End of May Garden Pics

Bean TeePee
Purple Sweet Potatoes wilted the first day out, but are recovering nicely.
Sweet Basil finally showed up!
The Green Zebra has become one of my favorite tomatoes.
Purple hull peas are starting to come in.
Just look at that Seminole Pumpkin!
Beefsteaks don’t typically do well for me, but this is in a shady spot. Looks like I will have a few slicer tomatoes this year.
Watch out for thrips, they destroyed the mustard.

April 3rd Harvest

We had a good harvest today, taking a nice cabbage, the first of the golden wax beans, a few peas, finished out the carrots and 3 bundles of collards.

I also had a great time cleaning out the chicken coup (NOT). Still a bit of work to do in there, but much better than before.

Lastly, bed #2 is cleaned up and fertilized for the next crop. I also rearranged the grate to grow a few louffa gourds on the end.

Today’s harvest
More cabbage is ready
Trellis rearranged in bed #2.
Bed cleaned up for the next planting.

Food not lawns continues

We finally made good on planting up some new figs. This will help give us more fruit consistently in the coming years as they grow as discussed in a previous article about staggering harvest times with your perennial plantings.

I still need to finish up with some nice mulch and a decent ring around them. I found that the previous homeowner left the remnants of a plastic garden border buried. That is the thing sticking up between the figs in the picture. I planted the larger Brown Turkey in the corner to fill that area of the yard, leaving about 6′ of space between the fence. I plan to keep both trimmed to around a max height of 8′.

Yeah, they really are twigs at this point, but they arrived well packed from Isons Nursery.
Close up with the Celeste

We also did some harvesting over the last few weeks.

A little SNH’er with a great flat dutch cabbage!
More carrots from the regen bed. Very happy with how this bed is being reconditioned from the nitrogen poor soil it was growing in. Beans will be filling this bed next.
I started to keep track of the value the garden is bringing this year. $18. That more than covers the cost of the seeds planted for those harvests.

Get Growing!

Mr. SNH.

Biochar in my sand? Yes, we are doing that!

I was inspired by some youtube surfing the other day to get busy and try making some biochar. I used the DTG method of digging a pit and burning the wood laying around the property. The pit is in a new 10×4 section next to the blueberries, but with some separation. I don’t think the ashes left behind will affect the blueberries PH, the proximity is not close enough.

After the big burn, I put the charcoal in a wheel barrow where I topped it with all of the grass that I had just torn out. Biochar needs to be “activated” before becoming and effective nutrient battery for your plants. To activate it, we soaked the charcoal and weed mix to form a batch of “Dave’s fetid swamp water”. The charcoal absorbed it for a week, I hope it is enough to become somewhat effective in the new bed. After the heavy rains today, I furrowed a section of the new bed in the center and dumped that nasty foul smelling water with the charcoal into the ground and raked it over. It might become my watermelon patch tomorrow. I have 4 starts, and a 10×4 sounds like a good area for 4 melon plants.

New bed cleared and filled with biochar and swamp water

I also did a few other things in between the rain. Found out that the potatoes popped up. I also threw in a few more rotting red potatoes in the row just to fill it out.

Potatoes popped up this week. I clearly had some weeding to do as well.

The 3rd generation of our pretend homestead black eyed peas is in the lettuce bed to help regenerate the nitrogen loss. I did not yet pull the couple of rashes that are left in the bed in hopes of getting some seed out of the radishes.

Since my yellow wax beans are doing well, I planted another 8 row feet in the “shed bed”. This harvest will be about 3 weeks behind the first one. I am trying to stagger some of the plantings to make more consistent harvests.

About half of the tomatoes are now in ground. I still have green zebras and brandywines waiting to be planted, but don’t have a spot for them yet. I’ll likely interplant basil with the tomatoes to get a harvest from some “small structure” plants like I did with the blueberries last year. Oh, I also placed an order for some everglades tomatoes. Those are the ones I truly hope to have abundance with.

2 of the Seminole pumpkins have germinated. I was thinking of growing these into my fence just to see if they survive weaving in and out of the chicken wire. I have long way to go in the season with pumpkins, so I can start another set if this group fails.

None of the peppers germinated. I think we got into weather where the nights are just too cool. I’ll probably set some up under a grow light in the garage.

My Florida grown raspberry plant is starting to ripen. Can’t wait.

Raspberries are ripening. Maybe the berries will make it after all.

I picked up a purple sweet potato for a grocery store garden bonus. I’ll start working on getting slips going as soon as I can. Does anybody know where I can identify sweet potato varieties?

Lastly, I did some off the cuff math. It appears that the chickens have paid off about half of their coup through their egg production over the last year. Keep up the good work ladies. Mrs. SNH found out that some organic eggs in California are selling for $11/dozen. That hasn’t hit us here in Florida, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we get to $7 or $8 / dozen soon. Food not lawns people, it’s the smarter way!

Carrots!

Happy March SNH’ers, harvested a few carrots this morning for a crockpot pork roast this evening! Had a great time chatting with other gardeners on a david the good live stream. I highly recommend checking out his youtube content. Tons of information, it has helped me improve my growing.

In other crop news, the tomato starts are about ready to plant out, the yellow wax beans are starting to get fairly large. I am planting another row soon. I decided to open up another section of ground at a 10×4 size which brings me to about 450 sq feet of space. My goal is to get to 1500 sq ft, even though it may not be possible in our yard space.

Small Carrot, big on flavor

Inflation…Offset it with a garden!

I worked a good bit in the garden today and had to share some of the pics. Our winter veggies are starting to get too hot. The lettuce is bolting, the last of the turnips were given to a neighbor and I pulled some of the old Tabasco and Jalapeno’s that didn’t make it through the short freeze.

The good news is that I have been planting lots and lots. Tomatoes, peppers, seminole pumpkins, eggplants, cucumbers, some old cantaloupe seeds and watermelon.

The blueberries are on their second year of growth. I bought them as twigs and most are now about 2′ high. Next year will be the year for getting berries off of them. They take so long to get into production, but well worth the wait.

Lastly, I put in 2 peach trees as bare roots making good on my plan for citrus, peaches and figs to extend the fruit harvest over different periods. The peaches are actually flowering and now have a good set of leaves. I was a bit worried as I bought them from TyTy in Georgia which has some mixed reviews. In this case, I would give them a thumbs up. They came well packed and are so far fairly healthy.

I’ll end with this thought: in Florida you need to have a plan to battle the sugar sand. It seems like it is just swallowing everything that we put into it. I am making more of an effort with mulching in the walkways to get some humus underneath. I’ll rotate the humus into the gardens when it is broken down a bit. I also want to experiment a bit with biochar as a way to re-charge the sand and store nutrients like a battery. When folks in the neighborhood trim trees, I’ll collect some of the wood and start the biochar project. Sound like a good thing for a late summer night. I have been excited to see the work from David the Good and have taken a good bit to his teachings. They are practical and centered on food production.

Tomatoes Started: Roma, Sweetie, Pink Brandywine, Green Zebra and few Brads Atomic Grape. I still have a few varieties to start, but this is nice. Below is a seed tray with purple bells, California Wonder Bells, Early Jalapenos and jimmy nardello peppers. We are just getting to a 60/70 degree daytime temp, so this is about the right time to start them outdoors.
Planted a row of red potatoes. I hope to see between 5 and 10 lbs from this planting.
Yes, we have raspberries. I really didn’t give it much of a chance, but here it is. Our blackberries are also producing! The oak leave much is also below to help feed the plants and create some life below the soil. Sure is sandy down there.
My yellow wax beans popped up! The real reason for this planting is to get some nitrogen fixing into this soil. This is the bed where the old shed used to be.
Yep, the girls are laying again. 3 a day, and soon to be 5. If you need some eggs and live in the brevard county area, I am open to a weekly drop at $5/dozen since we cant eat that many.
Romaine Lettuce is beautiful and going to seed. We could not eat enough of it. I am working to find a balance between how much we should plant for each type of crop for maximum use. More beans, sweet potatoes, carrots. Less in lettuce category.

A hodge podge post

Hello SNH’ers, the family has been busy this December. A few things to note: the garden is producing well for our winter items. Lots of lettuce, pickling cucumbers and pak choi are coming in. I also have a good amount of collards, mustard and some swiss chard growing.

We got to bake some really tasty things, like some great gluten free peanut butter cookies and a peach upside down cake.

On the investment side, I am still seeing lots of inflationary effects and have diversified the portfolio to include some income producers like JEPI, QYLD and some stabilizers like SCHD. We are seeing slower growth rates in both the 401k and Roth accounts, typical of the political and business climate right now. I am working to weed out the portfolio from items that haven’t performed and don’t maintain the same outlook when the initial positions were taken.

The winter brought some awful service issues to our home. First, we had to replace a septic pump, then an air conditioning issue hit us up. Lastly, we had to repair an alternator. That really has wiped out a few months of savings, so our new year will see us get back into the black.

Here are some nice things to look at from the last quarter:

Winter pickling, great harvest on a whim planting them in October.
Red potatoes dug 12/29, going into the chicken soup tonight
Some great baby Pak Choi that came out of the lettuce bed
We’ll just see what ‘turnip’ in the garden today
A little SNH’er filling her bucket with purple hull black eyed peas
Mrs. SNH out petting the cows at our local orange upick orchard.
Yes, a handwritten recipe for a great peach upside-down cake
We ate the whole thing that night.

Lastly, I have really been enjoying watching David the Good on youtube. I encourage you to check out his videos. They can bring a dose of practicality to an otherwise crazed gardening world.

Have a great afternoon. Mr. SNH.

Fall Garden is shaping up!

I have had lots of harvests the last few weeks along with lots of preparation for the fall and winter gardening season. New plants include the following:

  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Red Potatoes
  • Pickling Cucumbers
  • Radishes (wow, those grew quickly)
  • Turnips
  • Beets again, but they have really failed
  • Swiss Chard
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Texas Grano Short Day Onions
  • Garlic (Transylvania and Silver White)
  • Sugar Snap Peas

Here are some pics of where we are after some weeding/cleaning and prep work.

Big view of the garden, my recently tested method of using cardboard to clear weeds is working well. The lettuce bed, lowest and right as well as the upper left bed is now weed free!
My sprawling Seminole pumpkin, the first one to fertilize!
The baby sister to the first pumpkin!
These delicious beauties are better than any water melon sugar high!
I cannot believe how much okra we have been pulling out of the garden. Too much!
Okra, Jalapenos, Tabascos and a few Jimmy Nardello peppers. It was a spicy September!
Sugar Snap peas starting to fill in the old tomato bed. They should climb the trellis soon.
Avocado seedling that we started from the harvest of a friend. 7 years to Avocados!
Texas Grano and Red Creole Onions for a fall crop. I haven’t had much success with seed onions, but here we go trying to grow through winter as recommended by some of the locals.
The last of our Kale. We put it into a white bean and chicken concoction. Thank you Mrs. SNH, it was delicious.
The ugly bits of the garden. Cardboard is down now to kill the massive weed growth. We had great results in the raised beds by laying down cardboard over the weeds. I’ll report back in a month on how that turned out.
Finally, some saved harvest. Canned today to save for the next year. Pickled with dill, black peppercorn and salt, we will try the pickled okra on sandwiches and the pickled jalapenos will go great on nachos!

Keep it growing. Keep doing things smarter not harder. Be careful with your stock plays right now, I am seeing lots of volatility in the market.