Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday evening harvest

22# of produce. The crookneck yellow squash was from a volunteer from last year's variety. I have no clue what's up with the crookneck zucchini! That grew from store bought seed, so it's just a freak. The straight yellow squash is Goldbar Hybrid -- fairly expensive seed ($2.49/packet, about $1 more then most other seeds), but I've been really happy with it.
Larger tomatoes are Beefsteak, finally getting over their blossom end rot issues although we still have lots of blemishes. Smaller ones are Celebrities.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Garden Stuff...

8/16 Planted some "Slicemaster Hybrid" cucumbers, under the north end of the trellis. 58 Day Maturity, 10/14. Yes, I'm being way optimistic on the last frost date :)

I also made a planting stick to help make my seeding more uniform. The long lines are 1/2" apart, while the hashes are 1" increments.

The taters, the one good size onion I got this year, and a red onion I found while preparing the bed for the beets. (Oh, and turnips to be planted south of the beets).

As of 8/17, we have 163# picked ytd and are up to 2.6" of rain in August. Tomatoes are starting to come in, the blossom end rot problems are decreasing but a large number of the tomatoes are blemished from it (Beefsteak and Celebrities).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beet Notes...

Gonna try and find some Beet seeds this week...plant them in the onion / potatoe patch for a fall harvest.


8/16 Got them planted!

10 Rows x 4' of Detroit Dark Red, maturity 65 Days = 10/21
7 Rows x 4' of Early Wonder G.T., maturity 57 Days = 10/13

8/17 Filled in a spot under the trellis with Detroit Dark Reds, by hand, not board.

NJ Barn History

(And also barn disassembly & rebuilding)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Onion Notes

Onions from my garden: Spectacular!

Unfortunately, I planted too shallow and only had one that attained full size. Plus several smaller ones I've been eating that really make a meal.

Would be interesting to spread around some maybe for that onion / flea beetle effect from OSV notes?

Next year's plan:

Plant around April 15th.

From Univ. of Minnesota:

Plant onion sets, pointy end up, 1½ to 2" below soil. If you're planting
big sets for green onions, space them close, almost touching. If you're planting
them for full size onions, space them 3 to 4" apart. Firm the soil around the

Cucumber Notes

Planted on 5/21:

Straight Eights did wonderful, until succumbing (I believe) to bacterial wilt. Flavor was good, although I thought a tad bitter.

Pioneer Hybrids failed to sprout.

Cucumbers have about a 60 day maturity window.

Assuming a Last Frost Date of 5/14. Since my Straight 8s came up from 5/21, they're probably safe to plant that early.

Assuming a First Frost Date of 9/24, last planting should be in on 7/24. The OSV interpreter did mention they typically harvest cukes after the first frost, so that may be an interesting experiment. The old New Englanders tended to prefer size over taste, particularly since items like cucumbers would just get pickled.

So let's aim in 2009 for a series of plantings, starting with the Straight 8s and maybe trying some bush and/or pickling varieties towards the end. Marketmore 76 recommended as a variety that is disease resistant, plant after frost danger is past.

ALSO, let's try companion plantings of marigolds & radishes with them to see if it repels the cucumber beetles from the young plants!

If I'm not successful otherwise controlling the wilt (see post below), I'm thinking that will help control bacterial wilt issues indirectly. As some cukes die, others will be coming into production.

A visit to OSV

Some garden pics from yesterday's visit to Old Sturbridge Village:


Rhubarb Tea

Rhubarb's talents extend beyond pies and cakes. In fact, scientists have
discovered that the oxalic acid in rhubarb stems (the same stuff that makes
your lips pucker) can be used to scour cooking pots.
If aphids are pest in your garden, rhubarb can help. In her book, "Slug Bread &
Beheaded Thistles," author Ellen Sandbeck describes a unique use for
rhubarb leaves--as an aphid spray. Here's the recipe:1) Chop 3 to 5 rhubarb leaves
and add to a quart of water. 2) Boil for 30 minutes.3) Strain and add a dash of liquid, non-detergent, soap.4) Fill spray bottle with liquid and use it on aphids.

Note: Because rhubarb leaves are poisonous, don't use this spray on edible plants

From http://www.plantea.com/rhubarb.htm

Tomatoe Notes

Planted 5 varieties this year:
Sweet 100 Cherry -- doing fine
Beefsteak -- having problems with Blossom End Rot (I believe that's the culprit).
Celebrity -- having problems with Blossom End Rot
Big Boy -- doing fine
Early Girl -- low yielding, but doing fine.

Going to get a soil sample kit from the extension office tomorrow. The BER may have been excerbated by a dry spell we had of 3/10" of rain in the 10 days preceeding the deluge of July 23-25 when we had 3" of rain. I suspect that brought a shock of water uptake into the plants.

Next year I want to try a variation on farmhound's post-and-twine method, similiar to the little boxes seen at OSV (see post above). If I do three fence posts wide, short ones in the middle to support the younger plants, then tall ones (6'?) on the outside corners to run twine around to support the larger, mature plants...I think that would work wonderfully.

Interesting article about determinate v. indeterminate; and the different determinates especially for getting early season yields: http://tomclothier.hort.net/page35.html

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Statistics so far...

Rain measured in my garden guage...
June -- 4.65" (Htfd avg. is 3.75")
July -- 5.7" (Htfd avg. is 3.19")
August (to date) -- 1" (Htfd avg. is 3.65")

Total weight harvested (and measured) YTD: 101#

Cash basis accounting y-t-d is estimated at $250, half of which is "extraordinary" (manure, netting, etc) that will provide benefit over many years.

So we're talking $2.50/pound so far (and going down each harvest).

Squash Rot #2

This time a Zucchini. Not sure if it's the same as the Blue Hubbard or not...

Also, according to my peeps, consistent with Squash Vine Borer.

Squash Rot #1

This is a Blue Hubbard squash. Leaves started turning yellow a couple weeks back.
The crown just came apart with very little force, and other parts of the vine that were "rooted" seem to be similiarly rotting. The closer to the original crown, the more rotted.

After checking with the folks at my organic gardening board this has been ruled damage from Squash Vine Borer. Guess I'll add that to my list of things to work on next year!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Grow An Extra Row

As of today, I've harvested 91# + out of my garden (the 91# is what I've actually weighed!) .

Grow An Extra Row is a program for home gardeners to grow food for local food pantries.

I stopped at the large garden run at Mashmoquet Brook State Park on Tuesday and found out where I could drop off the food. Today I dropped off to the Danielson Methodist Church the above food -- 14 pounds.

Still pretty modest. My beans where heavily, um, destroyed by the rabbits. And the tomatoes I *thought* I'd have for them today ended up suffering from Blossom End Rot. As the post below says, I know I have issues with cucumbers.

Hmmm, at least four more good weeks of gardening to go and I should have more tomatoes plants that don't seem to be suffering from BER coming in. I think I can do 100# of donations this year.

Already thinking about next year to see if I can do 400# :)

Updating to add this link from today's paper: http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/x126448194/Food-pantries-struggle-stretch-smaller-donations

Bacterial Wilt

One persistent problem I have is bacterial wilt, which affects especially my cucumbers -- killing them off after just a few.


Things to remember for next year include:
-- Row covers for the young plants;
-- Surround WP may be an option for the older plants;
-- Yellow sticky traps;
-- Plant multiple successions;
-- Rotenone with OUT pyrethum (Rotenone alone is non-toxic to bees http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles/extoxnet/pyrethrins-ziram/rotenone-ext.html )

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My Recipe Notes...

Grille High 2 minutes / side, then medium heat 7 minutes.

Grille High 7 minutes, flip, 5 minutes.
Even Better: Medium 8 minutes, flip, 8 minutes = medium rare :)

Heat grill to high, lower to medium. Meat on for 5 minutes, flip, 8 minutes = medium rare.

Top Round Steak:
Marinate with lemon & vinegar 8 to 24 hours.
Grill on medium 10 minutes, flip, 8 minutes.
Chicken breasts / tenderloins:
Medium heat, 5 minutes, flip, 5 minutes
Chicken legs:
Medium heat, 30 minutes, flip every 10 minutes.

Pork Chops (marinated):
Pre-heat high
1 minute high
1 minute high
3 minutes medium
4 minutes low

Salmon Filets
Grilled: Defrost 8 hours (or nuke ~2 minutes)
Coat grill with oil
High on non-skin side for 2 minutes
High on skin side for 4 minutes.
Slide spatula between skin and meat, carefully remove flesh.

Coat non-skin side with Mayonaise, then sprinkle on Panko bread crumbs & paprika. Put in small baking dish
1/2 lemon cut up into 1/8ths, couple on top, couple on side.
12-15 minutes @ 425 in the toaster oven, until flakes easily.

Grilling foiled-wrap potatoes, onions, and beans:
Coat with oil, vinegar, herbs the potatoes and green beans/onions separately.
Place taters down first on the foil.
Then the onions & beans (so they don't burn!)
Wrap up, grill medium for 40 minutes.

Squash and other tenders...same coating, give them 20 minutes on medium.
Both will be fine to take them off and put aside after the alloted time while you grill steaks.