Sunday, May 19, 2013
These shallots are a pretty amazing plant. You plant one little bulb in the fall, and some time in June each plant will produce as many as 25 bulbs. Next year I plan to mulch them, I think foxes dig in my garden looking for mice or voles and then they uproot the bulbs in the process. I think mulch might deter them. This variety doesn't produce a flower or seed.
I am really beginning to appreciate this variety of onion. You can dig them all winter long, and they are ready as soon as the snow melts in the spring. They were the sweetest and most mild onion I have ever had. I can see why they were popular in old time gardens. I am going to let these produce the top sets for me. Some I want to pickle, and then this fall I want to plant enough to sell to a local grocery store chain.
I read some where that tomato growth is stimulated by red light, so I purchased a roll of red cellophane and wrapped it around the tomato cages. I don't know about the red light thing, but minimally it protects against the wind, night chill, and helps maintain adequate temperatures. I have some plants that are 30 inches tall already. I am going to leave the cellophane on until June 1st.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I planted my water melon, cantaloupe, and cucumbers in plastic cups with compost today. I would like them to be ready to set out about the 15th of May. So I'll see if one month is enough lead time. I also planted basil, and a second planting of beets. We are supposed to get between 2.5 inches and four inches of rain the next few days, but the plant swill be cozy all covered up. The soil temperature is abut 70 degrees. This hotbed was one of the best projects I have done in along time. I am going to grow egg plant, chives, chard, basil and herbs in it this summer, then I'll put fresh manure in it and grow late fall/early winter lettuce in it This Friday it is supposed to get down to 31 at night.
Monday, April 8, 2013
On Friday I laid clear plastic sheeting down on top of some beds that had been prepared with manure or compost and then double dug. The clear sheeting apparently lets in the sun's rays and heat. The water droplets don't allow it to escape. I read that black plastic itself heats up but doesn't allow the rays to go through it, and white plastic reflects everything. On Friday I had soil temps of 80 degrees, while adjacent soil was 40 degrees. I cut square holes and stuck in my plants. Then as you can see I erected some simple hoop tunnels over the top of the plants. Normal time to plant the tomatoes here locally is the 15th of May. It has been three days and the plants are already showing signs of growth.
Posted by Ken at 10:30 AM
Saturday, March 30, 2013
I transplanted about 75 plants into plastic cups today. I have more pepper plants coming to transplant nex week end. I saved seed from last years frying peppers that did great for me. The seed is from Melrose, and Chimayo. The eggplant variety is Aswad, which supposedly is from Iraq. Also I saved some pimiento from a fruit that someone gave me. I got ten plants from the pimiento. This morning I planted my potatoes. I got some purple, red and white potatoes from the grocery store that are supposed to be fingerlings. Maybe they were the little potatoes marketed for a big price. We will find out later. I had to dig through about six inches of ice in one bed to get them in. I used fresh manure with the potatoes, well see if it causes any problems.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
I added a little electric heater to keep things a little warmer for the nightshades. The little orange thing in the picture is the thermostat. It turns the vent fan on at 78 and off at 70.
Monday, March 11, 2013
I had to make a few adjustments today. We had a lot of rain over the week end, and the weight of the accumulated rain pulled some of the plastic loose, so I cut some boards to better support the insulated blanket It is very cloudy with highs of about 35 degrees until Thursday. With the bed covered with the blanket the soil temperature at soil surface was 60 degrees, a little cool for tomatoes and peppers. Since I am not getting any solar support I placed a small space heater inside, which raised the temperature about 10 degrees.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
I battled wind, rain ,cold, and sleet to get my seeds planted today. It has been 12 days since I put in the manure, packed it down, watered it and put compost on top. The soil temperature has been 110 degrees until it finally cooled down to about 80 degrees today. It was 38 degrees air temperature at the time of planting. It is supposed to warm up this week, but until then I have placed an insulated blanket over the top. I also have a thermometer laying on top of the soil so I will know what the temperature is at ground level. I planted about 50 linear feet of seed.
I would have liked to have gotten some seeds in a week ago, but it was too hot. It might be a little early for the tomatoes and peppers, but I put them in as well.
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Here you can see I removed the manure I had been storing in my pit. Then I began to fill , water and tramp it down as I went. The hot bed is 3 feet by 12 feet. It took three pick up loads or three cubic feet of manure. Then I took compost and screened it through hardware cloth. It took about half a yard to fill it with 4-5 inches of compost to start the seeds in. I raked it smooth and put the covers on top. What I have read is that in 7-8 days the weed seeds will have sprouted. The bed will have heated up and cooled down to a temperature suitable for seed germination. After the weed seeds sprout, they can be killed and the garden seeds planted. So some time next week I should be able to start seeds. Today it is snowing very hard and we might get 8 inches, so I finished just in time.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
I went and got a second load of manure today. It is now covered and protected against the elements. I don't really need it for about another ten days, but now I am about ready. When the time comes to water it and pack it down I will probably need about one more load. It is just piled loosely, with the cover it won't be frozen when i need it no matter how cold it gets in the mean time. It is so much easier to do this work when there is no snow, so this week was a good opportunity. Now I have to hook up my electricity. You can see the romex I ran from inside the house. Also I am going to hook up a vent fan and install a vent for fresh air to enter.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Saturday, January 26, 2013
We have an ice storm coming and I wanted to build the hotbed structure before the lumber got covered with ice and snow. Right now the ground is dry here but it was about 25 degrees outside. The official soil temperature is 26 degrees, and next week it is supposed to be pretty cold. I covered both sides of the windows with plastic to have an insulation layer. I still want to run electricity to it, and have a vent fan to keep it from overheating, and a little electric heater for back up heat. I have an insulated blanket to cover it on real cold days or nights. The insulated blanket is what concrete workers use. About February 26th is when I want to fill it with manure and soil.
Spring has sprung or is about to spring in some parts of the U.S. and some are wondering about what is the best date to plant plants. Often time seed packets have suggested months and dates or certain vague timing related to frost averages. The true determining factor is soil temperature. All plants have temperature parameters in which they thrive. 50 degrees F. is a basic benchmark for plant growth. Below 50 degrees and above 32 degrees many plants can survive but will make very little active growth. To bring a little science into planting equations and less guess work, one needs to buy an inexpensive soil thermometer. You might have a meat thermometer with a probe in the kitchen already. Begin to monitor what is happening with your soil. As they begin to approach 50 your getting close. On the internet you can observe ten day weather forecasts. Begin to combine the highs and lows. When the soil temp hits 50 and the ten day forecast averages 50, put your plants in the ground. If the ten day forecast is "good" except it might show one night with a hard frost, watch out. Some plant varieties require 55 and some 60 degrees before they should be planted. Lima beans need 65 degrees to germinate. Where I live at this moment soil temperature is 26 degrees. Do a little research regarding the various varieties. This concept affects hoop houses as well. Even with auxiliary heat, surrounding soil temperatures outside can be 20-30 degrees. This cold soil mass surrounding the hoop house will migrate, perhaps three feet into the hoop house rendering the perimeter area unproductive. It probably is recommendable to dig a 2 to 3 foot trench on all 4 sides and put in vertically panels of insulation foam 2-3 inches thick around semi permanent structures to eliminate migration.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I don't like starting seeds indoors, it takes up to much space, all the lighting etc., problems with damping off, and memory's of children filling cribs with plants and dirt during nap time. So I am working on this years hotbed, in a different location and dimensions that last. I made mine 4 feet deep last year which is too deep to reach in safely. So this year it will be 36 inches deep. Also I bought some old screens today for $15 that I will cover with two layers of plastic. Last year I used glass windows. Some broke, and I thought they were dangerous. I only dug 2 feet deep last year, and I have gone 30 inches this year. The length is 12 feet. I plan on using a squirrel cage fan for ventilation, and perhaps a small auxiliary heater connected to a thermostat. I found on the "net" a rather simple design for the frame.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
This isn't technically hot sauce as we commonly know it. It is really hot oil. You take your hot peppers and soak them in Olive Oil for a few weeks or a month. Don't fill the jar to full to the top because they swell up and will overflow. I went to the Mexican store and bought some Habanero's, Pequin, and Serrano. The idea is to make it as hot as you can then dilute to how you like it. Then filter out the peppers and throw them away, and rebottle your hot oil. Be sure it is clearly labeled, you dont want children to have access to it. You should only have to make this once a year. If you want you can put garlic etc in it. I like it pretty pure fire, and put just a few drops on my food.
I ordered these seed from England and planted them early last March. Considering how hot and dry the year was, they didn't do too bad.Some you can see I heeled on. I dug a trench and pulled them up and replanted them so I can dig them this winter. The nice big plant I have left, and placed a insulated rose bush cover over it. If it survives I am going to try to grow vegetative cuttings from it next year. I tried blanching them as they grew with black drainage pipe, which about cooked them on hot days. I will just blanch them with dirt next year.
I dug up all my plants in August, dried the plants and bulbs , and replanted them September 1st. I think next year I will dig them up as soon as the bulbs are ready. Then I will immediately replant the bulbs and newly separated roots. They are much easier to grow compared with scallions grown from seed. You have 100% germination and they grow much more rapidly. So I have them ready all fall, winter and spring. I am really starting to like them as a concept. You can plant them fairly deep and pull dirt around them to blanch them as they grow.Ii can see why the old timers liked them. I think they should be in every garden.
Posted by Ken at 6:06 PM
This was the first itme I've ever grown Celeriac They aren't as big as the ones at the store, but it basically never rained all summer long. I will probably try them again They like moist soil, and plenty of sun. I interplanted them with my tomatoes, which like pretty much the same conditions. I grew them from seed..
Peppers in there natural habitat, are almost small trees, and grow for years. I tried this years ago, but in the regular part of the house with heat and a window, and they got taken over by whiteflys. About November 1st, before the first real frost I pulled them out of the ground and potted them up. I found out, that quite easily 4 or 5 would fit in a bucket. I pruned them back quite aggressively and then put them in the buckets. I didn't poke holes in the bucked because you want them to be pretty dry. The are in a cool place in my basement where they get a little light.I put them down there and forgot all about them until about a week ago. They have began to poke out a few little leaves. Really you just want them to hibernate and not do much of anything. Then in late April or early May maybe pot them up and start giving them some sun.Ii will plant them directly in the garden in May for the second season. I have read that some people keep them alive for years this way. Supposedly they become much larger plants and fruit much sooner. I wish I had kept many more plants. The variety's are Carmen, Chimayo, and Melrose.