Up until today we had not had a good rain for several weeks. But by golly, our garden was growing in spite of the fact. It looks really good thus far. We did have enough tobacco sticks to stake about half our tomatoes. And yes, damn I planted far too many as usual. We probably have about 230 or so tomato plants out this year. We staked one row and a week later when we went back to stake another the first row had grown to the point it was almost ready to be tied up again. And all with no rain at all. But this afternoon we got a down pour of good rain. Although a lot ran off due to the ground being so dry but in the garden where it had been freshly plowed just last weekend I am sure it soaked right in. Thankful for all these blessings.
We dug a few of our potatoes a week or so ago just so I didn't have to buy fresh taters to use in our meals. And low and behold they have done pretty well. Rodger and I were talking and wondering why the plants looked like they were dying and thinking it was kinda early. But when we got to the house and I searched the web for info I found out that Yukon Gold potatoes mature in 90 to 100 days. And we planted them on March 18th, so they are mature and its time for them to die back. And to beat all, I still had about a gallon of taters still in the cellar with sprouts on them from last year. We decided that if they mature in just 90 days we had plenty time to plant more. So on Fathers day Sunday Rodger planted the rest of the old taters. Now we care for them and see what happens. We usually don't get a killing frost down here on the river till very late September or October. So they will have time to make lil taters. I am not really panicky if they don't get very big I will still save them for sets to plant next season. Yippee!! for me.
We have had a pretty productive summer so far. I young pullets, Buff Orphingtons, are growing into beautiful girls. They should start to lay in another couple months. My older girls are not laying worth a crap. Not sure what is their problem either. It sure is not diet because they eat well and are well cared for. My friend Deb said she had some hens that just totally stopped laying after 1 year old. Well I aint gonna feed em good food if they wanna be free loaders. Nope, aint gonna. So as soon as my young girls are of laying age, it will be off with their heads. And another reason they are taking up prime realestate out there in the bigger nicer hen house. Another task for a later date. In the meantime they will eat as well as they have been. I sure don't like keeping them penned up during the day but as of right now I don't feel I have much choice. I lost 4 big hens in 2 separate weekends. Some critter, am kinda guessing a bobcat snatched 2 one weekend and 2 more the following weekend. What ever, if a bobcat, was getting them so fast that it didn't even startle or alert the others. So till we have a fence, which will take time to get put up they will have to stay inside. Although I do let them out if I am not busy in the late evening and can literally sit out back to keep an eye on them. My lil Sasha dog is a tad too small to keep them safe just yet. I was even concerned for her safety as well. Her pen can be closed on all sides and the top to keep a booger from eating her. Just cant have my lil girl gettin got. She is definitely my baby. I brought her up on the front porch a few days ago when we were sitting outside. I came inside to get a drink and went back out she was standing on my shoes so she could stare at the door and patiently wait for me to come back. She is a little sweet heart for sure. She ran and played so much that evening she didn't even fuss about going back in her pen that evening. She willingly went in, flopped down and in no time was asleep.
My friend Sissy sent me some thornless black berry plants this spring and we have those planted inside our garden fence in the field. Geez those things have taken off and growing like crazy.
I talked to her the other day and she advised me to go ahead and tie the limbs up to the fence to keep them growing up-right to make picking easier. So that is the plan when we get in the garden after it is finished raining. The short canes that have flowers on them are from the 2 year old cane that was with the crowns when she them them. I am certain I will have more berries than I could possibly know what to do with next season as these are very heavy producers. I am so thankful for her and blessed to call her my friend. It will probably take me years to get use to picking blackberries without worry of getting stuck cause the ones we have always picked growing wild have tons of thorns on them. I still find myself using caution when messing with these thinking "briars in my fingers". Maybe I will get use to not being stuck. Since this photo was taken Rodger has weed eated the area around the plants and it does look much better. But see I aint fake and will take photos no matter how bad things look. I did add a good layers of chicken manure and straw from the chicken houses around each plant so they are really dark green, greener than anything around them now. Looking forward to an abundance of berries next season. This year I guess I should pick some of the wild ones growing here so we can have an occasional cobbler till then.
I spent some time in the herb bed harvesting some more Chamomile for tea and getting my basil cut and in the dehydrator. I really am nearly out of Italian seasoning mix here. Not sure how I let that happen but am about to replenish my stock. Once the dehydrator is empty again I will dry more long leaf plantain and round leaf as well. Lots of wild herbs and tame ones to get dried. I try to make my own seasoning blends every year so they are always fresh and flavorful. Once you get used to using your own dried herbs and seasonings you will find out just how stale and tasteless store bought ones really are. It is amazing the difference in flavor. I am gonna try something a little different to try and keep worms off my cabbage. My friend told me she had read that sage repels the cabbage moth which is what actually lays eggs on the cabbage that turn into the lil worms that make holes in the cabbage. So am thinking I will make a strong sage tea and spray it on the cabbage real often to confuse the moths. Supposedly any plant that has a strong smell will confuse them and they cant find the cabbage to eat on. And sage can be pretty potent. Worth a try. Maybe I will remember and report back on success or failure. Yep you all are thinking, "she cant even remember to post on the blog much less remember this" and you might be right. We shall see.
I am thinking it is bedtime around here. Then see what tomorrow holds. Good things I am sure. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.