Gardening Archive

The things I do….

Posted September 1, 2014 By Ruth

….in order to get ripe produce out of the garden!



I’d been considering buying frost blankets anyway, to supplement the little plastic hoops I was using as frost protection.  The hoops didn’t work well with the jalapenos anyway and wouldn’t have worked at all with the tomatoes.  So I broke down and bought some.  I covered the hot peppers, including the jalapenos and habaneros, the tomatoes, and the sugar baby watermelon and the cantaloupe.   And after 4 days on the garden I have seen a jump in the number of jalapenos turning red.  Not sure its helping with anything else yet. 

I will say, the delayed ripening did result in some very large jalapenos!


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Now thats a carrot

Posted August 23, 2014 By Ruth


Despite its size I don’t think it was quite ready to go, its supposed to be a spicy flavored variety and it was only spicy around the top inch or so.  None of the rest are that large yet anyway so I’ll leave them in the ground for a while longer to see if that makes a difference.

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Red Hot…

Posted August 18, 2014 By Ruth

My jalapeno’s are ripening!!!


And I’ve got chocolate peppers:


The big chocolate peppers are sweets.  The little ones?  Those are habaneros……  The orange ones are Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, and of course I’m sure you all recognize the onions as onions ;)

Speaking of the hot peppers, can someone explain something to me?  I’ve always been under the impression that hot peppers are a hot dry climate sort of plant.  Not desert dry, but, well, we’re very wet here, and especially this summer we’re decidedly cool.  And yet, with the sole exception of last year when everything drowned, I’ve had HUGE luck with the jalapenos, I’ve seen them even withstand a light frost that killed other plants with only minimal leaf damage.  The bases of the jalapenos this year are close to an inch in diameter (I tried to get a picture but it didn’t turn out), and they’re falling over with the weight of the peppers.  And this year, both habanero plants were TINY when I transplanted them out….and now they’re taking over!


Am I just lucky?

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Minature white cucumbers–review

Posted August 13, 2014 By Ruth

My last plant isn’t dead yet, but it looks to be getting there, I don’t expect any of the remaining baby cuc’s to grow any further.

I got a total of 79 edible cucumbers off of 3 plants.  Another 5 were tossed in the compost because they “looked funny”. 

Two of my 3 plants died back in the middle of July, both reached the 3ft mark and stopped growing.  The 3rd reached a height of 57 inches (or 3 inches short of 5feet).  So much for the reviews that stated that they rarely got over 3ft in height……

These are awesome little cucumbers.  Perfectly sized for a snack, or a personal salad, or for slicing into slices for pickles.  Wonderfully tasty, raw or as pickles.  Without the bitterness you can sometimes get in storebought cucumbers.

I did have some issues with Striped Cucumber Beetles.  And I’m half convinced that they’re why the two plants died when they did.  But I’m going to try growing this again next year I think, cause they were just that tasty!

Edit: I was wrong, got another 6! cucumbers off the plant since this was posted, bringing the number to 85.

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Canned potatoes

Posted August 12, 2014 By Ruth

I’ve been looking at alternatives for storing my potential crop of potatoes this winter.  I still want to try the modified fridge,  but I’m not having any luck finding a fridge in the general size I’m looking for (ie: a full size fridge thats not huge, that works, that doesn’t cost a alot).

I’d mostly decided on dehydrating the large majority of the potatoes.  And no matter what I’ll be dehydrating at least some of them.  But I just ran across the fact that you can pressure can potatoes too!  After reading a variety of blog posts on it I ran across this one, where one commenter stated that they did a cold pack of french fry cut potatoes……I’d mostly decided that at least SOME of the potatoes I was going to dry would be a french fry cut…..I might have to try that…..

Does anyone have any experience with home-canned potatoes?

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Tomato sauce 3

Posted August 11, 2014 By Ruth

Same recipe as last time, except I remembered the oregano this time, and I added a dash of red pepper flakes

2lbs 2ounces of tomatoes

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Posted August 6, 2014 By Ruth

Back in the spring I started looking at compost bins.  We’d not done proper composting here, for a variety of reasons, alot of which boiled down to having a ton of things to do.

With almost two acres of property, almost all of it grass (or well, grass, clover, and a variety of green weeds that mow just like grass), on a property were I not only don’t have to water the grass to keep it green, we have to mow it twice a week at least over the leach fields to keep it from jumping to knee high.  If we used the bagger attachment for the riding lawnmower we could fill up one of the little compost bins in one mowing.

But the big compost bins are way to expensive for what they are. 

So I started looking at building a bin.

And then after some discussion we decided to skip using a bin at all.  I doubt anything other than steel would keep out our wildlife if it really decided it wanted into the bin anyway. 

So now I have a compost pile down by the southern back line.  I know the rabbits (or something) have  stolen some of the vegi greens and trimmings out of it at least a few times, but thats ok.  They don’t seem to be inclined to dig through the whole pile, which is what I really cared about.  I gotta say its composting nicely.  Can’t wait to have good dirt for next spring’s garden additions!

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Home-made tomato sauce, try 2

Posted August 5, 2014 By Ruth

1lb 2.25 ounces of tomatoes

half the olive oil

2 cloves of garlic (Music, remember, small cloves this year)

twice as much salt

same pepper

simmer longer to reduce further

somehow still got 3 full half pint jars


Edit: forgot the oregano *sigh*

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As I needed proof….

Posted August 5, 2014 By Ruth

….that the outdoor temps affect my garden…..

Several days with highs barely hitting 70 (and sometimes not hitting it), lows in the low 50′s, and I get barely one or two ripe tomatoes a day.

Two days with highs in the 80′s, lows in the mid-60′s, and on the third day I pick this:


Temps are supposed to hold through today, then drop again for at least two days, then warm up again.  So we’ll see what happens…..

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Heat Blankets for the garden?

Posted July 30, 2014 By Ruth

I’m starting to consider needing to run some of my Christmas lights out to the garden to run 24/7……

We had a cool to cold spring.  After an extremely cold winter that wasn’t unexpected though it did bad things to my pumpkin plants.

I wasn’t originally overly worried though.  Other than the pumpkins nothing else seemed to be having trouble with the chilly start to the season.

But now its the end of July, and although we’ve certainly had some hot days where we’re running the central air, we’ve also had ALOT of days where the temps barely hit 70 for the high, and lows are dropping not only into the 50′s, but even the 40′s in places not to far from me.

Tomatoes are slowly ripening, but the plants have mostly stopped growing.

Peppers seem to be ripening abnormally slowly.  There’s a HUGE crop of Jalapenoes out there, and not one of them has a tinge of red yet.

We’re certainly not getting the crop of zucchini I’d expected.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I’d hoped to have enough to shred and freeze to use all winter…..

I’ve got the hooped plastic frost protectors, but I’m worried that’d be overkill during the days, even the less warm ones.

I’m seriously considering digging back out the christmas lights and running them down the rows….

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