Thursday, May 31, 2018

May's Garden (2018)

Where is May's garden?  There is not much to see other than plowed soil because the garden is still sitting on the front porch.

Everything is waiting for me to plant it.  

The month of May has been difficult, very difficult.  Bill could not get the garden plowed until the second week because the weather was too cold and wet.  Never have we been that late plowing.  It was also peak season for my job and I needed to work long hours.  Running out to water seedlings before the sun rises as I leave or after midnight when I return home was impossible. 

Today is my first day off of work in...forever? (it feels like forever), so I slipped out early this morning (in the pouring rain) to take pictures.  This is not a complaint about the rain, just an explanation as to why the pictures are gray.

Bill did the plowing, installing the trellises and spreading the grass clippings. He still has more plowing to do when the ground dries.  I hardly managed to get a few things thrown in the ground.  However, I have decided to be positive.  Perhaps the garden will do better planted later.  We shall see.

This is what we have so far.  Yard-long green beans and tomato plants are planted together to go over this trellis.  Gardening books always say not to plant beans and tomatoes together.  I don't know why but it has always worked for me.  Under the arch on either side is a pepper plant and carrots are planted in the extra space around them.  

On the back side of the arch is a fence with cucumber seedlings sprouting.  The plan is for the cucumbers to grow up the south facing fence toward the sun.  If I have timed it correctly, they will probably be finished before the green beans shade them too much overhead.  It sounds crowded but it really won't be.  The tomatoes will grow up the pole about 3 feet then stop.  I will pull the lower leaves off of the bean vine so it will not shade the tomato plants.  The bell peppers will spread out so the carrots closest to them will be harvested first.  The cucumbers will become crowded but they always die after producing heavily.  These are to be pickled so I want them to produce all at once.  By the time they are finished, the beans overhead will begin to form a deep shade and I will put a comfortable chair in the cleared cucumber spot.  It will be hot summer by then and a shady spot is always welcome.

The empty rows behind the arch will have different types of bush beans and the row on the right beside the yard will have sweet potatoes.  Last year planting sweet potatoes beside the yard worked perfectly.  When Bill mowed the grass it would be thrown on the plants and it kept them mulched.  It looks like the same spot as last year but it isn't since this garden is smaller.

At the end of the bean rows is another tall arch.  It has pole lima beans planted to go over the top.  I am undecided about what to put under it.  Dustin suggested another chair.

Behind the arch is the area where the collard greens were planted for the past two years.  A few of last year's plants are still alive and I continue to pick a few leaves.  They are bolting, look ratty, but taste fine.  In front is some metal conduit laying on top of a pile of grass.  Potatoes have been planted there and the poles mark the spot so no one will think it is a walking path.

Behind the collard greens will be watermelons and cantaloupes. They too will grow toward the sun and should fill up this whole area. The plants are ready to be transplanted from the porch but this area must be plowed again.

To the left of the beans is a row of tomatoes with carrots planted between each one.  This year I will also can carrots, instead of only eating them fresh, so I have planted more than usual.  To the left are the strawberry plants. Right now they are producing heavily and need to be picked every other day.  For me harvesting always takes precedence over planting.

The row in the center was this past winter's hoop house spot.  It is needing to be plowed but will be the spot for okra and herbs.  The area to the far left will be this coming winter's hoop houses.  I learned a long time ago to choose the spot early.  It will hold the Chinese vegetables, broccoli, cabbages and all of the cool weather vegetables which should have been planted in March.  They are still on the front porch.  Am I too late for spring vegetables, or too early for winter vegetables?  I don't know, can't figure it out, but am planting anyway.

This is the remaining few vegetables from last winter's hoop houses.  Some are still alive but it has been overharvested.  Soon I will be collecting seeds then this area will lie fallow for a while. There is a silver lining to all of the winter vegetables being picked, we have not seen imported cabbage moths in the garden. WooHoo! We do see them flying around in the field and the woods behind our house but there is nothing in the garden to entice them.  I am trying hard to be positive although being happy because you have nothing to steal is odd.

"It is too quiet around the house when Mom works long hours," sighed Scooter.  "If I look pitiful enough, maybe she will feel guilty and buy me something delicious when she cashes her big paychecks."

I miss you when you are gone.
Links mentioned above:

My Job, An Introduction

Last Month's April Garden (2018)

Next Month's June Garden (2018)

Last year's May Garden (2017)


  1. I hope you will soon be able to catch up on the gardening (and give Scooter the full attention he deserves). Some of your crops sound so different than mine . Okra and collard greens...I don't think I have ever seen those in the store here or at the farmers market.

  2. Your last year´s onions (we say spring onions) look very healthy. Surely you will use them in delicious meals or just with a fried egg. I also hope you will have success with your
    potatoes. And what about zucchini ? Do you plant any? Yes, in these days there is a lot of work to be done in the garden.
    I think, for Scooter some extra cuddles will be a sort of compensation for your absence from

    1. There are many more onions than I can use this year even though I planted the same amount as the year before. The difference was being placed under the hoop houses. When left out in the cold weather, many died, but all survived with the extra protection. They will go under the hoop houses again this year. Some are beginning to go to seed so I must start harvesting them. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can store so many?

      No, to growing zucchini. Last year I lost everything to the squash vine borers - it was disappointing. Summer squash will not live for me here. I have thought about planting another of the Tahitian butternut squash like the one that grew in my compost pile last year, but it will take over the garden!!!! I used up all of the frozen squash but still have some canned so I only need a little. Squash won't grow just a little, it grows LOTS!

      Scooter was rewarded with a 50 pound bag of his favorite brand of dog food! I sent Bill to the store and he came home with the huge bag! I can't lift them and always buy the small ones, but not Bill. So yes, Scooter has definitely been rewarded. He will get extra cuddles from me since he is still clean and smells good from his bubble bath.

    2. The onions I mean are called White Spring Onions here. They are planted in fall and start to grow then. In spring you can harvest them as long as they are green.
      Or you leave them in the garden bed until they have made nice big onions and the green is nearly dry. Then they keep for many weeks. But when they start to seed so early you can only use the seed and not the onion. That is the sort of onion
      that I mean. I am not quite sure if yours is the same.

    3. I do not know exactly what kind I have. They were purchased in small paper bags at a little garden center in town and the choice was white, yellow or red onions. These do not form huge onions, at least they never have because we have always eaten them before they could. I have also heard them called "spring onions." There are some in seed catalogs that claim to produce large onions but I have never ordered them. This is the first year I have more than I can use.

      I will take your advice and leave some in the ground until the top dies back to see how they store. Also, I will let some go to seed and try to plant them this fall.

      It is unusual to have more produce than I can use. Perhaps I should dehydrate some, or look for a pickle recipe, or even freeze some. It is time to look for new recipes.

  3. Collard greens are a mild flavored green with no bitterness like mustard greens. It is easy to grow and hardy in both hot and cold weather. Okra, that is something different. It must have blistering hot weather and can't tolerate cold weather. I am not surprised you don't see it because it does not transport well. I see it in the summer at the local grocery stores but it always looks wilted. The flavor is strong and it has a slimy texture if boiled. It definitely must be prepared correctly and then it is delicious.

    I spent yesterday and today outside so much I got sunburned! Scooter spent time beside me helping me dig in the mud. He decided something exciting was underground and he had to find it. When he finally came inside, he got a bubble bath, which he hates. I told everyone to keep him inside until the ground dries some, if not, they can give him the next bath.

    It feels good to get some work finally done but there is much more to do.

  4. Your garden looks great! I can't wait to see photos of it a few months from now. And omg Scooter is so adorable! :)

    1. This morning I was able to go out to the garden early (even though we got home from work after midnight) and do a little work. It was a surprise when I looked at the pictures above because everything has grown quite a bit these few days.

      As I sit on the couch, I can see where Scooter followed Bill back into the house from the garden. There are muddy foot prints on the wood floor starting at the front door, going over to the stool under the window, on the white towel which is on top of the stool, and then to the bathtub. After I cool off, it will be time to get up and mop the floor.

      Yes, he is adorable, but also so much trouble.

  5. Your garden looks like it has a great start! Your plants are already outgrowing mine, which is what I thought might happen since you have so much warmer weather where you live. Mine is really starting to grow now, though, except for the things that didn't come up (slicing and lemon cucumbers) and the corn that got stolen by the crows:(. So, even your late start won't stop that garden, I think!

    I do have a lot of carrots up as well, as my niece planted a long row of old Dollar Tree seeds, and I though they might not come up. But, a lot of them did. So, we have those, and some other ones I planted, a multi-colored variety, just for fun. My watermelon plants look sad, even with the green mulch. Hopefully, they will perk up! We have not had hardly any rain, which is not normal, so I think I need to water more. So, I have been.

    I'm sure things are different everywhere, but around here, onions that winter over usually go to seed the following spring. Then, they don't store well at all. So, here, we let them dry out in the fall, and store them somewhere cool and dry. I have a couple of kinds that store very well--Copra, and Red Bull. There is a new kind I'm trying. Mine never get very big. I'm not sure why. We also have the green onions that only grow the green part. I've had lots of success overwintering them, and letting them go to seed and drop seeds the following spring--this is the 2nd year I have not done a think except weed the patch and harvest. I am considering moving the patch, though, as nothing likes to grow in the same place forever.

    I'm glad you are getting a rest from your busy work schedule. Gardening is not "rest" so to speak, but it's still super fun for us gardening maniacs:)

    1. Today has been an unusually cool day, very rare for this time of the year. We have the windows open and are enjoying the cool breeze. I can't stop working in the garden! I come in and read a few of your posts on your blog, then get back up and go to the garden to do "just one more thing." I weeded the onions this morning and have even more than I realized. This year I will need to get creative as to how I use them. It is always fun to try new recipes. I think I will let a few go to seed and plant them somewhere in the garden to see what happens.

      I planted more watermelons this year because last year we only had one. One is not enough for me.

      My carrots are tiny little sprouts now. They always take months longer to mature than the packages claim because my soil is hard clay. If I wait, they will eventually get large enough - as long as the rabbits leave them alone.

  6. We were late getting our garden planted too. We've had loads of rainy chilly weather. We have radishes and beets popping up. :)

  7. Scooter will be so glad when you're home and making him the center of the Universe....where he belongs. It looks like you have your hands full and I'm impressed, as always, with all that you grow. If I had that much planted, it would have to weed itself! LOL I'm trying to blog more so, if you don't, I'll be missing you.....

    1. I have not weeded anything but instead chose to conveniently crop out some of the horrors. Life has begun to slow down the last few days and I am trying to catch up. I miss blogging but alas, life gets in the way. As for Scooter, all he really needs is Pack Leader. Bill had gone to the store and that was the real reason for the forlorn look on Scooter's face.