With the weather cooling down and fall setting in, I decided it was time to change out my planters and put in some mums. In anticipation of this transition, I was letting my sweet potato vines die back. I was … Continue reading
I went to up to Kentucky to visit the grandparents this week. And I FINALLY had a mess of beans to pick out of the garden! I headed over to Granny and Papa’s from Grandmother’s Thursday morning, and not long … Continue reading
I had another sweet potato that I neglected to cook in a timely manner. Having had such success with my first sweet potato experiment, I decided to give it another go. But this time, I tried planting the entire sweet potato instead of cutting it into sections.
This photo was taken one week after I buried the sweet potato.
I might venture to say that it’s taken root.
Here is my first sweet potato plant that is starting to look like a sheep dog. I’m afraid that I may go out onto my deck one day and the whole thing will be covered in a sweet potato vine carpet.
I still don’t have a rocking chair, so it really doesn’t matter if my plants take over.
I’ll probably decide on one right before it snows.
Y’all come back,
P.S. In looking at this photo for a minute here, I realized that the leaves are shaped differently on my two sweet potato vines. I suppose they are different varieties? Is one a yam and one a sweet potato?
What really is the difference in those two anyway?
Time to call Papa and get to the bottom of this.
P.P.S. I am curious to see if my new plant climbs the sticks.
P.P.P.S. Ok, I’m really done now.
My first year gardening with Papa has been a bittersweet one. I began the season excited about finding the Partridge head beans in the deep freeze and eager to learn from Papa. While I have learned a lot from Papa, … Continue reading
Seeing as this is the first official day of Summer, I thought this might be a good time to report on the progress of my deck container garden.
I’m going to go ahead and declare the sweet potato experiment a success as the vines have overtaken their planter and look like they’re about to make a move on the peas.
This picture was taken 2 days before the group picture above. As you can see, there has been considerable growth even in that short time. This thing is a mutant.
My peas have yet to take off up the poles, but I am hopeful. I’m wondering if I need to thin these a bit. They’re looking a little bushy and misguided.
The parsley is suffocating the poor rosemary and the cilantro, which has already started to go to seed. Who knows a trick for keeping it from doing this? Every year, I cut it back thinking I am going to outsmart it, but it always gets me.
I believe it’s time to make some pesto.
Happy Summer, y’all!
This past weekend, I went back to Kentucky to see my extended family. And, of course, I had to check on the garden to see how it was coming along. It’s not drastically different from the last report. The garden … Continue reading
As I mentioned in my last gardening post, I planted some peas in a planter on my deck last Thursday afternoon. (There’s nothing to see in this picture other than a pot of dirt as I had just planted the … Continue reading
I visited the garden at the end of last week to check on its progress. I had shown up to my grandparents’ house in a cotton summer dress so I changed into a white Hanes t-shirt, athletic shorts and my Crocs to go around to the garden. This was Papa’s response to my outfit:
“That’s a mighty casual outfit to garden in.”
I didn’t really know what to make of this comment considering I viewed gardening as a very casual event and thus thought I had dressed appropriately.
After many hours of reflection, I believe Papa thought perhaps that I should be wearing full pants and boots to minimize bug-bites and such.
That’s all I can come up with. I really don’t think Papa thought I should be wearing anything formal for gardening.
Things are moving along nicely and looking a little less patchy than they did on my last visit.
The romaine lettuce had taken a turn for the worse. Some animal had nearly demolished it.
The beets are huge! Or at least much larger than last time.
Papa has caged his tomatoes as the plants started to shoot up.
A few of the plants even have baby tomatoes!
I don’t know why I’m so excited about this. I don’t even like tomatoes. But I guess it shows that the garden is growing so I do like that.
The onions haven’t changed much.
The cabbage looks beautiful. Too bad I don’t like cabbage. Why can’t the animals eat this instead of the good stuff??
My brussel sprout plants are looking big and leafy! I think we’re supposed to cut these leaves off once the plants start to sprout…the sprouts. I’d better figure that out soon.
Here are all of the beans that Papa planted. In the middle and right rows are the pole beans: speckled limas, half-runners, and partridge heads(!). On the left we have poor house beans, which are heirlooms and have been in the family for generations. They are bush beans.
I got word from Papa a few days ago that the poor house beans were devoured by some groundhogs. Poor, poor house beans.
This is a photo I took pre-massacre.
Papa had found some patridge head seed in the deep freeze from 1997 (literally) and he wasn’t sure that they would come up so he planted as many as 8 in a hill (he normally does 3).
Oh boy did they come up! So much so, in fact, that I had to thin them so the plants produce well. This broke my heart to pull up perfectly good bean plants, but I guess if it means more actual beans, it’s worth it. It still made me sad.
Here are the roma beans. They have filled out considerably. They were looking a little patchy last time.
Even though the bean plants look small, it was time to stick ‘em!
So Papa brought some bamboo sticks down from the barn.
And we worked down the rows making little teepees for the beans. I think it looks real purty.
I stepped back to admire our handywork and then I heard a “hhhmppppflllll.”
Oh hello there. Our supervisor was pleased with our work as well.
After the sticks were in place, Papa gave me the job of thinning the beans (if there were more than 3 plants around each stick) and then mounding up the dirt at the base of the sticks to tuck in the beans.
This was the first time I had used a hoe. Pretty handy tool if you ask me.
Above are some of the partridge head casualties of the thinning. Sad.
Here is the finished product. Not too shabby.
Now let’s get some beans growing!
Y’all come back!
These are some of my flowers in past years at my parents’ house. I considered it my contribution to the household to plant and take care of the flowers.
I got really into gardening when I was in college and decided I needed a perennial flower garden a few years back. I dug out a bunch of the rocks in the soil around the edge of my parents’ yard (New England has very rocky soil). My dad and my sister helped. I then used the rocks to build a low rock wall (pictured below), which I then backfilled with better dirt for my flower bed. My sister helped with this as well. It was the last time she participated in any gardening activities. She discovered that she does not like manual labor involving dirt and rocks.
A year after I built the rock wall, I convinced my dad to help me put in a patio. He did a lot of the heavy duty prep work, like using his John Deere to level the dirt and remove large rocks and dead tree roots. I helped with spreading and leveling the sand and then I laid the stone pavers.
Thank you for helping me/doing the hard part, daddy!
And then the John Deere and I got to work planting new plants and transplanting plants from other places in the yard.
I did some transplanting from the front yard….
…and from the backyard….
…and then I bought some new plants and planted them.
And then I did some more planting and there was still a lot of empty space, but the plants needed room to grow and I would fill in new plants over time.
Apparently, I wore very strange attire one day when I did some planting. I don’t know what to say about this ensemble except that it was very hot outside and I was trying to keep my feet (but evidently not the other 90% of my body) free of dirt. I must have been delirious from heat exhaustion at this point to strike such a pose, in such an outfit, in such a setting…with a shovel and without a tan.
This is what my garden looked like last summer, the third summer of the perennial garden/patio’s existence. Two years ago, my dad and I transferred 4 cubic yards of good dirt one lawn tractor load at a time from the driveway, where the truck dumped it, to my garden at the edge of the yard. This definitely improved the growing conditions for my plants. It also improved my appreciation for every poor soul in the landscaping business.
But my plants were happy.
I’ve always loved to play in the dirt and I’ve spent every birthday for the last 5 years planting something in my parents’ yard. This year for my birthday, perhaps I will plant something at my grandparents’ house or maybe I’ll see if the landscaping crew at my apartment complex will let me volunteer for a day. I’m not sure how well that will go over, but it’s worth a shot.
I added this rock wall (behind the hammock) 2 years ago from even more rocks that we uncovered when mending the soil.
I was constantly moving things around, into the sun or into the shade. I would sit in my hammock with a book, but after about 30 seconds I would be staring at my garden, thinking about my next move or project. It was such a therapy for me. I can’t wait to see how much the garden has grown this year when I go back to Boston to visit my parents.
So this year I’ll be gardening on a very different scale. I will be confined to container gardening for my flowers, but I am determined to make the most of it.
Thankfully, my papa has agreed to let me help with his vegetable garden so I will at least have a decent amount of square footage to play in when I visit my grandparents in Kentucky.
More to come on the container gardening on my 50 square foot deck.
Y’all come back now, ya hear?