It finally finished raining long enough for Sally and I to harvest the rest of the potatoes. While we were out there we also pulled our first cucumbers and picked a small mess of green beans. We just finished an amazing dinner of cucumbers and onions, green beans and an okra/tomato/sausage/smoked poblano concoction. Everything but the sausage came straight from the garden or the freezer. And that my friends is why I garden!
On another note, I recently read an article that said internet readers want their information quick and easy. With that in mind I am going to structure my weekly tips in a different format for a while. If you like it, or even if you don’t, leave me a comment and let me know what you think.
- Pick Green Beans
- Harvest and cure onions
- Control aphids, thrips and scale insects with a strong blast of water. If this is not working spray entire plant with neem oil or a water/dish soap mixture
- Harvest Potatoes-It has rained so much lately that it has washed much of the soil away from my potato plants. I literally have potatoes on top of the ground. This will cause two problems. First, the harvest is going to be a muddy mess. No way around this. I will have to dig them and then go directly to the hose for a good wash. I do not normally recommend washing your potatoes. When potatoes come out of the ground their skins are soft and can be damaged by washing. Damaged skins let in fungus that will cause the potatoes to rot during storage. That is why we cure them before we store them. To cure potatoes we need to let them dry in the hot sun for a few hours. All of this rain is causing an unusual lack of sunshine. Because of this I will have to figure out a way to move the potatoes into the garage for curing. This is a big problem for me because my garage is already covered with the onions that I had to cure inside because of the rain.
- Pull weeds while the ground is soft. Throw them in the compost pile if they have not set seed
- Dead head zinnias and marigolds
- Plant zinnias (Benary’s Giant are my favorites) and marigolds from seed
- Plant Sunflowers-There are about a million different varieties of sunflowers and I grow several of them (my favorite is a double called “Teddy Bear” that grows on three to four foot tall stalks and produces gorgeous flowers). For the next couple of months I will plant more seeds every other week. This “two week planting schedule” will ensure that Sally and I have an ample supply of fresh cuts for our home right up to the first frost.
- Plant Gomphrena (Bachelor’s Buttons) – I have two places in my yard where I grow gomphrena (Bachelor’s Buttons). Gomphrena is a great plant for our area because it can really take the heat and it will keep flowers until the first frost. Even though it is an annual it is a great self-seeder and will come back on its own year after year. That is, it will come back year after year as long as you don’t have free ranging chickens that scratch up all of the seedlings in your beds. That is what has happened at my house. Thanks to my chickens I currently have no gomphrena. So this weekend I will be replanting. Many of our reseeders (like gomphrena, zinnia, poppies and marigolds) can be planted by running a rake over and area and then putting the seeds out in a broadcast manner. Once the seeds are down, run the rake across the soil to lightly cover the seeds. Finally, gently water the area. Keep the soil moist until the little plants develop their first set of real leaves.
- Do not fertilize until things dry out. Nitrogen, moisture and cool temps encourage brown spot
I share my posts on the HomeAcre Hop. Be sure to stop by the hop. It has tons of great information from gardeners and homesteaders all over the world!