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Sunday, December 30, 2012

How to Build an Inexpensive Garden Grow Light Station

How to Build an Inexpensive 
Garden Grow Light Station

This video shows you how to build a mobile grow light station you can put anywhere in your house for under $40. It will cover two seed trays worth of future transplants. You can save 100's of dollars by growing your own transplants. The video shows you how to construct the light station.

I will be making future videos to show you how to set and manage the seed trays of future transplants. This is my first 2013 gardening video. I plan to make videos of all aspects of vegetable gardening. Why not join my channel and groups.






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Black Plum: Tomato Varieties

Black Plum

Heirloom
Black - Deep reds and mahogany
Indeterminate 80 days to maturity
2 inch grape/oval shaped fruit
Roma/Paste

This is an heirloom from Russian. I grow this variety. I have made spaghetti sauce with it and it makes a rich dark complex sauce. They are great to eat alone off the vine, in salads and with salsas.  Sweet with a great tomato scent and taste. Very productive.

Black Plum Heirloom - The Rusted Garden Blog





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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Black Krim: Tomato Varieties

Black Krim

Heirloom
Purple-Brown Deep Red/ Deep Green Shoulders
Indeterminate 75-90 days to maturity
10 -12 ounce flatten round shape
Naturally salty taste

An heirloom that originated on the Isle of Krim by the Baltic Sea. It is a great tasting fruit that has a natural salt flavor. The flavor is sweet with the complexity of black tomatoes. The colors range in deep purple-browns to mahogany, deep reds and they always have deep green shoulders. A great heirloom I grow yearly. It is prone to cracking but I don't mind.





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Black Cherry: Tomato Varieties

Black Cherry
  • Origin Unknown
  • Purple Black
  • Indeterminate 65-75 days to maturity
  • 1 inch round fruit clusters
  • Cherry
  • Heat Tolerant
This tomato get marks for being the only black fully round cherry tomato. Most of what you find in this size are plum grape shaped tomatoes. It has a sweet and rich flavor that is associated with black tomato varieties. It produces clusters of 1 inch round fruit. That plant is vigorous and grows long and sprawling vines. It adds color to any tomato dish. Heat resistant, which is a bonus in many areas. It won't quit in the heat.


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Friday, December 28, 2012

Aunt Ruby's German Green: Tomato Varieties

Aunt Ruby's German Green


  • Heirloom
  • Yellow-Green shoulders
  • Indeterminate 85-95 days to maturity
  • 12-16 ounce round fruit or larger
  • Beefsteak
An heirloom tomato that came from Greeneville, Tennessee. It was introduced to market in 1993. A large beefsteak tomato with sweet juicy fruit. A report of a hint of spiciness comes with the sweetness.



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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Amish Paste: Tomato Varieties

Amish Paste Tomato
  • Heirloom
  • Red
  • Indeterminate 80-85 days to maturity
  • 8-12 ounce plum/ox-heart shaped fruit
  • Paste/Roma
This tomato seed was first acquired from the Amish in Lancaster Pennsylvania and introduce to market in 1987. The seed originated in Madison, Wisconsin around 1870.  A meaty flesh that is excellent for making paste/sauce or eating fresh sliced or in salsa type dishes.

This tomato is highly prized as the best sauce type tomato around because of its flavor and meatiness throughout the whole tomato.


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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays


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Happy Holidays from the Rusted Garden. Enjoy your holiday. May you get something for your garden!

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Garden Seed Catalog Review: Tomato Growers


Questions? Join My Google+ Community Tomato and Vegetable Gardening


I think it is one of the best if not the best tomato seed catalogs out there. Don't be fooled by the title. You get a good selection of peppers too and you can also order eggplant and tomatillos.

Huge selection of tomatoes with very good descriptions, lots of color pictures and all the details you need for making a decisions. The prices are fair and you can buy bulk quantities too.

I highly recommend Tomato Growers Catalog.  Some pictures...


Tomato Growers Catalog - The Rusted Garden Blog

Great Tomato Pictures and Descriptions - The Rusted Garden Blog

Great Selection of Tomatoes - The Rusted Garden Blog





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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sandy Hook Tragedy: Managing Mental Illness, Reducing Mass Violence and Change


Questions? Join My Google+ Community Tomato and Vegetable Gardening

I had to write something on my blog. I can't get images of these children out of my mind. My son has even had nightmares at 14. A tragedy on so many levels, I only hope their lives are never forgotten.

I am clinical mental heath therapist and can tell you I've never been attacked or harmed in 25 years. Violence is not the norm in anyway when it comes to mental health. Unrecognized, untreated or under-treated symptoms and weak services are every bit as responsible for this tragedy, as are easy access to firearms and our social failure to fully fund and address mental health issues in the is United States. This really is not about looking backwards to blame but rallying to prevent future mass violence. We must looked forward for prevention

I only hope that this tragedy doesn't get cast away into yet another government committee or exploratory group to identify what can be done. This has already been done 1000 times. It is not a matter of knowing what to do to reduce the risks of mass violence or improve the mental health system in America, it is a matter of action and follow through. I would be glad to dedicate the next 20 years of my career to ensure best practices are enacted, reviewed, revised and continually improved when it comes to improving mental health services. Any one Presidents Obama's direct line?

To deal with problems I write. I write poetry and I write my ideas for solutions.


Reducing Mass Violence, Managing Mental Health and Preventing Future Sandy Hook Tragedies



Millions of people deal with some sort of symptoms that are associated with illnesses that affect the mind.  A short-hand version of these types of illness has been lumped into the catch-all phrase of ‘the mentally ill’.  While millions of people may have a major mental illness or symptoms that affect their mind, they are not any more dangerous than any other human being.  

I heard someone say on the radio today, “First we have to identify the people that have or don’t have a mental illness. If they have a mental illness and live alone then they should not be allowed to have guns.” Sadly, this understanding of a mental illness is what defines stigma.  Stigma prevents or slows individuals from getting treatment for mental health related issues. It is one barrier that creates risk for mass violence.

Violence in human society has been around since our inception. It comes in many forms and is practiced legally and illegally in different cultures, countries and smaller populations.  What we are talking about with regard to a goal for mass violence such as school shootings or shootings in movie theaters is reduction. The question to ask is: What can we continually do as a society to reduce the chances that any form of mass violence will happen in our schools, communities and country?

There is a lot we can do, in the way of prevention, if we look at intervening and reducing the chances of mass violence based on the three points of a triangle.  The three points of intent, mindset and resources are necessary for mass violence and there are methods to intervene at each point and reduce the risk of mass violence.  Intervention and prevention are the keys to reduction of any behavior. 

I have just about 25 years of experience in all aspects of community mental health. I’ve been a clinical mental health therapist in a hospital based community mental health clinic for the last 10 years. I have seen the mental health budgets deteriorate in Maryland over time as well as with the rest of the country. 

Mental health budgets have always been second hand citizen and were woefully underfunded 25 years ago. That is even true more so today.  Funding is not the sole reason for the recent killings in our schools. It is one piece that must be addressed but equal to that is the continued development of professional mental health services that use funds wisely and effectively to get the help needed into the communities they serve. A budget can't be set with hopes nothing bad happens. Something bad has happened and seems to be continuing to happen. It really is time for social change.

Improved mental health services in clinics, in schools and other places in our communities can help identify intent, they can help assess mindset and offer treatment alternatives to effectively manage mental health symptoms and illnesses. They can provide resources for support and treatment for both the individual with the illness and the family members that help provide care.  Resources are not only about mental health care. Individuals also need resources to get weapons.  Addressing this issue is as important as improving our mental health system. All angles that converged must be addressed and realigned.

If you intervene with any one point of the triangle you remove one aspect needed to achieve the behavior of mass violence. Improved intervention and prevention will reduce the chances of mass violence occurring. I only hope President Obama and Congress act. The key word being - act.



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Mrs. Smith's Signature Deep Dish Pies & A Great Give-Away Contest that is Easy As Pie to Enter

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mrs. Smith's for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

MrsSmith.jpg

Don't forget to enter the give-away contest! Read on for details.

There is a bit of a lul in the garden come winter-time. The holidays bring excitement and families get together to eat and celebrate. Why not bring something new to the table. Mrs. Smith's Signature Deep Dish pies offer 4 new customizable pies? They are great for the holidays and a delicous way to fill the void  left from not being out in the garden. Check out the link. They look outstanding. All deep dish styles of apple, cherry, peach and pumpkin pie made only the way Mrs. Smith's can do it.

Now I am not only writing about the pies, I also baked and customized each pie... well my kids did. I did get to enjoy a slice or few of each of the four varieties. I have to say the pumpkin pie was outstanding and the cherry pie was good. But the apple pie was my favorite.  Here is a look at some of what we created.

 

 

I wanted to show you what came with the pies. They came with sauces you could drizzle to taste. That was what my kids had the most fun with. I don't have a picture but one of the slices of cherry pie was covered in chocolate. The crumb topping was added to the apple pie and baked on after 40 minutes. We also drizzled a carmal sauce over the top. What other pies let you customize?

It was a great opportunity for the family to have fun and bake something. And dare I say the fun was as well... as easy a pie. It is important to take the time to enjoy  your family and just have fun. We customized the pie, took pictures and enjoyed the smell that filled the house. Everyone had a favorite but agreed that they all were good. 

Now don't take my word for it. Why not enter right here on my blog to win a prize. This contest is sponsored by Mrs. Smith's Signature Deep Dish pies but the prize will go to a randomly picked contestant from my blog. All you have to do is comment on this blog entry as described below. I will randomly pick a winner 30 days from the date on this blog entry.

I will be giving away a $50 gift card to Williams Sonoma and a coupon for a free Deep Dish pie. All you have to do is comment on which of the four pies you might try and your reason and what you might buy at Williams Sonoma if you won. Easy!  This is a contest to help Mrs Smith's bring a new product to market. Why not help them out and connect to their Facebook page and their Pinterest page?  Enter the contest!  You will have great odds for winning!

 

 

 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Come Join Femented Hungry Friends: A New Rusted Garden Community Hangout!


Questions? Join My Google+ Community Tomato and Vegetable Gardening

Google+ has created Communities. I have taken advantage of their fine services and created several several G+ Communities. It is a place to simply join and express yourself much like Face Book. It is a bit cleaner and much easier to navigate.

I invite you to join Fermented Hungry Friends.  A place that is all about wine, beer, food and recipes and the friends you share it with.

It has places to drop pictures of what your eating or drinking right at the moment. It has places for critiques and recommendations. You can find recipes and plan that next gathering with help from bottle to plate.

I invite you to join Fermented Hungry Friends. Come bring some life to a community.

Thanks,
Gary

Come Join Fermented Hungry Friends- A G+ Community - The Rusted Garden




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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What Kind of Garden Videos Do You Prefer: Help Me Plan 2013


Questions? Join My Google+ Community Tomato and Vegetable Gardening

I really enjoy making the garden videos. I made over 100 HD garden videos last year. My goal was 50. Now that I have 100 and cover a lot of vegetable gardening topics, I want to see what you all might prefer in a video. I try to keep the conversation focused on what the title of the video describes and keep the videos as short as possible.

So, if you have the time could you send me some feedback in the comment section here and I will also be posting the question in my new Google+ vegetable gardening community. A great place to join to meet others and get questions answered.

1. What topics would you like to see more garden videos on?
2. How long do you feel a garden video should be?
3. What makes a video keep your interest once you start watching it?
4. What type of  garden videos do you prefer: How-To, Descriptive, Tour, Etc?
5. Any other suggestions for me to adopt for 2013 videos would be appreciated.

Thanks for you support.
Gary

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Please Join My New Google + Community: Tomato and Vegetable Gardening

Google+ has created Communities. It is the next big thing (or so I am told). I created a gardening community called Tomato and Vegetable Gardening.

It is designed to create a community of gardeners that enjoy sharing information and talking about our passion... gardening. Please join the community and spread the word. The community will become what we make it. Why not be 1 of the first 100 to set roots? It will give you something to do in the winter.

Here is the link to my Google+ Community: Tomato and Vegetable Gardening

Thanks
Gary

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

December Update: Winter Container Greens and A Mini Hot-house

My goal was greens into December. We did have a nice week of warmer than normal weather but I think we under-estimate growing cool weather crops in our gardens. Fall and winter, in Maryland, doesn't mean pack the garden in. Most of it, yes, but not all of it. Lettuce and other greens do well.

I took these pictures today. The container lettuces have been out in the cold and frost with no protection. You can see red romaine, a red leaf lettuce and the green in the back is cilantro. Notice the colors of the cilantro caused by the cool weather. I am still eating mixed green out of the garden.


December Lettuce in Containers - The Rusted Garden Blog

I have a video that shows you how to build the PVC plastic painters cloth greenhouse that you see in the picture below. It is working extremely well. Unlike the container greens which I pick as leaves, I am planning to pick the greens below as a whole head. I will cut the leaves off and leave the roots in the ground. If it stays warm enough, the roots will send up more leaves. The greens you see were transplants from my container greens.


PVC Greenhouse Greens in Winter - The Rusted Garden Blog

Finally, a picture of some 'Red Russian' kale seedlings. I planted them in November. They will over-winter pretty much just how you see them. Come spring I will have plenty of baby kale. I will transplant them to the main areas of my garden. There has to be 50-75 plants in this space. That is way too many. But I only need about 1/4 of them to survive for great early spring greens.


'Red Russian' Kale Planted in Winter for Spring Greens - The Rusted Garden Blog


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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winter Project One: Milk Carton Hot-House for Frost Protection

There is a bit of time to kill between now and next season. If you are like me, you want to get things into the garden as fast as possible. When you plant in spring, you often need something to protect plants from frost. Why not recycle your milk containers now? If you start making these in December you will have at least a dozen of them come spring. They are not only good for frost protection but they will heat up the ground and plant that is under them. More heat means better growth.

The steps are in pictures. The biggest thing... rinse them thoroughly. Nothing worse than the smell of sour milk.

Milk Container Frost Protection - The Rusted Garden Blog
Cut Off the Bottom to Create the Hot-House - The Rusted Garden Blog
My milk containers have a line about 1 inch from the bottom. I suggest poking a hole in it with and knife and finishing the cut all the way around with scissors. You end up with a 1 inch cut bottom piece and the rest of the container that will be used to drop over your plants.

Two Hot-House Caps - The Rusted Garden Blog
Mini Hot-House Caps from Milk Cartons - The Rusted Garden Blog
You actually get to items for your garden. The bottom of the milk container can be inverted and pressed over seeds. It will warm the area, protect them from hard rains and create a mirco-environment for the seeds to sprout more quickly. The large part of the container can go right over transplants. It should be pushed into the ground so the edges go about an inch into the earth. It will make a seal for heat and prevent the wind from blowing it over.

Notice one picture has the cap on and the other has the cap off. Save the cap! It comes off when the days get warmer. All you have to do is remove and replace the cap as needed to makes sure the transplant stays warm or to make sure it doesn't cook on hotter sunny days.

Inverted Bottom Becomes Seed & Seedling Warmer - The Rusted Garden Blog


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Friday, November 30, 2012

Creative Gardeners Wanted: A Poem about Simplicity

Now I am not saying creativity breeds anything more than well... something creative. One of the reason I enjoy gardening is because I am creating. I view it as a form of art. All our effort and energy, as gardeners, gets transformed and carried into something living. That is very cool when you think about it.

I believe gardeners hold a common theme that binds us together in life philosophy and points of view. So yeah, I am saying we are a creative bunch. What we create is done through enjoying the process and not worrying about the outcomes and critics (snails and slugs). In short, we do what we do because we enjoy creating in our plot of earth..

There is a beauty and an innate pleasure in turning the earth and planting a seed that you only get if  you get it.

I also know gardener's creativity extend beyond the garden. I hope to give you a forum to display your creative sides. I enjoy writing poetry, taking pictures and creating garden videos. I also paint abstractly.

The new Rusted Vegetable Garden Discussion Forum will hold a place for any gardener to show off their creative side. Feel free to show off your garden or other sides of your creativity. The link is below.

Here is a poem I wrote about simplicity.

You can find more about this poem in the discussion forum. I break down what each stanza means. Why not visit the link and post some of your creativity? The Rusted Vegetable Garden Forum: Creative Gardeners

A Worn Shovel

Of old and new
Against modern colors
I’ll take the taint of black
Edges so dull
Rusted blades
Carvings in solid stone

Breath of sunlight
In sightless shades
I’ll take mine pure and deep
Choking weeds
Unturned ground
Growing slowly tangled

Of showers and storms
Drowning with benevolence
I’ll take the purest fall
Soaking earth
Swelling seeds
A purpose to be enjoyed 

Copyright September 2006 Gary Pilarchik


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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Introducing The Rusted Vegetable Garden Discussion Forum

I apologize for the 2nd entry about the discussion forum. I am linking up multiple pieces of the blog and need to run tests. December is the beta test for the discussion forum. I now have a link attached to each blog entry. I have created the sub forums to organize questions and answers and added a Daily Gardener section just for discussion.

Please help me beta test it and check it out. Feel free to post anything as this is a test. Real questions or pretend questions.

You don't have to register or supply any information. You can just test run the fourm.

Thanks and Have a Great Holiday

Gary

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Rusted Garden Blog Now Has a Garden Forum to Talk

One of the changes I am making for the new year is that I am adding a FORUM to the BLOG. So the Rusted Vegetable Garden Blog now has a Gardening Forum at the bottom of the page.

It works like all other forums. It has topics and places to ask questions, share information, show off your garden pictures and help other gardener's in need.

Please help me test it out and iron out the wrinkle by visiting the forum. I really need help beta testing it for December.



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Monday, November 26, 2012

Sandy Soil for Great Radishes: Winter Planning for 2013

The words 'sandy loam' come up over and over again when researching radishes. One thing to do during the winter, before the new season starts, is to review what went well and what went poorly or could have gone better in your garden. I think I can get more out my radishes. So winter time, is research and planning time. A radish plan of attack next year is being created.

I've done fairly well at growing radishes but not nearly as great as I want. What is radish greatness? Every radish, when given the right spacing, develops a root size that would challenge the Guinness Book of  World Records. Too often I have too many small or distorted radish roots. The problem... my clay soil (I think). Though it has been amended over the last 10 years, I believe it is not sandy enough for my root crops. I plan to make a raised bed that is sandy, sandy and more sandy. A good mix of my soil, bags of sand and organic matter should do the trick.

Looking forward to 2013, I plan to make a super sandy loam that won't clump when squeezed in my hand. If what I have read is true, I should have huge radishes and bigger root crops. I found this information at an extension on-line. I cover 2 of  the 3 bold topics when planting radishes. I need some of that Utah light soil to hit the 3rd topic.

How to Grow  Radishes

Soils: Radishes prefer fertile, well-drained, deep, sandy soils rich in organic matter for best growth. Most light soils in Utah are well suited for radish production. Heavy soils need to be amended with plenty of compost to allow good root development.
 

Soil Preparation: Before planting, incorporate up to 2-4 inches of well composted organic matter and apply 2-4 cups of all-purpose fertilizer (16-16-8 or 10-10-10) per 100 square feet. Work this into the top 6 inches of soil.

Plants: Radishes are always grown from seed. Radishes can be sown after soils reach 40ºF. Seeds germinate best at 55-75ºF and require 5-10 days to emerge. Seeds should be planted ½-1 inch deep. Maintain a uniform and moist soil surface to ensure good plant stands.Thin closely spaced plants to encourage good root size. Radishes should be thinned to 1-2 inches.




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Free Tomato and Vegetable Seed Catalogs: Part Four

Here is the final blog entry for free seed catalogs. I will be reviewing the catalogs as the come in. It can be a bit overwhelming having 1000's of seeds to chose from. It is important to know the size of your garden and as well as the size of your budget. First thing first... enjoy the catalogs and imagine. I will be discussing budgets and garden plot planning later in the winter. Enjoy!


Richters Herb Plant and Seed Catalog
Seed Savers Exchange Heirloom Seed Catalog
Seeds of Change Organic Seed Catalog
Select Seeds Seed Catalog
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Catalog
The Online Greenhouse Seed Catalog
Thompson and Morgan Seed Catalog
Urban Farmer Seed and Plant Catalog

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Garden Seed Catalog Review: Dixondale Farms - ONIONS


Reviewing the Dixon Dale Onion Catalog - The Rusted Garden Blog
What I love about this catalog is they have 100 years of experience growing onions and that is all they focus on, aside from leeks.  They break everything down as if they have a 100 years of specialty experience. Which of course they do. They tell you when to order based on your zip code and break the USA into 3 planting zones: Long-Day, Intermediate-Day, Short-Day. Each zone gets its own varieties of onions for your growing pleasure. You can order without being overwhelmed and get exactly the onions you need for your area.

They sell their onion in bunches, not bulbs, and you get 50-75 onion per bunch. The prices are the same for all onion types. They are expensive for 1 bunch at $11 but you quickly get discounts for ordering more than 1 bunch that makes the price reasonable. Plus the shipping is free. If you order multiple bunches, I consider the price extremely fair.

Here are some pictures of the catalog pages. I highly recommended getting the catalog, if not to order, to get some really great information on growing and planting onions.  I will be ordering my onion bunches from them this year.

Dixondale Farms Seed Catalog (Onions) - The Rusted Garden Blog
Onion Planting Zones
I learned more information from this catalog in 10 minutes than I learned over last 5 years trying to read about onion planting and harvesting on-line. They also give you a bunch of growing tips. You can also find more information at their web-site to help you grow onions perfectly.

Onion Growing Tips - The Rusted Garden Blog

The catalog also sells products to maintain your onions which include fertilizers, disease products and storing stockings. I really recommend ordering the catalog. You can find link on my Free Catalog Blog entries for Nov 2013. I can check onions off my 2013 vegetable garden planning list.

Happy Holiday!

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