Saturday, May 21, 2011

Transplanting.. still at it

 Trying to prep new ground, take control back of overgrown everything else.. we've been working hard. 

 So far we have 50+ tomato plants in and they seem to all be doing well. We just put in 30+ eggplant and broccoli was also in. Sage, flat leaf parsley, dill, more chives.. all planted. Mishap with a ton of basil and I have to restart a new flat. I got some ancient tomatillo seeds to sprout so those are now in the ground. I have a bunch from last year, but those tomatillos were very sweet and very pineapple flavored. Not what I was looking for!  About a dozen pepper plants are in and I need to transplant out a bunch more. Pole beans are in.. hoping to get the "pole" part of that crop in today.

 Today I am attacking the next section. Cucumbers, melons, squash.. I have to get them in.. they should have been planted like, last week. Next sowing of beets, kohlrabi, turnips, dill also needs to be done. Also 4 more varieties of beans have to go in. Those 4 will go through the taste test and if we like them, then I will save the seed to do large plantings of it next year.

 We haven't had a moment to get to the other farm. I can only imagine how high the grass is... and the fields. I need an army just to keep the decorative landscaping in control. 

 Still on the list to do.. attacking the raspberry canes, rose bushes, grape vines. The "I'll get to it at some point" list involves a chainsaw and a LOT of dead/ diseased/ etc trees. 

 I'd love to use the laundry lines too dry clothes, but we have a lot of birds that have made nests in the little birdhouses along the fence and then every light fixture has a swallow's nest. They like to use the lines as perches. They are getting rather gutsy too. They are using our efforts to their advantage. When we till.. they hang on the fence and swoop in when we are 10 feet away if they see a bug. I toss all of the grubs into a tray and when I go to grab some water.. they move in to dispose of the grubs.

 And somewhere in the midst of all of this my husband has his own additional list (I am more than happy to help if I can!).. that includes building a coop, building chicken tractors, installing 2 new toilets, painting trim on 2 of the houses, fixing and cleaning the gutters of 2 of the houses, re-fencing the dog run, building storage for the pole barn, making trellising, hanging new drywall.. to name some of it.

 Still no luck finding a job yet. As well the horrid situation of our place in CO. We sent copies of the keys to the place to a friend, and they didn't work. He can't get into the house. The tenant disappeared. So far he hasn't filed a forwarding address so the utility companies can't make him pay. That also means we can't turn the utilities on there to get the place taken care of unless we pay his bills. Really hard to tackle that when you don't have the finances.

 For now.. doing as much as we can with what we do have.. and hoping for some good luck. Really hoping.. lol because the japanese beetles out here are a force to be reckoned with.. also why I am grateful we were able to get guinea fowl.

 Alright.. back to work I go. Almost done at this place and time to go to the other. I have developed an insatiable taste for dandelion greens. I don't know what it is about them... but the ones growing in the less desirable locations.. rocky, dry, poor soil.. are more mild flavored. I found a recipe for dandelion fritters (flowers dipped in a slightly sweetened beer batter) but have yet to try that. The greens I have been going nuts on.. but my husband and daughter like it better when mixed with swiss chard to mellow it out a bit. Me.. give me a vat of it and a pitch fork and I am good to go.  Really young dandelion can go into salads.. a little older leaves you can cook. The "old" leaves are fibrous and much more bitter.. and for some reason those are the ones I am hoarding. lol. Today I will sautee up a few pounds (like all greens, they shrink down a lot when cooking).. in garlic and olive oil with crushed red pepper flakes, a pinch of sugar (helps tame the bitter), salt & pepper.. and a hit of lemon juice.  


  1. Wow, here I thought I was actually getting stuff done. You've planted a ton! I'd love to see a pic of your garden when you get everything in.

    In regards to your post on my blog, do you think its risky using the SoC seeds now that Mars bought them? I mean, will they contaminate my heirlooms? I saw the vids on Mansanto and want to stay far away from any seed that contaminates my soil (ie RoundUp Ready, GMO crap.)

    Thanks for everything you share with the world!

  2. I should have taken before pictures.. really hard to understand how much finicky weeding had/ has to be done around the onions.

    I will take pics :). I have to bring the charger with to do that. For some reason our camera drains the battery after just a few pictures. Have to pop batteries in.. take pics quick (maybe get 5 before it dies). It is an older Minolta DIMAGE z2.

    The seed are just fine to use. Mars is not Monsanto (although Burpee gets their seeds from Seminis.. which is Monsanto).

    Learning to save your own seeds is the best thing you can do. Learning what to save and how to save it and store it.. you can't beat that.

    When you save the seeds and replant the crop the next year.. and from that crop select and save seeds... over time you are not only creating your own strain... but you are as well creating a strain that is suited to your particular place on the planet.

    The other bonus to all of that is fresher seeds (better germination).

    Now I just have to figure what went amiss for PP and his tomato seed saving.

  3. I can't use a clothes line either, but it's because of pollen from the trees around us. Dust and other contaminants get on the clothes even when there isn't pollen and my wife has allergies. So we have to use a propane fueled dryer.

    Sorry about your problems with tenants. I rented a house once when I was stationed in Italy, and the neighbors would call me at all hours to complain about the people in it. The property manager didn't care who rented it, as long as it was rented. I never went the rental route again.

  4. 50 tomato plants, wow, you are really going all out this year. I have not decided how many we will be growing this year but I'm sure we will go overboard again...hard not to with so many fun varieties. Is there any particular variety that does really well for you?

    Sounds like you have been very busy as usual, sorry to hear about your "bum" of a tenant.

  5. @ Mr. H Totally different climate.. woot! While in CO I could easily get away with growing strains that were prone to cracking, here not so much. As well the cool nights in CO made for much more bland tomatoes.

    I will see how Black Krim, Cherokee Purple and Queen Anne fair out here. Those 3 we really enjoyed the flavor of, and in IL usually it was beefsteak types that did well. I was looking forward to San Marzano tomatoes, but several flats were destroyed in the dog vs chipmunk insanity.

    Weeping Charlie & Mule team are 2 that are looking good.

    I am hoping to meet up with one of my sister's friends, this Veteran who essentially is a guerrilla style gardener of old strains! He is extremely into saving seeds and maintaining the cultivars he has.

    A lot of what will happen this year is getting away with growing as much as I can, but it will be limited as I have a lot to do to rebuild this clay soil structure.

    @ Arsenius.. rentals are tricky. You have to pretty much not care about a property to rent it.. or have a good relationship with trusty tenants. My Mom has had good luck with the hunters.. but the tenants of the small house in town.. very bad luck.

    We took a risk and thought we were prepped to handle the "what if's" .. but we got a whopper and found out the hard way.