Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Holy Moley

Just when I was beginning to think I might be done picking squash bugs off the squash, these little critters showed up on the eggplant.

Potato bugs!

So now. in addition to looking for these little copper eggs

(usually on the bottoms of the leaves, so not easily visible) and squishy them, and looking for baby and adult squash bugs and squishy them, I have to look for potato bugs on the eggplant vines and squish them.

Will it ever end?

And something has taken a few bites out of my perfect little aubergine eggplant.

The Fur's A' Flyin'

It's hot.  I don't have enough non-broiling-hot hours in the day to groom animals.

So, Pearlie got a haircut.  I don't claim to be a doggie hair stylist.

And, since I suddenly turned into Edward Scissorhands, minus the talent, Edward was not spared.  This is what happens around here when you let your hair turn into felt.  Either that, or male pattern baldness.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Update on Nettle Erradication

I posted about various treatments for nettles back in June of 2010 ( http://tilemosaics.blogspot.com/2010/06/bulls-horses-and-nettles.html ), and it has occurred to me that I did not post a follow-up on how well the treatments worked.

I'm sorry to say that they did not totally erradicate the nettles.  We still regularly have bull nettles cropping up throughout the property.  Tom pulls them by hand.  And we have great patches of the Carolina horse nettle that he has to treat throughout the growing season.

Our next plan of action is to get our soil in tip-top shape.  We've had the soil tested to see what it needs and will be applying lime and some fertilizer in the coming weeks.  Then a regular regimen of mowing.  We have been told that if we fertilize enough, our hay will eventually choke out the nettles and other weeds.

We shall see.

Also, we've been letting the goats roam freely.  They like to eat the young sand burrs and the burr grass.  I think that has been helpful in keeping the burrs from taking over.

Twig Arbor

I got it in my head that I wanted to build a twig arbor.  So, I gathered up some of the small trees that were casualties of the drought and roughly the same size and built this.  Then I planted an Asian Jasmine next to it so it can climb.  It's pretty shady, so I don't know how the jasmine will do, but, so far, so good.

It looks pretty straight from this angle, but that is deceiving.

One of my trees was crazy crooked.

Don't be hatin'
I like it a bit wonky.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Take It Back

Maybe I am getting better at it.  Well, it's probably not me, it's probably the good weather, but the garden suddenly exploded into life.  I've blanched and frozen several quarts of green beans.  This is the first year I've ever gotten more than a handful.  I still haven't gotten the hang of picking them at the right time.  I tend to wait too long or miss some of them hanging on the vine (they're very hard to see amongst the foliage) and then they're tough to eat.

I also blanched and froze a few dozen corn on the cob and have some waiting to be shucked.  I'll probably have another batch or two to pick in the coming days, then the corn will be done.  Maybe I'll have time for another crop of corn.  I don't know how it grows in the heat of summer.

The cucumbers continue to produce more than I know what to do with and I'm still resisting making  pickles.

The butternut squash survived the invasion of the squash bugs and, although I'm still finding some on the vines and leaves, there are far less than when the season started.  So, I'll have loads of butternut unless some other disease or pest crops up that I'm not prepared for.

Pumpkins?  I thought pumpkins were supposed to be harvested in the fall?  I followed either the Farmer's Almanac guide or my organic gardening book's guide on when to plant.  I'm pretty sure these pumpkins are ready to be picked and there are many more at different stages of development.  What does a body do with so many pumpkins and it's nowhere near Halloween or Thanksgiving?

This is some kind of melon called Canary.  I don't think I've ever seen or heard of it before.  I thought I was planting canteloupe, but it doesn't have the netted skin like canteloupe and the flesh is sort of creamy white instead of orange.  I picked one and cut it open today.  The seeds are in the middle like a canteloupe and the taste is a cross between canteloupe and watermelon with maybe a dash of cucumber.  It will be very refreshing when it's chilled.

Some critter, probably a cute little bunny, is eating the pumpkin and watermelon.  It will eat on the same one each night

until it looks like this.  Then it will move on to another young fruit.  I'm not terribly upset about it because it takes several days for one to be eaten and I have so many.  But, if it starts destroying too much of the garden, I think I'll send one of the young men out there for target practice.  Jasper Cat hangs out in the garden a lot, but I guess she doesn't stay out there at night, otherwise, she might be able to keep the bunnies away.

I read recently that watermelons need a lot of water as the vines are growing and getting established but after the watermelons get bigger, too much water will dilute the sweetness.  So, while they ripen, you need to cut down on the watering.  I have accidentally done something right.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Flower Gardening

My flower gardening is going well this year.
The other Dahlias were yellow

and another white one.

Turk's Cap.  What an amazing tiny little flower.  This plant dies back completely during the winter, then puts up all new shoots in the spring, getting bigger each year.

I'm trying to get a good stand of Cosmos going by letting it reseed itself.  Unfortunately, only one plant came up this year, but it's a doozy.  It's way taller than I expected.  I might should have put it more towards the back of the bed.

The miniature roses are blooming profusely.  I need to train it to climb on the fence instead of lay all over the ground.

Orange Canna

Asian Cucumber Salad

I'm looking for ways to use up my cucumbers so that I won't have to make pickles and came across this recipe on allrecipes.com. I made it last night and it was sooo good that I couldn't stop eating it. I used my own cucumbers, onions, and fresh mint and some tomatoes that a friend had grown (unfortunately, my tomatoes are not making).

1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes*
1/2 tsp. salt
2 lbs cucumbers, halved, seeded, and sliced (3 or 4 large cukes is about right)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 roma tomatoes, chopped (other tomatoes work just as well)
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbs. chopped frest mint
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts

Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, coriander, red pepper flakes, and salt in a salad bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, cilantro, and chopped mint, and toss to coat with dressing. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to blend flavors. Stir occasionally.

Before serving, toss again with chopped peanuts.

*The red pepper makes it quite hot, so if you don't like hot so much, go easy on the pepper.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Straw Bale Gardening Update

Well, I must say, I'm disappointed and unimpressed with this straw/hay bale gardening.  I do like how it elevates the plants so they aren't all over the ground and it's a little easier to pick the veggies, but I think that's the only good thing about it...except that I like how it looks, which is of little value.

In the bale row farthest to the right at the far end are the cucumbers that survived.  They're producting well.  The rest of that row was zucchini.  I planted about ten, but only three survived.  Those three are dead now.  The problem I had with them was, firstly, keeping them watered enough.  The bales dried out very quickly. 

 Secondly, zucchini plants are heavy and the roots couldn't get a good hold in the hay.  When they started putting on zucchini, one of them got so heavy that it just fell out on the ground. 

Lastly, from what I read, having the plants up off of the ground is supposed to help keep the pests off of them, but that was not the case with the squash bugs.  It did help with the moles, but I had to inspect every leaf for squash bugs and their eggs every day. 

Anyway, between the weak root system and the squash bugs, the zucchini didn't make it and I replanted in another area.

The middle row is butternut squash.  I'm fighting the squash bugs with that, but so far, they are making it.  It's easier to keep the vines propped up on the bales so that they don't pull the roots out.

The tomatoes are growing like crazy, but not putting on tomatoes.  Haven't figured out what's going on with that yet, but I have some friends who already are picking their tomatoes. 

I'm really not getting any better at this gardening thing even after, what? five seasons.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Dinner Plate Dahlia

Yay!  The blooming of the Dahlias has made my week.  I can't get over how beautifully perfect this flower is.

It is a full eight inches across and so heavy that it hangs it's head.  I'm surprised the stalk can hold it up.

Here is is amongst the daylillies to show a contrast in size.

I must admit, when I ordered these bulbs from Breck's ( http://brecks.com/ )
I didn't really believe they'd bloom the 6-9 inches promised.  I especially didn't expect anything this summer because I planted them in the spring of last year.  I planted ten of them in different colors and they all sprang up.  Then the drought hit and, even though I watered them faithfully, the drought killed off over half of them.  The ones left got buds on them and were promptly eaten up - everything but the stem - by grasshoppers.

In our climate, you're supposed to dig dahlias up and store them through the winter, replanting in the spring.  My efforts last summer were such a dismal failure, that I didn't even bother digging them up.  They over wintered in the ground and to my great surprise, three of them grew this spring.  This one is the first to bloom, but the others have buds on them, too.  Can't wait to see what colors I have left.

Friday, June 01, 2012

The Lawn

I'm so excited that our lawn is recovering from the drought.  There are a lot...a LOT of weeds, but the St. Augustine grass is going strong and starting to retake its territory.

And, I think it's pretty cool that the cannas I planted behind the orange patio furniture...

bloomed the exact same color as the furniture.

Remember This?

Let me remind you.  I started this in July of last year; posted about it in August.

Finally, almost a year later...it is completed.  I had painter's block for several months.  I just have to put a coat of varnish on it and then it will be winging its way to the intended recipient.

It's a knockoff of the Paul Van Ginkel painting, White Out.