Monday, July 26, 2010

My trip to the gem show this weekend.

Boy, did I have FUN.  There was an excellent variety of stones this year, some of my old favorite vendors plus some new ones.  I came home with oodles & oodles of new stuff.  The new Chinese faceted crystal is excellent and giving Swarovski some major competition.  They have just as much sparkle at a fraction of the cost & I love designing with them.  I took some pictures at my dining room table, but didn't have my lights set up, so the quality isn't too good, but I'm just too excited not to show you anyway.  A few of the things I got:  Stabilized and natural turquoise, natural magnesite & blue magnesite (dyed to resemble turquoise - a very cost efficient substitute for turquoise and I always mark my items as such & don't try to pass it off as the Real Thing), Fire agate, other agates, lots of fantastic citrine, different jaspers, freshwater pearls, tigereye, blue goldstone, laboradite, amazonite, smoky quartz, rhodonite, black onyx, green turquoise & lots of crystal. I was truly in hog heaven.  I have 3 shows this Fall & need to get busy with my new treasures.

Monday, July 26th. 
I haven't posted in a while, but the garden is slowing down, as expected.  My tomatoes have lasted much longer than usual, but they are finally getting the blight, plus it has been so hot that I fear none of the blooms are going to make fruit.  I pulled several tomato plants out this morning, making way for my Fall plantings.   The last section of corn didn't make it either.  The wind blew some of it over & before we could get it back up,  my son's hybrid wolf decided it would make a nice cool bed & trampled & dug the rest of it up.  He won't stay inside the fence, so I don't know what we are going to do. 

The Emerald Giant bell pepper, pepperoncini, Hungarian hot yellow & jalapeno peppers are coming in now.  The Hungarian hot is really long and definitely hot.  We picked a few green for canning, but will let the others ripen to yellow.  The Emerald Giants are very nice.  They are unsuitable for stuffing because of the irregular size, but thick-walled and very good flavor.  We were able to find some regular bell pepper plants at the feed store a few weeks back & they are doing very well, just starting to bloom.  What I don't use for pepper relish I just slice & put in a container in the freezer.  I just take out what I need for baked beans, meatloaf, whatever I need them for. 

I have been planting cucumbers at intervals & planted my last seeds today. They have done  great on the wire trellis, but I now know not to plant them on the same trellis as cantaloupe and delicata squash.  I'll stick to one type of vine to each trellis next year.  It has been so nice having a steady supply of cukes for eating (although DH won't touch them) and I've made lots of pickles:  Bread & Butter, sweet pickle relish, Dill and a very simple recipe from my grandmother.  I will post it below. 

I harvested my one & only Sweet Dumpling (delicata type) squash last week.  The squash borers got the vine & it only had the one fruit, but I will grow it again next year.  I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds & zapped it in the microwave til soft.  Then I sprinkled on brown sugar, cinnamon & a little butter.  It was yummy.

Today I decided to pull 2 of the Honey Boat Delicata.  I wasn't sure how to tell if they were ripe, but when I touched them they fell off, so I guess they were ready.  Growing on the trellis the stem doesn't dry out & the bottom of the melons don't turn yellow.  I have 2 huge cantaloupes that I'm watching closely.  They are supported by a panty hose sling & I'm watching for the color to change.  The webbing has developed, but they are still green, so I guess it will be a while yet.

I can't think of anything else right now, but I hope you are getting lots of yummies out of your garden.

Here are a few pics from today:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I should have washed these tomatoes, but it's late & I want to go to bed, so here they are.  There are 21 lbs of tomatoes in the second set of photos. For some reason they have started splitting, even though the soil moisture has been even.  Maybe they just grew too fast?   Regardless, I've separated out the ones with split skins & we will eat those first & I'll be saving lots of seeds to share with the folks at Square Foot Gardening forum.

The first set of pictures features my grandkids.  (Can you tell I love to show them off?)  They are very special to me.  These were taken this morning before they went back home.  One tomato was a dab less than 2 lbs, the other one just a bit over 2 lbs.

These next pictures are what I harvested tonight.  In the picture are our family heirlooms (the yellow/red ones), German pink & the small ones are Early Girl.  DH fixed a big salad for each of us tonight, mine with lettuce, cucumbers, Vidalia onions, tomatoes & homemade Bleu Cheese dressing.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been some home-grown romaine & red lettuce blend. 

An update on the orange banana tomato:  It has a really good flavor & fruit size is decent, but probably 1/4 of the tomatoes had blossom end rot.  None of my other tomato varieties had  a problem with this, so it may be a trait common to this particular one.  I don't plan on growing it again next year.

We pulled the rest of the corn in the second section tonight & tomorrow I will pull up the stalks & wait another week or two to start my cole crop seeds.  I still have one small section of corn that's only about waist high, but I noticed what I call corn worms, I think they are Army worms,  on some tomatoes today, so this last batch of corn might not make it. 

Also for the first time EVER I have cantaloupes and watermelons!  I planted Burrell's Jumbo cantaloupe, watermelons are Sugar Baby, Royal Golden, Dixie Lee, & Kolb's Gem.  I've planted melons several times before, but the weeds always grew faster than they did & the would get lost & I never harvested anything.  With the wire trellis they are up off the ground & growing like crazy & there are lots of babies.  Now, if I can just keep the squash vine borers off of them, I'll be doing good.

I planted a large rectangular planter with Giant Musselburgh Leek seeds today (From Baker Creek Heirlooms). The catalog description says:  An heirloom that was introduced in 1834, near Edinburgh, Scotland. Large, very thick stems, tasty mild flavor. Grows well in most locations, perfect for home or market, this old favorite has huge size, and is very winter hardy.  I've never grown Leeks before & hope I have success with them.

I hope everyone else's garden is doing well & producing lots of yummy veggies for you.

Thursday is expected hatch day for my other batch of eggs & I'll update you then.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I've been quite proud of myself for posting on here as often as I do.  There are so many blogs that I admire & I hope mine gets better.

The tomatoes are really starting to come in, soon will be able to can some of them.  I usually can stewed tomatoes with bell pepper, celery & onion with sugar.  We use a lot of these in homemade salsa.  I've tried to can salsa using different recipes, but we just don't care for the taste.

I have placed a second order with Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at Rare Seeds.  I ordered the following for Fall planting:
  • Chinese Pak Choy
  • Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts
  • Perfection Savoy Drumhead Cabbage  
  • Jaune Obtuse du Doubs Carrot
  • Giant Musselburgh Leek
  • Rocky Top Lettuce Mix
  • Red Wing Lettuce Mix 
  • Honey Boat Delicata Squash
  • Muscade Carrot 
  • Cilantro, Slo-Bolt
  • Dill, elephant
 and the following for next year:
  • Yellow Monster Pepper 
  • Orangeglo Watermelon
I'm a big fan of Baker Creek, their prices are fair, packet size is generous, they have a good selection and best of all $3.00 flat rate shipping.

On the official Square Foot Gardening site forum the topic of supplemental fertilizing came up.  I have used manure tea for a long time.  I place it in the leg of an old pantyhose to contain all of the solid matter & put it in a 5 gallon bucket, then fill with water & let it set for a day.  I use a brass siphon hose mixer.  It's the neatest little gadget.  You place it on your water spigot, then connect the water hose to the end of it, place the siphon tube into your bucket of liquid fertilizer & as you water it automatically siphons & mixes the fertilizer. First pictures is from Hozon and the second is from Growers Solution.

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