Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Fall in the Garden

Just a few quick updates.

I have waited to harvest the mother load of peppers until many were red. It also means I can process the greatest number at once. I use these mainly for these 3 purposes: beans & rice, soups, breakfast taters.
I think I should plant an entire garden bed of assorted peppers next year and stake them! Most of these were weighing the plants down.

Pepper harvest:
Includes Red Marconi, Jimmy Nardello frying peppers, Friariello di Napoli, bananas, bells.

Prepping for freezing: 
Wash cycle

Chop and spread on cookie sheet for freezing.
Once frozen through store in freezer bags.

While I'm at it- saving seed.
I've decided I need to do more of this. The best reason
to start keeping seed is that I should be able to establish my own
ecotype strain of plants that do best in my garden over time.

This Pandora Striped Rose eggplant got huge, but didn't produce a lot of fruit. I grew 3 varieties of eggplant this year and the Japanese types did the best. I think I should just stick with those. I'd also like to grow more eggplant next year. 

Seedling progress. At least some of all of the seed I started in pots is up now- leeks, spinach, kale, pak choi, broccoli, parsley, cilantro and lettuce. In the raised beds the turnips and rutabaga have germinated and in the hoop house some seedlings of either or both kale and sprouting broccoli have germinated. I'm still waiting to see if any of my Cascadia Peas come up. 

Hoop house slow progress:
Still collecting brick. Planted 1 parsley, 6 bright lights chard and 3 tree collards.
Seedlings popping up on right side. 

Harvested Oaxacan Green corn. 
Traditionally used by the Zapotec Indians of S Mexico 
for green tamales.

Harvest 11 unknown volunteer squash that came up in the compost
I had spread in the garden. Maybe I should save some seed. 
It's obviously more productive than anything I've ever tried to intentionally grow!

Chickens say- Happy Fall Ya'll!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Take Two

I kill plants. I mess up. Stuff doesn't work the way I think it should. I try again. This is gardening.

Take two. I ordered all of my seed in time. I planted all kinds of wonderful fall stuff and then it stopped raining. I don't think we had any measurable rain in August. I heard it was the 3rd driest on record. Geesh.
And this stuff started leaking from the gutters today:
Unknown clear liquid running from the gutters.

I started some seeds properly in pots and then the slugs or rollies ate them. Why not? They were the most luscious stuff around. Tender, juicy and all in one pot- what more is there to love? So I've replanted.
Lettuces, leafing cabbage, spinach, cilantro, kale, chinese kale, leeks....

Another Take Two: I dream of hoop and green houses. Not kidding. I built a super mini hoop house last September and then some crazy ass winds shredded the plastic one day and all was pretty shot. I'm building it up more this year and it will be bigger AND better. Cross fingers.

Last year:
This hoop house/high tunnel was 4.5ft x 11ft

This year I've widened it (thus lowering it), and adding wood. I started this morning and then the rain came. Hallelujah!
This year:
This one is 7ft X 11ft. 
I'm going to add lots of structural support with a 2 x 4 frame + door and end supports. The beds will be slightly raised. I'm thinking of putting down a stone path for added heat absorption/radiation, possibly cattle fencing & tulle over before adding the plastic. The cattle fence adds support and possibly used for summer climbing veg and the tulle would help if I wanted to grow squash or eggplant next summer in here. I could always add the tulle in spring however. 

I saw a great use for old hose cut into about 5 inch sections, cut down the middle and used for clamping the plastic to the conduit. It would be free compared to the cost of either greenhouse clips or binder clips (which I've used in the past). I also tried hair clips with little success. Another good idea I saw was running a line of rope tying the conduit together for horizontal support. I may do that if I don't do the cattle fencing. 

After a cool summer, followed by a very hot and dry late summer I am ready for cooler days and a new garden. 

Get deals now:
I picked up this pathetic Habaneros in a 3-pack for pennies. I stuck them in this pot for overwintering. Poor things each had 1 big fruit on them. I should pick them, but they are kind of neat. It's a good time to find end of season deals on annuals, as well as options from the orphan stands at the box stores. 

I know I'm not the only one happy about the rain.

I kill plants. I mess up. Stuff doesn't work the way I think it should. I try again. This is gardening. 
You should try it. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Oldies

It seems appropriate that I'm bottling, freezing and generally preserving end of season harvest whilst listening to the oldies, which is now the 60's & 70's. Yup, that's right. I can remember when the oldies were 40's & 50's. Ah well.

After that spectacular summer of cool temps we hit upper 90's in late August. We caught a break on Labor Day in the mid-80s and hopefully maintaining this through the week, but we haven't had much for rain in several weeks. I haven't watered the garden and things are definitely on the decline, such as cucumbers and summer squashes, but they definitely put out a great harvest this year! What I didn't eat/pickle the chickens have enjoyed. I hacked down a bunch of shrubby lamb's quarter this morning before the mosquitoes got unbearable. Still going are: eggplant, lemon squash, peppers, beans, basil, Mexican sour gherkin, winter squashes and the flowers.

I had started some seeds for a fall garden and the slugs or rolly pollies got them. Now it is too dry to start seed in the garden.

So now, the Beatles are playing and I'm putting up or putting by, whichever you fancy.

Apricot Wine
This has been brewing since mid-June when I got a big old box for $5 at Soulard Market. I
bottled it today. True Brews says to bottle it like you would beer. I'm not sure why, but it is nice to have in small serving sizes. Nice color.
The bottled results. Notice the clearest 2 in the middle were the ones I bottled first. The last pours were on the ends and you can see it is darker with more suspended sediment. 

Freezer Pesto
I noticed my first planted basil plant was getting woody, starting to flower and wilt so I cut it all down for freezer jar pesto. I'm hoping to do some more freezer jarred stuff. We'll see how this jar holds.

Freezer bound romas
I will freeze these solid and then bag for later use.

Morning's Harvest
A variety of maters, yum yum peppers and 2 varieties of eggplant.

Harvest before the heat & drought (2 wks ago)

Wildlife News: 
I've seen a record number of toads and southern leopard frogs in the yard this summer. I'm assuming it was the consistent rain we had. I saw one garter snake in the garden too. 

Leopard Frog 

Pipevine Swallowtail

Feeling today:
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.