flowers

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.

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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.

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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

Flowers, Forest and Fauna: Spring time in West Virginia

As many of you already know I love to take photos,I almost always have a camera with me. So I seem to find all kinds of wonderful things to take photos of. This spring has been so busy, I am surprised, that I have even found time for short bursts of creativity where I take photos. So today I just wanted to share with all of you some of the things I have been seeing in my little corner of the world here in West Virginia this spring.

close up of a fresh Rhododendron bloom

close up of a fresh Rhododendron bloom

This is one of the views I wake up to every morning for the month of May.

Tom blending into the tree line as we turkey hunt

Tom blending into the tree line as we turkey hunt

We did some Turkey hunting early in the month of May but we struck out. No fresh turkey for dinner this year. Tom and I heard a few gobbles but nothing close enough to think about. The weather was unusually warm and dry and this may have effected the turkeys.

Pheasant tail mushrooms AKA Dryad saddle mushrooms

Pheasant tail mushrooms AKA Dryad saddle mushrooms

This meant that the weather was great for mushrooms. We found a bounty of these Pheasant Tail mushrooms while out turkey hunting. They are an easy to find, spring edible mushroom, we found many in the woods that day.

Pheasant tail mushroom on tree stump

Pheasant tail mushroom on tree stump

The first bloom of spring at the new house

The first bloom of spring at the new house

I tired of  all the snow, cold and wet of winter this year and was over joyed to see this. When this sign of spring finally opened, I felt as if I took a long deep breath, knowing winter was really over.

Spring Stream in Pendelton County WV

We did get a day to hike and fish before the spring weather got to hot( by May 23 the temps had already hit 94 degrees F) this stream was a great place to rest and fish on our day long adventure.

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Boundary marker for public land

 

Moss covered stones along the river at Ten Mile WV

Moss covered stones along the river at Ten Mile WV

We have also had a very popular back yard this year, with lots of wild baby animals roaming around. This spring Tom and I have found Toads, baby rabbits, baby squirrels, baby Doves and Robbins and a Box Turtle so far. It makes for a very educational trip out side. Now if we can just get Christopher over his fear of frogs and toads.

meet Chipper and Splinter the Barnwood builder Babies

meet Chipper and Splinter the Barn Wood Builder Babies

Red Eyed Box turtle walking across the back yard

Red Eyed Box turtle walking across the back yard

Then of course we have a photo of Christopher’s favorite wild animal… Jinn the photo bomber.

Jinn the photo bombing cat

Jinn the photo bombing cat

So thing here are busy, the house remodel is just about finished. Summer is taking hold and the heat is on. The last four days have been in the upper 80’s and 90’s. School will be over in about a week and Christopher will be starting summer swimming lessons. Most of the spring flowers are already gone for the year (I already miss them). The garden got planted but we are so late that it will be a month before I see any real growth . So Summer will be a time to hunt mushrooms in the cool shade of the dark hard woods and maybe even a weekend trip of camping. I will be ready for it sooner than it will happen but until them I keep my eyes open for more beauty that I see every day.

Categories: Appalachian Mountains, Baby Animals, Easter, flowers, Hardwood forest, Mushrooms, photo review, Photos, Turkey season, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Seeds and Plants from the Seed Savers Exchange: Product Test of Live Transplants.

I am bit behind in writing about the seedlings and plants that we are trying out from the Seed Saver Exchange. I planted 32 (3 plugs are flowers from my mother) plugs of vegetable seeds and all but one sprouted and it is a cabbage seed plug so I am very pleased with the germination of these heirloom seeds. My rate would be in the upper 98%. With using a new company for my garden I wanted to try a few of their transplants to see if the extra price would be worth it in the future. Replacement plants are free of charge or exchanged for seeds. I was hoping to get away with not having to seed start my tomatoes and peppers in the future.

36 seed plugs ready for transplanting... lost a few  seedlings to our new cat.

36 seed plugs ready for transplanting… lost a few seedlings to our new cat.

As I prepared for the transplanting my seedlings, I finally noticed that some on my sprouts looked damaged, from what I had no idea. I discovered after moving the transplants back inside that our new cat may have caused the damage. She seems to like greens and sprouts and has chewed on several and even destroyed one of my house plants that is near her favorite resting spot. I have lost plants to just about everything in the past… dogs digging, rabbits, deer,moles/voles, birds but never in my life to a house cat. At least she seems to like tomatoes the best and I have more than my share of seedlings so this will not effect my garden plan.

I also received my  transplants in the mail just yesterday. The the plants were in plastic pots surrounded in a cardboard tube. Then all four tubes get packed in a bigger box. With a small cardboard shield over the top soil in each tube.  Here is a photo to give you a better idea what I got. The plants get delivered by UPS and left out on our front step. An e-mail message  arrived from the company that the plants were due to arrive that afternoon. They hoped this would prevent them from being frozen or roasted in the boxes . I love that they warn people that they are on the way so I could be looking for them.

Transplant tomatoes arrive from the Seed Saver Exchange

Transplant tomatoes arrive from the Seed Saver Exchange

At this point I had unpacked the plants as  genially as possible but dirt still went everywhere. The shield was off the smallest plant and it was almost up rooted in the tube. This is after I “Fixed” the plant back into the pot. Then as the instructions state  they needed watered ASAP. It was then that I noticed the damage to one of the large Brandy Wine tomato plants the stem had broken off at pot level. I removed the stem and water them all  putting them with the rest of my transplants. In this case they only look about two weeks ahead of mine and the Brandy Wine looks like it is ready to plant but the Amish past is still very frail. I will contact the Exchange about the one broken plant in the tube and the tiny Amish Paste. I want to see if instead of plants I can get Straw Flower seed for my flower box and crook neck squash seeds that my older son wanted in the garden.

As an update over the weekend 4 days from the plants arrival, the one damaged plant and one small plant both died. So my results  were about 50 % and that is not good enough for me. I will not buy transplants again any time soon as they are about 4 dollars a piece and are a lot of trouble to unpack. The plants were not as large as I had hoped even though they look healthy. I will stick with the seeds and start them at home and save myself the money for the plants to buy more plugs in the future. I wonder if they could package them better if they were to fallow some other companies shipping methods for plants. The bare root method would seemingly work here but I am just guessing. Large plastic bag, live plants with bare roots inside a box? I just think even the peat moss plugs that I use would be more stable to ship then plastic pots  with loose dirt and more earth friendly in the long run.

Now it is time to get started with the garden work that will be over the next three weekends. We are tilling up a new space and that will be a lot of work and getting some kind of fence up will take some time to finish so as always I am feeling behind and we have so much going on inside the house. Thank goodness Tom likes having a garden as much as I do and he will chip in his time to till and put the fence up for me. The rest is usually up to me and I think I am up to it as the days get warmer and longer I just feel the need to get in the dirt again.

Just in case the Seed Savers Exchange is hard up for the seeds to replace the plants, I will ask them if they have this seed….. They make me so happy just thinking about them. Happy Gardening from Mountain Mama.

Doughnut seeds

Doughnut seeds

 

Categories: flowers, gardening, Non-GMO, product testing, Seed Savers Exchange, seeds | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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