Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I began by ripping out all the old garden beds. The existing beds were all four feet deep and right up against the foundation of the house. I could not reach them to plant, weed or harvest so they were always pretty much a mess. They also had our own soil from the yard in them and it is clay.
The new beds are two feet deep and I can easily reach to the back. I had one bed in place in time to plant beans and had a good harvest.
In 2008 I harvested:
10 Lemon Boy Tomatoes, plant pulled 10-10
24 Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes, plant pulled 10-15
294 Green Beans (in new bed), plants (14) pulled 10-23, due to being killed by frost
35 Roma Tomatoes, plant pulled 10-15
6 Yellow Summer Squash, plant pulled 8-4
62 Purple Beans, plants (3) pulled 10-22
63 Potatoes, 1 of which is red, last dug on 11-6
The Lemon Boy tomato plant was obtained from a Freecycle listing. I originally had two plants but a windstorm shortly after planting took one of them and the banana pepper plant as well. I did not find even bits of the plants. They were just gone.
I got the Mortgage Lifters at WalMart. Twenty-four tomatoes from two plants would not pay my mortgage.
I purchased the green bean seeds at a local nursery in late summer. Their distributor had picked up all but two packages of beans and I bought both. The pole beans sprouted but never got more than a few inches tall. The bush beans took off!
Wow! I was quite pleased. They were in a new bed filled with Mel's Mix a la Square Foot Gardening.
The summer squash were completely riddled with borers. The poor plant tried it's best and if I had paid more attention I would have caught the problem earlier.
I had three purple bean seeds sprout in an old bed. The plants only got about six inches tall but did well under the circumstances.
The potatoes were the biggest surprise. Two years ago I planted three small potatoes from my father-in-law. I got a handful of potatoes but nothing to brag about. Last year the potatoes sprouted from bits left in the ground but almost immediately died and were not seen again that year. I did not even try to dig them.
This year three plants came up. I totally neglected them as I could not reach them. They actually did quite well. I did have one potato I could not explain. One potato was red. All the rest were white. I have saved it to plant again.
Not a horrid harvest but I am really looking forward to Garden Season 2009.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I used a bath size bar of Ivory soap and followed the rest of the directions except for waiting for it to set up before pouring into empty detergent bottles.
I poured it into the bottles right after finishing mixing it in the bucket.
I did not have enough empty detergent bottles as someone helpfully disposed of the empties.
The detergent gelled fine in the bottles. I did not fill them all the way full so there was room to slosh it around and mix it up.
My Ivory soap was a bar that I had had for a while and had dried out some. That meant that when I grated it I got a fine powder instead of the curly slivers. If I do try the recipe for the dry detergent I will use an older bar of Ivory. I age the bars for shower use as they last longer than the new wet bars.
It will sure be nice if it really works as well as some people say. I have seen mixed reveiws.
I did not take any pictures as it is not really very photogenic and there are plenty of pictures at the recipe site.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Here is a pair of standard size scissors next to some of the grapes. They were really tiny grapes and most of the fruit was filled with a seed.
I collected a plastic grocery bag almost full of grapes still on their stems. Once they were cleaned and rinsed they looked like this.
First I froze the grapes overnight. That is a trick I learned a long time ago by accident. It helps the fruit to release more juice.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
This is the description, copied from the page:
Are you looking for a particular vegetable, herb or flower variety and it's not available in your favorite catalogs? Our new Mother Earth News Seed and Plant Finder lets you quickly search the online catalogs of more than 500 mail order seed companies. All you have to do is type in the variety you're looking for in the search box below, and you'll get a list of links to the companies offering the variety. (For variety names with two or more words, put the entire name inside quotation marks for the best search results.) You can also search for any crop and browse the newest or rarest selections.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The Virginia Red Cedar is not a cedar at all. It is a juniper. At the cabin we have a LOT of it. Unfortunately both hubby and myself are allergic to it. We are slowly removing it.
See my September 9th post to see who was living in this one.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Spaghetti Bean, RARE ENDANGERED SEED
Apparently near extinction. Saved by one man in MN since 1991. If you take these please grow out and spread seed around. Medium green tender pods if picked young.
From Iran, no other description at this time
Miner's Lettuce, Claytonia
Beam's Yellow Pear 71 Days Ind.
Bright yellow 1 and 1/2 inch pear shaped fruits. These produce huge, bushy plants that yield very large quantities of 1 oz., 1 1/2-inch, bright yellow, pear-shaped cherry tomatoes that will give you fruit until frost. The tomatoes of this yellow pear tomato variety are zesty sweet and delicious. A beautiful salad or snackin' tomato. If you are growing several colors of cherry tomatoes include this one. A great tomato choice for a patio or planter garden. A good producer even in cooler coastal regions.
Black Cherry 65 Days Ind.
One of the only having black skin. Color is a deep red, with blackish hues, Flavor is oustanding and this one rose to cult status right up there in popularity with Brandywine.
Black Mountain Pink 80 Days Ind.
An old and very rare Kentucky heirloom saved by Austin Isaccs. Huge pink fruits can grow over 3 lbs! Very dense flesh is a beautiful deep rose with garnet streaks. Flavor is outstanding. Seeds come from an abandoned homestead in the Black Mountain area of Harlan County,Kentucky around 1933.
Black Pear 80 Days Ind.
Mahogany fruits shaped like miniature pears. Potatoleafed Plants with exceptional taste. Dark brown tomatoes are shaped like miniature pears and flavored with an excellent, rich taste. Potato-leaved plants produce an abundance of these beautiful, 4 to 6 ounce fruit
Bloody Butcher 55 Days Ind.
Delicious, 2" diameter, red fruits grow on fast growing potato leafed vines. Sensational general use fruits have a rich heirloom flavor and a deep red color, inside and out. If it's hard for you to wait for ordinary tomatoes to ripen, try these. In less than 8 weeks, they're ready to enjoy... and enjoy you will. Plants will yield five to nine 2" fruits per cluster. Plants require staking, and will produce until frost. Indeterminate. Six hours or more of direct sun per day.
Box Car Willie 80 Days Ind.
Prolific yields of smooth, reddish-orange fruits averaging a large 10 to 16 oz.! With an old-fashioned flavor you'll remember from childhood, these high-yielding, multi-use tomatoes will last throughout the season and are ideal for canning, freezing, or for home-cooked meals. Crack-free and disease resistant
Cherokee Purple 85 Days Ind.
Large dark purple tomato from Tennessee is rumored to have come from Cherokee Nation. Oustanding flavor . One of the best Black Tomatoes.
Jaune Coeur De Pigeon 75 Days Ind.
Yellow plum shaped tomatoes. I inch brilliant yellow with a wonderful flavor
Paul Robeson 75 Days Ind
Russian Heirloom. One of the most highly regarded black tomatoes, Medium sized mohogany fruits with that classic salty, smoky taste. Original seed sent to SESE by Marina Danilenko, a Moscow seedswoman. The tomato was named after Paul Robeson, operatic vocal artist who was an advocate of equal rights for Blacks. His artistry was appreciated world-wide, especially in the Soviet Union.
Peron Sprayless 70 Days Ind.
Introduced in 1951 by Gleckler's from Argentina. Large, disease resistant, and they produce an abundance of 3-4-inch, uniform, smooth, red, round, fruits are above average in vitamin C and have a good balance of sweet to acid flavor. Good Container plant.
Porter 65 Ind.
Pink Cherry tomato. These large plants produce an abundance of tomatoes! The fruits are deep red in color, weigh about 4 ounces each, and are sunburn and crack resistant. An excellent canning tomato that does well in hot weather!
Prudens Purple 72 Ind.
Large potato leafed plant produces huge abundance of exquisite tasting 1 pound fruits. Rivals Brandywine in taste. Produces even in heat and with cool nights.
Salt Spring Sunrise 70 Days Ind.
Snow White 65 Days Ind.
1 inch white or pale yellow tomatoes are like candy on the vine. Prolific. Very pretty cherry tomato that matures to a cream color. Plants are highly productive and the fruits are sweet. The ivory-cream color persists throughout the fruit when cut.
Sugar Gem 71 Days Ind.
A huge sprawling plant producing heavily laden clusters of golf ball sized red fruit. Sweet! "Candy-on-the-vine"
An excellent-tasting, almost paste tomato, this variety produces big, fat Roma-shaped tomatoes, but these are sweeter and juicier than standard paste varieties, with good strong, real tomato flavor and heavy production
Yubileyny Tarasenko Ind.
Pointed egg-shaped, trusses with 15-27 fruits, very productive, Ukrainian, bred by famous amateur gardener Tarasenko
Zogola 85 Days Ind.
Luscious deep red beefsteaks. Out produces all others. Taste equal to its huge fruit. Rich and tangy, noble and strong. Tons of meaty tomatoes on disease resistant plants from Poland.
Squash, Melons, Cucumbers
Tuscan Melon is a small, round, very sweet melon. A perfect serving size for 2 people, these melons can be enjoyed freshly sliced for a wonderfully sweet summer snack. Tuscan Melon tastes very sweet with a high brix level and a rich honey finish, usually tasting sweeter than regular cantaloupe. Tuscan Melon has an orange flesh and a luscious flowery aroma which makes them a lovely addition to summer cooking. This melon variety is easily recognizable by its tan skin (like a cantaloupe) with dark green striations encircling the melon unlike any other type of melon. The flesh is indented slightly where there is dark green striping.
Store in refrigerator after picking.
Seeds I want:
Cabbage, Red and Green both
Cherry Tomatoes, more, more, more!
San Marzano Tomato
Sunflowers, several kinds
Beans, Beans and more beans to plant for dry beans
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
All in vain once again.
Last year it was a cat that kept coming back. I caught it actually down in the water chasing the fish. It caught every fish.
I did not see the predator this time. I checked on the fish at night and in the morning when I went to feed them the fence was crooked and the deck was littered with scales and bones.
I only put the little feeder goldfish from WalMart in the pond but these had grown to six or more inches long since spring.
When I do keep them through the summer I overwinter them inside. I have a seventy-five gallon tank with more goldfish in the basement. I will not be putting any more in the pond this fall.
The plant in the picture is a Dwarf Papyrus that I got at WalMart last year. I overwintered it in the basement fish tank. I put a flowerpot under the papyrus pot so the plant can stick out the opening at the back of the tank. The tank is by my plant grow lights so it does okay.
I also have Water Hyacinths in the pond. They are huge and have done absolutely splendidly this year. I have not been able to keep them happy through the winter. They turn yellow and melt.
The surprise was in a different part of sky from the main event. I happened to turn around in time to catch this unusual display. The clouds look like the picture is sideways but it isn't as you can see by the trees. It was really neat and faded quickly. I was very lucky to catch it.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The caterpillar is eating the leaves of an Eastern Red Cedar, Juniperous virginiana, which is actually not a cedar at all but is a Juniper.To see pictures of other caterpillars that have stinging hairs go to:
It is a beautiful pink and yellow moth when it is an adult.
This caterpillar is quite large.
It is bigger around than my index finger and almost an inch longer.
To see an excellent photo go here.
A little later I looked out and saw a skunk scurrying as fast as it could headed for it's hole under the bird feeder. The skunk is the small black spot just to the left of the garden.
Soon after that the grounhog headed home. The groundhog burrow is just to the right of the birdbath base.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
I smelled this Honeysuckle before I saw it. I was not expecting to see any blooming this late in the summer.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The poor milkweed in the picture was all bent over by whatever has been sleeping in the garden. I pounded in a metal fence post and tied it up with some strips off an old towel.
The caterpillars are happily munching away. I was surprised that the plant still has so many leaves.
I spent a lot of time watching them.
They grow fast and then the biggest ones just disappear. I read they look for a spot away from the milkweed to climb and make their chrysallis.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
This tree is one of the reasons we are cutting the brush back. To get to the vines before they kill any more trees. We have a LOT of vine-strangled trees.
This vine has already made hundreds of berries. Berries have seeds in them. Birds find Poison Ivy berries quite delicious. Birds poop. When the bird poops, out comes the seed ready to grow in a new location. Die, vine, die!
I used a pruning tool to cut off a section of the vine about six inches long and then sprayed the bottom portion of the vine with Poison Ivy killer. I cut a bigg enough portion so that I can tell at a glance that the vine has been cut and can easily see if a smaller vine grows up bridging the gap. Be careful not to touch the vine, leaves, berries, or the cutting part of the tool. Poison Ivy sap will get on your skin and itch like crazy. The rash takes up to two weeks to appear.
The bark has already fallen off and the branches are scored by the scars left behind by Bark Beetles. Bark Beetles kill many trees, but the scars are works of art. Click on the picture to see it larger.
Something I noticed is that the first blossoms were white and now I have several blossoms on the same plants that have a pink tint to them. I wonder if it is a sign of some deficiency?
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
The mystery Alliums continue to put on a show.
Now for a strange one. I noticed this tomato is getting ripe, but only on half of it! It has a crease in the front that makes it look like it could possibly be two tomatoes but the back is smooth so it isn't. Strange!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
They dig long tunnels underground, often several feet long. They capture and paralyse Cicadas and lay eggs on them. When the young hatch they feed on the still living Cicada. Here is a burrow entrance on our road.
The pictures were taken last year. I have not been able to get a decent picture of them this year.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
DIY Tree Guards. The next time we go to the cabin I will be taking these tree guards. I got the plastic pipe free from Freecycle and cut them in about eight to ten inch lengths. Then I cut a slit lengthwise to facilitate slipping it around the trunk.
If you make them do not be fooled into thinking you do not have to cut the lengthwise slit. You may be able to slip it over the top of a young tree but the tree will grow and eventually you will want to remove it. Make the slit now as it will be very difficult to do it later.
It took me about twenty minutes from start of project till everything was cleaned up and put away. I used an electric handheld saw for the project.
Hopefully the tree guards will help save the young trees from my husband's tractor and my weed whacker.