End of an era

This past weekend the last two of the original garden beds were replaced.  After over twelve years, all of the garden now consists of six garden beds that ‘hopefully’ won’t need to be patched up and repaired each spring.

For anyone interested in building a garden bed like these, check out my earlier posts where I go over more of the details. See Garden Expansion and Out with the old.

The replacement followed the same script as in the spring. I started off by digging out the dirt from around the inside of the beds and piling it into the adjacent beds.  With the soil removed, I could start pulling out all of the old side boards.

Removing the soil around the original beds

West garden bed with the soil removed around the original bed and one of the sides removed.

Garden bed lost containment

Warning!  Garden bed lost containment!

Old bed parts

Some of the old bed parts.  They held up quite well for being next to soil and out in the weather for so many years.

Two new beds waiting for their new home

The two new beds waiting for to be moved to their new forever home.

Thankful for the neighbors spud bar for use removing all the old posts

I am very thankful for my neighbors generosity in lending me his spud bar for use removing all the old posts.  Some were so rotten they practically fell out.  Others were still very well stuck in the ground.

Second bed missing its walls

Second bed missing its walls.

There are some small gaps between the boards and around the bottom.  I used some landscape fabric to line the insides of the new beds to help keep the soil inside.

Final two new beds all ready to grow vegetables next year and hopefully for many years to come.

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Clean(er) garden

I’ve been meaning to get into the garden for what seems like a month or two now. If it hasn’t been the sweltering heat and humidity, it has been the multi day rain events. Not to mention a big home project and all of the kids and work activities.

Enough of excuses, Sunday I made it out there and harvested the second to last vegetable and cleared out the dying and the dead.

Reach and pull

Reach and pull

I always appreciate some help in the garden. Gabrielle was excited to finally get to harvest the last of the carrots.

Gabrielle with the prize

Gabrielle with the prize

Posing with the bounty of carrots

Posing with the bounty of carrots

This carrot REALLY has to go to the bathroom!

This carrot REALLY has to go to the bathroom!

In addition to the carrots, it was a good time to finally clear out the old green beans, tomatoes and decayed spines of the squash and zucchini. I plan to replace the remaining two garden beds yet this fall and having all the old plants cleared out is a good first step.

All the garden structures removed and ready for transport to the garage

All the garden structures removed and ready for transport to the garage

Mostly cleaned up. Except for the green mass of sweet potatoes in the back corner.

Mostly cleaned up. Except for the green mass of sweet potatoes in the back corner.

Big tomato

Is there such a thing as a tomato being too big for your hamburger?

Is there a hamburger there somewhere?

Is there a hamburger there somewhere?

Believe it or not, there is a whole hamburger, slice of provolone cheese and bottom bun being hidden underneath that slice of tomato. As you can probably imagine, it was also a giant mess of a burger to eat but it sure did taste good.

Freezing sweet corn

Third time is the charm. After three years of trying to grow sweet corn in the garden, I finally had enough to eat and freeze. I picked eight ears for dinner last night and decided to pick the rest and freeze it today. I wasn’t sure how much I would actually get, so I stopped by the farmers market today and picked up an additional dozen and a half. If I’m going through the trouble, I might as well do a few more.

I recruited/conscripted two of the kids to help with the job. Gabrielle helped pick the corn from the garden and Ethan helped with the husking. Karen helped cutting the corn from the cob.

Gabrielle helping pick the corn from the garden

Gabrielle helping pick the corn from the garden

Bushel basket of corn - 33 ears.

Bushel basket of corn – 33 ears.

Carrying the harvest to the garage.

Carrying the harvest to the garage.

Husking station. Garden corn plus 18 ears from the farmers market.

Husking station. Garden corn plus 18 ears from the farmers market.

Gabrielle helping to husk the corn.

Gabrielle helping to husk the corn.

I even managed to get Ethan to come out and help

I even managed to get Ethan to come out and help

Stacks of corn waiting to be blanched

Stacks of corn waiting to be blanched

Fire and Ice. One pot boiling water to blanch and another bowl of ice water to cool.

Fire and Ice. One pot boiling water to blanch and another bowl of ice water to cool.

Cutting and collecting

Cutting and collecting

Plenty of work to do. Karen helped cut the corn.

Plenty of work to do. Karen helped cut the corn.

I ended up putting about 3 cups of corn in a quart sized freezer bag. Once I removed as much air as possible, it flattened out fairly well and was sort of stackable.

Poor mans vacuum sealer. A straw and two lungs.

Poor mans vacuum sealer. A straw and two lungs.

Healthy fresh corn on the bottom. Tasty and not so healthy ice cram on top.

Healthy fresh corn on the bottom. Tasty and not so healthy ice cram on top.

At the end of the day, here are the results.

Homegrown Garden Corn: 33 ears
Farmers Market Corn: 18 ears
Bags from Homegrown Corn: 7
Bags from Farmers Market Corn: 6

 

Busy, busy, busy

I have two activities I try to do each summer in the kitchen, both of which are pretty time consuming. One is to can some green beans and the other is to make some zucchini crisp. For some dumb/smart reason, this year I decided to do both in the same afternoon/evening/night. Needless to say, I am looking forward to going to bed tonight. On the plus side, I got them both out of the way.

Making use of the giant zucchini

Making use of the giant zucchini

Final product being sliced up and made ready to take to work

Final product being sliced up and made ready to take to work

Fat chef supervising the loading of the mason jars

Fat chef supervising the loading of the mason jars

Quite the production

Quite the production

Ten new jars of green beans

Ten new jars of green beans

Beetle Bucket O’Death

Stupid Japanese beetles. They are attacking the sweet corn this year.  I’m finding them burrowing into the silk and making a mess.  Tonight I decided to take a bucket of soapy water and see how many I could collect.  By the time I got out to the garden, there weren’t as many in the corn as there were earlier.  I did find a pocket of them on the pole beans and another 10 were in the marigold flowers by the deck.  Side note, don’t people plant marigolds to keep insects away? Anyway, the mother load of the pests were in the weeping cherry tree.  All I had to do was hold the bucket under a branch and tap it to have them all dive for the ground only to be plunged into the “Beetle Bucket O’Death”.

Unfortunately, I know that I have barely scratched the surface of the total number of beetles out there.  I imagine I could do this every day for the rest of summer and still not make a real difference.  I did try to offer the kids a job.  A nickle a beetle in the bucket.  So far, no takers.

Beetle Bucket O'Death

Beetle Bucket O’Death

July Update

Umm… ya. It has been a month since the last blog post. Sorry about that but it has been busy. Here is a catch all post with pictures from the past four weeks or so.

First up are some pictures of the garden from June 13th before we left on vacation.

Here is a shot of the corn.

Here is a shot of the corn.

Three cucumber plants starting to climb

Three cucumber plants starting to climb

Sweet potatoes are taking off. Starting to leave the raised bed.

Sweet potatoes are taking off. Starting to leave the raised bed.

Golden egg yellow squash still look like two separate plants.

Golden egg yellow squash still look like two separate plants.

Some nice green tomatoes on the Brandy-Boy.

Some nice green tomatoes on the Brandy-Boy.

This year we headed back to the mountains. We spent 10 days in Colorado visiting Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Boulder, Ft. Collins, Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak, Canon City and many other points in between.

Pet turkey at one of the Airbnbs on our trip. Kids loved it.

Pet turkey at one of the Airbnbs on our trip. Kids loved it.

Panoramic shot of Emerald Lake in RMNP

Panoramic shot of Emerald Lake in RMNP

A stop along Trail Ridge Road in RMNP

A stop along Trail Ridge Road in RMNP

Eventually, as with all vacations, we had to come home. Also, as with past vacations in June, the garden grows by leaps and bounds while we are gone. This year we had over 4.5 inches of rain while we were away and the temperatures were in the 80s-90s. Very good growing weather as is evident by the next couple pictures.  I didn’t bother showing the rest of the garden as it is just a overgrown jungle.

Corn after vacation

Corn after vacation

A ripe cherry tomato!

A ripe cherry tomato!

Nemesis bugs, Japanese Beetles

Nemesis bugs, Japanese Beetles

A week or so after getting back, it was time to start harvesting some vegetables! So far I have gotten peas, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers and green beans. The peas just finished up but I expect the rest to continue producing for a bit longer yet. At least until the bugs and disease start killing the plants. Squash vine borers and spotted blight seem to shorten the squash and tomatoes before they are ready.

Not too bad a harvest.

Not too bad a harvest.

And finally that takes up to today. The shots below were taken in the garden tonight.  Bush green beans are moving into their second week and pole beans are just about to be ready. Corn is fully tasseled and producing ears. I’m guessing another week or maybe two until we get to try some.

They don't call these cargo shorts for nothing. Pocket full o' Green Beans.

They don’t call these cargo shorts for nothing. Pocket full o’ Green Beans.