Friday, September 23, 2022

Garden Friday

Welcome back to Garden Friday,
where we share what's going on in our Zone 7b Piedmont garden.
Having been laid up with a back injury for the last two weeks,
there isn't much to report.
There is, however, always something to see out there.

The Monarchs have eaten almost all of the milkweed,
but there are still a few stragglers left behind
for the remaining crops.
The caterpillar that was suspended on the "Wordless Wednesday" post this week,
got busy creating its chrysalis and hangs there still.

Another hangs underneath the porch table,
while several others have chosen the metal chairs to use as their resting spot.

Still others hide underneath plant leaves,
like this one on the front porch steps.
Care must be taken when watering pots
or moving just about anything!

I'm not sure what these critters are,
but they were found on the milkweed plant as well.
They are definitely NOT monarchs.

The gargantuan woodchip pile,
for which I've been pining,
will have to wait at least a few more days
until I feel fully recovered.
This mound will be distributed between the chook run
and the garden itself.

 Without much mobility,
one of the things I was able to do
was to collect and scatter seeds.
This buckwheat has been a great addition to the garden,
and I want to have more of it next season.

The colors of autumn are finding their way to us

and slowly, but surely, the temperatures are cooling.
Although the first day of autumn was in the 90's,
today begins a new wave of cooler, crisper days.

Seed heads are left in tact so that the birds

will have nourishment through the colder months.
Along with seed and suet feeders,
we enjoy taking care of our feathered friends.

After hearing about this product from a few gardeners,
it seemed like an experiment was in order.
(The name is Soil Cube.)

This potting mix is from a local company,
and I've used it in the past with mixed results.

I will be growing the same crops in each mix,
with as many of the same variables as possible,
and we'll see which performs better.
In this picture, the Soil3 is on the left 
and the Wallace Farms is on the right. 
The first thing I noticed when filling the cells,
is that the Soil3 is much smoother,
with less bark bits in it.

The same varieties of kale, leek, lettuce and snap peas
were each planted in these trays. 
They will be watered at the same time
and kept in the same spot with the same amount of sunlight.
Hopefully, by next week, we'll have something to compare.
(The wire on the top is to deter squirrels from digging in the soil.)

 The garden is winding down,
but not going completely to bed.
We will be sowing a handful of crops 
that can do well over the colder months.

There are also cover crops to sow in a few of the raised beds.
This year, I'm trying a few new things,
so it should be fun to watch them fill in the beds.

The girls will no doubt enjoy the cooler days.
How's autumn shaping up where you are?

Friday, September 9, 2022

Garden Friday

Greetings and welcome to Garden Friday,
where we share what's growing in our Zone 7b Piedmont garden.
I haven't been posting every Friday because,
well, sometimes there is absolutely nothing going on out there!
This was a recent harvest when our melons were still going strong.

There were two beautiful orange peppers
that got harvested and given to a neighbor.
Since my eczema is kicking up again,
I am off all nightshades, including peppers.

This wasn't grown by us, 
but I just had to share this carrot's whimsical shape.
It was promptly peeled and put into coleslaw.
Seed saving has been going on more
in the last few weeks.
Here are asparagus seeds that can be picked
after they turn a vibrant red.
I'm not sure what I'll do with them,
but more research needs to be done.

A patch of black-eyed susan vine was spied
out near the blueberries.
It was a wonderful surprise to find,
as I thought none of what was planted had germinated.
I'll be sure to save seeds so that I always have this beauty.
Maybe next year I can grow it on the chook yard fence.

Speaking of the chook run,
don't you love how this hyacinth bean vine
has covered the trellis,
giving the chooks plenty of shade?
It's gotta be at least ten degrees cooler under there.

Several cells of cool season crops were purchased
at a local nursery this past week
and installed in a few of the raised beds.
With my germination rates plummeting,
it was decided to just buy the dang starts.
I don't have to do it all!

 Broccoli, cabbage, kale and lettuce was planted
and anything that might be bothered by pests was covered.
I'm trying a new system of covers,
so we'll see how it goes.
We've had so many visitors to the garden this summer.
This is the first time I remember seeing a Zebra Swallowtail.
Although we don't have any paw paw trees,
someone in our neighborhood must.
It is the host plant for these amazing creatures.

The magic has begun!
We are inundated with these miraculous Monarchs!

If you plant it, they will come!
Milkweed, that is.
And we have plenty of it.

Can you spy all four of the cats on this plant?
We have two types of milkweed in our garden,
and they don't seem to be too particular about which to devour.
Soon, we will have chrysalises all over the place!
We are happy to give them a home.

One of my jobs this week
was digging up a ton of daylilies.
They will be listed on our local swapping site for free.
Good news is, I only dug up about 1/4 of the bed.
Hope we can find homes for these.
These two girls fight all the time,
but it seems they are having some kind of conference here.
Henrietta (on the left), chases Houdini any chance she gets,
but at least there are moments of peace between them.
A chicken keeper's work is never done.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Garden Friday


 Welcome back to Garden Friday,
where we share what's growing on our Zone 7b Piedmont homestead.
This stunning sunflower display is actually
on one of the properties where I work.
Isn't it just amazing?

Back in our garden, the first of the kajari melons
has been picked and sampled.
It was utterly delicious with a taste somewhere between
a honeydew and a cantaloupe.
The mesh bags I used to keep them from dropping worked great.

 I read that it's best to wait until the green stripes fade
before eating them.
This one had detached from the vine, so I brought it in.
Sweet and juicy!

I watched a video with Ben, from Grow Veg,
who potted up strawberries to make new plants.
I took runners from the main plant
and simply placed them in a pot
with fresh potting soil.
The trick here, is to keep the runner attached to the mother plant
until it is able to grow on its own.

 The seeds that had been planted last week
are germinating slowly.
The lettuce still hasn't come up,
so I may have to direct seed more in the beds.

 The corn we grew (first time growing corn),
turned out half done.
This is dent corn,
so the chooks were bound to eat it anyway.
I have a few theories about why it didn't mature properly.
Seed saving has been ongoing for a while now.
Here is a leek head that I let dry in a paper sack.
Leeks are one crop I never want to be without.

This was a strange sight found this week in our turf grass.
It's a mushroom,
and rumor has it, that if you smash it,
it sends up some kind of black powder.
Nature is amazing.

alyssum and celosia

I found a local Master Gardener who does landscape design,
so I'm going to see if she can make up a plan for our beds.
I love planting, but I don't have an eye for design,
so it'll be worth it to use an expert.

The fountain grasses on the front porch
are one of my favorite plants.
With each passing day, they get better and better.

Guess who came-a-calling this week in our pollinator bed?
This is the first Monarch we've seen so far this season.
Goodness knows we have plenty of milkweed to keep them fed.
A few more of my summertime favorite blooms:

Cactus Zinnia


Seed head from Tithonia

and this wonderful Hyacinth Bean vine over the chicken run.
This beauty loves the heat and has gone wild!
It's amazing how much cooler it feels underneath.

 Speaking of chooks,
would you look at these two daffy girls?
There are 7, count 'em, seven places for them to nest
and lay their eggs.
What do they do?
Sit on top of one another!
Talk about stubborn!
Well, they are always entertaining,
I'll grant them that.
Here's hoping everyone where you are has enough room to stretch out!