2018 garden Archive

Did I mention I was growing giant cucumbers?

Posted August 19, 2018 By Ruth

Last weekend I made dill pickle spears out of two giant cucumbers:

These two cucumbers made 6 pints of spears!

Then this week I picked these four cucumbers:

Maybe a quart of fridge pickles…..

I’ve been giving them away too, not to mention that I also grew my usual Mini White cucumbers, which I’ve also been giving away at least a few of, as well as eating.

I will probly stick to my usual Mini White cucumbers from here on out, but these are fun at least.

In other news, I made a batch of tomato sauce yesterday.  I realized that I never actually take a photo of the final sauce, and I ought to, since black tomatoes produce a much darker sauce that folks expect:

I love the flavor of these tomatoes though.

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More garden

Posted August 18, 2018 By Ruth

Not an entirely happy garden year for me.  First the screwy issues with some of the peppers.  Now more of the peppers have some nasty leaf spotting, which kinda looks like bacterial leaf spot, but not quite.  And now a bunch of my tomatoes almost look like they’ve blighted.  But not quite like they’ve blighted (late blight always affects the fruit too, and the fruit are universally unaffected here).  Ugh.  Broke down and bought a copper fungicide to treat with later today.  The blights, and most similar type problems, are fungal, as are many of the bacterial leaf spot look-alikes.  Plus we went from DRY DRY DRY to WET WET WET, which makes a fungal problem even more likely.  Here’s hoping I can save the rest of the tomato crop at least.

I picked this Cayenne pepper the other day:

Or maybe that should read “peppers”??

An amusing harvest from my Sugar Rush plants:

We were given a Sugar Rush Cream pepper last year, husband liked it so I had him save several of the seeds.  I also bought Sugar Rush Cream seeds, just to be safe.  But I ended up with two plants from the saved seeds.  What you see here is one pepper from each plant.  The rounder one is fairly typical Sugar Rush Cream.  The longer one is typical Sugar Rush Peach, the variety that the Creams were bred from.  I was amused.

 

Ripening paprika peppers:

Fish peppers:

 

Unhappy tomatoes:

 

Less than happy pepper plants:

 

 

Surprisingly happy Hungarian Hot Wax peppers:

Corbaci peppers:

 

Cayenne peppers:

 

My hibiscus plants:

 

We also took down the dead pine in the front yard.  Part of me hates having done so, the birds loved it.  But it was perfectly positioned to take down the power lines to the house if it ever went over.  Infact we were shocked that it DIDN’T go over this past spring, with all the high wind storms we had!

 

In other news, I figured out how to tell when the pears are ripe…..

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Garden update

Posted August 3, 2018 By Ruth

We got the first Gagon Cucumber this week:

It measured 12″ exactly, from tip to tip, and weighed 2 pounds 2 ounces.  I don’t think it’s technically quite ripe, but I was tying up the vines to give them more support and it broke off the vine.  So.  Definitely on the tough side, however it is by far the most aromatic cucumber I have ever cut into.  Husband was taking the dogs out as I cut it up, and he walked in the front door and asked what I had been cutting up “because I can smell cucumbers all the way up here!”.  I’m thinking it would make awesome infused water for anyone so inclined.

A picture of the tied up cucumber vines:

They’re basically as tall as me, and most of them have stretched back down to the ground again.

Today’s garden harvest:

the first zucchini of the year, a few Mini White Cucumbers, a nice load of tomatoes, and that big yellow thing is a less ripe Gagon cucumber.  You can’t see it in the photo, but the stem end has only JUST started to turn the pink-brown and scaly of the ripe ones.  This is just as aromatic as the first one, and is just as big, but has much more edible flesh.  It’s still a very firm crisp cucumber, but not to the point of being tough.  I’m thinking these’ll make some awesome dill pickle spears.

A few hot peppers have been dribbling in, but most of the plants are loaded, so at whatever point they hit I’m going to be buried.  The Snow leopard melons are doing well, but it’ll be a bit still before they’re ripe.

I MAY (cross fingers knock on wood) have managed to defeat, or avoid, or something, the bug that was chewing holes in the various sweet/less hot peppers previous years.  So far only one paprika pepper and two jalapenos have had to be tossed for holes.  I’m not holding my breath till I have ripe peppers in my hands, but so far so good!

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So, when planning and planting my garden I mostly try to stick to things that I know we’ll eat.  But I also believe in trying new things on occasion, and so when the seed catalogs arrive every year I sit down with a couple different color highlighters and start marking off the seeds I NEED and the seeds that look cool and the seeds I want.  And I try to pick at least one or two from the latter two categories to try every year.

For this year’s garden the one really weird thing I ended up trying was Gagon Cucumbers.  They’re cool looking!  I skimmed the description, made sure that they had at least a chance of growing well in my screwed up climate (” thrives in cool northern climates, but also stands up to intense heat and humidity” sweet!  It has a chance!), and didn’t look much closer.

I took THIS picture on 7/18:

It was maybe 5-6″ long, looking good!

Today I took a few minutes before work to walk the garden, and decided to check on the baby Gagon cucumber while I was at it…..

Holy……Its  now a good foot in length, and still not yet fully ripe.  It weighs several pounds at least.

I went back to the seed link and took a closer look at the description “up to 20” long”……ooops, and there’s several more forming on the vines!

So um, I guess I have cucumbers this year!

I also found these:

Which are my first ripe Black Vernissage Tomatoes.  I haven’t had a chance to eat one yet, maybe after work.

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Something weird going on with my peppers

Posted July 19, 2018 By Ruth

So, a couple weeks ago I noticed that the Sugar Rush Cream peppers had something funky going on:

New leaves coming in  pale and twisted.  Mature leaves were fine, but some of the in between new and mature leaves were also affected at least a little.

Thinking I had another deficiency I did some research.  The only thing that appears to match is a calcium deficiency, but that makes no sense.  While I did seem to have a magnesium deficiency again this year I specifically went out of my way to treat it with a commercially purchased Calcium/Magnesium blend supplement in an attempt to avoid that sort of problem.  There are some insects that can cause curled leaves, but they tend to affect mature leaves more than new.

It was suggested to me that maybe the weather was the problem.  When I first noticed it, it was right after the first heatwave broke and all of the beds were a bit over-wet due to the thunderstorms.  But the beds dried out quickly enough, and the problem only seemed to get worse, not better.  Course, our weather has been especially screw this year.  DRY and HOT, then almost chilly and soaking wet, then back to DRY and HOT.

I bought and treated that bed with a tomato/vegetable fertilizer high in calcium.  And at least one of the plants looks less pale and twisted, though the leaves aren’t back to normal yet.  But now the problem appears to be spreading.   At least one of the cayenne plants is doing the same thing, and this morning I spotted the same signs on one of the habaneros.

All three are located in the stock tank self-wicking beds.  They ARE drained, via drilled holes in one end right at the soil line, so I don’t think they’re over wet (and yes I confirmed that they are still draining via those holes).  But the stock tanks are also the oldest part of my garden, so its possible that there’s a deficiency cropping up I guess.

I went ahead and treated the whole garden with the tomato/vegi fertilizer, since it seemed to help at least a little with the Sugar Rush peppers.

I also got ahold of the information I need to arrange soil testing for my garden.  But I was planning on holding off doing that till fall, as it requires digging into the beds at least a few inches, which would mean pulling up weed barrier and disturbing the roots of plants.  I might be regretting that decision.

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Garden Pictures

Posted July 10, 2018 By Ruth

Fish Peppers.  The bi-color leaves is a feature, not a bug.


 

Black Vernissage Tomato

 

Jalapenos

 

Gagon Cucumbers

 

Mini White Cucumbers

 

Habaneros and two different kinds of paprika peppers

 

Sugar Rush Cream peppers

 

Onions, and a couple Blazing Stars that self seeded themselves into that tank

 

The Hungarian Hot Wax peppers (which, sadly enough) look much better now than they did a week ago

 

Cayenne Peppers

 

Black Trifele Tomatoes

 

Black Icicle Tomatoes

 

Datil Peppers.  Apparently they’re more sensitive to to much sun/heat (which is kinda funny, since they’re a Florida staple), and they didn’t handle the heat wave well.

So I rigged some shade for them, we’ll see how it works.

 

 

Peter Peppers.  Note, NOT named for some guy named Peter.  In this case “peter” is a euphemism.  Don’t google them on your work computer…….but it made me laugh, so I had to try growing them!

 

And there you go, a random selection of whats growing in my garden this year!

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Garden update

Posted July 1, 2018 By Ruth

The Green Nutmeg melons have failed for the 2nd year in a row.  I’m not going to restart them like I tried last year.  Will have to decide next year if I want to try for a 3rd.  This time looks like an insect chewed them all to bits.

Most of the rest of the garden is doing very well.  Despite the fact that our weather has been swinging hard.  A low of 46(F) on June 26th, and a  high of 100 today (and possibly higher tomorrow!).  I thought I was going to lose the Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, but they appear to have finally picked themselves up.  Most everything else is climbing for the sky and looking awesome.

For anyone else in the north-east corner of the country: be aware that Cornell has IDed a new tomato/potato blight!

The infected tomato plants found in Onondaga County were destroyed, and vegetable pathologists at Cornell are now working to determine what fungicides will be effective in managing what appears to be an unknown or uncommon strain of late blight.

Growers can identify late blight by looking for black or brown lesions on leaves and stems of tomato and potato plants.

The disease thrives in humid, wet conditions and can spread quickly from field to field and over several miles.

 

Last week I stopped into one of the local farms to buy a quart of fresh, locally grown, perfectly ripe, strawberries (priced $5.50), only to discover that they had flats (8 quarts) on sale for $30, as a one day sale.  I came home with a flat of strawberries I wasn’t planning on!  Made regular strawberry jelly.  Made a strawberry & wine jelly.  Ate close to a quart just as is.  Canned up 14 1/2 pints of whole berries in light syrup.  And used my Instant Pot to juice out the rest of them (I froze the juice) for later making of more jelly or strawberry syrup or the like.  Then, this past Friday, I stopped in at a different farm to check on their predicted date for having sweet corn (they produce some of the best sweet corn I’ve ever had), and they also had strawberries, so I picked up another quart.  After eating close to a 1/3 of them I froze the rest in sugar in a quart jar.  So yah, we have strawberries for the year…….

Pictures of my garden today:

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Garden and general update

Posted June 4, 2018 By Ruth

The garden is FINALLY all planted!

Now to get some straw down for mulch and water retention.

I’m growing several new varieties of things this year.  The one interesting looking one so far is the Japanese Black Trifele Tomato, which is a “potato leaf” variety.  I’d never seen a “potato leaf” tomato before!

I still need to cage up the Black Plum tomatoes.  At the end of last year I tossed all the cages into one aisle of the garden.  This year, as I started working my way around to planting I noticed that I was getting yelled at by a Song Sparrow.  Turns out there was a reason for him or her being pissy:

While the nest is nicely snugged in the wedge between two tires, it’s also in the row with all the cages.  I pulled out what I had to for the less sturdy varieties, but I’m leaving the Black Plums as long as I can, in hopes that the cages will help protect the nest a bit.  Unfortunately the Song Sparrow may be out of luck.  As of yesterday the number of babies had dwindled to 1.  Not sure whats happening to them, but I’m crossing my fingers the last baby will survive!

Speaking of birds, there are wild turkey’s ALL OVER this year.  These two wandered across my front yard the other day, to Apollo’s disgust:

The same day, while I was hurrying to an appointment, I hit a not small bird that lunged out the road side ditch as I passed.  All I saw was a flash of a not small wing over the front passenger corner of the hood, felt the thump of the bumper smacking the bird, and looked in my rear view mirror to see a cloud of feathers in the air, but no bird.  It was raining, and I was late, so I didn’t stop.  When I got where I was going I took a minute to check the front of my car, no dents, can’t a been a turkey then, if I hit a turkey it would have left one hell of a dent…..except there were feathers caught in the corner of the hood, and they sure look like turkey feathers:

At a guess the impact was glancing enough to push the bird sideways instead of into my bumper.  There was no body on the roadside when I checked on my way home, so maybe he or she even survived it!

The Bluebird babies are still there:

Last spring/summer, between being sick for a month, plus the broken arm, plus life, I never got the strawberry tire weeded.  Hell, we ate like two strawberries out of it.  So this last week I set out to get the weeds out of the tire.  Unfortunately the neglect may have done in the strawberries.  After pulling all the weeds there was barely any strawberry plants at all!  After some back and forth I spent a couple hours today digging up the remaining strawberry plants, as well as the flowers that were also planted in that tire, and planting them elsewhere in the yard.  The tire needs a refill of dirt/compost, and then I’m going to cover it with black plastic and burn out the weeds.  I’ll plant new strawberries next year.

I also did a half-assed weeding of the hosta bed:

They’re filling in nicely, can’t wait till they fill in enough to cut down on my weeding!

Anyone know what these big ferny things are:

They’re trying to take over that corner, not sure if I like that or not……

 

 

Garden update

Posted May 25, 2018 By Ruth

Getting stuff planted out has been slow.  The weather keeps peeing down cold nasty rain on my days off, resulting in me getting very little planted out so far.  Which is frustrating.

But some pictures anyway:

 

End of last year I put down black plastic on the tire beds, to kill the weeds, water of course collected, and this frog claimed this puddle, and steadfastly refused to leave even after I literally pulled the plastic out from under him.  A night in the dry tire eventually convinced him to move on however.  The other problem I’ve been having was the discovery that wasps were making nests under the plastic in several spots.  I THINK I got all of those taken care off……

 

We did pull out and fill Apollo’s pool, to his delight:

I forgot

Posted May 7, 2018 By Ruth

I was going to move a trail camera to watch the garden after I set up the motion activated sprinkler, but I forgot.

Got one sprinkler set up yesterday to cover the garden.  I’ll need a second one as soon as I get plants growing, but for now one works.

Just now, as I’m putting together my morning coffee, one of the cats bolted across the back yard, from the garden towards our northern neighbor’s property.  I leaned forward to look towards the garden just in time to see the tail end of the sprinkler cycle.

I’ll take it.

Trail camera video would have been worth it though.