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

 

 

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Corn

Corn has been a staple in mankind’s diet since the very beginning of time. It is first mentioned in Genesis 27:28 when Isaac is tricked into blessing Jacob instead of Esau. There are several verses of blessing included here, but having “plenty of corn” is in the first verse of the blessing.

Years later, corn was still a big part of Jacob’s life when his most loved son, Joseph, was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers, but then was blessed by God and rose to such a great position of power… he was put in charge of gathering corn for the coming famine. (see Genesis 41:48-49) Joseph gathered so much corn, it was as the “sand of  the sea” and became too much to keep a count of.

There are many diets that prohibit corn due to it being full of natural sugars and carbs. Jacob and his family would have starved, if there had not been available corn.

This year, with my husband’s help, I got my corn planted on Good Friday. After a second tilling of the soil, we made rows, added fertilizer, and dropped seeds. Toward the end, we were planting in a pretty good rain storm, but we got the job done.

We planted our corn in this fenced in area at the back of our garden.

We planted our corn in this fenced in area at the back of our garden.

In the South, there is a great significance to planting on Good Friday. Many gardeners have little hope in having a successful crop unless they get the planting done on this day.

If you don’t understand the meaning of  Good Friday here is a link to a good explanation.

Jesus died on the cross on the day that people call Good Friday. He arose again, and with that resurrection, He broke the chains of sin for us if we accept His sacrifice. When we plant on Good Friday, we are burying the seed in the hopes of a resurrection of new life from that seed. We are fed (physically) from that seed’s burial and resurrection to new life, just as we are fed (spiritually) from “The Word” .

There are several meanings when you think of being fed from “The Word.” Most Christians think of being fed (spiritually) from the Bible as we study it, but in John 1:1 it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” From this verse we know that Jesus is the Word, and He has always been… from the beginning. Through His death, burial, and resurrection, He has provided salvation which feeds our hearts with a transformed life and fills us up.

God has provided so many examples in His creation, of the death, burial, and resurrection, that we are “without excuse” when we say we do not understand (see Romans 1:20) .

Our corn is beginning to ressurect out of the hard, dry ground.

Our corn is beginning to resurrect out of the hard, dry ground.

So when you watch your seed popping out of the ground in your garden, in another form than when it went into the ground, I hope you will think about these things, and be reminded of what Jesus has done for us.

If you didn’t get your corn planted on Good Friday, it is not too late. Plant those seeds and hopefully you will have so much corn you will not be able to count it.

“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

 

Gathering The Harvest

I continue to get produce from the garden. The figs and okra are starting to produce a great crop right now.

Figs and okra.

Figs and okra.

There is nothing that I enjoy more as a dessert than a very ripe fig, fresh from the garden.

We were able to salvage some corn, although a very pesky squirrel ran rampant in the garden and damaged a good portion of the crop.

Sink full of corn being processed for freezing.

Sink full of corn being processed for freezing.

I froze six quarts of corn on Saturday. It was a less strenuous job that I could do, even though I wasn’t feeling well from the Rocky Mountain Fever.

To freeze corn… I blanch the corn in boiling water for seven minutes, then immediately place the hot ears in ice water. Once the corn cools, I cut it off the cob.

I have tried numerous gadgets, over the years, that claim they make cutting corn off the cob easier. The best way I’ve found to do it is to use a large mixing bowl, place a small inverted Tupperware cup in the center, stand the ear of corn on the cup, and using a very sharp knife, cut down each side as I rotate the ear on the cup. The kernels fall into the bowl and once they reach the top of the cup, I scoop them out into containers and continue the job. I have refined my cutting technique to the point of being very fast, and despite the different sizes of cob and corn, I can cut to the right depth to get all the corn, but none of the cob. Now… that is talent! 🙂

“Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.” Psalm 65:9

Alone

Last week I worked on weeding the corn. The morning glories were taking over. When I look back at the pictures, I am amazed at what I accomplished. It took three days to get all this weeding done.

Morning glory and weeds choking out the corn.

Morning glory and weeds choking out the corn.

Another view.

Another view.

After three days of weeding in the hot sun.

After three days of weeding in the hot sun.

Another view of the weed free and hilled corn.

Another view of the weed free and hilled corn.

I have ten rows of corn. These are the longest rows.

I have ten rows of corn. These are the longest rows.

I had been trying not to whine in the garden. Guess what? I whined, every day, for three long days. The thing that I have never mentioned before in these posts, regarding my whining, is that… I am only whining to myself. When I am working in the garden, I am alone.

It is hard to work alone on any endeavor. God says, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9)

But, sometimes we have to work alone. Maybe… no one else sees our vision. Maybe… we are the only ones called to the particular project.

As I whined to myself, I thought… it would probably be cheaper to just go buy these vegetables at the store and forget a garden. I would have more time for other things. I could get some rest.

But… call me crazy… I can’t stop. There is a deep urge, a force within, that pushes me to get out to the garden each year. I get so disappointed when weeds take over, and plants die, and no one helps. Maybe… God is using this for training grounds for something for me in the future.

Whatever the reason… I can’t stop. Something inside of myself will not allow it.

So… back to the garden I go. Alone. To do what I have been called to do, right now, in this time of my life.

But… never really alone… “For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13: 5 b

Project Update

Last Monday I had a list of projects that I wanted to complete. The week flew by, and I felt I would never get anything accomplished. On Saturday, I worked on several of the projects, while my husband worked on getting some areas ready for planting grass. The plan was….divide and conquer.

My chief focus of work on Saturday was to get the corn planted. I have noted in past years, that if I wait too long to plant the corn, it tends to have more problems with worms eating the ends of the ears. Pests have their own cycles of development from larva to adults. If you can learn to plant during times the pests are not in a stage for eating crops, you will need less pest control intervention.

The area that I chose to plant the corn in has never been planted to  a crop. This area contains blueberry bushes, an apple tree, peach tree, two fig trees, and a small chicken lot. I had planted one lemon balm plant years ago and the lemon balm took over the area.

Lemon balm and weed overgrowth.

Lemon balm and weed overgrowth.

The trellis was placed in this area, several years ago, for blackberry and raspberry plants to trail on. The lemon balm and weeds choked out those berry plants.

I tilled the area and had been working to clear it off over several weeks. We finally took off a chain link panel at the back of the area so I could get the tractor in for deeper tilling.

Chain link fence removed for better tilling.

Chain link fence removed for better tilling.

The tractor cleared more of the weeds and overgrowth of lemon balm.

The tractor cleared more of the weeds and overgrowth of lemon balm.

I then took my small rototiller back in for the final clearing.

Area needing more tilling.

Area needing more tilling.

Area under peach tree that needed more tilling.

Area under peach tree that needed more tilling.

Under the peach tree was a large pot with a dwarf peach tree that I have had for years. It has never had any fruit. I removed it from the container and planted it in the ground.

The peach tree already looks better in the ground.

The peach tree already looks better in the ground.

I placed some old landscape fabric around it to prevent weed growth until we can get another load of mulch to put around this tree.

I tilled the area, over and over again, and below are the final pictures of the weed free soil.

Same area where we had removed the chain link section.

Same area where we had removed the chain link section. The section was replaced in this picture.

Area under peach tree.

Area under peach tree.

We replaced the chain link section and I got the corn planted. I also planted more blackberry and raspberry plants in front of the trellis and laid down landscape fabric. This area will look much better when we get a load of mulch applied over the fabric.

Berry plants in front of trellis with landscape fabric.

Berry plants in front of trellis with landscape fabric.

There is still a lot of work to do in this area, but it is coming together. I moved the smaller of the two fig trees to the back trellis so it would not be in the way for planting corn or other future crops.

It is a load off my plate to be finished with this area for a little while so I can concentrate on the main garden. If you have big projects like this to complete, hang in there. Do what you can, a little at a time, and you will surprise yourself one day and actually get it completed.

This Week’s Garden Projects

I did not get any of the projects completed that I had planned for this week. Yesterday, I worked on getting the fenced in area ready for planting corn, but that job is not yet completed either….sigh!

Fence panel off for tilling with tractor.

Fence panel off for tilling with tractor, before tilling began.

I used the tractor with the tiller attachment to speed up the process, but I will have to take my small tiller in to complete the work.

Tractor with tiller attachment.

Tractor with tiller attachment.

After tilling with tractor.

After tilling with tractor.

Since I had the attachment on the tractor, I decided to also till down the big dirt piles in the front yard and get them ready to plant grass.

Bottom view of dirt pile to be worked down.

Before, large dirt pile. This dirt was dug out of the flower bed next to the house.

After dirt pile was tilled down.

After dirt pile was tilled down.

This area still needs work to smooth it before we put the grass seeds in. We are planting grass at the wrong time of year so it will need much water to pull it through.

My garden is still not planted. I have not gotten the raised beds cleaned out. It is getting late in the season and I need to have the garden cleaned and planted by the end of the month at least.

I pray for God’s help and leave it in his hands. That is all I can do.

Tomorrow is another day for which I will make myself say…..

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24

Have a great weekend and Memorial Day!

 

 

 

 

Three Essential Tools For Gardening

I am getting ready to plant my corn soon. I have three essential tools that I use when preparing to plant, for maintaining my crops, or to determine the best harvest times.

The first tool is a book… The Encyclopedia Of Organic Gardening.

Gardening essential

Gardening essential

This book is in an Encyclopedia type format where… if you want to find out about corn, you flip through the C’s until you locate the word, corn, then you can read all about it.

This book first appeared in 1959, and was revised by Rodale Press in 1978. Although it is an older book, the information is invaluable to me. If I look up the word… corn… it covers the topics of: varieties, preparing the ground, planting, harvesting, controlling insects and diseases, storing and using.

Page from Encyclopedia

Example from Encyclopedia.

Example from Encyclopedia

Example from Encyclopedia.

Another great resource is Jerry Baker’s book, Backyard Problem Solver.

Easy solutions for big problems.

Easy solutions for big problems.

It is a great resource for inexpensive solutions to gardening problems with simple recipes for homemade insect control. An example is, if you want to keep cutworms off your tomato seedlings, use collars around the plants or sprinkle the ground around them with eggshells, hair, or wood ashes. The cutworms don’t like to crawl across things that prickle their skin.

My last invaluable resource is, of course, the wonderful world wide web.

Google for gardening information

Google for gardening information

You can find even more information from this resource.

An example:  When I researched uses for Lemon Balm, I found that it could possibly cause thyroid medication to be improperly absorbed. There are many things that can cause malabsorption of thyroid medication, however, such as certain foods with calcium, or vitamin C. If you understand this, you just take the medication in the morning on an empty stomach and wait until it is absorbed before consuming any of the malabsorption culprits.

So, here are three essential gardening tools that won’t even get your hands dirty. To find the books, look for used copies that are inexpensive. I have found gardening books in Habitat Restores, and at Library sales. Also check out the book sections in Salvation Army and Goodwill stores.

Happy Gardening!