Garden Pics

Anyone else started their garden yet?  So far I am harvesting asparagus and will be soon picking collard greens.  My tomatoes are in and growing fast and today I planted my sweet corn.  The blackberries are leafing out now and should bloom pretty soon.  Down in the orchard the blueberries have finished blooming and most apple trees are in bloom.  The muscadines are just now waking up.  

This winter I setup the mesh trellis and will grow my pole beans there.  I’ll be planting them on those 3 rows soon.  Once it gets a bit warmer, I’m gonna grow red noodle beans on the old wire trellis.  I’ve never grown them but they are supposed to love very hot weather.  As our planet warms, I’m experimenting with varieties that can handle temps that stay up near 100.  These beans are actually related to cowpeas, such as black eyed peas and purple hull peas, but their pods, which can grow 2 -3 feet long, are edible and have no strings.  They go by lots of names, such as yard long beans, asparagus beans, etc.







  • Comments (13)

    • 1

      As I have commented before, history has proven that if I have to rely on my own gardening for survival, I shall starve.  So instead this year for the first time I subscribed to a CSA.  It is SO. AWESOME.  I have gotten so many many many fresh veggies.  Had to freeze half of them because it is too much to eat.  For sure this was kinder to me, and to the environment, than starting my own garden (I have quite a rep amongst the plants in the neighborhood and they all wilt when they see me headed their way!)

      • 2

        Ha.  Somehow I bet with the right teacher, you could do a wonderful job of growing your own, but that being said, CSAs are a great way to go.  I personally believe many of the issues we face today are, at least in part, due to not eating enough FRESH vegetables & fresh meat.  The American diet today has too much processed food in it.  I get a kick out of food shopping… I love it.  However I notice a huge difference in my cart than those of 95% of fellow shoppers.  Mine is full of fresh veggies, fruits, fresh meat and dairy.  Theirs is full of junk food and already processed meals.

        I suggest you get as many fresh veggies as you can, and freeze the extra to last thru the winter months.  Save the money on gardening and purchase an extra chest freezer.  Most stores do offer some rather fresh veggies when in season.  Just load up and process for the freezer.  You might also find some farmer’s markets nearby for other fresh produce, breads and homemade jams/jellies.

        You can’t have too much fresh, healthy foods.  🙂

      • 1

        @M.E. and Redneck,

        CSA is great if you don’t garden or want to supplement.  My parents did it when I was a kid and we always looked forward to what we got.

        My family started eating lots of vegetables, fruit and cooked from scratch when two of out kids had ADHD symptoms. It eliminated their problem (un-diagnosed) and improved our health. But it can be tough to ween ourselves from processed food, due to sugar content, IMO.

        But I found a way to eat better, even when tempted by unhealthy processed food: I allow my self junk after I have eaten 7 helpings of fruit or vegetables, all organic. For example, I always have steamed vegetables with lunch. Usually zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms or peppers. I add 2 apples and 2 grapefruit through the day. This almost always satisfies the temptation. I also don’t keep processed or junk food in the house. If I really want it, I have to go to the store.

        My doctor has told me I am his only patient +50 that is not on any meds. He thinks it’s because I don’t smoke, drink alcohol or soda pop. I think the good food is also responsible.

      • 1

        My family started eating lots of vegetables, fruit and cooked from scratch when two of out kids had ADHD symptoms. It eliminated their problem (un-diagnosed) and improved our health. But it can be tough to ween ourselves from processed food, due to sugar content, IMO.

        I saw a report years back which showed the same thing.  Almost every single ADHD kid improved greatly, simply by removing processed food from their diet.  I’m 67 now and when I was in school, there was not a single case of ADHD.  Not one in my class nor one in the entire school.  But now, they state that around 5% of every school age kids have it.  That equals around 1 in every classroom.  My wife was a teacher, and she always had more than one in each class, plus autistic kids.

        When I was a kid, we didn’t have fast food in our town.  We didn’t get the first one until I was an adult.  Now I’m sure there are over 100 in town.  The only processed food you could get was TV dinners… and they were pretty nasty.  

        IMO, there is no doubt whatsoever that there is a correlation between all these mental disorders and the diet of today.  Cooking healthy isn’t hard and it tastes incredible.  Each dinner I cook has a lean meat, such as fish (normally salmon) or chicken or pork loin.  I always include a starch plus a fresh green vegetable.  My starch is almost always rice, including wild rice.  I don’t use potatoes much anymore because for me to enjoy them, they need too much salt and butter.  Sometimes my starch is a veggie, such as corn.  For example, tonight I’m cooking a small pork tenderloin, asparagus picked fresh from the garden & sweet corn from the freezer that was grown in my garden last year.

        For snacks and to handle my crave for sweets, I keep dried nuts and dried fruit on the counter.  I’m partial to dried cherries.  I also always have fresh oranges on the counter.  All of the above are extremely healthy and are powerful antioxidants.  

    • 1

      Redneck, I’m about to plant amaranth at your suggestion. My fear is that I won’t be able to tell the difference between the amaranth and weeds in the early stages. It seems like all the photos out there are of mature plants, so I’m not sure what I’m going to be looking at. 

      • 1

        Keep in mind amaranth is a hot weather crop.  Your soil temp needs to be around 70 for the seeds to germinate.  Also don’t plant deep.  Maybe just sprinkle a little potting soil on top of them.  No deeper than 1/4″.  Many seeds can germinate just laying on top of the ground.  If you are not in a hot climate, you can start indoors.  Since the seeds are so tiny, plant lots of them.  The video below shows you how to plant the seeds.   Amaranth is a variety that handles crowding very well.  When you consider each plant will produce over 100,000 seeds, they are adapted to grow when crowded.  Then as the plants get taller, you can thin them out.  When small, the entire plant is edible and are used as micro greens.

        As far as recognition, every amaranth variety I’ve grown starts out with red seedlings… even the green leaf varieties.  So it has been easy for me to weed around them.  You can most certainly start the seeds indoors, if you want to get a jump on production and not have to worry about weeds.  This is especially helpful if you aren’t growing huge amounts and if you don’t live in a warm climate with a long, warm growing season.  I like to use peat pots to start plants.  That way you don’t disturb the plant or its roots.  You plant the whole pot as the peat breaks down in the soil.


        Here is a nice video of growing amaranth in containers.  I notice her seedlings are green.   This is a great way to grow amaranth if you just want to harvest the young tender leaves & shoots.  Just like you can do in your garden, she cuts the plants back during harvest but leaves part of the plant.  You harvest & eat the leaves and the plants quickly put out new growth.  I have done similar where when the plants get about 4 feet tall, I cut off and harvest about a foot or so of the stems & leaves… leaving the lower, older leaves.  Within a week, new leaves & shoots emerge.  This is a good technique to force the plant to get bushy with leaves & branches and not get so spindly.  Also a great way to harvest throughout the summer, if you have a long growing season.  If you aren’t sure, just test.  Cut back some of your plants but leave others alone.

      • 1

        Thanks for the advice. I think I’ll start some in pots to make sure I know what I’m looking at, and maybe use those to harvest some young greens.

        I remember you mentioning you can cut them off at about 4 feet to harvest some leaves, as well. I’ll plan on doing that too. 

        I really hope this succeeds. Everything I read about it suggests amaranth could be a versatile, reliable staple.

      • 1

        I’m sure you will have success.  Like I said, plant them thick and as you thin, eat those plants as microgreens in a salad.  As the leaves get bigger, you probably will want to cook them.  You might want to look at recipes for callaloo, which is a Jamaican dish.  Amaranth is grown all over the world, so you can research recipes to find what you like.

    • 1

      In my neck of the woods, snow is predicted for tomorrow and for later in the week as well. The ground is still cold, and my garden is tan and gray and brown. (But in my mind, it’s green and full of edibles.)

      Thing is, I haven’t planted a seed yet this spring, but already plenty of green shoots are elbowing their way through the remnants and braving the cold. Hooray for perennials! So far: oregano, parsley, sage, and green onions are off to a good start!

      • 1

        Well, we have been cooler than normal the last week and it will continue for at least the next 10 days.  I’ve held off planting my beans and my peppers, but my collards and asparagus love the cool weather.

    • 1

      My corn is starting to come up, even with the cooler temps.  Corn is one crop that you can start when it is cool out.  I try to get mine in as soon as possible, for two reasons.  First, the earlier I harvest, the less corn earworms I will have to worry about.  Those pests can get real bad when it is hot outside.  Once I have silks, I will treat those silks with either BT or Spinosad every week  or so.  I just take a pump sprayer and wet down just the silk area.

      Second reason is that it gives me time to plant a second crop.  I’m thinking this year I might install some mesh trellis on T posts and grow some additional yard long beans.  They should work fine I’m thinking, because they can handle the extreme summer heat.

      Note in the pic below that the old corn stalks from last year are still in the rows.  Once I harvest my corn, I take a machete and chop down the stalks and put those plants in my compost pile.  You don’t want to pull up the plants.  That would disturb the soil greatly and cause it harm.  Keep in mind, your soil is a living system, with all sorts of organisms living in harmony.  Once you have good soil, the last thing you want to do is disturb it greatly.  You don’t till it and you don’t yank up plants.  Those old roots from last year died off and have slowly started decomposing over the winter.  They also have left numerous tunnels running through the soil.  These new corn plants’ roots will take the path of least resistance, and grow in these tunnels.  These tunnels are also rich in nutrients, from the decomposing old roots.  Yank up a plant or till it in, and you just destroyed all this underground structure.

      Also note I just turned on my drip irrigation.  In this situation, I use tubing that already has drip emitters installed inside the tubing, every foot apart.  This IMO is perfect in garden beds, but not in an orchard setting.


    • 1

      Picked a bushel of collards this afternoon.  They have been washed, had the stems removed and are now simmering in chicken broth and 3 smoked ham hocks.  They will go real nicely with my smothered pork chops & potatoes tonight.  We are in an extended cool spell and the collards love it.  Such pretty leaves… and so healthy.


    • 1

      Just finished spraying the orchard.  I used a mix of Rally fungicide and streptomycin to combat fire blight.  This apple is Enterprise… one of my favorites.  The small tree in front of the Enterprise, just leafing out, is a young jujube.