Back Forty, butterbeans

Back Forty Update

The paths are mulched, the seeds are planted, and the seedlings have been transplanted for the summer. I put wire frames and ag-cover fabric over my beds this year. I am determined to win the battle after losing miserably to the critters last year. Now that the mosquitoes are out, I’ll only be out there for short periods of time with organic repellent/long sleeves and pants on.

Blueberries are on the left and purple snap beans are in the center. That is a potted Meyer lemon tree that we bring in for the winter. We have gotten a few lemons from it. There is a potted habanero pepper to its left. Behind that row is a black netted cover over Cherokee Purple tomatoes that I planted from seed. Bronze fennel from last year is coming up everywhere. The swallowtail butterflies like it. Behind that row, the butchered fig tree is reviving and there are Whippoorwill field peas and yellow crookneck squash under the white fabric. I’m pleased that the peas came up because I have saved the seeds over the years from the first packet I bought at Monticello about ten years ago, and these were about three years old from my last crop. Their germination rate was amazing, considering!

About half of the Back Forty is still under foliage, and I promised Sandy that he can do with the rest as he likes. The original idea was to have compost delivered and we would build up the beds over the cardboard cover. Hardwood mulch was delivered instead. So the compost will probably have to wait until after the first freeze. At least it will have to for ME to work on it. These half barrels used to be my rain barrels until they started to rot and spring leaks and clog up. They looked great but weren’t as practical as I would have liked. These two barrels have a Sun Gold and a Juliet tomato plant from Handance Farms.

Above are before and after photos of the herb end of the bed. There is French sorrel, English thyme, borage, parsley, bronze fennel, pineapple sage, stevia, and hopefully some basil soon. I have more culinary herbs in the front garden.

The butterbeans along the fence were my only success last year so I planted more this year. There are a variety of pole beans that I’ve saved over the last couple of years and so they have probably cross-bred. They range in color from white to red to black/purple/white speckled. Sweet peppers from Handance Farm are in the pot and planter, and we are eating lettuce right now from one area. Spinach and turnip greens did not do well at all and those seeds were new! Bull’s blood beets and basil are coming up along side the beans and there are some more purple snap beans in there somewhere too. Jalapeno, Thai hot, hot banana peppers and an eggplant are in an unseen planter to the right of the path.

The seckel pear tree is full of little pears again and I’ll have to think about how to save a few for ourselves from the squirrels this year.

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