Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
1. Don't ignore your instincts... if you think something is going wrong, act on it, don't wait.
2. Plant a few new varieties each year - you may find a new favorite.
3. Fight early blight before it begins - work cornmeal into the top of your soil, mulch well so water and spores will not splash on the foliage, bottom water and strip any lower leaves starting to show signs of EB. Try 1 baby aspirin in a gallon of water as a foliar spray to promote the plant's own resistance. I don't think anything will prevent EB but you can help prolong the health of the plant and minimize its effects.
4. Pumpkins don't do well in containers :-(
5. As soon as your peppers have green full sized fruit, pick them - no matter how badly your mouth is watering for fully ripe, red peppers. They will set a second, much larger flush of blooms and produce twice as well.
6. No matter how well you have worked compost, etc. into the soil, a good balanced organic fertilizer will make a world of difference.
7. Sugar snap peas need to be started much earlier here than most charts show - Feb., even if there is snow on the ground, gives them a chance to produce much heavier yields than planting in March.
8. A few whiteflies become a zillion whiteflies. If you see evidence of whiteflies on a greenhouse plant, do NOT bring it home. Ask me how I know.
9. There is no such thing as too many tomato plants.
10. If your soil is the quintessential southern red clay, don't fight it. Amendments disappear as fast as you can work them in. Build raised beds, fill with a mix of soil, compost, peat and start a compost pile of your own. You will spend less money and way less frustration in the long run.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
So now the fall plantings are in - this is the bed at the end of the driveway with the last eggplant and squash left for one more eggplant parmesan but three varieties of collards interplanted - Georgia Southern, an old reliable variety for southern NC, Morris Heading for a change and our first Yellow Cabbage Collards, a specialty in eastern NC. After two weeks they are already tripled in size and beginning to fill in all that space!
To refresh the beds after the summer plantings we added cow manure based compost, mushroom compost, peat to continue the battle to keep the soil light and an organic complete vegetable fertilizer. The mushroom compost, though three times more expensive than the cow manure based compost, was a joy to work in - dark, crumbling, beautiful! From the way the collards, mustard green, pak choi, brussels sprouts and broccoli transplants are growing they are enjoying the refreshed soil!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I have canned tomatoes for years, but last year started expanding my repetoire. Relishes, pickles, pepper vinegars, freezing tomatoes instead of canning. It is amazing the sense of accomplishment one feels when opening a freezer or pantry full of homegrown food you have put up yourself. You can spend a fortune on all the latest gadgets or do it more frugally as I have - I bought a water bath canner years ago, purchased a simple food saver pump and bags when they were on sale at the grocery and have gone to town. I am going to try dehydrating some of the last San Marzano paste tomatoes along with some green peppers to bag together for winter sauces.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Collards - Morris heading, Yellow Cabbage, and the always good Georgia Southern (72 plants!)
Brussels Sprouts - one of my trial veggies - probably planted too late, but will see...
French Breakfast Radishes
Daikon Radishes - new for me
Purple Top Turnips
Carrots - Little Finger, Red Core Chanteney, Deavers Half Long
Beets - Golden and Detroit Red
Still have one eggplant (the old standby Black Beauty), four of the midsummer tomatoes I trialed for next year and all but one of the pepper plants. Am hoping for a few more summer goodies before true fall starts here.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Started 144 cells of fall veggies today - two types of broccoli, three types of collards, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, Pak choi, leeks and something just for fun - Micro Tom tomatoes. They are touted as the smallest tomato plants, will grow and produce in a 4 inch pot. The tomatoes are supposed to be the size of croutons - thought it would be fun to have some over the winter.
Going to try making squash pickles tomorrow... the cukes have played out, and I am not sure two cases of bread and butter pickles will get us through the winter, so will try some of these for winter meals.
Corno di Toro peppers are to die for - we picked the first three red ones, roasted them on the gas range, peeled and stuffed with fresh mozzarella then baked... with pasta in fresh tomato sauce it was a perfect meal. The Ancho peppers are starting to turn - had them stuffed with Monterey Jack - hot but delicious!
Monday, July 27, 2009
But the garden is producing and we are eating fresh vegetables every day - is there anything better than a fresh heirloom tomato on soft bread with Duke's mayo? Or eggplant parmesan with fresh marinara sauce?
Friday, July 17, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Still with all the tribulations, there is nothing like going out and picking some fresh food that you have grown yourself for dinner!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
For others in the south suffering from the extra rain after two years of drought, I am trying a cornmeal *tea* to ward off early blight - 1 cup plain cornmeal soaked in a gallon of water for 24 hours, then strained into a spray bottle. Also I am adding 2/3 of a plain, uncoated aspirin per an article I found on the web about aspirin increasing plants' resistance to disease. Will keep updates coming on the progress (or lack thereof)...
Monday, May 25, 2009
Normal plant for reference.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
37 tomatoes - heirlooms, cherries, and a few hybrids for back-up
19 pepper plants - 6 varieties
8 eggplants - 2 varieties
10 squash, zucchini and cukes
10 gazillion onions, green onions, shallots and garlic - no fear of vampires here
Carrots - 3 varieties
Sugar Snap Peas
Bush Beans - two varieties in ground so far
Scarlet Runner beans
Still have a few broccoli plants left - heads are small but tasty, but the heat is getting to them - stirfry tonight!
Did I mention the four pots of herbs? Sage, several types of
thyme, dill, two kinds of chives, oregano, Genovese basil....
Sunday, April 26, 2009
STEP TWO. Buy or scrounge some 3 inch diameter PVC, drill holes all around and cut into 2-3 inch sections. Use one to measure up from the bottom of the bucket and drill a large hole in the bucket at the top of the PVC support.
STEP THREE. Try your local dollar store for plastic colanders. Cut the handles off, then cut out the bottom solid circle and drill two holes, one on each side of the central hole. Attach the PVC support to the colander using the holes drilled in each.
STEP FOUR. Place the colander in the bucket, resting on the PVC support. If you are concerned about soil falling through the holes (some do, some don't), you can use screening material or landscape fabric to hold the soil. Fill the hole in the colander first then continue up the bucket with soil, moistening as you go (use a good organic potting soil mixed with some compost or mix your own from compost, potting soil, peat, soil conditioner.
STEP FIVE. Fill the bucket all the way to the top with moist potting mix. Firm gently. Make a trench around the edge and fill with 1/4 cup or so of a good organic balanced fertilizer (I used Garden Tone). Plant your plant (here a squash) in the middle of the bucket, watering in well. Cut a 3-4 inch diameter hole in the top of the bucket and place the top carefully over the plant. Fill the bottom reservoir with water and voila! A self-watering container for about $1.25 plus the soil!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
If you have never heard of Seed Saver Exchange, get thee over to http://www.seedsaver.org/. For 35 dollars a year you not only support their effort to preserve heirloom vegetables and animals but receive a phone book sized listing of member offerings in practically every heirloom seed out there (my only disapointment was - surprise - the few collards offerings) and several magazines a year. Well worth the expense to help support this type of preservation effort.
Looking forward to another day of planting and gardening tomorrow. The peonies are breathtaking now -for those short few weeks of spring they are such a rich delight. Hope to get some more pics up tomorrow.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
The garlic is 18 inches or higher, the onion sets and transplants are a foot or more, several of the broccoli plants are forming heads and the sugar snap peas are over 6 inches! I love spring - the birds are outdoing themselves in song and a very pregnant squirrel is filling up at the sunflower feeder every day. Some little beggar, though, helped his or herself to every single beet seedling
:-( ... and didn't leave a trace behind. Caterpillars???
Friday, April 10, 2009
Tomato seedlings are literally dying to go outside... hopefully by Sunday. Potato plants are peeking out of the soil in the experimental bin we set up for them, the beets, turnips and carrots are all starting to show true leaves and the garlic and onions are more than a foot tall. We saw the first tiny head on one of the broccoli plants today. I love watching the birth of plants! Cucumber, squash and zucchini seeds went into their peat pots today - with the wildly swinging weather I waited to start them til it was almost time to get the tomatoes out - running out of room under the lights!
Has anyone else noticed the upswing in gardening this year? Definitely a sign of the bad economic times - hopefully one that more people will keep up with even after things turn around. There really is nothing like that first homegrown tomato sandwich....
Saturday, March 28, 2009
My new adventure will be container blueberry bushes - they arrived this week already in bloom. It will be painful to debud them, but from what I have read, necessary for their longterm health - like so much in life!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
hope they can last another 4-6 weeks inside.