Gardening Archive

Photo dump

Posted October 27, 2014 By Ruth

Been a while since the last time I posted photos (and even that was mostly garden stuff)….

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Updates

Posted September 9, 2014 By Ruth

Well, I’m alive, and awake.  Day 4 on the new allergy med and I think I might be getting used to it, I’m not feeling QUITE as bad as I did over the weekend.

The lily plants my aunt sent me have started blooming:

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They’re from the family “crocosmia” though there’s virtually no way to tell which variety they are.  We’re borderline too cold for them here, but if they’ll survive (cross fingers) they’re prolific and loved by bees and hummingbirds.

After a comparatively cool summer Mother Nature decided we needed at least a COUPLE hot days, and so last weekend we hit 90, both Friday and Saturday.  My only gripe was that I had to uncover the garden lest it scorch.  Course, we’re back to cool-ish weather, with lows potentially descending into the mid to low 40’s in the next week.  So I had to re-cover the garden with the frost blankets.

The onions are, again, a bust.  A couple good sized ones, the rest are tiny.  Obviously I’m doing something wrong.  Anyone ever tried planting onion seeds in the fall at the same time as garlic?  Answers online are mixed…..

The white watermelon is trying to produce more fruit.  If the buds take I’ll cover it and see if we can keep it warm enough to produce a decent melon or two……

The hot peppers and the tomatoes are loving the heat from the frost blankets though.  Ripening has kicked into full swing.  I’ve made 3 1/2 pint jars of pickled jalapenos, and 12 1/2 pint jars of jalapeno jelly (with either a single Hot Wax pepper or a single habanero pepper depending on the batch), plus filled a gallon freezer bag with large chopped hot peppers, and started a 2nd bag.  Those peppers are in the freezer, and once the harvest is done I’ll toss them all in the dehydrator and then grind them into powder for Husband to use for seasoning through out the winter.

The things I do….

Posted September 1, 2014 By Ruth

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

 

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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

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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.

Red Hot…

Posted August 18, 2014 By Ruth

My jalapeno’s are ripening!!!

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And I’ve got chocolate peppers:

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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!

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Am I just lucky?

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.

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?

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

Compost

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!

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*