Saturday, April 29, 2017

My little Jungle of Interesting plants & Fruit growing around the yard (photography)

Hosta plants around the yard



Burning bushes have been growing all over the yard to the point they are taking over parts.

Similar to the burnish bushes, these Autumn Olive plants seen below are growing quite invasive. Autumn Olives are growing everywhere now along roads and near creeks/run off areas. Fortunately, Autumn Olives produce fruit in the fall of the year. They will have awesome smelling flowers that attract all kinds of insects, particularly butterflies in the spring.

Wild flowers

Maiden pink flowers


Fruit trees

Peach tree

Peaches & Nectarines


Pears & Cherries


raspberry patch
Mullein plant

Mint patch 

Blueberry harvest will be soon! With the older blueberry plants that I composted this year, I put chop sticks in the ground around them to keep the cats from digging into the compost to do their business.

chop sticks to keep the cats out
 This is just some of the plants growing around my yard.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Just sowed lots of fruits and vegetables! (garden layout)

Today I sowed fruit and vegetable seed in the hugelkultur garden mounds after layering them with compost and garden soil. Three of the hugelkultur mounds have been disassembled so to speak. I have removed the remaining wood from the mounds to have a square space among the mounds to till. I noticed for years of using the mounds, that the tomatoes and peppers don't prefer the hugelkultur mounds. I believe this to be because of the moisture in the mounds. So I have taken out some of the mounds and shoveled the area to begin tilling in the square areas you see in the picture below. I have tomatoes I will transplant in one of these areas after tilling. In the second square space, I will sow watermelon, cantaloupe or other melons here.

Below is a garden layout of the seeds I sowed today and what I will be sowing and transplanting in other areas of the garden..

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Peas on trellis, sowing seeds, & cardboard mulch blueberries/yard to avoid mowing

The polytunnel garden that was growing the cabbage and broccoli was working perfectly when I had the transparent plastic over top to protect the plants from frost. Unfortunately when I took the plastic cover off and didn't replace it with a cloth cover, a rabbit harvested those plants overnight it seems--eating every plant. Soon there will be other crops to be transplanted there, and for now there are potatoes growing in bags beside the polytunnel.

I showed you that picture recently, so I will only show you pictures of other crops growing on in the garden below. In the first picture, peas growing in an "E" with recycled pieces of materials to make a trellis. I reuse the tobacco sticks and fencing every year for a trellis, and here I have done the same.

peas growing in a "E" with a trellis

When I had transplanted Cabbage and broccoli in the polytunnel at my grandparents', I also transplanted cabbage here in this spot where I could cover and uncover the plants daily and monitor them more closely than the other plants. Because I have cats and a dog here, they keep the mice, rabbits and other critters out from the garden. But I am having a terrible time with the cats because they are spraying all over the yard and digging up the garden and doing their business--so I want them gone.

 In this picture, I have cardboard mulched around the blueberry plants which you can see the biggest blueberries in front of the row with a garden cover. The intention also by sheet mulching with cardboard is also to avoid mowing. I don't have much yard to mow, but the parts I need to mow get so grassy and lush quickly that it becomes almost too difficult to mow at all. So I highly recommend sheet mulching with cardboard and then mulch over top of the cardboard with wood chips or rocks or whatever you prefer to make your garden beautiful and work for you.

The blueberries have been blooming a while now so I expect to harvest within the next two months.

cardboard mulching around blueberries
 On the hugelkultur mound in the picture below, I have placed tobacco sticks in a teepee shape and covered with a garden cloth. Yesterday was a good planting day for root crops, so I sowed radish seed as well as transplanting radish plants I started indoors months ago. I really thought the radish would grow full size indoors within a month, so I am testing those radishes outside now. I also sowed beets, and I figured it wouldn't hurt to also plant greens along with the radish and beets. In the front of the row is radish and beets, then broccoli, red romaine lettuce, arugula, black seeded simpson, butterbowl lettuce, then mesclun spicy mix on the end.

tomatoes & peppers starters
 Indoors, I have tomatoes and peppers growing under grow lights which you have seen in previous posts this year. Also I have potatoes under grow lights "chitting" which is a process to get them started before I get another place established for them outside. Because I have potatoes in grow bags, I'm not sure if the plan is to plant the rest of the potatoes in bags or directly in the ground.

peppers & tomatoes under grow lights

even under grow lights the tomatoes I plant are leggy

Friday, April 14, 2017

Potatoes planted in handmade grow bags

For the first week we kept a plastic sheet over top of the potatoes and secured the plastic with rebar and rocks to hold in place. Now that this week is going to be in the 80s, I uncovered the potatoes that are growing in these hand made bags my partner made. My partner stitched the bags and I glued the bottoms, then we shoveled compost into each bag, and then planted on average 3 potatoes per bag. I believe there are 20 bags here.
We have more potatoes chitting under a grow light and laying out on cardboard underneath the lights. This chitting process helps the potatoes to begin to spud and we will either plant the remaining potatoes in grow bags or tilled up an area in the garden to sow them in a mound.

Cold Hardy Kiwi plants 5 yrs old (zone 6 Kentucky cold climates)

I had three kiwis but one of the females died and now that remains is a male and female kiwi plant that are 5 years old now at least. Keep in mind that Male and female flowers are born on different plants, so both males and females must be planted in roughly a 1:6 ratio of males to females.

I desperately need to add a trellis because these plants clearly want to grow prolific. Of course, Hardy kiwi are extremely vigorously growing vines that require a substantial supporting trellis.

I have yet to see any blooms on these plants, and according to PennState Extension office the plants often take several years to mature and usually do not bear fruit until they are 5 to 9 years old. So the best time to plant a kiwi is now (as goes for any fruit tree or bush.) Also something that is important in knowing about the cold hardy varieties is that although the plants tolerate temperatures as low as -30°F, they develop shoots early in the spring that are extremely sensitive to frost. So naturally if flowers are frosted, fruit will not develop that year.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Re-wild yourself by hiking in the woods

Once again I foraged for morel mushrooms this week for the third time and found nothing again despite hunting for three hours today. I took the dog to the same creek as I had a couple of days ago so she could bath and drink the water. When we came to the creek, I filled up my bottle and used the lifestraw to drink the creek water. My brother came along for exercise. As we hiked, we took lots of pictures which I have posted below. Dogwood, red bud, and paw paw trees were blooming and other flowers in the woods as well.