bugs of all types are one of the insects that respond to the old "bug juice" method. Collect a bunch of them - as many as possible and put them in an old blender with a cup or two of water and a clove of garlic and blend until completely liquified. Then spray the plant once a week. This usually keeps them away, or at least at bay. It's worth a shot!
    if that fails and you have no choice but to go commercial chemical...sevin powder works most of the time..
    or ...my favorite...spinosyn d. it's listed for organic gardens, and will take out even the colorado potato bug...i use it at 1/2 the recommended strength with good results... it's a little pricy...but well worth the price if it's you or them...it was last year, i lost my potato crop to the little buggers...this year, i got on them and the taters look great.

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  9. I feel like I need a cat nap after reading your post! What a busy lady. Your garden sounds awesome.

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