Gardening update

Okay, I know I’ve been MIA for quite a while.  You’d think with me ‘retiring’ I’d have plenty of time on my hands, but the exact opposite is true.  It seems like now I have more and more to occupy my time and keep me busy!  School has let out, which is nice since I won’t be getting up before the sun rises for a while.  The munchkin became a member of the National Junior Honor Society–she was totally thrilled, and we’re so proud of the hard work she’s put in to maintain good grades as well as community service.  She finished up her year in volleyball and basketball, but decided to forgo sports next year–the majority of her coaches favored screaming and yelling instead of explaining what was wrong/what they wanted, and it kind of turned her off to the whole thing.  Shame, too, considering she made the B team in basketball on sheer talent alone, never having played basketball before.  But, I couldn’t argue with her point of view because I agreed with it.  There was only one coach who took the time to sit down and explain what they wanted, how certain plays went down and how they could improve/change the next time.  Unfortunately that coach wouldn’t have been her coach next year, so the whole thing was a bust.  Instead she enrolled in AP English/literature, 2nd year Spanish, as well as Art.  Elected to take a semester of advanced Health, which will satisfy her high school requirement of it and leave her schedule open for other endeavors when she gets there.  Once she finishes her 3rd year of Spanish she’s looking at taking French, so that gives her more wiggle room to do that.

Now, on to the gardening.  The raised beds are kicking butt!!!  I highly recommend them.  I did put some crops in at ground level–watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber and pumpkins, as well as a handful of corn, but the other crops seem to prefer the raised bed.  I have an Italian Ice tomato plant that is as tall as I am, and last year when they were in the ground they reached a foot and a half tops.  Premium soil, zero competition from weeds as well as thorough watering makes all the difference in the world.

From the last post you know I planted a raised bed that was 8 feet by 2 feet, as well as another one that was 8 feet by 3 feet.  I ran twine every 12 inches across and lengthwise, so I had a grid of 12 x 12 inch squares to plant.  We ended up putting in a third bed that was also 8 feet by 3 feet, resulting in another 24 plants put in.  The third bed consisted of a variety of Italian Ice tomatoes, cucumbers, Tangerine tomatoes, Super Sauce tomatoes, okra, yellow onions, parsley, Yellow Pear tomatoes, Cayenne pepper, Brandy Boy tomatoes sweet banana peppers and chocolate mint (chocolate referring to the color of the stems–the flavor is pure mint).  Unless you have super patience, parsley is NOT something you want to grow from seed.  I’ve only done it once successfully–it takes approximately 28 days to sprout.  You’ll do much better buying the plants already sprouted.  On average they’ll last two years before they croak, so it’s a good investment.  The sweet banana pepper never sprouted from seed, so that one was a bust.  Other than that, all the plants are kicking butt.  Here are some pics:

The third bed, newly planted:April 10th:https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2934/14085368714_9edcb52d05_c.jpgMay 6th:May 19th:Second raised bed, May 6th:Second raised bed, May 19th:First raised bed, May 6th:https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5195/14207733888_a80f26ce7a_c.jpgFirst raised bed, May 19th:Rows of pumpkin, cucumber, watermelon and cantaloupe, May 27th:What’s been produced thus far:April 14th, basil, spinach and cherry tomatoes:Summer squash, May 19th:Tomatoes, Park’s Whopper and Cherry 100, May 27th:May 27th:May 28th:June 3rd:June 5th:June 8th:On June 10th, I took a dozen Park’s Whopper tomatoes and canned them up, yielding four pints of chopped tomatoes:Before processing:During processing:After processing:And, Mr. Ginger surveying the gardening progress:Today I harvested a turnip, okra, a peach, a Cajun bell pepper, as well as yellow pear tomatoes and a Tangerine tomato.  Once that third raised bed grows ripe, I will be busy canning a LOT of tomatoes.  So far, so good…

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