Saturday, July 21, 2012

Peas & lettuce in abundance! {A long-overdue garden update -- Garden Journal #10}

When I sat down to work on what I knew was a long-overdue update on our garden and homestead happenings, I didn't realize just how long it had been since my last Garden Journal post. Turns out it's been almost five weeks -- weeks that have been filled with berry picking, camping, and lots of other gratitude invoking activities including enjoying the fruits of our gardening labor.

Plans for last time included bending and installing metal electrical tubing and bird netting over our herb beds to keep the deer out, applying one more bale of straw as a weed barrier in our vegetable garden, and the processing our meat chickens. I'm happy to say that each of these tasks was accomplished. In addition, we planted our cucumber and pickling cucumber starts and are happy that they're growing nicely. No fruit from either yet, but soon enough we'll be enjoying them.
Metal tubing & netting to protect our herbs from being eaten by the local deer.
Peas are finally ready for picking; but as delicious as fresh peas are, most of them will be blanched and frozen. It's such a nice feeling to be filling our freezer with the goodness of our own land.

Our strawberries have been delicious this year, although not as abundant as in years past; it might be time to weed out the older plants. I've read that cutting some of the runners can help with berry production, so we'll have to try that next year.

Tomatoes are flowering away...can't wait to see what sort of harvest we get as we've not grown tomatoes before. I'm hoping to can some tomato sauce and salsa...we'll see.

In addition to spinach, we have five varieties of lettuce growing this year: French Crisp, Oak Leaf, Read Oak Leaf, Romaine, and Black Seeded Simpson. So far only the spinach has bolted. The rest of our greens have done well on the few hot days we've had; covering them with a piece of shade cloth has done the trick and kept us in fresh green salads so far.
Freshly picked spinach for a salad & a pizza -- so good!
Oak Leaf Lettuce
Red Oak Leaf Lettuce
French Crisp, my new favorite!
Black Seeded Simpson starts ready to be transplanted.
Seems the only plants in our garden that the local slugs have been dining on (despite our best attempts to keep them away) are the lettuces. I've tried surrounding each plant with coffee grounds and crushed egg shells, but to no avail. A little research led me to the idea of using citrus which is supposed to attract the slugs and keep them from munching on my lettuce; will let you know how this works out. Amazing how much damage just one slug can do...
What a disappointment this was! Happy slug, unhappy gardener...
The summer garden is in full swing as our green beans are finally climbing, pie pumpkins and zucchini are flowering and beginning to produce, corn, carrots, sunflowers, and potatoes are all looking good, and our garlic is close to being ready to harvest!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. :)

Garden plans for the next week or two are to pick and freeze our peas, transplant our Black Seeded Simpson lettuce starts, put down a ground cover/weed barrier around our herb beds, and plant more carrot seed.

I also hope to share a post about how our weed barrier is doing (we're loving it, by the way) as well as a post about how we deer-proofed our herb beds -- both these projects were inexpensive and EASY!

I'd love to know how your gardens are growing!



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Also sharing with Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Farm Girl Friday, and Ginny's Saturday Garden Journal


  1. Hi Lisa,
    Your garden looks so wonderful - lush and green!
    Thankfully, our garden is doing much better: we got 3.3 inches of rain on Friday night! Praise the Lord! :)
    And since the ground has been too hard to pull weeds because of the drought, we shall commence our weeding frenzy tomorrow morning. ;)
    Hope you're having a blessed day!

    1. Lisa, I'll add my praise to the Lord for your much-needed rain. Over 3 inches of rain in one night? WOW! Hopefully, it all soaked in just where it was needed rather than causing any flash flooding or other trouble. Although we're not experiencing drought conditions here, we are feeling your (and the rest of the country's) pain and trying to be careful with our water use none-the-less.

      Wishing you a blessed day of rest this Lord's day, ~Lisa

    2. PS: Lisa, thanks for your kind words about our garden; we are enjoying all the green and look forward to the colorful fruits and vegetables to come, Lord willing! ~L

  2. oh Miss Lisa!
    I have serious garden envy! Love the beds and the space you have. Although I do love my beds, there is something about all that flat space you have. A seriously professional garden you got going there.

    How much space did you plant for the peas? I never seem to get more than one or two meals when I grow peas, no matter that I use an entire 4x8 box.

    Thanks for the update- I am eagerly awaiting the info on the screen you put in with the pipes - as I am married to an electrician, I think I might be able to scrounge up some of that stuff for my garden - would love to extend the gardening year here in the Northeast.

    Blessings my friend

    1. Karen,

      Thanks for all your kind words about our garden. Seriously, how it's looking so good is beyond me! Summer weather comes late here, so the garden takes its sweet time to start really growing, and suddenly it does. I looked at photos from a month ago (about the 3rd week of June) and was amazed by the difference. About our peas, I planted one 3 ft. row at the end of two of our raised beds and allowed about a foot of room for them (we're following the square foot gardening method this year). The kids and I picked 95% of our peas yesterday afternoon and will be blanching and freezing later today. I'll have to give an update on how much we actually get after shelling.

      So you're husband is an electrician, too? :)



  3. Anonymous7/22/2012

    Wow! Everything looks great!

  4. Anonymous7/22/2012

    Since everything that has happened here, I have sadly neglected my garden. But yours looks luscious :)

  5. Shara - Thanks for the kind words!

    Maria - So sad to hear about your can always plant some cool-weather crops to grow this fall if you have time.

    Thanks for visiting, friends. :)

  6. The lettuces look so pretty - I'll bet the salads are a joy to prepare.

  7. You have a wonderful harvest. So many different kinds of lettuce. You should have wonderful salads.

    Yael from Home Garden Diggers

  8. I think I have garden envy!
    I live in hot steaming So Florida
    and although I've changed the soil
    it just has too much salt and who
    know's what.. I just can't grow
    veggies..Thanks for your visit to
    my blog and for letting me know
    you have Million Bells to attract
    Hummers.. I'm on a search for some
    of those plants..

  9. Your garden looks wonderful! We've been lucky with slugs this year (fingers-crossed) - we are growing our lettuce hydroponically, in containers quite high off the ground and have, so far anyway, been slug-free. They as such awful pests - they devastated our garden last year. Best of luck!

    1. Hydroponic gardening sounds like a lot of work, but at least you've kept the slugs away! Thanks for the kind words. :) ~Lisa

  10. Your garden is beautiful! We don't have slugs out here in Eastern Iowa, but I remember them from my childhood in Germany. I used to delight in torturing them with salt. Shrivels them right up... ;-) Hehe. Oh I'm ruthless when it comes to garden pests.

  11. Wonderful garden! I like the raised beds.

  12. Your garden is amazing! Wow. Next year I'm planning to do several beds of each veggie. Right now I have my greenbeans in with my tomato and they keep getting all tangled up. From the looks of yours, it looks like I need to put something behind them so they can climb. I have slugs eating my lettuce too. Beautiful photos. Enjoy!

    1. Green beans need something to climb unless their bush beans. As far as our tomatoes go, we've never grown them and are trying an idea we read in Square Foot Gardening (and by recommendation of a friend) to wind them around string or twine as they grow... We don't have any tomatoes yet, but we do have lots and lots of flowers. We'll see. Best wishes with your garden!! ~Lisa

  13. Anonymous7/27/2012

    New to your blog and I love it. Your garden looks great. I didn't have an abundance of peas like you seem to be getting though! BTW, slugs LOVE beer!! My husband and I have been burying peanut butter jar lids, spaghetti sauce jar lids and the like in the dirt up to the rim and then filling them with beer. We go out the next morning and, voila - slug soup. They just dive right in! We've noticed that they don't go for Coor's Light and prefer a heartier beer like Sam Adams or Bud - seriously.

    1. Will be trying the beer idea if our oranges don't do the trick. Thanks so much for your kind words! ~Lisa :)

  14. Anonymous7/28/2012

    Awesome garden! I am curious what you are going to put on the conduit pipes to keep the deer out. They could also be used to extend your gardening time if you put plastic over it

    1. We have a 6' deer fence around our veggie garden that has successfully kept the deer away from our plants. We've installed conduit in our herb beds which are outside the main garden and have successfully kept the deer out using nylon bird netting -- so far so good!

      Thanks for your kind words!

  15. Your garden is amazing- so beautiful and neat!

    I have read (not tried, so can't guarantee it) that "copper tape placed along the tops of the lower boards of the raised beds is effective at keeping slugs out" (Taunton's Complete Guide to Growing Vegetable & Herbs). Taunton's has a wealth of good info plus it's a beautifully put together book.

    I am subscribing to your blog- I cannot wait to see your garden progress!

    1. Thanks for the book suggestion, Cary, and welcome!

  16. Lovely garden. Especially all the different types of lettuce. As for the slugs, I also use small containers filled with beer. I've found they prefer something with a little kick, so lite beers don't usually do the trick. The beer also seems to attract (and kill) earwigs so that's an added benefit. Diatomaceous earth also works for slugs, if you can find it. You sprinkle it around the plants you are protecting.

    Happy gardening!

    1. Thanks for the tips! If the oranges don't work, we'll have to try the beer idea as a few people have suggested it.

  17. Your garden sure looks abundant! I'm waiting for the pole beans (though they grew a full three feet last week!), too - we're eating our few bush beans in the interim. :-)


Thanks so much for visiting; your kind thoughts and questions are always welcome. :)

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