I ran out of my hot pepper relish, so I went to the farmers market and went crazy. I had to buy some more zucchini. I made a few mini apple pies, which I think are cute, practical, and easy to eat. If I can find some really sweet oranges, I want to make orange marmalade. Once I get started, it is hard for me to stop with this canning stuff.
Yesterday I was invited to a benefit craft show for the Littlerock library. This is what my stand looked like. I have to say I had a good time. I got to share all my goodies, and I made new friends.
As I refuse to give up on gardening, I have started a Fall garden today. This whole tray is lettuce. Bronze Mignonette and Black Seeded Simpson. They are heirloom seeds and a cut and come again crop. Fresh salads to come...I am hoping.
This tray has Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Snowball Cauliflower, Golden acre cabbage, and Copenhagen cabbage. Last year I got one good broccoli. Hoping to do better this time.
This tray has Swiss chard...three kinds and two kinds of kale. All heirloom. I was juicing a lot of kale this Summer. Want to grow my own so I know what is on it.
These are some of the pomegranates I started from seed. I think there are about a dozen. These will go in bigger pots in the Spring.
These pomegranates were small plants last fall when I put them in these pots. Now they are ready to be planted in the ground. I think I will wait till Spring. Maybe get the holes ready this Winter. I have four this size and one I am babysitting.
In a few years I think I will be set on enough pomegranates.
Here are the strawberries I planted EARLY this year. There are a few runners that have planted themselves, but nothing like what the paperwork said. Here is why...
It appears my berries have the blight...TOO! I have been trimming the bad parts off to see if it helps. I have to say, I am tired of all the hard work and no payoff. I just want some berries to make jam for my Son.
I tried putting netting over my new seedlings to protect them, but it hasn't helped as far as I can see. The beets and Swiss chard are not doing well, either. The green row is hot peppers. They seem to be doing alright. Not what I would call record growth, though.
I do want to mention the wash tub with the garden hose in it. It has some compost and manure in it. Each day I fill it up and the next morning, when I water, I fertilize what I can with the tub contents, fill it up again and let it set until the following morning.
Then I see this. It looks like a watermelon plant. In the middle of the yard. I did not plant it or water it. It just decided this was a good spot and has been chugging along on it's own accord. It has rained a number of times this Summer, which is why I imagine it is still alive. Makes me wonder why am I trying so hard to make things grow.
So...I pulled out my sewing stuff again. These are all aprons that I have started, and need things to finish them off. They need to be two sided so if one side is dirty you can still make a statement. They need to have pockets. Preferably on both sides. The straps need to be attached also. There are about 12 aprons in various stages of being complete. I am hoping that finishing these will help me feel like I can get a favorable outcome on something.
The problem now, is...I am going to have to buy cucumbers again for pickles this year. If I can find some to buy.
For the last couple of YEARS, if there has been anything that can go wrong with my garden, it has. My tomatoes got blight. Then when I planted my potatoes in the same spot this year, they got blight, also...just to name a thing that went wrong.
What that makes me wonder...is why would anyone listen to what I have to say about gardening. Which is why I haven't been writing. I am still gardening, though.
This is a picture of my first rhubarb to look like a plant at all. I think the squirrels ate the one in the garden. It started and then disappeared.
One thing that I did this year was throw a bunch of pomegranate seeds in this box too, and covered with dirt. Well...there are now a bunch of little pomegranate plants all crammed up under the leaves. I have been slowly extracting them and transplanting into Solo cups.
See my tiny cucumber? Really don't have too many plants. Hope I get what I want for eating.
Even though you can't see it...I have started a bunch of beets in this row. I love pickled beets. In the past, the birds and whatever, ate the plants before I could get anything to really grow. THIS time...I have put a bird-net over this frame of PVC pipe. Let's hope it works.
Here is another disaster. The critters ate the center out of most of my squash plants. I think I have two left.
I have re-planted them. We shall see if I can get any squash this year. I just want to make zucchini bread.
This is what I am most proud of. For three years I have been trying to grow strawberries...maybe longer. I got some good plants this Spring and have been carefully tending them. Pulling off buds. Watching/placing runners so they can get a good grip on the dirt. Fertilizing.
Don't they look healthy and vigorous? I want at least one great batch of jam and some strawberry shortcake.
Is that to much to ask?
This is what my garden looks like today. These beds are packed with food. Up against the fence are peas. The tall rows of plants are different kinds of onions. The little short plants are my strawberries. I covered these beds in straw so the water doesn't dry up so fast. The dark spot at the top left is where I am going to plant beets. The green plants at the top right of the picture are potatoes. Yukon Gold, red , and something else.
I have more potatoes to plant so I started this bed. I cut the sets so they each have their own eye, and they are drying so I can plant them in a few days. Until then, I am digging the trenches. I have two more to dig.
These were plants that I bought. The label said Chinese cabbage. I really think they were mustard greens. I kept waiting for them to grow a head. Then they went to seed. Next thing I know they are demolished. The squirrels have been eating them. I am sad to say that my dogs killed another squirrel today. I am not sad that my garden has one less predator.
This peach tree has a bunch of peaches on it. I picked off some, and I need to pick off more so they don't break my tree when they get full size. Maybe a few for eating this year. Last year the squirrels got the few we had.
This is one of my apple trees. It is covered in blooms. I just hope I get a few to eat.
At the end of March I fixed a bunch of plumbing around the house. This was a leaky connection that I dug out and replaced with this flexie pipe. What a great invention.
Last week I went on a trip with my BFF to visit another long time Girlfriend in Tennessee. This picture is when BFF and I went to San Diego to visit Girlfriend on a layover of sorts...In 2013.
Now, these were women I knew as a young 24 year old. Our husbands were air traffic controllers together. We helped each other with our kids. Now her kids are grown and have kids of their own. It was nice to see what great women the have grown into.
I really enjoyed the weather, also. It rained a lot of the time, but we don't get that much rain here in So. Cal. so it was wonderful to sit on the porch and watch it rain.
I cleaned up her garden boxes and got plants for her to plant. I know, all Summer she will be thinking of us as she picks her tomatoes and peppers.
I just love gardens. And these two women.
The weather in Southern California has been pretty good "all Winter". Some cold, but not too bad for too long. Nice and warm during the day but it cools off at night (so I can sleep). Plus, it has been raining on and off. Enough to keep things watered, not so much it makes people cry for the Sun. Would really like it if it stayed this way for a couple more months.
The thing I really like is that it is nice to be working in the yard. I have plenty of work to do out there. Weeds are all over the place. There has been scrapping, and pulling, and digging, and planting.
I LOVE the planting part.
I purchased 5 pomegranate plants for $3.50 each and five big green pots for $5.00. I added a mint plant to help cover the soil so it doesn't evaporate out so bad.
One of my new projects this year is rhubarb. I have two plants...this is one.
This is the other one...and they both looked like dried up stuff when I planted them. I did this last year and they started to come up but I think something ate it. Sad story.
I have a row of potatoes coming up too. I think these are reds.
This is my cabbage bed. I have red and Chinese. I planted something else around in here, but I forget what. Maybe some shallots. Maybe we will find out soon.
When I am planting a bed, keep in mind that it is very windy around here sometimes and that will dry out a garden real fast. So I plant things close together to save water. And...sometimes when you grow things together they protect each other.
So...on the North side of my East wing garden, all along the fence, I planted peas...three kinds...so they have something to climb on.
Then, in a wide row (4 inches wide) I planted in a zig-zag pattern...Onions...three kinds. Red, yellow, and white. Then a row of strawberries. Then a wide row of onions...and so on. I have four boxes that are 4X8 ft. along that fence. Each box has 80 onion plants, 10 strawberry plants, and a wide row of peas. Each row of potatoes has 10 plants.
Along the South end of this garden, along the fence I planted fava beans, lima beans and a few peas. Then I planted the cabbage, some shallots, and a bunch of garlic.
There are a few empty beds and rows but I have plans for them. More potatoes and Beets! I just love pickled beets and roasted golden beets. I love them in my salads or just plain.
But...planting isn't the only thing I have to do. Everything green in this picture needs to be scrapped, and raked. If I wait too long, it will spread and boy will I have work then.
I also have four more of these boxes I need to get in place, and filled with compost. I have 3 year asparagus crowns coming to fill them up. AND...40 more strawberry plants. I can put wire covers on these to help protect them from rabbits and squirrels and birds who might try to run off with my goodies. I can water through the wire and can lift it up to pick, and the critters can't dig in from the bottom.
As you can see, there is no moss growing on me.
Today I am trying an experiment. I want to see if People from here are willing to help out.
In our neighborhood like most other places, people are moving out and leaving behind their pets. They can't feed them or give them vet care...so they just leave them.
As it was with some people we know. Their neighbors left a clowder of cats. Around 30. AND...they need to be spayed and neutered so this does not continue.
We went to my friend the Vet and she agreed to take them all in for $1000, spay and neuter all of them at once and give them their shots.
So...Krista set up a page to direct funds to the Vet's page so we can get donations for this project. Here is the link:
I would greatly appreciate any and all help that this little community can muster up for these poor kitties.
I know I can count on you. My most sincere thanks.
I was looking through pictures and ran across this one. What a mess!
It looked like this about a week ago. I have since pulled weeds and raked up a bunch of 'leftovers' and pulled up some fence. As you can see...even messy, this is way better than it was in the top picture. Well...at least in my opinion.
It has walkways so you are not stepping on plants or compacting the dirt where the plants grow. It is easier to know where to put fertilizer and where to put ground cover to keep moisture in the soil. It keeps me from wasting water. We live in Southern California and are under drought conditions.
One of the water conservation gardening techniques I am considering using is a German, raised-bed garden called a Hugelkultur. It takes a few years to get it going good, but once it is established will only need water periodically...like a few times a year.
They usually start with a trench several feet deep and wide. Then you lay a bunch of tree trunks down first. Then branches, sticks, all small pieces of compostable yard waste (grass clippings, leaves, garden waste, wood chips). Water it down and continue with compost on top.
These can have a frame around the bottom to raise the bed up so you can garden standing up. Planting trees and veggies gets better after a few years because the garden gets more in-sync with itself. It warms up faster in the Spring. Takes less and less ADDED water to keep things growing at maximum capacity. Creates a healthy bug environment to keep things in balance.
I have been looking for places in the yard to build these raised beds because we have a bunch of trees to cut down and a bunch of branches laying around the yard.
With a good dirt mover, I can remove some bad trees, in bad places. Dig the trenches for the tree trunks to lie in. Move the piles of branches to the top of the raised beds. THEN...I can move some dirt piles that have developed over the years to top off the Hugelkultur. The final touch would be to add compost...and plant.
This would be a way to use up all the green waste I have collected over the years.
My plan for the future.
I thought I already posted this...but I am wrong. Just so you know...lol.
The other day my Bro sent me a box with recipes, rolling pins, and cookbooks. The book on the left was my Mom's cookbook. She bought the middle one for me when I got married. I bought the one on the right for my Son when I sent him off to college.
I have been using the two on the right for years now. Most of the BASIC recipes are the same...mostly. But I find that I prefer to have MINE for most of my basics. Like pie crust, or waffles. THOSE recipes are committed to memory.
When I look at my Mom's cookbook, I notice it is pretty worn out like mine. The binder is broken and all the recipes are out of order. When I was looking through her recipe boxes, I found pages from her cookbook folded and stored in there. I would bet the holes were ripped for the binder and she was afraid she would lose it.
I have to say, I get it. I have been collecting cookbooks since I was around 22 years old. I have read them all like novels, cover to cover. It was like collecting knowledge. I would read a recipe that would stick in my head and later when I was making something else I would think..." I may not have everything for THIS recipe, but I remember in this other recipe the used (whatever) instead."
Today they have an App that you can put in what ingredients you have, and it will give you a list of things you can make from them.
But for me...I like having something to touch. That I can carry around and mull over.
They are my friends...they have helped me make many a yummy meal.
With many more to come.
This was my "Surprise" today. To anyone else this would be boxes of recipes, and rolling pins and cookie cutters. But these were boxes filled with women bonding. Over food.
As I went through a box, I found recipes from many women that I know and love. Some were even from me. They were written on scraps of papers, torn pieces of envelopes, and some are typed on special cards. I found a recipe for cinnamon rolls. My Mom's best friend Joy's Mother, Lill made them all the time, and were always special. At least that is what I was told, I never met her. But...I KNOW about the cinnamon rolls.
As kids, we loved these date cookies Mom would make at Christmas. They had dates, rice krispes, and walnuts and you rolled them into balls and then into coconut. She would also make peanut butter fudge, and rice krispie squares...the plain kind. Those were our favorites. I am still looking for the fudge recipe.
I found recipes from my Grammy and my Aunt Vickie. Some I found were from people that lived in the tiny town I grew up in, in Illinois (was about 125 people).
Then there was the cookie cutters. The ones we used as kids for all the holidays. Easter. Valentine's day. Thanksgiving...to name a few.
Another thing was the rolling pins. I believe that one was made by either my Grand father (Pop) or my Great Grandpa, Walter. They both worked with a lot of wood as finish carpenters.
Needless to say, there was a lot of MY history in that box. It made me miss my Mom so much. Along with the rest of my family.
It made me laugh, too because some of the recipes were written on tiny pieces of paper. You know that it MUST have been good for them to dig that hard to find something to share it on. Plus a third of them don't even have names.
I was thinking that maybe...it would be fun to start making the no-name recipes and give them names.
The recipes that fed the masses.