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Showing posts from September, 2011

Preparing for Autumn....The Fall Garden

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Yes, we are preparing for Autumn. Even though to us these temperatures make us hardly wince.  To Sourdoughs from Alaska, 60 degree temperatures mean either late spring, early summer or early Autumn.  Still we try to follow the calendar for this area as it seems so do our plants.  I guess they know better than us that it's time to quit, no matter how hot it still feels to us.

Our tomatoes have almost completely thrown in the towel.  They know they're done.  They're just begging to be taken away.  Still though, we've left them to allow those few green tomatoes to ripen naturally.  Later those will turn into our Ketchup for this year along with others we've picked and frozen.  Within the next two weeks Fava Beans and Rye will be planted in our tomato bed and our eggplant and bell pepper bed.  This will help with the nitrogen levels and of course add more organic material back into the soil. On the other hand our winter garden is just getting going again.    We've go…

Growing Shitake & Oyster mushrooms

It's been about a month since we received our packages of shitake and oyster mushrooms.  So far the oyster mushrooms have been producing about a half a pound every other week.  Sadly, the shitake has produced ....nada. That's right. Zip. Zero. NOTHING.
Oddly enough in the past I have found Shitakes to be the EASIEST to grow but once again I am learning that now that I've moved to a different locale, I have to learn new ways to grow plants that I was once an expert at.
In the beginning, when we first received our package I think our mistake was not to shock the shitake block in the fridge and then submerge in water.  We just set them up hurriedly and told them verbally "Okay, time to grow guys" Ha ha. Yeah, like that has ever worked for ANY plant!
Since then we shocked our shitake block once, submerged once and still NADA.
Okay. Back to square one.
Tomorrow we will be doing a repeat of everything we have already done and on top of that scouring our guide to grow…

Battle of the pests-Flea Beetles

This is my second year growing eggplant and oddly enough I did not have issues with flea beetles last year.  I don't know why they suddenly decided that THIS year they will come to my yard to munch on my eggplants and tomatilloes.  One day I walked out and just suddenly noticed all these tiny holes in my leaves of my eggplant.  Upon closer inspection I found the tiny beetles sitting all over the leaves, munching away. 
Now I do know after a bit of research that from now on I will probably always have them in this garden, thats even with tilling come Autumn. Unfortunately once the flea beetles figure out you have yummy plants in your garden the adults will hide in your soil during the winter and then emerge once again in the spring to feast on your young seedlings.  Especially if you have mulch or straw on your bed. 
There are very limited ways to get rid of these guys unfortunately, especially using organic means. 

Flea Beetles
Diatomaceous earth: This is by far the most effect…

No honeybees for me

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Well the housing office FINALLY responded back. I am not allowed to have honeybees because they are not "domesticated"
I must admit I'm a bit sad. I was kind of looking forward to trying my hand at beekeeping. Ever since I read the book Farm City by Novella Carpenter I really wanted to try this.
So obviously there will be no honeybees in my immediate future. Just wasps.
By the way, if you haven't read Farm City and you're interested in being self sustainable, enjoy food and you enjoy growing your own food then you'll enjoy this!
Oddly enough I first heard of Novella Carpenter on Youtube on the CHOW Obsessives channel. It's really inspiring what she has managed to accomplish! She also keeps a blog at http://ghosttownfarm.wordpress.com/ Check it out!

I'm so tempted to try something else. Maybe rabbits? Or Tilapia? I've heard of other people raising Tilapia but I've never really looked into it. I can't imagine the military housing office thro…

Battle of the pests-Cabbageworms

This year was my very first year dealing with these little monsters!  I've never tried growing Kale, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts or Kohlrabi before.  These types of plants are VERY susceptible to attacks from Cabbageworms.  They will actually attack almost any type of brassica plant.
Amusingly enough, around mid summer I noticed these lovely little white butterflies with little black circles on their wings.  I even commented on how pretty they were as they flitted from plant to plant.  We had loads of them in the backyard!  How lovely! 
UHHHH YEAH right!  Once I discovered what those lovely butterflies were they didn't look so lovely. 

Those almost completely killed my brussel sprouts, they did kill two kohlrabi plants, and thoroughly munched on my Red Russian Kale!

CabbageWorms/CabbageLooper

Bacillus Thuringiensis: This I have found is the most successful way to get rid of these pests.  It's quick and efficient.  Once I discovered what was going on with my plants I purchas…

Battle of the pests-Hornworms

I've decided to start a running guide on how to deal with pests.  My first one was Aphids. 

Now I've dealt with hornworms the past two summers and I've done numerous things to get rid of hornworms.  Some have worked great and some have had some not so great results.

Hornworms 
LadyBugs: These are only beneficial when the hornworms are still just eggs.  The ladybugs will eat the eggs which, of course, means no more hornworms.  My only issue with this is I've only had very limited success with this.  I've had ladybugs in my yard but I've also still had hornworms so obviously the ladybugs didn't get to the hornworms before they could hatch.Cornmeal:  This is a tip I received from another gardener and I really am not certain if it truly did work.  Lightly spray your tomato plant (or any plant that is being attacked by hornworms) with a mist of water.  Then sprinkle the plant with plain old cornmeal.  Supposedly the hornworm will eat the cornmeal covered leaves a…

I think I've gotten spoiled.

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I never thought this would possibly happen but I guess it has.  Recently due to a potluck at work I needed some tomatoes but I had none ready to pick in the backyard (wouldn't you know, the tomatoes were ready about 3 days later.  Goes to show you can't rush a good thing)
So I bought some at the grocery store to help top a seven layer dip I made.  I ended up using only a portion of the store bought tomato because the thing tasted like water with a slight tomato taste. EWWWW!  The worms got the rest.  I'm sure they were probably put off by the lack of taste as well.

I've gotten used to sweet, tangy, tart tomatoes.  Tomatoes that just TASTE like summer.  I couldn't stand the fact that I even used some of the grocery store tomatoes on my dip. Same goes for Cucumbers.  My cucumber vine is just about dead.  It has barely produced at all recently (not its fault, the whole placement thing which is our fault. The tomatoes are hogging all the sun).  So I had to also purchase…

Planting our fall garden and other miscellaneous tidbits

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Today we FINALLY got around to planting our Fall Garden.  We were supposed to do it last weekend but thanks to Hurricane Irene that got put off a bit.
So while I worked on shucking and preserving corn from the farm nearby my hubby plowed the bed closest to the house and prepared it for planting.  A few weeks ago we purchased some sand, more top soil, and a bit of composted manure (since none of the Craigslist advertisers answered back about their free manure.  Oh well, can't really complain too much.)
After working all that in thoroughly into the bed we started planting.
First row in that bed is Leeks.  Some of these will be started from seeds I already had, some will come from the bottoms of already grown but cut leeks.  See one of my previous blog entries for that!
Next is sweet onions grown from cut bottoms of onions or seeds.  I'm not quite certain what kind of onions the seeds will grow so I guess I will have to wait and find out.
Next was celery.  Once again, one of the…

Okay, THAT was a big disapointment

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Well we finally did it.  We opened the potato bin so see if we had anything there.
  And this was the result.
What an utter disappointment. No blues, no reds, no any special potatoes. Hardly anything at all.  Depressing.   Still though, I told Edward that "hey this was our second time growing potatoes, our first time growing them THIS way so we should be happy with WHATEVER we get!   I still can't help but be depressed by this photo.  By God I WILL get better at growing potatoes! It looks like these possibly grew from either some baking potatoes that we haphazardly threw in there or some fingerling potatoes.  Not sure which.  
Now while the potato harvest was meager this was the other stuff we collected tonight. Kohlrabi, Eggplant(black beauty), 1 brandy wine tomato, several Amish paste, several black cherry tomatoes, 3 lemon cucumbers, several okra and that's all folks.  Not bad at all. 

And that all being said, I'm going to bed.  I now have a Kindergartner in the house and…