Sunday, May 27, 2012

Status Update

With everything almost planted, with the exception of lettuce and a few quick growing seeds, things are looking ok.

Beans, however, are being quite troublesome.  I have yellow and green bush beans planted.  Each 20 feet long and a foot wide.  I'm trying to do some wide rows this year.  Only the green have sprouted, and only in a 5' portion of the row.  The rest are one here, one there.  The yellow on the other hand, I think only 3 plants emerged in the same 20' wide row planting arrangement.  I'm not sure what is happening to these plants.  We once again, like last year, have replanted the beans.  Hopefully this time they will come up.

Peas are doing really well.  In fact I have to pick them tomorrow morning.  They all of a sudden just took off and are growing taller! 

First planting row of corn is up and looks awesome.  Last year it fought us as well.  2nd row just went in today.  This is a good spacing for us.  2 rows of 60' of corn staggered by 4 weeks.  Plenty of time to pick, eat, and freeze the harvest.

Tomatoes are growing like crazy.  Picking off the suckers and it's getting time to put string on the support.  Trying a new method this year, 4 stakes and string.  We'll see how this goes.  It's trial and error.

Peppers are good and strong.  Planted more bananna and some Jalepeno.  They are looking a little small but I did give them some fertilizer and the color has improved a bit. 

It has been ungodly hot these past few days.  Thunderstorms are around but seem to always miss us.  We could use some rain.  I'm filling 1 gallon jugs with water to transport to the garden.  No hose out there yet but we'll made due.

I have some pictures to post but have to transfer them from my phone.  Check back in a day or two.

Oh, and we have a yellow summer squash with a flower!  It's so exciting to see the fruits of our labor!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The main garden

The main garden has been tilled and fertilized with a 10-10-10 fertilizer.  I'm still learning what all those numbers mean but it's a general fertilizer so it went down!

I do have plant food for during the season fertilization.  I'll probably put that down in a few weeks.  Let the plants get established first.

One thing I have found that is a huge help in the garden is Preen.  I put it in with my Pansies and peas and onions and have had almost no weeds come back.  The main garden, unfortunately, has some deep root weeds.  The worst is the thistle.  They have a huge tap root and if you don't get the whole thing, just like a dandilion, it will be back.  Preen won't help with them but every few days I get out there with a new favorite tool of mine and dig them out.  One day, I'm hoping, they will give up and not come back! 

So far as of this post the following have been successfully planted...

  • Potatoes - Red and Yukon Gold
  • Tomatoes - Brandywine (heirloom), Plum and Grape
  • Bush Beans - Green and Wax Yellow.  These are in a wide row this year.  Experimental!
  • Detroit Golden Beets - these looked cool, when cooked they turn yellow.  So we are trying them!
  • Corn - 1 row so far.  Another going in shortly to stagger the season. 
  • Peppers - Bell, green/red, yellow and orange and a banana.  I'm going to get more and also try interplanting with the tomatoes.  Another experiment.
  • Eggplant - just 2 traditional
  • Zucchini and Yellow Squash
  • Watermelon
  • Cantelope (some interplanted with the corn)
Whew!  Can you tell we've been busy?

Friday, May 18, 2012

My helper, strawberries, asparagus and a new toy...

So, I know that this gardening thing is going to be a benefit to our family, financially as well as just plain old better for us food.  You can't get much better than raising your own veggies (oh and soon to be chickens!) and knowing exactly how they were grown and what if anything was used on them.  Our cucumbers will not have any of that wax stuff on them and the beans taste much sweeter than any store bought or canned or frozed version.

The first thing we did this year is invest in a new tiller.  We have a compact tractor and plenty of land so to make my life easier and to get a better till on the land we took the plunge.  It's not going to take too long to recoup that investment.  I think it's already paid for itself this year!

I do have a smaller tiller, a Troy Bilt Horse, but it's just nice to have a bigger rotary tiller to do the big jobs.  At the end of the season I can easily turn in the garden and get it ready for the cover crop, our green maneur.

The first planting was asparagus and strawberries.  Ok, strawberries are a no brainer to plant.  Dig a hold and stick the plant in.  Space them 12 inches apart and rows ..... well I guessed here and did 3 feet apart.   In hindsight I probably should have done 4 feet apart.  I guess I'll know better next year if I did that right or not!

Asparagus, well that was an interesting planting.  As you know from my "farm" name, Rock Hill wasn't just a cute name.  I meant that!!!  Getting deep in the ground will never happen here really unless I use dynomite.  It's really that bad.  So I asked the lady I purchased from and she said, "oh you only need to plant a few inches deep".  Ok so that's what I did.  Then I read you should plant 12" deep.  OMG!!!  My plants are going to die.  So after a few shoots FINALLY started to show up.  I swore I killed them all since we got a few frosty nights in March and April, but more and more started to poke through.  Guess they just needed a little more warm days.  I did get some top soil and put it over them.  I figure they are about 4" or so below  the surface so I should be ok.  I have another reference book that said to plant them 3", 4" and 6" to stagger the growing and extend the season a bit.  I'm just about in the middle so I don't feel too bad now.

I know you can't really tell, but the asparagus are planted right in front of the garden shed and then the strawberries just below them.  This poor shed has seen it's days of travel!  Started out in State College PA and spent some time at a campground until it found it's way to Rock Hill Gardens.  It's in good hands now!

And here is my little helper.  He's watering a strawberry plant, or making mud, I'm not really sure here.  But he's wearing his favorite boots - on the wrong feet of course but he loves them!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Peas & Onions again...

Just sharing a picture of my peas and onion patch.    They are doing amazing!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Peas and Onions

Peas and onions have been in the ground since February 12, 2012.  I have them in an area that is easy for me to work without having to get out the big gardening tools.  Just hand tools.  This is my first year growing snap peas and I love them in Chinese food! 

At this date they are up and starting to produce the veggies and the few I have tried are so good!  There are tons of flowers so there will be tons of peas soon!

Here are a few photos for your enjoyment!

March 20 - Just starting to sprout

March 24 - Leaves.  My how they grow so fast!

May 6 - First flower!

May 10 - I see a pea!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why the name Rock Hill Gardens....

Rock Hill Gardens.  If I could make money growing rocks I'd be rich beyond compare!  We till and till and the garden looks fantastic.  Then it rains.....and then they show up.  The rocks!  They weren't there before and just appear.  Sigh.... 

I have pulled bucket loads out of the garden and have to just realize that I'm not going to win.  No matter what I do there will always be rocks.  They don't hurt the plants or growing, although I planted potatoes this year and I expect some interesting shapes due to rock, but they beat up the tiller!

I'm hoping that the compost and other natural compost I put in will help diminish the rock situation...hopeful but maybe not practial.  We shall see.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Welcome to my blog about my garden(s).  It's now May 14th, 2012 but I started my garden this year in February.  It's been warm this winter and the ground has been ready to work early this year. 

For the next few weeks I'm going to be starting to play catch-up on this blog and get you up to speed on what has been going on.  Most of the vegetable garden is planted and I have started a new section of garden for perennial plants.

My neighbor and I have each had gardens in the past years.  Each year we fought the same battle...critters.  Deer and groundhogs have been the worst violators, but I have been seeing a few bunnies and a rather large fox around recently.  About halfway through the seasons we had given up the fight and the garden went to them, reaping us little reward.

So two years ago we combined our efforts to one garden.  We figure that with the two of us we can fight a better battle against the garden violators! 

Last year worked out great except our battle was with Mother nature.  She gave us so much rain that our seed rotted in the ground we were forced to replant.  Unfortunately she won and our crops of beans and corn never really survived.

This year I WILL NOT FAIL!!!  I got out my garden books, made a plan, measured, plotted on graph paper and drove everyone crazy with my planning!  So far so good.  Plants are in, seeds are in and fence is going up.  I feel good about the plan!  Of course I tweeked it several times, but that's to be expected.

So stay tuned.  I've planted some standard garden faire and then some experimental plants.  Can't hurt to try, they may turn out to be something we like!

Stay Tuned.....