Tennesseetransitions


Growing Awareness

You may have noticed I’m not posting as often as I did back during the winter. That’s because I’m busy gardening and playing music again. But, as promised, I will try to give you updates on what I’m doing currently in the garden so here goes. I am:

1. Weeding

2. Cutting garlic scapes off so more energy now goes into the bulb, rather than seeds. I posted last year about ways to use them in your meals so I’ll just give you a link here rather than repeat all of that.

3. Enjoying the beauty of the yellow crookneck squash blossoms. Mine are in the showy all-male cycle of their short lives, soon to be followed by females. When those appear, we’ll hand pollinate them early in the morning while they’re opened, to ensure a bigger crop. It’s done with a little water-color paint brush we keep for that purpose but you could probably use any old toothbrush you might have lying around. Here’s how to tell the difference: In the top photo, you’ll see a tiny ‘baby’ starting to form just BEFORE the blossom opens. The bottom photo shows the male blossom almost ready to open, but no baby.

female squash

4. Weeding

5. Piling the second layer of straw up around my potato plants. Straw is an easy way to keep the potato bug population down. In fact, we have NEVER seen a potato bug on our plants in the decade we’ve been planting potatoes. It’s far easier than hilling up dirt around the plants, and serves as a weed suppressing mulch at the same time.

straw

6. Drawing out the garden beds on paper to refer to next spring so we don’t replant the same crop in the same spaces. We try hard to rotate things in a 3 year cycle. This rotation helps keep insect pressure down. If you’re like me, you WON’T remember in a year or so what went where. Just draw it!

8. Weeding

9. Harvesting the last of sugar snap and garden peas, spinach and the last of the gorgeous spring planted lettuces. But that’s ok, they’ll be back in the fall! Check out today’s pickins’:

          spinach and peas

10. Pulling out the spent peas and bolting spinach. Tomorrow I plan to add some compost where they were, then replant to squash we’ve got waiting in our little ‘plant nursery’. Planting squashes every 3 or 4 weeks prevents us from being overwhelmed with too much at one time AND ensures that when the squash vine borer finds one, we’ll have a new healthy plant to take its’ place. It’s a hassle, but keeps us in squash for months.

11. Stringing the Hopi Lima beans up our ‘bean tower’ made from a repurposed, inverted clothes line umbrella. Nice thing about this tower is that it’s lightweight, folds flat for easy storage under the tool shed and will last for decades!

bean tower 2

12. Last but not least, I’m growing awareness of the importance that gardening provides to my health and to my family’s resilience against food shortages or rising prices. And that’s priceless.

growing awareness

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2 Comments so far
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I planted Hopi butter beans one year for home use and to sell at the Jonesborough Farmers Market. They are a beautiful bean. Mine grew to a height of 15 feet. Had to use a ladder to pick them. They are one delicious butter bean, and make the best juice to mix with cornbread.. Yummy yum…..

Comment by Robert Senn

Love it! Thank you, Sam!

Comment by Deanna Richardson




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