Shiitake Mushroom harvest!

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment



Shiitake Harvest!

The recent Tropical Storm rains triggered some volunteer Shiitake Mushrooms. I have about 40 logs I seeded with Shiitake last year from a tree we had taken down. Awesome to get some fresh mushrooms from the backyard. We got about 1 lb so far and plenty more coming. Nancy made a Quinoa and Sauteed Shiitake dish. Pretty tasty. Luke got to help collect mushrooms and he loved having a “job” to do.

I have some other mushroom work in progress. Oyster mushrooms coming soon.








Categories: shiitake

End of Summer Garden Updates

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Ok… I’m late on posts. I had too much going on at home and work.

Second water melon off the “Septic Tank” Watermelon Alibaba  Plant


End of  August – Sand Pears ripe. Got several for Jellies/ Pear Muffins. Still way too many fell on the ground.

July  – LSU Gold figs came in. Not that great. I hear it may take a couple years.

August – Chicago Hardy Figs came in – these were great, dark and sweet. Awesome.

All the Tomato plants caught something and had to be removed. I tried to start new tomato plants from the growing tips but they either caught or were already affected by the disease.

I had some more pictures but they were lost in a phone crash, lost them.

Had a few more eggplants but they weren’t very good quality.  A late season addition of a Lowe’s pepper plant yielded one good looking pepper that a woodland creature stole.  There are a couple more on the plant that we hope we get to before our ‘friend’ does once they turn red.

Is there a “Fall Garden” Coming? Maybe a little late but we’re thinking about it.

Garden Updates 7-4-2011

July 4, 2011 Leave a comment

The blog is not dead, but it’s been about 6 weeks and I’ve been too busy. Algae in the pool, huge project at work keeping my time locked up, been unable to keep up with things around the house. But that’s one reason I like gardens, even though I got busy, nature kept doing it’s thing without me (thanks to a timer and a drip irrigation system).

The septic tank water melon plant TOOK OVER the backyard. It’s grown more in size than any other plant I’ve tried to grow, and the history on this one is that it was a junk leftover seedling I just placed in the dirt, it doesn’t get irrigation water. Finally when it got a huge watermelon on it I gave it some fertilizer. See below, it should be ready any day now. It’s very large, I’ll get a better picture of the single melon when we pick it.

We planted 2 bell pepper plants from Lowe’s to fill in where the lettuce and carrots were in the garden, still waiting for them to do something, they seem to be trying to get used to the intense heat of the summer.

Got a great batch of tomatoes before it got so hot.  Nancy loves the royal hillbillies.  The first few chocolate stripe were mealy and not very good but for some reason the tomatoes got better as time went on.  The Riesentraube and Sungold (both grape size) have been mostly eaten by the kids.  We did have a large batch after coming home from being out of town which Nancy roasted in the oven with some garlic and olive oil and made a fantastic quick sauce for some ravioli for lunch.

Strawberries are unfortunately pretty much over for now.  Maybe more later.

End of May/First in June – Blueberries came in, stayed till end of June. Not enough this year  other than a handful for snack, but the plants are getting bigger. Since we won’t ever get the production we need from 3 plants, we went blueberry picking to a local upick farm and got 23 lbs of blueberries, which should hopefully last us until blueberry season next year.

Mid June – Our Peaches ripened up, we had probably a dozen peaches. They were small but really good tasting. Unfortunately I missed getting pictures of these.  We picked them off as they were ready but lost out on a few that mysteriously disappeared when we went out of town for a few days.

End of June and ongoing – Sand Pears are falling, they are not ripe yet and just making a nasty mess. No pictures needed.

First week in July  – Figs ripening up. We bought some figs from farmers markets (LSU gold, Celeste and one mystery one) and they are delish, they seem to be kind of hard to find.  Makes for some motivation to really try to establish our trees.  Our few are almost ready. We picked a couple already but they were not quite ripe.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tomatoes are here, Carrots just OK, Beets – what beets?, Garlic previews.

May 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Strawberries are coming back in, they all put out flowers and we’re starting to get new strawberries, and a lot more on the way like earlier this year.  Luke is very excited.

Sweet Chires Corn is putting out corn stalks.

Pulled up some carrots. They are looking good and we have some success. Yellow carrots don’t taste great, I’m not sure I would grow them again. maybe they are just still maturing. The parisienne carrots on the right.  We had a better, fatter specimen but Luke ate it before we took a picture.  It had a very strong carrotty flavor (if that makes any sense.)  Nancy hopes we’ll get enough of a crop as some point to roast some and bring out the flavor.


Yellow Carrots on the left, Parisienne on the right, just ignore the baking sheet and spatula with cookie crumbs and chocolate smears on it 😉

Pulled up beets, they were all way too small shown below… not sure why, but it got crowded in their area. Complete failure, not a single edible one. Will try again in a couple months.


Pulled up garlic, some of it fell over and died. The bulbs were still pretty small. Some on the left were just not doing well at all. There’s a lot left that is looking good, these were just the outliers, hopefully the remaining ones are bigger.


Tomatoes are coming in, we get 2-3 full size chocolate stripes per week, sungolds.

I hear from Nancy and Luke they are good. I have a garden secret to confess: I don’t really like raw tomatoes, especially since Nancy likes them covered in cottage cheese.  I grow tomatoes for other people.  An after dinner visit to the garden usually turns into Luke eating his daily value in cherry tomatoes so it’s worth it.



Potato Harvest

May 4, 2011 Leave a comment

We harvested our potatoes today!  The plants started to fall over and die, and I think I read that’s time to pull them. We only planted probably 5-6 potatoes to begin with and got 3 pounds of each variety. The yields were the same per variety it seems, each foot produced the same amount of crop on average.  One pound per square foot.

Potatoes were a fantastic crop. No pests or diseases, super easy, I just put 9 in the ground (documented here) and they grew with no problems.  In comparison to the other items in our garden, it was nice to harvest something a bit earlier.  This is a great beginner friendly crop, and the kids will love digging up the potatoes. Luke loved digging as you can see in the pictures!

Left are French fingerlings (awesome roasted with olive oil and garlic) and right are Red LaSodas (red creamer style).  We prefer the French fingerlings but also planted the Red LaSodas as an experiment.  For the French Fingerlings we just bought a bag of organic ones from Everman’s and let them sprout and then planted them.  The Red LaSodas were actual ‘seed potatoes’ from Elberta Co-op.  I think Nancy is going to try them mashed, they didn’t taste as good as the French Fingerlings when roasted.  She said they are definitely firmer than anything we’ve gotten at the grocery store.

Can’t wait to cook them up and try them out!

We also pulled up a garlic to see if they were getting close to harvest.  As you can see in the picture, we still have a ways to go…

Categories: Potatoes, Uncategorized

Garden Update 5-1-2011

May 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Wow it’s been 3 weeks, I try to update every 2 weeks. I’ve had a lot of things keeping me busy. I have a new project I will post about soon.

I got busy at work and we had a caterpillar eat up the cabbage, maybe it could have been saved but we needed space for other plants, we pulled it up and didn’t get to eat any of it.

I think last time I said we lost all the figs. I’m learning about the LSU Gold, it has 2 crops – a Brebas(early, on last year’s growth) crop, and later a main crop (the bigger and better tasting crop). We lost all the early figs. But now we have main crop LSU Gold and Chicago Hardy Figs on the trees. There’s quite a few. We gave a way one VdB fig to a friend. We now have 3 of the Violette De Bordeaux Figs, 1 Chicago Hardy and 1 LSU Gold.

Fruit Trees – Peaches – about 20 fruits , Satsuma probably a dozen, Persimmon only a few – most dropped.

Our Braeburn apple tree did not get a single flower that turned into a apple. It bloomed and looked pretty for a few weeks. Not sure if pollination or just first year tree issues. My wife loves it so it will stay regardless of fruit status.

Got busy and didn’t pay enough attention to some powdery mildew growth (didn’t know what it was) but after a quick search now I know we have Powdery mildew infections on all the squash plants, and they are not happy about it, they are pretty weakened by it. Searches about fixes involve a 50/50 milk/water spray, or a 1 tablespoon Baking Soda to 1 liter water spray to try to control it. Conventional would just be  chemical anti fungicide spray, but we’ll try to get around it organically. I’ve applied the baking soda today and will see.


We were getting 2-3 cups of strawberries every day other day for a good 3 weeks in April! End of April it’s over.

We get a “handful” of dragon tongue beans -these taste great and they don’t make it inside, because Luke eats them ALL right off the plants. They are really a great fresh tasting bean.

A few purple pod beans, every day or two more on the way.

Picked a few sun gold tomato tomatoes 4-28 and many more ripening.

Garden update 4-7-2011

April 2, 2011 1 comment

Things have been busy around here with life and garden. Zucchini have taken over the garden and suffocated the bell pepper plants, but I don’t have time to manage them, I may transplant one or two. Peaches set lots of fruit, Satsuma tree has fruit set. All figs dropped off my LSU Gold, I only have 1 fig out of all my plants left. All 4 of the cuttings I got in the mail are still growing. Apple tree not looking like it has fruit set yet, flowers are falling off – maybe pollination issues?

We have pulled up all the Mesculin Lettuce mix, it was too crazy looking and varied too much in taste and quality and harvesting times for us, next time just spinach and arugula maybe.

Harvesting –

2 Zucchini per week

2-3 Cups of Strawberries per week




Bed 1


Bed 2


Luke with a strawberry


Pole Beans climbing high


Dragon Tongue Bean Flowers




Luke with a 1+ lb Zuke


Delicatta Squash


VDB Fig transplanted


Sun Gold Tomatoes


Blueberries almost ready


Categories: Uncategorized