Garden Work

I had to take some time off from blogging. The garden work became so heavy there was no time to blog. I finally got the garden completely planted last week.

Week before last my husband was off and he used a scoop on his tractor to get mulch into the back of the garden between the beds. Since the tractor could only deliver the mulch to the back garden gate, he also came up with the brilliant idea of putting the mulch on a tarp and dragging it to where it needed to be placed, rather than raking it over large areas between the beds. What would normally have taken days, took about two hours.

Here are the cleaned off beds with mulch. A thin veil of weeds is already growing over them….sigh.

Mulched Beds

Mulched Beds

I planted a melon patch in the back of the garden and placed straw between the hills to keep down the weeds.

Melon Bed

Melon Bed

Into each melon bed hole, I placed fertilizer, mushroom compost, and a handful of alfalfa from a bed where it grows in the garden. Just a small amount of the alfalfa in holes where you are planting is supposed to give the plants a boost. We shall see:)

Alfalfa growing in bed.

Alfalfa growing in bed.

Tomorrow, I will share with you what the rest of the garden looks like. The plants in the straw bales are growing really well.

For today, my work is to weed the corn patch in the back fence. The weeds grew extremely tall while I was working on the rest of the garden… so tall… you can hardly see the corn. Hopefully tomorrow I will have a picture of a weed free corn patch…

maybe…

Weeds in corn patch

Weeds in corn patch

Another view.

Another view.

One last view… I planted two fruit trees next to the fence. One is a yellow delicious apple and one is a plum. Both need other trees to cross pollinate. We already had a Stamen Winesap apple tree, and there are wild plum trees growing near the garden, so pollination is covered. I have a stake where I want to plant a cherry tree in the fall. I couldn’t find one this spring.

Trees next to fence.

Trees next to fence. The asparagus bed really stands out here.

I would be excited to hear how your gardens are growing. Have you planted anything unusual this year?

“The Lord will complete that which concerneth me…” Psalm 138:8a

 

 

Plodding Through The Day

Yesterday, after whining on the blog about how tired I was, I went out to see if I could accomplish anything for the day. I would like to report to you that I walked with a bounce in my step and totally made the garden a weed free sanctuary.

Reality was….I plodded to the barn with less energy than a 90-year-old, got the tiller, plodded behind it to the garden, and very slowly tilled the back area of the garden.

Back of the garden after tilling.

Back of the garden after tilling.

My plan was to plant this area in buckwheat, a green manure crop. After the buckwheat is growing I will make hills in the area and transplant my big vining plants from the greenhouse. These plants include, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and cucumbers. I will also put my squash plants here. I am trying something new this year. My theory is…..the buckwheat will enrich the soil and make a carpet for the growing melons and squash to lay on out of the mud.

While tilling I ran a snake out of the back of this area and onto the other side of the chain link fence. We had a stare-off for a while, before it eventually moved on. I don’t care what kind of snake it is. I don’t want it around me! This one was a common ground snake that I find in the garden on a regular basis.

I threw out the buckwheat seeds (4 pounds of them) and raked them into the soil.

Along with the buckwheat, for protection of the produce from mud, I plan to use alfalfa straw to place under the melons. It is growing very well and should be ready for cutting by the time I have some fruit.

Alfalfa Bed

Alfalfa Bed

Close-up of what alfalfa looks like.

Close-up of what alfalfa looks like.

In this area of the garden, my raised bed of mixed lettuce is growing fantastically and is bug free at this time…..yah!

Lettuce Bed

Lettuce Bed

Pest-free lettuce.

Pest-free lettuce.

For supper I fixed an old-fashioned meal. I cooked black-eyed peas in the crock pot. I still had some frozen corn from last year’s garden. I added a salad made with the lettuce from the garden and bought some new potatoes to boil (my new potatoes should be ready soon). I made plain cornbread (normally I make mexican cornbread – see recipe on this site)…. and voila…..drum roll please…..

A healthy country supper.

A healthy country supper.

Recipe For Easy Cornbread for two.

1 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal mix

Take the same empty, 1 cup measure, and place the following in this cup:

1 egg

Fill to the halfway mark with canola oil

Fill to the top with buttermilk

Add a touch of sugar if desired

Mix together well and place in a small baking dish sprayed with pam. Sometimes I add a little more sugar, and this cornbread become more of a dessert to me, especially, if I have a glass of sweet tea to go with it. You can also pour honey over it for an even better dessert.

Using Gardening Techniques Wisely

Four raised beds, clean and ready for use.

Four raised beds, cleaned and ready for use.

I was able to get four raised beds cleaned up and ready for use on Friday.

In the bed at the far end of the garden I will plant alfalfa. My dad gave me the seeds and the insight into what alfalfa can be used for in the garden.

Alfalfa is a Legume, or green manure crop. It is a perennial crop that can be cut several times a year. Its leaves can be used as mulch and as a soil amendment. It adds nitrogen, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, boron, iron, and zinc to the garden. It is great for vegetable plants, and roses love it. The grass from it can be cut before it goes to seed and used as mulch. As the mulch decomposes it will continually add minerals to the soil. This is an inexpensive, and organic way to add nutrients to your soil, so I am devoting one bed to the production of alfalfa.

The next bed in this line will be devoted to a perennial bed of lemon balm. Lemon balm repels mosquitos when rubbed on your skin and prevents the need for toxic sprays. It is thought to have anti-bacterial and antiviral properties when used as an herbal tea. It is considered to be a calming agent and can therefore reduce stress. It has been shown to improve mood and mental performance and can be used to flavor ice cream, teas, fish, and can be made into pesto. The one warning for lemon balm is that if you take thyroid hormone, as I do, you have to be very careful to limit your intake. Although not throughly studied at this time, it is thought that lemon balm may prevent proper absorption of your thyroid medication.

My third bed is planted in loose leaf lettuce over half the bed. I plan to grow renegade spinach over the other half. Renegade Spinach can withstand summer’s heat better than other spinach. This creates a salad bed.

The last bed in this line-up will be planted with tomatoes and basil. Basil helps keep pests off the tomatoes. They are considered companion plants and each one grows better when planted together. From the last two beds, I can make a really good salad.

So there you have it. If you use your garden resources wisely they can work for you, reducing costs, and providing healthier alternatives.