On Tuesday Will took the Ford tractor out into our new sand garden (now the official name) and began to till. The very back and lower end were wet due to the inch of rain we got, but he wasn’t going to till those spots anyway because they were still full of rocks and we have to get things planted. Ashley, Alisha (our new apprentice), and I were out there waiting with our collective breath held. And TA DA! It tilled up just wonderfully. So we set about planting. The untilled section was planted with three species of pumpkins: Iran (a gorgeous orange and dark green blotched, smooth pumpkin we grew last year on trial), San Filipe (an orange, ribbed, old pumpkin we love) and Dishpan Cushaw (a gray, flatish, round pumpkin). There is lots of manure on those spots so the pumpkins should do well and can climb over the sticks and rocks still in the area. Then Alisha and I planted three LONG rows of potatoes (Dakota Pearl, our dependable old standby for home use, plus a few “fancy” potatoes, just for fun. They are purple and white with yellow meat (Masquerade) and white with blue eyes and white with red eyes (can’t remember the names, offhand). Our Bliss Triumph potatoes in the main garden are up and doing well.
After the potatoes, we planted Seneca Sunrise sweet corn, several melon varieties to try, pole and bush beans, a Cherokee Long Ear corn, which is quite late and Papa’s Red flour corn, which is very early. With varying pollination times, the corns will not cross so we can save seeds. I’m so happy to have Alisha helping us this year. She’s enthusiastic and a hard worker, plus has a great sense of humor. She’s learning a lot about homesteading, wild plants, and living off grid. So it’s a nice trade off.
We did have a hold-your-breath night recently. The night temperature was supposed to be 40° F. Then on the 10 o’clock weather, they posted a frost advisory, but not for our area. We are pessimistic about such things and debated on what to do. We decided to get up in the middle of the night and check the temperature. At 4 o’clock it was 36 degrees. Oh oh… Then at 5:30 it was 34 degrees. Boy, I’ll tell you we were praying mightily! With nearly 200 tomatoes in and only 30 protected and no way to quickly protect the rest we were holding our breath. Just as the sun came up Will spotted a little frost on parts of our house roof, but it quickly melted with the sun. Was the garden frozen? We had beans, potatoes, and tomatoes up. I went out soon after and found we’d escaped with only a tiny bit of damage to the transplanted pumpkins and melons in the north garden where it’s lower. Thank you God!
Today, Will and Alisha are busy fencing in the central garden to keep the cows and deer out. Last year the deer ate all of it (we never had problems with them hopping over the stock panels on the fence before. This year, we’ll have stock panels plus 6-foot-high welded wire. No more deer! He’ll get it tilled again after fencing and Alisha and I will get it planted quickly. — Jackie