Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Swiss Chard Harvest, Greenhouse Construction, Movie Night


We never did get to those tomatoes, and it won't be today either. Yikes!

The day began with finding out that the reason I've not heard anything about my divorce for several months is that my lawyer never sent the papers off to be served after the judge signed them.

I was a little frustrated by this. As far as I know, once he has been served and the papers signed my support is supposed to kick in. That means two months of support have vanished into thin air, while we try to scrape by on what little he feels like sending and we work nights and weekends trying to support ourselves and make ends meet.

However, all things are in God's timing, so I'm not really worried. Mostly curious as to how this will all pan out.

So Michael did more mowing yesterday morning while I began weeding the garden. I wish I'd taken pics AFTER weeding instead of before. LOL

Mowing around the garden itself was needed as you can see in this photo. The Three Sisters area of the garden is finally showing visible signs of some success.

The whole problem with this has been the corn. We planted it three times and each time was a significant failure. I suspect it is bugs. Ants, possibly, chewing up the roots. They must get them when they are sprouts, and if they manage to get any higher, they chew through the stalks and they just fall over.

So the pole beans and the winter squash kept getting put off for a long time.

The other half of the garden, where I will be doing some weeding.

Seed saving is something I hope to do a lot of. I hope to buy very little seed next year, so I bought 98% of my seed as open-pollinated. Here are the pods to the sugar snap peas, drying nicely.

The next huge project in the garden, getting those tomatoes back up. I planted them too thickly, and the rains and lack of wire held us back from adding wires above the first and second ones. Now it's a mess.

Peppers are finally growing.

Swiss chard, which we decided needed to be harvested. And in there are the sweet potatoes.

Scallions, onions, leeks. Only showing leeks here, I think.


More peppers.

Summer squash.

Something is wrong with this and one other summer squash.

The rain washing through the garden disturbed a lot of the melon hills.

Our biggest competition giant pumpkin vine.

Cukes that we just lifted and tied up the day before.

Broom corn and peanuts. You are supposed to hill peanuts like potatoes. If I get a spare minute, I'll do that.

Okra. Neither of us like it. But when we were aiming for a market garden we chose to plant some. No market after all, but we need to learn about it's quirks in tandem with our garden quirks, so we planted some anyway.

With the Three Sisters planting being so difficult, I decided to make an experiment plot. I simply planted all three - corn, beans, and a cucurbit all at the same time. I believe I put in small warted mix gourds. I will keep you updated.

Thinning the squash, gourd, pumpkin plantings at every other hill of corn and beans.

Then my mom and dad came by to help with the greenhouse construction project. We had been planning on digging out one of the hoops and burying in a new hoop post holder. But dad made this nifty thing.

First, drive the new, straight hoop post into the ground in the proper spot. This was ingenious. Dad got a metal rod, put body building weight clamps on it, and used it to insert into the pipe and pound it down.

Then put this crane above the old pipe.

It has an eye hook at the top.

Put on a winch.

Add a chain.

Drop chain down into the pipe.

Secure chain with a bolt.

Begin winching pipe out of ground.

Fill old hole with sand, slowly, so you don't accidentally get a pocket.

Awesome! Thanks, Dad! That really saved us a lot of work!

Michael wanted to save this volunteer, but it also has a wild rose bush there, so it got mowed down.

Bad Japanese Beetles. Scourge of the garden.

The field competition giant pumpkin. The ants got this too. We are down to one in this spot, and I'm wondering if it will survive.

Always looks so much better around here when it's mowed.

Harvesting Swiss Chard.

I left more leaves on some than others, to see how they do. I learned a lot about them yesterday. For ourselves, we don't think we need this much, but it will make a great summer substitute for salad greens, growing so much more easily then than lettuce.

Rinsing the Swiss chard leaves and hanging them to dry on a ball return net. We did not want to blanch and freeze, so we're going to dry them for use this winter in soups.

We left to visit friends and help with projects, but they were all done. So they graciously fed us dinner.

We enjoyed the progress of their lasagna style garden.

Visited their new horses, who had been rescue horses about 4 years ago. The mare has never been able to put on weight. I suspect she has organ damage and can't metabolize all she needs.

And then we all took off and enjoyed Night at the Museum 2 at the theaters. It was really good. We enjoyed it.

We stopped by my folks to pick up some lavender clippings, borrow canning books, and visit until 10:30, so we didn't get home in time to bring in the swiss chard leaves. I'll have pics on those and the lavender cuttings tomorrow.

Taking off to go pick up a used pool!




  1. I suspect that you have cutworms in your corn.


  2. It's possible, but I don't know. I don't see damage such as the cutworms make, but I do see ant hills all around the bases of these corn stalks. Tiny black ants. They seem to eat the corn seeds, then if they sprout, the feast on the little roots as long as the plant survives and then falls over. '

    I'm finding these ant tunnels all around the bases of many of my plants.


  3. Wow, Faith. You must sleep really well at night!!! You and your son are a good team!

  4. Faith wow what an explosion in your garden. And your dad comes up with some great ideas. That homemade crane is very cool.

    My mare is a rescue mare. But I was lucky. she is fat and beautiful.

    I didn't know you could dry swiss chard. in the sun or shade? outside or in? That is one plant that will make you healty and make your garden profit. It will grow all the way through the summer until frost.

    ps...yes i did read your blog on the power tool almost made me cry. I forget things that make me cry. I am glad you are healed up.

  5. Cyn,

    I do sleep much better, spring through fall. :) It's a good thing, really. Otherwise I will only sleep 4 to 5 hours a night. This way I get about 7.

    This all happened about the time Peri-M set in. :( I liked my hormones better when they cooperated.


  6. Tracey,

    It's amazing what rain and sun and fertilizer do when it all comes together. I don't think I will plant as early next year. It was not worth the work.

    Many of those rescue horses turn out just fine. Violet looks bad, but they say she seems quite happy, and will run and play, so she's not so bad off that she doesn't feel well.

    I only just read about the SCh dried for soups yesterday, and it seemed like a good way to cut down on storage space and labor.

    Thanks! I can't feel much in that finger, and it doesn't straighen, but it doesn't hurt much either. I feel very blessed about it, as they said I would probably have to have it amputated. Can't complain. :)


  7. Sounds like a wonderful full day. And what a nice way to end it...with friends. Your garden looks awesome!

  8. oh, that's so sad about the rescue horse. It really breaks my heart to see any type of poor treatment. I used to get mad when I found nails and shards of glass in the stalls.

    Your garden looks fantastic! I love those huge open rows! My garden is right in the middle of where the hay is usually stored, the grass is routinely 2 to 3 feet tall. It does look so much better when it's mowed!

    I hope your pumpkin grow really fast so you can beat the neighbors. I still remember that giant milk fed pumpkin I think it was in Laura Ingles Wilder's Farm Boy book.

  9. Nails and glass? Yikes! Malicious, or just clueless?

    That is so funny. Farmer Boy was my favorite book of the series, and I always remember that too. :) I think because my desire has always been to be self-sufficient and in a generous way, that book has always appealed to me.

    The butter, the horses, the looms, the barns, the fairs. ah.......


  10. You're getting a greenhouse?! I'm green with envy!!

    It looks so lovely and green there.


  11. Sharon,

    About 8 years ago I was presented with a wonderful opportunity. A brand new greenhouse, never used was being sold. If I would dismantle it and haul it off I could have it for 150 dollars. Amazing.

    I paid for it, went back to dismantle it, and found the entire covering, double walled, had been shredded to unbelieveable uselessness. They said they had no idea what happened.

    Regardless, I and my four kids spent 2 days dismantling it and bring it home, hoping to get replacement sheeting.

    We set it up, but never got it covered. I remarried my husband and he did not want to invest in it, so the whole thing rotted away and the horses used it for scratching on before we fenced them away from it.

    Now I am hoping to rebuild it for the fall! I am so excited as to how much help this will be to us. We lost so much time and labor this spring, that would have been avoided if we'd had a greenhouse. I feel like we spun our wheels for two months.

    However, we learned a LOT. :)

    Yes, it is amazingly green this year. The first year we've had this much rain in a very long time. The fields are filling in with grass, the farmers are happy to be getting more than one and a half cuttings of hay for an entire year. Hay and alfalfa was very expensive, shipping much of it in from the northern states.


  12. Faith, just enjoying your archives of past posts. Your dad is ingenious!! I am fascinated by the device he built to pull the greenhouse poles out of the ground. What a great idea!!! That could work for anything buried in the ground. I would have never thought to do that, but boy, I bet that saved a bunch of time, not to mention back breaking work had you had to dig those rascals out of the ground. Is he an engineer?? I'm sure he really enjoys helping you and educating your son on how to accomplish complicated projects like that!

    Enjoy your day! :-)

    R Dean

  13. Dean,

    Yeah, my dad is a self-taught engineer. Believe it or not, he was requested to head jobs that college educated people were passed over for.

    I learn a lot from my dad, and I'm very proud of him. :) I hope to learn all I can from him while he is here.


  14. Faith, I can appreciate that, there are people for whom I respect so much that can figure things out better than any degreed engineer out there! I figured you were proud of him, it's obvious by how you speak of him in your blog. I'm happy for you that you and your son can learn from him and spend time with him! Based on the type of person you seem to be, I'm sure you cherish every minute with him and I'm sure he appreciates it too! :-)

    R Dean


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