There’s not much gardening going on right now. I really need to get out and raze the dead plants and overgrown weeds, spread some compost, and overlay with mulch of some sort to prep the beds for late Winter planting (peas!).   But since I’ve recently come into a stash of family recipes and need some place to put them, I might as well put them here.  Every now and then I have wanted to share a recipe on the blog anyway, so I might as well make a whole category for it. So here goes!

Our first recipe will be for Kling, which is apparently an old heirloom family recipe for Norwegian lefse, a traditional flatbread. I have three different recipes here, so I’ll just share them all in this one post because there is very little difference between them.  I suppose it’s important to note that there is a specific lefse griddle used.

The first one appears to be a photo copy of a recipe book, but it’s our family name.


KLING – Larson Style Lefse

  • 2 C. Flour
  • 1/2 C. Lard (or Crisco) Generous measure
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 C. Luke Warm Water

Mix and knead as soft as possible.

Roll like pie crust and bake on one side on griddle @ 450F.

Beat 1 Egg in 1/4 C. Water. Put this mixture on baked side of lefse.

Rebake: Bake both sides on griddle @ 400F. Do plain side first.

Stack in pairs, with plain sides (those without egg mixture) together.

Fill a large pan with water and soak the plain sides.

After a short period of time, separate and spread the plain side with butter & sugar. Fold and cut into serving pieces.

This recipe will make 6 lefse. We usually use four times the recipe.


This next recipe is very similar to the previous one, but seems to have been typed out with additional notes.


Kling (Larson Type Lefsa)

  • 2 Cups Flour (generous measure)
  • 1/2 Cups Lard
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 Cup lukewarm Water

Mix and knead as soft as possible.

Roll out like pie crust – but as thin as possible – and bake on one side only on griddle at 450F. Stack.

Beat 1 egg in 1/4 C. water. Put this mixture on baked side of lefsa. (I usually use a pastry brush for this – doing it over the sink, as it’s messy)

Rebake: Bake on both sides at 400F. (I usually do the side wit the egg mixture on it first, then it will flatten out on the grill and it’s easier to do the plain side.)

Put in pairs, with sides without mixture together.

Fill a large pan with water and soak the side without the egg mixture. (Dipping hand in water and lifting it up and splashing the lefsa, until it is well soaked). Stack & let rest a short period of time.

Separate and spread with sugar and butter on the plain side. Fold in half, trim off edges, and cut into servings.


This next one I know is a family recipe. It’s written out in my mother-in-law’s hand, copied out of my father-in-law’s grandmother’s cookbook.


Great Grandma Larson’s Kling

  • 8 cups flour
  • 4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups shortening
  • 2 cups lukewarm water

Mix together flour, salt, & shortening. Add water.

Roll real thin & bake just a few minutes on one side on griddle at 450F.

Eggs & water beaten & spread on baked side. Bake *dry side first* then flip & do egg side. Cover with water – both sides. Pile together & wrap with a towel. Wait 30 minutes.

Butter & sugar!

Cut into shapes. Scraps are treats to enjoy right away! Kling freezes very well.


Don’t you just love family recipes? I know my husband is anxious for me to try this one. It was one of his favorites growing up, and since I’m so attached to my family cookies, I’m going to have to try this out for him. Much like my family cookies, though, these will have to be sometimes treats since they don’t really fall on the “real foods” diet I try to keep us on when we’re not bombarded with holidays and traveling.

Keep your eyes open for more recipes as I decide to share them! Some will be family recipes, some will simply be favorites that my little family enjoys.


Categories: Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Battling the Winter Blahs

Okay, so Winter isn’t actually officially here yet. I’m already battling it, though. Mostly because I’ve been battling the Autumn blahs. We had a lot of unexpected rain, and I got out of the habit of checking on my garden daily. That let in all sorts of bugs, which ate up my squash vines (not a great loss – it only produced one tiny squash, so I gave up on it) and my awesome cantaloupes (bigger loss, and probably salvageable if I’d been more motivated, which I wasn’t). Boo.

However, now that the weather is cooler, and I’m slightly more motivated to be outside, Christmas is kicking into high gear, and I have no time to actually BE outside. It’s a bit frustrating, and my garden is suffering. I need to make time because gardening is stress relieving, or so I’ve heard. And my gardens definitely need attention, although, frankly, I am surprised that my shamrocks keep coming back out front. It will be awesome if they make it through the winter and come back even more awesome in the Spring.

However, this post is supposed to be about my back garden. I received my 2015 catalog from Seed Savers Exchange last week and managed to put off looking at it until today. I shouldn’t have picked it up, though, because I did exactly what I knew I was going to do. I went to their website and bought seeds I won’t be able to plant for at least three more months. But it did get me thinking about that Crop Rotation post I made waaaay back in June and how wrong it is now.

Back in June, I was looking forward to clearing out my Summer crops and planting in the Fall, but that never happened. It’s like we skipped right over the nice breezy 80F days and went straight to 60F days. Goodbye, Summer! Hello, Winter! (Yes, yes, I know. 60F isn’t Winter. I am fully Texified now, at least as far as the weather is concerned. I am absolutely going to die when we go home for Christmas this year. There is a reason <3 Olaf <3 is my favorite character in the movie Frozen.)

grasshopper in chard

Grasshopper hiding in the chard.

So, my garden beds are looking pretty pathetic. Of course, I have no photos to show you because I was completely unprepared to write this post, but really, you don’t want to see my garden. It’s pretty yucky. There is a basil plant crossing the sidewalk from where it got blown over in a storm back in September. It actually reseeded in the squash bed, so I have a random basil growing over there. It’s the only thing growing over there, though. My squash plants are all dead. Even grass doesn’t grow in that bed, which is really odd, because grass tries to take over every other bed I have. The corn did great there, though, so I don’t know what the issue is.  Speaking of grass, my garlic and pea beds are both completely overgrown with it. My peppers and tomatoes have finally worn themselves out. The Anaheim peppers produced marvelously, by the way. I just had no idea what to do with them. They didn’t get as large as I was expecting, so I didn’t make them for the recipe I was growing them for.  In fact, I still have a bowl full of them in the refrigerator waiting for me to decide what to do with them.  They’re probably compost food now. My awesome cantaloupes produced five or six great melons, but were eaten by worms by the time I got out to check on them. So those vines are still out there rambling, too. And strangely enough, my Swiss Chard still keeps coming back for the grasshoppers to keep chowing down on. I see you hiding in there, Mr. Grasshopper! Seriously, I am over the grasshoppers.

So where was I? Oh yes, looking through that beautiful catalog. Not so great for my pocketbook after I had already been Christmas shopping this afternoon, especially since I have a box full of seeds sitting in my pantry waiting for me to plant them. I still have a monthly membership from Mike the Gardener’s Seeds of the Month club. I always forget, so it’s always a nice surprise when I get the seeds! But I need a few things… And Seed Savers is running a special right now for their 40th anniversary: spend $40 and get free shipping (and free tax for me, too, apparently)! By the time I added in shipping and tax, I might as well just run up the $40 and get seeds instead!

So I got a few things:

  • Tomatillo, Purple de Milpa
  • Tomatillo, Green Husk Organic
  • Feverfew (I’ve read it’s a good natural flea repellent. We’ll see.)
  • Lemon Mint (Mint is also a good natural flea repellent. Not sure about the “lemon/horse” part. But bees! Yay!)
  • Red Milkweed (Because Monarchs.)
  • Sea Shells Cosmos Mixture (I wanted something tall to sort of mask the mint plants. I like mint, but they’re not very pretty plants.)
  • Cardinal Climber (Again, something tall, but WOOT – hummingbirds! We had a couple flit around the windows, but I didn’t really have anything to attract them. Problem solved. Now I just need to figure out an arbor.)
  • Wormwood (I remembered reading I wanted this for one of my companion plants, but I was having trouble finding it anywhere… now I’m going to have to look up why I wanted it again. Note to self: Look! An article about Artemesia absinthium! Short version of several articles I’ve read: grow it in a separate container, repel moths and carrot flies.)
  • Pea, Green Arrow (Not the same pea we grew last year, but seems to get similar reviews. Going to try it, and going to grow more of it. Two beds this time! And better staking!)
  • Globe Basil (Basil. Mmm. Hoping it does as well next to tomatillos as it does next to tomatoes and peppers. I would presume so since they’re the same family.)
  • Carrot, Dragon (More purple carrots! Except when I was going through my box of seeds just now, it turns out I still have a packet of these! WHAT?! Yay! More carrots!)

And maybe if I get around to it, my next post will be what I plan on doing with all those seeds!


Categories: Plot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


canteloupe plants

I think there are three or four canteloupe plants here.


A month or so ago, I went to my local Producer’s Market and picked up some fresh canteloupe. It was *so* tasty. It was pretty green, so I wasn’t sure it was fully ripe yet, but it was melt-in-your hand juicy, and so, so sweet. So I saved a few seeds and put them in my failed cucumber bed to see if they would take. And take they did. I should probably thin them out, actually.



training canteloupe tendrils

Training tendrils to grab the cage instead of grass.


I’m hoping to train them up the cage so my landscapers don’t mow over the plants. I’m going to have to get out and do it soon because they’re wrapping their tendrils around the grass. I had to move these little guys over already.


canteloupe flower

Canteloupe flower



If each of these little yellow flowers produces a melon, we’re going to have a LOT of melon in a couple of months.

acorn squash and marigolds

Acorn squash and marigolds




On a related note, my acorn squash seems to be coming along. It looks like we’ve lost two plants, but we still have two going strong! My companion flowers never did come up, but I’m not too fussed about it. I’ll just have to keep an eye on the bugs. Both plants even have a couple of little blossoms. Actually, they’re large blossoms compared to the little ones on the melon plants!

pineapple sage blooming

Pineapple sage blooms!


And since it’s been raining so much this week (thank goodness, but what is UP with that?!), I haven’t been out in my garden much. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only was my pineapple sage still alive but blooming!

So, even though we’re in the dregs of Summer here in Central Texas, which is the worst of gardening season for a lot of us, I’m pleasantly surprised by my garden this week. I’m still looking forward to some cooler temperatures so I can get out there and actually be motivated to clean it up and do some Fall planting, though.

Categories: Plot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cleaning Up and Prepping for Fall

lemon tree seedling

Lemon Tree, very pretty…

A few months ago, Kirabug and I used up the last of my seed-starter soil and put in some seeds from some lemons I juiced, using Growing Wild Seeds as a guide. Out of the six seeds, I only had one seedling pop up despite my constant attention. Eventually, I stopped checking under the other covers and stopped watering those pots.  Then last week while I was watering, the plastic cover was bumped off the pots I had been ignoring, and I was surprised to find two more seedlings crowded under there. I quickly gave them some more water and decided I really did need to get more potting soil and move them to bigger pots. So now they’re in bigger pots.

Lemon tree seedlings

Three little seedlings, all in a row

Of course shopping for soil and compost started a chain reaction, though. I can’t go to a garden store and not look at the flowers. It has finally been hitting 100F here in central TX this week, though, and the humidity has been hovering between 60% and 80% when it’s not actually raining (which it isn’t), so all the plants at Home Depot are looking pretty pathetic for the most part.  For a big box store they do alright, but it really had me itching to go up to Bloomers, a garden shop in Elgin I really like.

purple coneflower

Purple Coneflower!

I actually had a plan in mind when I went there. I kept looking at the purple coneflower when I had been buying soil at Home Depot, but managed to not pick any of the flowers up.  I also thought I would check and see if Bloomers had any sage plants that were healthy that I could use to replace my Pineapple Sage that was demolished by every type of bug in my garden.  I wasn’t looking for Pineapple Sage in particular. A general, neutral-flavored sage would have sufficed.  I’ve also been on the lookout for mint to help repel fleas, but mint just doesn’t fare well here in Texas heat, I’ve decided. Those three things were what I had in mind.

girl fills bucket with soil

Kirabug adds soil and compost to her planter.




We immediately found the large purple blooms. It was difficult not to walk out with some brightly colored zinnias to go with it.  As it is, Kirabug talked me into getting her a Blackfoot Daisy.  I told her she had to help me plant it and water it and take care of it, all of which she promised to do.  She did actually help me plant it. Or Cinderella did. But she’s ignored it since then. I guess it’s a good thing she’s not in charge of feeding the cats.

green garden spider

Green garden spider

argiope spider

Black and yellow Argiope




Their herbs all looked really good, too. They had several different types of sage, but I was greeted by some ginormous Pineapple Sage.  The one I had before was only in a four-inch pot. The new one I bought was in a gallon-size pot.  Hopefully it lasts longer than the last one. The grasshoppers are bigger this time. I was going to move my neighborhood Argiope into it since I want to cut down the bed she’s in, but she already has competition from this green guy, and the sage has only been in the ground 24 hours. I guess I’ll move the black and yellow spider over to the daisy instead.

After I picked up the sage, I walked around the corner of the table and nearly smacked into a hanging pot of spearmint. The whole end of the table and the back side was covered in various mints that were thriving.  Around this time someone asked if I needed help, and I said I didn’t, but I did wonder what they were doing to keep their mint alive because they were the best I’d seen anywhere. In Indiana, I couldn’t kill it, but here in Texas, I can’t seem to keep it alive.  She gave me some tips (water daily if it’s in a pot, and juice it with Iron now and then), and I picked up a peppermint.  All in all, a pretty good shopping trip.

herb garden

Herb plot: Lemon variegated thyme, marigold, hot & spicy oregano, stevia, pineapple sage, rosemary, peppermint, Italian oregano, and purple coneflower.


Hopefully I can keep everything alive in this crazy Texas heat.  After we got home, it was too hot to work in the garden, so I just placed the plants where I wanted them. The next morning, though, I was out mixing the soil and compost together to repot my lemon seedlings and get the new plants in the ground, except the mint, which is in a pot.

lemon variegated thyme

Lemon variegated thyme, looking good!




I also added some of the soil and compost around the existing plants. I’m especially proud of how the lemon variegated thyme is bouncing back. I was worried about it after the initial difficulty we had with the ant nest where I wanted to plant it.

I did some much needed weeding in the herb bed, but I still need to cut down the grass in the former garlic bed where my little Argiope is.  I’d like to bake that bed before I plant peas in it this Fall. And you can see we need to rebuild the raised beds. I think we’re going to use concrete blocks. But that’s another blog post.

squash and marigolds

No more corn, just squash and marigolds

young acorn squash plant

Acorn squash baby

Along with cleaning up the herb garden, I cut down the corn. I actually did have five or six ears produce, but I let them sit on the stalks too long. I think the ants were mostly eating them anyway, so I’m not sure they would have been good.  I dug up the roots that were left and added them to my compost piles, then added my soil and compost mixture to my little baby acorn squashes.  I’m still trying to decide what to plant with them now that the bed is so empty.  The only companion plant I’ve read about is Nasturtium. I have some seeds, but I haven’t had much luck with those this year.  Squash plants can get pretty big, so I might just give them the bed and work on keeping it weed free until they get bigger.

rose of sharon cutting

Rose of Sharon #2. This stick refuses to die. I almost expect it to survive and thrive when everything else fails, including the mint (again).

rose of sharon cutting

Rose of Sharon #1. This one is actually the healthiest. It’ll probably be the first to die.

This is much wordier than I expected to be (I should know by now), so one final note: I needed another large pot to put my lemon seedlings in as I only had two, so I decided to repot the Rose of Sharon cuttings my mom had sent me. These puppies keep holding on despite how sad they look, so I thought with some bigger pots and proper soil, maybe they’d actually prosper enough that I could find a home in the ground for them, or at least consider putting money into nicer, matching pots for them once they get bigger.  So these are my sad little Roses of Sharon.  That one with no leaves? Don’t worry. They’ll grow back. It’s done it at least three times now since I’ve had it, and that’s only been about two months.  Maybe my thumb isn’t quite as black as it used to be.

Categories: Plot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Website: Outlaw Garden

I spend too much time on Facebook. Occasionally I come across something really good, though, like this article from Organic Gardening magazine: Confessions of an Outlaw Gardener. Cristina Santiestevan writes about how her HOA is one of the many that restricts where vegetables can be grown (in her case, only in the back or side of the yard), but she breaks the “law” by sneaking in her food crops by mixing them in with “normal” annual and perennial flowers and plants.

Of course I was sucked in by her narrative and checked out her website, Outlaw Garden :: Breaking the Rules by Growing Vegetables (even when the HOA says no). We’re really fortunate that we don’t live in a neighborhood at all, much less one with an HOA. Our landlady is super excited about anything I mention in regards to gardening, so I really don’t have any issues there. I’m still intrigued by sites like this, though, because I like my garden to be pretty, and I do have friends that do live in more restrictive neighborhoods who might find the information useful.  Plus, I still consider myself a gardening n00b, so I tend to soak up new information like crazy, especially when it’s presented in such an interesting way.

I’ll let you peruse her site on your own, but there were two posts that got my attention right away. 1) Five Fast-Growing Veggies to Plant Now, and 2) TLC for Mail-Ordered Sweet Potatoes. Okay, I’ll give an honorable mention to Conversations with Neighbors: Peas and Peppers.

The Veggies to Plant Now grabbed my attention to see if there was anything I should maybe be adding to my list to plant in my beds for the Fall sooner rather than later. It pretty much confirmed what I already had in mind, although I might try my cucumbers again because the plants I have just aren’t getting enough sunlight, shaded by the beans like they are.

I’ve been tossing around the idea of Sweet Potatoes, and I’m still considering it as I still saw slips available at the Producer’s Market down the street, but it’s getting awfully late in the season for them. This post says most need 120 days, which would put me harvesting in December. Hmm. We’ll probably have a frost by then, and I don’t know if the plants would hold out that long. I guess for the $2 a slip, it would be worth it to try, right?

Conversations with Neighbors is a good read and good general advice. Make friends with your neighbors. Offer your food, don’t just wave and smile. They might surprise you and say yes. You might find out they’re breaking all the rules, too.

I’m sure there are other goodies on her blog, and I need to do more reading. What gems can you find there?

Categories: Books and Websites | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Corn in the Wind

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve been worried about my corn because storms have come through and just flattened it out from the rain. It looks like we’re about to get another one of those storms.  This time it’s taking its time moving in, and it’s still a little light out, so I thought I’d take photos of the corn just in the wind. And this is just a mild wind compared to some of the wind gusts we’ve been getting with our storms. The reports are saying these storms are only producing 40 mph wind gusts; usually it’s in the 60 to 80 mph range. The rain should hit in about an hour, which will bow down the stalks even more, if we actually get it.  So this is what it looks like now, in just moderate wind, with no rain. You can see the tomatoes straining in the background there, too.

corn in wind

Corn in the Wind

For comparison, this is my corn in one of the less gusty moments. You can compare the angles to the tomato trellises and the wooden trellis over by the lime tree in the two photos. The stalks are a bit battered for having been in the wind a while now, especially the weaker ones, but they’ll recover. You can imagine how alarming it is to watch when they’re practically touching the ground in the rain, though.


Corn in the Not-As-Windy


Categories: Plot Gardening | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Garden Art: Tin Can Wind Chime

I follow a lot of parenting pages on Facebook, and occasionally one will post a link that really catches my eye.  Last night after Kirabug had gone to bed, one came up that had a link to thirty different Summer activities for kids. Immediately I was wishing for more paint in the house.  My craft supplies are either buried in the garage or somewhat limited; I’m not really sure.  Either way, I decided we just had to do this craft in particular: Homemade Wind Chimes! Kira loves to paint, and I have a ton of cans in my pantry waiting for a project. Win-win!

girl with paints

Kira filled the paint palette.

cans lined up by size

Then she lined up the cans in size order.


girl painting cans

Kira painted the cans. (I got to paint some, too!)

painted cans

Our finished cans! We sprinkled them with glitter. That was a fun learning experience.


punching holes in cans

After the paint dried, I punched holes in the top of the cans (Kira modeled for me).

twine through painted cans

Kira put twine through the holes, and I tied rocks underneath to keep the twine from pulling through.


child's art gallery

Our finished wind chime!

wind chime hanging in door way

Our wind chime hanging in the front garden.








































Kira refused to get dressed to pose with our finished product, so I held the finished wind chime while she held the camera. You can see part of her art gallery behind me, with my one token painting that’s allowed to be part of the gallery. And there’s the wind chime hanging outside our front door.  One of these days I need to clean up the front bed and update y’all on what we’ve done out there.

Kirabug’s verdict? She’s pleased with the overall project, but she thought it was “boring.” (Her word, not mine). She had fun painting about two cans, but after that she got bored. I helicoptered too much on the glitter. I should have just let her dump it all out and not worried about how much she wasted; the package for all four colors was only a dollar or two. She was mad that she couldn’t just punch a hole in the can with the hole punch and that we had to use a hammer (she doesn’t like the noise). I need to find a hammer her size because she could barely lift mine. She enjoyed putting the string through the holes from the top of the cans.  However, after I got one rock tied on to the bottom of one string, and she started playing with the can and string, the string fell through, and it had to be restrung from the bottom. Since I hadn’t done anything to blunt the sharp edges of the can, I wouldn’t let her put her hand inside to restring it. So that made her mad and lose interest, too, especially after I told her to stop playing with them so the strings wouldn’t fall out any more. She was pretty excited to show our finished wind chime to Daddy though, who happened to get home right as we were tying the last knot.

Well, I thought it was fun. And it certainly adds a bit of color to the front yard!

Categories: Unrelated to Anything | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Buggy Scavenger Hunt

I noticed an Argiope aurantia spider in my grass-filled former-garlic bed yesterday, so I went out to try to photograph her this morning. I love getting my macro lens out because it always turns into a sort of scavenger hunt for me. I always see things I don’t necessarily notice until I’m looking through the lens of a microscope (essentially).  Here are a few critters I noticed this morning.

argiope spider

My Argiope, aka St. Andrew’s Cross, corn spider, writing spider, or zipper spider


crab spider in marigold

Crab spider hiding in a marigold


tiny fly on marigold

Tiny fly on marigold


Fuzzy black caterpillar

This fuzzy black caterpillar was climbing the wall of my house, but I picked several of his friends out of my beans and chard yesterday. Grr.


Categories: Unrelated to Anything | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crop Rotation

Now that summer is almost here (Olaf should be happy!), I’m thinking more and more about “what next.” Up north, everyone stops gardening for the winter, but down here in South-Central Texas, most people stop gardening for the summer.  As it is, I already do my gardening after 7pm these days. If I don’t have my task list done by 8:00, it doesn’t get done. By then the biting bugs are coming out, and I’m riddled with new itchy bumps on my arms and neck.  So, I’ve gone back to looking at crop rotation plans and thinking about what I want to plant next year, or even next season for that matter.

Let’s start with what I have.

garden map

Garden Map

  1. [Onion Family] I planted and harvested garlic, so right now it’s growing weed-grass.  I need to be deciding if I’m going to cover it and let it bake out the bad stuff for the summer, or if I’m going to try to plant the next rotation and get some other nutrients going in there before the Fall growing season comes in.
  2. [Perennial Bed] This started as a salad bed with spinach, corn salad, purple cauliflower, pak choi, arugula, mesclun mix, Tom Thumb lettuces, and some scattered carrots. The spinach, corn salad, and Tom Thumb lettuces actually did really well despite the beating they took this winter, but I never really took advantage of the harvest they offered. Eventually I dug it in and turned it into an herb garden instead. Now it has two types of oregano, lemon-variegated thyme, stevia, rosemary, and a dead pineapple sage. The sage makes me sad. It was really tasty and I keep hoping its roots are just in hibernation. I think the bugs probably ate those, too, though.
  3. [Grass Family – Squash Family] This is my Three Sisters bed. The corn is the most prolific, but there are three french green bean plants, and there are now four acorn squash plants growing through the middle.
  4. [Bean Family] Modified Three Sisters bed. I have purple pod bush beans growing well around the outside and could easily call that the primary crop.  I have two cucumbers half-heartedly growing in two corners. I started with four, but lost one in one of the heavy rainstorms. The third one seems content to stay three inches tall. It hasn’t died, but it hasn’t grown since I planted it two months ago either. Who knows? On a diagonal separating the cucumber corners is a row of small sunflowers that are just starting to bloom.
  5. [Tomato Family] Tomatoes and basil, with a couple of indecisive nasturtium. The nasturtium grew into some nice-sized plants but never flowered, and now they look like they’re going to die on me. The only one that every bloomed was the teeny tiny three-leafed one that popped up in my lime tree pot. Weird.
  6. [Tomato Family] Peppers and basil, with Swiss chard separating this plot from the #5 tomato plot. The chard is doing better on this side than the other side, but all of it is being eaten by caterpillars, snails, and grasshoppers. I don’t think I’m going to be able to harvest any of it this year.
  7. [Cabbage & Carrot Families] There were peas on the outside edges, but the middle was a mix of radishes, carrots and turnips. I have about six carrots left to harvest, and then I was thinking of baking this bed, too.

Perusing vegetable crop rotation plans, I came across this one at Harvest to Table, which seems to fit my gardening style and tastes well.  It does a nice job of breaking down the different families and what you can/should follow each one with to optimize soil health and minimize pests and diseases. So using that as a guide, this is my rough plan for what to do in the Fall.

  1. [Bean Family] So, I’ll probably weed and bake for the summer, then plants peas or beans for the Fall. We really enjoyed the peas but wanted more, and the purple pod beans looks like they’ll be good producers. I wouldn’t mind having a full bed of either one.
  2. [Perennial Bed] The plants are small now, but they’ll be larger in a year or two.
  3. [Bean Family] Acorn squash is a Fall crop, and especially as late as these plants popped up, I expect them to go late into the season. My seed packet says 80-90 days, which is September, so I may get a late season of Legumes in here. This might be a better bed for the peas, which need a cooler season, and I can do a second run of the purple pod beans up in bed #1.
  4. [Cabbage Family] My beans are primarily around the edges, but if I plan carefully, I could do well with Brussels sprouts or broccoli here. Maybe I could try my purple cauliflower again. Then this bed would be fallow/baking next Spring/Summer.
  5. [Onion Family] Onions or garlic around October.
  6. [Onion Family] Garlic or onions.
  7. [Tomato Family] Definitely bake for the summer. Can I get seed potatoes for the Fall? Potatoes would be fun to try, and they apparently make a good winter crop in warmer climates. For my reference, sweet potatoes are NOT in the tomato family and need to be a summer crop.  Here’s a good guide on growing from an organic sweet potato. Back to the regular potato idea, that article does remind me why I was undecided on trying potatoes in the ground, though. Growing them in a container makes for easier harvesting unless I grow them in the middle and get really good at hilling. Maybe I should go price some chicken wire to help hold the hill.

Other than that, I still need to put some thought into what I’d like to grow.

We really enjoy carrots and radishes. We need to do more radishes, and we definitely need to space the timing out more. Fortunately, they’re small enough, I can work some into the edges and corners of just about every bed if I wanted to.  I’ll just have to look up my companion planting guides to make sure they’re not going next to things that don’t like them. Ditto on the carrots.

We also really enjoyed the peas, but we definitely need to plant more. I’m also going to have to think of a better trellising system, and I need to look more into proper feeding.  This year I haven’t really done any extra feeding to my plants at all beyond a little Liquid Seaweed every couple of weeks and a layer of generic Texas compost mixed in with the soil at planting time.  Maybe then the whole family can enjoy the harvest, and not just Kirabug.

I’m undecided on the tomatoes and peppers. Maybe it’s early in the season, but my pepper plants just aren’t producing at all. Only one has fruited, but after three peppers (which were very tasty, but small), I think it’s done.  I’m up to four tomatoes, but they’re all fairly small, so I’m still unsure of those. It’s starting to be too hot for tomatoes down here, so I’m a little anxious about them.  Either way, all five plants have been fairly unproductive.

I don’t think I’ll do corn again, though. I’m curious about the squash. And we’re definitely doing beans of some sort. The purple pod beans are neat, but I’ll have to stake them better next year. I’m still undecided on the cucumbers. Mine aren’t doing as well as my neighbor’s. His are in full sun, though, where mine are shaded by the bean plants, and that is probably making a huge difference.

In fairness to my plants, I completely dropped the ball on attracting pollinators. I might have to drop one of the beds to zinnias and coneflowers, which would be okay, too. We’ll just have to see.

Categories: Plot Gardening | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Beans and Tomatoes

A day or two after my last post, we had another heavy rain come through. It was actually a pretty bad storm for this area. Two hours northwest of us, there were tornadoes. Thankfully, the damage was relatively minimal compared to how tornadoes can be through here. The story that really grabbed my attention was one where a family was actually sheltering in their house when it was picked up by the tornado and carried a hundred yards. Not one of the family members was hurt, and they give all the credit to God. Angels were definitely watching over them.

Fortunately by the time the storm got to us, the tornadoes had worn themselves out, and we just had a nice thunderstorm for an hour or two. We didn’t even really have a power outage. The lights blinked long enough to reboot the computers that were still on, but that was it. The bigger concern was that the wind was so bad, the tree in our neighbor’s yard was whipping against the power line in his back yard.  At one point, a power surge went through, there were two loud booms, and a few softball-sized fireballs started popping off the line. Fortunately, it was pouring sheets of rain, so no wildfires were started, but my husband was on the line with the power company the minute it happened. They’re sending a contractor out to trim the tree next week. Exciting times around here.

So what did all that weather mean for my garden? My corn was laid out flat again, so I put a stake next to one of them to help it stand up a little straighter. My tomatoes and beans were flopped over pretty hard, too. I was actually afraid my tomato vines might break from their own weight, so I went out the next morning and tied them to the trellis again where they had grown from the last time I tied them up. I did a fair amount of trimming, too. The previous rain storm left a lot of yellowing leaves, so I trimmed off the dying branches and a few non-flowering leafy branches to help the plants focus on the fruiting branches. So this is what my garden looked like on 14 June 2014, a couple of mornings after that storm.

raised bed gardens

Garden View

tomato vines

Tomato vines trimmed up

Atkinson tomato

Atkinson tomato

Azoychka tomato

Azoychka tomato








As I said, I trimmed up the tomato vines quite a bit. You can actually see space between them and the basil again, although part of that is because the grasshoppers are really going to town on the basil.  My Atkinson vine now has three fruits on it, and the Azoychka has one tomato that I’m keeping a close eye on.  It seems to be more susceptible to bugs than the Atkinson does so far.

purple pod bush bean plants in a row

Purple pod bush bean plants in a row

purple pod bush bean plant

Purple pod bush bean in relationship to the whole plant

purple pod bush bean ready for harvest

Purple pod bush bean ready for harvest






The purple pod bush beans are looking really good, too.






I actually harvested some today.  I’m hoping the ones I harvested will hold out in the refrigerator for a couple of days for a few more to ripen on the vine so we can have a full serving for all of us.These are said to be resistant to the Mexican bean beetle, but apparently something thinks they’re tasty as I found one with a hole in it. I did find a couple of fuzzy black caterpillars munching on the leaves, so maybe the holes came from them.

harvested purple pod bush beans

Harvested purple pod bush beans will turn green once blanched.

I’m looking forward to cooking them, and I know Kirabug is, too. I keep telling her they’re like magic because they change color while they’re cooking. So she’s latched on to that and calls them “magic beans.” She doesn’t seem to be too disappointed that the magic is that they change color, not grow thousands of feet in the air to the clouds.

Categories: Plot Gardening | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment