Skip to comments.Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 32, August 10, 2012
Posted on 08/10/2012 8:41:20 AM PDT by JustaDumbBlonde
Good morning, FRiends and fellow gardeners! We finally have power again, some dog-gone big and vicious storms ran over us last night here in NE Louisiana. If anybody figures out how to get a solar system to work at night without spending $100k on batteries, please let me know!! lol
Received anywhere between 2.5" and 5" of rain, depending on the field. The 2.5" we registered here at the house can't possibly be right ... the rain was blowing so sideways that I don't think half of it got in the gauge. It was sorely needed and I am thankful for every drop. There are branches and limbs down all over the homestead. It is a mess and will take a day or two to clean up. All of the beehives came through fine. Those bees really glue everything together well with propolis.
We are going to start picking scarlet cowpeas tomorrow or Sunday. They are loaded and beautiful. Also preparing to plant (and try) a late summer crop of sweet corn. We have a few rows at the edge of a cotton field that didn't get planted for some reason, but the rows are devoid of grass and weeds, under a pivot, and the cotton will be kept pest-free, so that should help with the corn. With as much seed as we have, hard to go wrong with a try.
Got a couple of articles that might interest y'all: The first is something I came across about drought and tasty fruits/veggies. Rightly_dividing and I actually discussed this a couple of weeks ago. Here is the link:
US Produce May Pack More Punch
Here is a link to an article posted on FR yesterday about Scott's Miracle Gro donating to the Romney campaign. I realize that there are some members of our group that don't like Scott's, but our ping list is 532 people, not all of whom are 'anti'. So, for what it is worth:
Scotts Miracle-Gro goes out on a limb with political donation
My heart goes out to those of you that are still in the grips of the heat and drought. My husband and I know just how that is and how helpless and hopeless you can feel when the heat won't relent and the air takes your breath away when you go outdoors. It is my hope and prayer that you get a break in the weather very soon.
The Weekly Gardening Thread is a weekly gathering of folks that love soil, seeds and plants of all kinds. From complete newbies that are looking to start that first potted plant, to gardeners with some acreage, to Master Gardener level and beyond, we would love to hear from you.
This thread is non-political, although you will find that most here are conservative folks. No matter what, you wont be flamed and the only dumb question is the one that isnt asked.
It is impossible to hijack the Weekly Gardening Thread ... there is no telling where it will go and that is part of the fun and interest. Jump in and join us!
Weekly Gardening Thread (Catalog Fever) Vol. 1 Jan 6, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Seeds) Vol. 2, January 13, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 3, January 20, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (U.S. Hardiness Zones) Supplemental Vol. 1
Weekly Gardening Thread (Soil Types) Vol. 4, January 27, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Vacation) Vol. 5, February 03, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Vacation) Vol. 6, February 10, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Vacation?) Vol. 7, February 17, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Home Sweet Home) Vol. 8, February 24, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Soil Structure Part 1) Vol. 9, March 2, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Transplanting Tomatoes) Vol. 10, March 9, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Useful Links) Vol. 11, March 16, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread -- Vol. 12, March 23, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread -- Vol. 13, March 31, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Happy Easter!) Vol. 14, April 6, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 15, April 13, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 16, April 20, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 17, April 27, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 18, May 4, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 19 (Getting Projects Done) May 11, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Harvesting Wheat) Vol. 20, May 18, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 21 (Keywords) May 25, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 22 (Keywords 2) June 1, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 23, June 8, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 24, June 15, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 25, June 22, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 26, June 29, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 27, July 06, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 28, July 13, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 29, July 20, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 30, July 27, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 31, August 3, 2012
Really big flood lights pointed at the solar cells?
uhmmmm ... don’t you need power to run those? If I had power, I wouldn’t need the solar at night ... LOL! You thought you could get that one past the dumb blonde, didn’t you?
How does one tell when eggplant is ready to pick?.........
Depends on the variety of eggplant. Mine is deep purple, shiny, and we like it about the size of a misshapen softball before the seeds get plentiful.
Got lots of jalapenos being produced right now. No tomatoes yet.
We are canning dill pickles and zuchini (with tomato and onion) today. Have already canned asparagus. Waiting for our corn and yellow squash. Been in the 90’s in north Idaho for about three weeks running so tomatoes are doing well - will make into salsa and can.
We have not had a drought here...just normal summer weather. Hope those stricken by the lack of rain will see some relief soon...praying you do....
We're up to about 10 snakes killed in the past two months. Three on Tuesday right beside the garden fence and one got away. Most were copperheads. I DON'T like snakes!
Well, the big slobber bucket got caught this morning. Uh, huh, big time. I'd been blaming hubby for leaving the gate open but now I'm going to have to apologize. This morning, I was watering the garden and hollered at the big dummy pawing at the gate (slobber bucket, not hubby). A few minutes later, there he was happily stomping all over the tomatoes.
Anyone know how to get rid of a hive of africanized killer bees? Spray doesn’t appear to help. Any suggestions???
Still picking tomatoes by the 5gal bucket here and making tomato powder by the quart jar via dehydrator. Also made a bunch of vidalia onion powder, some blueberry powder and have a batch of red onions and garlic going now to try those.
Rabbits ate everything but the eggplant, hot peppers and tomatoes. gah. Hopefully we’ll get some zucchini and late sweet corn planted this weekend. Cucumbers too. Fall tomatoes are about 2.5ft tall but their raised bed *really* needs weeding. Didn’t get around to papering and mulching it just yet. This weekend hopefully?
RH Shumway will get an order for pea seed and mmmmaybe some fava beans since those supposedly overwinter down to about 15F. We’ll be overplanting peas to have some for the chickens. It’s ‘crop insurance’ against the price of chicken feed. We also need to order garlic and onion seeds. Onion seeds from HPS and/or Johnny’s. Made the mistake of getting long day onions once, won’t do that again down here. Bulk turnip seed (for chickens, humans and bambis/rabbits) we’ll probably get at the local co-op. We’ll plant cabbages around labor day along with other brassicas like cauliflowers and broccoli.
My big winter squashes got planted late (july4th weekend) but they have gone nuts with all the rain and heat units we’ve gotten lately. Already had 2 to set and these look to be ginormous 50+lbs if everything goes swimmingly. We’ll put the little fence ‘cages’ on top of those this weekend to keep the bambis from getting ideas. Worked last year too. We just took about 3ft of 48” fencing, arched it and made a little tent over each squash and a foot or so of vine either side. When we had a frost we put plastic over that to make a little greenhouse. Picked our last ‘ripe’ squash (and it was ripe on the vine) sometime the week after Thanksgiving. Got about 5 or 6 more weeks on our season with these. We’ll definitely be doing THAT again.
My poor blighty tomatoes are still hanging on. Need to spray their bleach concoction this evening if I can. I’ve gotten about 50+ gallons of tomatoes *more* than I’d have gotten if I hadn’t sprayed.
Next experiment with the dehydrator will be shredded zucchini, carrot, and celery. I’m going to try to make vegetable stock using all powders from my garden. I’ve used canned stuff before and my mom has canned her own. But wow, for the space it takes up it’s kinda spendy on the shelf units.
I have gazillion red raspberry sets from tip layering. Ok, Gazillion might be a bit much. I have 3 ‘mother’ plants that have put off 20+ tip layers so far. And I think my bush cherry plants will survive another year.
It’s all good so far.
“tomato powder “
You mentioned tomato powder and other “powders”...please explain as I haven’t heard of “powders”
I have a silly question. Is there a way to can jalapenos? I have heard that you can’t can them because it will make them bitter?? Do they need to be pickled prior to canning? Newbie here. I have tons of jalapenos also and would love to can instead of freeze them.
I use my dehydrator to make my powders. It’s an Excalibur dehydrator. I had one of the cheapie ones but that was way more effort and wasted food than I could deal with. The Excalibur is pricer but it has a temperature control and you can even get one with a timer. We didn’t spring for the one with the timer as local humidity is a big factor in speed of dehydration.
So, to make tomato powder I:
Pick tomatoes, wash them. Slice them 1/4-1/2” thick and layer them in a single layer on the dehydrator tray. Dehydrate till somewhere between ‘leathery’ and ‘crispy’. Remove them from the dehydrator tray and put them in a big ziploc bag in the freezer (helps with that extra crispiness). Once they’ve gotten froze-cold I put them into my blender and hit ‘liquify’ until they are mostly powder. I don’t do any deseeding or skinning beforehand. Most of the seeds will survive the ‘liquify’ process intact. Use a seive to get them out and any big chunks that survive the blender on the first round. I repeat this blender process with the chunky mixture from the seive a time or two and feed the rest to my chickens.
I’ve found this takes less of MY time total, less energy (electricity bill/canning propane tank), less money (fewer glass canning jars) and takes up MUCH less shelf space.
Caveat: Need some of those moisture absorber packets to put in the jars when you’re done. And be sure to seal those jars TIGHTLY as these powders really attract the moisture. Really.
This isn’t my WHOLE canning strategy though. I’ll be doing whole tomatoes this weekend. Along with some other traditional canning stuff.
Do a ‘dogpile.com’ or ‘ixquick.com’ search for ‘tomato powder’ or ‘zucchini powder’ or ‘carrot powder’.
Love love love my dehydrator! I’ve dried so many batches of ‘sale’ bananas, pineapples, mushrooms and the like it’s probably paid for itself already.
This fall/winter when the humidity is lower we’ll probably try making some beef jerky in there too. Maybe using some ‘lauras lean beef’ we find in the managers special bin from time to time...
i’ve got plans for dehydrated cabbage (for soups and stir fries) shreds, dehydrated English peas, and maybe broccoli.
Wish I’d gotten the Excalibur 5 years ago. I wouldn’t have wasted 4.5 years trying to ‘make do’ with a cheaper one.
How do you use the tomato powder?
I haven’t heard about ‘canning’ them other than using vinegar. To be honest I haven’t really looked. We’re boring people at my house I guess. I’ve seen various advice about removing the seeds before you can but don’t recall anything about their being bitter?
Have you tried looking at some of the state ag services for canning advice? Also, the ‘Ball Blue Book’ has excellent ideas and advice. My Walmart sells the BBB.
might be a good place to start. Be careful about canning ‘low acid’ vegetables. You really need a pressure canner for those. I have an ‘All American’ that we love. I have my grandmothers water bath canner. My cousins didn’t want that (or her stainless steel or cast iron cookware) as it looked a little too much like work.
I’m reminded to dehydrate some of these too. To make my own chili powder. (if it doesn’t move fast enough at my house this summer it *might* end up in my dehydrator!)
That chick is on the ball. She’s got twice my energy. Then again she’s probably half my age so that works out *chuckle*.
I use the tomato powder to make soup, sauce, paste. Anything you’d use tomato paste or puree for. I’m going to try a tomato pie with it this weekend to give the slices a little more ‘oomph’. Hubby suggested sprinkling a little of it on the slices when I’m putting it together so I’m going to try that.
I’ve read that cucumber powder along with dill, onion powder, garlic powder and a little chili makes a wonderful dressing mix so I’m going to try some of those too. If it’s really baaaad i’ll feed it to the chickens!
How much of the powder do you use to make a tomato sauce?
1⁄4 cup + 1⁄2 cup water= 6 oz.tomato sauce or 3⁄4 cup tomato paste
I've used a little less water than that and it's a bit thicker.
I've got a bunch of 'pumpkin puree' that I leathered earlier this spring when I first got my dehydrator. I'm going to try powdering that (may need to re-dehydrate a bit first) for use in waffles, bread or vegetable soup stock.
This is a good primer link on veggie powders. I haven't blanched anything just yet but then again I haven't done anything that really needs it so far:
Thanks for the info. Sounds like and interesting and healthy way to save garden produce and money.
Trick for dehydrating tomatoes.
Core then first then Freeze them and then let them thaw at room temperature or do it in the microwave.
Thawing will make the water portion freed up.. Reduces dehydrating time by half. It is messy though.
I slice the semi frozen ones with my dehydrator tray over the sink..
Thanks. Great advice. I’ll have to work on freeing up the freezer space for that this weekend.
I’ve dehydrated the frozen sweet corn you get in the freezer aisle before. That’s a yummy snack!
I pickle mine using instructions in the Ball Blue Book.
Great posts... Thank you!
Bad week here.
Monday at the Doc I was given the news that the cancer is back. Then I go home and take a wander through my garden. Some !#$%#$#$@#$%#$% stole my one and only cantaloupe! Grrrrrrrrrrrr!
I’m impresses and congrats!
Bad week indeed my FRiend. Our Prayers are with you...
Additional humble Prayers from here...
I discovered freezing first by accident... Couldn’t keep up with the tomato production and had to go somewhere with them before they went bad.
Love my Excaliber.
Prayers for you.
We got almost one inch of rain a few days back. Then, miserable heat. Tonight we are getting a break in the heat, but there is not enough moisture in the air to get any rain.
Watermelons, tomatoes and one tiny patch of heirloom corn is still hanging in there. I have the tomatoes shaded and a few green ones again, but the squirrels will probably get them.
Hubby is now deciding he would rather have a cistern than a storage shed he was hoping to build.
Have a great weekend. God Bless.
I stumbled across this & thought of you.
I bet it made some beekeeper happy.
We had a bad week. Last Saturday, a couple dogs jumped our fence and killed several chickens and ducks. After chasing the mutts down and calling the police on their owners, I spent the remainder of the day processing the birds. We ended up with 6 gallons of chicken broth, and we roasted the ducks.
The hoophouse is just about finished for the season, and we’ve germinated seeds for the second crop of the year.
You said, “Made the mistake of getting long day onions once, wont do that again down here.”
Please tell this newbie, what is a long day onion, and why is it a mistake? Thanks!
Thought you might like to see this one, amom!
“My poor blighty tomatoes are still hanging on. Need to spray their bleach concoction this evening if I can. Ive gotten about 50+ gallons of tomatoes *more* than Id have gotten if I hadnt sprayed.”
Would you be willing to share your bleach concoction recipe, and how do you know when to use it...and how much??? and on what? Sorry for my woeful ignorance. Thanks!
You can plant vidalias up north but they won't be the giants you get from Georgia. You can plant the little italian cippolinis in the deep deep south but they'll be really tasty 'green' onions that never really make a bulb. I'd like to grow the 'ailsa craig' onions but don't dare to waste the money on seed.
If you go to johnny's and look at the ailsa craig:
It will tell you what latitudes they're optimal for. *most* but not all seed catalogs will tell you if one is long or short day. Some like Johnnys will even tell you the specific latitudes they're suited for.
Up north, onions might not be hardy through the entire winter so they're started very early in spring and transplanted out as soon as the ground is workable. They bulb/make in mid/late summer IIRC. Down south onions are started in september and transplanted out in october/nov to overwinter and make in early summer.
Hope this helps and hope I'm right! I've found most of this out the hard way. Planted the entirely wrong variety in late spring and they never ever bulbed. Made beautiful green onions though, if expensive ones.
I got most of this info from various state run ag sites. ixquick is your friend.
Take one gallon of water, exactly. Add one cup (8oz) exactly of plain clorox bleach. (not store brand, not splashless, not scented, etc...plain clorox bleach. It's a formulation issue) Put this mixture into a regular pump sprayer. Spray plants entirely (affected and not affected parts) until it's dripping. From both sides and be sure to get the spray underneath the leaves and in the middle of the plant if you have it staked. Stand UPWIND! Do this AFTER SUNSET. When all the bees have gone home and the plants won't be exposed to strong sunlight for several hours. I don't bother pruning off affected parts. They will die anyway and IMHO that just spreads the blight around. They will look like hammered heck for a week or two but if the disease wasn't too bad will recover. I usually feed mine somethingorother the day after I spray them.
I came THIS close to pulling all mine this year due to blight. Copper wasn't doing a thing and I was worried about it building up in the soil. The bleach kills the blight(s) and then oxidizes within an hour or two and is gone...It's not organic but it's not something that will hang around as an endocrine disruptor.
Next year I'll be sure to plant a variety that's resistant to lots of stuff. BUT, I looooove the little drying tomatos I planted this year as they are certain to set really well even in the heat we have down here.
BTW, I’ve started spraying my roses with this stuff every 2-3 weeks. No black spots! And it’s WAY cheaper than the bought stuff for black spot. I dilute it a bit more, 6oz to a gallon.
Oh, to add to the onion post, we planted the granex onion variety that ‘vidalias’ are IIRC last year. Our were just as sweet and possibly sweeter than the vidalias we got from the store for comparison. It’s apparently a soil dependent thing. We’ll definitely be doing that again this year.
How old are your plants?
The solar garden/path lights do well in the house when the electricity goes out.
My goodness! Thanks for both of your very helpful and informative replies! I’d had no idea about the onions at all. The bleach solution sounds quite useful as well.
Just saw your comment on use of the bleach solution for roses with the spotting. Some of our roses have that. Where do you get the bleach for this solution? All the stuff in the grocery stores around here have additives.
I use plain clorox bleach. Usually from WalMart.
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