Tuesday, June 1, 2010

In the Garden

It takes a lot of work to have a good garden, and the work is continuous, from planting to harvest. because I work away from home, most of the planting and cultivating is done by Larry; my main part is the harvest and storage of the food he works so hard to produce.

Larry likes to use the high-wheel cultivator once the plants get to a certain size, because this old-time tool doesn't damage roots and leaves like a tiller (even his little Mantis tiller) can do.
Here are the results of his efforts so far:

The corn, beans and potatoes garden. This was taken over a week ago, so the potatoes are in bloom now and the corn is about 6 inches taller. The half-runner beans are vining now too. In the background are his rattlesnake bean trellises and he's thinking they need to be taller because those beans grow pretty high.

Isn't this a pretty garden? I like the deep green of the potato leaves and the softer green of the beans together. The purple beans are in the middle bean row, with a row of half runners above and another below them.
The early garden close to the house has all the things (except potatoes) that can go in the ground before the last frost date. Again, this was a week ago; the peas were picked this weekend and put in the freezer.
This year I grew Dwarf Gray Sugar peas, a snow pea variety that I like very much. It has been hard to find for some years, but now several places seem to have it in the catalogs. It's not a snap pea--those are a later hybrid. The Dwarf Grays are an heirloom variety, according to several websites, although the variety's exact age seems to be a matter of opinion (from 1892 to the 1700's to "over 200 years old"). I like these peas for three reasons: the flower, pink and purple, is just lovely; the vines only grow 2-3 feet tall, making them easy to stake; and the peas freeze and cook very well. they are not fat and juicy like snap peas, but flat and more like the pea used in oriental cooking.
Isn't it pretty? These peas flower and produce prolifically, and the leaf tips and top of the stems, as well as the flower, are said to be edible--I haven't tried them yet myself, though.
The end result of Larry's labors:
A nice picking of peas, and a few carrots that I thinned from the row. Most of the two pecks of peas we picked (say that five times fast!) are now in the freezer; the rest of the peas and the carrots were cooked for Memorial Day dinner with...

these! The first new potatoes of the season! It's so exciting when the potatoes are ready to eat. Larry planted early this year, on March 10, so we're several weeks ahead of the usual early potatoes. I parboiled the potatoes, then stir-fried them with the peas, carrots, some chives and some garlic. So tender and tasty. We only had to buy one five-pound bag of potatoes between the last of last year's crop and this batch.


Other pickings this weekend: our first cherries from the tree we planted last year, and a cutting of chives which were used in the stir fry and the rest chopped and frozen. The cherries will go into a pie tomorrow night.


Larry planted the last garden yesterday--late corn, Indian corn, sunflowers, pumpkins and butternut squash and some birdhouse gourds. Next we'll be replanting as different vegetables mature--lettuce, onions, cucumbers, etc.
And I still need to get my garlic in the ground!

24 comments:

Nance said...

Beautiful, bountiful! I love growing what I can in my small garden. And I take photos of them too. PS: tell Larry good job with the tilling!

Susan at Stony River said...

Lovely! And boy does it bring back memories -- many wonderful memories!

Angela said...

Your garden looks wonderful Granny Sue! Larry is doing a fantastic job! Our garden looks nothing like yours..... Sigh..... I really hope to have a good garden this year. We'll see.

Granny Sue said...

There's nothing like a garden to make a person feel good--and tired! Larry really puts the time in, and you know the older he gets, the better gardener he is. Used to be he was all about one crop--tomatoes, or potatoes, maybe corn--and didn't care much about the rest of the garden. Now he puts it all together and takes care of everything so well.

Country Whispers said...

Your gardens are looking great. It is so rewarding to have all those great veggies after all the time we spend tilling, watering and weeding.
It makes it all worth the work that we put into it.

Mary said...

Beautiful! No wonder they grow so well for you and Larry -- you appreciate them so thoroughly on so many levels . . .

Rowan said...

Larry has produced a great garden, my favourite would be the cherries - I love cherrries, the first of the English cherries are just coming into the greengrocers now, they are grown mostly in Kent, the Garden of England. I had to smile as I visualized you staking your 203 ft peas:) :)

hart said...

Larry is right he needs taller stakes "the vines only grow 203 feet tall,"
Kidding aside--it looks wonderful. My six little pea vines are only just now flowering.--Jane

Granny Sue said...

Rowan, lol! Them's some big beans, all right. Maybe that's the kind Jack climbed to the giant's place?

Granny Sue said...

I had to fix that! Larry would work himself to death trying to get them to grow that tall!

D said...

Do you happen to hire Larry out!?
Beautiful garden. My little 12x12 looks pathetic when I look at yours.

TheresaandJay said...

Susie, your gardens look beautiful. My garden doesn't look anywhere near as pretty or productive! Oh heavy sigh, it's kind of like sports...maybe next year! Love you.

Matthew Burns said...

I can tell y'all put a lot of hard work into the gardens. Everything looks great. I agree with Larry about the cultivator, you just can't beat them. Those cherries look amazing. I never was a fan of cherries when I was growing up, but recently they have become one of my very favorite things.

Carol Connolly said...

Granny Sue,
Your garden reminds me of my childhood. My Grandma had a huge garden. They had an extra city lot and it was all garden. and to one side she had berry bushes. The peaches from her peach tree went into pies and kuchen. I remember eating those peaches right from the tree and the juice running off my elbow.
Thanks for the memories.

Granny Sue said...

I've tried to have a cherry tree ever since I left my parents' home, Matthew. They had 4 or 5 trees that produced baskets of plump, big cherries. Every time I'd plant a tree, something would happen to it--goats ate it, tractor ran over it, etc. So I'm really excited to finally have my own cherries, after only 40 years of trying. We planted an additional tree this year, so one day maybe I'll even be able to make cherry jam.

Carol, your Grandma's garden sounds like the neighbors when I was a girl. They all had gardens and all sorts of fruit bushes and trees on their lots. We had damson, apples, raspberries and grapes in addition to our garden. Next door, Miss Mary had three kinds of cherries, peaches, pears, strawberries, raspberries, plums, damsons and all kinds of other stuff. Even apricots, I think. The neighbors also kept chickens, so even in town they were able to grow a lot of their own food.

Granny Sue said...

D, even little gardens produce a lot, as you probably know. We had one about that size and I grew pounds and pounds of food in it. I think small gardens encourage us to plant in rotation and to make better use of the grouns--less wasted space between rows, more bush/trellised/staked plants, etc. and little gardens can be so pretty!

wvsimplicity said...

Your garden looks great! I was surprised how nice those carrots looked after thinning. What variety are they? We too live in WV, but our cherry trees got nipped from frost. No cherries for us this year :( WOW, it looks like its paying off planting your corn early! If you plant your garlic now, will you have garlic this year, or will it be left for next year? This is only the second year for us growing garlic. Still greenhorns when it comes to growing garlic. We have been planting ours in October and then harvesting end of June or first of July. We too are growing the same variety of snow peas. Really beautiful blooms. We have never grown this variety before. Do you blanch yours before freezing? Love your blog. Always look forward to checking it out.

Granny Sue said...

I'll have to check my carrot variety, wv; i'm not sure I wrote it down. They might just be what was available at the feed store. These are the thinnings; I still need to do more but should have a good crop to harvest at full size, I think. We've only been lucky with carrots the last 2 years, and it sure makes me happy. About the garlic, I expect (hope) to be able to harvest this fall, but we'll see. I've never tried this elephant garlic before. I have some of the regular kind that comes up by itself every year and keeps me pretty well supplied, but I wanted to try something different. And yes, I did just barely blanch them. I boiled the water and then put the peas in a handled screen basket and dipped them in for about 30 seconds, just enough to get them hot.

I'm glad you enjoy my blog! I love to write it.

smallpines.com said...

UM - WOW! I have to tell you ... you might want to stop calling that thing a garden, and start calling it a farm! So beautiful too - the rows, the orderliness, the scenery. That's amazing.

Granny Sue said...

Pines, back in yonder days we did a little truck farming, along with turkeys, tobacco, sorghum molasses, beef cattle, hay, etc. It's been a long time ago. Now I'm happy to grow enough for us and our friends and family. There is nothing as satisfying to me as a garden. Can you tell?

Nance said...

Sue. You called it. "Satisfying. Gardening". one and the same! Synonyms. Gardening sure does lighten my heart.

Janet, said...

You have a very nice garden! can't believe you already have potatoes, we had to replant some of ours, they rotted in the ground. I just picked cherries off my neighbor's tree, I made some jam today and will make a cobbler tomorrow.

Granny Sue said...

being on a ridge makes a difference, Janet. The soil warms more quickly and drains faster, and there's less danger of frost. That's why there are so many truck farmers on Aplin Ridge and Kentuck. We're further north, but we get some of the same benefits.

Twisted Fencepost said...

My your garden looks great. Larry is doing a great job.
I've never eaten a pie made from fresh cherries. I'll bet it beats those canned cherries by a mile. I will be replanting as I have time.

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