Harvesting Red Clover

I love red clover and so do bees!

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In my garden I have two long patches of red clover which I planted from seed a few years ago. Never have to plant it again for it comes back every year, stronger and more beautiful than ever it seems; if I didn’t keep it cut back it would take over the whole garden.

In the photo below you can see just a small section of a long clover patch. If you look closely you can see some potato plants also growing along with the clover. These potato plants came up from potatoes I missed last year when digging them up. I miss some every year so I end up with bonus potatoes.  Growing in the clover patch might be a good thing as I haven’t seen any Colorado potato beetles this year so far on the potato plants. I used to plant a row of potatoes and keep the row tidy with only potato plants. This year the potatoes came up willy-nilly in the clover so maybe they were more hidden? Or was this just a good year without potato beetles?

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Red clover blossoms can be eaten fresh or dried. I collect the best-looking flowers on sunny mornings, place them on a wire rack in an upstairs room where they stay warm and dry. It takes a few days for the clover to nicely dry and then I put them in a glass jar with tight lid to use in making herb teas for my family.

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Winter Break and Planning

After a long break from posting, I am back at least to say hello to everyone who reads my blog and hope you all are doing well.  My garden is at rest since fall.  Not much digging to do yet, but potatoes should be planted in March so I do have my pick axe and shovel ready.

Since I was blessed to make it to 70 years of age this January, I started thinking about how to make gardening easier for me, especially the digging and pick-axing part, so I rounded up eight empty feed tubs my daughter uses for her cattle. I drilled holes in the bottoms, put in a layer of small rocks and old wood pieces and will fill the rest with some organic garden soil.  Really looking forward to see how this works out and if I can make my containers produce healthy vegetables like you see in all those seed catalogs!

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As always, never giving up hope that this year will be a great year for an abundant vegetable harvest.  Haven’t had such a pleasure in several years, but this may be the one. Grasshopper plagues, drought, late killing frosts, and garden pests have really contributed to disappointments in gardening the last several years. But I will not give up. I really do appreciate all the people who can grow beautiful and healthy organic vegetables and I strive to be one of them. Learning how to do so never ends.

So what am I doing while awaiting the next planting time?  I’m enjoying looking at all the seed catalogs! What a fantastic array of vegetables God has created for our eating pleasure.  Getting orders ready for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Seeds from Italy.

Even in winter, the garden is a lovely place. I feed the birds there, take pictures of them, sit and read on warmer days, watch my little dogs play, and await every evening to see what kind of a sunset show there will be!

Blessings to you all.

The most common bird in my garden is the Mockingbird, Arkansas’s state bird. This one taken today as I was out with my 3 little dogs in the garden.

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A sunset show photo from last night over our pasture and round bales.

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From Johnny Appleseed to Grannie Appleseed

As a child I always loved the story of Johnny Appleseed, so when in my later lifetime I became interested in starting an apple orchard, envisioning my grandchildren coming into Grannie’s picking ripe, juicy, red apples, the idea of me as a “Grannie Appleseed” popped into my mind.  So, Grannie Appleseed bought several varieties of young apple trees a few years ago but the vision of lots of apples hanging ripe from the five trees remains a dream to come true.  Hopefully!  The grandchildren crop is doing well, I must say.  So far we are blessed with three granddaughters and one grandson and another grandson on the way!

Of course, I want to grow my apple trees organically and am reading and trying everything I can to do that because I believe organically grown food is the best way for us living now and for posterity.  Weather, however, has been the biggest deterrent to my apple crop.  The trees have looked really good and healthy but late frosts have destroyed the apple blossoms more than once and the last three years we have been devastated with grasshoppers which devour everything including making holes in the window screens.  They ate all the leaves off the apple trees.

What kind of season will we have this year?  Maybe we’ll see a few more apples than last year.  A book that has been helpful in my apple orchard dream is The Apple Grower by Michael Phillips.  I highly recommend it.

This is my first attempt at a blog and my first attempt at developing a thriving apple orchard! So, hang in there with me and maybe I can offer helpful and encouraging advice to others.  Who knows?  Grannie Appleseed may even blog on to share “idea seeds” on current and historical topics.