Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Garden Update

My fall garden (of greens) did very good this season.  I had a real good harvest of turnips (especially roots), collards, and kale.  We’ve had more than enough.  Really.  It’s been very enjoyable.

Onions and Garlic
In late December I planted onions and garlic (which was a month earlier than last year).  Both plants need a long growing season in cool weather to have time to mature before hot weather arrives the following summer. It would have worked if not for the ice storm in January (a 20-year event for this area).  The extreme cold of single digit temperatures was too much for the onion.  Many died.  So I replanted them the first week of February.  Glad I did.  I still have time for a harvest which should come in about May-June.

I have extra onion transplants (about 100) to give away if anyone would like them.  I ordered these onions from Dixondale Farms in Texas (who have been growing onions since 1913).  They are “Candy Onions” – large, sweet, white.  They are perfect for seasoning or making onions rings.  Some bulbs grow as large as a softball.  No kidding.

Onion harvest last year.  Should do better in 2014.

I will be planting potatoes by February 15th.  That’s about six weeks before our areas last average frost date of March 20th – 25th.  I have 100 lbs of red potatoes and 50 lbs of white potatoes.  I won’t use them all, so after I get through planting I will be glad to give away what I have left.

These potatoes came from Minnesota and are certified to be disease free.

Potatoes are easy to grow and you get a lot of return for your effort.  They are the perfect crop for anyone, including backyard gardeners and beginners.

Last fall I planted a cover crop of rye grass in my garden.  This week I began tilling it in.  Cover crops add a lot of nitrogen and other nutrients into the soil, aerates the soil, and encourages earth worm tunneling, so I’m hopeful for a better crop this year.

I will wait another week and will till it again.  Then I will begin planting potatoes.

Spring and Summer Garden
My garden this year will be:  Onion, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, cucumber, peppers, and field peas (brown crowders).

Grapes, Blueberries, and Others
I recently pruned my grape (Muscadine) vines.  I’m learning how to do these things properly and get a lot of enjoyment from it.  It takes 2-3 years for Muscadines to begin producing, so I’m hopeful this is the year for a good harvest.  Last year the deer ate them off the vine as fast as they appeared.

The deer ate all my blueberries last year too.  This year should be different though.  The extreme cold weather has provided enough “chill hours” to ensure a better yield.  Plus, my blueberry row is 3 years old (optimal), and this season I will put nets over the trees to fend off the deer.

I have other fruit trees:  3 varieties of fig, 3 varieties of pears, nectarines, plums, and one citrus (a Satsuma Mandarin, which is close to Tangerine).  We’ll see how these come out.

An Expanding Hobby
This is a new interest of mine and it’s something that I’ve really taken a liking to.  So much so, that it keeps expanding.  I hope to become skilled enough to actually establish a homestead lifestyle.

I’m also interested in joining clubs or groups and meeting new people who share the same interest.

I also think about selling some produce in a garden market or roadside stand.  We’ll see.

Oh yea, I’m going to raise chickens too.

No comments: