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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Call the Volunteers!

Not the volunteers for the revolution, although if Congress doesn’t put a leash on Bush-league — and soon! — it might come to that. But for the mid-week Independence Day festoovities, I can show off some of the volunteer plants around FAR Manor:

Volunteer flower, tomato, in the herb bedLast year, this was a flower bed. Mrs. Fetched decided she wasn’t going to plant anything in here, so I put in some garlic. The drought nailed most of the garlic, although you can see a couple of shoots managed to survive. I stuck several basil plants in here as well, because I needed to put them somewhere. But the flower (that’s trying to overrun one of the garlic shoots) and the tomato (near the bottom of the frame) decided to appear on their own.

Of the flower, Mrs. Fetched said, “Yeah, I put one of those in there last year… but I thought it was an annual.” It must have self-seeded, because I tilled up that bed pretty good early in the spring.

Low-growing blueberry shrubsSeveral varieties of blueberry are native to Planet Georgia, but I was surprised to find these on one of the more neglected parts of the manor grounds, let alone doing so well. I think the April cold snap may have done them some good. They’re small — pea size or maybe a little smaller — but quite tasty. They take the concept of “low-hanging fruit” to a new low: they’re only a couple of inches off the ground. For some reason, these low-down berries are the first ones to ripen.

The blackberries are also going great guns. I have no clue how they managed to get so big, especially with the dry weather we’ve been having. Perhaps the cold snap helped them as well.

Blueberry bushThere are three or four bushes out here too, probably of a different variety. These berries are nearly twice as large as the ground-huggers, and still working on ripening. I’ve learned that there’s such a thing as “bird scare ribbon” so I might have to get some of that soon (it will also help us remember the right bushes when we go a-pruning come winter).

Vine of mysteryI’m not sure if this is a cucumber, squash, or melon — but it came out of nowhere (actually, near the compost pile). I threw half a watermelon in the compost heap last week, but that’s nowhere near enough time for it to grow nearly three feet and start flowering.

I’m about inundated with jalapenos. I’m thinking about picking a bunch of them to take to the farmer’s market on Saturday; I might clip some herbs as well (the parsley and mint especially need a trim, and I have almost as much basil as I do jalapenos) — Mrs. Fetched says I ought to sell them; I was thinking about just trading for produce we (or my mother-in-law, the Master Gardener) don’t have growing. I’ve picked a few bell peppers, and they’re doing quite well too, but we’ll probably use them ourselves. We loves us some bell peppers at FAR Manor, and they’re just too dang expensive at the store.

Tomorrow, I’m planning to get another gallon of blackberries. That (and the gallon I’ve already grabbed) should make enough jelly to get through the winter. One of the few comforts of a cold winter morning is to spread some blackberry jelly on toast and remember just how dang hot it was when I picked those berries in July.


  1. Leave that volunteer alone, FAR! That's a nice clump of moss rose (portulaca grandiflorum) that you'll want to keep around! Looks to be an orange-y one, which is one of my faves ... yes, they are an annual but they self seed quite enthusiastically. We love finding them in our beds out front ... just let it go ... it won't take up much space and will provide you with great flowers even in the driest months of the summer. They come up real small in the late spring, so when you can distinguish them from ordinary purslane the weed, just let them do their thing!

    Ok, so now we'll light the "Whirlwind of Caribbean Sea" number in yours and Mrs. Fetch's honor tonight. Film at 11:00, lol.

    Have a great holiday down there on your planet, my friend!

  2. Hi FARfetched.

    Good looking plants you've got there. Who knows, if you start selling at the farmer's market, it might balloon out, and you might can start selling Planet Georgia veggies nation wide. :)

    Hope you and the family have a good 4th.

  3. Oh yes ... you've got quite the nice selection of tasty things -- berries and basil and peppers ...

    That's wondeful that you have such a bounty ... I like the idea of bartering/trading them at the market ... :)

    How many jars of blackberry jelly do you go through in the winter?

  4. This must be the year for reseeding. I've also got plants that appear to melons or squash all over. But berries by the gallon? Lucky you!

  5. I was struck by the berries-by-the-gallon sentence too. I love berries. But, I don't have much faith in the grocery store variety. They're almost always moldy.

    We've got a berry bush in our backyard, but it hasn't been very productive yet.


  6. Hey guys... sorry about the late response; the 4th pretty much absorbed one evening & catching up on other stuff did for the next. We had some friends over on the 4th; now that they're gone, I can start drinking all the beer I confiscated from The Boy and his friends. :-)

    IVG, thanks for the ID on the moss rose. I won't mess with it, but I sure wish it would stop trying to engulf the garlic. Is this plant Italian, by any chance? And thanks for the boomer!

    FM, I don't know how much I'll end up selling, but if I get a chance to trade I'm going to get some cilantro. I planted one & it died. I just haven't had good luck with cilantro yet.

    Olivia, I don't count how much jelly I go through. Probably not as much as I used to, if The Boy isn't around to scarf it!

    Boran, KB, the blackberries around the manor have been OK. Nothing overwhelming. But there's a couple of large stands around some brush piles in my pasture area, and another humonguous one near the chicken houses. I haven't raided the latter yet, but probably will this weekend: I "only" got 1/2 gallon more off the stand in the pasture.

    At this point, I'm looking forward to the blueberries coming in — I found three or four more tall (i.e. not ground-hugger) bushes on the way to the pasture. Not sure how many we'll get, but Mrs. Fetched loves blueberries enough that she'll help pick. :-)

    It's the weekend!


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