Friday, July 15, 2022

Garden Friday

Welcome to Garden Friday,
where we share what's growing in our Zone 7b garden.
Sunflowers are an all-time favorite.
Not only do they grace us with their beauty,
but they feed the birds and us as well!

The sweet potato bed is filling in.
A few more slips were planted 
to replace some that disappeared.
It's always so much fun to harvest potatoes of any kind.
You just never know what lies beneath the soil.

A couple of what I believe to be birdhouse gourd plants
showed up underneath our wooded area.
These seeds were sown last year,
but nothing ever germinated.
I guess the almost 7 inches of rain we got this week did the trick.

Basil has been harvested for tea,
which I did "suntea" style on the front porch.
I'm hoping to make a batch or two of pesto
that I can put in the freezer.
It's still early in the season for this crop,
so I should be able to accomplish that goal.

It's so exciting to see the corn growing!
Even if we don't get one ear,
it's been fun to watch this plant do what it does.
Maybe next year I will plant even more.
Nothing says summer like corn on the cob
smothered in copious amounts of butter.

Some of the Jacob's Cattle beans dried on the vine.
I'm pretty disappointed with my bean crop so far,
and it's something I need to get good at.
Beans are a large part of my diet.
It will be on my mind next spring when I give this another go.

Did you know that something eats okra besides humans?
I don't ever remember the okra getting decimated this way.
A closer look found these nasty buggers,

which quickly went into a bin and were fed to the chooks.
They love 'em some Japanese beetles!

Here's another critter found last night.
It seems to be eating holes in the cucumber plants,
but it's not affecting them, so I'll leave them be.
My approach to pest control these days
is to leave things in place as much as possible,
and let the beneficial insects take care of the balance.
pest patrol

That volunteer squash I found growing 
behind the straw bale has succumbed to a vine borer.
The plant never did develop any female flowers,
so we probably wouldn't have gotten any fruit.
I plan to sow some winter squash soon.

 The chooks have been getting a steady diet of not only beetles,
but also tomato hornworms that I've been bringing home from work.
Some of them are almost too big for one hen to handle!
It's hilarious to watch them fight over them,
trying to snatch it out of each other's beaks.
Life is better with chickens.

These lantana took a while to start growing,
but they are a lovely shade of pinks and yellows.
I'm hoping they will come back after the winter.

The cannas around the chook run have been blooming 
for a few weeks now.
They are interplanted with sunflowers
and I have a few more cannas to transplant 
from other areas of the yard.

The lavender and allyssum have been moved out of the sun.
The heat seemed to be too much for them,
and they weren't doing much.
I think they'll be happier on the front porch.


It's amazing how rain will do so much for us.
Not only does the garden lap it up,
it cools off these humid summer days
so that the evening hours are quite enjoyable outdoors.
How are you spending these summer days?

Friday, July 8, 2022

Garden Friday

cactus zinnia
Welcome to Garden Friday,
where we share our Zone 7b Piedmont garden.

Our bed of sweet potatoes is doing fine,
now that we've had some steady rain.
This is one of the easiest plants to grow,
with little pest pressure
(I hope I'm not jinxing myself),
and double the food.
The roots are edible once harvested,
but until then, the leaves can be eaten as well.

The melons are enjoying the wetter weather.
A few of these netted bags were added to the larger fruit,
so that they will not break the vines if they get too heavy.
The bags are repurposed from citrus, potatoes and onions,
and are tied onto the cattle panel trellis.
There are SO many lil' melons out there!

The okra has grown by leaps and bounds,
as okra is prone to do with any sort of attention.
The straw bales had to be propped up a bit,
as they were collapsing from the moisture.
Making frames for the bales will be on my winter task list.

The cukes are consistently giving us food.
I've made refrigerator pickles with some,
and others are added to my daily salad.
The flavor is good and the skin is thin,
which makes for good eating.

The basil (you say BAY-ZIL, I say BA-ZIL),
will be used for savory dishes, but also for something new.
I heard about making basil tea on a YouTube channel called
"Roots and Refuge", and can't wait to try it.

Meet my dragon's tongue bean.
The only one.
As soon as I noticed this beauty,
the next day the plant dried up.
I will be planting more this weekend,
along with bush beans and a few other goodies.

Speaking of unexpected surprises
(and not in a good way),
our first pumpkin patch just decided to die on us.
I was diligent about watering,
before all this rain came our way,
and I even remembered to fertilize it when it flowered,
so I'm not sure what happened.
Haven't spied any bugs on it,
so who knows.

Our second patch is doing better.
This one was planted a few weeks after the first,
so I'm crossing fingers that it makes it.
I've always wanted to have my own personal pumpkin patch.
Maybe Linus Van Pelt himself will show up!

The mystery squash still shows no signs of slowing down.
It also doesn't show any female flowers on the stem.
The bees are all over it all day long,
but so far, I think it's going nowhere fast.
Ah well, it's a nice vertical statement in the garden.

Our carrot crop is still working on going to seed,
although I think it's getting closer.
These are two plants in the same bed,
but notice the difference in textures.
I didn't realize it took so long for this process
with this particular crop.
I have other carrots growing, so that I can harvest as needed,
and I will most likely succession sow some more.
It just makes sense to grow carrots, potatoes
and onions all year long.
We are blessed with a long growing season.

The veggie garden is getting fuller by the day,
and after this weekend, it will be maxed out.
Until something else is harvested,
and then it all begins over again.

On the flowery side of things,
our pollinator bed is already bursting.
This is one of the beds from the original garden location,
and placed here specifically to encourage pollinators
to work their magic on the veg garden.
When we had to relocate most of the garden beds,
this one stayed put, as there was no contamination issue,
since these were all ornamental plants.
We have a mixture of candy tuft, coreopsis, daisies, 
rudbeckia, sunflowers and zinnias growing here now.

The front porch pots are filling out nicely.
I love this combination of the fountain grass 
and the pop of color from the calibrachoa.
There is also a sedum in there,
but it has been overtaken!
I'll find another pot for it.

 These balloon flowers have grown taller than expected.
They have a home in the pollinator bed near the mailbox.
I've had to prop them up because they refused to stand tall
without any support.
They were given to me by a friend,
and I think of her each time I enjoy their beauty.
Gardening friends are the best, don't ya think?

The new chooks are settling in to the routine.
The divider between the two sets of chooks 
has been removed, and they now all mingle together.
I can't say it's been a peaceful transition,
but it sure is nice to have a few more sweet souls to tend to.
And we are getting 2-3 dozen eggs a week.
Bless their little egg-laying selves.

Here's some video shot yesterday during our downpour.
Don't you feel cooler just watching it?
Ah, nothing spells relief from the heat like 

Hope you are blessed with what you need this week!