Garden Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:04 pm

Pulled up 15 row feet of red potatoes in order to plant green onions (couple weeks later than intended, but prepping old house for pending sale has consumed all our spare time) and install stepping stones leading to the greenhouse. Those 15 row feet produced about 25 lbs, but 2-3 lbs were infested with grubs of some sort, so we netted 22 lbs.

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CECTPA
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Re: Garden Log

Post by CECTPA » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:17 am

We had a first frost, but everything is doing okay so far, even the lemon grass in a container (the plan is to take the lemon grass inside for winter).
Still picking fair amount of peas, eating corn, greens. Waiting for sunflowers to ripen.

Not sure when to pick edamame beans... When they are sold frozen in pods they look green, I wonder when is the best time to pick...

My sunchoke tubers, that I bought on Amazon marketplace, did not germinate, and that is very strange for this hardy plant. Despite the 'no refunds' policy after a few days of emailing with the seller back and forth I've got my money back because Amazon likes buyers more than sellers. I found someone in the community who could share sunchoke roots with me in spring, so free food is coming up!

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:41 am

Food Dryer/Dehydrator to the Rescue

The tomatoes are ripening in ever-increasing numbers and even with two of us eating a tomato sandwich every day, we are seriously falling behind the numbers coming out of the greenhouse. Since everyone you could give tomatoes to now have multiple sources of tomatoes due to all the gardeners suffering the same fate, giving away the excess is not currently an option.

So... I pulled the inherited (and formerly unused) food dryer/dehydrator out of the depths of storage. Then did some quick googling and read the directions. Sliced a bunch of tomatoes, arranged them on the racks, and let the thing run for many hours. I didn't bother with blanching because I'm not aiming for the longest storage. Presto-chango, we now have dried tomatoes and have reclaimed our kitchen countertop.

Food drying notes:
- monitoring every hour after 8 hours is necessary for highest quality/consistency.
- top racks dry more slowly than bottom racks, so rearrange after 6 hours to keep the batch finishing at close to the same time.
- an egg-slicer gadget is desirable for consistent slice thickness.
- excessively dried tomatoes (crunchy) are still tasty.

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CECTPA
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Re: Garden Log

Post by CECTPA » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:57 pm

Zone 2 had a full blown frost and that's the end of story for corn and beans. I salvaged green beans and stewed them. Corn is quite edible, but younger than I prefer. The summer was quite cold and corn did not enjoy that.
Pea pods look like they were frozen and thawed. But the plants themselves look okay, even the flowers look fine. We'll see how it goes.

It was our first season doing gardening (started from lawn and nothing else), working full time and overtime. We learned a lot and will apply what we learned next year.

How on earth I'm going to shred all that yard waste? :) Corn plants are tall and woody. And no one to borrow the wood chipper from. Maybe we should buy one, seems like a great way to fast-track composting.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:34 pm

Chipper/shredders don't do well with cornstalks unless they're bone dry. Otherwise too much moisture and the chipper/shredder jams. Lawnmowers do much better job.

We've had a week of 40F nights. Can see the cucumbers in the greenhouse pulling back now. Two watermelons seem to be maturing. Tomatoes still coming in at a furious pace. Outside the greenhouse, our sweet corn is right on schedule and likely will mature in about a week. I'll likely lift the potatoes and some of the carrots soon.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:54 pm

Rainstorm threat for Saturday prompted us to lift the remaining potatoes Friday morning. Took 3-3.5 hrs to dig them up. Managed to fork only 4 of 'em, so ate those for lunch.

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enigmaT120
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Re: Garden Log

Post by enigmaT120 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:08 am

That's a good haul (and gentle digging). How will you store them?

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:36 pm

Storage is in the dark garage. Since it's insulated and attached, the temps are pretty cool and usually above freezing.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Garden Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:58 pm

Looks like somebody generated well over a 6 digit kcal income this year! Funny that you have them in bankers boxes. I used to store my rare book inventory in a barn in stacks of bankers boxes on pallets. BTW, do you know how to tell if dark blue potatoes are green? I've never grown them before and many I am harvesting were planted very shallow.

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Re: Garden Log

Post by jacob » Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:07 pm

Our garden has now been almost entirely overrun with volunteer tomatoes and zucchini. I even have tomato plants coming out of the lawn! Also, a big pumpkin plant coming out of the open air compost. That's what I get for throwing heirloom stuff in the worm compost.

So for the past month or so, I've able to harvest 3 pounds of tomatoes+ 1 large zucchini (size of a forearm) + a handful of chili peppers every single week! Guesstimating some 15 pounds of tomatoes this season so far.

I chop the zucchini into 1/2" cubes and fry those first in a big pot. Then I chop two large onions (fist sized) and throw them in when the timing is right. I put all the tomatoes in the vitamix (I fill it up with tomatoes) along with the chili and blend it at high speed. That gets poured on top. Precooked black beans are added at the end. Spices: paprika, oregano, thyme, basil, cumin, garlics. That results in roughly 6-8 meals.

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Dragline
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Re: Garden Log

Post by Dragline » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:18 pm

WHAT? No lentils? Yeesh. :lol:

enigmaT120
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Re: Garden Log

Post by enigmaT120 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:55 pm

Oh man, you eat solely lentils for a few years and people think you're going to do it forever.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:31 pm

Wandered by the compost pile to yank the onion growing out of it. There's also a vine twining around which I'd assumed was a cucumber... turns out it has one ugly cucumber, er, half-sized cantaloupe growing from one disposed of back in late June! Guess I'll have to start some cantaloupe next year in the greenhouse. The onions (one divided into 3?) appear to be walla walla that grew from a tossed out scrap. Still haven't peeked at the potato growing in the compost (like I need more potatoes, LOL!).

Speaking of melons, I plucked the largest of a pair of watermelons in the greenhouse. Nope, not even half-ripe yet. Makes me think these are from the larger icebox variety rather than the single-serve variety.

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jennypenny
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:14 pm

Does anyone do sheet mulching? We're prepping some new beds this weekend so they'll be ready for the spring. I planned on using cardboard boxes for the bottom layer but I've read that they can attract pests, and now I'm a little worried since these beds will be near the house.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:59 pm

Today's treat is corn-on-the-cob. Better late than never!

rosecity80
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Re: Garden Log

Post by rosecity80 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 1:03 pm

jennypenny wrote:Does anyone do sheet mulching? We're prepping some new beds this weekend so they'll be ready for the spring. I planned on using cardboard boxes for the bottom layer but I've read that they can attract pests, and now I'm a little worried since these beds will be near the house.
I did sheet mulching with cardboard down at the bottom layer inside new raised beds, and haven't had any problems!

I ate my Lakota squashes and Delicata "Candy Stick" squashes during the last month, and they were delicious! The Lakota was nutty and dry, and the Delicata was very sweet.

Yesterday I pulled up the final tomatoes, cukes, squash, etc. My winter beds, which I began back in August, are doing well. I think I planted some of them too late (mid-Sept), but it's an experiment for me, as it's the first time I've tried to overwinter veggies.

I've been using sorrel in potato gratins and potato soups (recipes here). It's a very easy herb to grow, and surprisingly tasty. You can't find it in supermarkets around here (not even Whole Foods), so you have to grow it yourself. Very worthwhile!

jacob
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jacob » Sun Oct 09, 2016 1:19 pm

Half my beds are sheet mulched. The other half are double dug. I detect no difference. They both get rid of the lawn equally well. One requires more work, the other requires more money.

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jennypenny
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:12 pm

Probably the last of the tomatoes. :-(

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George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:40 pm

Y'all may have heard about the storms(*) that blew through Oregon/Washington Thur-Sat... well, the only thing they did at our place was blow the doors & panels off the greenhouse. We kind of expected that and will now work on finding a more secure attachment method that's removeable for summer heat. No rush on reassembly as we're well above freezing this week, though now the tomatoes are over-watered.

I picked all the squash and corn before the storm hit. Also picked 20 tomatoes & a green pepper on Friday after collecting the greenhouse panels scattered around the property.

(*) Really, it was pretty typical of winter storms here. 6"-7" of rain Thurs and 1"-2" every day since then. The only exception was the number of tornadoes that appeared and it's hard to say whether we're just better at noticing them or whether it really was an unusual number.

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jennypenny
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Re: Garden Log

Post by jennypenny » Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:12 pm

DIY rainwater collection systems ... http://morningchores.com/rainwater-harvesting/

llorona
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Re: Garden Log

Post by llorona » Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:38 pm

@JP: Thank you very much for sharing the DIY rainwater link. It's very helpful to see different options laid out. Adding a rainwater system is on my to-do list for next year.

Beautiful tomatoes, by the way! I can practically taste them. Our tomato plants are still producing but the fruits are getting smaller.

enigmaT120
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Re: Garden Log

Post by enigmaT120 » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:18 pm

I just had some beets from the garden. Pink pee!

EMJ
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Re: Garden Log

Post by EMJ » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:48 am

A lot of the DIY rainwater collection systems used garbage can or industrial reservoirs. Make sure you understand the effect of UV light on plastics before you invest time and effort on these systems.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:17 pm

Yesterday morning it snowed, about a half inch. Didn't freeze until this morning, but we had plenty of leftover snow coverage. I took out the kitchen compost to our pile and then decided to wander through the winter wreck of the garden, seeing as how this is our first freeze of the year and the sun is shining. Poor garden... my thoughts turned briefly to grabbing a shovel to do some cleanup, but, oh yeah, everything is frozen, so not workable!

Plucked some kale leaves to augment my lunch salad. Yes, we're back to salads mostly sourced from the store at this time of year. Wanted to avoid that, but wasn't possible with house sale effort. At least we had fresh tomatoes from mid-July through the end of October and I plan to do better next year!

Hmm, first freeze/frost not until December 6? That sure feels like a record.
Edit: Seaside's average first frost date is Oct 11. Up the valley & 300' higher elevation where we live, it's probably a week sooner. Couldn't quickly spot any record dates for this seasonal item, so would have to go plowing through temperature records.

George the original one
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Re: Garden Log

Post by George the original one » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:19 pm

Had a request for carrot-raisin salad, so remembered carrots are still out there in the garden and went rummaging... the big guy is about 3" in diameter and made a fine salad-for-two.

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