Sunday, October 26, 2008

October 21

Giant Tromboncino (aka Zuchetta) squash.

I paid no attention to the vine that went into the woods around my garden. Walking in the woods I found this 12 pound Tromboncino. Tromboncino is the most outstanding plant in this year's garden. I'll be offering seeds from this beauty in the I Dig My Garden seed trading forum.

I harvested seeds from: broom corn, Vietnamese Red amaranth, Chichiquelite, ground cherries, Lemon Drop hot peppers, Yard Long beans, Litchee tomato, and Popping sorghum.

Ocober 13

Naranjilla with ripe fruit.

I tasted the juice from one fruit--delicious. Unfortunately I can't spend 2 years to get 2-3 oz. of juice. It looks like an exotic tropical and would do well above zone 8 if treated like citrus and coffee trees.

I harvested the Carwile's peanuts and didn't even get my seed back. They seem to have powdery mildew like many of my other legumes. I need to find a cure.

Good eating. Matt's Wild Cherry tomato--mild, sweet, tomato flavor. Kiwi Gold raspberries--great flavor but too soft and crumbley to make a market berry. 3" Thai Rom Doa watermelon--few seeds, good flavor sort of like cotton candy flavor.

Mixed parsley is growing well and carefree. I'll plant lots more next year.

The Stevia (Sweet Leaf) plant I put in the garden is growing well; hope it makes it thru the winter (doubtful).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Melitopolski Watermelon

I tried growing watermelons on my poor, heavy soil for several years without success. This year I hit the jackpot--3 growing well. Cream of Saskatchewan and White Sugar Lump are growing quite well but the champ is the Melitopolski above. The main stem is 12 feet long and there are 4 side shoots 3-4 feet long. All 3 are just beginning to set fruit so it will be a while for the taste test.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 30

Bunch onions from the grocery store. (aka Green onions, Scallions, and Welsh onions.)

Until now I've had no luck growing onions, leeks, and garlic on my poor, heavy soil. I got a couple of bags of bunch onions and used the top 2/3 for tuna fish salad. I planted the bulbs in my garden. Those beauties survived all the troubles of this year's garden and grew carefree.

These are perennial so I think I'll add a few more to my onion patch. The picture shows another package ready to plant and my all purpose planting tool, a long handle mattock. Also in the picture: some Anasazi beans with the onions and raspberries behind the onions.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Garden Destruction.

Newly harvested Zucchetta amid destroyed corn patch.

My big, beautiful Yamaha Zuma scooter was totaled by a jerk more interested in talking on a cell phone than watching traffic. It took over 2 weeks to get a settlement and buy a little scooter to take me to and from my woodland garden.

The deer took advantage of my electric fence being discharged to browse the garden and to eat my biggest Naranjilla to a stub. The raccoons took advantage of my long absence to completely destroy 3 patches of Cherokee popcorn that were almost ready.

There are still a few things growing and the Zuccetta (Italian Trombone) squash pictured above is this year's big winner for me. Young, it's better than zucchini mature like above it's a good winter squash, tho' in MHO not as good as Delicata or Butternut.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July 29

Naranjilla setting fruit.

No rain for 2 weeks and the deer have been wading in my kiddie pool/water storage and put a hole in it. I'm getting very low on water but I'll hike in with water to keep this beauty (and 2 others) alive.

The deer zapper fence around the garden continues to work. Alas, the beans that I saved may die from lack of water.

My Triumph strawberry plant has begun producing several ripe, delicious berries a week. Hope it throws off some runners later so I can propagate it. The Litchee Tomatoes are fruiting well and have a nice taste like a cross between a cherry and a tomato. Like the Naranjilla it seems unbothered by pests and disease. Both are keepers and I'll have seeds from both to trade.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 21


I love volunteers. Lots of volunteers this year, chichiquelite, ground cherry, basil, New Zealand spinach, the best though, is the sorghum growing in the bottom left of the picture. The sorghum I planted just didn't do much; the sorghum growing from under the bird feeder is doing great. Also in the picture: On the right, Sweat Dumpling Delicata from a squash I bought at WalMart; Cherokee Popcorn grown from last years seeds, and a Zucchetta Rampicante (Tromboncino) squash headed for the woods.

I got the electric fence up and it's working (so far). No deer damage on this visit and many plants like beans and okra look to recover.

Ate a ripe, sun-warmed, Triumph strawberry--Wonderful!

Ate the first ripe Litchi Tomato (Baker Creek)--tasty, but not, IMHO, as delicious as Ground Cherries.

Monday, July 7, 2008

July 6

Cherokee Popcorn, One of the few not to be severely damaged by the deer.

The deer broke thru, went over, or went around my mono filament deer restraint. Major damage, especially beans, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and ground cherries.

So much for deer protection on the cheap and easy. I'll be putting chicken wire over and around some valuable plants. But most importantly, I'm off to buy an electric fence

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

One of my 3 Naranjilla plants about to flower.

Over the last week I've had to reinforce my mono filament 'fence' at one point where they broke in. Very little damage thanks to multiple layers of line.

A wise, old hillbilly farmer solved the mystery of my slow growing plants this year and the reason my peas failed and my peanuts are about to fail--wet feet. I have heavy, poorly drained soil and this years heavy downpours in April and May drowned my plants. It's nice to see some plants do well with wet feet and some that thrive-- Cherokee Popcorn. I love my Cherokee Popcorn; this year's crop is from saved seeds; thank goodness as Baker Creek no longer offers it. I stopped growing corn a few years ago as it takes both space and time. I sure am glad I tried Cherokee popcorn last year. It set a nice crop in a small space and grew with minimal attention.

I have yet to see a Honeybee but I saw my first Bumblebee.

I've put out the following plants:

Tomatoes: Chocolate Cherry,Cherry Lollipop, Yellow Gooseberry, Matt's Wild Cherry, Black Cherry, and Yellow Peach.

Peppers: Feher Ozam Paprika, Hot Banana.

Amaranth: Hopi Red Dye, Vietnamese Red, and Mayo de Montana.

I also put out the following seeds.

Watermelons: Petit Yellow, Thai Rom Doa, Melitpolski, Chatchai, Gold Baby, Takii Gem, Golden Midget.

Muskmelons: Banana, Minnesota Midget.

Grain: Popping Sorghum, Boom Corn.

Squash: Sweet Dumpling.

Peanuts: Carwile's.

Sweet Potato: several slips from a grocery store sweet tater.

Beans: King of the Garden Lima, Yard long bean, Mississippi Silver Cowpeas.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 14


I thought for a while that slow growth this year was because of a cool spring but with hot weather here and still slow growth I had one of those Duh! moments. I more than doubled the size of my garden but kept to the same amount of Golden fertilizer (1 part urine:15 parts rain water).
I've tripled the application rate and the plants are starting to grow more normally.

Then there are the giant rodents, errr I mean deer. I ringed my garden with 20# test mono filament line at 2 ' high in March. It worked until a few days ago when they broke thru and did some major damage. I put up a double ring of 50# test and hope that cures my deer problem.

I tasted a berry from my adopted wild dewberry--delicious! A keeper. I'm also getting a lot of blueberries from the low bush BB plants I left in my garden. The Juneberries (Saskatoon, Service berry) growing on the edge of the garden are also quite tasty.

Over the last week I've put out:

Plants: Bunch onions from the grocery store, 3 amaranths, Toothache Plant, Cayenne pepper, ground cheries, nasturtiums, Hot Banana pepper, tithonia. Kellogg's Breakfast tomato, and 4 sweet potato slips.

Seeds: black eye peas, King of the Garden lima, Pink Eye purple hulls, yard long beans, Red Ripper peas, Anasazi beans, black beans (from grocery store), Texas Hill Country Okra, and Blacktail Mt., Golden Midget, White Sugar Lump, Cream of Saskatchewan watermelons.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May 27

I used round newspaper pots to start 13 varieties of watermelon, 4 varieties of muskmelon, and 4 varieties of squash on May 11. I planted them out by hammering a steel tube in the ground, pulling out the plug of soil, and just dropping the plants in the hole.

One of the dewberries that sprang up in my garden was very productive. I adopted it and gave it a little pea fence to grow on. Dewberries are much friendlier than blackberries in the garden and the berries are almost impossible to find in the wild (critters).

I saw a downy woodpecker feeding a young one from my finch feeder. Fun to watch; wish I had a telephoto lens.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

May 10

Planted Carwile's peanut in the corn.

Planted Amana Orange and Kellogg's Breakfast in the onion patch.

Planted Beet Berries in a raspberry patch.

Planted a row of Pink Eye, Yard Long, Red Ripper, and Vining Black Eye cowpeas and King of the Garden Lima.

Planted a row of Texas Hill Country Okra.

Planted a row of Black, Pinto, and Anasazi beans and Purple Hull, Mississippi Silver, and Mississippi Cream cowpeas.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

May Day

I planted 24 plants, melons, squash, egg plant, ground cherry, and amaramth. Also sowed seeds over a very rocky area. collards, luffa, leeks, alfalfa, and millet.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 22

What a downpour, 3 inches in 2 hours. Luckily I had my tent covered with a 12' x 20' tarp and enjoyed watching the show. It was good for all the seeds and plants I put in the ground earlier.

Seeds: Golden Midget Watermelon, Sweet Dumpling Squash, Oregon Giant Snowpeas, My Lime Basil, My Mixed Parsley, Bouquet dill, Cherokee popcorn. (My = from saved seeds)

Plants: Malabar spinach, Popping sorghum, Broom Corn, My Lemon Drop Hot Pepper, My Giant Cape Gooseberry, Partridge berry, Sarian Strawberry,

Sarian and Tribute strawberries blooming; Pretty-n-Pink and Ozark Beauty setting fruit.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 16

The frost on April 12 killed all my tomato, pepper, giant cape gooseberries, egg plant, marigolds, nasturtiums, morning glories, and tithonias. The chichiquelites were damaged but will survive. The Litchee Berries were unharmed.

Violets, strawberries, and huckleberries blooming.

Planted: Goji Berry, Welsh onions, Partridge berry, naranjilla, broom corn, popping sorghum, and Cherokee popcorn.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April 6

Looking SW, up slope.

Last year at this time everything was green and growing including my pepper and tomato plants. Then The Great Easter Freeze blackened everything. This year things are a bit delayed. I planted my first tomato and pepper plants and many others. I planted out several spring greens patches and rows of Oregon Giant Snowpeas along with my first patch of Cherokee popcorn.

There are some little downy woodpeckers that feed at my finch feeder and big pileated woodpeckers the seem to become less shy of me each year. The wild plums are flowering with a wonderful fragrance. They fruit reliably even when horticultural Prunus crops fail as they did last year.

Friday, March 28, 2008

March 27

Lotsa work on the garden layout. Planted seeds and plants. I may lose the plants to critters or frost but I've got more in reserve. The little patches of white in the woods are blooming Juneberries

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Eqinox, 2008.

I spent spring equinox get the garden ready for seeds and plants. As my garden is carved from the woods it doesn't look like a traditional garden.

Friday, January 25, 2008

My Seed List

Proven Varieties

Vietnamese Red Amaranth - Lovely plant; good tasting leaves with only minor insect damage.

Lime Basil - A lime fragrance to die for; makes a great tea.

Short 'n Sweet Carrots - Of 4 varieties said to grow well in heavy soil, this was the most productive.

Chichiquelite Berries - Great tasting, sweet 3/8" berries fresh off the plant.

Chives - A small bed of this perennial will provide fresh chives year round.

Garlic Chives - Much like chives but with flat leaves and a slight garlic taste.

Cherokee Pop Corn - Very productive 5' plants are great for decorating or popping.

Black Eye Cowpeas - I abandoned parts of my 2006 garden because of drought; everything died from lack of water--except my Black Eye Peas, they stopped growing but remained green. When the rains returned the peas began growing again and made a nice crop.

Bouquet Dill - Carefree except for the occasional parsley worm.

Luffa - Seeds from a volunteer that took over a 6' x 20' cucumber fence after the cucumbers finished. The one vine produced 24 2' Luffas.

Mixed Mustard Greens - From a Territorial Wild Mustard mix. I saved seeds from the most productive 10 that were slow to bolt. I expect some crossing.

Texas Hill Country Okra - A beautiful plant with red stems and lime green pods blushed red on the south side. Texas Hill Country has poor soils and frequent summer droughts like my garden.

Mixed Parsley - Both Italian Flat Leaf and Triple Curled did well for me. I saved seed from both and expect some crossing.

Oregon Giant Snow Pea - Large succulent pods are delicious and productive.

Carwile's Peanut - Southern Exposure Seed Exchange said this peanut would do well in heavy soils. They were right.

Aconcagua Pepper - One of the larger frying/stuffing sweat peppers. Plants should be staked or caged as they carry a heavy load and are prone to fall over.

Lemon Drop Hot Pepper - A baccatum that doesn't cross with regular peppers. Makes wonderful pepper sauce (stuff a jar full, add pinch of salt, and top off with boiling vinegar. Cover and let sit for a few weeks. Makes any greens dish taste better.

Giant Cape Gooseberry (Physalis) - Lots of 1" yellow fruit, Fruity, sweet, and tart. Plants grow 4' tall and don't mind pruning. The tips from pruning root readily.

Ground Cherry (Physalis) - A sprawling plant with sweet 5/8" fruit.

New Zealand Spinach - Very productive with no bug or disease problems. A great summer spinach.

Delicata Squash - My favorite winter squash for many years.

Yellow Pear Tomatoes - Like many of my favorite plants (chichiquelites, ground cherries) this tomato grows like a weed.

Golden Midget Watermelon - The only melon to set a crop last year. I didn't even see it till it turned ripe (yellow)


Purple Coneflower

Heavenly Blue Morning Glory

Kossack Gold Marigold

Proven Varieties I no long plant from seed.

Yellow Crookneck Squash Grows well for me but it's a pepo just like my Delicata.

Early Jalapeno was very prolific even on poor soil. Alas it crosses with my favorite sweet pepper, Aconcagua.

Hot Banana Pepper (Hungarian Wax) I hated to give up these little plants/big peppers but they also cross with my Aconcagua.

Long Red Cayenne An attractive plant, I may have to find a way to grow it in a flower garden away from my Aconcagua peppers.

Greek Oregano This grows well for me but I probably won't save any seed as it's easy to propagate with division.

Lemon Balm Grew well from seed. Like Oregano I'll use division for further planting.

Chocolate Mint Grows well here but not from seed.

Horseradish Grows well but not from seed.

Varieties in testing for 2008



Anasazi Beans, King of Garden Lima,

Cataloupe, Minnesota Midget and Collective Farm Woman

Beet Berries (Chenopodium capitatum)

Roman Chamomile


Corn Salad

Collards, Vates

Cucumber, Gherkins

Cowpeas, Purple Hull, Red Ripper, Mississippi Silver, Mississippi Cream, Yard Long, Vining Pink Eye.

Eggplant, Slim Jim

Litchi Tomato

Oriental Greens, Mizuna and Tatsoi

Welsh (Bunch) Onions

Purple Orach

Naranjilla (Physalis)

Purple Tomatillo (Physalis)

Malabar Spinach

Summer Squash, Zucchino Rampicante and Cucuzzi

Winter Squash Sweet Dumpling

Toothache Plant (Spilanthus acmellla)

Tomatoes Amana Orange, Kellogg's Breakfast, Santa Crus Kada, Lemon Drop, Green Grape, Brown-Black Cherry, Wapsipindcon Peach,

Turnips Golden Ball

Watermelon Osh Khirgizia, White Sugar Lump, Cream of Saskatchewan, Blacktail Mountain, Melitopolski, Takii Gem, Chatchai 185, Gold Baby, Thai Rom Doa,





Amaranth, Manna de Montana, Hopi Red Dye




Nasturtium, Cherry Rose, Empress of India



Scarlet Runner Beans


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spring is coming.

My tomato and pepper seeds are started and will go in my Boston Mountains garden about April 6.

The photo was taken Nov. 1, 2006.