Friday, August 26, 2016

Snap Beans Again

I am once again beating around the Contender Snap Bean Bushes. I do like them because of their tolerance to heat and their high yield.  The beans may be sowed in still hot September and in the cool of March/April.

The Contender beans are my favorite but there are such a variety to choose from and they mature in 50 - 55 days.  There is the Bountiful straight, broad, thick, flat, light green and string less.  Another is the popular Commodore which is, high yielding, dark green, fleshy, and round.  These grow to 6 - 7 inches long, if you let them.

The new and improved garden soil on the Back Forty plot looks fertile but I am still going to add some trace material (Ironite) and once the seedlings are taken off, I'll fertilize carefully as to avoid burns on the leaves.

The roots are also shallow so it behooves me to treat the plants tenderly when cultivating.  It may be advantageous to hill the plants up and put mulch around them to retain the moisture.

I like to harvest the beans when they are young, tender, and slender.  They cook up very quickly in slightly salted water and ready to eat as such or for a different taste, I stir fry in Hoisan sauce after cooking.

Needless to say, the beans freeze well after blanching and cooling in running tap water, bagged and tagged.  They retain their consistency and color.

Seed Saving:  I also plan to set aside a patch to let the beans grow until they dry on the vine and then harvest them, shell, and store them in a glass container (my choice) in a cool and dark place until next season.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fall Planting

This is our new and improved garden on the Back Forty and I plotted an outline of what to plant in this 12 x 12 ft garden plot.  This season, I am only planting what we like and I am also trying to stick to my fall listing.  The rows run south to north, more or less and receive at least 6 hours of sun light.

The following are plants:

Cauliflowers mature in 120 - 150 days.  
Broccoli mature in 100 - 130 days.  
Cabbage mature in 75 - 120 days.
Info from Standard Feed for Zone 9 area

The following are plants from seeds:

Beets germinate in 8 days and mature in 55 - 75 days.
Carrots germinate in 8 days and mature in 100 - 120 days
Contender Snap Beans germinate in 6 days and mature in 40- 60 days.
Radishes germinate in 6 days and mature in 28 - 36 days
Lettuce germinates in 7 days and matures in 60 - 90 dys
Info from Standard Feed for Zone 9 area

I may get two different kinds of carrots; one the long and slender and the other short and stocky.  The carrots will store very well in the ground.  In other words, they don't have to be harvested once they mature--harvest when needed.  The same is pretty well also true for the beets.  I am also planning to get two different kinds of them.

Change Order:  Instead of 18 cabbage plants, I will reduce that to 9 plants and sow Contender Snap Beans in place of one of the rows of Cabbage. 

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Preparing the Fall Garden

We have a few changes to make here at the Back Forty gardens.  We are moving one of the garden plots about three feet away from the shade and the woods.

I am not too keen on boxes:  they don't give me enough room to move around in when tilling the dirt.  Boxes do look "cute", but I don't have a cute garden nor beautiful; just a good garden with a bountiful harvest.

This time, however, we are making a big box garden.  We are framing the garden and it comes out to be a 12 x 12 ft plot where the weeds have had plenty of room to grow this summer.

In the three feet outside the garden, there are some good and tough St. Augustine grass that we are tossing to the end that we are closing out, the end near the woods.

Once the timber is laid down and squared, we'll turn the soil and remove the weeds.  The soil looks dark and healthy, free from ants and insects.

Last spring, I bought a bale of straw to use as mulch and it has disintegrated very well into the garden which adds extra nutrition.  It also discourages nematodes to destroy the roots of the vegetables.

We are also going to make sure that we are rotating the crop.  We are planting different vegetables in this new garden, different from the ones we had last year and where the corn grew this summer.  It is still too early to plant: the sun is still too strong and vegetables for the fall have not come in to the nurseries yet.

This may also be a good time for "solarization" but it is too much work with covering the plot with plastic.  We are going to leave it to the sun to do the work without the plastic

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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Pokeberry Plants

I definitely think of the Pokeberry Plant as a tenacious weed that grow up to ten feet in undisturbed soil.  It is beautiful with its tall reddish stems and stalks, green leaves, and dark red luscious looking berries; however, consider all parts to be toxic when ingested.

This Pokeberry shows off its delicate small flowers on a pink stem.

The berries turn green before maturing to the dark red berry clusters.  Some of the berries were missing which is a sign that birds do eat them.  The bird droppings contain plenty of seeds and that is one way the plant is spread.

I groaned and moaned when surveying the way back Back Forty this morning and found one section densely populated with the Pokeberry weed.  The most effective way to get rid of this weed is by manually removing it but it is still too hot and humid for this type of work.

My plan of action is to arm myself with an ax, saw, and clippers and remove as much of the plant as possible and set it out as whole bushes or small trees for the Waste Pro to load up their truck and carry the debris away.  I also have to dig up the roots and remove them.  Am I looking forward to cooler weather or what?

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