April 26, 2017
Beans, Buzz Polination, Gardening, Healthy Lifestyle, pollination, Vegetables
Friends, houston, sharing, texas, wife
Even with good friends to share with, I am overrun with green beans. I built two 6-pole tepees for my green beams and a set of vertical poles at the entrance to my hide-away garden. I prefer pole beans vs. the bush beans…..why? – The bush beans ripen pretty much all at once and I used to be 6’3″ tall…..too much bending over to pick! Two varieties seem to do so very well in the Houston area, Kentucky Wonder pole bean and the Blue Lake variety.
I had a long weekend over to the New Braunfels area of Texas over this past weekend. My “Goo” friend John picked enough for his wife and made a bee run to feed my bees in my absence. When I returned, I picked over 3 pounds of green beans on Tuesday…..Gobs and gobs. I had instructions from my wife to deal with them ASAP…..I negotiated a reprieve until this morning….I am an early riser and would have them dealt with long before she awoke….I even managed to prepare 8 quarts of sugar water for the bees.
Unfortunately – most of the green beans were on the larger side of what I prefer, so, add, bacon, onions, garlic and a long slow simmer……Yum!
Just beginning to simmer.
The color of the fresh green beans alone is appetizing and the aroma as they simmer, so tantalizing!
A six-pole tepee with two bean stalks per pole. I soak the bean seeds in water overnight to help with germination before planting.
At the entrance to the garden…..at 6’3″ I still need assistance when picking the tall vines….lends credence to the “Jack and The Bean Stalk” story….
Now to brag a little. It is April 26th and the tomato harvest has begun. I believe that it is the first time time in many, many years that i have had ripe tomatoes before May 1st! Not complaining…..! Another good surprise is the health and productivity of my Brandywine heirloom tomato plant. I have half a dozen large fruits developing….If you have never taste a Brandywine….find one and try it. It is the very best I have ever tasted. I have been diligent with my buzz pollination, electric toothbrush technique this spring and it appears to be paying off. Expect some more bragging and photos when I harvest!!!!!
A bunch of Juliet tomatoes ripening on the vine!
December 25, 2016
berrries, Composting, Gardening, Healthy Lifestyle, Strawberry, Tomato Growing, Winter Chill
Friends, houston, Merry Christmas, Papaya, texas
It was “77 degrees F” yesterday and I actually worked up a sweat raking leaves to add to the compost bin. It wasn’t too bad….just barely a one T-shirt job. Summer jobs in Houston are typically 3 or more T-shirt changes.
I gathered up the ripening, the dropped and the green Juliet tomatoes. Even covered, the last freeze hit the plant hard.
Well the last freeze has made the Juliet tomato plant look pretty sad. I grabbed this handful, green ones included, as the last of the harvest. Yummy Christmas cookies in the background….my secret recipe. Ask for it…
The freeze didn’t bother the strawberries. They handle it well. If I see temperatures in the teens I will definitely cover them. I added another 100 plants last fall……need to treat my babies well!
December 24th and the strawberries are making their appearance.
The colder weather of last week finally started killing off the asparagus ferns. I will find a nice day next week to cut them back and top dress the asparagus bed.
A tangled mess. I didn’t get to it but I will cut back the asparagus ferns next week and dream of spring spears.
I will make some Meyer Lemon Honey Jam in a week or two and maybe a small batch of lemon curd….so rich and so yummy.
My sad transplanted dwarf Meyer Lemon. I moved it from it’s wine barrel home of 4 years to my garden last spring….hope for better results this next year.
My experimenting will continue into 2017. Mike and Annette, who host one of my hives, have two volunteer papaya trees that bear fruit. Fruit tossed into their compost bin several years ago took off and bear very nice papayas. I saved some of their seeds and put them in a small pot. They are doing well. I will repot and protect the young ones for spring.
Papaya….I have a hive in a yard here in Kingwood that has two papaya trees. I dropped a handful of seeds into this pot and have been rewarded. Now to transplant them.
November 24, 2016
bananas, Beekeeping, Gardening, honey, Tomato Groeing, Top Bar Hive, Vegetables
Family Beekeeping, garden, gardening, houston
The garden is pretty quiet right now. I have a potted Juliet tomato that just keeps on producing, a few pole beans from a volunteer Kentucky Blue wonder variety and now the carrots and beets are popping up. Oh yes, and a large bunch of Burro bananas – hopefully it will be another mild winter and they will fully mature.
About every other day I pick a handful just like this….picked these on November 22nd! The plant is still loaded.
Now for the bees. I visited my remaining topbar hive yesterday. Nice sunny day and warm enough to open it up. This hive is the remnant of the colony I rescued over a year ago from a downed tree near downtown Houston. They split themselves several times, I split out a queen cell and a few frames into another topbar, robbed a queen cell for a queenless Langstroth hive and harvested about 4 bars of honey from the original. They have been gentle and prolific.
I last opened this hive in early October and they had pulled comb back to about the 18th bar. I had intended to move the divider up and shrink the hive for winter but was then distracted and didn’t return. Now, on November 22nd I open it up and they have pulled comb back to about bar 24. Nothing put away at the back end but nice looking comb. I brought six empty bars and intended to remove any empty comb as I slid the divider forward. In hindsight I could have pulled 10 bars of drawn comb…..next time.
A little peek inside before removing some pulled comb.
I really don’t lean like that ….. all the time. Daughter Ashleigh loves angled photos.
I worked my way up into the front third before finding brood. Some pretty good honey stores but lighter than I want so I am still giving them a little heavy syrup until it becomes too cold.
Nice looking bar….
A little closer look. About what I would expect for this time of the year.
Son Joe getting a lesson on lighting the smoker.
Joe, keeping his distance as I start the inspection.
Ashleigh doing the selfie thing with Joe and myself geared up and ready to go.
February 9, 2010
arbor, garden, houston, kingwood, vegetables, winter
Looking into my veggie patch just a couple of weeks ago in January. Bought an arbor that helps keep the appearances up so my wife doesn't call the garden an eyesore.
The broccoli and lettuce survived the big Houston freeze and most of the snap peas came through ok.
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