container garden

Pick a Peck of Late Season Peppers

I hope all of your gardens have produced well this year. As I finally close up ours today ( the 4th of Nov.) It seems that I again have learned so much and have had so little time to write about it. We even won some unexpected prizes from the garden this year and that always makes a person feel good when the children are the winners.

frist-place-and-grand-champon-green-beans

Grand Champion and First Place Winner Black Beauty Green Beans grown by Christopher Powers with help from his brother Cody Powers.

So I learned my first lesson of the season if you like what you grew last year and it did well don’t change seeds just for the sake of change. I have written about my testing seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange before and was really impressed with the green beans we grew and actually saved a few seeds to replant. I replanted the Black Beauty  green bean seeds again this spring and was overjoyed at the results but I was short a row of seeds and just picked up any old bush green beans at the store…. Big Mistake! By the time the local 4-H and county fairs were happening  I had 3/4 of a row of the most beautiful green beans next to a row of the most bug eaten, wilted and stringy beans you have ever seen. So Christopher and I picked the heirloom beans from The Seed Saver Exchange  and took them to the fair. Not expecting much, Christopher surprised us all when his green beans ended up Grand Champion over all the vegetable entries at the fair and First Place in horticulture this year.Lesson learned and I will be ordering more Black Beauty green bean seeds next year.

The Next lesson I learned this year is  that the Cabbage Moth is hard to stop if you don’t cover you crops soon enough. I lost every darn cabbage this year to the moths and I actually used row covers. I was lazy, I admit it, I just left those little sprouts uncovered for about a week and I got them from a feed store that had them outside before covering them. So what did I find about two weeks later when I was out looking over the plants…a  slimy mess all over my destroyed cabbage… and the Cabbage Worms loved my Brussel Sprouts also. So the rabbits got the remains of what was left in the row of cabbages this year! I will pass on cabbage next year, the corn we tried out preformed our expectations and I will be ready next year to freeze some.

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fresh garden garlic adds a deeper rich flavor.

The other lesson I learned was I love to grow garlic and found a wonderful spot under the roof eve of our house that is dry enough and warm enough for green onions, garlic and many herbs. So I am replanting lots more garlic this fall for the summer crop. I also amended this raised bed with a mixture of bunny droppings and wood shavings and everything went wild. One volunteer Water Mellon seed took root in the garden and I ended up with 5 water melons and a 8 foot long vine that covered everything but the garlic and my Sage. So next year I hope to have a huge herb garden for dry and fresh cooking with my garlic and onions.

The thing I have enjoyed the most this year is the second crop of peppers I just harvested and the second bloom of my Irises. I am not sure what happened to these plants but both seemed to be happy to deliver a double gift of their bounty this fall. So this morning when I heard the weather would bring freezing temperatures I covered the flowers and collected the peppers knowing that this is first sign that winter is here.

nov-yellow-iris-2016

the bloom of a yellow Iris on the 4th of Nov. 2016.

 

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Over flowing peck basket of small but usable green peppers Nov 4th 2016.

I am kind of sad to see the garden finally go. Tom and I have already cleared much of the dead stalks and plants from the garden so cleaning up will be easy.Mulching with more bunny droppings and wood shavings will happen and I will put the garden to sleep.

So do any of you have any great way to serve up small peppers? If you have any interesting ideas on how to use these up let me know if the comments below I am thinking of stuffing them like poppers… cheese, bread crumbs,garlic and baking them… what do you think?

 

Categories: Back yard garden, cheese, container garden, cooking, Fairs and Festivals, flowers, gardening, peppers, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This is What Our Valentines Day Usually Looks Like!

Why do I always do this to myself. I think,”How wonderful, my husband and I will have a day together, sleep in and eat a nice meal and shop” for our Valentines anniversary. Yet, February is a terrible month do anything other than snuggle under a warm blanket together and hope that some one has had the energy to put a pot of hot soup on the stove.

Three days ago I was outside with Paige and Christopher playing in the yard and enjoying one of the sunny days we got this month. Well today lets just say that they dismissed school early due to blizzard conditions and the temps at 5 pm will head south into the teens. Then later tonight -10 is forecast and I am thinking of bringing the bunnies in to the laundry room again for a couple of days.

Christopher digging in flower bed

Christopher digging in flower bed

Paige digging flower pot on porch

Paige digging flower-pot on porch

Flowers budding in flower box

Flowers budding in flower box

So, as I head out to pick up Christopher early from school ,I am thinking that my Valentines date may in include a snow shovel and an extra blanket on the bed.

flowerbed covered in snow

flowerbed covered in snow

 

Snowy Pine tree in the back yard

Snowy Pine tree in the back yard

 

I seem to forget that every February is this way. We have these negative temps at night and these crazy, warm, sunny days. The winter has not really left us as I brush another layer of snow off my car. I fight the wind as it blows so hard that it whistles between the houses and tress.  Then during a still moment I hear the song birds chirping so loudly that it distracts me from my chore. I look up into that snow-covered maple and think that some of them have already returned from the north and are celebrating. Singing and playing at our feeder the Chickadees and Finches swoop and dive. I think they are laughing at me as I grumble and groan. They know that the sun will shine and melt the snow and that in a few short weeks I will be wishing that it was just dry for St Patrick’s Day.

Hope all of you have a wonderful Holiday and share it with people who you love and make you smile.

 

Categories: container garden, snow, Snow day, soup, Valintines, weather | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Summer Container Gardens and Sewer Lines

     This spring Christopher and I decided that we would limit our garden planting this year to several small containers and a small garden spots. The problem is, at some point we are getting city sewer lines installed in our back yard and tied into our house. Tom and I are actually over joyed to have the sewer as we have lived about twenty years with three different septic systems, none of them modern ( aeration systems)  at three different locations. Some of them worked properly and some didn’t. The one we have now is around 80 years old… don’t ask… I am not sure how it works…. it just does.

new sewer pipe long our back yard

new sewer pipe along our back yard

      From those small garden spots I was able to really enjoy summer and just picked our last soft ball size tomato for dinner last night. We planned on planting items that would grow well in containers and learned a lot along the way.

I started my plans with a recycled container and about 150 lbs of soil and peat moss

I started my plans with a recycled container and about 150 lbs of soil and peat moss

small container and bird bath garden...tomatos, rubbarb, peppers, carrots and beets

small containers and bird bath garden with tomatoes, rhubarb, peppers, carrots and beets

    Things started of wonderful, the recycled container above  worked wonderfully and the location set up against our house with about 9 hours of sun was just perfect for the climbing beans, sunflowers and squash we planted in the tub.This will get used again next year and maybe full of green beans again. We had green beans for dinner at least three times and froze a few, all off of 6 bean seeds. The Kentucky Runners were well worth growing. The beans did eventually take over the porch hand rail that was at least ten feet high… they liked this location!

beans sunflowers and squash next to our rain barrel

beans sunflowers and squash next to our rain barrel

      The sun flowers bloomed but would have done better with more sun so they will get moved back into the tomato garden next year and as you can see the acorn squash was fine here but I only got two squashes. I may need to put summer squash here and the winter squash in a garden next year.

Tomato plants taking over my bird bath. rubbarb growing in back

Tomato plants taking over my bird bath. rhubarb growing in back

  As you can see the three tomato plants that I planted around my bird bath did very well and the rhubarb is trying to hold its own around the back of the plants. I planted some tomatoes here last year and added some wood shaving with rabbit droppings to the soil and as mulch this year. They seemed to love it. My only problems were the deer who came twice and eat the blooms off the tomatoes. I am positive that I caused  the problem by my love of feeding the birds. I learned a hard lesson…. if you do not want deer to eat your plants don’t put your bird feeder in the garden full of corn and seeds. The frist morning I found my destroyed plants I was upset but not sure why they had come so close to the road. The second time, I could have kicked myself in the rear-end for ever thinking that my bird feeders looked so nice in this small garden and removed them ASAP.

   As for the two containers that I planted  beets and carrots in, well the deer eat all of the beet tops twice. The carrots on the other hand did so-so. I had watched a video on container carrots on You Tube and though it worth a try. I think the gentlemen used a 70/30 mix of peat moss to soil and I think here in West Virginia where we get lots of rain the mix  is correct at 50/50 because the carrots just didn’t grow as deep and strong as I had hoped.  Will try again next year!

I also planted basil and cucumbers neither of them did well in the location on the far side of the porch. I will try to move those containers next year. I hope to find something to put in that location but the plant must grow with less than 8 hours of sun. 

Christophers frist harvest of the garden this year

Christopher’s frist harvest of the garden this year

    Christopher and I are rather happy with our experiment we learned a lot and we got to eat lots of fun food that he got to plant and harvest. Today will begin the process of cleaning up our tomato stakes and bean poles. I brought the only two carnival colored acron squashes into the house to cook over the weekend. I may get a few more cherry tomatoes before the frost comes. The only surprise is not really even a vegetable but a flower that I planted on a whim. Tom had made me a small raised bed for more vegetables but the season had gotten late and I had no idea what to plant in the box so I took some free seeds that came in the mail out to the new bed. This is what we got in a couple of months time.

Cosmos in bloom.. about 5 feet high and still blooming

Cosmos in bloom.. about 5 feet high and still blooming

singel cosmos bloom

single cosmos bloom

 Christopher loves them and I am sure to find more of these seeds next year. Even my older son commented on them and wants to try to plant them for my grand-daughter.

 So another summer is about gone and all I have left are hopes of having the sewer in over the next couple of months and a chance to have a bigger garden next year. After we are able to finally know that when we flush everything is headed to the correct location for treatment and no surprises are left behind.

Carnvil squash  on the vine

Carnival squash on the vine

Categories: container garden, gardening, organic food | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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