11.16.19 Chauvin Produce Company – end of season report! Bo & Peep Update!!

Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning the temperature here was in the mid-20s for several hours.  This is unusual in Louisiana for November. It will be the end of what’s left of our vegetable garden.

This is our last Chauvin Produce Company report until next year. I’d give our 2019 garden a B-. After Roy pointed out to me all our failures I probably should say a D+! We learned a lot of lessons this year and have a lot more to learn to do this gardening at a better level.

Our okra crop has been phenomenal. It gets an A+. The production has dwindled down to maybe 5 fully grown okra a week. Way down from 10-20 every day which we picked for months. These pictures show two things. One, that there was still plenty of small okra wanting just a few more days to grow.

Two that the stalks are now so scrawny and tall. What’s there is the second growth weeks after the original stalks were cut down  These started off about six inches high and then grew and grew to be between 3 to 6 feet tall. Most of the leaves have fallen off leaving the scrawny stalks. After Tuesday night’s freeze, we’ll need to pull these up and the tiny okra will not be able to grow to adult size.

Today is the day after the freezing night. This is the top of one of the frozen okra plants. They have been such strong plants it is sad to see them like this.  So the end has come to the 2019 okra crop. They will be pulled up on Thursday. I just tried pulling them up and they developed such strong stalks at the bottom that I only got three pulled up before having to stop.  I’ll go back and pull more up later.

I took this next picture because pictures I’ve taken like the one above do not show how thick and strong the stalks really are. Many of the roots were at least 3 feet long.  This has been our best crop and will definitely be planted next year.

All the tomato plants have died and were pulled up. We’ve grown tomatoes in the past several times, even while we were living in Minnesota and they have always done really well.  This year we tried to grow from seeds and from small plants and the produce from these plants was pitiful.  Roy took over the tomatoes at one point and even with him trying various things it just did no good.  They were the skinniest, scrawniest tomato plants. So sad. They get a D-

Bo and Peep, our ducks, finally found the garden and waddled around it a bit!

Each bell pepper bush had several flowers on them getting ready to birth young bell peppers! The bell peppers get an A-.

Overnight all of the bell pepper bush leaves froze and are all limp leaves now. They will all get pulled up tomorrow.

The artichoke plant struggled to grow since planting it in the garden. No artichoke has even tried to form but it is showing no signs of being affected by the freeze.  It will be left alone and we’ll see what it does all alone in the garden! It’s the only plant still in the garden and can stay there until Roy tills the garden soil early next year.

All of the leaves on our fig trees have fallen off like they are suppose to.  What isn’t supposed to happen is for a new fig to develop yet here it is! They got a C+ for the season.

The daisies aren’t in our vegetable gardens but the beautiful plant that Ellen Smith gave us at Easter is blooming away again!  The freeze didn’t affect them which I found odd but I’m glad it didn’t.

Report on this year’s crops:

Next year we will not grow corn, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, onions, broccoli, watermelon, cantaloupe.

The watermelon and cantaloupe crop failures were my saddest losses. They produced lots of vines and several small watermelons and one especially nice cantaloupe which was eaten by something overnight. Only one watermelon grew to a decent size and it was delicious. All the rest (about 12) of the watermelons never grew any larger than a baseball and then stopped and died! We even tried growing them in two different places but that didn’t help

The corn was cool to grow and looked neat but out of two crops of 10+ stalks each, we only got 6 nice corns from the first crop. They were delicious but not enough to make it worth the work involved. The second crop of 10 produced nothing edible. A lesson to pass along is that corn grows just as well when planting a seed into the ground as it does when growing it from seed inside and transplanting into the garden.

The cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli got a disease and had to be pulled up. The disease spread to no other plants, thank goodness.  I tried in September to grow those from seeds and after growing the seeds inside for three weeks the pretty little plants were eaten by the mystery critters.

Eggplant plants did really well at first producing several nice size eggplants.  After that first crop, what we got was small eggplants. They started falling off the bushes and if I didn’t find them right away the eggplants started rotting.  I began pulling them when they were small and preparing them to freeze when I had a bunch of them. Since the first crop did really well I’ve learned that I should pull them up after the first crop is over.

The cucumbers did really well for the first few months. I planted more seeds and those grew fat short cucumbers which were weird and turned yellow quickly so I pulled them up.

The militons were a total bust and that was very disappointing. This was a vegetable we both enjoyed seeing Roy’s mom grow when we were young. We tried really hard and for a while they seemed to be flourishing. They all the leaves and vines started to wither up and died. Lots of flowers developed on the vine before the withering started, but no militons showed up.

I may try potatoes and sweet potatoes again, we’ll see about those. They produced fairly well but the lesson I learned is that if I dug their holes deeper they would have more room to grow further underground.

I’d like to figure out why I had no luck with growing yellow onions, green onions, and garlic.  I’ll probably try again with those.  What I don’t like is that since onions and garlic grow under the soil and you can’t see if it is growing you don’t know until waiting several months that not much was growing.

Another growing below ground crop was our carrots. After around 6 months of growth, they were about the size of my pinky finger.  I’ve grown carrots in the past and they did fine.  Some research about growing carrots is needed!

All of the peanut plants above the ground were chewed off up by the mystery bunnies or other critters that come here at night and eat things. I may grow them in the main garden this year since we are planning to put a fence around the garden to keep critters out!

Our blueberry plants were not affected by the freeze and look really nice. I’m hoping next year they will be old enough to produce more than just 3 berries!

Our new pecan and plum trees were just planted a month ago and look great after the freeze.  I checked with Bracy’s before the freeze and they assured us we didn’t need to do anything to protect them.  Roy put pipe insulation around it for the night of the freeze, just in case.

I’ll end this with a Bo and Peep update on their adventures..

Our sweet duckies are enjoying pecking around where the bell peppers were pulled up!

They are loving it here and have developed some cute habits. They love watermelon and peck away till they get to the rind.  They also love lettuce and grapes and will gobble up a small head of lettuce whether chopped up or not.

Roy put fresh baled hay in their cage before the freeze because Roy learned that is warmer for them than the pine straw that was in there.  Their nice thick cage cover helped to keep them okay that night and every night. They now go into their cage every evening without any fighting!

Another thing they do now is to sit at the top of the hill where they can see everything from there like we do from our kitchen window. They follow us everywhere we go outside. When they hear the back door opening they run to see what we are doing. I probably should say they come waddling to us! They are so cute and sweet and again we are thankful to Bonnie and Tony for giving them to us. When they swack, quack and waddle around the yard Roy and I sometimes squack, quack and waddle with them. They probably think we’re crazy humans but well, we are!

I painted them a Bo & Peep Chauvin rock and individual Bo Duck Chauvin and a different one for Peep Duck Chauvin to lay on their cage cover during the day when the cover sides are laid on top of the cage.

Well, that wraps up this year’s garden updates and a Bo and Peep update!  After just now pulling up our okras, some of which had 3 foot long strong roots, I am ready for at least a couple of months of no gardening before we start again next year!I’ll be using this time to learn how not to do whatever we did wrong and maybe how to make our positive vegetable growing even better!

Ya’ll have a Blessed weekend!

10.28.19 Bo and Peep…. hmmmmm… quack quack!

We are now the proud parents of two beautiful ducks, Bo and Peep!  Peep is a girl and is around six months old.  Bo is a boy and is around a year old.  They are Buff Orpingtons, a medium-size domesticated duck, with lovely fawn buff feathers, a brownish-orange bill, and a sweet personality.

A very sweet family at our church, Tony and Bonnie contacted us last week asking if we’d like to have their two ducks.  Roy and I talked and sight unseen we said yes!  We had several ducks when we lived on Hinson Road in Hammond and loved them. Not necessarily the poop they leave all over but everything else!

When Tony and Bonnie and their two precious girls brought the ducks to us we were delighted to see how beautiful they are.  Even if they hadn’t been beautiful we’d have loved them.  When we lived in Hammond we had a really ugly duck that we actually called “Ugly Duck!”

Bo and Peep were originally Faith and Peep.  Since Faith turned out to be a boy we decided to change his name to Bo.  Thus we have Bo and Peep!

Bonnie and Tony recommended leaving them caged for the first few days before introducing them to living uncaged on our property.  We decided to leave them in there a week and have been visiting with them several times each day so they can get used to us and our voices. Plus we love visiting with them! I sing to them sometimes! And Roy quacks with them!I love seeing them twist and contort their necks to clean themselves.  They lay eggs (or ours would if they were girls) and their meat is what’s eaten when someone eats duck. I have no intention of eating them and we’ll see what happens with Peep laying eggs. This photo doesn’t show both of them entirely, it does show close up their beautiful feathers.  We’ve been giving them fresh water each time we go visit and they seem to love it! Roy fed them some tiny pieces of watermelon.  He said Peep really liked it and at all of it. It was just 5 small pieces. At Bonnie’s recommendation, we’ve both Googled what to feed ducks and have learned a lot. 

They only lived where they are in this picture on the first day. Since they need a cage of some sort we purchased one of our renters used dog cages. We moved the cage to behind our storage shed so they could stay in the shade and are more protected from nighttime attackers.

We learned that their cage needs to be covered at night in a way that will give them a place to keep away from those nighttime attackers.  Even when they get to live outside the cage during the day they will be protected in their cage at night. Roy being the person who always gets the best thing he can for any situation researched covers for their night-time cage. He found and ordered this cover.

It wasn’t very expensive, but is made of very good quality waterproof material and covers all four sides and the top.  Two sides are rolled up in the pictures so the ducks can enjoy the view. It even has a window and each side zips up to make it more secure!

We gave them a week in the cage to get used to where they live and get used to Roy and I taking care of them. Here they are experiencing their first taste of freedom

They headed for the water’s edge first thing and spent a good bit of time their first day out paddling around.  They didn’t go very far in, just on the edge. The recent rains brought a lot of pine straw to our end of the pond.  They cleared out a circle and played in that circle.

After spending most of the day in that area they came up our hill and hung around our back door. 

They go back in their cage at night. It’s been all cleaned up with fresh pine straw! We both thank Tony and Bonnie for giving these precious animals to us to love!

We’ll keep ya’ll updated (or as my friend Deborah said, duckdated!) on Bo and Peeps escapades!

Ya’ll have a Blessed Week!