03.12.19 Chauvin Produce Company update – sticks, sticks and more sticks

Progress is being made in the garden.  A little bit at a time.

This update is long and not all that interesting 🙂 I wrote it to help me keep track of how the garden is progressing and to look back on how this years garden was grown when planning the next garden.  If you want to learn with us as we experiment with this spring’s garden read on!! If not, feel free to go outside and walk around a while enjoying God’s beautiful world instead of reading on!

The three beautifully sprouting militon plants were planted in the garden on Thursday, March 7th. These lived on top of the refrigerator until they started sprouting and then they lived outside for the last couple of weeks except for the freeze nights. After just a few days in the ground they have already sent out their little feelers and curled along the wire!  You see a little bit of the militon is sticking out above the ground.  That’s how it is suppose to be for them to grow right.  The end where the roots grow down and the vine grows up is below ground and the other end above ground.  Two newer militons that haven’t sprouted joined the first three in the ground on Saturday, March 9th. All five militons are planted along the wire Roy put up to give the militons and cucumbers a place to grow up.

The cucumber seeds have not done well, unlike how well they did last year.  With only 3 seeds sprouting I decided to plant 10 seeds directly in the garden on Saturday, March 9th along the same fence the militons are growing on. It looks like only sticks are growing there right now!

The potatoes that have been growing outside in a large container were planted in the garden on Thursday as well.  They sprouted and have been growing well outside in a pot, being moved inside when it froze. Two more potatoes are now cut in pieces with two eyes each waiting to sprout more and the outside hardening before going in the ground.

Half of one row is now planted with garlic and the other end with yellow onions. The three garlic I started inside have sprouted well and were planted in the garden on Thursday, March 7th.  Several more garlic cloves were planted directly in the garden on Thursday to see how that works compared to starting them inside and moving them outside when they sprout.

One yellow onion set (tiny onions) was planted inside and sprouted really well.  12 yellow onion sets were planted directly into the main garden. Ten sets were planted in a big pot a week ago and are still there.  18 sets were planted in an egg carton two weeks ago and were transplanted (with good roots growing) in the pond garden.  There are probably 40 onion sets left unplanted.  Those will be planted during the summer.

My efforts starting corn inside were pretty much a failure.  Only one did well and was planted in the garden on Thursday.  Around 20 corn seeds were planted directly in the garden on Thursday.  More research showed that starting inside is not a good idea so now I know for future gardens.

Here’s the garden with potatoes, garlic, onion sets, corn seeds, militons and cucumber seeds planted.

Sprouted watermelon (Jubilee) plants and cantaloupe plants (from our own seeds) were planted into the garden down by the pond on Thursday, March 7th.  Watermelon seeds of a different variety, Allsweet, were planted in the ground in a straight line in the pond garden.

The three sweet potatoes were cut with two eyes on each piece.  They were planted in an aluminum pan and were growing well in the pantry and have started to make leaves.  It will be a while before the splits are ready to be removed and planted in the ground but for now they have joined the rest of the other plants outside of the pantry!

The brussels sprout plants were dug up from last year and were planted last week in the pond garden are doing well in the ground.  When I planted them I saw tiny little brussels forming along the stalk.

Between 12 and 20 peanuts were planted near the Brussels sprouts last week but nothing is sprouting yet. 10 peanuts were planted in the flower garden along the fence near the front of our property.  Peanuts don’t require much care so I am planting them wherever there is an open space! This looks like pretty much just a bunch of popsicle sticks but there really are some small plants there!

The seed plantings that are not ready to plant outside are spending a couple of hours outside each day hardening them.  They are in a protected environment inside the kitchen which is drastically different than outside conditions.  Spending a bit more time each day outside in the elements help prepare them for when they live outside all the time.  I didn’t do any of that last year.  The seeds were planted in their little individual spaces and lived outside the whole time. Today is day 3 of their hardening process.

The seed plantings going through hardening right now are the bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, big tomatoes, okra, green onions, eggplants, cauliflower, broccoli.  All of them have 3 or more leaves on them and just need the hardening.

The beautiful leaves sprouting on our two fig trees froze earlier this week but there are new ones sprouting out already!  The eight blueberry bushes are all sprouting new leaves and blueberries.  Some bushes more than others, but they all seem to have survived the big transplant last year!

While gardening is a very fulfilling experience it has frustrated my brain this week. I thought I had some safety net things in place to help me remember what’s planted where. However, I planted some seeds in two containers and before I could make markers to identify what they were I forgot what I planted.  Didn’t even stay in my brain 10 minutes.  I had to dig them up to figure it out.  I have several small pots with cucumber markers in then that I don’t really know if there are seeds in there. Nothing is sprouting yet so there probably is just dirt but I’ll give it a bit longer hoping I did actually plant seeds in them.

My sweet honey Roy saw I needed more popsicle sticks for identifying plants as I’ve used all I had (sorry Madisyn, they use to be yours in your craft box!) He went to the store and bought me over 100 large wooden (popsicle like) sticks so I could write on both sides what the plant is to put one next to each one as I plant them.  There are now popsicle sticks all over the gardens.  Last year I painted rocks with the names of each vegetable.  Because I don’t remember what a plant is without seeing it’s name I painted a second one for each vegetable this year to put one at each end of the row.

I am finding that while I’ve done a lot of research about all of the vegetables I don’t remember most of it.  I made a spreadsheet with lots of the information to help me with that. But I have to remember to update the spreadsheet for it to be helpful, I haven’t updated it in a month.

I need some help figuring out where to plant things in the garden down by the pond and Roy helps me with that.  Seems like that should be something I’d never need any help with but I do every step I take with it.  He sits with me (I’m sitting in the dirt, he’s sitting in a chair) down by the pond and it gives me a great comfort. I also have a fear of snakes living under the storage building so Roy is also there to protect me from what he calls “sneaky snake!”

In this picture I am moving sprouting onion sets from the egg carton I started them in. They are now in the pond garden where I am hopeful they grow into full size yellow onions.  Had to shake my head when I saw what an old biddy I look like in the picture but that’s me when I’m crawling around in the dirt!  I require a shower and clean clothes every time I do that!

Well that’s it for gardening by the Chauvin’s this week.  More will be transferred to the garden next couple of weeks, I hope.  Today the high temperature was 80.  We had a delightful visit at our house with my sister Harriett and brother in law George and I got to show her all my gardening efforts!

Ya’ll have a blessed week!

 

03.02.19 Rosalyn and Harry’s Hometown

I only know Harry Connick Jr. through television. I love to hear him play the piano and sing.  His dad Harry Connick Sr. was very famous to us for his work as District Attorney in New Orleans for what seemed like decades.

Harry and I both grew up in Lakeview, a beautiful part of New Orleans so we  have the same hometown. I enjoyed the video below by Harry where he takes us around New Orleans to see some of what makes our hometown so special.

The video below includes his favorite food places

Cafe Du Monde,
Camellia Grill
Cava on Harrison Avenue
Plum Street Snowball

I love Cafe Du Monde where I always get beignets and chocolate milk. They now have 8 locations.

I love Camellia Grill. Roy makes something similar to their Chocolate Freeze which we call Slap Ya’ Mama.

I’ve never eaten at Cava but we should.

Plum Street Snowballs are outstanding. My favorite snowball stand in New Orleans is the one we always went to growing up, NOLA Snowballs at 908 Harrison Avenue in Lakeview. NOLA Snowballs had a different name when I was young.  I think it was Harrison Snowballs.  One thing I remember is that it was owned by my friend Worm’s dad.  I think it’s the name Worm that stuck in my mind!

Harry uses the media often to share his love for New Orleans.  I want to share this amazing city with ya’ll as I’ve done often in the past.  This isn’t the first New Orleans focused blog post I’ve done and it probably won’t be the last.

Contact info for his favorite food places:

Cafe Du Monde
800 Decatur Street
New Orleans 70116
504 525 4544

Camellia Grill
626 S Carrollton Avenue
New Orleans 70112
504 309 2679

Cava in Lakeview
789 Harrison Ave
New Orleans 70124
504 304 9034

Plum Street Snowballs – corner of Plum and Burdette St
1300 Burdette St
New Orleans 70118
504 866 7996

Hope you enjoyed Harry’s tour around New Orleans, our hometown!

Ya’ll have a Blessed weekend!

02.28.19 Chauvin Produce Company Update – Hey HONEY let’s stop at the junk yard!

Monday we had some errands to run around Amite and Hammond.  I told Roy I’d like to find a metal table to use outside to have a place for repotting plants, etc.  He said he previously saw a glass and metal table at the junk yard. It’s a big yard with junk in it! They sell whatever people give them! As we were driving down Highway 16 towards downtown Amite we passed by there and stopped.  I love stopping there to see what they have for sale.

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I looked at the round glass and metal table but it just didn’t ring my happy bells. We saw a rectangular glass outside table with metal trim and legs.  We both agreed not only could it be a gardening table but we can use it for when company comes to eat and visit! We need to get an umbrella to go through the hole in the middle of the table for shade. I’ll take a used one if anyone wants to give us one!!!  We settled on a great price with the young lady at the junk yard and Roy figured out how to strap it to the top of our truck bed cover to bring it home.  A nice policeman followed us home I guess to make sure the table didn’t fall off and cause an accident.

I cleaned the table this morning and the next phase of gardening began.  Most all of my little vegetable and fruit seeds have grown big enough plants to transfer them to bigger pots. That took a long time but I got to know them all really well.  I’ve always talked to my plants even before having dementia.  They respond well, so if you haven’t tried it start talking to yours!  It will be a while until these tiny plants are ready to go in the garden but we now have a kitchen floor full of pots. It was not sunny today but spending hours outside was such a blessing!

These pictures above were taken before the table got full and I finally realized that sitting down in a chair made the whole process easier…………… duh!

The brussells sprouts plants from last year have been replanted down by the pond. There are seven of them and when I took them out of the container they were in I saw tiny brussells sprouts growing!  We’ll see how that turns out!

Both fig trees are blooming!

All of the eight transplanted blueberry bushes are blooming and one even has a few blueberries on it already!!

I also planted 5 more peanut plants down there.  I planted 6 last week in the front of the garden along the fence.  I just planted the 5 peanuts and 7 brussells sprouts and after an active day I am pooped out.  I’ll plant more peanuts tomorrow.  The soil down there with what Roy added and tilled is beautiful and so easy to work with, it’s just the bending and digging that’s rough!  Thanks again honey for my second garden!

I have mirliton vines and potatoes ready to plant.  Next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we will have freezing temperatures at night.  Once that is past I’ll begin planting those in the garden. The watermelon, cantaloupe seeds have nice size plants now and will be planted down by the pond then.  The cucumbers will also be ready for the garden and will be planted on the same end that the mirliton vines will be on growing up the fence Roy constructed!

Not ours but a mirliton vine with mirlitons on it. That’s what I’m striving for!

This is what a mirliton vine and mirlitons look like.  Roy’s mama always had one and we enjoyed many of her stuffed mirlitons!

Roy created rows in the garden last week.  It’s beginning to take shape. It’s only growing a couple of weeds right now but soon it will be filled with lots of vegetables.

Ya’ll have a blessed weekend!

 

02.12.19 Chauvin Produce Company – Getting the Gardens Ready

It would be oh so nice for gardening to just be dumping some dirt out, making rows, planting some seeds and watching them grow!  But OH NO that is not how it is!

Our venture into gardening vegetables in the fall was a learning experience.  This year we are going the extra mile in every step along the way.

When I say “we” I mostly mean Roy.  I’m usually along for the ride helping make decisions, or doing some of the grunt work or supervising! For over a week we’ve been spending large chunks of most days on getting the garden ready to accept the plants when the seeds, the mirlitons, potatoes, garlic and sweet potatoes are ready to plant.

Again, our friends Chuck and Donna loaned us their tiller and our very gracious neighbor Daniel loaned us his trailer to pick up the tiller, dirt, and other items.  We used the tiller last year to prepare the blueberry beds and the small garden in the back yard.  This year Roy expanded the garden from 8′ x 16′ to 16′ x 16′.  We also prepared an area down by the pond where crawling fruit like watermelon and cantaloupe can grow.

I’ve tried to document with pictures all we’ve done and will try to identify what’s going on in each picture below.  I’m already thinking this may become a two part post because I’ve identified over 50 pics I want to share.  We’ll see.

The cool weather recently has allowed us to work for hours on end without being drained like the heat does.  We were worn slap out and our joints/muscles screamed at us after a few hours and overnight but we’re still standing and I have to think it was a healthy week of working out, at the very least.

Nothing is ever easy.  After Roy dug up all the grass where the garden expansion was he had to locate the electrical wire he laid down there last year to run electricity to our storage building. We couldn’t find pictures that showed exactly where it was so he dug until he found it.  The tiller would rip up the wire at the level it was, so after finding it he dug much deeper and relaid the line.  This was a full day’s project after the two days he spent digging up the grass.

We shopped for more frame lumber to go around the expansion portion of the garden and the rebar to make it all stable and stay in place. Here’s Roy working on putting it all together.

When we bought the boards and rebar we also bought five fence posts to create the fencing for my cucumbers and merlitons to grow all around.  Last years flimsy structure that cucumbers grew one was pitiful.  This one will withstand a hurricane!

The original gardens dirt/compost/peatmoss and the new gardens just dirt was tilled.  Over the course of this week I’d say Roy tilled both gardens entirely 10 different times.

One day last week Roy and I visited three different dirt pit locations to see, price and decide which dirt was best for us.  We chose a place called Zemurray Pit a few miles from here.  The guy running the place was very helpful and worked with us to get the best dirt before the rains came.

The next day Roy went to Lowe’s to buy the Peat Moss and Cow manure/compost, pick up the tiller and came home to till all that in. After the first tilling four huge bags of peat moss were added, I kicked it apart, raked it in several directions, Roy tilled it and I raked it one last time.

Here’s the bags of cow manure/compost that Roy added and I raked it out.  Roy tilled all of the peat moss and manure into the dirt. He tilled for a couple of hours before calling it a day.

He got up at 7:30 am the next morning (I know alot of ya’ll are at work then!) and went to get a huge load of dirt from Zemurray Pit.  He brought that home and tilled that into the stuff he tilled the day before. I got up when he came home and had worked for an hour and a day full of fun began for me.  What’s seen on the trailer below is what was left after he put half of the dirt in the garden with the nutrients and tilled it. 

Here’s the finished product.  One 16′ x 16′  vegetable garden that will withstand earthquakes, hurricanes and who knows whatelse!   Between doing research, shopping, and labor I estimate 30 hours went into this.  Certainly not the simple garden that the garden looks like! It’s amazing what all goes into it!

Here’s the view from the garden of what I call “down by the pond.”  The second garden that is down there isn’t as structured as this but many hours of work went into it also.

On our way down there looking back up the hill to the first garden.

Here’s where we tried out growing watermelons and cantaloupe last year.  There are some weeds that I knew would only get worse if I didn’t dig them up, so I did. Two hours later I was finished and Roy brought down the hill the remaining dirt.  At one point I crawled on top of the dirt to throw out onto the ground chunks of dirt.  It helped break them up to get ready to be tilled. Look at all my grey hair.  Can’t wait for the blonde stuff to go away so it will all be grey!

This is just the dirt raked out.  There are several inches of sand underneath the dirt. After church yesterday we went to Home Depot and picked up more Peat Moss for this garden area and several larger peat pots to move the seeded vegetables into when they get bigger, before they are ready to move outside. .

Here it is after Roy tilled the sand, dirt and peat moss together.

Roy handed me the shovel and sent me off to the front of the storage building to dig up sand that washed down the hill and settled there over time.  Roy rescued me and took over the digging going much deeper than I did.  He got several wheelbarrows of sand from that spot and dumped it behind the storage building for the garden. 

It was tilled before the dirt was added, after the dirt was added and after the peat moss was added.  I thought Roy was going to stop at that point but oh no, he kept on.

A lot of the dirt mixture behind the shed was shoveled into around 15 wheelbarrow loads and moved up the hill.  It is a steep hill and very difficult to get up with a wheelbarrow.  My honey did it though and about every couple of loads he’d rake the dirt over a large area next to the house we’ve been working on to get grass to grow for a while.  I have to admit I worried he’d pass out or die at this point.  I asked what I could do to help but he kept saying no.  He did rest often which is probably what saved my honey from something bad happening.

This is the area he dumped the dirt and spread it out before calling it a day and making a campfire near where Dora use to live so we could enjoy the beautiful weather outside after dark yesterday.  The soil mixture that he left behind the storage building is plenty for me to grow the second garden watermelon, cantaloupes, peanuts and maybe a couple of tomato plants there.

Some of the non seed plants we are helping sprout are our potatoes, garlic, mirlitons , sweet potatoes and Brussels sprout plants dug up from last years crop. Southerners know what mirlitons are and how absolutely wonderful the dishes they are cooked in are.  When our crop starts producing I’ll share some of the ways we cook it down here in the south!

We purchased three seed sweet potatoes.  They are cut up with either two eyes on them or the end for sprouting vines that are pretty.  Lots of people grow the vines in their garden just for the leaves, not the sweet potatoes! I’ve learned a lot about the difference between potatoes and sweet potatoes.  They are in no way related and grow in very different ways.  When the vines get to a certain point they are removed from the sweet potato since they don’t need it anymore.  They’ve grown roots by then and the vine with its roots are planted in the garden to grow more sweet potatoes.

The larger peat pots are in the picture below.  Our kitchen has turned into a plant sprouting place.  You can see the sprouts coming up really well in the other two pictures.  We’ve already decided that next years seeds will be planted in the little Jiffy pucks which are the little things in the smaller container in the second picture.

The only thing that isn’t planted for sprouting somewhere are the 100 yellow onion bulbs.  Those produce quickly and can wait a bit longer before being planted and can go directly into the ground.

Roy and I love the time we’ve spent on the road sitting around campfires visiting and enjoying the warmth of the fire.  We have some old wood we’ve wanted to burn for a while so Roy did that yesterday after it got dark.  Chip even came over to join us and got to have some dad/son bonding time when mama went to bed!

This garden project is wonderful for my brain because I am always doing research to find out something about growing some plant.  I don’t remember a lot for very long so I document it to go back to when the information is needed. That brings us current on the Chauvin Produce Company. Looks like I fit it into one post!

We are resting, catching up on things like this and a bit of being lazy today! Ya’ll have a Blessed week!

10.15.18 Update on the Chauvin Produce Company

Monday, October 15, 2018 – I am really pleased at how well our fall vegetable garden is doing.  Some of what I planted are not fall vegetable/fruits, like the watermelons and cantaloupes, but it was seeds from giant watermelons and delicious cantaloupe so why not, they didn’t cost us anything!  The cantaloupe vines have several flowers.  The watermelons have dozens of flowers on long 10 foot plus vines with four little bitty watermelons forming!  The biggest watermelon was like a marble yesterday and today it is the shape it will eventually be like a pecan.  I planted a couple of peanuts down by those plants just to see what would happen.  They have sprouted and have several leaves already!

The marble size watermelon

The regular garden has grown and grown.  I’ve already harvested a dozen nice size radishes and several green onions.  Where I pulled those vegetables out, I planted new seeds and in the case of the green onions new onion sets.  One vegetable that did absolutely very very little was green onion seeds.  I cleared those out and planted additional bell peppers.

The cucumber vines, okra plants and tomato plants are doing fabulous!

These were taken about three weeks ago.

These were from yesterday. The cucumber vines are at the bottom of the picture.  They are growing up multi colored ribbons leading to a wire thing where the cucumbers can grab on to as they grow. The three Big Boy tomatoes are on the right and the okra are to the left near the other end.

The okra are well over a foot high and needed some support so we located what we had around the house (tall sticks) to put next to each plant.  A couple of our medal hangers for the hummingbird feeders are holding two of the plants up.  It’s an odd collection but it works!

I am also growing bell peppers, lettuce, green onions, carrots, turnips, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. The only plant that wasn’t started from seeds are the tomato plants. 

I know that it might have been too late to start some of these vegetables from seed but it’s been a wonderful learning experience so far.  My brain has had to work really hard researching all of what’s involved in growing each of these plants and that’s a really good thing! I am happy to be able to still do that, for now!  If the lessons I am learning now make me better prepared to plant them next year at the right time, that’s a good thing.  If they do grow and produce this year before our first frost that’s a great thing!  I read a lot about tips for growing the different vegetables.

One thing I thought was cool but I ended up doing wrong was with the bell peppers.  I read that they need additional sulphur in the soil and that you can put a match stick upside down with the sulfur end in the group near the plant.  My plants were tiny and I put the match stick too close to the tiny plant and the little bell pepper plants withered, from I guess too much sulfur too close.

I have been surprised at how much effort it takes to keep this little garden going well.  Just pulling weeds is a daily job.  The compost and manure in the soil make the weeds go wild with growing!  I have everything growing on hills and am not sure they all should be.  That’s another matter to be researched.

Anyone with tips to help our little produce do as best they can, please share! Next year I am planning on planting peanuts, potatoes, egg plants and some of the ones we are growing now.  Any recommendations on what to plant in the spring in the south, let us know!!!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!