Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while. Our internet went out last Friday, and it will be very intermittent for the next couple of weeks. Apparently, one of the major cable/phone lines is wearing out and must be replaced. That means digging up the street and the whole neighborhood having no internet. Interestingly, the cable man who checked out the lines mentioned that much of their physical plant is at least 60-years old. So, this isn’t a surprise. I suppose that lots of other people will have this experience in the years to come.

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Independence Days Challenge:

Anyway, on with the Independence Days Challenge post. I have been very busy over the past several weeks. I imagine that you have too.

1.  Plant Something: Where to start…so much has happened over the past several weeks.

As you know, I planted my corn out into the garden. My previously planted pansies (from winter sowing) are beginning to bloom (see above).

Last night, I planted my sweet potatoes. They arrived from The Southern Exposure Seed Exchange last week, in a pretty wilty state. That is not unusual and is OK. Since I know that I wouldn’t be able to get them into the ground right away, I planted them in some pots, gave them a big drink of water and kept them in the sun room. Over the past week, they perked back up and grew a lot of roots. So, when I planted them into the garden, they were in great shape. This year, I was sure to put up a fence around the sweets, as last year a rabbit at them all up. This year, I am growing Bunch Porto Rico, which grows short bushy vines instead of one really long vine, and Sweetie Pie, which is supposed to grow well in heavy soil, like I have. Last year, I got a poor yield. I hope that I get a much better yield this year.

Speaking of rabbits eating things, someone ate all of my luffa seedlings! What a bummer. I guess that my luffa culinary experiment will have to wait until next year, as luffa have a very long growing time.

I purchased some sorrel at the farmers’ market and planted that into a sunny perennial bed. It is a really neat sorrel with very dark green/red-ish leaves and maroon veining. Very pretty.

I planted out all of my radishes, dill seedlings, etc. I also spent a lot of time moving things around. For example, I distributed some of my crimson clover to the rhubarb, aronia and blueberry pots. I moved some of my Egyptian Walking Onions to the same sunny perennial bed as the sorrel.

The spinach bolted as soon as we had one hot day. Natch. So, I am letting it go to seed to provide seed for next year. Here is what that looks like.

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As you can see, there’s not much to see as far as spinach flowers go. I moved the pot of spinach out to the back yard, so that it can get watered by the hose. I have moved almost everything outside now.

I have a single chard plant that over-wintered and I am growing it for seed. The chard doesn’t look like much either, but the red stems are very pretty.

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Additionally, I have composted everything really well with cotton bur compost and added organic fertilizer where appropriate. Lastly, I sprinkled Monterey LG6515 Sluggo Snail & Slug Control For Organic Gardening – 1 lb Shaker Can in all of the gardens, especially around the rhubarb and radishes. I noticed that something was eating the radish seedlings, and I found slugs in the rhubarb.

Oh, yeah. I purchased beneficial nematodes and buckwheat seeds. The nematodes will arrive on Friday (via FedEx), so I will begin spraying that into the garden and yard on Saturday. It does a terrific job of eliminating fleas and the larva of several pests.

2.  Harvest Something: Garlic and leek scapes, mint, beet thinnings.

3.  Preserve Something: Nothing recently. However, I am gearing up to beginning canning and drying things. I have been checking out recipes and getting my equipment in order.

4.  Waste Not: DD has been helping me clean out the house. We got the sewing room in order, cleared out part of the basement and sorted through several shelves of books and magazines that we don’t read anymore. Magazines and other paper went to recycling, the books are going to either a used book seller or being donated to the public library (i.e., for their book sale) and un-wanted fabric, yarn, notions, sewing patterns, etc. are going to a 2nd hand sewing store that will sell it. I told DD that she could have the money, if she would take all of those things away and sell them.

5.  Want Not: I have begun re-organizing my food storage. This includes cleaning out the freezer of things that are way too old. Things that were in the basement were brought upstairs and stored in the pantry. I have found that if something is so far away, we forget that it is there and gets wasted.

6.  Eat The Food: Mint, chives, walking onions, beet thinnings. Additionally, I purchased a number of things from the Farmers’ Market, which we began eating.

7.  Build Community Food Systems: Went to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday (At Last!) and purchased some beautiful lettuce, French breakfast radishes, tomatoes, candy onions, some amazingly long and slender asparagus, and some lovely turnips.

8.  Skill Up: Not too much. Just practicing my gardening skills and reviewing canning and dehydrating recipes.

Are you living the Independence Days Challenge? Let us know what you have accomplished over the last month?

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