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SOME SNOW, SOME SEEDS
Is that time of year when you don't know whether to put on a suumer tee shirt or drag out the scratchy ole red woolens and worm your way into those. October saw quite a bit of snow; so far November's been very mild and pleasant. However, today we have a coating of white on the ground and decorating the now-barren tree/bush branches letting us know it can still SNOW when it wants to. A good day to write a blog entry..
Garden seemed to be at least a month behind all season due to more rain than we've been having (6-year drought is now OVER!), plus temps seemed much cooler than what they have been. The cool weather crops did excellant: planted six early "Golden Ace" cabbages that were 4-6 pound solid "rocks" at harvest time. They afforded many meals plus froze and dehydrated cabbage til I couldn't look at it anymore, gave a few heads away after. This really isn't Brussel's sprouts growing country, but managed several pickings off them as well, plants were like trees!
New raised bed herb garden FLOURISHED despite the fact I loaded it up with a lot of sawdust and was really wondering how it'd effect the nitrogen content in soil. Herbs pouted at first, then took off and became somewhat of a "jungle", especially an origanum vulgaris that simply wanted to take over! To help retain winter sun heat, have placed large stones all around the wooden structure, so we shall see what Spring brings and IF everything's survived.
Tomatoes gave me never-ending headaches! Grew like they should, set fruit then put the "skids" on ripening, just sat there doing nothing, was really getting doubtful there. Seemed as if, in September, they all decided to come in at ONCE, spent a few days picking/canning/freezing as fast as I possibly could as frost time was nearly upon us. Plum tomatoes, grown in an Earth Box, began showing signs of blossom-end rot (which plums are noted for) in August, ran for the EPSOM SALTS quick! Poured a good handful into E.B.'s reservoir, also put a few handfuls on exposed soil of plant's stems. End result was only a very few were lost due to the problem, had more than enough good ones for making salsa and spaghetti sauce, eating a few in salads also. These plants (an indeterminate heirloom variety called "Vis") were MASSIVE and full of fruit. As I don't "sucker" tomato plants, realized something had to be done to aid in the ripening process, took the pruners to them and hoped for the best after a GOOD denuding! Two plants trimmed back yielded almost 8 gallons of cut-up green matter for the composter, and I still don't think I took quite enough off, but could..at least..see what was there and ripen they did! Got almost 50 plums off each one!
Been growing a determinate tomato called "Ugly" last two years, is a rather late season type, and as it's name implies, it IS UGLY. Not a heavy producer, but what you get are simple delicious 1-pounders (or more) from them, grow like beefsteaks, have almost pie-wedged sections to the fruits. Plants grow 3-4 feet high, definately need strong staking for support, and most of their energy seems to go into fruit-forming, not lush growth. Have been very impressed with "Ugly"! (Seed came from Tomato Growers, but haven't seen it listed for this year yet.)
The "Bush Early Girl's" again came thru with flying colors, as did "Patio Tomatoes" grown in 2-gallon containers (for little plants, these amazed me with a least a dozen tennis-ball sized fruits on each one). Peppers, grown in Earth Boxs also, outdid themselves; am now patiently awaiting for some pickled stuffed Italian cherry peppers to finish "curing" for crossing the ole pallet. Froze the "King of the North" bells for soups, stews and flavoring in dishes, others went into Italian sausage and peppers for eating right now! Of course, my pride and joy for 2009 were the heirloom "Purple Viking Potatoes"..am keeping fingers CROSSED Gardens Alive! has the seed ones again for 2010! Really LIKE these spuds!!
Purchased some new seed for next season, went through seeds I have on hand (and do I have SEEDS), now to begin the process of deciding what to plant; when to start differant varieties; mainly, where to PUT everything. Greenhouse is ready for leaf lettuce in late January; sunroom heat mats/flats/cells/soils are waitung to be put into use..and I'm more than ready to START! Still have "green" around me in the form of numerous house plants tho': will have "color" shortly when the zygo cacti begin blooming, then kalanchoes, then an orchid cactus and other orchids. A few plants brought in for over-wintering are still blooming in sunroom, just make my day when it's dark and cloudy..with snow on the ground..like today is. As they say: "gardening isn't a hobby..it's an OBSESSION".
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It's so good to hear how others sorted out their problems. Good idea on denuding tomatoes to make them ripen. I wouldn't have thought of that. I'll keep it in mind. My tomatoes are just starting to set fruit, and still have a long way to go till they are ripening.
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