After yesterday’s errands and walk, the last tomato was caged, two more peppers planted and staked, the blueberries netted against thieving birds, so I can enjoy all of that luscious blue fruit. A stop, no, 4 stops to try to get sweet potato starts were a failure, but the last stop said they had been shipped and should be in today or tomorrow, so today’s check in was a winner and a bundle purchased. It is much too large for our garden or our family use, so the bundle will be shared.
We got our walk in just before the rain began and between showers, the half barrel that will contain the sweet potatoes was moved to the garden on a cardboard layer to deter weeds from growing through the bottom or up around the sides and then filled with fresh soil. The slips are soaking in a pot of water for a few days to freshen the roots and they will be planted out. Herb seed and transplants were also done between showers, but now it is raining in earnest, good for the freshly planted seed and transplanted starts.
In my quest to use open pollinated vegetables and save seed, the small Oui yogurt jars seem the perfect size for seed storeage. A google search produced silicone lids that fit the jars. A dark box will be scrounged and the seed will be stored in the back of the refrigerator between seasons. For several years, flower seed has been saved and replanted each year, beans and peas have been saved without much thought to how they were stored.
The next year or two, the open pollinated varieties may be switched until the ones that best suit us are tried and approved. The beans and peas that have been the spring and summer staples are already on the list. Dent corn varieties will be tried to provide corn meal and chicken scratch. Seminole pumpkins have been favored. Cucumbers are different each year, but maybe the best one has been selected this year. We use a lot of Jalapenos, but often grow several hot peppers, and they will cross pollinate, so that choice might be more difficult. The same with tomatoes. A good paste tomato for sauce and canning is great, but a fresh sliced tomato can’t be beat in the summer and again, there is the cross pollination issue. Lettuce and spinach are planted out repeatedly and not allowed to seed.
The battle with grass and weeds in the paths of the garden has been ongoing. Cardboard and mulch work for a short while. A huge load of wood chips would be ideal and could be added to each year, but it costs an arm and a leg to get it hauled up the mountain. Weed whacking around the beds seems to be the best that can be done for now, and hand pulling those that will come up. Some weeds are so persistent they will go through the barrier layers. It is exciting that the garden is coming together and fresh homegrown vegetables and fruits will soon be on our table and in our pantry and freezer.