Greetings SNH family, my pavement planted hands are finally healing up to where I could get a few things done in the garden this weekend. We had to replace the chicken water container as it broke when I was carrying it across the yard. The ladies were also laying a good bit under the roost. While technically edible, we did a cleanout and hopefully they will be back in the boxes today.
We had a great harvest of pak choi. I put 5 bags into the freezer for soups and save a fresh group for stir fry tonight.
Lastly, we had a mix of white globe turnips and another variety that I had some seeds of but have since forgotten what type. The greens were frozen and the roots stored in the fridge.
I also took about 30 minutes to put our tomato volunteers into pots.
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′.
We also did some harvesting over the last few weeks.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.