Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Garden Update

I am almost finished putting in my summer garden. So I thought I would give you an update on what went in this year:

  • Planted five Seminole pumpkins.  I plant this pumpkin every year.  It's a great producer. One plant produces about 10 pumpkins.  Seminole pumpkins are mislabeled, they are more like winter squash. The Seminole Indians grew them in the 1500's in the Everglades in south Florida.  They are great for this part of the world because they are not bothered by either bugs or diseases of any kind. They are sweet and tasty when served like winter squash.
  • Planted six summer squash.  This is an heirloom called Early Prolific Straight Neck. I love it!  It keeps producing and producing.  However, here in the hot & humid south, it does get a lot of powdery mildew that requires spraying with a powdered milk and baking soda mix.  Doesn't matter to me, I still love it.  I expect to get about 200 squash this year.  I need at least 150 to make it one year without having to go to the store to buy them.
  • Planted four hybrid acorn squash. I don't have a yearly goal for this winter squash, I just eat it fresh when I have it but I don't bother to purchase any from the store when I don't have it.
  • Planted 80 green beans so far. I have room for 240.  I may just plant 160 and then use the rest of the raised bed for something else. I need 51 quarts to make it one year without purchasing any from the store.
  • Planted 135 peanuts.  80 are Spanish peanuts and 55 are Virginia Jumbo.  Normally, I plant just Virginia Jumbo.  I switched to some Spanish peanuts because they have more oil in them. I am going to try to produce my own cooking oil this year.  That will be one more item I can stop purchasing from the store!  We don't use much oil in our cooking so I am shooting for 1 gallon of oil and I expect that to last most (if not all) of the next year. Will 80 plants produce enough peanuts to make 1 gallon of oil?  I have no idea!  I will let you know at the end of the summer.
  • Planted five sweet potato slips.  I received these slips in March.  I was too busy with work to plant them and so they sat in a vase of water on the kitchen counter (by the window). I put them in one week ago.  Three of the slips don't look like they are going to make it.  Next year, I will just take an afternoon and plant them when they arrive rather than put it off.
  • Planted about 30 tobacco seeds.  Many of them germinated, but when transplanting, I eliminated some of the smaller ones.  I now have 13 plants in six pots. You may be wondering what I do with the tobacco.  Well, I use it as an insecticide!  It is the only chemical insecticide I use and it is organic.  I put many of my houseplants outside for the summer. When fall arrives and its time for the plants to come in, they get sprayed with a tea made from tobacco.  It kills any bugs that may be lurking on the plants and no bug problems all winter long in the house.  Here is a picture of my newly transplanted tobacco.  Tobacco plants also make very pretty trumpet like flowers in September.

Last week, I also harvested the onions I planted in early spring. This is year two for these onions. I planted seeds last year, then stored the tiny onions (called sets) over winter. I put the sets out in late February.  I got 46 - plenty to last all year for our family.  I planted a day neutral hybrid called Candy.  Very easy to grow and my husband says quite tasty.  I will dry them and make onion powder.  Here they are waiting their turn in the dehydrator on my dining room table

I will be sure to take pictures and post updates as the summer progresses!

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