Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tomato Plants for Summer 2017 Planting

 This is an Amana Orange tomato slice.  It is one of my new favorite heirloom tomatoes.  I have planted it for 2 years.  It is large and grows very well for me.
I read about planting slices of tomatoes a while ago.  I had a couple of tomato slices in the refrigerator that were getting to old to eat.  I put them in the sink and started to the water running to put them down the disposal.  Then I remembered to plant a slice.  A lot of the seeds washed away, but there were still plenty left, so I pulled this slice out of the sink and planted it instead.  We will see what happens.  By-the-way there is a layer of soil over the top of this tomato slice. It is the pot in the back left corner in the two pictures below.

This is a start from my Golden Jubilee heirloom tomato plant.  Another favorite.  It reminds me of a Roma tomato, because it has few seeds and not a lot of juice.  It is bigger and rounder than a Roma.  I thought I would take a cutting, root it, and plant it in a container to see if it would survive the winter. My house may be too cold for it.

This is a start from  a Sun Sugar tomato plant.  It is the only non-heirloom tomato I grow.  It was the morning after a freeze that I suddenly realized I should take a cutting and see if I could get it to grow indoors this winter and not have to buy one in the Spring.  I found some sections below the frozen plant tops and cut off 4 pieces.  Only one has rooted so far.  One rotted away and the other two are still in a vase of water.  Hopefully they grow roots too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Goodbye Cherry Tree

I guess it is time to say goodbye to the cherry tree.  Most of what broke grows sweet cherries.  Most of what is left grows sour cherries.  The bark at the bottom is split and inside it looks like many tree trunks wrapped in one bark.  As you can see the main trunk was cut off shortly before this branch broke off.

Apples from the Tree Out Back

This apple tree is so heavy with apples that it looks more like a shrub. Hubby thinned it several times and probably ended up with 3 or 4 five-gallon buckets full that were composted. The quail love it under there.  It is their new hangout everyday.  In the evening you can see a long line of quail heading to the other side of the yard to sleep under one of the pine trees.

This is about 3/4 of the apples.  We only picked what we could get by standing and sitting on the ground.  The quail yelled at us quite a bit that day.  The front half of the tree above is Golden Delicious and the Back half of the tree is McIntosh.  Thus the yellow and red apples.  We canned apple slices, pie filling, and apple juice.  Also dehydrated tons of them.

Corn from the Garden

I planted Blue Maize, Indian, and Glass Gem corn.

The bed I planted them in does not grow a good crop of anything that is put in it.  It is amended just like all the other beds, but it doesn't make a difference.  Anyway here are pictures of the crazy looking corn it produced.

Here is what most of the corn looked like before I finally picked it.  I kept waiting for the corn to grow taller instead of looking to see if any ears of corn were ready to harvest.

Here is what came out of the tote above.  All are missing kernels.

This is the Glass corn.

This is the Indian corn.
This is the Blue Maize.

This is the strangest ear of corn I have ever seen.  Is this ear of corn or ears of corn. LOL.

 Here is a closeup of the stock or whatever you can the thing connecting the two cobs together.

Carrot in Bloom

I had a carrot flower and I was looking forward to saving the seeds.  It froze before the seeds finished developing.  It is a pretty flower anyway.

Carrots usually take 2 years to bloom.  I have lots of carrots in the ground still.  I will harvest them as I need them all winter.  I will save a few to flower and produce seeds next year also.

As a side note.  I don't have any lettuce seeds again this year.  I left the bag that the seeds could drop into attached to the plant for too long.  It was full of bugs that had a great feast and didn't leave a single seed.  Note to self:  You have done the same thing for two years in a row.  Don't do that again next year. 😊

Forks in the Garden

The quail dig in the empty spots of my garden beds every year.  This picture was taken the end of September.  I bought plastic forks from the Dollar Store and put them everywhere there was bare soil.  I used a few forks, knives, and spoons that I had left from who-knows-what in the house.

Here is another garden bed growing forks.  I didn't plant the Mexican Primrose here.  The wind or the birds planted them.  I left them there until the end of October.

NOTE:  Dollar Store forks are cheap and by the end of October and early November when I was removing them the tines broke off just touching the forks.  Some of the forks snapped off at ground level.  It wasn't fun cleaning up the pieces.  I did use some forks that I already had leftover that were thicker and they did not fall apart when pulled out of the ground.

More forks in these baskets that a dove tried to make her home in several times.  These pictures were taken in June.  The dove found these baskets just days after putting them up.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Here is What Has Been Happening This Summer

This year I am doing more yard clean up.  If you ignore your yard a little or a lot for a year or two or three like I've done then you will have a lot of clean up.

June 7, I decided the pineapple plant that has been growing in a pot for years needed a bigger pot.  I was quite surprised when I saw the root system.
All the roots were short except one that wound around the bottom of the pot.

Hubby has been slowing cutting down the dying Pussy Willow bush that he kept trimming to grow like a tree.

The bottom is growing like crazy, but the doves are enjoying it as a new perch.  One is up high.  Is he looking at the one on the lower part of the stump?

Tuesday August 10, I went outside to pick more ripe tomatoes.

This is the third tomato I have found this way.  They are in the middle of the plant like this, so I know there is a tomato horned worm somewhere, but I cannot find him no-matter how much I look.  Hubby and I have both looked.  I'm picking the tomatoes while they are still orange and I'm getting them before the tomato horned worm.  There is another tomato plant next to this one.  I hope the worm doesn't find its way to that plant. 2014 was the first year that I saw tomato horned worms.  There were 3 on a plant in a pot on the front porch.  I haven't seen one again until this year.  I'm hunting this one tonight.

Some critter came for a food haul from the compost bucket.

The bucket is just inches away from the trailer fender.  Early the next morning this stash was nowhere to be found.  I must have interrupted his collecting adventure.  That is what happens to compost material when you don't keep it buried in non-critter-eatable material.

Look what I found at the edge of the garlic bed. They were mostly shaded by the wooden frame around the edge of the raised bed.

I've now know that if you leave your garlic in the sun for a month it will start turning green. LOL. I guess those will be some on the ones I replant soon for next years harvest.

August 11 I picked the last 65 pounds of peaches from my dying tree.

We have canned peaches, peach jam, peach syrup, and peach leather for this winter.

The cabbage and Brussels Sprouts from my neighbor are growing good.

I cut the bottom off of some buckets and put two around this plant.  When there was only one it kept blowing off and something kept eating all of the leaves.
I haven't covered the cabbage yet and so far there are no cabbage worms in it.  There will be tomorrow after saying there are none.  Isn't that how it goes?

Here is what my cabbage bed looked like last year and almost daily I found a cabbage looper moth trying to find her way out.  She had no problem getting in.  I killed more eggs and worms than I want to ever see again.

I want to know what is doing it's daily duty in my garden.

As you can see, it is dried and has fallen between the cabbage leaves.  I swear there are geese in my garden.  I am constantly dodging these geese sized land mines.

The lettuce is going to seed.

The lettuce is flowering and will soon be going to seed.  This year I will collect the seeds and not leave them in the paper bag for 2 months and let the bugs eat them all.  Little Freckles (the darker one) is my favorite lettuce and I planted the last of the seeds this year.

I planted potatoes in pots this year.

I covered the growing plants with soil in the 4 pots grouped together, but none have done well.  The two huge pots have grown even less.  I added a little soil once to those growing plants.  They didn't flower this year and are dying as small plants.  This seems to be the same problem a lot of people are having this year.

I dug up the dead plants and this is what I got.
The back left two are Kennebec (usually a large potato), the back right are Blue, and the front group are Yukon Gold.  I told Hubby that we should have eaten the seed potatoes.  They were a bigger crop that what has been harvested.

On a happy note:

This is the first year we have gotten Green Gage plums from our tree.  Hubby picked 6 more today.  They are hard to find on the tree, but the birds can't find them either.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

It is Almost Gardening Time

It is snowing outside and everything is covered with snow and frozen.  The seed catalogs are mailed out and it is time to start thinking about planting a garden.

I know that a lot of pumpkins are needed.  We used up the last of our pie pumpkin last month.  Pumpkin waffles seem to be a new favorite.
The grandkids what to have a pumpkin carving and painting party next Halloween.
I'm out of Mandarin Sauce and Chili Sauce.  That means lots of tomatoes and bell peppers.
Lettuce and spinach is always planted. As as you know from the last post, being lazy can make you have no seeds; that is if they don't up and vanish like the spinach seeds did.

Last summer six pickling cucumber plants gave me enough cucumbers for pickles to last about two years.
I saved seed from one of the cucumbers.  Here are pictures.

The is a Boston Pickling cucumber that I am saved seeds from.  They turn yellow then orange the older they get. This picture was taken on 9-21-2015.

It finally fell off of the vine on 9-25-15.  In the meantime it grew a little longer.

Cut open and ready to harvest the seeds.

I put the seeds into a colander to be rinsed.  Had to use my hands to get some of the slimy mess off of the seeds and it wasn't easy.

This is them after rinsing and picking out the broken seeds.

I realized how hard they were to see on a white wet paper plate so onto a black napkin they went to dry.
After four or five days I pulled them off of the napkin (with a few pieces of napkin still stuck to some seeds) and put them into a zippered plastic snack bag. I rolled the top of the bag down so it would stay open and set the bag out of the way for another month to make sure they were completely dry. Then I closed the bag and added it to the collection of seeds.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Seed Collecting

I finally went out and collected all my bags of seeds the middle of September.  The spinach seed bag was completely gone.  I couldn't find any sign of the bag or plant anywhere in my yard.
I had a large bag that I placed around the lettuce seed heads.  I finally opened the bag the middle of October and there were no seeds in the bag.  I found a lot of earwigs and a couple of spiders.  The same thing happened with my beans.
I left the bags in the garden longer than normal and I have never left the bag of seeds unchecked for a month before.  So learn from my mistake and don't be lazy or you will have nothing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Saving Seeds and More

I went outside today to see what seeds I could save from the flowers and found that I was too late for many of them.

Here are some yellow Columbine.  See all the brown (they look kind of orange) seed pods have opened and the seeds have fallen out.

I found some pods that were not open yet, so I put a bag around those.  The seeds will fall into the bag now.

I don't remember seeing this purple and white Columbine.  There are a few seeds left of this plant.  I put a bag around them and tried to bend the plant down, but broke it.  I'll get a few seeds, probably not as many now.

The front bag is the Columbine from the picture above this one and the back bag is Coreopsis AKA Tick Seed.

There are some of the Tick Seed still blooming and some going to seed.

All those green button looking things are Hollyhock seed pods.  The flowers are Maroon.  If you want them let me know.  Otherwise to the trash they go.

The White flower is Moonflower.  I have been throwing out these seed pods too.  If you want some let me know.

On the way back into the house I scared a lizard and he scared me.  He hit one of the Coreopsis plants and seeds fell on the sidewalk.

Now lets go to the vegetable garden.

Lots of Spinach seeds ready to save.

While I was saving flower seeds and broke the one plant, I came upon this bright idea.  Well time will tell if it is a bright idea.  Put a rock in the bag to help weight it so the seeds will fall to the bottom of the bag and write the seed name inside.

Here is the plant in the bag.  The binder clip is on and the rock is in the bag and sitting on the brick.

The lettuce is starting to flower and will be ready to bag soon.

The Blue Hubbard squash plant is huge.  It has a few flowers near the base of the plant.

Here are the Snow Peas going to seed in front of the Blue Hubbard.  I usually just let the pods dry and start to crack open, then collect them.  Today I decided to put a bag around this plant too.

Here are some dried pods with seeds showing in some of them.  I just dropped them into the bag around the plant.
I had to use a big grocery bag for this plant.

Do you remember in an earlier post where I talked about the cabbage plants needing to have the tule put around each plant to protect them, but I hadn't gotten it done?  I just put screens over the wood frames on the raised bed.  Well the wind keeps blowing the screen off of the bed and this is what I found today.  A cluster of eggs.

One cluster of eggs is no problem.  I'll just go get some Duct tape.  Well I didn't find Duct tape, but I found this blue plastic tape.  That will work to stick the eggs to just fine.

Well I got that bunch of eggs, then found a darker bunch of eggs and a worm.  GROSS!


 They are on almost every cabbage.

 Disgusting!  Tape will not be enough now.

I broke off a leaf trying to get them wiped off with a paper towel.  They are in the cracks where the only way to get them out is by breaking the leaf when you try to move it.

I pulled this one off on purpose. Don't finish reading if you have a weak stomach.  I took the paper towels and wiped and wiped and wiped.  The eggs just smashed and smeared.  I felt like I was cleaning up after a baby who had a diaper that leaked and went in every little fat roll.  It seems to just smear and spread and you can't get it all.  After a pile of gross paper towels I did what I could never do to a baby.

I squirted the cabbages with the hose until all the eggs and grossness were gone.

I put bigger screens on the cabbage and rocks to hold them down in the wind.  I hope this stays in place and keeps the bugs away.

Now for a little better story.  Here are the garlic.

 This garlic is the saddest crop of garlic that has ever grown I think.

 I pulled everything that was left.  There is probably just enough to replant for next years crop.

 These four are just a single round ball each.