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.