Christina came and helped weed the sweet potato & 2nd sweet corn square with Mercy.
Christina also brought her SLR camera and took pictures of the garden. Here are a few of those pictures.
Mercy sprayed the tomatoes again today to try and stave off the Early Blight on the tomatoes. She mixed up 2 pints raw skim milk from the separator with a dollop of molasses in a gallon sprayer.
Next year, we need to start the spraying earlier. We also should do some trials comparing copper, raw milk, neem, kelp, all separately then in various combinations. But that may be more than I can manage.
Task list for the next few days…
There is a lot of rain in the forecast though so we will see. Weeding and planting dent corn are the priorities. Update 6/1/17 No rain forecasted for another few days and temps in the mid 80s.
We have a variety of flowers growing in a bed in front of the house, tended by Celia. I am experimenting with flower arrangements. Here is one with Yarrow, Anise Hyssop, and Echinacea Purpea I did today.
These flowers are also medicinal.
We also grew an old fashioned Petunia from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
I need to borrow some flower arranging books from the library this week.
More flowers are in the works in the big garden across the street. Sunflowers, Zinnias, and Cosmos.
What flowers do you like to grow?
As we did the foliar feeding, Mercy and I discussed the tasks we need to do the next day or so. Here’s the list:
Also weeded between first corn rows in Square #4, knocked out some weeds in Square #6 around the melons. Test dug a couple Red Pontiac plants and a Kennebec. Potatoes are coming along but need more time and water.
We did harvest a couple small squashes. They are coming along nicely!
Did observe a large amount of crab grass germinating in the sweet potatoes. That is going to be a bog scuffle hoeing project in the next few days!
Mercy and I decided to do a foliar feeding for the Marglobe tomatoes as we are seeing early blight already. It always starts on the bottom leaves and branches, killing them and moving up the plant, severely limiting our production in late season.
Here’s what we mixed.
Per each gallon sprayer:
All this went into our $5 Walmart gallon sprayers.
We hit all the tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, squashes, eggplants, peppers, herbs, cabbages.
Planted eggplant and jalapeño seedlings.
Replaced some tomatoes the potato beetles had eaten.
Strung up Marglobes for a second time and pruned them. I think blight has already set in. Next year, we need to start either copper spray or milk/neem/kelp spray 10-14 days after planting. Will start on it in the next few days though and see if it helps.
Set string supports for cucumbers and pole beans
Reseeded some melons and watermelons that did not come up well after the last rains. Watermelons were (1) Sam Howie:s variety, Sugar Baby, Blacktail Mountain, and Charleston Grey. Melons planted were Aphrodite, Edisto, and Green Machine.
Mercy finished replanting some of the dead or dying tomatoes.
Mercy finished digging holes for winter squashes in Square #5. I filled them with partially completed compost (it was all we had) and fertilizer. Mercy planted the winter squashes. We planted Cushaws, Tan Cheese Pumpkins from Ginny, Neck Pumpkins from saved seed given to is originally by people who came for feta cheese classes years ago, Old Fashioned Tennessee Vining Pumpkins from Jim Osborne, and some unknown variety.
Mercy set up the second sowing for summer squashes, cucumbers, and pole beans. We planted 15 feet of cucumbers and just 10 feet of pole beans, per Mercy’s request. Finish compost and fertilizer went in a shallow trench with soil hilled up to cover it before the cucumbers were seeded. Holes dug, filled with compost and fertilizer, and four hills of squashes seeded. Pole beans were planted too.
Mercy seeded a row off bush beans and a row of okra in the east of the summer square. They were not planted in time and had become weedy so I had tilled them last week. Okra is Clemson Spineless from East Tennessee Feed and Seed.
Finally, I had started planting the basil plants we had set out yesterday but Tim interrupted me and told me it was time to pick up Celia. So that task needs to be finished.
I’m planting an entire square of the garden in sweet potatoes for our own eating, sharing, and animal feed. Sweet potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates and should help replace grain and provide succulent feed for the milk cows and maybe sheep this winter. If Celia has her way, the chickens will probably get some too.
The vines, once well established, should provide good ground cover for weed prevention. We may have to keep them pruned so they do not form tubers away from the crown of the plant like the Beauregard’s did a few years ago.
The leaves are loved by all the animals and are supposed to be good eating for humans too, a summer spinach of sorts.
Purchased sweet potato slips this year from The Tatorman in Tennessee. Prices were good as was the selection and he has a nice video on how to plant them.
I ordered the 500 mixed variety package and gave the extras to Sam. Here are the varieties we are growing this year:
The sweet potatoes were planted in Square #3 after the volunteer weeds were tilled in. The weeds were mostly clovers so I am hoping they supplied some good organic matter and nitrogen to the soil. I tilled lightly and left the weeds for over a week. Then came back and tilled at 6″.
Mercy and I market out the rows on 4 foot centers, spread fertilizer, then hilled up the soil using a rake and a hoe to make raised beds.
With Bill’s help, Mercy and I set out and planted 360 sweet potatoes roughly 15″ apart on the evening of May 19th, about an hour before dark. The plants had arrived 2 days prior and had been sitting, unwrapped, in a bucket with 1″ of water.
It had been hot and dry the days leading up to prep & planting. The morning after planting, we watered each plant as it was going to be 90 degrees that afternoon.
By Sunday, it was overcast we the rain had started. It has been overcast and raining on and off since. The plants are looking good! We did save extra slips to replace any that don’t survive planting.
I’ll see if I can get a picture of the bed up on this post soon.
I came across this method for prepping garlic cloves to prevent fungal diseases and pests in garlic. Since we have been gardening across the street, our garlic has not lasted as long and I have seen insect damage to the cloves.
This gentleman in Texas seems to have an interesting garlic clove prep procedure that we plan to try this Fall when we replant our garlic.
Here is his procedure:
In addition to this, we need to add some of our standard fertilizer to the soil, preferably after tilling in a cover crop and prepping 6″ high by 24″ wide raised beds.
Before I forget, when our current stock of liquid kelp, nearly 4 gallons, is gone, try Maxicrop Soluble Kelp Powder. This bag is supposed to make 60 gallons for the cost of a gallon of liquid kelp I purchase now from Azure.
There may be a few other products here worth trying. Perhaps the RTI Xtreme Gardenning 4402 Myko product. Looks like mycorrhizae. But if I can get enough cover cropping going, it may be unnecessary.