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Friday, April 29, 2011

Just Some Pictures of the Garden as of 4/28/2011

This is what's growing on in my garden

Asparagus and onions, strawberry container, and spinach to left.

A view of the active beds.

My greens bed. I've been eating it.

Who Said You Can't Grow Beets in Flats and Transplant Them: Yeah it was me

I saw a video that had beets growing in a flat for transplanting. I wrote about it a bit back and tried it. Here is the final transplant. Again, it is best to transplant on cloudy days.  I planted a spinach flat and beet flat. They stayed outside the whole time and handled the frost fine.

They Look Great!

This saves so much time and room in the garden. I gave the extra to my neighbor. I am going to say it was fully successful even though I only transplanted them 3 days ago. I have no doubt they will grow. And I think the beets will be perfectly fine.

I transplanted them with a spoon.  It is in the beet flat above. I just spooned them out. Beets need to be thinned to 1 plant per spot. The key was to get a lot of soil from the flat.

Spooning out a beet from a flat

I planted the spinach the same way. In this  plot I rotated spinach beet spinach.  I think I did two or three rows.

Spinach being lifted with a spoon

The final transplant. Not bad!

Some quick pictures of thinning the beets. A beet seed is actually a pod with several seeds in it. You are actually planting a bunch of beets in one spot. If more then 1 seed comes up, you have to thin them.

Pictures of My Herb Garden Before and After Clean Up

I am slowly moving through my beds and getting them ready. This is my herb area.  Clean up consisted of getting rid of all the unwanted chives, weeds, and all the herbs got cut back hard. New mulch too!

The containers (on the deck) were all cleaned out and the soil was amended and returned. The plants all came from perennials in my yard. I moved them to better pots. The key to transplanting perennials is to try and get a lot of root but also do it on consecutive days of NO full sun. The heat hurts them. 48 hours of cloudy weather is great. Rain is even better.

You can see red containers. They are 18 gallons. They only cost 4.99 from Walmart. They will be getting 3 or 4 of the dwarf container tomatoes put in them this weekend. The key is soil that will hold water but make sure you cut a drainage hole. Don't cut the hole in the bottom. All the water will drain out. Create a reservoir by cutting a hole in the side about 2 inches from the bottom. The pooling water won't harm the plant and will help maintain moisture during the heat of July and August. You do need a drainage hole or your plant will literally suffocate and drown.

Video Gaming For My Boy

Video gaming for my boy

Written by Sherri Hicks

Not too long ago I was sitting at home on a Saturday and I came across good CLEAR WIRELESS INTERNET pricesusing our dial up connection. I instantly signed up and it’s been nice having a reliable connection at home. The best part about it is that my son’s been able to play his online video games as often as he wants now which he could never do before.

I can’t say that I didn’t wish he had a slightly more academic hobby but I think it’s a good thing he’s working on his cognitive motor skills and developing some digital friendships. Most of the games he likes are team games, so at least he&r! squo;s learning some teamwork skills, too! I do enjoy that he’s at home where I can keep an eye on him and he’s actually getting really good at computers. Who knows, maybe he has a future as a video game developer or something equally as exciting in the technology realm! Whatever he wants to do is fine by me.

Some Quick Pictures of the Plants for Sale

My wife took the camera to work yesterday. I wasn't able to take photos as I planned. I took these quickly before work today at 6am.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Riverhill Heirloom Tomato, Vegetable, and Perennial Plants Yard Sale: Pictures and Details

If you live in my area would you mind forwarding this to friends and groups. I thank you in advanced.

Well I am very excited. The plants look great. They survived a week of frost and today's tornado like winds. Just about everything is green and growing strong because of the recent heat. There is truth in 80 degree days and 50 degree night. I have well over 500 plants for sale. I think some of the tomatoes will reach 12 inches come Saturday.

The plants have been acclimated to our area for weeks. They are strong and ready to go in the ground. Well okay a few need about a weeks more time in the cups.

The plant yard sale is this Saturday and Sunday 9 am -1 pm in my backyard. Please email me if you need my address. Ninety percent of the plants are being sold for $1. Most of the greens are sold 3 for $1. I will also have seed packs from bulk seeds I purchased.

The Tomatoes (Partial List)

Black Plum (Heirloom small teardrop/Mahogany)
Brandywine (Sudduth's) (Heirloom 2 pound fruit/Pink-Red)
Delicious (2 pound fruit. I grow it every year/Red)
Jersey Devil (Heirloom Salsa and Sauce/Bright Red)
Mexico (Heirloom 1 pound fruit/Pink-Red)
Orange Russian (Heirloom Oxheart shape/Bicolor: yellow and orange)
Patio F Hybrid (Your dwarf container cherry tomato/Red)
Super Beefsteak (Your summer standard 1 pound sandwich tomato)
Mortgage Lifter (Heirloom 12 oz to 1 1/2 pounds Red)
Marglobe (Heirloom 6-8 oz determinate)
Baxter's Bush Cherry (Determinate)
Brandywine Pink (Heirloom  14oz fruits)
Polish Linguisa (Heirloom sweet paste. Great for sauce)
Black Krim (Heirloom Russian variety. 12 oz )
Homestead (Semi-determinate 8 oz. Very productive)
Cherokee Purple (Heirloom pink purple large fruit)
Jubilee (The best large orange tomato around)
Brandywine Red (Amish heirloom with great flavor and texture)
Bonnie Best (Heirloom determinate Very prolific)
Bradley (Indeterminate 6-8 oz fruits. Large plant)
Rutger's Select (Heirloom with medium sized fruit)
Virginia Sweets (Heirloom gold red bicolor with 1lb fruit
Aussie (Heirloom Australia 1lb Red Fruit)

The Peppers

Jaloro Jalapeno It is the first yellow jalapeno developed out of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. Purple Jalapeno The fruit of this pepper turns dark purple and stays that way for a long time. It will eventually turn red.
Jalapeno M  Your standard green jalapeno that grows 3 inches long and is about 1 and 1/2 inch wide. It stays dark green for a long time and then turns red.
Giant Aconcagua A pepper that is sweet as apples. 8 inch oblong fruit that is great for stuffing. It should be picked light green and it will turn red.

The Lettuces, Kales, and Greens (Partial List)

Southern Giant Curled Leaf Mustard  Frilly large green leaves on sturdy plants. Young leaves are great in salads and have a mustard flavor. It is a cool weather plant and flavor is best before heat arrives.
Mustard Red Giant Red Giant has a brilliant deep maroon leaf with deep green midribs. This large, broad-leafed mustard has a mustard-like taste.
Arugula Roquette  A leafy green with a peppery flavor. Young leaves are used fresh and mature greens can be cooked. This is cool weather crop.
Red Romaine A red variety of romaine lettuce that is typically found in Caesar salad. It has a deep vein running down the middle and a tight core of leaves that are yellow. The outer leaves are deep red in color.
Ruby Red Leaf This is a loose leaf lettuce. You can harvest it on leaf at a time or in a bunch. This is a red tipped leaf lettuce with a green bottom.
Paris Island Romaine A slow bolting variety with 10 inch thick green leaves. Great for texture and taste. A standard romaine.
Black Seeded Simpson Leaf  A broad loose leaf with slight crinkles. The plant grows to about 10 inches. As with most lettuces it is cold tolerant and can take a light frost.
Vates Blue Scotch Kale This is your standard curled kale with blue green leaf. Approximately 65 days to maturity.
Red Russian Kale  The stems are purple and the leave are a gray green. Approximately 50 days to maturity.
Chinese Cabbage Not a head cabbage but a stalk and leaf cabbage. The leaves can be picked
Red Mustard Greens A spicy leafed green that produces a nice bite to salads when leaves are small
Mustard Greens A same as the red variety. Nice color

Asparagus, Beans, Zucchini, Cucumbers, and Squash

I have several varieties of cucumbers, squashes, beans, and zucchini. They are up and green but some may need a few more days of cup time. They would have to be planted next weekend if they don't get 1 large main leaf by sale time, but we will see. They are growing fast.

Asparagus is up and ready for transplant. They are $2.

Basil Large leave variety ready for planting
Parsley Flat leaf variety, ready for planting
Chives You standard chives, ready for planting
Rosemary A bit beat up from the cold, needs some more time in the cup
Lavender Same as the rosemary
Cilantro Growing strong and might need a week more in the cup before transplanting
Oregano Greek variety. Great taste and scent. It is ready for the ground

Annuals and Perennial

Dianthis Mix
Amaranthus Summer Poinsettia Mix
Salvia Red
Shasta Daisy
Jupiters Beard
Lady's Mantle
Coral Bells
Clumping Iris
Stone Crop
And Many More

Pictures of Everything

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Knol Gardening Article on Garden Soil PH

I usually write is spurts. When I do, I write a lot. Another Knol. Draft form. Every wonder about the PH level of your soil?

Well I see the link below just pulls the Knol up in a tiny box for some computers. What good is that? Here is the link to the main Knol. It is much easier to read What is Garden Soil PH? What is Alkalinity? What is Acidity?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Tomato Plant, Vegetable, and Perennial Plant Sale is On

The plant sale will be this Saturday April 30th and Sunday May 1st. The official time is 9 am to 1pm. Everything will be in the backyard this year. I will be home during that time frame but you are welcome to stop by anytime during the week and catch me.

I will be posting pictures and full plant lists on Thursday and Friday.

Here is the short list:

10 kind of tomatoes. (heirlooms, cherry, patio container, 2 pounders)
4 kinds of peppers.
8 kinds of lettuces and greens.
Many varieties of cukes, zukes, and squash. (the might not be fully ready)
4 kinds of herbs. (basil, chives, oregano, parsley) Cilantro could be ready too.
I have a lot of perennials and annuals too.

Everything is $1 a cup or 3 for 1$ (greens)

I have asparagus which is $2 and some gallon containers which are $3

I will also be doing the Riverhill Flea Market on May 21st or 22nd. I'll get the exact date. May is planting time.

You can also email me at Pilarch2@verizon.net with orders or questions.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Another Knol Gardening Article I wrote

Here is the second most recent article. They are all in edit process. I will read them and fix up the mistakes over time.

Well I see the link below just pulls the Knol up in a tiny box for some computers. What good is that? Here is the link to the main Knol. It is much easier to read How to Build and Plant Your First Vegetable Garden.

The key to helping someone discover gardening is to get them their own little space. We all know that space will grow.

My Newest Knol Article: Turning Tomatoes Into Gasoline

I write articles and post them on Google under Knols. Which stands for unit of Knowledge. Any how here is my latest. I just found  you can embedded them. This is a test run with my latest two Knols.

This link works best Turning Tomatoes Into Gasoline.

For some reason the link below only open the article up in the tiny window. What good is that?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

1st Meal Out of the Garden: Going for 50 Meals

I count it as a garden meal, dinner, if over 50% of it comes from the garden. I would like to try and post 50 meals from the garden. Here is meal 1 and meal 2. Meal 2 was essentially the same but I swapped out the asparagus for arugula and added tilapia.

Meal 1 consisted of wintered kale, chives, wintered onions and asparagus. It was sauteed in olive oil. The only seasonings were coarse ground pepper, sea salt, and dry granulated garlic.

Here is meal 1 in pictures.

Picked right from the garden
Cleaned and chopped up
Saute the onions and kale first to soften it up
Mix in the chives and asparagus
Add in the rice to absorb the flavors

Not much to it but it was outstanding. The flavor was unbelievable. It was enough for 2 days and I made another meal very similar.  If you want to lose weight, trying to use your garden produce as 50% of the dinner really does help. I am now under 200. Broke the barrier over the last 4 days.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Growing Potatoes In Garbage Bags

Potatoes can be grown in containers and a garbage bag will do just fine. The benefit of a garbage bag is that it can be unraveled to meet the growth of the potatoes. As I wrote previously you are adding soil to your container, in this case a garbage bag, every time you get 6 to 8 inches of green stalk growth. The bags also warm quickly and this help speed up the growth process.

The main points first and then the pictures. Oh make sure your bags are at least 30 gallons and 1 millimeter thick. You don't want the bags tearing. I think it is measured in millimeters, anyway it will say on the box.

Fill the bag up with a minimum of 8 inches or so of soil. I used leaves, compost, soil, and what was around the yard. Just make sure the growing medium is loose. They also like a bit of acidity, so if you have peat moss, use some.

Absolutely make sure you poke dozens of holes in the bottom of the bag or you will end up with a mess. The water has to drain out.

My bags and seed potatoes. You can see the seed potatoes have growth on them.

Fill the bag up about as much as in the picture. You want about 8 inches of growing medium of some sort in there. You can see some leaves that didn't fully compost. Roll the bag down tightly like I did. You will unroll the garbage bag as the green stalks grow.

I am using the five remaining potatoes left from my other container plantings. This is a standard planting pattern.  Bury them about 3 inches deep and try to aim the strongest growth buds upward. Don't worry if you don't get it exactly right. The potato will correct itself.

In about 7 to 10 days, with potatoes that already sprouted before planting, you will see the growth breaking through the soil. Make sure the bag is not covering it. Adjust the bag as needed and keep it tightly rolled.

The potato stalks will grow upward. Potatoes are like tomatoes in the sense that if you cover the green stalks, they will root. Every time there is 6 to 8 inches of growth, add enough soil to cover 1/2 the growth. If you get 8 inches of growth, add enough soil to cover 4 inches of growth. Repeat again when another 8 inches of growth occurs. You can just use grass clippings to cover the stalk growth.

Potatoes will grow out from the buried stalk. The more you cover, the more potatoes you will get. As you add soil, raise the sides of the garbage bag. You don't want potatoes growing that get sun. They will green and do become poisonous. Just don't eat green potatoes.

You can harvest them after the green growth turns yellow and dies back. Just cut open the bag and collect your potatoes.

Here is the potato variety I used.

A Response to a Question about Over-Wintered Brussel Sprouts

Thank you for this post! I have spindly Kale that survived the winter and I hate to pull it up. Do you know anything about brussel sprouts? I have the same situation with tall stocks that seem to have survived the winter. Should I cut them back as well or leave them and see what happens?

I don't know anything about brussel sprouts. I tried growing them but they did poorly. If they aren't taking up a ton of room, I might trim them back leaf wise and cut one back a few inches from the ground. Experiment... see what happens. I have a suspcision that, like the kale (mine are creating flower heads) the brussel sprouts might also flower and not do much of anything else.

For kales, I know you can keep picking the leaves and flowers and eat them. The winter kale is extra sweet too. I'm just not sure what the BS will give you.
Good Luck! Let me know what happens with the brussel sprouts.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Riverhill Plant Yard Sale: 2 More Cold Nights!

My plant yard sale will be April 30th and May 1st - 9 am to 1 pm. Every plant is now out in the yard and growing nicely. I'll put up a list and pictures next Wednesday. I have over 40 flats of plants all at $1 or less.

The good news is they are growing quite well.  The bad news is I have hit the point of no return. The plants are all outside and it is a huge task to bring them inside or cover them or a little of both. Tonight may be in the 30's and tomorrow night may be in the 30's. Somewhere in my blogs I wrote I have to deduct 5 or so degrees to account for frost. That is the problem... cold weather and frost. If it hits tonight and tomorrow, hmm...

If they make it through the next 2 days we hit 6 days of 50 plus degree nights and that is the signal to plant tomatoes and peppers and everything. It will also create a huge growth spurt in the plants I have for sale.

Hopefully, it works out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's Growing: Spinach, Beets, Radishes and More

I saw on one of the videos above that one way to start beet and spinach seedlings is just to fill a flat tray with soil. I did that. The spinach caught up with my ground planted spinach and the beets have grown past my ground planted beets. They had a 10 day start in the ground too! I am assuming the trays heat up nicely on the deck and that helped.  The top picture is spinach and the bottom picture is beets. I will transplant them to the garden this weekend.

All my radishes came up including the 2 year old seeds. I just looked at them today and they are ready to be thinned. Here is a picture from a week ago.

These are the rows of old radish seeds. They all germinated for the most part and need to be thinned.  You can see the spinach to the right of them and the beets to the left. The ones in the above trays are larger. Even the carrots are up far left.

Pictures of my transplants. There is kohlrabi, chard, Chinese cabbage, kale, lettuce and something called Chinese broccoli.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Killing Slugs with Iron Phosphate: Green to Keep the Green

This will be a Google Knol article. Here is the draft. The main point is NOW is the time to attack slugs and snails in your garden. I like Iron Phosphate because it is safe and it works.

The article in draft form:

Killing Slugs with Iron Phosphate: Green to Keep the Green

I know I have written about slugs and snails in another Knol. They are that problematic that a second Knol is needed to give a gardener a helping hand. Iron phosphate is the focus for this very green Knol. The warm weather is coming and the green of the garden is rising. Now is the time to shake some Iron Phosphate onto the garden beds, while the slugs and snail are looking for food.

Metaldehyde versus Iron Phosphate:

Metaldehyde works by dehydrating its victims. The problem is that it is toxic to all that consume it. It is deadly to snails and slugs but also can be deadly to birds, frogs, and pets. It has been on the market since the 1930’s and it does work. The question is do you want to kill or harm things that might also help you manage the snail and slugs. Birds and amphibians are great natural enemies to the slimy guys.

Iron phosphate occurs naturally in the soil. So, when the bait breaks down, only iron phosphate returns to the soil. That is a good start for considering iron phosphate for slug and snail control.

Iron phosphate is ingested by the slug. It comes in granular form, wrapped in a very tasty bait or so I am told. Slugs and snails eat the tasty bait and ingest the iron phosphate. It basically works by disrupting their digestive process. They stop feeding and crawl off and die in a 3-6 days.

Iron phosphate can be found at local home improvement centers for $4.99 to $7.99 a shaker can. It is easily found on-line. The baits are rice like but more cylindrical. The can has a shaker top that can be adjusted. Just shake and wait for the slugs to find the bait.

When and How to Use Iron Phosphate:

Spring! Spring! Spring! is the time to start the endless war on slugs and snails. The eggs will be hatching soon, the little guys will be hungry, the adults will be hungry and your garden greens are just starting to grow.

Get the iron phosphate into your garden now. It is best used SHAKEN and not PILED. Do not make piles. Slugs and snail move slowly. You want to scatter the baited iron phosphate all over your garden surface. This method is on the product directions but I want to stress, not piling it. Scatter it so there is more of a chance of the bait, sitting in the paths of the snails and slugs.

The iron phosphate pellets can last 1 – 2 weeks even in the rain. Now if you have crazy rain, then you will have to go out and re-bait your garden. I suggest baiting just when the green is coming up. Hostas should be poking up. Daffodils should be in bloom. The lettuces and greens in your garden should be up and a few weeks from maturity. This is the same time the slug and snail life cycles become active. Get the bait out now to disrupt their cycle.

In my area of Maryland, I hit the slugs and snails in mid April. I will hit them again the first week of May and again in the last week of May. This should kill a lot of adult slugs and baby slugs. You are trying to decrease their numbers when they emerge.

After the first wave of attack, you can sprinkle the bait 1x a month. Try and do it when you will have 7 days of dry weather. In June, July, and August your garden gets one application during a 7 day sunny stretch. This second wave of attack is aimed at getting as many as you can.

Come September the snails and slugs will be laying eggs and getting ready to repeat their cycles of life. Sprinkle the bait September 1st and September 15th and you should have effectively disrupted the cycle of snail and slugs in your garden without targeting or harming the beneficial insects and predators.

Good Luck!

To view the Knol Google article click here of course: Killing Slugs and Snails with Iron Phosphate Bait

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Over-Wintered Kale is Doing Nicely

You can plant kale is August/September and get some good greens off of it before the hard frosts. It typically survives the Winters here in Maryland and you end up with an early Spring crop. It goes to seed quickly but you can eat the flowers in salads. Here is what mine looks like from early clean up through today.

A curled leaf variety:

How it survived over the Winter and looked before trimming.

Cleaned up and cut back weeks ago.

How it looked this week. The leaves will be ready in 1-2 weeks.

A broad leaf variety:

How it survived theWinter and looked before trimming

Trimmed up and cut back weeks ago.

The broad leaf is ready to eat now.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Asparagus is Up and Eaten: Tasty!

I am eating asparagus! Just picking and eating it. A great way to relax after work and decompress. Freshly picked asparagus in above and beyond the grocery store stuff. I really can't remember if this plot is in its third or fourth year... but who cares.

Growing Potatoes In Containers: Quick and Easy in Pictures

Potatoes are related to the the tomato family. Actually they are members of the nightshade family. The leaves are very similar. Potatoes grow beneath the ground and they send up lots of green stalks. The key to potatoes is to keep burying parts of the stem as they grow upward. Like tomatoes, the green stems will root when buried. The more green stalk you bury, the more new potatoes will grow out from the buried stems.

The potatoes you use can come from the grocery store, be purchased online or found at nurseries as seed potatoes. Sometimes grocery potatoes are sprayed to prevent them from producing "eyes" the buds of green growth. On the other hand,  I checked my bag of red potatoes in my closet and found some that were budding. I also bought some varieties from a local home improvement store.

You don't necessarily need your potatoes to have stalk eyes or signs of growing before you plant them. But it does add a bit of comfort knowing they have starting growth when you plant them. You can sit your potatoes in a bowl and wait for them to start growth if you wish before planting.

The Potatoes:

These red potatoes came out of a gourmet bag of potatoes I bought. You can see the eyes of the potatoes have buds. (click the photos to enlarge them)

The Containers and Planting:

I am going to show this in pictures. The theme is a large container that you fill about 1/3 or 1/2 the way to the top with a growing medium. You want lose soil and you can throw in a good amount of peat moss. Potatoes do like a bit of acidity. The potatoes get planted with eye buds up or just plant them if you don't have buds starting. They should be planted about 3 inches deep. That is it. You are leaving all the extra space in the container to fill later as the greenery grows large.

These are the containers I am going to use. They are large. The middle container is a 5 gallon bucket.  Make sure there are drainage holes in the containers you use or the potatoes will rot.

I mixed peat moss, my garden compost and soil off the blue tarp. You want it to be fluffy. Potatoes have been know to grow in compost piles just fine. Don't worry about the growing medium. Well, just not heavy wet stuff. Make a mix and fill the container to about 1/3 to 1/2.

You can see the potato spacing. I have habit of always over planting. Three to five potatoes will work for this size container. I sat them on top and will bury them to 3 inches by pushing them into the soil. You don't need a lot of soil between the potato and bottom of the container because you are going to add soil as the greenery grows up.

They are buried and placed in a sunny location. 

The five gallon bucket is planted the same way. It was an upside down tomato bucket.

Another container that used to be my strawberry container. The diamond cuts aren't for the potatoes they were used for strawberries.

Filling the Container to Half the Green Growth:

Now I don't  have pictures yet because these are actually plantings for this season. But you will fill the container by 1/2 the growth once the leaves and stalks break above your container. If it takes 12 inches of growth to break the top of your container, cover 6 inches of the leaves and stalk with new soil.  This is the first fill. If it takes 8 inches of growth, cover 4 inches of growth.

When the stalks grow another 6-8 inches above the rim of your container fill the rest of the container. Potatoes don't grow endlessly so use your judgement.


After the green turns yellow and dies back, you can dump the bucket and eat them. If you are going to eat them immediately, which I will do, grab them as you wish.  If you are going to store them, let them sit about 2 weeks in the soil once the plant has yellowed back. Their skins will toughen up.