Your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas; they are in your own backyard, if you but dig for them. ~ Russel H. Conwell
The past couple of days have been full and busy. So much so that taking even a moment to sit down and write was impossible. Thankfully, it is Monday morning, the sky is cloudy and promising a much-needed rain and I am anxious to get back into the swing of blogging.
The garden is done! Actually, a garden is never truly “done” I’ve discovered, but at least I can say that it is planted. The new extension portion has three rows of beets, one row of carrots, and a third of it full of sweet potato plants.
I probably should have read on sweet potato plants before I planted them because in reading a bit I’ve found that they spread. Didn’t know that. I thought they would be like growing a russet or white potato and the main growth would be underground. Apparently they get vines and wherever the vines touch down, you can get more sweet potatoes. Hopefully things won’t get too out of control.
I’ve also learned that from one sweet potato plant, the main one, you can expect about 5 to 7 potatoes. With 18 plants, this would be a great yield. I could be set with sweet potatoes for a good portion of the winter. I’d like to try drying them and seeing how they are reconstituted, but when I’ve kept store-bought sweet potatoes in the basement, they’ve kept for more than three months without issue, so drying isn’t a necessity.
With some of the overflow top soil that was delivered for the garden extension, I filled six pots and planted beans, one long flower box and planted scallions, and six additional pots that will be used for tomato suckers.
I read that if you snap off the stems that form in the V’s of the tomato plant branches — called ‘suckers’ — and plant them, you will get another plant. There are several different ways to get them to grow and I am trying two of them. I stuck two of them directly in a pot with very moist soil and so far they are doing well and I have three suckers sitting a jar full of water until they form roots. I’ll see which method is more effective and then snap some suckers later in the season so I can have tomatoes possibly through October.
My slug traps are doing their job! The body count as of this morning is 11. I’m going to make one more trap for my last pepper plant even though it hasn’t been attacked yet. I figure it’s better to have it and not need it, than not have it and need it.
While spreading the last of the mulch around the old section of garden, I noticed that my Brussel sprouts had tiny holes all over the leaves. Great, another infestation. I was sort of hoping it was slugs, but upon further investigation it turns out that it’s cabbage worms. Back in the spring, when the grass was just beginning to get some color and the birds were frolicking once again in the trees, I remember being excited when I caught sight of the first cabbage butterfly of the season. Little did I know that they love to lay their eggs on Brussel sprouts, kale and broccoli, and guess what I planted this year in the garden? You guess it, Brussel sprouts, kale and broccoli. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any cabbage worm trap ideas on the Internet, so settled on an organic spray that should take care of the problem.
Gardening is far more complicated than I thought. I guess that’s probably why I’ve never been successful in the past. I never paid attention to the details. Just plant, water, and harvest was my understanding of gardening and when that didn’t work, I assumed it was just bad luck. Now that I’m paying more attention to the details, or at least a lot more than before, perhaps gardening success will be within my reach.
The weather all last week was perfect for working outside. Although I miss being in the kitchen and planning my next canning adventure, I am truly enjoying the fresh air and closeness I feel with the earth when in the garden. I did however take a few minutes in the kitchen to whip up a batch of one of the kids favorite summer beverages — 5-4-3-2-1 Citrusade. With the help of Zeb we whipped it out in less than 15 minutes then were able to enjoy tall glasses of it in between tasks.
5 Cups of water
1 Cup of sugar (you might want to use only 3/4 Cup depending on how sweet you like it)
Juice limes, lemons and oranges. Measure 1 cups of mixed citrus juice and add to 5 cups of water. Add sugar and stir or shake until dissolved. Serve over tall glasses of ice.
With the garden planted, the waiting begins. Weeding, nurturing, watering, and feeding the garden will be a summer-long endeavor, but for now I think the heavy work is done. Now I can get back to all the wonderful tasks of being a wife, mother, and housewife and for this I am — Simply Grateful.