Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November's Garden (2016)

This has been an unbelievably hard month. Between no rain at all and the armadillo's destruction, it is a miracle there is anything at all left in the garden. Overplanting the garden this year was the right thing to do. The grass is completely dead and the only green color is where I have watered.

In the picture below, was the area that was not hit as much by the armadillo. I think because it was closer to the house, "IT" chose to visit it last. This is what most of the garden should look like now but does not.

All of the seeds in the right two rows were saved from last year's garden. Since there were so many, I broadcast them then later thinned them. They are still way to thick but it is time to do some major harvesting. They need to be shorter so I can cover them with a hoop house for the winter.

The row on the far left is all turnip greens. They were store bought seeds I planted after the armadillo destroyed most of my turnip patch by the woods in the back of the garden. It was late in the season when I planted them but it was a chance I took.  Anything is better than nothing.

Below is the area closest to the field so it was hit quite often by the armadillo. The rows should be twice as wide and not have the gaping holes. It is not as luscious as it should be, but will just have to do. This month will also see me harvesting quite a bit from these two rows because they have less hardy plants.

In October's garden, I spoke about planting winter peas. I carefully poked a hole between the lima bean plant roots and planted the pea seeds. The lima bean plants are dead now; the peas are growing and filling up the empty space. This is the first time I have grown these peas. They are supposed to grow during the worst weather and get real tall, we'll see. They are harvested by chopping part of the vine into small pieces and using it as a fresh salad. The peas won't be ready until later in the spring but it is the vines that are supposed to be eaten. Last week I pinched a few leaves off and they were delicious. They tasted just like fresh green peas eaten while walking through the garden. If these really do bear the bitter winter, they will be a keeper.

UPDATE:  They did survive the harsh winter but not the rabbits. 

Below, I think, is a Tokyo Bekana plant. Did I mention I save my seeds from year to year and things cross-pollinate? So I think this is Tokyo Bekana...anyway, it is delicious used in salads and stir-fry. Even though it is in the mustard family, it is really mild. My family does not like hot mustards so I avoid growing many of them. Tokyo Bekana is not really winter hardy. It can withstand cold nights but dies during the bitter part of the winter. If you look real close you can see where the 29 degree nights have caused frostbite on the outer part of the leaves. This plant was harvested yesterday and made into a salad right after I made the picture. Most of these will be harvested during December.  A few will be left to go under the hoop house and maybe make it into bitter cold January.

Below is a picture from last year's garden on January 24, 2015, of an (I think) Tokyo Bekana.  This is how it reacts to the bitter cold even under a hoop house. Not very appetizing.

This is how it looked yesterday (11-28-2016) when I picked for my salad. It tasted as good as it looked.

There were a few more things in need of picking like the mustard plant in the middle of the picture below. They grow aggressively, blocking out other plants and I don't really need that many. In my family, only Bill likes them and I have way more than he can eat. I needed to cull some.

Nana likes mustard greens so this plant went to her. I cut it at the root since I don't want it to grow back. It was a really large plant and she froze 3 quarts, not counting what she ate. Soon I will be harvesting more for her freezer.

This is the large hole left by this one plant. The others around it immediately began spreading out.

While digging I noticed the wilted leaf below. This was a clue to search further.

I spread the leaves apart and discovered a winter radish growing. They are hardy enough for cool weather but perish in the bitter cold. Since we have had a few really hard touches of frost, this plant was beginning to show the stress, hence the wilted leaf. While I was digging in this spot, I decided to pull it out. I could tell by the light green above the dirt it was either a Green Luobo radish or a White Winter radish.

To my surprise, it was neither, or both, or something else; I love surprises. It was great in my salad.

Last night we FINALLY GOT RAIN! Every time I sat down yesterday, I checked the radar on my computer to watch it coming in. My fear was that it would blow over like all the other storms this fall. The weatherman (who is never wrong) said we were behind 8 inches of rain for this time of the year. For once, I agreed with him. To celebrate the end (I hope it was the end) of this drought, I took a long hot bath. I filled the tub up to the top then when it cooled, I let the water out and filled it up AGAIN! Oh, my beloved (almost) unlimited well, glad to have you full.

When I can walk without sinking in the mud, I will go out and check the garden. From the kitchen window, I can see the plants growing as I watch. I love it when life is good!


  1. We have had all your extra rain here in Oregon! I'm glad you finally got some and that we did not today. It was nice to have a dry day today for once since we were out and about so much. We were very busy, with lots of driving around after work. I had to pick my hubby up from work (he rides the school bus with one student who had a hard time and had to be picked up today, leaving my hubby stranded at the school without his car). When I finally got to his school (I had to leave my work to do it), he was sitting on a bench outside the school with his lunchbox beside him--it would have made a cute picture. Then we had to go to the student's apartment building and retrieve our van. Then we could start our errands. We got all the errands accomplished. It was a long day, but feels good to get those things done.

    I love your garden pictures.

    1. What your husband does for those children is heartwarming. It has to be difficult for him and also difficult for the children. At least your husband understands what is going on where the children struggle. He seems to be in the right job. Thank the Good Lord for the job!
      Do take your camera with you the next time you go to pick him up. It has to go on the blog.

  2. Rain here yesterday and rain and fog here today. Glad its rain here and not snow. Glad you finally got some as we've been following what's been happening in Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas.

    Love your garden pictures. My inground garden is done for the winter. Dorothy

    1. As glad as I am that I got rain, I think I would be fine with it moving on over to Gatlinburg. They need it more than I do.