Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16, 2011

Planting is finished--let the celebration begin!  Four varieties of pumpkins, another crop of sweet corn, and sunflowers all went in the ground on Saturday filling every square foot of available space.  Ever feel that twinge of temptation while walking through an outdoor lawn and garden center where flats of plump leafy herbs, tomatoes, annuals, and perennials are reaching out asking to be adopted into a home to grow for the summer?  "Just one more tomato--I'm not very big," it reasons.  Worst is that slightly neglected plant in the back with sad, droopy leaves, so mournfully saying it needs the loving attention of a caring gardener.  The crisis moment of decision builds, and is past.  No, not this year I reply, we don't have room for another plant.  And with that the shopping cart turns to a more useful purpose. 

Visions of a relaxing summer on the deck with a glass of lemonade while waiting for the harvest tempt us, too.  Rude reality isn't far off, however, since a fresh crop of May weeds are springing up with the vegetable seed.  Planting is finished, but there will be watering, cultivating, weeding, staking, harvesting, preserving, weeding, harvesting, preserving ad infinitum through November!  Spring peas are next to harvest and only a week away.  No one will know if a few of these tender green pods slip from the vine to be eaten fresh before their fruit swell: vines have been loaded with flowers for weeks and are sending out pea pods in clusters.  Aside from the lack of rain (May can be one of the driest months of the year in South Carolina), it's been a great Spring for peas.

Tomatoes and peppers have been slow growing, but heirloom varieties generally are not as lush as their hybrid counterparts.  This week we add carrots and parsley to the list of vegetables ready to harvest and add to our spring salads.  We will be checking on the garlic this week to know if it is ready to pull and cure: it needs to have several layers of papery skin and cloves that are filled out well.  The melon patch is established with seedlings, and the first set of sweet corn is two inches high.  Joy was about to add an old sack of shriveled potatoes to our compost bin when we both had the same thought: they were already sprouting, why not see if we could grow them?  Space is limited, but we thought perhaps on the outside row of sweet corn they would receive enough light.  So we put them in the ground and will add potatoes to our list of experimental vegetables this year!

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Dedicated to the responsible production and preservation of healthy home-grown food to the glory of God. Isaiah 55:10 The rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater. Organic, or not? We try to raise vegetables organically, using compost and manure. The addition of chickens to our hobby farm means plenty of organic nitrogen to compost! This site gives credible reference to planting information contained in the Farmer's Almanac (