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Thread: Weedinhoe's 2016-2020 Garden Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-24-2020 11:49 AM
Weedinhoe It's a rainy day today so perfect for finally starting the sauerkraut. Last night I pulled two of the last three Late Flat Dutch cabbages and stored them out on the porch last night as there was no room in the refrigerator. Cold air is cold air!

I've never grown these before and yes, they are flat. The larger of the two is about 10-11" wide but only about 3-4" thick. I think I'll pass on these for next fall because the plants take up so much room. Maybe sub a late round one that's a bit smaller so I can plant an extra one in the row. Flat Dutch seed will go into the "vault" in the freezer.

This is seven pounds of cabbage shredded and packed into a large glass crock I got at WalMart a few years ago. There's a lid that comes with it but it doesn't fit very well. A cheap crock from China but it does what I need it to do. Cheesecloth and a rubber band will let it breathe. This will probably make seven pints. We like kraut in pints as it's just enough for one meal.

I had to go fetch the last Flat from the garden to make the seven pounds so all that's left is one Red Acre. That will be used in another round of a German simmered red cabbage recipe we tried last week and like a lot. It's got onions and apple slices in it. Good stuff.
01-24-2020 12:32 AM
Originally Posted by Weedinhoe View Post
Some plants have to come inside for the winter. The peace lily and two pothos usually live out back under a big oak tree while the thyme and rosemary live on the front porch. The rosemary is one I started with cuttings from an old Tuscan Blue rosemary that was beginning to die by the back porch. It's gone now but it's replacement is doing fine.
I have a potted Geranium and a couple of house plants that live outside all summer, but they come inside for the winter too. They're all doing fine, just waiting for spring.

Right at 10 years ago now, when my old cat passed away, I planted some Catnip on his grave. That stuff has come back every year since then, and my current cats appreciate the occasional nip of it that I bring inside for them.
01-23-2020 01:38 PM
Weedinhoe I think we might be over the low-20's hump so I will take the tunnel off the carrot bed this afternoon. Rain is supposed to come in tonight just when the flooded lower areas finally got dry enough to walk on.

Meanwhile, the first seeds have popped up; broccoli, cabbage, kale and collards. Only two of the Wakefield cabbages germinated so I've started two more after noticing the seed is from 2015.

Some plants have to come inside for the winter. The peace lily and two pothos usually live out back under a big oak tree while the thyme and rosemary live on the front porch. The rosemary is one I started with cuttings from an old Tuscan Blue rosemary that was beginning to die by the back porch. It's gone now but it's replacement is doing fine.

I brought the recently transplanted arugula, two more thymes and a resurrected mint in from the porch too. They can probably go back out soon. I started the extra thyme for building up the dehydrated stock which is running a bit low. The mint looked like it had died with dead leaves on scrawny runners but I noticed a carpet of new growth on the soil surface. Some pruning of the dead stuff, a shot of fertilizer and it's good as new!

5th Gear put up seven pints of Mexican Chicken Soup yesterday. I still haven't gotten around to krauting the cabbage but perhaps this afternoon it will finally get done.
01-21-2020 12:11 PM
Weedinhoe It's a gorgeous day, clear as a bell but with a cold wind out there. It got down to 28 again and it's been a while since it was still just 38 degrees at 11am. But that's OK. The peach industry need these chill hours and more. And, after all, it IS winter.

The wild daffs in the yard don't seem to mind. There's even one blooming down in the front left corner and lots of buds.

I've been putting folded sheets over the remaining cabbages at night so they don't freeze. They'll be OK and there's no room in the refrigerator for them. At 11am the sheets still had frost on them. I'll cover them back up around 4:00 today when I close up the ends of the carrot tunnel.

This is a mini tunnel I put together from 2x4" mesh welded wire and row cover for the daikon radishes. The leaves wouldn't have a problem with the cold but some of the radishes are poking up about an inch and I was afraid the exposed ends might freeze. The piece of row cover wasn't quite long enough so I piled leaves on the right end to enclose it. Because it was windy I set a few bricks on top to keep the thing from blowing away. You use what you have.

01-19-2020 11:13 PM
LindaLou That's a gorgeous cabbage!

I do get riced cauliflower (both shelf stable & frozen) at the grocery store and use it in wraps. Good stuff.

I didn't eat it as a kid although I've always been a fan of cauliflower. don't remember hearing of it until the 21st century.
01-19-2020 09:25 AM
Weedinhoe The weather is about to change. We'll be going from a streaks of unseasonably warm weather to a streak of highs in the 50's and lows in the 20's. It's sure not the single digits up north but plants around here are going to be shivering.

The brassicas in the garden will be OK. I cut all broccoli side shoots yesterday and will just lay a triple thickness of old bed sheet over the last three cabbages to keep them from freezing. Kale and collards will be fine.

Later this morning 5th Gear will help me put the cover on the hoops I put up yesterday over the carrot bed. Those greens are rather lush so they probably don't want any part of 25 degrees! The test fall potato plants are poking up again and are in that bed too so they'll also get more leaves piled on.

I had to cut the last three cauliflower heads. They were sure not as big as the earlier ones but they were getting tinges of pink! Not knowing what was going on, I had to look that up. It's just a matter of them having become uncovered and exposed to the sun. They're still edible.

Hmmm, we've been eating a lot of cauliflower and time for a break. The veggie area of the freezer is about full and there are already three quart bags of cauliflower florets in there. 5th Gear suggested using the food processor's grater disc to turn the three heads into cauliflower "rice" and freeze that. It wouldn't take up much freezer space. It worked great! From the three heads I got four quart bags with 3 cups in each.

If you low-carb you're probably familiar with cauliflower rice. It makes a nice tabouli salad among other things. I don't think it's available at supermarkets and if it were, it would probably be pricey. I don't know how the texture will be when it thaws out but it will be used anyway for something. "Waste not, want not."

I also cut the first Red Acre cabbage, something I've never grown before. It sure looks good! and it will be a part of dinner today.

I only grew two just to see how they do. They're a long 115 DTM so will be a "fall only" plant and will naturally extend the fall cabbage harvest.
01-18-2020 10:42 PM
dealfinder500 I went to college in SC, and I remember going down to a friend's house one weekend, and he warned me not to go near the ant hills or I'd regret it. As a Northerner, I had never seen the red ants before.

I wish my garden was a green as yours. It was 3 degrees this morning, and we got a few inches of snow, then some slush, then another two inches of snow :-(

I will have to remember about the soap and and water for the ants. In previous years I have had a problem with black ants on the porch. The porch is concrete with a little brick, and two years ago it was starting to get pretty bad and I had to patch some of it. But underneath the top it was just cinder blocks with dirt, and the ants had made homes there. I would dump buckets of water in there to get rid of them, but they'd be back. I patched that up, and I think that stopped them from getting in. But if it becomes a problem again I'll try soapy water.
01-17-2020 03:40 PM
The War On Fire Ants

The moderate temps of late combined with the wet soil have kicked the fire ants into high gear building mounds again. So it was time to break out the dish soap again. I think I've posted about this before but it's been a good while and I'm posting it again for any newcomers.

Fire ants are a scourge in the South. Fortunately for those of you in more northerly regions, your cold winter temps keep the fire ants out. They live in huge nests below ground and build mounds above ground where the sun warms the mounds, providing a nice temp for incubating eggs.

If you stir up a mound with a stick, thousands of ants pour out ready to do battle. Woe be to the person who isn't paying attention to where they are standing and accidentally stands on a small hill while weeding. The bite stings a lot and later a small white pustule forms over the bite. Each ant can bite numerous times. Nasty critters.

In the garden they like to start building just inside or just outside the side boards of raised beds. I usually have to do a periodic patrol to watch for small raised areas and treat them before they get any bigger.

And they will get bigger.

How to deal with them? Well, there are commercial baits that you sprinkle around the outside of mounds. Ants will carry the bait down into the nest and it will kill them. Hopefully. But I can't have that stuff around anything edible and I don't want my cats walking through the bait and then maybe licking their paws later. If you mess with the mounds, like quickly scuffing off the top with your boot heel as you walk by, they will move. I used to do that to get them to move out of garden walkways but it doesn't work inside the beds.

One day at the feed and seed, a lady there told me that 1/4 cup of Dawn dish soap in a gallon of water would kill them. Just pour the whole gallon in one mound. I tried it on a mound that appeared right alongside a bush bean row, figuring if it killed a few plants there were plenty more others growing. By golly, it worked! The beans didn't mind a bit and the ants were gone.

I got to thinking and remembered from a hort class that ants have a waxy coating that protects them. It allows them to float in large masses during floods. Soap interferes with that coating so they drown in the mounds when the Great Dawn Flood comes calling. Actually, soap is soap so I now use plain old dish soap from Sam's, the pink stuff in a gallon jug for $5-something. Nowadays almost all dish soaps are phosphate-free. Check the label.

1/4 cup added to 1 gallon of water. Hold the jug about chest high and pour slowly right in the middle of the mound. If you see run off, move the stream around a little until you hit the sweet spot where there's no run off. It's nicely flooding all those little tunnels under there. The next day the top of the now-flat mound will be covered with thousands of dead ants.

The underground nests are so large and go so deep that you will never get the queen with this method and they'll pop up again maybe 10' away but it will be a while and they'll be out of your bean row or whatever.

Cold weather is supposed to move in this weekend so that will knock back activity for a while as they move back down deeper to stay warm. Yesterday I got all the ant mounds in the garden. In a little while I'm about to go out and deal with larger mounds in the yard, jugs of soap in hand. Death From Above!
01-16-2020 04:52 PM
Weedinhoe We've had two nice days now but still some overnight showers. I'm thinking of renaming the lower part of the garden The Swamp with several inches of standing water on both sides. There's even standing water between the lower beds again. There are some turnips that need to be pulled but it would mean deploying the WalMart Waders again. I'm going to have to break down and buy some rubber boots this weekend.

On the other hand, in the upper part of the garden things are going well. The garlic seems to not mind wet soil at all and is looking good.

This bed has carrots down the sides. There are two varieties on each side and the Tendersweets on the front right side had some germination problems. Seed was new last year. There are also three test hills of October planted potatoes on the near end and in the middle are some garlic plants started from the small cloves left over from planting the main garlic bed.

With the wet ground and warm temps the fire ants are having a field day building new mounds in the yard but more importantly I've spied some in a few garden beds. I will have to deal with them tomorrow. It's war, I tell ya!
01-14-2020 05:24 PM
Weedinhoe We've had a couple more inches of rain in the past several days so the open areas at the bottom of the garden are swamped again. It's a good thing they won't be needed until April.

Meanwhile, the eight Packman broccoli plants are putting out lots of side shoots. This morning I cut 15 ounces of them, just shy of a pound.

The second set of cauliflowers are about ready. I cut one of them today as it looked like it wanted to start opening up instead of being nice and tight. The other three aren't far behind but they're all smaller than the first four, being maybe 5-5.5" wide. Next fall I think I'll set them out in four sets of two, ten days apart.

The scallion, basil and Red Robin seeds have all popped up and are under the lights. Tomorrow the six arugula sets will be transplanted into a windowbox and will live out on the front porch.
01-11-2020 02:21 PM
Weedinhoe Today I pulled the first four spent cauliflower plants. Good news! The roots were clean as a whistle with no evidence of nematodes at all. It could be the result of a multitude of things. Maybe a bunch of them starved. Corn was there this past spring and nematodes don't mess with it, Fall '18 the bed was fallow, and cukes grew successfully there Spring 18 following a fallow Fall '17.

Still, I've read that brassicas are nematode supressors so that could be part of it too. Too many variables! Regardless, today I followed advice in that article and chopped up the leaves and stems of the cauliflower plants, turned them under and then mulched over the top with leaves. The incoming rain will water them in.

There will be peas going in there mid February.

Notice the cauliflower plants in the other side of the bed. They are very small compared to the first four big ones (about a third or quarter of the size) although they are still heading up. The big ones I just dug were planted out Sep 18 while the second four went out Oct 11. It very well could be that getting them in just three weeks later set them back some. It will be interesting to see how big the second set of heads get.
01-09-2020 03:22 PM
Originally Posted by Weedinhoe View Post
The basil is Newton, a freebie from Seeds n Such and the cherry tomato is Red Robin. Someone who shall remain nameless but who does a lot of baking said the tomato was a "spitter" but that's OK. I just wanted a toy to play with. It will grow out on the porch in a pot later on.
Yeah yeah....

I actually forgot that I even commented about the Red Robin maters. Hereís what I can tell you about them.

1. They grow well in a 10-12 inch hanging basket.

2. They grow prolifically. Keep the water hose on them.

3. Taste wise... if you like Yellow Pear, you will probably like Red Robin.

Meanwhile, everything else your doing looks good. And your right about Winter growing. Most plantings should be nearly fully grown by the time cold weather creeps in.

Something most folks also forget about, the lack of daylight hours. Once you start getting in the 9 hours or less, not much is going to happen. Thatís just the way it is.
01-09-2020 11:43 AM
Weedinhoe I couldn't help it. It's time to plant something. Fingers itching for contact with soil. And so I did.

I started one undivided pack of scallions, one pot of basil and one Red Robin dwarf cherry tomato. The scallions were supposed to be started today and in four weeks I'll start the other pack. That way they won't all be ready at once. It takes about 2 months for them to be a transplantable size.

The basil is Newton, a freebie from Seeds n Such and the cherry tomato is Red Robin. Someone who shall remain nameless but who does a lot of baking said the tomato was a "spitter" but that's OK. I just wanted a toy to play with. It will grow out on the porch in a pot later on.

Under the lights right now are two pots of thyme that I started 12/7, a mint and a 6-pack of arugula started 11/24.

The arugula will be transplanted to a window box tomorrow. I'm about two months late on it as I forgot about starting it earlier so I've missed some in my salads all fall/winter.

Lots of new growth coming up in that small pot of mint. It's 'Kentucky Colonel' and I've had it for years. There were two big pots of it and both almost died so what's in the small pot is what I was able to salvage. Saved from extinction once more!
01-08-2020 10:25 AM
Weedinhoe The wild daffs are just now peeking up. The whole area where they're coming up is about 3' x 6' so the pic is just a section of that. I've put flags at the corners of the patch so I don't walk over them. That reminds me I need to check spots where I've actually planted dafs. Some years back when I was planting dafs I only ordered fragrant ones. They smell nice in the kitchen when I cut some.

We're headed into another warm spell with five days in the low-mid 70's coming up. It's not unheard of and it seems that every third or fourth year it happens in January. I just checked my weather data. In January 2017 we had a ten day stretch of 70's. The yellow boxes at the bottom are the average daily high temp for the month and deviation from the 40 year average.

That made me then check February data for 2017 and sure enough, there were 16 days with highs in the 70's before returning to a normal March.

Last year I took a chance and pushed the planting window forward a bit too much. The brassicas were set out 2/10, got really blasted and I had to restart them. This year I've got a 2/23 plant out target date and will pay more attention to protection as the young 'uns can't take the cold that mature plants can.
01-04-2020 10:52 AM

Originally Posted by Weedinhoe View Post
Thanks for that insight! I basically ordered it to have something to play with now. Scratching the itch, so to speak!

Have you done any small potted tomatoes that are worth a taste?
Yes and Yes.

Sweet Pea and those "candy tomatoes" in a cup sold in the stores grocery dept...

ymmv of course
01-04-2020 10:21 AM
Originally Posted by cnew22 View Post
My cabbage has been growing so slow... I have composted, fertilized, watered, begged. They been in the ground since the 2nd week of November, and have barely started a head. I dont recall what variety it is. Must be like Bob's cabbage or something..
So where's that little notebook, eh? LOL!

More and more I'm believing that once the temps cool off enough, brassicas slow down in growth so if they're planted "late", they don't kick in quickly and it's a slow process to finish. "Late" will vary depending on where you are.

C, through some miracle I happen to have your daily temp data handy. During the second week of November, high temps ranged between 43-58. Lows were mostly in the 30's. Cold soil and cold temps might have set your plants back.

For here, I've been starting cabbages and other brassicas around mid August and planting out around mid September. That lets them grow quickly so that they're pretty well along and able to handle that first frost. This year seed was started Aug 11 and plants set out Sep 18. And yes, I did have to shade them during a 12 day stretch of mid to upper 90's that set in a week after I planted them out!

Check the DTM of what you're growing. This is the first year I've played with late cabbages like that Late Flat Dutch (100 days) and the Red Acre (115 days). I just now cut the first Dutch and the Red Acre isn't nearly ready. They're just slow growers. So I'm thinking if you're growing a long DTM variety *and* you planted them late, that might be why they're small and seeming not to thrive. Just something to look at.

I know for sure I need shorter day stuff for spring. And IF I plant long day cabbages next fall, it will be for extended fresh eating. Kraut making will happen from the shorter day, more dense 'Stonehead' (55 DTM).
01-04-2020 09:53 AM
Originally Posted by FarmerChad View Post
Have grown Red Robin before. Itís a spitter.
Thanks for that insight! I basically ordered it to have something to play with now. Scratching the itch, so to speak!

Have you done any small potted tomatoes that are worth a taste?
01-03-2020 09:26 PM
Originally Posted by Weedinhoe View Post

The cabbage was a bit disappointing. It measured 8"x7"x5" but it wasn't very heavy for its size, weighing only a hair over 2 lbs. The smaller Stoneheads are smaller but much more dense and heavier. This is why I trial different varieties. The 100 DTM Dutch is supposed to be a great kraut cabbage and it probably is in colder climates. I'll continue using the 55 DTM Stonehead for kraut and be stashing the remaining Dutch seeds in the freezer.

My cabbage has been growing so slow... I have composted, fertilized, watered, begged. They been in the ground since the 2nd week of November, and have barely started a head. I dont recall what variety it is. Must be like Bob's cabbage or something..
01-03-2020 06:13 PM
FarmerChad Have grown Red Robin before. Itís a spitter.
01-03-2020 04:52 PM

We are having a hard time with our baby cabbages also.
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