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Old 02-10-2020, 03:32 PM
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This summer I want to put the tomato buckets at the top of the garden in a bed that gets some afternoon shade. They'll be on pallets that will sit across the bed, not on the soil to keep fire ants out. Then if this experiment doesn't work out, the pallets will go and the bed can revert to being a regular bed again, just more narrow.

The pallets are 4' wide and so is the outside diameter of the bed so there's just a small edge for the pallets to sit on. Not enough. I decided to make the bed more narrow so that wooden pallets will sit firmly across the side boards with some overlap.

This morning I dug out a 1' strip down one side of the bed and then moved the two side boards in so now the bed is 3' across.



Digging, leveling and setting the two boards took at least an hour and a half. Adjust this, level that, measure across, peg the boards in place...lots of fiddling. But it's done other than cutting the end boards to size.



I decided to place a pallet on the bed to see how it fit. The first one didn’t because it had cut outs on the cross pieces to allow lifting forks to slide through. The cut outs were spaced so that if one side of the pallet rested on one of the bed's side boards, the other side board “fell in the hole” of the other cutout so the pallet tilted. A pallet with no cutouts fit perfectly.



I forgot not all pallets are 4x4. The first one I tried wasn't so I couldn't just turn it. I now know I need to pay attention when selecting pallets that the 4’ side has no cut outs.
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Old 02-11-2020, 08:39 AM
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It's a gloomy day out there with on and off mist. More rain is coming, probably tomorrow if not a few sprinkles today.

I just came up from the garden as I wanted to get the pea beds prepped for planting this afternoon and get them in ahead of the rain. I pulled the leaf mulch back, scattered the fertilizer and started to turn that under. But after two shovels full it was evident that I'd go no farther today. The soil was really mucky and to turn it over now would really harm the soil structure as it would dry in hard clumps. It looks like a ten day wait now.

The first asparagus seeds are poking up in their cell packs. Progress. Meanwhile the kale and collards and the first round of broccoli and cabbage plants are about ready to start hardening off outside on the porch. They'll get a few hours today.
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Old 02-15-2020, 11:08 AM
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We had another inch of rain two days ago so we'll try pea planting on the 18th after several days of sun. However the forecast is for possible showers tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Planting will happen when it happens.

Meanwhile the first round of three broccolis and one of three kales are now hardening off on the porch. I swear that in their first two days outside they doubled in size! They can go to the garden as soon as I can safely prep planting holes. I also put the mint back outside. In the window boxes are parsley on the left and arugula (which I've been adding to salads) on the right.



On one light shelf I have a dwarf tomato (Red Robin), some thyme, a pot of just-seeded scallions (2nd round) and a basil plant in the front. There are also five small pots of soil warming up so I can transplant some small pepper and dwarf tomato seedlings. The potting soil was outside and super cold. Behind them are asparagus seedlings.



This shelf has the 2nd round of three broccoli plants, three collards, the other two kales and first round of scallions. They will all go out to the porch for their first several hours of hardening this afternoon. In the back are the just-sprouted last three broccolis and on the right the little peppers and tomatoes that I'll pot up this afternoon.



Outside the Ice King daffs are blooming. They are fragrant and I need to bring a few into the kitchen to enjoy them. Although the wild daffs bloom first every year, these Ice Kings are the always the first to bloom of the ones I've planted.

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Old 02-15-2020, 11:21 AM
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Nice pics!

When I lived in Michigan (temperate zone), I grew a lot of King Alfred daffodils; they were a favorite. Aren't they just the most cheerful spring flower?!?!
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:39 PM
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Thanks! I love daffs because they're about the easiest thing to grow. When I started to buy daffs and realized there were fragrant ones, that's all I'd buy. Such a light sweet fragrance! A few in a bud vase brighten up the kitchen.

I just got done potting up those baby pepper and dwarf seedlings. I had put three pepper seeds in one and two tomato seeds in another to make sure something came up since they were several years old. Well, they all came up and I didn't have the heart to toss the extras.

Here's a cheap little tool for pricking out seedlings that I read about some years ago. You just break off two tines from a plastic fork and it works like a charm for loosening and then lifting seedlings for transplant into a small pot.

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Old 02-18-2020, 07:56 AM
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Default Rain, Rain, Go away

After just a few days of drying out, it's rain today through Thursday. The purported heat tolerance of the Wando peas will be tested this year as they're going to get sown probably the latest they've ever been sown. The beds were just starting to dry out and now more rain.

Yesterday I put tunnels over the two pea beds and the one potato bed just to keep the rain out and help them dry! When I grabbed a handful of soil, the top 2-3" seemed ok to plant in but below that it was muddy. and when this bout of rain finally stops, I'm going to go ahead and plant in that top 2". If their roots go down into the mud and they drown later I have plenty of seed for replanting.

Now the turnip and carrot sowing scheduled for today has been cancelled until further notice. I have no idea what this year's garden will finally look like. I just know that when it's finally ok to plant it's going to be an avalanche of tasks to do at once. Oh well, been there and done that before and it will all get done sooner or later. Hopefully not later. It's always a race to get stuff up and running before the heat comes calling.
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Old 02-18-2020, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Weedinhoe View Post
I have no idea what this year's garden will finally look like.
Same here, I really need to get out my graph paper and start planning. I want to try some new things this year, and I made some notes to myself last year along those lines. But we'll see what actually makes the cut.

I have definitely decided that I am not going to plant any cucumbers at all this year. I still have jars and jars of pickles in the pantry.
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:03 AM
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I have definitely decided that I am not going to plant any cucumbers at all this year. I still have jars and jars of pickles in the pantry.
Lots of pickles still here too but I'm still gonna plant some. We always like to try new pickle recipes. Lots of times out they go because they're not all that tasty. But the cukes are free and vinegar is inexpensive.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:48 AM
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Would you care to post an easy recipe for pickles?
I made refrigerator pickles with the spiny cukes... Good at first, but no shelf life... When I left them in the fridge for a number of months... They got mushy... Cat and chicken food....
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:47 PM
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Would you care to post an easy recipe for pickles?
I made refrigerator pickles with the spiny cukes... Good at first, but no shelf life... When I left them in the fridge for a number of months... They got mushy... Cat and chicken food....
Are you more of a dill person or a sweet pickle person or a tart/sweet pickle person?

Also, refrigerator or canning style?
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:50 PM
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Well, we ended up with 3" of rain yesterday. I guess the three tunnels did their job as all that water is now lying between the beds. The bottom areas of the garden are totally swamped again.





You know the phrase about hindsight being 20/20. As we were looking at the mess, 5th Gear offered that perhaps we didn't need to set up the tunnels but just lay the plastic over the bed. Well, that would have created a plastic lined swimming pool. BUT... we could have just put some overturned 3 gallon buckets down the middle of each bed, laid the plastic down over the beds, anchoring the plastic hanging over the edge in several spots on the ground with a few bricks. There would have been enough slant to make all the rain run off and not collect on collapsed spots between hoops. Water is heavy!

More tinkering is in order. Too much water is a situation we don't run into very often! And there's too much water out there now to do any tinkering as I still don't have rubber boots. The feed 'n' weed was out of my size last week as was Walmart. Shucky darns....
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Old 02-19-2020, 11:39 PM
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We could use a little of that rain here, things are starting to dry out again.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:05 AM
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We could use a little of that rain here, things are starting to dry out again.
Want some of ours?
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:37 AM
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Are you more of a dill person or a sweet pickle person or a tart/sweet pickle person?

Also, refrigerator or canning style?
yes.

Whatever you'd care to post.
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Old 02-20-2020, 10:06 AM
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Rainy day (again) indoor putters! The tomatoes won't be started until later but I had to scratch the seed starting itch so that happened with dwarf tomatoes and basil. They can live on a table inside or outdoors on the porch, temps permitting.

Both of these are new to me. The first is 'Red Robin' which supposedly will get just 9-12" tall and make 1.5" cherry tomatoes. This is one stocky plant! It was seeded on 1/9 and yesterday I put it in a 2 gallon pot which will be its final home. It already has the first flower buds on top!




The other one is Dreikäsehoch, a cherry tomato that originated in the UK as Whipper Snapper. It is supposed to be a 1' plant with a trailing habit. Waaaay different from Red Robin! I wonder when it will start trailing. It was started 1/26 from seed given to me and I put it in a larger pot this morning. It's sitting next to the Kentucky Colonel mint.




Seeds 'n' Such gave out a freebie packet of 'Newton' basil with orders this year and I started one on 1/9. The leaves aren't as bumpy on top (bullate) as some basils. I haven't tried it yet but this is what it looks like now.



I want to start more herbs today but need to figure out how much space will be available under the lights once they germinate. There's one more light shelf left at the bottom of the rack but right now there are seed starting supplies living there. Hmmm, time to think on this....
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Old 02-20-2020, 12:01 PM
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yes.

Whatever you'd care to post.

I appreciate folk such a you!

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Old 02-21-2020, 11:29 AM
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Default Refrigerator Pickles

OK, I thought I'd post three different refrigerator pickles that you can make by the pint or by the quart using store bought cukes. They're quick and easy.

The first is a sweet-tart one that my mom made for years. She got the recipe from a good friend, thus the title.

Henrietta’s Refrigerator Pickles
Makes 1 quart

2 regular cukes or 3 small, sliced very thin
¾ c cold water
¾ c. cider vinegar
¾ c. sugar
¼ c. thinly sliced onion
¼ tsp + 1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp + 1/8 tsp celery salt
¼ tsp + 1/8 tsp garlic salt
¼ tsp + 1/8 tsp celery seed
¼ tsp onion salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

- Combine all except cukes in a bowl then add cukes and mix well.
- Transfer all to a quart jar jar (can use mayo jar). Cover and refrigerate.
- Shake jar every now and then.
- Ready to serve in 2 days.
- Will keep in the refrigerator for one month.

***********

This one is a good refrigerator dill. In the winter we use the bags of small salad cukes from WalMart. You might want to halve the recipe to just try them. You can also cut the cukes into chunks instead of spears.

Refrigerator Dill Spears
makes 2 quarts

2 lbs pickling cucumbers
1 TBS yellow mustard seed
2 TBS dill seed
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 (4) garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup + 2 TBS sugar (6 TBS total)
1/4 cup canning salt
8 black peppercorns

- Cut each cucumber lengthwise into four spears. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers dill, onions and garlic; set aside.
- In a pot, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cook and stir just until the salt is dissolved. Pour over the cucumber mixture, then let cool.
- Pack into two quart jars and divide the brine among them. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to two months.

********

And finally, a fresh Asian flavored pickle salad that can be served about an hour after making it. This one's also good to snack on when you want one or two quick bites of something after opening the refrigerator door and staring in there to see if there's anything you want.

Korean Cucumber Salad

3 pickling or 2 small regular cukes, cut into ¾” chunks
2 scallions, sliced thin (or use regular onion)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Korean chili flakes (gochugaru) or other hot pepper flakes to taste
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar

Mix all ingredients together and toss well. Let sit about an hour to let flavors blend.
Serve cold or at room temperature.
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Old 02-21-2020, 03:41 PM
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ok... copied pickle post into my documents where it should be easy to find.

Now... just need these freezes to stop... 25 degrees tonight! Tired of it...

I don't purchase produce... Wonder how pickled turnip / rutabaga would be?

Hmmm... maybe sweet potato?
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:50 PM
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Wonder how pickled turnip / rutabaga would be?

Hmmm... maybe sweet potato?
Boldly go where no man, er pickler, has gone before


Let us know outcome !
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Old 02-22-2020, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by st0n3 View Post
ok... copied pickle post into my documents where it should be easy to find.

Now... just need these freezes to stop... 25 degrees tonight! Tired of it...

I don't purchase produce... Wonder how pickled turnip / rutabaga would be?

Hmmm... maybe sweet potato?
Well, no guts, no glory!

The Koreans do pickle turnips so I guess rutas would fit in there too. There are a ton of recipes online for pickled turnips.

Here's one I got out of an old church cookbook that I really like:

Marinated Turnips

Make as many jars as you like.

Peel and cut into ¾” cubes as many turnips as will fit in a pint jar, about 4 medium.

To each jar, mix together and then add:

3 TBS white vinegar
3 TBS salad oil (I use canola)
1 clove garlic, crushed
¾ tsp seasoning salt
2 tsp salt

Cover tightly and refrigerate, shaking the jar(s) occasionally. Let sit about a week to develop flavors. This will keep a long time in the refrigerator.
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