Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Down 2 Weeks with the Flu.

Stevia flowering in poor, heavy soil. Planted last Summer. If I get viable seed I'm going to plant a huge patch next year. A few Stevia leaves and a few Lime basil leaves makes a wonderful tea. Ditto Chocolate Mint and Stevia.

I was happy to find only minor damage. I was very worried that something might destroy the Golden Giant Amaranth but it was unharmed. It was laying on the ground from all the rain and wind. I shook the seed heads in a bag and then propped them back up.

The Garlic chives that I planted and forgot about are flowering on good sized plants. Hopefully I'll be able to offer seeds later. I will have Tokyo Long White bunch onion seed to share. I saved the seeds and planted a few to test for germination. Not only did they germinate well, they are growing faster than any Allium I've grown.

The Sarian F1 strawberry seeds I planted this Spring have grown nicely on poor, heavy soil and are flowering. The Sarians planted last year have given me lots of wonderful berries through the Summer. Carefree like all my favorite plants. I got my Sarian seeds from Pinetree Garden Seeds.

Blister Beetles, or as I used to call them--undertaker bugs, have eaten the leaves from my Chichiquelites and Wonderberies. I dispatched them with a long nose butane lighter. That same lighter works well on Colorado Potato Beetles.

The Lion's tail (Wild Dagga) is 7 feet tall and flowering nicely. I should say 7 feet long as it was also blown over. Pretty orange flowers that hummingbirds love. Perhaps they find the flowers intoxicating. (hint: read about it in the Baker Creek seed catalog.)

The Red Noodle long beans came back from the dead to put out another large crop. I planted 7 types of pole beans this trying garden year and it was the only one to set a usable crop. Likely my my only pole bean next year though I may try Fortex beans, recommended by many gardeners to me as thriving under tough conditions.

My volunteer Toothache Plant was slow growing at first but it's putting out lots of 'eyeball' flowers now. A tea from Toothache Plant leaves and Oregano leaves makes a stimulating and antiseptic mouthwash. The plant grew carefree. I hope to get lots of seeds from this plant and put in a large patch.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My #1 Survival Food from Seed.

It's a tie: Golden Giant Amaranth and Matt's Wild Cherry Tomato.


-Require little work.
-Are bug and disease resistant.
-Are highly productive.
-Are very nutritious.
-Have a better than a 95% chance of producing a crop.
-Grow well on poor soil.
-Are not as troubled by cool, wet Springs or hot, dry Summers as most garden plants.

These are the 2 crops I'm going to plant the most of next year. I figure 2, 20 ft. rows of Matts Wild Cherry will give me 50lbs.+ of tomatoes over a long season. I figure 200 sq. ft. will give me 50 lbs.+ of grain at harvest as well as several lbs. of very nutritious leaves for soups, stews, and stir fries over a long season.

After harvesting and drying the seed, I'll check for germination and offer a pack of each for $5, shipping included. I'll throw in a pack of Lemon Drop hot pepper seeds as a bonus. If you'd like to know when it's ready to ship email me at:

and I'll let you know when it's available.

If you are a member of iDigMyGarden(I post as EdlinUser) or HomesteadingToday(I post as woodsy_gardener)and you don't have $5, PM me for my address and I'll be glad to send you the seeds for a SASE.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Golden Giant Amaranth

A 2009 winner!
The plants in this patch are only about half the normal size but they were growing in my poorest soil with only limited Golden Fertilizer. Minimal insect damage and no disease damage. The leaves and seeds are very nutritious. Next year I plan to grow 100 to 200 Golden Giants and harvest 25 lbs.+ of seeds.

My solar electric fence controller from Harbor Freight sits in the background. I tried everthing to keep the deer out: urine, soap, monofilament, hair, mobiles made from CDs. I found out deer will adapt to everything except electricity. This was one of the best $100 I ever invested ($50 for controller, $50 for wire, insulators, etc.). I've got enough aluminum wire and parts to put up another fence if I buy another controller. I think I may put a second fence just around the corn.

Elsewhere in the garden I captured my third possum. They wiped out my two patches of Cherokee popcorn and started on my Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes by climbing the trellis and tearing things up. I hope this stops the recent garden damage; the traps are still set though.

Outside the garden and growing 'wild', Chocolate Peppermint, Greek Oregano, and Prime Jim and Prime Jan Blackberries; all doing very well.

I planted some Hopi Red watermelon seed in an area of poor soil that previously had failed to grow out several varieties of melons. From the description at Ozark Seed Bank it sounds like a tough plant. It looks like they may set fruit! If they set fruit I'll save the seeds and plant them in more fertile soil next year.

I gathered seed from Matt's WCT, Chichiquelites, Red Chinese Noodle beans and Razorback cowpeas. I'm not sure what to do with the bean seeds as ALL my peas and beans this year showed at least some disease damage. The Red CNBs set a huge crop and died. Are those seeds contaminated?

I ate the first tomatillo I've ever grown. Three previous tries had yielded no fruit. A knowledgeble gardener at I Dig My Garden said the plants are stongly self-infertile and they must be planted in groups. Sure 'nuff.

I ate my first TAM Mild jalapeno pepper, good flavor and not very hot. The plants are vigorous and productive. I've been unable to grow sweet peppers in my garden; I think I'll be using this as my 'sweet pepper'. My hot pepper is a Lemon Drop pepper, a different species that won't cross with TAMMJ.

Jerusalem Artichokes are growing everywhere. I'm not fond of the flavor but it's nice to know I have several hundred pounds I can dig up and eat if I have to.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 19

Old Reliable: Texas Hill County Okra

As I looked over my drought damaged garden I noticed this stand of THCO. This will be my 4th year of growing it. This is the most trouble free plant I grow. (If you don't call picking it every other day trouble.) Pests, disease, poor soil, drought--no problem.

The Contender bush beans that I was so happy with were wiped out by a foliage disease. Luckily I planted the Contender seeds mixed with Razorback cowpeas. The Razorback cowpeas are untroubled by disease and are cranking out the pods. The pods are held above the plant and are easy to pick.

The Chinese Red Noodle pole beans have put out a very heavy first picking, much heavier than regular pole beans like Kentucky Wonder.

The Lion's Tail (Wild Dagga) Is growing like a weed. I'm looking forward to the flower harvest in a few weeks.

Matt's Wild Cherry tomato is again the most productive tomato by far. Only my second year of growing it, I suspect in another couple of years I'll call it Old Reliable.

The Litchi Tomato plants are at the edge of the garden, growing well in poor soil. Lots of fruit set. I'll have to make a harvesting tool to avoid the thorns.

Tribute and Sarian strawberries have set fruit and are growing vigorously without care.

The Pike cataloupes are growing better than any previous 'loupes and are flowering. Maybe, maybe.

Cherokee popcorn wiped out again. Coons last year, possums this year.

Happy Day! 1.5 inches of rain this morning (7/21)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Contender Bush Beans

Contender beans in front of a row of pole beans, a Matt's Wild Chery tomato, and a small patch of Cherokee Popcorn.

I swore off bush beans but not for long. I planted a packet of Contender BB with my melons and squash as a companion plant, Most of the melons and squash didn't come up but the beans sure did. I was so impressed with their vigor that I bought 2 more packets to plant out and save the seed.

Upper Ground Sweet Potato squash is the only squash to come up and it is very healthy looking; likely my only winter squash next year.

Six varieties of everbearing strawberries stayed green thru the winter and are now putting out flowers and fruit. Tribute and Sarian are the most vigorous and I plan to propagate them. I've already had 3 large, red, juicy, tasty berries from the Tribute plant.

Oregon Sugar Pod II is the only pea of 6 that I planted to set fruit. The other 5 either rotted in the very wet soil or grew stunted plants. Likely my only pea next year. Fava beans came up strong but got attacked by black ants and black aphids. Very little fruit set. I'll not plant Favas again.

The Golden Giant amaranth is doing great. It has better seed for grain than Vitnamese Red that I grew for it's great leaves.

I cut my Stevia plant to the ground after it died from a frost. Happily, it came back from the roots. I plan to root a bunch of cuttings and get several plants going. Stevia and Lime basil make my favorite tea. Stevia combines with lots of tea plants: Chocolate peppermint, Lemon Balm, Monarda,

I transplanted dozens of new varieties last week and look forward to see how many adapt to my garden. Sure hope the Red Veined sorrel is one of them.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 26, 2009

The star of the winter garden: Japanese Long White bunch onions. (beer can for sizing)

I planted a pack of bunch onions from the grocery store and was amazed at how well they grew on some very poor soil, 2 harvests in 2008 and now they're back and about to set seed. You bet I'm saving the seed. I planted many more packs from the store and you can see some of them in this picture. Not even half the size of the first planting. I thought it might be different varieties and Googled: Allium fistulosum. There are several varieties and JLW is the largest and looks like my plant. This is the first Allium to like my garden, I'm so happy.

I just got back from 3 days at the garden and I am sore. Got my main planting done and the rain is coming. I also planted Jim and Jan blackberries from the University of Arkansas. They are the first primo cane fruiting blackberries (they have a second crop in the fall). I planted my seed grown goji berry next to an earlier goji planting from a cutting. The Golden Seal came up! The New Zealand Spinach is coming back. This will be the third season since I planted the seed. My kind of plant: 'It grows like a weed.' Very nutritious; lots of Vitamin C. My Tribute and Pretty-n-Pink strawberries are setting fruit.The wild, lowbush blueberries that I let stay in my garden are rewarding me with a nice fruit set.

Sleeping in my dome cabin is so much nicer than sleeping in a tent. So much work to be done in the garden and with the cabin but so nice being there, nice neighbors but none in sight, most of the noise is from birds, crickets, and frogs, the foxes and pileated woodpeckers accept me, the air is so clean. I'll return soon

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 7, The First Planting.

My small dome cabin is at the top right.

I planted a long row of peas (Witkiem Fava, Oregon Giant Snow, Monk, and Monmouth Melting Sugar along the path here. Also sprinkled in Mixed mustard greens. Along a 7 foot trellis I planted Super Sugar Snap, Golden Snow, and Maestro. I scattered 4 oz. of white clover seed all around the garden and into the woods.

The green in the center-left is the planting of bunch onions I got from the grocery store. I took 2 harvests of green onions last fall and they are ready to be used again. I've been a failure at growing onions, garlic, and leeks till now. These perennial onions grow in poor soil without care and are available fresh, year round.

The only other plant to remain a very healthy green through the winter was triple curled parsley (the flat died). I'm planning on a winter garden this year and will probably find more plants that remain green through the winter. Maybe it's just me but I think a winter time soup or stew is better with a few fresh items in it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


What a trying year. A late frost in April killed my first planting. Then a cold, very wet spring stunted the growth of most plants. Powdery mildew wiped out most of my peas and beans. In June and July the deer destroyed large parts of the garden. Raccoons destroyed my Cherokee popcorn. Only 1 of the 8 tomato varieties I was growing set fruit.

There were many pleasant surprises though.

Zucchino Rampicante (aka Tromboncino) squash.
Matt's Wild Cherry tomato.
Yard long beans.
Sarian strawberry from seed.
Litchi tomato.
Bunch onions purchased at the grocery store.
Cream of Saskatchewan, Melitopolski, White Sugar Lump, Gold Baby, Chat Chai, and Thai Rom Doa watermelons.
Toothache plant.
Cucuzzi edible gourd.
Kiwi Gold Raspberries.
Gogi berries.

I used no pesticides or other chemicals, My only fertilizer was urine/water at a 1:15 ratio. This attempt at self-sufficiency worked so well I'll do it again.

The mixed plantings in patches turned out to be a pain in upkeep. Back to planting one long row next to the garden pathways.

Water the soil, not the leaves. Old advice that I won't ignore again.

Growing peanuts in the corn patch results in very few peanuts at harvest.

Still green in January: Mizuna, Tatsoi, collards, strawberries, turnips, green onions, and parsley.

Everything likes strawberries. Next year I'll grow strawberries under a net or chicken wire.