Archive

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Seedlings 1-24

January 26, 2013 Leave a comment

 

 

image

 

Tried Soil Blocks this year. Loved the quick growth. Less problems than flats. Next year would prefer smaller blocks and pot up to next size. Johnny’s has some good soil blockers.

Planted around 2/14/13. Lost a lot of seedlings to a last cold frost first week in March, strange weather for this area. Trying to  grow Nastaruims, Cosmos, sunflowers, cucumber pickling and full size, Peppers, Yard Long Beans, Peas.

Categories: Uncategorized

Early Feb 2012 Update

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment

New raised bed finished,perfect functional shape for us, really maximized the growing space.

image

Seedlings

My soil/seedling tray got too wet, and caught a  “dampening off”  fungus, a common problem of seed starting.  It “ate” seeds – literally. It “attacked” the plants and really stressed them out, a few died. Gardening is a lot about learning from mistakes, and there’s a lot of mistakes to be made. To combat the problem, I transplanted all potential surviving seedlings to bigger pots, cut back on watering,  washed out the seedling tray. I bought some new sterilized soil, and then it was time to plant 3 week (before last frost) crops – watermelon, cucumber, cantaloupe, squash and zucchini. I added some bell peppers and a row of royal hillbilly tomatoes too. The second round was great, and many round 1 plants survived they might be behind a week or so from the stress though. Planted English Peas (Sweet Pea) Green Arrow in new raised bed  1/22. Used bean inoculant(a soil bacteria) as recommended to assist in the Bean plant’s nitrogen fixing feature, with this bacteria it’s supposed to grow a lot better. For my own notes – (3) 3 inchfurrows, separated by 8 inches on both sides. They are looking great now. Planted Potatoes – 2 Fingerling Varieties – Rose Finn Apple and Kipfel. Pulled up the old Braeburn apple tree and planted the new Gala Apple tree 1/22.We’re hoping it does better than the last apple tree.

image

My Peas in the new bed started out looking nice and neat.

image

Early March

Now to the mushrooms- I have 40 Shiitake logs or so, one or two have succumb to other competing fungus.  We want to expand that just a little to make sure we continue to have steady harvests.  I took down an oak and ordered a warm strain of shiitake(named Night Velvet) to help cover the hot summer months. I have 2 strains, West Wind (a wide range strain), and a unknown strain. Ordered a thimble spawn sheet with 600 plugs that have a styrofoam lining on top to make it as easy as drill a hole, and insert the spawn plug no hammer required. image I made up 4 blue oytser bags of straw last week, and they are “pinning” meaning the mushrooms are “here”. image

Categories: Uncategorized

Goodbye 2011, the 2012 Garden Begins

January 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Last Harvests

A mix of perfect weather and rain caused the shiitake mushroom logs to go into production overdrive.  I even had my first successful oyster fruiting.  Despite using several pounds of mushrooms (the pictures below is only a tiny sample) in multiple tasty omletes, mushroom bread pudding, mushroom dressing, mushroom/egg salads and even drying a batch, some were sadly lost to overabundance.  Next time there is a plethora we hope to get a batch together to sell to Windmill Market or Everman’s before they are past their prime.

Then the first frosts came around, very late this year, and I pulled up all the remaining peppers, even a few not pictured here but yellow and edible. And I cleaned out the garden, put some straw down to keep weeds down.

New 2012 Garden 

Even before the new year starts, my thoughts roll to the garden. Jan 1 is the jump start time for things down here. First, I need to get some transplants going – tomatoes and peppers.  I had to have some sterile soil for seedlings. Research tells me it’s important and if you don’t, you could catch “dampening off”  fungus and other  diseases that weaken the seedlings. Making my own was very easy actually, I put some “good” garden soil in a oven pan and cooked it reaching 180 degrees for a consistent 30 minutes.  We affectionately named it the dirt brownie.

Luke helped fill in the potting tray with dirt and plant the seeds (impressive, he actually did it all and was careful.) Then they were off to my growing area which was already setup from last year and in a few minutes the light, seedling heater mat were all going again. It’s so much easier when you’ve done it once.

Goals

Focus on higher production of favorite varieties that we cannot get in a grocery store or farmer’s markets, and/or tastes better when homegrown. (Last year we had too many varieties, not enough of any one thing, and we didn’t know how to care for it all.)

Utilize harvesting timelines and what I would call succession planing to get more out of this year – common in the south is to grow tomatoes and pull them out around July, then start fresh. As I’ve seen 2 years now on my own, by July the tomatoes get diseased and don’t produce well. Peas will give way to new bean plants, and then later a cool season plant for a fall garden.

2012 Garden Expansion

My personality drives me to be bigger and better. And this year, we’re taking a few steps further. The bed to the left is new, to be build this week. It will be a pea/bean bed this year, maybe we will rotate a few crops out too.  I map out my designs in Excel. Excel has been very useful in gardening planning, with dates and designs.  Also, we are expanding with a melon/watermelon patch across from the pool and trying to decide the best location for an asparagus bed.

Spring/Summer Plants

Potatoes – Rose Finn Apple Fingerling, Kipfel Fingerlings

Bell Peppers- Nardello Sweet Pepper

Squash – Success Yellow Squash, Striata D’Italia Zucchini

Peas – Green Arrow English Shelling Pea

Beans – Dragon Tongue, Chinese Red Noodle (yard long beans (pods almost 2 ft long, thrives in the summer)

Tomatoes –  Reisentraube (cherry type), Sun Gold (Cherry type), Royal Hillbilly(big slicing type)

Beets – Yellow and Cylindrical

Carrots – Parisienne Carrots

Garden Spring 2012

image

"Dirt Brownies" - Sterilized seedling soil

image

Last Peppers

image

Shiitake Christmas Harvest

image

Blue Oyster Mushrooms

Categories: Uncategorized

End of year wrap up

December 16, 2011 Leave a comment

image

image

image

image

image

Yeah it’s been a while, but without a true fall garden, I have not had much to post that’s new. Gotten some great bell peppers, some left ripening now, couple are almost red. And the garlic and strawberries will be left over the winter.

We’ve been having  HUGE Shiitake harvests  with the rainy weather. It’s been great, Nancy dried some just today and used some fresh. I’ve got a huge box full of them I might have to give some away. Anyone want some?

Looking back we’re happy about the garden, but a lot of this year was experimenting. Beets, Carrots, Lettuce, Corn, Eggplant – all didn’t do well enough for us to enjoy, and they ate up a bunch of garden space. The wide varieties was also very challenging to figure out is it ready? How do I know? The plant looks _____(pick a word). It’s this color or that – is it dying? What’s wrong with the plant? It was a lot to research on at one time, and we lost some harvests and plants because our attentions were spread. This next year we’re focusing more on what we really want, so hopefully our harvests will be bigger.

In the works-

  • Fruiting 2 bags of Blue Oyster Mushrooms – they are developing and will post soon.
  • Bought a Gala Apple Tree, looking for a spot to plant it.  Our Braburn apple tree didn’t make it.
  • Planning spring garden and browsing Seed Catalogs for 2012 Garden.
  • Looking at redesigning the raised bed – shrinking the width and adding another one to add space and room to work/harvest. 18 inches between the beds was way too small. 3 feet wide is my goal.

September Garden and Shiitake Updates

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Fun couple weeks. We got 6lbs or so of ‘volunteer’ Shiitake mushrooms off the logs in the back just from the rains. Luke loved being a helper harvesting the mushrooms.  We got a Nesco dehydrator and now have dry mushrooms ready for meals. We ate a lot of meals with Shiitakes while they were fresh.  Probably not my favorite mushroom but depends on the dish.  Nancy’s best creation was sauteing Shiitake and bacon as a topping for homemade macaroni and cheese, it really went well together.

Got a container of purple pod beans, a nice red pepper.

Bought a pound of  Nootka Rose Garlic, an medium garlic that has won awards for taste, it’s supposed to be in the middle of the taste spectrum of garlic, close to what most think Garlic should take like. Most of the garlic we’ve gotten has been very mild from the store, but WOW we got some from Whole Foods that really stood out. Nancy said every time she used it she had to cut the recipe in half and it still stood out well. We have no way to identify that variety though. Haven’t tried Nootka Rose yet, but we’ll see. My first round of garlic ended poorly, but I planted in the wrong season too, Garlic is usually planed in Sept/October. I knew that going in but it was rumored to work down in the south. I like the idea of  growing garlic because it’s a Fall and Winter Crop – less work, I can let it sit till next June and it should be ready then.

 

image

Giant Marconi and Purple Pod Beans

image

Jar of Dry Shiitake

image

Dehydrator Prep Work

image

Fresh Shiitake - Just a single nights harvest

 

Categories: Garlic, shiitake, Uncategorized

End of Summer Garden Updates

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Ok… I’m late on posts. I had too much going on at home and work.

Second water melon off the “Septic Tank” Watermelon Alibaba  Plant

image

End of  August – Sand Pears ripe. Got several for Jellies/ Pear Muffins. Still way too many fell on the ground.

July  – LSU Gold figs came in. Not that great. I hear it may take a couple years.

August – Chicago Hardy Figs came in – these were great, dark and sweet. Awesome.

All the Tomato plants caught something and had to be removed. I tried to start new tomato plants from the growing tips but they either caught or were already affected by the disease.

I had some more pictures but they were lost in a phone crash, lost them.

Had a few more eggplants but they weren’t very good quality.  A late season addition of a Lowe’s pepper plant yielded one good looking pepper that a woodland creature stole.  There are a couple more on the plant that we hope we get to before our ‘friend’ does once they turn red.

Is there a “Fall Garden” Coming? Maybe a little late but we’re thinking about it.

Garden Updates 7-4-2011

July 4, 2011 Leave a comment

The blog is not dead, but it’s been about 6 weeks and I’ve been too busy. Algae in the pool, huge project at work keeping my time locked up, been unable to keep up with things around the house. But that’s one reason I like gardens, even though I got busy, nature kept doing it’s thing without me (thanks to a timer and a drip irrigation system).

The septic tank water melon plant TOOK OVER the backyard. It’s grown more in size than any other plant I’ve tried to grow, and the history on this one is that it was a junk leftover seedling I just placed in the dirt, it doesn’t get irrigation water. Finally when it got a huge watermelon on it I gave it some fertilizer. See below, it should be ready any day now. It’s very large, I’ll get a better picture of the single melon when we pick it.

We planted 2 bell pepper plants from Lowe’s to fill in where the lettuce and carrots were in the garden, still waiting for them to do something, they seem to be trying to get used to the intense heat of the summer.

Got a great batch of tomatoes before it got so hot.  Nancy loves the royal hillbillies.  The first few chocolate stripe were mealy and not very good but for some reason the tomatoes got better as time went on.  The Riesentraube and Sungold (both grape size) have been mostly eaten by the kids.  We did have a large batch after coming home from being out of town which Nancy roasted in the oven with some garlic and olive oil and made a fantastic quick sauce for some ravioli for lunch.

Strawberries are unfortunately pretty much over for now.  Maybe more later.

End of May/First in June – Blueberries came in, stayed till end of June. Not enough this year  other than a handful for snack, but the plants are getting bigger. Since we won’t ever get the production we need from 3 plants, we went blueberry picking to a local upick farm and got 23 lbs of blueberries, which should hopefully last us until blueberry season next year.

Mid June – Our Peaches ripened up, we had probably a dozen peaches. They were small but really good tasting. Unfortunately I missed getting pictures of these.  We picked them off as they were ready but lost out on a few that mysteriously disappeared when we went out of town for a few days.

End of June and ongoing – Sand Pears are falling, they are not ripe yet and just making a nasty mess. No pictures needed.

First week in July  – Figs ripening up. We bought some figs from farmers markets (LSU gold, Celeste and one mystery one) and they are delish, they seem to be kind of hard to find.  Makes for some motivation to really try to establish our trees.  Our few are almost ready. We picked a couple already but they were not quite ripe.

Categories: Uncategorized