Though we’ve had a few weeks of dry weather, the gardens are still doing well – particularly the Grocery Row Gardens. Lately we’ve been getting a lot of okra and a lot of hot peppers.
First, this is just one of the okra beds:
Behind it is a patch of black-eyed peas and Sudan/sorghum grass we are growing for compost.
And now for the peppers!
These are being made into sauces, both by me and my eldest son, and by our friend Matthew who is brilliant with making home-fermented hot sauce. I planted lots of extra peppers this year just to feed his fermenting crocks. It’s selfish, too, because I know he’ll give me some of the finished product.
We’re getting over a gallon of peppers a week now, maybe more.
Pests have been a minor issue in the gardens, causing a little trouble here and there. Leaf-footed bugs, grasshoppers, fire ants and aphids are in effect. Some of these guys are sneaky and just leave evidence behind of their midnight snacking.
Others are brazen and hang out in plain sight right in the middle of the day.
But don’t worry, the good guys are on the job.
We have a lot of spiders, as well as toads, stick bugs, praying mantises and wasps. Don’t spray and life will come your way. It would be a travesty to spray these life-filled gardens. My children play in them every day, as well as help with the maintenance.
Some more beans are coming up now and the Black Coco sprouts look good so far.
The raspberries and blackberries are making another round of fruit.
And my angle gourds are finally producing – and producing well!
We had some for breakfast today and the taste and texture are excellent. I’ve written about this unique crop in the past and am quite pleased to be able to grow it again. We were never able to get the seeds down in the Caribbean, but I missed it.
The winners in the garden over the last couple of weeks, however, were the pumpkins
Many of those are the mixed-up Seminole pumpkin varieties we got from multiple sources. The deeper orange and the green ones are mostly from the Walmart pumpkin I brought home last fall. We cleaned the seeds and planted them and got a crazy mess of crossed types. The dark green pumpkin to the lower right, with the bright orange spot, is a spaghetti squash that volunteered in the compost pile. We ate that one the other night.
Though this isn’t the most productive season of the year for most vegetables, it is a good time for seed saving. Some of the crops of spring are being allowed to grow to full maturity so we have seeds for next year.
Like these snake beans:
And this (unprintable) vegetable:
The Grocery Row Gardens are performing quite well. A chunk of them are now in full cassava production mode.
They take a little work to maintain, but not much. The dirt paths are easy to weed with a wheelhoe.
I love these Grocery Row Gardens. The new booklet goes live on August 25th.
If you want to help get it ranked high up in the Amazon charts, please pre-order the ebook here. We’re at the top of the “Garden Design” section of Amazon right now, and a good launch will help the book rank high in the charts for months or years to come. The paperback version should be finalized this weekend and will be up for sale in week or two. Right now I’m concentrating on the kindle launch so we can get the algorithms to promote the book in the future.
Finally, we are truly blessed to be here and to have space to garden. I feel for those of you that don’t have land to use. Even though we’re renting, it feels good to plant trees and vegetables and have roots in the ground.
No matter what, though, we can’t trust just in ourselves – garden space or no space.
I read this passage in Jeremiah 17 this morning:
Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Keep your eyes on things above, and garden if you can. If you can’t, I hope you’ve enjoyed a few pictures from our garden.