Saturday, May 17, 2008

Trading Post

I was woken around 6-30am by the usual early morning call from Alvin. It was a lovely, clear sunny start to the day which I enjoyed with a cup of Ringtons tea and the crossword.

Work in the garden started around 8-30am and the first task was to pull the small crop of spinach and the turnips from Plot 4. The spinach haul was weary but the turnips came up good.

I pulled the whole row as they seemed to be about the right size, between 1 inch and 3 inch diameter. Larger than that and they get a strong, unappealing flavour.

They can be stored but are best eaten fresh. I loaded some into the car and called round to see Mr and Mrs Corky. They were busy preparing to go fishing on Grand Lake. While Mr Corky hitched up the boat and Mrs Corky went to get the eggs I stood and had a few words with the staff.................

These girls are truly free range, having 5 acres to scratch around in.

Mr Rooster struts his stuff.

Turnips were traded for eggs. Then home for breakfast and to sample the fare along with toast and coffee. Time was taken to enjoy the morning sunshine and plan the rest of today's tasks.


Breakfast reading.

I called round at the Lumberyard here in town and purchased more plastic pipe, re bar and wooden lats. Plot 4 was reseeded with turnips and lettuce then the new design, higher row covers were constructed and put in position

This evening we are out celebrating as my wife's outline for a non fiction book won first prize at this years Oklahoma Writers Federation Contest. She also got a third place and an honourable mention in two other categories.

Well done Jan!!. Lets hope that the publishers love it as much as the judges did.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

After the storm

Sunday May 11th

We had a terrible storm pass us last night, the worst of it being just to our north. The town of Pitcher, 13 miles away, was hit by a tornado. Thankfully, Jan and I are safe but 6 people lost their lives. I was up and out early this morning checking to see if we had sustained any damage around the property but there was none. This time we were lucky, others were not.

OK, time for an update on the veggies. All this crazy weather is certainly affecting what's growing and what's not. As the saying goes "April showers bring forth May flowers" but there is a limit!
But before we do a tour lets start the day off right with this....................

Scrambled duck eggs on lightly buttered toast, Ringtons tea and the crossword.

OK, lets get out there.

Plot 1

Plot 1 onion patch

The onion patch still has Carrot Beetles in there, I see them every time I turn over the soil.
I dug up the volunteer potato plant as I didn't want to supply them with anything they like to eat. In their place I planted, yes you guessed it, a few onions.
The sunflowers are coming along but are probably wondering where the sun is?

Sunflower in Plot 1

Plot 2

Plot 2

I've planted out a group of 3 watermelon plants and stuck a few Pole beans in around the base of an upturned tomato cage. This worked last year so we'll try it again. The 3 watermelon plants look a bit lost tucked away on their own over at one end.................

Watermelons in Plot 2

Plot 3

Plot 3

Thankfully there's a little more progress here but still slow. Bell peppers are looking well and the 2nd batch of radish are almost there. Hey, even the carrots have made an appearance.........

Carrot in Plot 3

Plot 4

Plot 4

Bushy looking turnips and though some look pretty weary underneath some are certainly forming........................

Turnip in Plot 4

Gosh, I may even get a little spinach this year...................

Spinach Plot 4

Plot 5

Plot 5 spuds

These look good but I remember how good they looks last year before the Carrot Beetles moved in so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. The new floating row covers seem much sturdier than the last and the plastic pipe/rebar method is a winner. I'll replace the others this way in time.

Plot 6

Plot 6

The tomato plants have not had the best start to be honest. High temps when they were planted out were followed by high winds when they were at their weakest. Then it got pretty cold. But, having said all that, they are still hanging on in there and even the one that snapped clean off at the top during the high winds has rallied. It now has new growth but will have to work hard to catch up.

Big Red

Giant Beefsteak with friend "Basil"

Old Virginia
That it. Now to Barbeque.............................................

Spring Cleaning

Saturday May 10th

I decided to have a tidy up around the front of the house and clean out the flower beds a little. Next weekend I plan to blow some of my "stimulus tax money", pick up a few bedding plants and make a start. Weather permitting!

Curly Parsley and Oregano.

The 2 surviving herbs are growing well but I'll have to pick up a couple more at the weekend. I'll not need any Basil though, having grown quite a lot from seed. I have Basil seedlings occupying almost every windowsill in the house


I've had to move both hanging baskets containing the strawberry plants due to the huge amounts of rain we've had. They were looking very soggy and some of the lower leaves were turning brown at the edges. I thought a few days shelter may cheer them up a bit so they are now on the patio until things brighten up.


This has been in a pot on my office windowsill for a couple of weeks while I got a window of opportunity to plant it.(In other words, some fine weather).
It's out now and almost got blown away last night with the high winds. This plant seems to need a lot of water, a couple of days without and it looks stressed. Well, it's certainly come to the right place.

Bed 1

Last fall I added compost and mulched all the flower beds with grass clippings. It seems to have certainly helped to keep the weeds down and the soil was loose and easy to turn.
Bed 1 got a good clearing out of any old roots etc then turned. I then planted 2 of the Geraniums which had wintered in the guest bedroom. This bed gets pretty dry in the summer due to being sheltered from any rain and abutting against the outer kitchen wall.

Bed 2 "Starboard Side"

I put this bed in a couple of years ago and it seems a successful location for some plants. It gets the sun until just after lunch and benefits from any rainfall coming off the house roof, especially the right hand end. The Beacon Silver Lamium shown above wintered out here and has come back in force this spring. I love these flowers.

The bees seem to like them too..............

...and it hides Mr Toad's summer residence "Toad Hall" at the back.

Bed 1 "Port Side"

The left hand end is always a little drier but the plants still flourish. In the centre, the 2 White Flowering Dogwood saplings are covered with new leaves, as are the Eastern Redbuds at the right. I plan to leave them here until next spring then plant them out in the garden somewhere.

Bed 3 is ready for a couple more plants.

The Pink Creeping Phlox has almost lost it's blossoms but has settled in and grown these last couple of weeks. I expect the flowers to return in the fall.
The Chrysanthamum is on the up and up. If it grows as well as it did last year I'll be delighted.

Bed 4

This bed never does as well as Bed 3 but the White Creeping Phlox, which is in it's third season, seems ready to repel any boarders.