January 2020, Week 4

Okiedawn OK Zone 7
2 months ago

I'd like to say that it feels like January is flying by, but lately with all the rain, mud, mess, fog, drizzle, gray skies and (sometimes) periodic bouts of sunshine, it feels to me like it is slowly creeping by. At least most of us (I hope) missed out on the ice that hit western, northwestern and maybe bits of northern/northeastern OK this past week.

I really don't have a chore list for this week. My mind tried to come up with one. It did. I just couldn't wrap my mind around anyone being outdoors in the cold, rain, fog, mud and puddles trying to get any work done. However, if by some miracle it is dry enough to walk on the ground where you live, now could be a good time to be doing some pruning, some grass removal if needed, bed improvement, planting of bare root fruit trees, grapes and brambles, etc. Or, you could be wintersowing anywhere in the state of Oklahoma right now, or even starting a few things indoors. I haven't done any of the above, but this week I'll be sowing wildflower seeds that need cold stratification and putting them into the extra fridge in the garage.

If your local stores now have seed-starting supplies in stock, it is a good time to go ahead and stock up on those items. Or on seeds, if there are seed racks and if there is anyone here who doesn't already have at least 4 times (or 8 times or 12 times) as many seeds as they have space to plant.

Yesterday at Costco I saw boxed, bare-root rose bushes, but I tried to pretend they weren't there and I walked right past them so I wouldn't be tempted to buy any. I love roses, but haven't planted any new ones since Rose Rosette Disease became so widespread in Oklahoma and Texas. I don't see the point in planting them any more, although 1 visit to a nursery with David Austin's English roses in the spring could conceivably change my mind about that.

Before the cold weather and rain returned last week, we suffered through multiple days that stayed foggy most of the day. It was warm enough, though, that many forbs are sprouting. I'm hoping this means it will be a great wildflower year. I did notice that some new bluebonnet plants popped up in the front meadow last week--not many because the nights still are pretty cold--but each time I see one it makes my heart sing. Fruit trees continue to bud and that's not a good thing. I awakened to a nice cold morning here (25 degrees) and hope we have a few more of these to slow down all the plants that are getting off to a bit too much of an early start thanks to the warm days. There's still tons of dandelions blooming and some of them have gone to seed already---just like this same time last year. The cedar trees are in at least their second month of bloom here and our allergies are outrageously bad and we're just hoping that the allergy season that started early will end early. Down here the cedar season easily lasts well into March though, so I don't know that I really have much hope of it ending early.

Every week I contemplate the overly wet soil and wonder when and if we'll be able to start removing the Bermuda grass sod to begin our backyard/side yard makeover. With standing water everywhere and cold weather, it will be a while before we can start and that is so frustrating. If you are brave enough to walk through our muddy areas, the ground squishes as you walk. I hate squishy clay soil and try to walk through it as little as possible because walking on that clay when it is so wet just compacts it all the more. I hate mud. I hate having to get out the Swiffer multiple times daily to mop up muddy dog and cat paw prints. At least we humans can take off our muddy shoes/boots and leave them in the mud room, exchanging them for clean shoes to wear indoors. Yesterday Tim was daydreaming---said he wished we had a doggy mudroom off the north exterior door that leads out to the dog yard and, of course, his dream mudroom would have a doggy wash, like a car wash, that the dogs could walk through and have the mud automatically sprayed off their bodies/feet. Then, his dream doggy wash would dry their feet off before they step into the house. I suggested he should feel free to build us something like that any time he wants. Oh, he doesn't want to build such a room, but I'd be happy to have one with a step-in doggie shower and a spray hose so we could hose off their feet. Yep, it isn't going to happen, but it sure would be nice. Instead we all slog our way through the mud and the muck and dream of drier weather.

What's everyone doing this week? I know we all should be doing something more than answering gardening questions on FB, but that is, at least, one thing we can do while the weather is too pitiful to let us do anything else.

Tim and I might set up the light shelf today just to get it done before Super Bowl Sunday because next weekend we'll have the girls and likely will be busy doing stuff with them. This year I think we'll put the light shelf in the mudroom so I won't have to worry about Jesse and the 4 kittens destroying the flats of seeds/seedlings when the time comes to plant those flats. The older cats and dogs know to leave the plant shelf along and pretty much don't bother it, but these new, younger pets aren't really at the listening stage yet. Well, Jesse is, and he responds to training well if you use training treats, but he still is like a bull in a china shop so I'd just as soon have the light shelf in a place he cannot reach. The kittens spend too much time in the girls' room for me to have the light shelf in there, and since the kittens are jumping and climbing so well now, you cannot put anything high enough to put it beyond their reach. It has been so long since we have had kittens around here, I'd forgotten how every single thing in your house becomes their toy and I'd forgotten how destructive they can be. Pumpkin was our last baby cat and that was in 2014, but he was a July baby who showed up here in early August so he wasn't around any seed flats until he was substantially older. As I recall, he wouldn't stay indoors long enough to bother flats anyway. He was all-boy and wanted to be outdoors getting into all kinds of trouble out there, not hanging around indoors and sleeping on top of flats of young seedlings.

We went shopping yesterday, mostly for groceries and supplies and for some home décor items for the fireplace mantel, which has looked sort of bare ever since I took down the Christmas decorations. Hobby Lobby has some really cute stuff in their Spring Shop line, including all kinds of bee-related items! I didn't even look at gardening stuff yesterday because I cannot get in a gardening mood when it is so cold and wet. But, as Tim keeps saying, at least we don't have ice and snow nor do we have big winter wildfires. He's right. I need to stop whining and appreciate that instead of the cold wet weather, we could have something worse.

Have a great week everyone.


Comments (48)

  • dbarron

    I'm with you Dawn, the month is flying, but the individual days are dragging, as much sense as that makes. And your weather is essentially my weather.

  • OklaMoni

    I made a disappointing trip through the Home and Garden show... not much that interested me. Only went, to get a new remote for my Sauna I bought there last year.

    I tried to get an estimate for a crank out window for over the kitchen sink, but everyone wants a bigger order to come for an estimate. Heck, I ONLY want one window PERIOD.

    At least, I made it out without spending more than the senior discount price to get in. :)

    Dawn, I had to laugh at your story about Tim's dream entry for the dogs. So so funny.

    I need to get off here, and eat lunch... as I want to do some more Bermuda grass removal before heading to the knitting group get together.



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  • hazelinok

    It was one of those ridiculous days. Days that little things are difficult and when enough of them are messed up...it almost ruins your day.

    Apparently, our new phones were never activated. We purchased them yesterday. Came home and looked them over...yadda yadda yadda...but didn't realize they were never activated because as long as they were connected to wifi, they appeared fine.

    Dealing with them after work and lunch today was time consuming and frustrating. Just glad they finally got them fixed. iPhone 11s aren't cheap.

    Our ground is certainly wet particularly in some places, but it's not standing water at this point. I hope yours dries out soon, Dawn. I also hope rain misses you for a few weeks so you can get your backyard fixed up.

    I went back to work this evening and am tired. It's just been one of those days. I did force myself to clean up the kitchen after work (and after grocery shopping). That will be helpful tomorrow when I'm trying to focus on cleaning up the shop. Tom has the day off and we are working on cleaning up/organizing the shop. We'll get the heaters going and can hopefully make some progress.

    We visited OSU OKC farmer's market yesterday. I was happy to pick up some greens/lettuce there. I guess some people are growing them in their greenhouses. Tomatoes too. Lost Creek Urban Farm even posted that he had tomatoes available. By the time I got over to his stand, they were all gone

    Got some beef, milk (cream on top), yogurt, sourdough, honey, cheese--all locally grown.

    Dawn, I also dream about Tim's ideal dog area. We'll never have that...but how awesome would that be! I might never have dogs again after these too. They broke me. Which is funny. Because every time a dog is featured on a "rescue" post, I'm like...I think I could take him/her. I've often thought that after these two have crossed the rainbow bridge, that maybe I'll foster senior dogs. But, maybe I'll just stick to cats. I do miss a good dog, though. Really miss it. These two aren't it...although they are deserving of love and care, of course. They just don't have my heart. But, I will do the best I can for them....and have for nearly 10 years as far as Kane is concerned. And have wasted $1000s trying to do the best for them...and it wasn't. They are difficult for sure.

    Earth friendly shopping. When you don't use the plastic bags for produce and the cashier is frustrated with you.

    I'm going to (already) pot up my kale tomorrow night.

    The hens are laying again. It's so funny that I have a list of people wanting to buy eggs from me. I feel horrible when I can't sell them any. I do need to be certain I'm keeping enough for my family. I think I'll be able to accommodate everyone soon enough, though.

    My two full sized Easter Eggers went through a bad molt this year and are just coming out of it. I really need their pretty green eggs as they are everyone's favorite...and I like to include one or two per/dozen. Baby is a bantam EE and she hasn't started laying yet...although that should come soon. Her eggs will probably be tiny, though. Little banty cockerel, Sisko has starting crowing. So far Jean Luc hasn't been bothered by it. Thank goodness.

    I'm too tired to go out and cover everything tonight. SO, I might lose it all. Whatever.

    Excited about straightening up my gardening/seed starting stuff in the shop tomorrow.

    Night, Everyone!

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Hi everyone; limping through January hasn't been as bad this year as usual. I've enjoyed just relaxing and reading. I'm so glad you mentioned getting wildflowers stratified, though, Dawn! I have more to do, also.

    I'm feeling sorry for myself for not having chickens. I guess it's time for me to reach out to folks in the area who might have eggs for sale. I'm jealous of your OSU OKC farmers market, HJ!

    It's pretty cool up here this week, so I won't be spending time outside again this week. And there's not much going on!

  • luvncannin

    So many things I wanted to respond to last week. I will try later when I get home.

    I am getting my frig today for sure. Then I can actually start eating better. My budget will love me for it too

    one thing on last weeks post was saving money. I make my own tissues. One time use flannel squares. I have since my face does not like tissues tp or pt. I’m sensitive like that.

  • hazelinok

    Hi Everyone. I'll come back later and respond to stuff. I'm taking a lunch break from shop clean-up.

    Does anyone want plastic pots--all sizes. The ones that "store bought" plants come in. I have them from shrub sized to small. I can bring them to SF. There's a bunch of them and I've kept back a full tub for myself.

    If no one wants them, I'll take them to recycling.

  • jlhart76

    HJ, I could use some new ones. I'm using them for winter sowing & noticed aot of mine are getting pretty brittle.

    I had a bunch of daylily seeds chilling in the fridge, so I got those planted today. Got hibiscus seeds bagged and put in the fridge so they should be planted out in a week or so. And in between clearing out the guest room I'm trying to get all garden junk in one spot. I found seeds, planters, markers and more in every single room. I really need to get it organized.

    Cliff does laundry and dishes and won't agree to switching to "environmentally friendly" solutions. So my options are live with it or do it myself. And I can't convince him that recycling is necessary. So a lot of our recyclables get put in regular trash. Baby steps, he at least uses cloth napkins for mealtime.

  • hazelinok

    Alright, Jen, I'll bring the entire box and you can look through it. They are not scrubbed clean.

    We are trying to get organized too. I feel like we are making progress.

    Hi Kim. Glad you're getting your refrigerator. That will be helpful. Flannel is probably a very nice fabric for homemade tissues. It's so soft.

    Nancy, it is a nice market for sure---and year 'round. Unfortunately they are closing it next month and opening at the new Scissortail Park. It will not be open all year now. A lot of people are very unhappy about the move and with good reason. But, I won't go into it all.

    There's probably someone around you with eggs. You'll have to ask around.

    We took a truck load to recycling and Habitat for Humanity. We had tile and all sorts of stuff. We also put some old, rotting boards on the burn pile. Unfortunately we did have a trash can full of garbage that won't be recycled.

    All of the garden stuff that was lying around is now in the old Christmas tubs--soaker hoses, large metal food cans that I use to protect tomato seedlings when they are first planted, all those pots and trays. It was cold out in the shop, but we warmed up quickly with hard work. The shop doesn't freeze--it's well insulated--but it does get cold. I have a large aloe vera plant living in there until April.

    I am fixing Thai food for dinner. It is so good--one of my favorites. Just need to get up the energy to go fix it.

  • jlhart76

    Lol I'm not picky a iut clean containers. I mean, I'm filling them with dirt.

    Cliff's having leftovers so I made chicken soup for me. Of course after I add a can of tomato, carrots , green beans, bag of broccoli, it all expands. So I'll be eating chicken soup for the next few days.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Ugh. Our good weather days for this week are behind us now, I guess, and they weren't even that good, except we had sunshine almost all day long today. Tomorrow will be colder than today and with rain coming, if it isn't delayed, before midnight. Then, Wednesday will be even colder and rainier. Because....you know.....5" of rain in January isn't enough, so we're going to have more. I could be bagging up mud and selling it, if there was a market for mud. Some of you have a chance of some wintery precipitation again....but down here we are too far south for that. Even though they show no chance of snow in our forecast, NWS-Norman on its "worst possible case" scenario graphic does show us getting snow, but I'm not believing it will happen down here.

    Moni, Tim and I stopped going to Home and Garden shows a long time ago because we always were disappointed at how few actual gardening-related vendors and displays there were. Neil Sperry used to host an All-Gardening Show in Arlington, TX at the convention center and I went to it and loved it. I think I only drove back down there for it once or twice after we moved up here, and I don't think he hosts an All-Gardening Show any more, which is a shame.

    Jennifer, While the worst puddles remain in the driveway and the area around the detached garage/shop, they mostly have dried up in the actual side yard just outside the mudroom's exterior door, and also in the dog yard. I was so excited when I noticed the were gone late this afternoon.. Oh, the ground is still wet and squishy, but the standing water on top of the ground is gone. We ought to have a good 24 hours before it rains again. lol. I don't know what I can do with that 24 hours since half of it will be the overnight hours, but maybe I can go out tomorrow and clean up deadfall beneath the pecan tree and put all those twigs, branches, limbs and leaves on the compost pile before the next rainfall occurs. Maybe I can find some leaves to rake up/mow up/chop up and dump on the area where the dogs have run a path in their dog yard...the place that always gets muddy quickly since they've worn away the grass there. I really want to at least put stepping stones there for them to walk on. Anything is better than bare soil and mud.

    I'm sorry your day was so bad. Tim and I never will get new iphones because we are too cheap to spend that much money for a phone. I think the ones we have now are 8s and I hope they last forever.

    Nancy, Tomorrow is my day to start all the wildflower stratification for anything that needs wet, cold stratification in the fridge. I have all the supplies. I just need to put on blinders, ignore everything going on around me tomorrow and get it done. I knew better than to try to do it today with Tim home and underfoot---I mean, I love it when he has an extra holiday off and I get to see him, but I'm also happy when he goes back to work and the house is quiet again and I can focus on the things I need to do.

    We have had average temperatures during the day--highs around 50, and slightly below average temperatures at night...around 25 or 26 and what would be more normal would be about 30 degrees. These were the good days though, and Wed won't be a good day--our high is supposed to be 43 and our low 41, with an inch or so of rain, and none of this makes me feel enthusiastic about the next couple of days. To be fair, we are having about the January I expected so the weather isn't a surprise or anything. It sure does make me look forward to March or April though.

    Kim, I'm glad you're getting your refrigerator. It sounds like your house is coming together. When you say your face doesn't like tissues, do you think it is the paper? or maybe chemicals used in processing? dyes or bleaches? I cannot imagine having to make an endless amount of one-time use flannel squares, although the softness of them sounds appealing.

    Jen, Since I organized myself and our house and purged so much stuff out of it over the last few years, I'm getting better about having garden supplies scattered all over.. Nowadays I only find seed-starting supplies in the garden shed, garage, mudroom and laundry room. That's actually a big improvement over the old days when I, too, had them all over the place, tucked away in the corners of closets in spare bedrooms, etc. By this time next year, I hope to have Chris' tiny house converted to a potting shed/storage building and to have all my garden junk consolidated into that building. We'll see. There's so many projects to do here, and it is pretty far down on the priority list.

    Sometimes baby steps lead to bigger steps, you know. Most gardeners I know are pretty good about recycling...if they live in an area where recycling programs are available. There is no such thing here, but I recycle paper and cardboard by composting them, recycle all yard and kitchen waste I can via composting, etc. And, I try to buy items with the least possible amount of packaging, although it is not possible at some places like Costco where bulk boxes of items still are packaged in heavy cardboard boxes so you can transport them home. Oh well, that's just more cardboard to feed to the earthworms who reside in and around the compost pile.

    Jennifer, I understand some of the local central OK farmers are working on some alternative locations for a farmer's market, so maybe their efforts will come to fruition at some point.

    Today I noticed that the Wal-mart in Gainesville had their onions from Bonnie Plants (who I know buys at least some of their onions from Dixondale) in crates in the outdoor garden center. I didn't go in there to see what kind they had, as they generally are labeled generically as white, yellow or red. I wouldn't want to buy any of these onions as they are sitting outdoors 24/7 in wooden crates while the night time lows are dropping into the mid-20s. Other than seed-starting supplies and all the tons of chemicals, they don't have much in yet....no big seed racks yet, not packages of asparagus roots, tubers, bulbs, bare-root plants, etc. I have seen those bags of bare-root itemss at Home Depot and Sam's Club on the Texas side of the river though. They have all kinds of bare rooted perennials (Phlox, for example) and tubers/corms, like cannas, daylilies, lilies, Dutch iris,dahlias (both the shorter, smaller border ones and the taller dinner-plate dahlias), red hot poker, gladiolas, asparagus crowns, bare root strawberry plants, etc. I bought two rhubarb roots to plant in containers for Tim. It is an endless cycle of planting them and keeping them going for 2 or 3 years and then losing them, but it makes him happy, so I do it. Sam's Club had a lot of new containers in stock. We bought two that look like whiskey half-barrels (but they are resin, not wood) for the rhubarb, and 4 resin pots that look like blue ceramic. I'm trying to buy and stockpile these now so I'll have them for pepper plants, which I'm rotating out of the big garden this year as an effort to rotate all nightshades out of the front garden. I'm saving the big cattle feed tubs for tomatoes, so the smaller pots will be nice for peppers. I need to get more of these pots. I figure we'll buy 2 or 4 of them every time we're in Sam's until I think I've got enough. We usually go to Sam's about twice a month.

    Today I let the kittens climb all over the seed starting supplies. I want them to get used to them, so maybe they'll be bored with them and will be "over" thinking of them as something new and exciting before I even begin starting seeds. Young kittens are like little kids---they will happily play in the floor with all their toys as long as I am sitting and watching them, but the minute I turn my attention away from them, they are climbing all over me, fighting with each other, whining and otherwise demanding attention. I may need to put them in the girls bedroom and close the door tomorrow, and just keep them in that room until I finish starting all the wildflower seeds that need cold-stratification. It is impossible to work with them underfoot. For example, just try to mop the floor and you'll have kittens upon their hind legs trying to peer into the mop bucket while other kittens attack the mop every time it moves. If I open the seed box to put something in or take something out, the kittens come barreling across the floor to try to jump into the seed box because I close it back up again. They are hysterically funny if you're watching them, but their cuteness fades if you're actually trying to accomplish something.


  • hazelinok

    Sounds like you had a productive shopping trip, Dawn!

    Cats and seed starting. Not easy.

    I'm the same way when Tom is home for the day. Certain chores can get done....but other things are difficult when he's home. I try to plan things I need his help with on his days off--like cleaning out the shop.

    iPhones! Stupid expensive. I'm sorta used to them and don't want to change to a different type of phone. We still had 6's. They were getting to point that certain things wouldn't work and I couldn't completely back up my 6. I had that phone for over 5 years and hope this 11 lasts that long too. We went with the 11 because it ended up being a better deal that the 10 or X...or whatever. They gave us a $200 trade in on each phone with the 11. (We're paying them off for the next 2 years.) Normally the 6 is only a $15 trade in....so it worked out that our monthly payment is less than it would have been with the 10. It's all so confusing.

  • dbarron

    Yay, my plant world seeds order came today. It took only about 24 days to make the trip from GB. I received (for the first time) a free gift that actually would work in my climate and is a recommended 'good' plant, campanula trachelium (had to look it up).

    I have already revised my sowing spreadsheet and will start some stratification tomorrow in the fridge and laundry room (one needs warm stratification then cold after 60 days). I have a few to plant outside in February but most will wait till March or April to get planted outside (requiring no stratification). There's also a group of 4 or 5 things to start in March indoors just to get them growing before the heat comes.

    Having been overrun with slug damage and loss last year, some will be started in the laundry room and never venture outside till they're a bit larger. I hope that works ;)

    Oh, the snapdragons I started in August...that I worried about the 11F that we hit in October, they all survived, I can't say they've grown much over the winter, but I will assume as soon as weather warms just a bit, they'll zoom.

    Yay, gardening to do...yay...and totally rainy for a day or two, so I guess I won't do anything other than moist stratification right now. I might prepare some seedling pots tomorrow and let the rain moisten and settle them, then dry outside for a few days before I bring inside to sow. I don't want the media too wet, but I want to get it settled with water.

    One is allium splendens (an onion), when would you start an onion from seed? It's fall flowering, so it must not go dormant during the hot season.

  • luvncannin

    Dawn if I bump into you at Walmart in Gainesville just ignore me if I passed out from pure shock.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Hahaha, Kim!

    I'm out of it. Pretty much out of it. Whatever it is. But sure have been caught up in the world of books. I've been reading and writing. I have to admit, though I dreaded it, was fun. Writing, I've decided, is a wonderful thing with which to challenge oneself.

    Dawn, you are cracking me up with kitty tails. Oops. Kitty tales. Keep em coming! But listening to your posts about them makes me think of our three in the past couple years. I was freaked with just 2 little gray ones--remember? LOL. Well, I have to say. . . except for the "let me in, let me out". . . we get a big kick out of the 3 cats and their very distinct personalities. But between Titan and the three needy cats, I don't think GDW and I will be taking any travels together from now on. That's kinda sad, but it's not worth the worry for us to leave them somewhere. OR all the flowers and flower beds and plants! LOL Gardeners and pet owners make for poor travelers, I think.

    Seeds? Planting? Huh? Oh, forgot to begin the stratification today--but got an article for the church finished! Four days early, to boot!

    And because I spent a fortune on wildflower and native plant seeds last fall, have very few to get now. A couple tomatoes. Potatoes and onions are ordered. I think I'll take it easy and see what happens with the natives.

    It has not been a brutal winter, not at all--but a long one, in my opinion. Not very many days do I feel like getting out and working.

    dbarron, I am pretty much in the same position with seeds, with all the varying needs. I may actually read all those directions this weekend.

  • HU-939938193

    Suggestions for a good shell bean ?

    I've been growing Etna shell beans for years but now I haven't seen the seed the last couple of years. I've tried French horicultural beans but they seem to be hard to shell out and they seem to grow runners instead of being a bush type which makes it hard to cultivate without tearing up the vines,. I've tried Supremo and Flambo but haven't gotten the yields out of them like I used to probably because of the weather conditions.

    I've never had any luck with pole beans.

    Any suggestions for a good shelly (easy hulling out) for canning?

    I'm in the process of making my seed orders for the spring planting ahead.

    I order a lot from R.H Shumways, Vermont bean and all those . Shumways' have a special no shipping cost for orders over a $100 by Feb 1. I also order from Territorial Seed , and Gurneys. I've heard bad things about some of these seed companies but I haven't had any problems with them so far.

    I'm going to try "Heavy Hitter " okra this year. I usually do half Clemsome Splineless and half Red Burgandy . https://www.drycreekfarmstore.com/

    I'd like to grow some sweet corn but I can't keep the coons out of it. So I grow field corn instead.The coons can't get to them as bad because the cobs are higher up on the stalk but there're not sweet.

    For tomatoes I just get whatever is available in the feed stores , box stores. I do both Heirloom and hybrid , Beef Stake types , Black Krim, Cherokee Purple , Mortgage Lifter , Box Car Willy , all of them , I usually grow around 200 some plants , but don't get near the yields I should get in wet years.

    For peppers I experiment around with the Superhots. I grew Trinadad Scropion along with Ghost. I also do Jalapeno and Caynanne along with the usual sweet peppers , California Bell , Sweet Banana etc. I haven't tried the "Reaper" yet but I will when I get my hands on the plants.

    It won't be long before time to plant out the onions and potatoes. I usually put out around 20 to 30 bundles of onions of various varitites . For potatoes I do half red potatoes , Red Pontiac or Red Lasoda and half white , Kennebec usually . I might try some blue potatoes this year if I can get a good yield on them..

    About my overwintering from the fall , I'm expecting a BIG yield of overwintered spinach this spring

    , maybe enough to can some of it aside from fresh salads. My collard greens are still yielding fresh greens which I have been harvesting all winter so far. The bracissas in the hoop tunnel haven't done so good except for some brocolli that is starting to produce some small heads,all my Brussell sprouts have died out except for one that isn't looking like it'll make anything., I have some kale and cabbage outside the hoop tunnel that is looking pretty fair. I also got some overwintered mustard that's getting a little taller day by day. And the turnip patch is still there maybe making some roots but the greens a a little rough to harvest for eating.

    Right now I'm in the process of hauling manure from nearby cow pastures to the garden when weather permits.

    Well thats my wittle report for now.

    okmulgee boy

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Hey y'all I started a thread for green and sustainable ideas.

    We got a little bit of snow. Not much. The dogs are bored. Fire in the fireplace. Couldn't we have some sun with our cold weather?

    I've grown Heavy Hitter. Give it plenty of space as it branches.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Jennifer, Cats and seed-starting are a bad idea, so in order to get anything done, I have to close up the kittens in the girls' bedroom upstairs where, being the silly creatures they area, they get out all the girls' stuffed animals and play with them, which is pretty hilarious. They drag the smaller stuffed animals over to the bedroom door and pile them up there, making it somewhat difficult to open the door. I guess this is their way of registering their displeasure with being put upstairs while I work on seed starting.

    I agree that getting new phones can be a confusing mess. One of these days our 8s will die and I am sure we'll get the newest ones available at that time, but I'm dreading it. I've never been one of those people (unlike Chris) who has to have the latest, greatest phone as soon as it comes out. We keep an old phone until it dies or is no longer supported by software or whatever. We're sort of the same way with vehicles....buy them used so someone else takes the big depreciation hit on them and then try to drive them forever and forever in order to get the maximum value out of them. I have noticed our son does the same thing with his vehicles if not with his phones.

    dbarron, I think 24 days isn't that bad at all. Does U.S. Customs stop and inspect seed shipments from GB? I'm happy for you that your free gift is something that you can use.

    Keeping track of all the stratification of the wildflowers is making me use my brain a lot harder than normal for January, but I've got it all in order now. After researching each variety meticulously, I divided them by cold stratification needs by # of days, and am cold stratifying three ways: with the seeds sown in flats, with seeds stratifying in ziplock bags in moist sand and with seeds stratifying in ziplock bags in coffee filters. Then, I set aside all legume types that needed an inoculant and dealt with them first just so I wouldn't get busy and forget they needed to be inoculated. It has been so much more tedious than just starting seeds of annual flowers and veggies. Each flat or ziplock is meticulously labeled so no mix-ups will occur (hopefully). Having the old refrigerator in the garage is a big help at this time of the year. It sort of works out perfectly to have it out there: in spring/summer it holds extra cold drinks, in autumn it holds bulbs that are pre-chilling before planting, in winter/spring it holds seeds being stratified. And, anytime of the year, it can hold extra produce that is awaiting being eaten or processed and, at the holidays, it can hold extra food being prepared for holiday meals. I don't know what we'd do without the extra fridge.

    I'd start the allium seeds in late winter/early spring so they have time to sprout and grow and accumulate stored energy that will produce blooms. I don't know what to suggest to keep them from going dormant in summer. My ornamental alliums all go dormant in summer after they have bloomed in spring, but my edible ones last all summer until harvested. I don't have any fall-blooming ornamental alliums. Maybe growing them somewhere in dappled shade that would keep them cooler in summer will help?

    Kim, Well, it could happen! We're not "married" to any single Wal-Mart, so the one we pop into for shopping depends on where else we're going that day, but we probably shop at Gainesville's Wal-Mart most often. We'll go to the one in Gainesville if we also need to shop at TSC, CVS, Atwood's or Home Depot. We'll go to the one in Ardmore if we need to shop at Orschlein's, Lowe's or any other retail store up there....like Hobby Lobby. Sometimes we'll go into the one right beside the Sam's Club in Denton, if I want to buy something that Sam's doesn't have, or if there is something that we need but not in the huge quantities that Sam's sells. And, if we're in Sherman, we sometimes shop at that Wal-Mart just because we are there at other stores.....Lowe's, Home Depot, Target, or whoever. Since we have to drive so far to go anywhere, we always try to make a list of things we need and then hit all the area stores while we are in that one city. Last weekend, we went to the D-FW metro for Costco, Target, Hobby Lobby and Central Market on one day, as well as lunch at Red Lobster which is Tim's favorite lunch to eat out on the weekend, but then decided the next day to go to Sherman, which was a brilliant decision because the Sam's Club there had gasoline for $1.99 a gallon, which is the lowest price we've seen it anywhere in several weeks. Tim was ridiculously pleased with that gas price.

    Nancy, Animals do tie a family down, but we're at the stage that we don't mind it. We traveled a great deal when we were younger...Chris had been to both Canada and Mexico by the time he was 5 years old, not that he remembers a great deal about those trips now. lol. Still, we did all that and had fun, and most of our travel now is just Tim traveling to business conferences or law enforcement conventions. I annoy the crap out of him by jokingly referring to them as boondoggles, which is what we always called those things when I worked for a major defense contractor and we were using the term laughingly, but he doesn't laugh. I mean, really, when every single business conference or convention is scheduled for some beach city or for Las Vegas, you know that they are using those locations to lure people in. Tim always is Mr. Serious---there for the meetings and conferences, whereas a lot of the guys ditch some meetings or sessions or go play golf or to gamble. He does, however, win tons of drawings at those things and brings home nice door prizes. I think he spends a lot of time visiting the exhibitors selling products because there's always something he's got in the budget a year or two out that he needs to buy for his department, so he likes to check out all the latest and greatest stuff that is available before he starts gathering pricing data or putting together bidding requirements. Then he brings home brochures and samples and price lists to carry back to work and he's a happy camper. I'm happy if we never travel anywhere because I don't like leaving our animals in other peoples' hands---no one knows their schedules or their feeding preferences like I do, or their favorite toys, or their bedtimes. Our animals are our furbabies.

    I agree with you about the winter. Remember, we all (or most of us, at least) had our first hard frost and killing freeze way back in October. I don't care what sort of weather we had after that, the fact remains that a lot of garden plants came to an early end, and it has been a long, long time since October. I also feel like there's been so many gray, cloudy, misty, foggy, drizzly days since then that it feels like we've had six months of winter already. It is too muddy to do anything outdoors, and any time our big puddles and mud are in any sort of danger of drying up, it rains again so we never enjoy the pleasure of having dry ground. Back in 2015, I broke three different Swiffers, snapping the handles in half, from overuse trying to keep all the muddy pawprints mopped up. I haven't snapped one yet this winter, but I think the one I'm using could give out and break at any time! I'm ready for sunshine and warmth---not the intermittent warm sunny day we have here and there, but a nice long string of warm days all in a row.

    Okmulgeeboy, For shellies, first of all I don't can them. I freeze them, so I cannot speak to how well any of them can. Most of the snap beans we grow do not make good summer shellies, so my shellies tend to mostly be Lima beans, which produce incredibly well here. Go look at all the varieties of Lima beans available online from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. I've grown them all and they all do well for me here in our heat. If you want a standard green bean type shelling bean, then try Tiger Eye, Calypso or Kebarika. Kebarika produces better in extreme heat than any other bean I've ever grown. I tend to use southern peas, particularly any type of pink eye purple hull for summer shellies as they are so well adapted to our growing conditions.

    The only way I have been able to defeat the coons was to fence in a separate area for the corn, and put a fencing "roof" on top of it. It was a colossal pain in the neck to do it, but it did keep the coons 100% out of the sweet corn. We called it the corn cage. Sometimes I have been able to trick the coons by sowing sweet corn in late March, when conditions are warm enough, and to plant a 60-DTM corn. It often has a chance to ripen and be harvested before the coons expect there to be corn available. I've never had much luck with later corn varieties that aren't planted in the corn cage because the coons lurk around and get those a day or two or three before they are ripe enough to harvest. I hate those racoons.

    I wish we had snow, Amy, and sunshine as well. It would look prettier than all the mud here. It looks like the snow is pretty much determined to miss us this year because in general it isn't coming anywhere close to us. Mother Nature probably is saving up our snow so she can dump it on us on April 1st or something. Even on days when it does not officially rain, we seem to get fog and drizzle. One good thing I'll say about that is that it is keeping a lot of ranchers from burning off their pastures. For our firefighters, that's a good thing....fewer out of control so-called controlled burns to be paged out to. But, it also means that when and if the rain ever stops, then everyone will be burning like mad at the same time and, inevitably, some of them will lose control of their fires and our FFs will be running around like mad trying to put out the fires. Usually March is bad for us no matter how much rain there has been---it is those strong March winds that cause the problems.

    I feel very non-productive. It isn't that I am not getting things done, but rather I'm getting them done very, very slowly. All these wildflowers have to have such carefully tailored stratification that it really slows me down to take my time, give each one what it needs, label that flat or bag, etc. and move on to the next one. I wish I could just broadcast sow all these wildflowers and let them come up wherever and however, but I want a lot of these for the raised beds we'll be building in the yard, or to replace grade-level lawn. So, I'll proceed along, starting the seeds now, and hoping and praying they sprout and grow so I'll have plants to transplant by the time we get the lawn removed, the raised beds built, the grade-level soil improved, etc. I probably have far too many different kinds of wildflower seeds, but I figured some of them may not grow---they can be really picky even when you do your best to meet their stratification needs---so it seemed better to start out with too many instead of too few.

    Yesterday Damon Lane posted the National Phrenology tree map showing that the trees along the Gulf Coast in the southeast (extending as far as Texas, I think) are leafing out early. I like to check these maps weekly in spring to watch how it all progresses. So, here's this week's map. Let's see how quickly the leafing out of the trees progresses northward and that will help us figure out when it is safe to plant out the warm season plants and seeds here.

    U. S. National Phrenology Network Website

    At least these maps give us something to look at while we dream about Spring.


  • Rebecca (7a)

    I had another throat procedure today. Doing great, but that’s not the problem.

    I apparently have some kind of (spider?) bite. On my butt.

    I swear.

  • hazelinok

    I'm glad you're doing well after your procedure, Rebecca. And HOW did you get a spider bite on your butt?!

    Lima beans grow well here?! Why did I not know this?! How about black beans?

    Dawn, all your seed stratification makes me head swim! I'm SO impressed, though.

    I like to buy new cars and drive them until the wheels fall off. I understand the used car thing works best for most people. BUT, I promise every used car I've ever bought for my personal use, is a dud or a lemon. SO, I buy new cars and drive them until they just can't go. Maybe because that's what my parents did, other than my bad luck with used cars.

    Tom has had luck with used cars...and Ethan too. Just not me. Even a 2 year old car falls apart on me. I will stick with new (and drive it forever).

    Nothing useful to add.

    It's nasty and cold...but not freezing or snow... just grossness.

  • HU-422368488

    You can grow black beans here . I've grown them. They need to dry on the vine (hopefully in dry weather) , then thrash them. Any bean that you want to save dry needs to be put in the freezer for 24 hrs or overnite to kill the weevils .


    okmulgee boy

  • slowpoke_gardener

    I want to thank you folks for trading in your old phones. My last phone cost $20.00, but I am still limping along with my previously used phone. I have lost it out in the pasture 3 times. One time it was rained on for about 24 hours, one time I ran over it with the back tractor tire, and one time it was only lost for a few hours, while I back tracked and found it.

    A few month ago my phone quit working and I tool it in to see if it could be repaired, I was told the charging port was broken and it could not be repaired. I found I could gently plug the charger in a certain way and the phone would work. I had my grand daughter order me another used phone for $20.00 and it is still sitting next to the charger, but I have a backup when my present phone croaks.

    My first new car was 1967, my last new car was 2007, it was totaled in an accident. I dont know how many new cars we have had, but I hope to never buy another one I have been most disappointed with the new cars, they were for my wife, and spent more time in the shop than the old ones that I drove. The car we are driving was to totaled in an accident and Madge's son repaired it and we are still driving it. The car had 55,000 miles on it when we bought it and has 105,000 miles on it now and not a minute of trouble out of it. My last new truck was driven for 20 years, and then given to my son.

    I have not done anything in the garden, it is just too wet and cold. I have worked a little with the boy that I have coming over after school and on the weekend, when weather permits. He is doing very well, but I have to show him how to do everything. He is learning very fast and is very happy with the things he is doing. He is learning to use tools he has never used before, some he has never seen before. It makes me a very happy old man to teach him, and we still have a lot of projects to do. At some point I will have to quit the things I am doing, but I plan on having fun til that time comes.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Rebecca, Well, I am glad the procedure for your throat went well. Now, that spider bite.....maybe a spider was hiding in your bedding or your closet or something? What is it with spiders indoors in the winter time? Are they bored? A friend of ours posted a photo a couple of days ago showing a bad spider bite on her son's arm. No one at the ER knew what kind of spider bite it was--the comment basically was "yes, that looks like a spider bite". His arm hasn't fallen off or anything, so I guess he'll be okay. I imagine you will be okay as well. I certainly hope so.

    Jennifer, Lima beans are heat-lovers so grow incredibly well here. I often plant them to replace bush beans or sugar snap peas, and they will produce pretty much all summer long, at least as long as I keep them watered and harvested. I am very partial to an old southern variety called Sieva, which produces a very large white bean that we always called butterbeans growing up. You need sturdy trellises for these and the vines easily get 8'-10' tall. My trellis usually is only 6' tall, so they grow as tall as they can and then begin cascading back down to the ground. When I am in the midst of a horrific drought year, I plant Worchester Indian Red lima beans which are very heat- and drought-tolerant. You also cannot go wrong with Violet's Multicolored Butterbeans or Christmas (aka Calico) Lima Beans. When I want to grow a bush form, I usually plant Fordhook 242, which is a heavy producer for a bush type. Jackson Wonder is a pretty early producer and also is a bush lima bean. So, in my garden in order from the time I harvest, it goes something like this (depending on whether I plant them all at the same time or plant some later): Edible podded peas (Sugar Snap, Super Sugar Snap, Cascadia, etc.) followed by Bush Snap Beans (Contender, Provider, Harvester, Tanya's Pink Pod, Red Swan, Purple Dove, etc.), followed by bush Lima Beans (Fordhook 242 or Jackson Wonder), followed by bush southern peas (mostly any form of pink eye purple hull) followed by (at the same time) the harvest of pole Lima Beans (always Sieva, sometimes others as well) and pole southern peas like Mandy/Red Ripper. Since pole snap beans perform so poorly here, I just fill the summer months with pole limas and with southern peas. Some years I plant the most heat tolerant pole snap beans like Rattlesnake and Louisiana Purple Pod, and when I do that, if they make beans in the heat, I'll be harvesting them about the same time as pole limas and pole southern peas.

    You can grow black beans here, but we don't eat enough black beans to make growing them a worthwhile endeavor for us.

    We bought new vehicles early in our marriage and did drive them forever and forever, but in more recent years....like the last decade or so, we just buy used. Our last new (to us) used vehicle is our current SUV which we bought through Carvana a year ago last week after Tim totaled the Mazda. The SUV is a GMC Arcadia that was 3 years old when we bought it, perfectly maintained, looked brand new and ran like a dream, and has continued to run like a dream. This was our first GMC and our first Arcadia and won't be our last. When I looked at the list price for new ones online (after Tim already had ordered the used one through Carvana), it made my head swim. I kept wondering if we were buying a vehicle or a new house! However, if you buy a three year old one and someone else has taken the hit on the depreciation, it is pretty reasonably priced. I doubt we'll buy a brand new vehicle ever again, especially this late in our lives when we are socking away every spare penny for retirement. Really, we have been saving for retirement since we were in our mid-20s, but the closer you get to that age, the more you realize you need to be saving more and spending less, or at least that is how it has been for us. Our son has only bought one brand new vehicle in his life and it was horrible, so he buys only used now too and he hasn't had a bad used vehicle yet.

    It still is nasty and cold, but our fog lifted early and they cancelled the Fog Advisory early. We're still stuck in the endless mud and puddle loop, and Jesse drives me crazy indoors. He has too much energy to stay indoors much, but he also hates the cold, wet ground so when I let him out, he sits on the back porch and whines to come back in. The sun is supposed to break out of the clouds later today. I cannot wait!

    Larry, I am hard on phones like that too. I have to have one of the Otterbox hard cases that fully encloses the phone completely to protect it, or a phone in my hands (and dropped out of my hands into every messy situation possible...) just doesn't last long.

    If I try to tell you how many miles we have on our 1997 Dodge pickup, I'll get it wrong, but I believe it is around 340,000 miles now and the transmission has been rebuilt once or twice. Based on the cost of new trucks (and the fact they seem made for prettiness now more so than for usefulness), I hope Tim can keep this truck running forever. When we first moved here, one of our neighbors had a very old farm truck and I couldn't believe he still drove it everywhere, but you know, he still had that truck and drove it when he went into the nursing home 12-15 years later. A good truck that is dependable is priceless out here in the country where they get used pretty hard.

    It is so wet and muddy here that I don't know how we'll be able to do anything outdoors until March, and I already see more rain in our forecast for next week. I'm over it. Considering that the winter months are our lowest-rainfall months, we are having a spectacularly wet winter, and not in a good way.

    I'm glad your young fellow is such a great apprentice and I just love that you're able to teach him so very much. I know he never will forget everything he is learning from you, and you are literally teaching him skills and the use of tools that will stay with him for the rest of his life. That's such a great thing.


  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Too bad I hate lima beans. One of the few veggies I wouldn't make my kids eat. I almost grew them once to see if they were better fresh, but it didn't happen. I assume, Dawn, you are not treating these like snap beans? We bought celeriac the other day. Ron liked it, I didn't.

    We use TrakFones. Mostly they offer older models. Ron's flip phone was $20. He still complains about the samsung he has now and threatens to go back to the flip phone.

    I am currently mad at Walmart (never have motorized carts available and removed the benches at the front doors). I spent yesterday checking Amazon for the things I normally buy at Walmart. Most of it was the same price. Yes, I know I can order on line at Walmart and either pick up or have it delivered, but like I said, I'm mad at them. I wandered off on the different kinds of loose tea they have available. One could spend a lot of money with that much variety.

    I think we've had 2 new cars, and one was leased. A first year Escort (NEVER buy the first year a model comes out. We had a VW Rabbit, bought used, but first year it came out. I cannot tell you how bad THAT was. It turned out the Escort had an expensive part pretty much designed to fail at 60,000 miles.) The leased car was a tempo and we had to pay for struts to be put on. My children destroyed cars given to them, and also Ron's favorite truck. We always bought them tanks, old steel cars.

    One minute the sun is out, the next it's dark and dreary. I have the blahs.

  • hazelinok

    Well, looks like I haven't finished ordering seeds after all. I LOVE lima beans...all beans. I'm getting some. And some black beans too. How's the pest situation with them?

    I potted up the kale, spinach, and lettuce tonight. And started the new lettuce and kale seed.

    It's muddy, but the dogs went outside for a couple of hours.

    That's about all around here.

  • HU-939938193

    jennifer, I've been getting in to the bean fit lately .

    There was a varitey of shell bean called called Etna that was a horicultiural type that was around for several years. I've been trying to find a substitute for them .. The most I could find was " French Horiculture " but I found them to be harder to hull out . I'm trying "Supremo " again from

    Vermont bean. Also "Flambo" seems to be very similar.

    My mom used to grow lima beans but I can't remember what varitiey it was.. I'm also trying "

    Dragon Tongue Bush Bean" which seems to match what I used to have.

  • dbarron

    If the sun doesn't come out and it doesn't dry up (which it isn't gonna do), I'm going to go nuts.

    I want to do gardening things..and I can't when it's cold and wet. And I don't want to when it's cloudy and dreary.

  • HU-422368488

    And some black beans too. How's the pest situation with them?

    Jennifer, I haven't had many problems with pests unless the grasshoppers get out of hand. Then everything is under the gun. Black Beans are usually picked after they're dried on the vines , usually into the hotter part of the summer. Then they need to be picked before the next rain or they'll start sprouting in the pod.

    okmulgee boy

  • hazelinok

    That Dragon Tongue bean is pretty, okmulgee boy!

    So...I'll need to rethink my garden plan for the year if I'm adding lima and black beans. I think I'll do one of the bush limas that you mentioned, Dawn.

    I just looked up the Supremo bean. That's a pretty one too!

    Does anyone have a favorite black bean?

    I'm sitting here thinking...I could really grow most of my own food by including all the beans. (Most...not all.) If I can talk Tom into a miniature cow we would have milk, butter, yogurt too! Each miniature cow only requires a half acre and gives a gallon or so of milk every day.

    Because I have a lot of extra time to milk a cow a twice a day.

    dbarron, it is a muddy mess at my house too. We'll probably dry up pretty quickly, though. Unless we get more rain next week. We haven't been hit as hard as some of you. Yet. That could change, of course.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Have you looked at Victory's bean selection? https://www.victoryseeds.com/beans.html

    Also, there is a FB group called Heirloom bean addicts anonymous. (Actually there are several of these, for tomatoes and something else.) This group has some nationally well known members and growers. Oh, and this place has everything. http://www.heirlooms.org/heirloom-beans.html

    H/J, I really laughed at the cow thing.

  • HU-422368488

    Does anyone have a favorite black bean?

    I haven't seen many variaties of black beans. " Black Turtle" is the one I'm familiar with. It's easy to grow. It makes a small bean when it drys in the pod. https://www.vermontbean.com/product/V01253/203

    okmulgee boy

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Hazel, you may be expecting a lot from your small cow. I think you can expect a lot of mud with a small cow on 1/2 acre. You will need room for hay, a place to milk in the dry, and with no more room than what you have you may have a lot of flies and smell. I am not trying to throw cold water on your idea, but caring for a cow in the winter can have its down side. I lease out 60 acres and the fellow runs about 40 head on it. I have pretty good pasture, but not that good. A lot of extra feed and hay has to be used in the winter. None of his cows are milk cows. If I had a milk cow I would want to care for it better than he cares for his beef cows, but I make pets out of everything and put a lot more money into them than many people would. I would starve if I raised animals, I would never want to sell one and I would be taking it to the DR. every time it sneezed.

    I got a seed packet from George that had some bean seeds in it that I am eager to try, "Ruth Bible" , I think the name is. Everything I have received from George has been a good producer, but the same goes for everything I have received from all forum members, thanks to you all.

    George sent me some Egyptian Walking onions several years ago. They are so hardy that I did not believe you could kill them, but a lady at the post office has ask me for the third start of them. This time I will pot them up in potting soil and take them to her already growing and pretty. I give away the same as I am growing, and they seem to grow anywhere. The last start I gave the lady were from the same batch that I used to plant a row across my garden. The onions had been sitting in a plastic shoe box for months, I pick out the best ones and gave to the post lady and used the culls for my garden. I may have lost one, but not sure because I have onions everywhere.

    I need to go pick my greens, but I will just strip off the outer part of the leaves and leave the stem on the plant because I expect they will be tough. The greens look pretty good, except being smothered by henbit, it has been too wet to get into the garden to weed all winter, plus I leave some henbit for the bees each year. My cover crop was planted late, so it has not grown a lot, but the deer seem to think it is okay.

    I had better get up and do the things Madge has ask me to do, she is at the beauty shop. It takes a lot mot work to keep Madge beautiful than it does for me. She has to go every week, I only go about 9 or 10 times a year. Madge use to cut my hair, but that ended when she forgot to put the guard on the clippers, and mowed a strip from the back of my neck to near the top of my head. The lady that fixes Madge's hair gives me a hair cut about every 5 or 6 weeks, she gives the best, and fastest hair cuts I have ever had.

  • Rebecca (7a)

    Ok, Dawn, I need to know if you’re getting a feeling about spring weather. I have had my perennials and long sprouting seeds winter sowing jugs out for a couple weeks, and I have sprouts of gallardia, hollyhocks, morning glory, and calendula already. And bunching onions, but those don’t bother me. It’s too early!

    I sat down on the floor at Stringers this afternoon and went through their clearance seeds. (And then had trouble getting back up.) Most of them are buy one get two free, except Baker Creek which is buy 1 get 1. Loaded up on oat grass seeds for Audrey, a few herbs, snow peas, and flowers. Plus a bag of ProMix potting mix for the tomatoes next month. They already have onion sets, which surprised us both. No onion plants yet, though.

    There are already buds buds on The Revenge of Godzilla, and daffodils poking up above the leaf mulch.

  • hazelinok

    Rebecca, I can't get a feel on this year (I know I'm not Dawn. Obviously I know that. LOL). I usually have a good feel but not this year. Does anyone know what is being predicted for next month?

    It is weird that I jumped right on starting my greens seeds. I felt it was time to do that. I don't know what that means exactly, but I'm normally not this early.

    I will check out the Black Turtle, Okmulgee boy. Thanks! And, Victory, Amy. Thanks!

    Y'all, I'm gonna get me a mini cow. I am. I just don't know when. haha. I laugh, but I really am.

    I have a plan that involves the property behind us. We bought our house from the man who owns it (He lives down the street from us). He built our house and the house behind us for his mother and mother-in-law. (One has passed and the other is in assisted living now). There is a shed at the property line. He has offered to let us use it for whatever. He rents out the house behind us. The renters are good people and have rented for years. However, they don't use most of their property. They have a small fenced area right behind their home. They are never outdoors except when they mow in the warmer months. IF I can use the majority of that property and ours--our little cow should have plenty of room. She will wear a pink necklace with a heart nametag. ;)

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    HJ--just reading up on the social nature of cows--like horses, they aren't happy being alone. LOLOL. I think you're gonna have to get 2 little cows. Me? I'm just going to have to find a neighbor with chickens AND a neighbor with a milk cow. I've had milk cows in my life. They are a lot of work. Not to say they're not worth it. . . but you say goodbye to any other life. That cow needs her schedule of milkings. Also then, there is the breeding, the weaning of the calves, the winter feeding like Larry said. I'd love to have one, but darned reality puts up the stop; sign.

  • HU-939938193

    more about black beans


    There is also a black crowder pea ( a Southern black pea) https://www.victoryseeds.com/cowpea_black-crowder.html

    I grew a black crowder pea some years back. I just let it dry on the vine like the "Black Turtle beans". It was similar to "Mississippi Crowder Pea" except it was just all black.

    Now , I don't consider shell beans and Southern peas as being the same thing. They are in the same family but you don't get a "bean" taste from a " Southern pea" and you don't get a "Southern pea" taste from a shell bean , at least that's what my taste buds tell me.

    I go pretty heavy with Southern cowpeas in general. "Knuckle Purple Hull" https://www.rhshumway.com/product/S02088/223 does well for me in good years as well as "Pink Eye Purple Hull". For anybody interested in "Pinkeye" I recommend

    "Quick Pick Cowpea" https://www.vermontbean.com/product/V02097/71

    I did those last year and they were just like the name says "Quick Pick" ,. They make one or two good flushes and then they are done instead of just dragging it out .Perfect for when you want a batch of peas to can or freeze and be done with it.

    Now , about the hulling. When deciding on a shell bean I take the ease of hulling into account.

    Not because I'm lazy , but when you have 5 gallon buckets or tubs sitting around to hull out , it' a big job.

    90 percent of the work is in the hulling. I've worked my finger tips (and finger nails) raw from all the hulling. And then there's heating them up on the stove and filling up the jars and fitting the lids and running them through the pressure cooker ( if you are a canner like me). It can take all night and you don't want to doze off while the pressure cooker is on the stove, been there , done that, (...busted jars, etc) . Glad the canners have those rubber plugs in the lid or I would have blown up the house by now. That's usually how I spend my Sundays in the summer ,( spend Saturdays in the garden bringing in the harvest , if I have any)..Then I have to show up for work Monday morning ,all bloodshot eyed and yawning.

    Well , I guess I'll get off my soap box for now. I've already made my seed orders, but I might "preach" myself into growing some black beans ( or peas).

    Hope this helps somebody.

    okmulgee boy

  • hazelinok

    Well, Nancy, if I can convince the young couple to our east to get miniature cows too, then that could be an option. LOL. We've sorta talked about it. They have about 30 meat goats, 2 ponies (Shetland sized), and several chickens. They also have more property. IF they got a male and a female miniature cow and I got one female, then perhaps we could take care of each other's cows when/if we're going to be on vacay, etc. It would be super hard for me to sell the calves, though.

    The cows I'm talking about aren't much bigger than a Great Dane. They require considerably less feed and room. It's that milking schedule that would be the killer AND the selling of calves.

    BUT...none of this happening anytime soon.

    Okmulgee boy, THANKS for all the information! My garden isn't small, but it's not huge either, so I have to make hard choices. I'm going to order the Black Turtle and a lima bean too. I already grow the pink eye purple hull peas and enjoy them SO much.

    Is there a machine that hulls beans? A friend gave me a box of his parents' old mason jars. In the box was some sort of gadget that was for shelling peas. I haven't had time to look at it fully yet.

    Our house is electric only and I'm a little nervous about canning on an electric stove. I've done it when we had our old electric stove. Our new one is a flat top (or whatever you call them). We have neighbors who wanted a gas stove and oven, so they put in a small propane tank that goes only to their stove/oven. That is a possibility too, I guess. They have a beautifully remodeled kitchen and I suppose the propane tank sits somewhere outside their kitchen. Obviously it can't be indoors. I'll have her show me how it works because that could be an option for us too. Right now I'm freezing and drying all my produce.

  • Rebecca (7a)

    HJ, I’m pretty sure Dawn cans on an electric flat top stove.

    I‘m watching a rerun of Oklahoma Gardening on PBS, they’re planting and talking about tomatoes and peppers. I feel the mojo coming back. Just trying to figure out the weather. I know that’s not going to happen.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Where IS Dawn?

    I just had the internet gremlins eat my post.

    I am picturing FB pictures of miniature calves on H/J's couch. ;)

    Maybe you need goats, or sheep, did you know you can milk sheep? Or camels? https://morningchores.com/milk-animals/. My plan is to get rich and hire people to milk for me.

    There is a local dairy in Claremore that sells both raw and pasteurized milk and cheese.

    Here's an article about canning on glass top stoves. https://www.healthycanning.com/canning-on-glass-and-induction-stove-tops/#2_Induction_stove_tops

    I researched countertop burners when we got our stove because a canner wouldn't fit on it right. I got a heavy duty burner for my stove which made the canner fit, but you know, there's really no room on the stove for anything else. I have an electric fry pan, and now, an instant pot to heat things in. (No, you can't can in an instant pot). Ron bought a 2 burner propane stove "for me to can on". Things he wants he buys for me. It would be useful in an ice storm power outage, but I can barely maneuver the back steps, let alone carry all the crap involved in canning out side. In the hot summer? I don't think so.

    Okmulgee boy, you really should look at that http://www.heirlooms.org/heirloom-beans.html website. And H/J there is an article there about the different kinds of beans that will make you a bean expert.

    Hulling is a pain and I swear I once saw a tool for it, but I could find nothing when I went looking. H/J your tool could be something not made any more. I wonder if a shrimp deveiner would work.

    Y'all have a good day. The dogs think it is nicer out.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    https://www.monticelloshop.org/garden/plants/ oh dear, a source for the black haw AND so much more! Has any one bought from them?

  • dbarron

    I have no personal experience, but it looks a little shaky to me, Amy. Garden Watchdog has a mixed bag on them of positives and negatives.

  • hazelinok

    Amy, I ordered those Indian Gherkins from them a couple of weeks ago. They arrived in about 3 days.

  • OklaMoni

    I am just not sure, that growing beans you hull are worth the gardening space. They are so cheap dry, and store without using much space...

    I do want to do a bean teepee so the grands could play in it. :)


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    I came here to read and catch up, and realized how much I've missed while being busy with other stuff the last few days. I'll come back and catch up after I've started this week's thread. I can't believe I am so far behind and catching up will take a while.


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    So, I'm back now to read thoroughly and try to respond.

    Amy, I do treat lima beans pretty much like snap beans except for planting them slightly later since they are heat lovers and I'm using them to fill that legume role after the snap beans are pretty much done. I have tried planting lima beans at the same time as snap beans, and in my location it doesn't work out well. Maybe that's our cool spring microclimate getting a bit colder at night than the lima beans like or something, so I tend to plant them about a month or six weeks after snap beans. However, I plant snap beans sort of on the early side to beat the heat and the spider mites, so maybe the limas just don't tolerate being planted too early as well as the snap beans do. One thing I do ponder is this: if I have snap beans, the spider mites are going to show up on them...sometimes insanely early. Why, then, do the spider mites not bother the lima beans at all? Beans are beans, right? I wonder if anyone has researched this.

    We are not big fans of celeriac either. We have tried it, but about the only way I use it nowadays is chopped up in a big pot of vegetable soup.

    I don't blame you for being mad at Wal-mart. Ours never has enough electric carts for all the folks who need them, and they've taken out the benches they used to have at the front of the store. I guess the benches got in the way of one of the little banks, or the vet, or the hair salon or whatever that now populates the front of the store outside the checkouts.

    I fight the blahs in dreary, cloudy winter weather too. I need sunshine! This winter has been tougher than most because the sun has been hiding behind the clouds almost every day, and often (I blame the warmer temperatures for this) we have had fog until noon. I feel like we've sort of had Pacific Northwest weather this year with all the incessant fog, mist, clouds and drizzle and I have not liked it at all.

    Jennifer, In my garden, beans as a group are relatively pest free, except that the spider mites really love them. Some years the mites arrive early and are horrible, and other years the beans pretty much finish producing before any spider mites arrive at all. You might see occasional damage from Mexican bean beetles. I will see a little of that here and there, but not enough to worry about. Some years, if there is a heavy population of stink bugs (like we had last year), they will be on the beans. I have noticed that southern green stink bugs are more of a pest on beans than the brown stink bugs are. I run across the green stink bugs on the plants when harvesting beans so I try to always have my garden scissors with me so I can snip those stink bugs in half. (Don't squish stink bugs with your bare fingers unless you want for your fingers to stink all day long, even after you have thoroughly washed them.)

    Because you have coyotes in your neighborhood, I would not have a miniature cow unless I also had a guardian livestock dog (like a Great Pyrenees, for example) to protect the cow from the coyotes. Or, maybe a donkey. Donkeys are great at protecting livestock as well and even will take on large dogs and cougars to protect their herd.

    Okmulgeeboy, I have grown a gazillion types of beans over the years. There are hundreds of varieties available commercially and it has been fun to experiment with all the different kinds. If a person is going to binge on something in the garden, beans are a fun crop to experiment with. I do not grow dry beans. They are so incredibly cheap to buy in bags at the store, or in bulk at some stores, that they just are not cost-effective to grow in the garden by comparison. That's why I don't grow pinto beans or black bean, and I always harvest our southern peas green, not leaving them on the plants to dry. I prefer to use the garden for fresh legumes that I can harvest weekly, and then either snap or shell, and eat fresh. We just freeze the excess for winter when I grow more than we can eat fresh and that is possible because we have three freezers in the garage, though all of them are not full year-round....one of them usually empties out as we devour our fresh-frozen food over the course of the fall and winter months. Then, as soon as the harvest starts in Spring, I refill that big freezer with garden produce over the course of the growing season. It is a big chest freezer divided into compartments by blue plastic dividers, so I fill each section with a different veggie, which keeps it organized and makes it easier for me to find what I want when I'm removing frozen produce from the freezer to use in meal preparation.

    Larry, That is great cow advice!

    Rebecca, I have hesitated to try to put words to how I feel about this year's winter/spring weather because I am getting mixed feelings about it. Does that make sense? I don't have a strong feeling that we will have late cold weather. I don't have a strong feeling that we will have early warm weather. It all just feels sort of "blah" in my brain. Good heavens, I hope I'm not losing my garden intuition as I age! That would be terrible. So, my best guess based on my garden intuition is that we are going to warm up early in general, but need to watch carefully for late rounds of cold weather. We aren't going to warm up extraordinarily early. You know, there have been some years when January was so warm that I actually put tomato plants in my 4' round galvanized metal stock tank in February...around the third week of February, and I did so expecting they would do well and would produce early and they did, though I had to cover them up on 2 or 3 cold nights. Well, this is not one of those years. It doesn't feel the same as those years. This is more of a middle-of-the-road year. I want to believe it will warm up early and stay warm, but there is a little voice inside my head (picture a miniature Three Stooges type guy jumping up and down in my brain, yelling at me to get my attention) warning me not to get into too much of a hurry to plant too early. Do I wonder where that voice is coming from, given than the signs around me outdoors have been hinting at an early Spring since at least December? Of course I do. I've learned not to question the voices in my head (hope I don't sound like a schizophrenic here) because they are coming from somewhere I cannot explain. I just know that when I follow my intuition, things tend to work out well in the garden. So, I'm not getting in a big hurry with anything, but I'm also not going to drag my heels too much and start seeds too late relative to the weather we are having.

    I have wondered if my garden brain is being lazy this year because I'm not planning on a big veggie garden? Because I'm rotating my favorite crops, all the nightshades, out of the front garden and replacing them with a lot of flowers as a form of crop rotation, am I losing my focus and not listening to my usual garden-planting intuition? I suppose that is a possibility. However, I am strongly feeling the urge to plant veggies even though that really is not supposed to be a part of my gardening in 2020 since I want to focus on renovating our landscape. I'll talk about that more sometime this week in the Week 5 thread as there are some rational reasons for that, and maybe one irrational one. So, now I'm thinking the front garden won't be 100% flowers and herbs. Maybe it will be 60% flowers and herbs and 40% veggies. We'll see. I promise that when I am starting seeds and planting and transplanting, I'll say so, and just by my actions y'all should be able to see if I'm feeling an early spring sneaking into the garden...or not. Early for me is much earlier than early would be for those of you further north, so if I start things early or on time, you all still have plenty of time to start things early too (and Jennifer is ahead of me this year, I've noticed, and there is nothing wrong with that--I think she is listening to her intuitive garden brain too.) My biggest fear as an intuitive gardener always has been that my garden intuition will fail, one of these years, to send me the right messages and I'll plant too late, but it really hasn't happened yet, so I try to listen to the voices in my head and behave correspondingly. This year, as usual, I expect to start seeds on Super Bowl Sunday....which is next week! Yikes! In a way it is sneaking up on me, but I already have seed-starting supplies and seeds on hand, so I'm ready to start the seeds next Sunday even though it doesn't really feel to me like it should be Super Bowl Sunday yet. I have one plant shelf set up indoors (long story) and the actual light shelf is going to be set up, hopefully today, in the mudroom, so it will be ready for next weekend's activity.

    Jennifer, I will go find the outlooks and link them, but the last time I looked at them, which I think was early January, they were showing February warmer than usual overall, and were iffy on the rain---no real hint there. At the time I checked them, there were equal chances of us having above average rainfall in February, average rainfall in February or below average rainfall in February. When they put up the EC on the map to indicate Equal Chances, I think that normally means their models are in disagreement so they cannot conclusively predict what might happen. Let me go retrieve the latest outlooks now.

    This first link shows the quarterly climate outlooks for temperature. Essentially, the tan or brown areas are showing above average temperatures, white will show average or equal chance type temperature forecasts, and if they were showing blue, that would be below average temperatures. Is it scary to anyone else that all the long-term outlooks consistently show us above average?

    Seasonal Outlooks

    Now, here's the rainfall outlook. Overall, I find the temperature outlooks to be more reliable than the rainfall outlooks, but since they prepare the rainfall outlooks, I want to post them as well. I'll tell you in advance that there is nothing in the rainfall outlooks that strongly hints at a wet year....and, yet, many of us have had a very rainy January, so I feel like there are mixed signals here.

    Quarterly Rainfall Outlooks

    Okay, I'm out of time and need to go make breakfast before it ends up being brunch. I'll be back later to finish catching up.


  • HU-939938193

    Jennifer, there are mechanical pea shellers https://lawn-gardening-tools.com/Item/Taylor-Pea-Sheller but I haven't had any experience with them. I'm a little suspicious of mechanical shellers because not every bean or pea pod is the same. There are individual differences between pods.There could be a risk of mashing beans. The only thing mechanical I would trust is a small combine but that is when the pods are dry. It would take some experimenting.

    About using electric stoves for canning . I can on an electric stove. It depends on what kind of stove you have and what size burners. Don't use the small 6 inch burners for canning. They could short out and throw your house breaker off ( ask me how I know). The larger the size burner the better off you are.It depends too on what size canner you have.. The 8 inch or larger size burners can work for a small/ medium size canner(at least mine does). For larger size canners you need a larger size burner. You can get special heating elements for an electric stove that are made for canning.


    if it fits your stove.

    Also when using an electric stove to can with , it takes some practice to regulate the temperature ( pressure of 10 psi usually) during the process time. It depends on your individual stove. On my stove , I turn the heat up to max initially until the pressure gauge goes to around 15 psi and then vent off the lid back down to 10 psi . Repeat again. And then step down the temp on your knob .when the pressure goes much over 10 psi and vent your lid back down to 10 psi. When the pressure goes up again step down your knob and vent down again. And when the pressure goes over 10 psi , step down your knob and vent down to 10 psi again.. Repeat again and again until you can maintain 10 psi pretty much over your process time for whatever your canning. The canning times vary depending on what you are canning . I use my Mom's old canning books to see what canning time to use for what vegetable.If you go a little over 10 psi during the process it's OK . Just step it back down to 10 psi.

    Just don't let it go under 10 psi.

    You do need to be careful about canning on electric stoves , just depends on what you have. Let me know if you have any questions. Now this is all for the older style electric stoves . If you have the newer " glass top" stoves then then you have to be extra careful with how the canner contacts the flat surface and the weight of the canner. I hate newer appliances these days. I like things to work like they use to work,"reliably ". The same goes for refrigerators after they outlawed Freon. Some of them can't be left running in a cold house or garage (below 50 degrees) or the refrigerant will jell up and clog up the capillary tube/drier filter.

    If you have doubts about your "flat top" , then your probably better off with a propane burner arrangement set up on the back porch or where ever as long as you're out of the wind and weather. https://www.pickyourown.org/cannings4glasstop.htm#Toastmaster

    Dawn, I don't really do a lot of dried beans . Except for black beans or something like "Jacobs Cattle' . If you try to do black beans in the green shell stage , they're are not really black but more like a dull gray in my experience.

    Okmulgee boy

  • slowpoke_gardener

    My pea sheller is not worth the money it cost. My step dad had one just like it and loved it.

    They are pretty good at making peas soup, because they crush some of the peas and get a lot of pulp in the peas. I had rather pick a few peas each day and set in the living room that night and shell them by hand with my wife. It sounds crazy, but it is sorta like "together time" for us. We even toss our little yorkie a few peas, when he was young he could shell own, but almost no teeth now.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Jennifer, Pea shellers work best on dried peas. They pretty much mangle and crush green ones like Larry described above. The Farmer's Market in Weatherford, TX, had a really big pea sheller back in the days when we lived in Fort Worth and would go to the Farmer's Market in Weatherford and it shelled dried southern peas pretty well, and green ones not well at all....you ended up with mashed, mangled, messed-up peas. There are smaller, home-sized pea shellers made by companies like Mr. Pea, but they get very mixed reviews---some people love them and say they work great, but many more have trouble with them mangling the peas and have found they work best on small, less-than-mature peas and not so well on larger peas. They do not work with lima beans due to their larger size being too large for the rollers. Many of the pea shellers need to be hooked up to a power source to operate quickly---some people hook them up to their electric drills, but it basically takes two people to do this, so shelling peas turns from a simple, one-person job to a more complicated two-person job with mixed results. After people on the GW Bean Forum and the GW Vegetable Forum gave pea shellers bad reviews many years ago, I decided to save my money and not waste it on a pea sheller. I just consider shelling peas and beans as much a part of gardening, harvesting and putting up the harvest as any other chore, and often spend the evenings sitting there shelling peas all evening long during the pea harvesting season. I can zip through a 5-gallon bucket of peas pretty quickly--once you get in the groove, it really doesn't take that long.

    I grew up canning on a regular electric stove. My parents stove was probably original to their house, built in 1944, and still in use up until my mom's death in 2019. It was an old tank of a stove, undoubtedly built sturdy enough for canning as we often canned on it with no problem whatsoever, and my dad's canner was very old and very heavy. Newer electric stoves often are much less sturdy--even those built in the 1980s and 1990s---and you need to buy the heavy duty replacement burner to put on the stove if you are going to can on one of those. I can on a ceramic top stove, and currently am on my second one. (Canning has nothing to do with the first ceramic top stove dying, just thought I'd throw that info in here.) You can do it, but it probably is more risky for a person who is new to canning than for a more experienced one who knows to keep the heat at a certain level in order to keep the water in the canner at the right temperature. I don't think I would have liked learning to can on a ceramic top stove because it ups the degree of difficulty and the risk (to the stove and to the food) a little bit. There are some things to consider: your owner's manual that came with your ceramic top stove may tell you that using a canner (particularly the heavier pressure canners) of any type on it voids your warranty, so consider that. Also, ceramic top stoves do not work the same as the older electric stoves with coiled burners. On the older standard electric stoves, you set your burner at a certain level and it maintained that heat evenly. On the newer stoves, the burners heat up to a certain point, then turn themselves down to avoid overheating. There is a sort of constant cycle of that, with the burner heating up, cooling slightly, heating up, cooling slightly, etc. With the stove I have now, you can both hear and see when the burning switches itself to a cooler temperature to avoid overheating. With the stove we had before, which was a Bosch, it wasn't quite as noticeable. They do this to avoid overheating and cracking the ceramic (looks like glass) top. That is the main concern about canning on them---that they will not maintain the heat 100% evenly throughout the entire process because of this, which can cause issues if the temperatures inside your jars fluctuate too much. Another is that a long day of canning on a ceramic top stove can overheat the ceramic top and cause it to crack, and that generally means you'll be buying a new stove because it is just as cheap or cheaper to buy a new one as to have the ceramic top replaced. When I am canning all day long, I am careful to have a couple of good breaks in the day so the ceramic top can cool down for a while. I don't think it is good to can for 12 or 15 hours without letting your ceramic top cool down every few hours. Some canning educators tell you that you cannot can safely on a ceramic top stove and should buy an auxiliary burner (looks sort of like a big, modern version of a hot plate) to plug into a wall outlet and use for canning, but plenty of us do can on ceramic top stoves. I do understand their concerns though, and particularly with pressure canning as opposed to boiling water bath canning. Due to the dangers of improperly pressure canned food (botulism, for example), it is extremely important to maintain your burner heat and pressure consistently throughout the process. Having a little fluctuation in the heat on boiling water batches isn't quite as much of a big deal---you can tell by watching your batch that it still is boiling at the right level.

    Cherokee Trail of Tears is a nice black bean. You can harvest them in the immature stage as green (by green I mean raw and immature, not necessarily that they are the color green) snap beans or let them mature and dry and harvest them as dry black beans. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange also has a black-seeded Kentucky Wonder bean, and the black and white orca bean.

    Milk cows, of any size, are a lot of work. Coyotes are a huge risk to miniature cows and so are packs of 2 or more roaming stray dogs, and by stray I even mean neighbors' dogs. Most of our chickens that have been killed by dogs weren't kiled by a pack of feral dogs....they were killed by neighbors' dogs from a short distance away that got out of their yards and decided to kill chickens. The same is true of friends who've lost ducks and goats to dogs---it isn't some menacing feral dog that makes it necessary to have guardian livestock dogs, it is the seemingly innocent-looking pet dogs who live just down the road. Consider all the drawbacks before you decide to do it. Most people I know who have cows find themselves a slave to the cows' milking schedule, and if they make cheese, butter, yogurt, etc. find themselves a slave to that as well. Goats produce milk too, but have the same issues with being preyed upon by coyotes and dogs.


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