Garden Update (08-21-2020)

Our backyard organic raised-bed and container garden is doing pretty well considering it’s getting to end of the summer. I’ve already pulled most of my Spring/Summer plants as they just won’t continue to produce and thrive in this heat (95 F with heat index over 100 F). We had tons of tomatoes, tomatillos and cucumbers already this spring/summer. We also got to enjoy some squash, eggplants, cantaloupes, (new) potatoes, ground cherries, beets, carrots and some fresh green beans. Erin will have some good fall decorations from the ornamental corn we grew, although the sweet corn didn’t do too well this year. The squash plants produced well early but the squash vine borer grubs killed those plants and some succession planting of squash as well. They also killed some gourd plants. All in all, we had a good spring/summer garden harvest with peppers and okra really enjoying the heat now!

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Partial view of the raised bed garden

We need to start preparing for the Fall garden. One of the things that I always do in the Spring and in the Fall is put pine straw down in the walkways to keep the weeds down. I’ve used red pine bark in the past but that tends to float away from where it was placed due to the heavy downpours we often have.

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Placing pine straw on walkways to help keep weeds from growing
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Croix likes the pine straw

We’ve also need to start thinking about planting some seeds for our Fall garden. I’ve gotten started with some Cauliflower and will plant some Broccoli and Cabbage seeds this weekend. I will be planting some garlic like the last few years but will wait until around Oct 1st. Other plants for the Fall garden include beets, turnips, lima beans, brussel sprouts, chinese cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, lettuce, sweet peas and spinach. What else do you like to grow? Hint: Check your state’s recommendations on when to plant crops. For example, LSU’s AgCenter has a planting guide for Louisiana.

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Cauliflower plants from seed (almost 2 weeks old)

Finally, to get ready for Fall planting, I’ll work in some of my own compost from my compost tumbler, along with composted cow and chicken manure, mushroom compost, some perlite, and some sphagnum peat moss or coco coir to increase quality and volume of soil. I usually mix in a little Azomite Rock dust for a micro-nutrient boost.

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Fall garden compost and pine straw

As for the existing plants, the jalapeño peppers are doing quite well. I’ve got a couple of varieties including Craig’s Grande, Orange Spice, Pumpkin Spice and Brown Jalapeño peppers. I’ll make cowboy caviar (a sweet and spicy mix) and can them along with stuffing some with cream cheese and sausage and maybe wrap some bacon around them for appetizers.

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Craig’s Grande Jalapeño Pepper
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Pepper, Orange Spice Jalapeño

I have some Ozark Giant and Purple Beauty Bell Peppers growing as well.

Pepper, Purple Beauty

I planted a couple of varieties of mustard greens and they are coming up fast. There’s also a some collard greens mixed in. I’ll wait another few weeks and plant some more (succession planting)

Japanese Giant Red and Green Wave Mustard Greens, along with a few Georgia Southern Collard Greens

I have some cucumbers on a “cattle panel” trellis that have been very productive but are slowing up now due to the heat. Earlier in the summer they were so productive we couldn’t eat and give enough of them away.

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Tokiwa “Tokyo Green” Cucumber

I planted two varieties of watermelon, Sugar Baby and Stars and Moon (Cherokee). I have this Sugar Baby but can’t wait for the Stars and Moon watermelon to get to size.

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Watermelon, Sugar Baby

The okra is doing well as it loves this time of the year.

Okra, Jing Orange

The squash vine borer has already taken out all but one squash plant and it is has been invaded as well (see picture). I cut 6 of these grubs out from this squash plant. Do any of you have this problem? How do we stop them? This bug is so frustrating!

I have a number of items planted in containers including a Tamarillo tree, Improved Meyer Lemon tree, Goji berry bush, Calamondin Orange, Sam Sweet Cherry tree, figs and blueberry bushes.

Tamarillo fruit on the tree
Goji Berry (looking kind of rough but has been fruiting all summer)

I always have around some herbs as well and use them often in our cooking.

Basil, Thai and Purple
Sage

I always ensure to intersperse various flower varieties to attract pollinators. Without them, most vegetable plants would not fruit. Some flower species, like Marigolds, actually deter certain pests from getting on your good plants so that’s a good flower to plant in the middle of beds.

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Salvia, Victoria
Zinnia
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Strawberry Fields Gomphrena
Tornado Red Cockscomb

I will provide a garden update post every month or so. Please let us know how you like this post or have suggestions on future posts. If you have any questions on any of the plants shown, feel free to drop a comment.

Enjoy! Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

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Explore Downtown Baton Rouge

A couple of weekends back, we took the opportunity to go downtown and visit a few of the attractions. It turned out to be a beautiful, but hot, morning. We got to get some walking in while spending time together taking some snapshots and videos of the sights. If you’ve never seen the Mississippi River or downtown Baton Rouge, then you are in far a treat.

Explore Baton Rouge

Our first stop was the old State Capitol which is across the road from the Mississippi River levee. The city of Baton Rouge donated the plot of land to the state for the new capitol building back in 1847. Work was initiated in July 1847 and the official groundbreaking was held in October. The Louisiana Legislature met for the first time in January 1850 under Gov. Isaac Johnson. This building was used as the State Capitol until the new State Capitol was opened in 1932. The architecture is unique and the staircase leading up to the stained-glass cathedral dome is beautiful.

Louisiana’s Old State Capitol
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol – Grand Staircase
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol – Stained-glass cathedral dome

Our next visit was up on the Mississippi River Levee where we had a great view of the boat traffic, casinos, the old and new Mississippi River bridges, USS Kidd destroyer, Port of Greater Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge/Port Allen (other side of the river).

The Mississippi River is a major pathway to port and industry throughout Louisiana and beyond.  A 45-foot shipping channel to the mouth of the Mississippi River is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ships and tug boat traffic is a way of life on the great Mississippi river. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge ranks among the U.S. top ports in total tonnage.

Port of Greater Baton Rouge
Barge traffic on the mighty Mississippi River

The USS KIDD (DD-661) is a Fletcher-class destroyer. It was named after Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr. who was killed aboard his flagship, USS ARIZONA (BB-39) during the surprise attack by the Japanese on the American fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941

Today, USS KIDD is moored in the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is the centerpiece of the USS Kidd Veterans Museum. She rests in a docking system designed for the near forty foot rise and fall of the river each season. Half of the year, she rides the currents of the Mississippi; the other half, she sits dry-docked in a cradle where visitors can see her full dimensions. Restored to her August, 1945 configuration, the USS KIDD is one of the most authentic and accurate restorations in the Historic Fleet.

USS KIDD (DD-661) in Baton Rouge, LA
USS KIDD (DD-661) in Baton Rouge, LA

The old and new Mississippi River bridges span the East and West sides of the Mississippi river in central and North Baton Rouge. The new Mississippi River bridge, actually named the Horace Wilkinson Bridge, is a cantilever bridge carrying Interstate 10 in Louisiana across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge in East Baton Rouge Parish to Port Allen in West Baton Rouge Parish. It was opened on April 10, 1968 and has a total length of 4,550 feet.

A couple of points of interest on the new Bridge: First, you can actually feel the bridge shake as you drive across it. Secondly, you get a great view of the LSU Football stadium, affectionally called “Death Valley”, especially all lit up at night. Finally, a majority of traffic coming eastbound into Baton Rouge from Port Allen/West Baton Rouge on I-10 necks down to one lane which can be a real traffic problem at certain times of the day.

View of LSU Football and Basketball stadiums looking Southeast while going Eastbound on bridge

The Mississippi River originates at Lake Itasca in Minnesota with numerous other rivers and tributaries feeding it as it runs through or along 10 different states. As mentioned above, the Mississippi River sees close to a 40 foot swing in depth throughout the year. A tremendous amount of silt and debris float down the river as it runs through Baton Rouge and New Orleans and eventually feeds out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Entrance/Exit to the pier out over the Mississippi River and partial view of Raising Cane’s River Center
Walking pier on Mississippi Review (debris give an idea of how the river often gets)
Trees stuck on pier supports showing a previous higher water level
Silt deposit creating a small island

We got a special treat while on the levee when a train come from the direction of the old Mississippi River Bridge where Exxon’s Baton Rouge Refinery and other plants are located.

Train right beside the levee
Train right beside the levee

The new State Capital was built after 14 months and was opened back in 1932. The Governor of Louisiana at that time, Governor Huey P. Long, was instrumental is getting this project off the ground. It is the tallest capitol in the United States, standing 450 feet high and has 34 floor, along with an observation deck on the 27th floor. It stands taller than any other building in Baton Rouge. Unfortunately for Governor Huey P. Long, he was assassinated in 1935 in the building and is buried on the grounds and his statue faces the Capitol.

New Louisiana State Capitol

Of course, we decided to drive closer to the LSU campus to get a few more pictures of the LSU Football Stadium. We included a few below.

LSU Football Stadium
LSU Football Stadium
LSU Stadium from the inside versus Florida (Pre-game)

All in all, it was a great day. It’s always fun heading out of the house and doing stuff with the family after being somewhat cooped up in our house due to COVID-19. Come check out the sights yourself with your family and/or friends, make memories, and enjoy the simple life together.

Enjoy! Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

Please LIKE this post. If you have any COMMENTS or QUESTIONS, please post below. Please SUBSCRIBE to our BLOG for additional great content.