Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Garden Update

I got up at 6am to do some gardening. It's too bad it is pretty dark at 6. But I started some work. I pulled up a few weeds, added them to the compost, added some kitchen scraps, added some dried hay, then added some comfrey and some more weeds and some composted compost! : )

I took 4 wheel barrows of compost and put it around the garden. I am trying to make room to turn the compost. I put 2 wheel barrows where I grew the rutabaga this spring, and plan to do peas. It is about 4 inches thick all over that bed! So lovely looking! I Also put some on the wheat by the sweet potatoes, some around the pole beans and at the end of the bed. I then put some around the old corn stalks. I am planning to leave the corn talks up to give the good insects something to hide in this winter. I have another watermelon growing. Hopefully with chicken wire over it the deer won't eat it. I also have another melon. I think it is a muskmelon. It doesn't look like cantaloupe, and not quite like watermelon. I am hoping I get something from it, it is about 4" diameter.

My loofa are all over the place. But don't seem to be setting fruit yet!

My tomatoes have gone all over the place. Next year I will know that I need to support them or else do fewer. I can hardly walk the pathways anymore because the tomatoes are sprawling so much. I picked enough beans for supper last night. And a couple dozen tomatoes. Most were green. I can't let my big tomatoes ripen on the vine, or the bugs eat them. The cherry ones can get pretty ripe and I am picking a few every other day. I picked one leek to go with the beans. I also picked 4 cucumbers from the new vines, and Jed picked 7-8 from the others. Composted anything over 6" and kept the others.

Speaking of cucumbers. The fermented dill pickles seem to be doing well. I took some scum off the top Saturday and Yesterday. They smell good! Fermented cucumbers are suppose to be a lot better for you than cucumbers. I guess cucumbers don't have much in them, and fermenting them, like kim chee (spelling wrong I'm sure) makes them better for you. Like yogurt or something.

I found a grape vine. I wish I was good enough to tell which were muscadine and which are wild, but unless I see fruit I can only really guess. I plan on using it for my display for the agribusiness fair. I have most of it written up. I still have lots to do though. I am just trusting in Him to help me get all the things done I need to do. I'm trying not to rush, and yet not be lazy.

English Vintner

Monday, 23 August 2010


We had fun camping out Friday night at Stonemoutain State Park. About 2 hours north from here.

We finally left at 3:45pm, got to the camp a little before 6pm.

Most people set up both tents while I set about making the fire. Because it was a state park, and the campsites were so close together, they didn't really have any firewood to gather. You are suppose to buy it. Or, if you live in NC you can bring your own. So I brought stuff that we have been seasoning for the last 4.5 years. :) Probably 25 pieces. Enough to have a good bed of coals to cook over Friday, and then have something to cook over Saturday morning, and then more after breakfast. We ended up leaving actually 4-5 pieces of wood, for the next person.

We saw plenty of deer while at the park. 7 on our way in, and then another 5 while at the camp, and then some here and there.

After breakfast, before lunch time we went to a hiking trail. Hiked what I would guess to be about 3/4 of a mile (though not really sure) to the Hutchison Homestead. It was pretty cool, especially since I'm kinda into that. It had a sign that talked about each building. The house, garden, corn crib, black smith forge, shed, and barn. Talked about what they actually did in the barn and the importance of it, often times it was built before the house was. The corn cribs were as skinny and tall as possible to keep the corn dried out well. The garden, they had a few main crops and then had a few side ones. Not like us now, who have access to seeds from anywhere, to anything. Imagine, growing gathering seed, that was an important part of living on a homestead. Leaving some of the onions over till next year to spring up and form seed etc. Four genarations have lived in the house. Since 1850s. It is no longer in use now, but as a historical element. Mr.s Hutchison was a good healer and would visit around the county with her herbal remedies. Her favorite herbs were: ginseng, and two other herbs, that I didn't know, so I can't remember, though they had common names. It wasn't like the herb was thryableial or something. :) I also saw the spring house (wasn't much to look at, the creek that ran through the property is about the same size as ours. It is wider in places, but shallower in places. I am assuming that it was a bit bigger 150 years ago. They also had the wash tub for washing down by the creek. In the cellar of the house they have cans of things that were from the first generation.

Then, we went to another hiking trail that was .6 miles to a waterfall. The waterfall was on the top of a mountain. Stone mountain is on the top of the moutain. On top of the moutain is a huge giant granite 'hill'. Hence the name, stone mountain. It is probably 500ft up at least. And a big dome shape. The waterfall is coming down the stone. The waterfall we saw the waterfall water was only about 6ft wide in most places and maybe a foot deep. Until you come to the drop off. At the drop off it is about an 80º angle I would guess for the most part, with a few out juttings. And it falls 200-300ft down until it hits the bottom and makes a very COLD pool and then flows off down the river. We went down via stairs to the bottom and played around in the water and looked up at the waterfall. If you started sliding their isn't much you can do. Though, I did put myself in the situation and try and think what I would do to try and save the person, if I could. I like to put myself in situations like those, so, that if it does happen I have already gone through it in my head. I guess you would say I'm trying to stay at the ready, reflexes.....

We got back to our campsite, packed up, ate lunch. Then it was about 1:30pm when we finally got out of the camp site. On our way down we stopped by a small winery and cidery. It was very cool for me. They have 15 acres, and I think 5 are planted on. They have chardonnay that was planted 04'. Some nice looking grapes, that are ready to be harvested soon. It was just fun to see a small winery like that, the dream that I have. The guy who gave us a tour of the winery, showed us the equipment they had out side for pressing and storing the grapes. And then inside the winery, the wines they had in big bins, finished bottles, how to label a wine bottle, and how to put on the top casing.

This week is suppose to cool down a bit, getting down into the low 60ºs. First time since the first of July!

English Vintner

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


My 6 cucumber vines that are on the fence behind the greenhouse are succuming to squash bugs and stink bugs. I picked 3 off of it today, and expect maybe a dozen or so more. However! The vines I planted back in June are just now ripening! I picked 6 today! And should be getting a good harvest of them regularly until the frost. I would say probably cucumbers have been the most consistant thing for me to get out of the garden, and an over abundance, I have had to 'compost' several dozen! We can't eat them fast enough, and sometimes I'm too busy to pickle them.

My pole beans I planted the same time as the cucumbers are just starting to produce, full of flowers! The stinkin' deer came by last night and took several dozen leaves off of them! Thankfully, because they are pole beans it is not as easy to get at, and the cucumbers are on the other side. While squash can be tricky to grow because of the insects or disease, nothing likes them. I mean, I guess the deer did eat the small watermelon, and likes melon leaves, but as far as cucumbers/squash with the prickly vines, deer don't generally eat them, and neither do most critters. The only time I have known a deer to eat squash was last year, in September, I had a pumpkin vine growing by the strawberries. The deer came along and ate ALL the leaves off one of the vines! I guess it was pretty hungry, because I have not had them eat any squash vines so far. I'm actually trying to locate where the deer are coming through. I don't think it is from behind the greenhouse, and I don't know if they come around to the front. At one point I thought they were coming up from the creek by the black raspberries and trellis with tomatoes. I am not sure where they are coming from though because most of the foot prints have them leading south to south east out of the garden.

I am planning for next year. Setting more priorities, and then if I have room going with more specialty. I want to do at least a full bed of potatoes (100sq ft), maybe more. Will Sutherland recommends your first garden be mostly potatoes, and then big seeds, like squash and stuff that don't need much weeding. And then by the 3rd or 4th year have it pretty good so that you can do small seeded stuff. I want to do 50sq ft of carrots, the same amount for parsnips. I would like to do 50 square feet of onions and then 25-50 sq ft of shallots and leeks. I want to do 100 sq ft of beans, about the same for peas, at least. Cucumbers, cabbage, sweet potatoes. And of course squash. And I would like to try to do some melons (cantaloupe and muskmelon).

Speaking of melons, my cantaloupe vines by the onions are growing REALLY fast now, something like 4-6 inches per day. I actually have expectations of maybe a melon before the frost (might need to protect it with plastic if it isn't quite ripe?). Speaking of onions, I pulled up the last 3 that were growing, raked it out, found 3 more. Then I forked it over and smoothed the soil with hoe and rake. I then planted rye and hairy vetch (I should have gotten 2lb of hairy vetch).

Once we get some walnuts I am going to harvest most of my basil and make a big batch of pesto (or several). It then should resprout and continue getting basil until the frost. In which case, I plan on potting it up and putting it inside the greenhouse for a week or two or bringing it inside our house.

My peppers are finally producing. I have several banana peppers, and several sweet bell peppers. Several more eggplants on the way. And lots of green tomatoes. A lot of the brassica is coming up, kale, brussels sprouts, chinese cabbage.

The wheat in amongst the sweet potatoes is doing well. The sweet potatoe vine is doing pretty good, growing pretty prolific. I might get a small tuber before the frost.

While my cousin was here we went down to the creek and found some BIG elderberry bushes, and picked quite a bit, enough to make half a pint of jam, and a few cups of elderberry tea. I now know where to go for flowers or berries next year as well.

By the looks of it I should get a fair amount of asparagus next year. Most of it is at least 4-5 feet tall.

Well, I'd better go. I've been up for 2 hours, but most of my family has only been up for 30 minutes...

English Vintner

Saturday, 14 August 2010

I built a cold frame today. Using scrap 2x6s and 4x4s I got out of the trash. It fits one of the windows I have, which is 31x32". I need to make another identical one, and two bigger ones that will fit a door.

The tiller almost works, I am positive it is gunk or water in the fuel line or carburetor. So, I need to figure out what the carburetor is and take it off and soak it in cleaner, I also need to clean out the fuel line. The pull string works great, better then it did. I am hoping when my dad has an hour or two he can help me locate and remove the carburetor. My Uncle Bill took a look at it when he was here 2 weeks ago and told me what to do, and then three days ago gave me an email of what to do about it.

My peas are 4 inches tall. My one sweet potato vine is doing something. : )

I did a little more research on repelling deer, and have decided on a method I want to try. Take 2.5 pounds of blood meal (yuck!) and 1 cup of ammonia. Mix it together, and take sticks and soak them in it, let them dry and put them around your garden, the deer don't like the smell. I have a few other ideas if that doesn't work, but these seemed to be the best, I may still try to do the fishing line around the garden beds also.

My brassica and cover crop has not showed its self yet, I'm not surprized, I just hope they will not die before they germinate, I used up all the brussels sprouts seeds, and most of the kale.

I picked up 4 bags (quite heavy each) of lawn clippings.

I'm just starting to get a few peppers, got another tomato, Thomas Jefferson.

I think that the reason my onions didn't do very well were a couple of reasons, one for certain, not good enough soil, onions need extremely fertile soil according to what I read, so next year besides adding lots of compost (and hopefully manure too) I will probably do a few side dressings along the season of blood meal. I will also start earlier, onions can stand some cold, so I will probably start them off in February or March in the greenhouse.

Compost is doing great, about time to turn the middle pile. I need to pull up weeds and corn for the compost.

Oh! My cucumbers I planted in June are bearing!!! And the pole beans are getting ready to too! I am excited!

Math is going pretty well. I have one more lesson, a test, and then maybe a long test, I'm not sure.

I will be doing a class on Viticulture/vineyards/grapes in three weeks, and have been doing some research. I have everything in my head, I just need to figure out what to take out and put on paper.

Well, I'd better go. Have a blessed Sabbath.

English Vintner

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Fun Times

Well, my cousins have left. While they were here we had lots of fun in the creek, played fun games, and got some gardening done.

We planted quite a few brassicas while Jether was here. Kale, Brussels Sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chinese cabbage. I also planted some rye and vetch in a few places.

We also worked on the rototiller. We took off the pull string, retied it, put it back in, but the spring that pulls the cord back in everytime was a little loose. So, today we redid it, the pull string is working wonderfully. Besides that we were not able to get much more done on the tiller. I think it is probably water in the gas, but I'm not sure. I am hoping that I can clean out the gas line and see if that helps.

We did get some brush cleared, and cut down a poplar tree that was 70ft tall, and 18" in diameter with axes.

Well, I'd better go.

English Vintner

Thursday, 5 August 2010


I'm not really sure if I'm angry. I'm not really sure what I'm feeling. You see, about three months ago I decided to plant corn, I got two packets, each packet had 250 seeds in them. Last night a raccoon finished up every last ear of corn. I had a row of 250 that was finished up last night, and the corn I planted by the lettuce, yup that two, and the corn up by the fence. All eaten. Well, I did in fact get one ear, isn't that nice, I got one ear of corn!

If I didn't compost I think I would go out there with some corn, wait all night and murder every stinking raccoon in our woods. You see, the only benefit that growing the corn gave me is organic matter. If I didn't compost then I would pull up the stalks and trash them. So, the only thing good about growing the corn this year was that I got organic matter.

I actually might get some corn, if the raccoon don't get it from some stuff I planted later. The question is, how to secure it? Paper bag? I know cucumber doesn't work, at least cutting it up and putting it around the corn. Would a radio really work? If so I need 3 extension cords to get it down to it. Oh brother.....

I could really use some coffee this morning.

I've been researching crop circles, very interesting. I am also doing research into Shaman secrets of plants and Egyptian plane models, and all sorts of things since my Uncle came.

I am just now reading about the benefits of fasting, I knew some, but it is nice to be able to read about it.

Anyway, I guess thats all I am able to write right now. So, fare thee well.

English Vintner

Monday, 2 August 2010

Been a while eh?

Yup I've been busy. Friends came down and life stayed busy. Then Saturday (7/31) my two older brothers came home and my Uncle stayed over until this morning. We've been having tons of fun. But I would say probably a big highlight of last week was talking with my Uncle and two older brothers. We talked about theology, and then some about astrology and about some of the geniuses in the world. We also talked about some of the mysteries of this universe and some of the mysteries in the bible. I also was able to talk to him about his view on foods and stuff like that. He is all into juicers and he has done a lot of research on the Gerson (spelling?) method of cancer treatment. An alternative to conventional methods. Look it up for more on it.

I realized just this last time how much he really knows. He doesn't let on how much he knows, but he has books on astrology and 'anti gravity' stuff, and he has done some massive research. He is so interesting to talk to. I like to listen to what he has to say about lots of things.


Everything was fine in the garden, no corn attacks. Until Saturday night I think it was. Five corn stalks broken down and most of the corn eaten (from those stalks). How do raccoons know that corn tastes good? You know, is it smell?

I picked a lot of stuff Saturday evening. Three huge bunches of basil for drying. Some more small onions and shallots. I am realizing that most of my onions are not going to get a whole lot bigger. So, maybe I will start some sets in a week and try growing my own sets next year. But, I also want to start onions a lot earlier next year too. I think I might get a good amount of leeks and the shallots did really well.

I pulled up a parsnip to see how well they were doing. It was 1 1/4" in diameter at the top and 18" long! Wow! That is one LONG parsnip!

My tomatoes still are not really ripening. Maybe the last few cool nights will help them. I sorta think that it has a lot to do with half sun or something instead of full sun. I think next year I will do squash or cucurbit on the fence next time instead of tomatoes. (besides the fact I am doing crop rotation)

My wheat is a few inches tall. My cover crop is growing too.

I harvested a cabbage Saturday it was about the size of my fist. We actually used it today for supper. My Kale and Brussels Sprouts haven't sprouted. We got a whole bunch of rain and the rain sorta filled in the row where I planted them. I may have to replant.

My peas are coming up too. The deer seem to have not respect for my garden. They trample it it seems about every single night!?! Stinkin' deer! They trample the ground where I plant things and eat the things that come up. :) I am hoping when my cousin is here we can put up some fishing line around the beds. It is suppose to spook them when they bump into it.

Well, I could keep writing. Its been a while, I apologize. But my computer says 14 minutes and too soon it will be gone.

So, keep up the gardening!

English Vintner