Country Living Series

Friday, May 28, 2010

Odds 'n ends

My new laptop is here! I've managed to do the setup and even play a game or two of solitaire, but when it comes to loading anything onto it, I leave that in the very capable hands of my husband. He'll get to it when he has a moment.

Lydia likes to snuggle with Younger Daughter in the morning...

Figuring out which seeds to plant today...

First up are pinto beans, which I planted next to the potatoes because potatoes and beans are compatible.

I was curious how much of a row one package (two ounces) of beans would plant.

After planting one entire row, I had this many beans left over... enough, it turns out, for half of another row. So two ounces of beans planted 1 1/2 rows. Not bad!

Here's Younger Daughter helping plant pinto beans.

We got four rows of pintos planted. (The strings delineate the 3rd and 4th rows.)

I'm trying an experiment. We eat a fair amount of navy beans, but I couldn't find any seed beans. So - can I plant dried beans I buy at the grocery store? A neighbor suggested sprouting them to see if they're viable, so that's what I'll try. I'm soaking some beans in water in a small jar. If they sprout, I'll plant the sprouts.

Back to the garden, this time to plant peas. Three ounces of peas plant two full rows.

Older Daughter helping to plant peas...

I've been thinking about something. Much of what I'm planting in the garden this year duplicates what we already have stored in decent quantities - corn, beans (several dried as well as green), broccoli, tomatoes, etc. I think what I'll do is funnel most of the harvest into seed, rather than eating it. Some plants can do both - watermelon and cantaloupe can provide fresh fruit as well as all the seeds we could want - for the corn and beans and much of the broccoli, etc., I'll just save for seed. One big concern I have, if the bleep hits the fan, is a shortage of nonhybrid garden seeds. By saving most of what I plant this year for seed, I'm assured of a large supply as well as enough to share.

The strawberries have arrived! The strawberry bed isn't ready to plant yet (no dirt), but I can put some in the strawberry boat.

Bareroot strawberries sure don't look like much, do they?

It's hard to see, but there's 75 strawberry plants in this boat.

A good watering, and I'm done for the evening. Good thing too, as it's cold out!

Younger Daughter has a friend spending the night. They spent the afternoon building a fort out of pallets, an elaborate two-room mansion complete with furnishings.

The day was mostly chilly and windy, with dark scudding clouds...

...but in the late afternoon, the sun broke through for a few minutes before sunset.


  1. We actually tried planting pinto beans from the grocery store last year, 7 out of 10 actually sprouted.

  2. Hi,
    I'm a new reader of your blog, but a long time gardener. I didn't notice that you were planting vegetables that can be stored in a root cellar for the winter. This really increases the type and amount of food that is available. A couple of varieties that I really like are Lutz Green Leaf Beets from R J Shumway Seeds. These beets are a red table beets that grow big enough that I can't wrap two hands around a beet. I just wash a beet, coat it with cooking oil, and bake it in a covered container in the oven when I am cooking something else such as a roast in the oven.

    Stokes Seeds on line catalogue has cabbages that are rated as long term storage. I grow one called Mamoth Red Rock which I still have stored in my root cellar from last fall. I garden in zone 4 in Wyoming. In the fall I dig up the whole cabbage plant roots and all and store the plant in a tub that is kept a bit moist in my root cellar. Last year I replanted some of my storage cabbages and did get seed that I will plant again this year.

    If I plant carrots in mid July, give them a little protection with a cold frame or row cover I can dig them in mid November even though our first frost date is mid Sept. I am just now finishing off the last of those carrots that are much sweeter than regular carrots because of the cold that they were growing in last fall.

  3. Actually, I won't plant beets because I loathe beets (smile).

    We eat so little cabbage that it's not worth planting any.

    I have lots and lots and lots of carrots canned up already, so I'm not planting any this year.

    Now a root cellar...ah, I wish we had one of those...

    - Patrice

  4. pinto beans, navy beans, and most any bean or pea from the grocery shelf can be planted...when i resort to this i generally place 2-3 beans together as to assure that at least one of them is gonna sprout. i think it is a really great idea to save your seed.. wish i had thought to do that last year as this year seed of any kind doubled in price hereabouts. caryn in n.e.miss.