Monday, 17 May 2010


We had a terrific amount of rain last night. Quite a bit, since we haven't had much rain for a month or two, we have usually had a few sprinkles, but nothing more than an inch at at time. But this time we got almost 2 inches of rain. Great for the garden, since I won't have to water for a few days!

My corn is sprouting in the bed that I prepared for them and sweet potatoes. Speaking of sweet potatoes, my sweet potato slips are sprouting quite fast, I have two shoots that are 4 inches long. I hope to have at least one bed planted before June. Next year I will start the sweet potato slips MUCH earlier. I hope to get some sweet potatoes in around april, and than maybe do a later planting near the end of May.

My watermelon and muskmelon are coming up that I planted in pots. My asparagus is doing great, I would say more than half of the roots we planted have sprouted, and more than half of what has come up is over 12inches tall! So, I think we should be able to cut a little bit next spring! Rhubarb, only one crown has come up so far, but it is almost 8" tall and doing great. 4-6 sprouts that are 1/2" in diameter. My horehound is HUGE! It is 3 ft tall and VERY wide! My silver dollar finally has silver dollar. Until it did I wasn't sure which was silver dollar, and which was horehound. My mints are well, garlic doing ok also. A few of the flowers I planted seem to be getting attacked, or maybe just transplant shock. Nothing too dangerous, just some of the shoots from the roots don't look to healthy. My casecade hop is about 14" high, two shoots. My other hop is not sprouting yet. I did some more research and found that I might not get any hops this year, but next year I should get a few hops, and the year after that and the following I should get TONS!

My niagara grape vine seems to be getting a disease I think. I have about 9 books that I bought on vineyard/wine/winery/running a vineyard and such, so I will have a look at a few books that I have and see if I can figure out what is going on. I have 2 raspberry canes that have a few flowers. I will probably let them flower, even though I probably should not. But I have so many red raspberries I wouldn't mind getting a handful this year. The other fruit that I bought from Stark Bros is doing quite well. I have a flowering quince, seems to be doing alright, but shrub type bush I got that has a few aphids and is not doing as well.

My potatoes are coming up in the potato plot I have. My zucchini are doing awesome! I have 1 that is 6 inches long, and I think I have one more that was pollinated a few days back. But yesterday I pollinated by hand another zucchini, and today I pollinated 2 zucchini. It is quite easy to tell a female flower from a male flower on squash plants once you learn. So, I hope to get a good crop of zucchini this year. Our family LOVES zucchini bread, and is probably what a lot of it will go into. You make it like banana bread and the kids love it! We will probably try it a few different ways as well also.

My peas that had aphids are recovering. And most are flowering. So I expect we should be picking peas in a week or two. A small harvest for what we planted, but I hope to get one this fall that is better. My beans are doing well. Actually most of them are flowering. I wasn't sure how big they would get before they flower, but they are between 12-24 inches and flowering. Some of the varieties are flowering smaller than others.

My parsnips are growing well I would say. Not quite as many germinated as I would have liked, but I think I should get a pretty good harvest this fall. Most are between 2-4 inches tall, with a few leaves past what they started with. My onions are doing pretty well. Most of the onions are between 4-8 inches tall. The shallots are at least as tall. And the leeks are between 1 1/2-4 inches tall.

I have learned a lesson. When you harvest lettuce, a whole bunch, be sure to pack it away in plastic bags and refrigerate! I opened up my cooler which I had had ice packs in and about 6 heads had started to turn. Because of lack of ventilation, too much moisture without enough air movement, and lack of cold. So, we live and we learn. At least it goes back into the compost!

My hope, is to get about 40 watermelons this year. I will have planted, or will plant soon, by the end of this month close to 30 watermelon vines. So, as long as they do well enough, I hope to get a decent crop.

The deer came for the first time and ate some of my garden early Saturday morning. Yeah, go figure, once I take the chicken wire off the strawberries, they come. They ate 3/4s of the leaves of my strawberry plants (like last year!!!!) and ate 1 or 2 tops of jerusalem artichokes. I think they tried the jerusalem aritichokes and didn't like them. They also ate the 3-4 berries that would have been ripe on Saturday.

Saturday morning we went strawberry picking, I picked a total of 5 gallons, and the rest of my family picked 6 gallons, a total of 11. I am known as the fastest strawberry picker in the family, I guess not just for any reason. I know what color a strawberry should look like from 24 inches away, and I look on both sides of the row, and I brush the folliage out of the way as I scan the rows.

We made quite a few gallons into freezer strawberry jam. (My favorite) Froze a few more gallons and with the gallons that were left demolished them all by sunday night! I hope we can go again this coming Wednesday. We might try and go with some friends. If we do go again it would be nice to get 13 gallons (that is the amount of baskets we have), but I don't know how many they will have by than. So, I would be pleased with whatever the amount is we get. I wouldn't mind making a gallon or two of strawberry wine.

I've been doing some research on lunar stuff. Gardening by the moon, beekeeping by the moon, and drinking wine by the moon. Some pretty interesting stuff. If you would like to read more on it I can post the link or email it.

Somehow our cat was able to get into my winery and went to the bathroom! At times I am QUITE fed up with the cat. He is able to get through a space about 12 inches by 8. I had previously blocked up with insulation. He got through and jumped 7 feet to the nearest object. Than he can't get out!!! I spanked him hard and put wood up in the spaces. At times I feel he just does it to spite me, I wouldn't be surprized if he does. I really wonder if I will have an indoor cat in my own house.

Anyway, had a great time with my cousin who just graduated from Le Tourneau University, with a major in biomedical enginearing. When he did the SAT I think he got perfect math! He had quite a few collages who wanted him! :)

English Vintner