03.31.20 Chauvin Produce Company 2020 – March Update

This year we are again experimenting with a couple of new garden spaces and how we do our gardens. We’ve added spinach, turnips and green beans to this year’s crops. And we are planting a few crops in two or three different locations to see how that goes.

The area our renter’s dog’s cage was located is now the “dog cage garden.” I am hopeful we’ll find a better name for that garden but for now, it’s the dog cage garden!

The first pictures are Roy and I tilling the soil which should be good quality with all the dog poop mixed in.

I only did one row but I found out how difficult it is to keep that thing going straight!

Planted in this garden are potatoes, yellow meat watermelons, red meat watermelons, carrots, and militons, and green beans.  There is a fence at the rear so the green beans and militon vines will have a place to grow up and around. This garden does not get full sun like the main garden does but it does get a lot of sun throughout the day. 

Sunday afternoon I distributed a bunch of hay around this garden to help it stay moist when the heat of the summer hits. Bending over to do these things hurts my back so I only got the hay placed there. It needs a bit of work so the popsicle sticks and rock markers show up and that will come next!

The main garden closest to our house is slowly getting planted.  Roy is in charge of the regular size tomatoes which we call “Big Toms.” Here he is soaking the ground where they will be planted after putting the stakes in the ground.

My sweet frog metal art recently restored is watching over the garden!

Here Roy was staking up his growing tomato plants a few weeks ago. The second picture is a “contraption” he created to put these same plants in while they go through their hardening phase. Hardening is a way of getting the plants that were grown indoors to get used to the elements outside like wind, sun, rain.  When he started their hardening the wind blew over the plants so the need for his “contraption” became apparent. It is made of two round crawfish trays connected on top of each other with holes the size of his seed pots drilled out of the pans and the pots inserted. It worked really well so he’ll have these to use for future years of tomato growing during the hardening phase.

This is his new contraption to help his hardening tomato plants stay standing up. He made two of these for his 18 plants.

Here’s Roy all happy while planting in the ground the tomatoes he’s been growing from seed for two months!Look how nice they are! There is about a foot of stalk down in the ground so they are a really good size all put together!

Those tiny little plants next to popsicle plants are small cucumber plants. I planted half already growing small plants and half seeds planted directly in the ground to grow. 

I made an attempt to form rows and walkways in the dirt myself but that turned out pitiful. My he man hubby saw my pitiful attempt and took over! We’ve reduced the number of rows and widened the walkways this year. We learned last year the walkways needed to be easier to navigate. My balance isn’t too great so this should help make it easier for me to work in the garden.All the little popsicle sticks in the garden mark where the okra, bell peppers, eggplants, spinach, turnips, cucumbers, and green beans are planted.  In a couple of months, the garden will be filled with taller plants bearing vegetables above and below the ground!Here’s the hay all over everything in the main garden.  Monday morning my month old cherry tomato plants that were grown from seeds are now planted in the garden.

The area where Bo and Peep are living now was where we had our “garden down by the pond” last year so that garden has gone away. Near it, along the fence line are planted several plants. Green beans growing up the fence, cantaloupe, and okra. Two broccoli plants that randomly grew in the main garden over the winter were moved to this area and are now producing broccoli. There is one plant we don’t know what it is yet but it’s getting bigger!  Then along that same fence line Roy planted the rest of his BIG Toms between the azalea bushes. That is an experimental alternative spot to see how the tomatoes will do there.

Here are two of the 12 tomato plants along the fence line. They are doing really well!

The artichoke plant that we planted from seed this time last year survived the winter, was transplanted to a pot when the garden was tilled and is still there. Quite a puzzling plant to me but as long as it keeps living we’ll keep it and hope it grows sometime this year!!

Our blueberry bushes are doing PHENOMENALLY well! This is the fourth year since we purchased the eight bushes. The first two years they lived near the fence under a tree where they mostly got shade. Three berries were the total crop each of those two years. We dug them up and planted them next to our house last year where they grew well but again only produced three berries. Well, this year they figured out how to produce berries and I believe we will have hundreds of berries FINALLY!

I can’t stop taking pictures of the berries and had to narrow them down to these two! I’m already planning blueberry pies, blueberry cakes, blueberries on my waffles, pancakes, ice cream and on and on!!!

The fig trees are full of leaves and will hopefully be full of figs this year!!

Our grape vines have never produced. Roy did not cut them back this year so we’re hopeful that will do the trick. Their leaves are coming out really well now!

Our satsuma trees froze a couple of years ago and this one has grown back a bit. We figured it would never grow satsumas but it looked nice so we left it there! It now has several buds on it which we were surprised to see. We’ll have to see as time goes on if this actually turns into a fruit!  Our new plum tree purchased last year is full of leaves and blooms!!The pecan tree was purchased and planted the same time last year and is growing nice green new leaves right now!

I think that’s all the updates on the fruits and vegetables we have at our little slice of Heaven here in Amite. I plan to write an end of the month update each month on our garden adventures!

Ya’ll have a Blessed Week!

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!

08.26.19 Chauvin Produce Company – In Transition to the Fall Garden

Gardening is difficult when the weather is as hot has it has been.  The high today was in the high 70s so right after church today I spent several hours crawling around and working in our main vegetable garden. Pulling weeds has been difficult because the garden was so full. All weeds and dead leaves are now gone!  They will come back though! 😦  Many of the vegetables really needed tying up higher to the tall stakes and that was done today. Dirt gets washed away exposing the roots as time goes on so each plant got a fresh mound of dirt over the roots.

A lot has changed since I wrote last and we are transitioning to the Fall garden now.

While I worked in the garden Roy spent the whole afternoon assembling a square picnic table for family and friend gatherings.

My husband doesn’t do anything half way.  He could have assembled the picnic table and bench and walked away.  But these concrete squares are to go under each corners legs so it doesn’t sink into the ground and get uneven.  I’m already planning how to make that area down by the pond into something pretty where we’ll like to visit! It’s pretty far from the house but has a beautiful view of the pond!

Now to the garden. One thing we’ve learned is that we are either really not good at growing watermelons or the locations we’ve planted them in is no good.  We’ve had at least a dozen watermelons start to grow on the vines.  All but three withered up and died.   Two of the three are little and round, about two week old watermelons.  One got fairly large before we discovered it had been either eaten into or somehow went bad.  We’ve both agreed this may not be something we grow again next year.  After cutting off the bad part of the fairly large one, it was quite delicious.  I think we’ll get about three bowls full of watermelon from that one. I’ll leave the vines growing just in case a miracle happens and we get another nice size one!

We are proud that we grow okra really well.  Every day I cut at least one nice size okra from each plant.  Now that new branches are growing from near the bottom and okra are growing from there we have maybe 3 okra pods to pick from each plant.  I’ve shared okra, frozen sliced okra, cooked smothered okra, pickled okra, and boiled okra.  Every way I’ve fixed them has turned out great. The top of the okra plants are now around 7 feet tall.  I have to bend them over a lot to reach the top to snip off the okra pods!  Two of the plants have grown all the okra they are going to grow so I’ve cut them down to just above where the new bottom branches are growing. My smothered okra recipe will be included in the next blog post.

These tall scrawney okra plants are great producers.  You can see the yellow flower at the top and a flower near the bottom on the same plant where the new crop have started.

This one small okra plant is a different variety I tried this year from seed.  It’s the only seed of that variety that actually turned into a plant. It took longer to start producing but about a month ago it started producing an okra pod each day. These are some of the lower branches that are now producing okra.A pot of smothered okra and a pot of fresh potatoes

Bell peppers are another vegetable we grow well.  I’ve stuffed dozens of bell peppers. I also chopped up a lot of bell peppers and froze them.   I don’t know if it is our soil or the type of bell pepper seeds we grew we’ve grown but they don’t seem to get as big as the ones in the grocery.  They are however very tender and quite delicious! They are still producing quite a few in what I call their second season. This is a vegetable we will grow again. My stuffed bell pepper recipe will be included in the next blog post.

All of the sweet potatoes have been dug up.  The first batch stayed in the house for two weeks and then the storage shed for two weeks after digging them up.  They are now ready to cook.  Their shape is not always like the ones in the grocery. However, I’ve watched several videos about growing sweet potatoes and have found that other people have funky shaped sweet potatoes in their home gardens just like mine are. The second batch lived inside for a couple of weeks and have just been placed in the storage shed for the next two weeks.  I’ll let ya’ll know how the first batch of sweet potatoes tastes when they are cooked.  We’ve agreed we won’t be growing sweet potatoes anymore.  A lot of work and a lot of space for not many results.

This is the first batch that are ready to cook.

The second batch that will be ready after spending a couple of weeks in the warmth of the storage shed.  Aren’t they the weirdest shape things!?Our cucumbers are still producing. We’ve picked around 60 decent sized cucumbers so far. About a dozen cucumbers were yellowish in color as they grew.  They were delicious even though the cucumbers were yellow-skinned.  I’ve planted seeds three times since this planting season started.  The vines are sometimes strong and sometimes weak.  I learned I’m not great at pickling the cucumbers.  They get very soft though they taste okay.  I’ve fixed them a couple of different ways.  It’s a lot of work for something that doesn’t turn out great.

Roy’s new creole tomato plants are all producing at least one, some more.  Can’t wait for one to get ripe and taste it!

The original two rows of tomatoes are down to one plant! That one plant has one tomato on it and when that ripens we’ll pull it up.

The two rows above where those tomatoes grew will be planted with the cauliflower, broccoli, and brussel sprout plants that are almost ready to go in the garden.

The corn seeds planted about a month ago are growing well and most all have corn on them.

+The mirliton vines have been difficult to grow.  They do not make millions until August but so far we have no militon vegetables on the vines.  While the vines right now look okay and strong, during their growth they’ve been weak and then strong and then weak looking.  We were really hoping this would go well since we both love stuffed mirlitons and have such fond memories of Roy’s mom growing them in their garden.

Our fig trees are really weird.  These are a few of the figs still on the tree.  They are all still green.  Sometimes one will ripen and something eats part of it right away.  Most of them haven’t gotten anywhere near ripe. They have received a good soaking every day so we don’t know if something is wrong or if they are just late producers! 

The yellow onion crop was pretty small and the onions themselves were small.  I planted 100 yellow onion sets (tiny onions) and this is about half of what it produced. The largest ones are about tennis ball size.

We’re using the green tops of the onions on our baked potatoes tonight!

Our eggplants have done well.  The first group produced nice sized eggplants.  The second group produced mostly small ones.  Once they got about baseball size they fell off the bush.  If I didn’t get them off the ground the same day they rotted quickly.  The smothered eggplant casseroles turned out very tasty.  My smothered eggplant recipe will be included in the next blog post.

I love mangos and want to try growing them.  I found a video showing how to do that and am trying it!  The picture below shows the bottom half of a 2 liter bottle. The two baggies contain two different mango seeds.  I’ve always thought the seed was what was inside the mango that had lots of hair on it.  Come to find out that the actual seed is inside of that hairy thing.  The video said to gently dig out the seed and wrap it in a wet towel, then put it inside a zip lock bag for ten days.  At the end of the ten days you remove the papertowel wrapped seed from the baggy.  It is suppose to have a nice root growing on it.  You then add rocks and dirt to the empty bottle and plant the seed in it.  As the plant grows you put it in a larger container about every year.  Who knows if this will go well but it is too easy not to try!

The photo below shows the seeds wrapped up and the bottle cut in half. Here is a link to the video that taught me how to do this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV_J1ihtia8

The artichoke plant has not produced an artichoke but is still living so we’ll see how that does! If it’s not dead, it still has potential!

We’ve had so much rain, that continues this week that the garden has often been overflowing with water.  The seedlings are ready to plant but I’m waiting until the flood is over!

The fall garden will include cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, bell pepper, eggplants and okra. We’ll get a break in our gardening once we have our first freeze here.  I don’t know which vegetables can withstand the freeze but we have very few hours each year where the temperature is below freezing.

Ya’ll have a Blessed week!

 

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07.14.19 Chauvin Produce Company – Things they are a changing

Things, they are a changing in the garden!

This week I harvested our entire crop of potatoes.  See the picture below. It was not the large basket full of potatoes I hoped for.  But it will provide us with maybe 4 meals of potatoes so that’s good. Once the plants above the ground died off you’re supposed to wait two to three weeks and then dig them up.  I did that and didn’t get the big crop of larger potatoes I wanted.  There is no peaking under the soil to see what’s going on so they all got dug up and that’s that! If anyone reading this knows I did something drastically wrong, please let me know!

I cooked all of the really small ones and made homemade mashed potatoes for dinner.  It was accompanied by pork chops cooked in a sauce in the crockpot.  Also smothered okra from the garden.  For those who don’t know.  Smothered okra is ground meat, onions (etc.) and cooked okra. One of Roy’s mother’s recipe that he loves!

I chose four of these potatoes to be our seed potatoes for the next crop.  I’ve read about planting potatoes in sand and pine straw.  Once the seed potatoes sprout we’ll be trying out that option of potato growing down in the sandy soil by the pond.  I’ve been raking up pine straw by the pond getting ready for that next experiment with growing potatoes.

These are the chopped okra that I made the smothered okra with.  This was two days’ worth of picked okra.  Okra growing is neat because every two to three days each okra plant has an okra pod ready to pick.  Once you see them start, within four days they are ready to pick!

This is the mashed potato made with potatoes from the garden. The okra in the smothered okra came from the garden.

The whole garden has gone through a thinning out process.  Removing the small, crowding plants to make room for expansion of the healthier remaining plants.  This is what it looks like now.

The 20 original tomato bushes have grown tall with many branches.  They all had to be tied up which makes the plants look scrawny which in a way they are.  These have been the scrawniest, lots of branches and tallest tomato plants ever. They have produced a tremendous amount of cherry tomatoes and a reasonable amount of large tomatoes.  Once Roy added lime to the soil the “blossom rot” stopped.  For a while, I picked the larger tomatoes when they first started turning so the “blossom rot” wouldn’t take hold.  Now I don’t have to pick until they are completely ripe without any “blossom rot”!!!   It looks like the tomato bushes are stopping their production and when they do that we will pull them up.  We will then refresh the nutrients in those two rows and plant cauliflower, broccoli and Brussel sprouts that we are now growing from seed. You may remember we tried to grow broccoli and cauliflower this spring and it got so infested with bugs that we pulled them up.  We are hopeful that this fall crop will be different.  We will be checking them very often to make sure that doesn’t happen.  They will also be planted farther apart which we hope helps! We have Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower seeds planted in individual cups and under the grow lights right now.  It will take them around a month to get ready for transplanting outside which should work well with when the tomatoes plants look like they will be ready to come out. When I checked these today several of the brussels sprouts and broccoli have sprouted!

All of the potatoes were dug up and we’ll plant the next potato crop down by the pond so the first row in the garden was open!  Instead of growing tomatoes from seed, this time we purchased 7 small Creole Tomato bushes and Roy proceeded to get them planted for our Fall tomato crop. For the spring crop next year, we purchased Creole Tomato seeds and will get those seeds planted early in 2020.

Our cantaloupe vine has finally produced a cantaloupe.  It was about the size of a baseball a few days ago when the picture was taken.    

One of the changes in the garden is that all of the original corn stalks have produced all they were going to and the stalks began dying like they were supposed to.  I pulled them all up and a few days later planted few new Kandy Korn corn seeds we got from the Feed and Seed in Hammond.  They have all sprouted and some are almost a foot high already.  The seeds were not all planted at the same time which explains the difference in corn stalk height.

The bell pepper plants have been thinned out. Those plants not having any blooms or new bell peppers were pulled up giving more space for the remaining ones to expand.  Each remaining plant has multiple tiny to medium size bell peppers growing!  Six bell peppers were ready to be picked this morning!

These are all of the bell peppers that were blanched and have been frozen today to be stuffed later and enjoyed!. Yes, that is a red bell pepper in the pot.  After it was picked it turned red which is something they do sometimes!

The artichoke plant is still growing but no artichoke yet!

The okra plants are doing really well.  They were thinned out last week like the bell peppers and original tomatoe plants were.  The gardenhad gotten so congested that I couldn’t make it through each row to pick or maintain the vegetables.  Every 2 to 4 days an okra pod is ready to pick on each plant.

There are multiple pods forming at the top of each plant which means we’ll have okra ready to pick for quite a while.

This is an eggplant plant which is one of the plants very congested.  There were not any that should be pulled up but I was able to prune lots of lower leaves which helped.  The lavender flowers may be hard to see on all of the plants but they are all over the plants.  Those flowers are potential eggplants which means their second crop is in the making. One of the several actual eggplants on the bushes.

All of the sweet potato blooms were cut off and a lot of the vine cut back.  This was done in preparation for the vine to die down. The sweet potatoes are getting ready to be dug up.  The original vine was so thick and tall that it wasn’t allowing the sun to get to the other vegetables growing next to it.  After trimming this back I could see a couple of nice sweet potatoes showing through the soil!!!

This was our harvest this morning. Beautiful tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, bell pepper and some of our yellow onions.  The yellow onions were not as big as they could be but the sprouts out of the ground had fallen over which is supposed to mean they are ready.  They were not ready but they did have the yellow paper like skin on them before I cleaned them. Even though they are small I will chop them up to use in cooking soon!  There are several more yellow onions still planted.

Our fig trees are full of figs but they haven’t started turning brownish purple which means they are ripe.  One is turning a tiny bit and we are hoping for the rest to ripen soon.  A dear friend of ours let us go over to her house where her figs are plentiful and lots were ready to pick.  Thank you, Donna and Chuck, for sharing those little gems of deliciousness with us!

Thanks for following our efforts to grow some vegetables. We’re changing now to the Fall Crop time so this is an ongoing Chauvin Produce Company garden.

Oh, and we had Hurricane Barry come through here as I wrote this.  We are happy that it didn’t turn out to be much of a storm for us.  Other areas including New Orleans flooded.  Homes and vehicles were lost in other parts of Louisiana and in Mississippi but we’re fine. Thanks to those who checked on us!

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06.27.19 Chauvin Produce Update – It is Harvest Time!

Read on to find out what this is about!

The vegetable plants are as big as they need to get and they re all producing.  We are now harvesting daily!

Instead of showing the garden itself, I’ll share some photos of the harvest and a couple of the garden! We’ve been dealing with hungry little insects and bugs and spraying and spraying the plants

Every morning I go out to the garden and harvest whatever is ready.  Maintaining the garden and picking the vegetables have turned out to be difficult because my back gets inflamed within a minute of starting to bend over.  The rows seemed to be well spaced before the vegetable bushes grew to full size.  Now we feel they are too close together which is something we’ll change in future gardens.

 

 

Our corn has produced 12 corn on the cobs. They are so delicious!!! As time has passed the quality of the corn has gotten better and better.

When each corn stalk produced one and sometimes two corn cobs they started naturally withering and dying.  We’ve pulled up around 10 stalks so far.  There are around 5 stalks remaining.  New corn seeds were planted where there is available space and the next crop of corn has sprouted.  The picture below looks pitiful but they are doing what they are supposed to.  I cut the top half off when they need to come up out of the ground so Roy knows which ones to pull up.

These are where there were originally beautiful potato bushes.

Now, most are gone which is what they are supposed to do.  The potatoes growing under the ground take what they need from the plants above ground until there is nothing left of the bush.  The almost nothing you see below means things are going right!  They need to be in the ground a while longer before they can be harvested.  

Cucumbers are being harvested every day and they are big cucumbers.

I pickled four jars full a couple of weeks ago. Once we started eating them we realized I shouldn’t have pickled these really big ones since their skin is tougher.  I’ll be pickling the cucumbers while they are smaller from now on.  

We’ve been enjoying garden fresh tomato and cucumber salads every day. The lettuce in this picture also came from the garden!  I think this is the part of our vegetable garden adventure we are enjoying the most! We grew these from seeds, isn’t that cool!

At least a dozen usable bell peppers have been picked.  A few nonusable bell peppers were picked, the bad spots cut out and then the remainder chopped up to use for seasoning in my cooking. Three nice eggplants were picked so far.  Several eggplants are hanging on their bushes getting bigger every day.

I stuffed 12 bell peppers with ground meat, rice, garlic, onions, bell pepper, etc.  They were frozen in groups of three. 

This is the pot of eggplant that is being smothered with ground meat and seasoning.  We were able to make two large casseroles of smothered eggplant.  One casserole we’ve already eaten and it was delicious! The other is in the freezer. It looks totally different when the eggplant is cooked and smothered down!

The number of tomatoes in the bowl below are being picked every day.  We’ve either popped them in our mouth to enjoy or put them in a salad.

We pick about the amount of okra shown below every day.  We’ve picked around 40 okras so far. They are all being chopped up and frozen.  When we get a big enough bag we will fix smothered okra.

Our bigger tomatoes are just now starting to turn red.  Some of the bigger tomatoes have developed “blossom rot” which comes from a deficiency of calcium in the soil.  Roy researched it and found that lime needed to be added to the soil so he bought a 40 pound bag and treated the soil of the tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplants since those last two can be affected by blossom rot.

The okra plant makes this beautiful flower as it is growing.  You can see behind the flower in the picture are several budding okras.

Our one and only artichoke plant is doing well.  No artichokes yet but it’s a neat plant to watch it grow! 

The first of our green onion crop has been harvested and chopped using it in our cooking.

Now for the fruit

Our eight blueberry bushes were moved this year so we didn’t anticipate much of a crop and that’s what we got.  We let Madisyn pick the three blueberries and she shared them with me!

Our watermelon vines have one watermelon that is growing every day.  First is a close up of the 4-inch watermelon and second is the vine the watermelon is growing on.

In the garden down by the pond the watermelon vine is finally growing and flowering.

The cantaloupe in that same area is blooming really.  I am hopeful there will be fruit growing on each within the next week.

The fig trees are growing really well and figs are all over the trees.

The garlic and yellow onions are still growing and aren’t ready yet to harvest.

Our militon vines are having an issue with yellowing and dying leaves.  While those yellowing leaves dry up and fall off, lots of new green growth is blooming all over the vines. We researched this whil the yellowing occured and learned that the new green leaves may start growing so we are happy to see that happen/ Militon plants don’t start blooming and producing until around August or September so we’ll see how they do then!

The sweet potatoes are still a big bunch of vines that haven’t shown any sign of being ready to go away so we can dig up the sweet potatoes.  If these sweet potatoes do well and we decide to do it again we will NOT plant it in the middle of a garden.  The vines are so long and even though we let them go up and down a fine, they still take over a lot of area in the garden.  The big bunch of leaves on the right are the sweet potato vines.

Different types of inspects and bugs have attacked the plants in different ways. We’ve purchased three different types of insect sprays to wipe out these bugs that love the plants.  With the vegetable plants close together it is difficult to spray the whole plant. Lots of lessons are being learned so that’s good!

After I finished writing this yesterday I was in the garden and found 3 eggplants on the ground that had fallen off the bushes and had a bad spot on them.  Between that and the spots on a few bell peppers recently I decided to pick all the eggplants and bell peppers that were almost the right size to pick to avoid the possibility of a bad spot on them.  This morning I did that and here’s what I picked.  This mornings harvest included picking some smaller cucumbers that are better suited for pickling than the larger ones were. It only takes a couple of days for these cucumbers to grow from the small size to the large!

That’s it for now on our Spring 2019 gardening adventure!

 

06.05.19 Chauvin Produce Company Update

This produce update we’re starting with the bad news and then will go on to all of the good news.

Well, it was just not time for us to grow broccoli and cauliflower.  The plants got big, but bugs got the leaves.  We treated them all three different times using Sevin Dust, then Insecticidal Soap and then some stronger solution. After pulling them all up and putting them in a big bag the contents of the bag were sprayed and the dirt where they were planted was sprayed really well. The picture doesn’t in any way show how eaten up and almost leafless a lot of the broccoli and cauliflower were.

The healthy bushes to the right of the eaten up plants are our sweet potato plants.

Here’s a picture from the internet which much better shows what the broccoli and cauliflower plants look like.

The row is now empty after digging up the plants!  I’m not sure exactly what we’ll plant in their place or if we will plant anything.  I’ve been researching what to do about the soil I pulled the diseased plants out of.   As always, we’ll see!

Now on to all of the good garden news! The vines are doing well and producing really large cucumbers.

These cucumbers were picked this week.  We’ve eaten two and they were delicious!  I have saved some of these cucumber’s seeds for our next crop!

Tomato bushes – ours are really tall and thin but they are loaded with tomatoes!

 Big tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Bell Peppers plants and baby Bell Peppers

Okra plants and baby okra

Fig Trees

Peanuts, finally are growing down by the pond!

Watermelon vine finally growing down by the pond

Watermelon vines in a pot between the middle two blueberry bushes They are doing really well!

Cantaloupe growing well also with several blossoms

Blueberry bushes – still only three blueberries total!! 

Garlic and Yellow Onions – these won’t be ready for a while, it’s what they do! 

Cornstalks all have one ear of corn and some have two

Sweet potatoes are now growing up a little fence that isn’t really showing up in the picture.  It will be a while before these are ready

We have two lettuce plants.  Both are doing well!  They had a hard time at first but they look great now!  Eggplant plants, with flowers and with a baby eggplant.  Potatoes, the five bushes to the right of these are dead and gone, not a bad thing, that’s what they do.  This means it is two to three weeks until we can dig up those potatoes.  These were planted later than those. ArtichokeOur first corn harvest.  We may have picked them too soon because the cob was not full of kernels.  We ate these three corns this evening though and they were delicious!  Our first corn with not many kernels and the kernels we have are small!

We went to the grocery just now and saw that we could buy corn in the husks for 25 cents each!

Then Roy brought me over to see the already husked corn and said: “See honey this is what corn is suppose to look like!”  Good thing I love that man!

The whole main garden

The heat these last two weeks is not good at all for the vegetable gardens.  We water every evening, a really saturated kind of watering.  I’m hoping we can put up some kind of shade covering for the afternoon extreme sun.

Today it stormed and when looking at the weather the next week it will rain every day so that takes care of the heat problem for a while!

Ya’ll come back and have a Blessed Week!

 

05.07.19 Chauvin family is expecting a new baby!

Our tallest stalk of corn is expecting its first baby corn!!!  It’s not time for a full vegetable garden update but this new development is too wonderful to wait!

This is the stalk that was started from seed inside and was the only one that lived long enough to be planted outside!  The rest of the stalks were seeds planted directly outside so they are a bit behind that one.

Roy and I are very proud grandparents and cannot wait for the arrival of our newest grand baby, even if it is a corn!

The proud mama corn stalk

Baby Corn, due date unknown!

Ya’ll have a Blessed Week!

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05.04.19 Our One Year Anniversary!

One year ago today we began moving into the home we built three years before.  We rented it out for three years and this time last year we were moving the few things we had into our home. Since our motorhome was furnished with built in furniture there was only one small table to move into the house! Personal items and kitchen utensils made up the rest of what we had to move!

We’ve come a long way this year! We have a furnished living room.  An almost furnished bedroom (just missing the Grand Canyon canvas art) and cream colored short shag area rug for under the bed.  The other two bedrooms are as furnished as we need them to be for now.  We’ve moved around a lot of the flowers, blueberries and other bushes from where Dora use to live to around the house. We’ve established our main vegetable garden and that’s going really well!

More of the canvas prints from special places we traveled to and bunk beds in my rock room for grandchildren vists are planned for the future. We’d love to have a nice big deck outside the back door. More grass growing down the side hill would be nice.

Roy and I don’t need much to be happy and I can say we are very happy here! Occasionally I’ll miss the adventure of traveling and seeing our beautiful country. But when I sit outside and watch the hummingbirds play, and all the other birds and squirrels play around outside, hear the birds chirp and sing all day long, watch the cows with their baby cows following them, pick the wonderful blackberries down the road, sit by the pond to enjoy the fish, and feel the breeze there I realize we have it pretty good here.

All that doesn’t include our wonderful small home that is just perfect for us. I have a room dedicated to my rock painting and Roy has his computer, tinkering, building, fixing room! Three bedrooms in all and two full baths.  We love showing our place to friends and family so if you haven’t visited yet please do! Leave a comment below and we’ll set up a visit. I may even bake a cake and have some hot coffee for our visit!

God has taken care of us as a couple in so many ways and we are both thankful to be where we are at this time in our lives. Yes, we are old, I have dementia and both have health issues but we are blessed in so many ways and are happy we made the decision to move out of Dora and into our little home!

Ya’ll have a Blessed Weekend!

 

05.02.19 The Lesson of the Burnt Biscuits

If you’re anything like me, the family dinner table played a huge part in your childhood and to our own family dinner time with our sons..

Whether we were just sharing funny or heartwarming stories about the day’s activities or playing with the family dog dinner was an extra special time to enjoy each other’s company. Gosh, I miss those times with our two sons around the dinner table.

And when I saw how this father taught his children an extremely valuable lesson over their dinner meal, I had to pass it along.

This touching story has been passed around the internet for years, with its initial writer still unknown. The story follows one family and the way they handle a tired mother’s batch of burned biscuits.

We all know how hard moms work, and the story below speaks to a larger lesson of compassion that folks of all ages can get behind. And while these aren’t my words, they are words that deeply resonate with me.

This heartwarming story has been inspiring people around the world for years:

When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work.

On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!”

All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school.

I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit…

He ate every bite of that thing — never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits.

And I’ll never forget what he said, “Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned.

He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she’s really tired. And besides — a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!’”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people.

I’m not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else.

But what I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults, and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences, is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that’s my prayer for you today… That you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God.

Because in the end, He’s the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn’t a deal breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

As the saying goes, ‘Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket — keep it in your own.’”

So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil: it has no point.

Anonymous

Ya’ll have a Blessed Weekend – Yes It Is Almost Here!!