Gardening Archive

Broccoli

Posted February 8, 2016 By Ruth

Pictures taken yesterday of my wintering broccoli:

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The garden rodents have discovered the warmth, like I was afraid they would, so I saturated the tires again in an attempt to disrupt their digging.  But otherwise its some very happy broccoli!  Infact, I’m going to have to redo the covers this week, because the two tallest stalks are pushing up against the top.  And as you can see we have the start of heads forming!

I’d hoped, with this warmup we had this week, that I could consider pulling the covers off entirely (as it is I reduced them to one layer yesterday), but the below image is the 10day forecast from Weather Underground:

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I’m still hoping that Saturday’s forecast will change, but so far the only changes have been to predict it to get even colder.  I’m not amused.  This lovely warm up has me wanting to kick into spring mode!

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Stuff

Posted February 5, 2016 By Ruth

The old trail camera finally gave up the ghost just over two weeks ago.  We knew it was coming but were hoping it would hold on for a bit longer.  Doing a bit of shopping and looking around and we found the Moultrie M-880 Gen 2 on Amazon for $89.  We bought two.

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Is it my imagination or is that deer on the small side for a critter that ought to be pushing its 1st birthday??

No sign of whatever produced those tracks I found on Christmas.  But I saw on Facebook that someone got a sighting of a Canadian Lynx down in Olean, end of January, which is only a couple-three hours from me……

I’m finally feeling human again, instead of a miserable wad of exhausted snot.  Sinus infections suck.  Coming on top of the viral stomach bug really really sucked.  I was starting to worry about how exhausted I was feeling, but I think I’m finally catching back up.

Course, being sick for most of two weeks means I’ve gotten almost nothing done on the projects I was hoping to get done…..I have the new vinyl tile to go down in the kitchen, got the laundry done before I got sick, but I haven’t touched the kitchen yet.

I need to finish figuring out what, if any, seeds I want to order, and start figuring out the starting order and how I’m going to do all that this year.

And I need to prep a new location for my little greenhouse, cause the wind this winter shredded my old one, so the former location won’t work.  Oh, and yup, set up a new one, since the old one was shredded.  I’d hoped to have a more permanent structure for my greenhouse this year, but life conspired against me last summer.  We just had a major thaw though, so if I can get the energy this weekend I ought to be able to at least get a spot figured out and cleared of debris.

Ran across this video on Facebook yesterday, take a minute to watch, its fricking awesome!

In other news, I found the political platform I want to vote for:

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(Links out to Amazon in this post are via my Amazon Associates account, if you buy something after clicking through these links I might earn a few pennies.  All linked to merchandise was bought with my own money.)

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Broccoli

Posted January 16, 2016 By Ruth

Here’s a couple pictures of the wintering broccoli:

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Since yesterday was so (comparably) warm I opened it up, watered everything, and (after taking the pictures) did some weeding.  Yup.  Weeding.  Between the covers and the lights the tire-beds have been so warm that there’s weeds growing (and not just grass).  As part of the weeding process I pulled up the batch of radishes that I planted (in one of the end tires) back in the fall.  The radishes had never formed bulbs, but I’d left them in place just to see what would happen.  Well, sometime in the last three weeks they formed bulbs.

I’m utterly delighted with how this turned out.  Over this coming summer I’ll be looking at turning it into a more permanent structure that can be more easily moved than my quick and dirty A frame structure here so that I can rotate it around the garden and cover different sets of tire-beds each winter.  Although this setup works just fine for now, that much pressure treated wood is going to be a massive PIA to move and store without breaking it all the way down.  I’m thinking 1/2″ metal electrical conduit bent into U shapes and attached to a couple of base boards ought to do it, but I’ll have to play around.  Most lettuce, for example, is plenty cold hardy enough to grow in something like this.  We’d love to have fresh home grown salad all winter!  I’ve done some lettuce under lights inside the house, but it never heads right that way.

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I’m calling success

Posted January 5, 2016 By Ruth

According to Weather Underground (which has a weather station less than a mile from me) we dropped to a low of 5 degrees last night.

Here’s the thermometer that I placed under the covers with the broccoli:

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According to that, it recorded a low of 38.1 degrees with in the last 24hrs.

I’ll say that works just fine!

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Broccoli

Posted January 3, 2016 By Ruth

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When I went out early afternoon and checked the thermometer it said the temp had been holding nicely at 20degrees over air temp.  So barring anything drastic the broccoli should be fine.  Cross your fingers!

That’s a double layer of fabric frost protection cloth, with a layer of plastic sheeting over that (I don’t remember what mils, it was what we had around the house), and a single strand of non-LED C9 christmas lights string on hooks on the underside of the A-frame supports (1×6 pressure treated boards left over from building the front steps, the boards aren’t IN the tire-beds, but braced outside it, so the chemicals from the boards shouldn’t be a problem).  Once this weather is past I’ll pull off the plastic and unplug the lights, but leave the frames and cloth in place.  That way if the weather swings again all I have to do is plug back in the lights and re-drape the plastic.

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Dear Mother Nature…..

Posted January 3, 2016 By Ruth

…..I wasn’t actually COMPLAINING about the warm winter, I really wasn’t!

If you scroll down a little to the end of my last post you’ll find a screenshot from Weather Underground with the weather prediction for the (then) coming 10 days.

Take note of the weather predictions for the 3rd and 4th.

Then come back here and compare to the same days on this one:

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I’m not sure when it changed, but it was Thursday evening when I noticed it.  Spent a couple hours on Friday scrambling to arrange freeze protection for the Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli in the garden.  Its supposed to be tolerant down to 10 Fahrenheit, but Monday’s low would be pushing it regardless.  So its now covered in a makeshift tent of fabric frost cover, plastic sheeting, and old style Christmas lights in an attempt to keep it from freezing tonight and tomorrow.  I’ll try to get a picture of it later today.  I did toss a digital thermometer into the setup, one that records the high and low for the last 24hrs, so we’ll see what it actually hits in there.

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Long Pie Pumpkin, thoughts and review

Posted October 11, 2015 By Ruth

According to the internets, the Long Pie Pumpkin was brought to the USA sometime in the 1800’s, where it was dubbed the Nantucket Pumpkin.  Sometime after it was dubbed the Long Island Pie Pumpkin, which was in turn shortened to Long Pie Pumpkin.  Apparently they were quite popular in Maine for a while.  Anyone with grandparents from the area who gardened who might be able to confirm that?  I’m curious.  Supposedly lore states that they were “stacked up like firewood” for storage.  I can believe that.  I paraphrase, there are several pages out there with the history written out if you hit google and do a search for the Long Pie Pumpkin.

Like many heirloom varieties they faded in popularity as the general public was taught to expect pumpkins to be round and “normal” looking.  However they have qualities that make them potentially ideal for growing in colder climates and shorter seasons, on top of being a tasty pie pumpkin with almost no “stringy-ness”, as well as storing well.

They’re listed as having an approx 95-105 day growth period.  Actual reality is that the time spent on the vine can be quite a bit shorter than that implies.  These pumpkins can be picked as soon as the “ground spot” turns orange (from yellow).   Pick that green fruit, store in a cool place for long term storage, or in a warmer place for faster ripening, and they’ll continue to ripen just fine off the vine.

And my own experience backs that up.  I planted out my seedlings in Mid-May.  Admittedly we were having an abnormally warm spring and summer, but I could have picked the first “ripe enough” pumpkins before the end of July.  Two months to produce fruit that could be picked and stored for future use.  Now I left mine on the vine to ripen since we were having a decent summer.  I pulled 6 little (orange) pumpkins off the vines that died early, but left the 4 big ones to finish up.  Picked them back at the end of August/beginning of Sept.  Here’s a photo of 3 of them:

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The biggest of those three was 13.5 inches long and weighed in at 5.5 pounds.  Not a bad size for a pie pumpkin!

The little pumpkins had a fairly soft skin and were easy to cut up for cooking and pureeing.

The big ones?  OMG.  I ended up resorting to a clever and soft headed 3lb mallet to get through the rind.  THAT worked quite well.  Every other knife I tried?  Barely scored the skin, no matter how sharp it was.  So if you grow these, be warned, vine ripened fruit have one hell of a rind!

That biggest pumpkin got processed first, so I kept track.  I removed 1.5lbs of seeds/guts and stem ends before putting them into the oven to bake.  When I pulled it back out of the oven I had 2 3/4lbs of puree.  Not a bad harvest!  However that’s where I hit my next problem.

I’ve not processed a lot of whole pumpkins, but I’ve done a few.  Cut them in half, gut them, place them face down on a baking sheet with a pan of water in the bottom of the oven, and bake at 400degrees till you can pierce the skin with a fork.  Right?

That hard rind struck again.  Instead of softening, like every other pumpkin I’ve done, it hardened even further while the flesh softened and fell off.  I over baked that first pumpkin by at least 20 minutes because I didn’t realize what was happening.  Not a big deal, the puree tastes fine, but consider this your heads up!  Now, I haven’t processed the other larger pumpkins, so I can’t swear that it wasn’t something I did wrong, but still….

Very tasty flesh.  Not sure how to compare it to other pie pumpkins as I don’t have a ton of experience with others, but definitely tasty!  I will absolutely grow them again, and will highly recommend them to other folks looking for a pumpkin to grow in a cold/short season summer!

Last garden update of the Summer

Posted September 24, 2015 By Ruth

If you’re curious, THIS is the link to look back at my garden costs tracking for the summer.

Based on my lackadaisical method of record keeping I spent $90.15 on the garden.  Round it up to $100 since I’m sure I forgot to record SOMETHING.

And “made” $184 (plus whatever all the melons, carrots, radishes, lettuce, pumpkins, etc would have been which I never did manage to check prices on)

So, definitely a profit, especially since I’d have likely never bought half as much if I’d had to actually buy it all.  But not really thousands and thousands either.  Course, I’m not being massively OCD about keeping up with the garden, nor do I have a full 1/4-1/2 acre in garden, but it’s still a good sized garden for a home garden.  I’ll take it.

The compost tomato plant succumbed to Late Blight, but I managed to salvage a few ripe tomatoes off of it that didn’t appear to get touched by the blight, so I’ll be planting those seeds again next year.

Here’s what mature Long Pie Pumpkins look like:

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The biggest is 13.5″ long, and weighs 5.5 pounds.  The other two are closer to the 12″ mark, and weigh about a pound less.

Anyone want Rattail Radish seeds?  I massively over planted, and since you eat the seed pod on these, instead of the bulb like normal radishes, I have a million seed pods drying now too.  Ok, not literally a million, but since I packed a gallon ziplock (and I do mean packed, I smushed them in) of the largest seed pods that were dry enough to empty out as I get time, and still barely made a dent in the seed pods, I have plenty of seeds for the next few years!  Seriously, if someone wants some email me at ruthcatrin (at) scaryyankeechick (dot) com with “rattail radish” in the subject line (otherwise your email might get filtered as junk).  But unless you have a HUGE radish loving family 4 or 5 plants is plenty!

I planted three tires with Purple Early Sprouting Broccoli and some more normal radishes for fall/winter gardening.  The Early Sprouting Broccoli is designed for the winter garden, and infact HAS TO experience a winter in order to produce heads.  Its supposed to be hardy down to 10 degrees (F).  I’m making plans on how I want to cover it for the winter since our chances of dipping below 10 are pretty good.  I’ll try to remember to keep updating on that.

On the deck side of things, the worst of the bad electrical is fixed, but we’re going to have to have an electrician out at some point to basically re-wire the garage and carport.  Now that we now to look for it, there doesn’t appear to be a single junction box in the entire garage, and in several places they wired in “additional” stuff using lamp cord wire instead of proper electrical wire.  And since the carport was added after the garage its safe to assume that its the same way.  The paperwork for the permit for the new front steps and landing is into the town, they agreed to waive the requirement for footers since this is a “temporary” set of stairs.

Garden update, and a small outburst…..

Posted August 28, 2015 By Ruth

Another $3 or so of tomatoes

Say another $6 of hot peppers

Another two cantaloupes

Another Early Moon Watermelon

Two more Charentais

A million (only slightly an exaggeration) Rattail Radishes

 

 

Oh  yah.  If/when you do home additions, major repairs, deck building etc, I don’t care how far out in the middle of nowhere you are.  Please check building codes.  They’re there for a reason.  Even if enforcement doesn’t care about your area its very likely that the folks who live in your house after you will care ALOT when they discover stuff that’s not up to code.

And while we’re at it, nails are not appropriate for attaching a deck to a house (regardless of what your code says).  And if the deck is supposed to be “only temporary” then damn well reveal that fact to the folks buying the house.

We’re all fine, but the bank account is taking another hit.  And it could have been ever so bad.  So please.  Please.  Please.  Check building codes!  (and get permits, if only so that the folks after you can tell if you put in proper footers under that slab without having to break it up cause you didn’t follow code with anything else so why should we expect footers??)

My first Charentais melon and a garden update

Posted August 24, 2015 By Ruth

I think the tomatoes are finally slowing down (thank god, I’m not planting that many again, well, probably not, maybe…..).  I got half a colander this time.  About $9 worth

Two more Early Moon Watermelons.

Another Cantaloupe.

More Jalapenos and a couple more Habaneros, call it $6

My first two Charentais melons EVER!  I took a picture of one, when they call them “about softball sized” they’re not kidding.  But oh gosh are they tasty!  I’ll definitely try these again next year.

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If anyone else tries to grow these, the warnings about them splitting, within a day or so of turning ripe are correct.  The reason you didn’t get a picture of the 2nd one I picked was because sometime in the previous 24hrs it had turned color and split.  I cut it open to save the seeds and tossed the rest of it.  The ripen and split that quickly.

My Mystery Compost tomato plant is HUGE.  Its officially taller than me, even with the stem being bent the way it is.  The tomatoes on it are looking like Black Plums.  What I can’t figure out is how its getting enough sun.  Admittedly that probably explains some of its hugeness, its spreading like mad to get leaves into the sun.  But that doesn’t explain the decent amount of tomatoes that its about to produce……

I’ve now pulled a total of 7 little pumpkins (6-8inches long) out of the garden as the vines they were on were among those that have died.  Still another 4 large pumpkins out there turning orange.

What else am I forgetting?  Oh, I need to decide if I’m going to actually eat any of the okra I planted, or just admire it (it is a very pretty plant with pretty flowers)……