Thursday, June 28, 2012

Garden - Spring 2012 - Update I

After our garlic was harvested this year, I had planned to replant those beds with black-eyed peas we had harvested from Mr. Bunker's field a couple of years ago, because late spring is about the time to start planting them, and they work well in the heat.

But, the garden beds needed to be prepared with some new soil. We've recently started using mulch for actual garden beds, but, even though the mulch we get has composted dirt in it, it also has too many larger wood chips; and so, other folks around here have been sifting their mulch to remove those larger chips; and I decided to follow suit.

Here is the mulch sifter I put together with scrap stuff I had laying around:

Mulch Sifter

And here I am doing the sifting:

Sifting Mulch

Here, you can see the results in the raised bed; and the left-over wood chips can be used for walkway covering:

Mulch Bed and Walkway Mulch After Sifting

And here are the black-eyed peas growing after being planted!

Sifted Mulch Bed Black-Eyed Peas Growing

So, going around the horn, here is how the garden now looks....

This is the okra:

2012 Okra

And the green beans (in the front bed) and the squash and zucchini (in the bed in back):

2012 Green Beans, Squash and Zucchini

And the tomatoes (in the front bed) and the carrots (in the bed in back). Usually, our carrots do really well; but for some reason this year, not too many grew. I did try planting a little scarcely, because usually the carrots are very packed and smaller; and I ended up trying to replant a couple of times too; but it just wasn't to be this year:

2012 Tomatoes and Carrots

Now, in that previous blog post above about the new mulch gardening, one of the folks here had already tried planting in their mulch-gardening area with some success; so I thought I'd give it a whirl too, to see if anything might grow. I planted some more of the black-eyed peas in half a row as a test case, and lo and behold they started growing!

Mulch Gardening/Eden Black-Eyed Peas Growing

With those results, I went ahead and planted the whole area:

Entire Mulch Gardening/Eden Bed Planted with Black-Eyed Peas

And here, if you look closely (you probably have to click the image), many of them have started to grow too:

Black-Eyed Peas Growing in Mulch Gardening/Eden Bed

Here is some of the produce the Lord has graciously granted:

Squash and Zucchini from the Garden

Instead of pressure canning it, we've wanted to try to use the more healthy preservation method of lacto-fermentation. Here is some squash and zucchini in a brine solution, with some mesquite tree leaves that are supposed to help keep the vegetables crunchier:

Lacto-Fermenting Squash and Zucchini

And here is our lacto-fermenting section in the camper. We initially put the jars down in the root cellar, but the lacto-fermenting process actually needs a warmer environment to process correctly. Also, the vegetables would float in the brine. And so, we figure with the combination of the cooler temperatures of the root cellar, and the floating vegetables, they started to mold on top. Well, we picked off the moldy pieces from off the top, brought them into our very warm camper, tried weighing the vegetables down but didn't find a good way to do that, and instead began to turn the jars upside down and then back right side up every 12 hours, burping them at the same time (to release the gas build-up from the lacto-fermenting process):

Lacto-Fermenting Garden Produce

Once again, we are very thankful to God for the provisions from the garden He has granted, and for the processes He built into His creation to preserve the produce without man-made methods of preservation (like canning, which destroys nutrients, or freezing, which causes dependence on the world for electricity and freezers).

-- David


ChrisW said...

Hi David,
How are you all doing with this heat? We hit an "official" 109 a couple of days ago down here in the Austin area.

Brenda said...

I love reading your blog. I am curious about the house. When are you going to be moving into it?

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hi Chris,

Wow, that's warm. We're hanging in there, thanks. When you're in the 100s every day, it does make it difficult to get enough water into a garden, if you're watering by hand (or gravity-fed hose, in our case). Still, with the size of the leaves on things like squash and zucchini, and that black-eyed peas apparently work well during hot weather, things are still progressing.

The grass on the land for the cows though appears to be drying out; and so we pray the Lord graciously and mercifully grants rain -- hopefully soon, although we submit to His sovereign will.

And Brenda, as for the house, we still have a ways to go. We've learned to just not have any expectations; and Lord willing, one day we'll be able to move into it.

-- David

gail said...

Hello David and Susan,
I've enjoyed reading your blog, right from the beginning. Really enjoyed the video of your animals as well. Thank you so much for sharing your journey.
Blessings Gail
[from Australia]

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hi Gail,

Thanks for saying hello.

-- David