Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gardens and Yardwork

Guess what? We got our first picking of green beans on Saturday! It wasn't enough to freeze, but enough to make a big green bean salad for our fellowship dinner today at church. I had to wing it, as tomorrow is shopping day, and we are running out of most of the basics like margarine, or sugar, that sort of thing. What I did was wash and cut up the green beans, about 4 carrots, 1 big tomato. The colors looked very appealing (no, I didn't even think of taking a pic!). I marinated it overnight in italian dressing. Gave it a final stir today before serving! There is nothing like fresh, raw, tastey veggies from the garden! I have about 2 1/2 more rows that are still flowering. Most likely they will be ready to pick and freeze the week of VBS. Seems like every year they are!

The tomato plants look healthy, but their growth seems to be stunted right now. I am hoping today's rain will help them and our squash plants.

Speaking of the rain today, it came in the form of a very severe thunderboomer. In fact, we had some very high winds that actually moved our little blow up pool, though there was water in it! Also, it flattened our corn and sunflower plants! Yikes! We are hoping when the sun comes out they might stand again. If they don't, then that may be it for a large portion of our garden. I will have to go out and check it tomorrow.

Dh tried to mow the lawn, which is looking like a meadow, yesterday, but the belt on the rider mower broke. Now we have to wait for that part to come in. Not wanting to not get any of it done, he got out the push mower, but that wasn't working right either. He did manage to get around the church cut nicely, but our yard... well, lets just say if the kids lay down in the grass they totally disappear! It doesn't seem to bother them.

We have some "wild" black caps growing at the back of our property and started picking them. We only got about a cup and half, but we dutifully washed them and put them in the freezer, hoping to add enough to make a batch of jam eventually. There is quite a bit of growth around the bushes, and I am wondering if I can cut it back a bit to allow more sunlight to get in. Maybe they will yeild better next year if I do that.

Meanwhile, the weeds continue to do their thing, and we are trying to keep ahead of them best we can. The memorial garden and walkway at church need some weeding. My strength is limited, but we are doing the best we can. I have hopes that next summer I'll be able to do more. I am already tentatively planning what I want to do with the garden for next year. This fall we are going to haul some manure to spread on the garden, cover it with leaves, and let it mulch down over the fall and winter, and early spring. Our soil just seems to be lacking in nutrients, even though we added some stuff to it when we planted.

Oh, the cardboard we put down was "okay" but I wouldn't do it again. It choked out our potato plants. It did fine between the green beans, carrots and the like, however. However, I have all these wonderful helpers and if we each take a couple rows a day, we can keep up pretty well without the carboard. I would like to try putting in strawberry plants for next year too. Ambitious, aren't I?

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