Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What have I been doing with myself?

Not posting on my blog, that's for sure. And why not? Been busy busy busy.

Since my last post, I've canned up many, many gallons ( I think it's around 25 gallons) of various goodies, and dehydrated many many pounds ( I think around 20 pounds) of various produce. Seriously- I actually broke the front burner on my stove with all the processing I've been doing, and I have no idea if it's even reparable or not. So now I'm down to three burners for cooking. I've been keeping a running tally of everything so far, and that will be it's own post.

Had myself a seriously wonderful time out at Holly for a weekend with some good friends. And squee with joy over some adorable beaded trees- they are so tiny and cute! I now own one of each kind, and plan on using those as models to make more because they are awesome. I had forgotten how nice Holly is, and how muddy it can be. But it was extra nice because I got to wear garb that I didn't have the opportunity to at Bristol.

Been working on some beading projects- and I think I might have found a local retailer that I can rent out some space in to see if I can't sell some of the stuff I've been making. Kind of exciting that.

Had a glorious weekend of burning for the fall equinox. All nice and legal too. Did a couple serious days of day burning, cleared out a huge amount of brush that was piling up around the firepit. And we got all the rest of what's there sorted out and organized. Now the area is clear, no longer a fire hazard in itself, and all set up nice for more burning later this year. And I think the keyhole is going to become a needle to the pond- I want to mow open a bit more space down there for easier navagating, and hopefully soon I will be able to start the cleanup on the ponds edge itself to eventually drop in a small floating dock. We actually filled the pit with ash, and had to slow burn the last of the paper products and brush. A goodly bit of that ash went to the new raised beds to sweeten the pine needles, and a smidge went to the driveway to see if it would really kill the weeds with lye leeching or not. Still need to clean the rest of the ash out, and re-configure the pit- I want to make it three bricks high instead of two, and shorten it just a little to make sure it's within legal parameters.

Built two new raised beds for garlic... and guess what? I made them all by myself! Yes, I did use the power saw and drill, and didn't ask for someone else to do it. Considering my fear of handling power tools, I consider it a victory. So now there's a 3x6 and a 4x6 bed sitting next to the first bed. I got them mostly filled, but still need to drop more mature manure on top and top off with soil. I was heartily glad that I had all that spoiled straw left from the potato bags because they pine needles and leaves just haven't really started dropping yet. But I really wanted to get started on getting those boxes filled so they would be settled by the time I planted in garlic in a couple weeks. Hopefully by harvest time next year, I will have increased yield from 72 heads to 240 heads- maaaybe enough to keep us in garlic through at least some of the winter, lol. Guess that would depend on how much gets used up next year for canning, and I sure do use a ton of garlic in canning.

The orange tomatoes this year have been a resounding success! About damn time I got those going on. Now the next challenge will be figuring out what color to grow next year, lol. I liked the Juan Flamme so much that I put the seed onto my wish list again- I was super lame and didn't do any seed preserving measures this year.
Pulled 11 spaghetti squash out of the garden, and still have a couple buttercups and 5 Long Island Cheese squash on the vine. Pulled who knows how many pounds of ball squash and zucchini out of the garden, enough that I had to come up with a couple new recipes to use them all! Two have become instant successes with the family- southern squash casserole and caviar, AKA citrus zucchini marmalade. You would think zucchini jelly stuff would be gross, but it's good as hell. We love it particularly with biscuits with dinner, yum.
The peppers have been in overdrive- I pickled rings and whole peppers, dried peppers, cooked peppers, and fresh eaten peppers- all of us have. Another bout time.
Eye of the goat bean did so well we will actually be able to eat some, have seed stock, and maybe even have a bit for trade. The dwarf taylor bush I had to container grow to save it from the critters has produced enough for seed stock, and the histada shield bean produced for seed stock.
The nasturtiums have been beyond wonderful. Darn things have eaten one whole slot on the dog run, but I got enough seed for stock, to try some as a black pepper subsitute, pickled up a jar for poor mans capers, got a quart jar stuffed with dried leaves, and still so much I need to harvest a ton of blooms for drying, leaves for pesto for the freezer, and enough seeds for another batch of poor mans capers- and the things have dropped enough seed that I realize I accidentally created a nasturtium bed. My milkmaids produced enough seed for stock- I assume chipmunks ate most of whatever else dropped. And my couple containers by the great room produced seed stock like crazy too. Now I want to fill out my palette with a couple more varieties.
The green beans were a low point- but boy oh boy did the few top crops crank em out- and the early contenders I planted late are producing like crazy so it looks like green beans might just get redeemed before the end of the season.
The herb garden is doing pretty well, but the parsley patch down on the fenceline is really growing in all it's glory- shaping up exactly as I hoped. I'm thinking next year I will finally be able to do a final sowing and pull all the recycled soup cans currently serving as a border.
Dill did really well too- I pulled a whole crop for seed, and started a second crop which is almost ready for harvest.
The mint border is filling in completely. Almost better than I had hoped for when I scrapped them into place last year. By this time next year, it will be complete and plush. I'm still on the hunt for apple mint. The toothache plant did exceptionally well in that area, I will have a serious amount of seed for next year. The lemon mint didn't do all that great, I will have to put it into a different area next year.
The lilies- sigh, some of them survived, some did not. Now it's a matter of figuring out where the survivors need to go. Some will for sure be going into the new garden area we are planning on in the front yard, focusing around that wonderful smoke tree. The four hardy hibiscus are now repotted and in the solarium for overwintering, and I picked up eight mums half in bronze and half in yellow to work into the hibiscus border. That's going to go along with the smoke tree garden. By the end of next year, that whole little area of the yard should be coming along right nice.

The solarium is already getting full of containers to overwinter, and I still have a ton of them to pull in. Nope, the roof still isn't fixed, I'm dearly hoping to get that done very soon before it gets too cold to do so. I wish I could just have someone else do it, but my luck ain't like that, heh.

But now I need to hop along and figure out what to do for dinner...