Archive for the ‘Oh Grow Up!’ Category

Carrots


2014
07.24
Grow a variety of carrots to discover which grow best in your garden.

Grow a variety of carrots to discover which grow best in your garden.

Carrots

Grow carrots in the spring garden and again as a fall crop.

If you ever wanted to grow carrots, fall carrots are planted in August or early September in my neck of the woods. (Zone 6A, Southern Missouri, USA.)  I get carrot seed at Nichols Garden Nursery. 

Nichols Garden Nursery has a big selection of carrot seed. The seed is very affordable. That bargain price tempts me to try an assortment of carrots. Check out their online catalog, if you are tempted to grow fall carrots. July and August are the time to order seed and get carrots growing for a fall harvest. If stored properly, carrot seed can be used for up to three years.

Nichols even has few carrot selections that are under $2. Carrot seed under two bucks and it’s enough seed for at least two and probably three years. (Unless you are raising rabbits in the same garden.)

Some days it looks like my back yard is a nature sanctuary for rabbits. They eat and sleep in my garden when I am not vigilant. When I do remember to turn on the Scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler, the rabbits stay away.

ScareCrow

ScareCrow

The Contech Electronics scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler is a humane animal deterrent. The scarecrow detects and sprays any animal movement within a 1000-square-foot area day and night.

When I do not remember to turn off  that little water blast, I suddenly get hit with a refreshing spray. It’s more fun than some of the carnival rides at the state fair. Especially when it is a surprise.

Find the scarecrow locally or online just type “scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler.”

Read more about carrotsHow to troubleshoot problems growing carrots and cabbages and University of Missouri Extension, Frequently Asked Vegetable Questions is very helpful. Extension recommends planting a 5 to 10 feet per person for fresh eating. Plan to grow 10 to 15 feet per person, if you are going to process carrots for year round eating.

Bright orange Baltimore Carrots picked 6", but would continue to grow to 12"

Bright orange Baltimore Carrots picked 6″.

Baltimore carrots are beautiful, bright orange carrots. They are sweet  and crunchy. These carrots are about 6″ long.

Harvest Carrots: any time their color is bright. This is when their flavor and texture are optimum. Carrots can tolerate a light frost. Irrigate well the day before harvest to ensure the roots have absorbed their maximum capacity of water. Store at 34°F and 95% relative humidity.

All of these carrots were pulled up at one time. They ranged in size from 2-inches to 8-inches. I’ll toss the baby carrots into a mixed vegetable refrigerator pickle jar.

I like raw carrots. Homegrown and picked after only a couple of frosts, carrots are sweeter than any grocery store carrot you have eaten.

Cooked carrots have their advantages. Some of the nutrients in lightly cooked carrots are more available to the body than the raw carrots. Cooking carrots will break down the tough cellular walls of carrots, making some nutrients more useable to the body.

The first batch of full-sized homegrown carrots, are a celebration of carrot growing success. That means carrot cake or morning-glory muffins. If there are more fall carrots, they will go into  beef stew, vegetable soup, pot roast.

So, come grow carrots with me this fall. If you grew up with a clay soil garden, You’ve probably never had much success with carrots. But building a raised bed for your raised bed, well that is a carrot’s dream come true.

Carrot Boxes – The Raised Bed for Raised Beds

In this Missouri Gardener Magazine story, I write about carrot boxes. That is the secret to long straight carrots.

Build a raised bed fast!

Yaya carrots had the widest size range. All the seed was sown at the same time.

Yaya carrots had the widest size range. All the seed was sown at the same time.

If I could have left these Yaya carrots in the garden, it would have been great to stretch out the carrot harvest over a few more weeks.

Learn more: Grow 2 crops of carrots this season

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Harvest Basket 6/4/14


2014
07.05

July 4, 2014

Zukes, cukes, and carrots

Enough cucumbers for a small batch of pickles.

Enough cucumbers for a small batch of pickles.

Cucumbers are in full production and these will become a small batch of pickles tomorrow. I pulled a few “test” carrots. Summer carrots are sizing up and the little cherry tomatoes are starting to come on.

Once the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes start to over take our ability to eat them fresh, they will be dehydrated for winter use.

Pickles

Mean while, one these two varieties of cucumbers are going into garlic dill pickles, and the other for refrigerator pickles.

About refrigerator pickles: Every year I make Jacques Pepin’s pickled vegetables recipe from Jacques Pepin’s Simple and Healthy Cooking by Jacques Pepin  (1994) It is an old cookbook, but I still use it, especially when I have a garden full of fresh produce.

From the garden, I’ll add the baby carrots, green beans, garlic, bell peppers, dill and onions.

This old cookbook has been used and reused until it is falling apart. The book is held together with rubber bands at this stage. I still prefer paper cookbooks over ebooks. I do have a couple of cookbooks on the Kindle, but most are good ol hard cover cookbooks.

Home grown cucumbers are the best way to avoid the slick, waxy coating on grocery store cucumbers.

Home grown cucumbers are the best way to avoid the slick, waxy coating on grocery store cucumbers.

 

White Wonder heirloom cucumber and those foot long organic Chinese cucumbers, “Suyo Long” aren’t the only cucumbers growing in my garden.

Those short little Kirby-like picklers are getting a late start, since I was trying to stretch out the production times.

Most of the white cucumbers weigh in close to a pound. Since they are just 6″ to 6 1/2″ long, that is a pretty solid cuke. They are firm and crisp, good for fresh eating and pickling. Pick them promptly right at 6″ of smaller and there is no need to peel. Wait, and the peel becomes tough and bitter.

 

 

Trellis these long cucumbers to get the straightest cukes.

Trellis these long cucumbers to get the straightest cukes.

Do you know this crisp pickle tip?

There’s an enzyme in the blossom that can make the pickle soft and unsafe to eat. Cut at least a 1/16-inch slice off the blossom end and discard.

and

Avoid waxed cucumbers for pickling. The brine or pickling solution can not penetrate the waxy coating.

I get the heirloom White Wonder cucumber seed from Nichols Garden Nursery.

Renee’s Garden has the organic Chinese cucumbers, “Suyo Long.”

Daffodils and Tulips


2014
04.19

Daffodils

this is infront of the porch. You can see these when you walking  on the next street over..

This is in front of the porch. You can see these when you walking on the next street over.  Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

Not all daffodils are jonquils but all jonquils are daffodils.

Daffodil, narcissus or Jonquil?

  • “daffodil” refers to the large-flowered varieties,

  • “narcissus” to small-flowered and early blooming types bearing clusters of blossoms,

  • “Jonquil” denotes N. jonquils, often with fragrant, yellow flowers

What is the difference between daffodils and narcissus? They are the same. Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for all daffodils. Daffodil is the common name for the genus Narcissus.

Old House Gardens has heirloom bulbs and will consume hours of your time reading and learning about these rare beauties.

One of my favorite bulb buying sites because daffodils and tulips just need to be planted in mass Color Blends.

Tulips

IMG_6845

Sunrise shines on these big Darwin tulips, especially beautiful in the early morning sun. photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

 In the catalog, blue tulips are advertised but the tulip that arrives on you front porch will be lavender.

There is no such thing as a blue tulip. Some look blue and are described as blue, but they are lilac or violet.

You won’t find truly black tulips either. Some tulips are very dark, like eggplants. They can look black in certain light, but black tulips do not exist.

Tulipa is a genus of bulbous flowering plants in the family Liliaceae.

Plant tulips anytime October through December – any time before the ground freezes. Feed tulips in the early spring, before they bloom.

 Stroll GardenIMG_6814: Grape hyacinth, some wild tulips, late daffodils.

 

Yellow tulips and daffodils, front porch.

Morning tulips2

IMG_6932

Spring flowering bulb collection named Aladdin’s Carpet, The wild tulips blend of six of these beauties with three muscari and a dwarf daffodil. Tulips from Colorblends.

IMG_6835

GBBD April 15, 2014


2014
04.16

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day
April 2014

Lots of blooms here in Southeast, MO USA
The wind and rain have taken their toll on the daffodils and tulips. Still, I have gazillions. And as delicate as they look, they have taken this cold wet weather and still stand proud.

The show stopper is the Doubletake Scarlet Storm Quince. Just came out last year. I bought two. The survived the winter. The head gardener came through and cut the other one, off at the ground.

Doubletake Scarlet Storm Quince

Doubletake Scarlet Storm Quince

Still, I love this flower. It is such a clear red and lasts longer than most spring blooms.

Bigger than most and so bright. I think this is Carlton

Bigger than most and so bright. I think this is Carlton

IMG_6746

These sweet flowers kind of wide the waves of wind. For some reason, they just make me happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6802

This is a little smaller, but also taller.There are usually two blooms on each stem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poets daffodil.

Poets daffodil. N. poeticus recurvus, PHEASANT’S EYE

The wind blew the peach blossoms of the tree pretty quick and I was not fast enough with the camera. So, I am sorry that I couldn’t share all those pink peach blossoms.

Magmolia.I always wanted to live somewhere that I could have magnolias and pine trees. So, now I do!

Magmolia.I always wanted to live somewhere that I could have magnolias and pine trees. So, now I do!

Yesterday. I ran out to take this photo. I am glad I did. There are probably half the blooms this morning.

this is infront of the porch. You can see these when you walking  on the next street over..

this is in front of the porch. You can see these when you walking on the next street over. The while ones are “Thalia.” They have two blooms per stem also. And they are fragrant.

The tulips are scarce this year. Was it the severe cold or is it just too early?

And finally, one more time for the quince. The crowd goes wild!  It is a small shrub and could fit into most any sunny garden.

Quince.

Quince.

 

Early tomatoes


2014
04.10

Garden Now

Stupice  (Solanum lycopersicum)

Still surviving. No growing, But still alive. photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Still surviving. No growing, But still alive. photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

There are dozens of  little seedlings thriving under the grow lights. Pepper, eggplant, and tomato plants are just a few inches tall here at the Hobson Estate.

Outside, the weather is swinging from cold to cool. It should be at least a month before I plant tomatoes outdoors in containers or in the garden.  I’ve done something that I would never recommend that you do.

Because I started tomatoes from seed, there are more future tomato plants under the grow-lights than the garden can hold.

I planted two tomato plants outside. No kidding. One on April 6 and one  on April 8.  I planted them deep. Deep being relative when it is a plant only 5 inches tall.

I put a quart canning jar over the tomato plant. Perhaps this will work as a mini greenhouse. It will protect the tomato starter plant from colder night-time temps.

It looks like I have planted canning jars in the garden. If only I could talk those tomatoes into canning themselves, I think I could  get a book deal or, at least, a pretty good spot on the TV shopping channel.

Stupice tomatoes are  a small, early producer of red two-inch fruits. Dwarf indeterminate; in the garden it may grow to as much as 5′, in containers the plant will be shorter. Staking is optional.

From the former Czechoslovakia, these compact plants have potato leaf foliage. They are loaded with clusters of 2” fruits. Expect tomatoes 60 days from transplant. Or, in my case, I hope, less than 60 days after the soil as warmed.

 University of Missouri Extension recommends A family interested in having only fresh fruit should plant three to five plants per person. If enough fruit is wanted for processing, then five to 10 plants per person should be planted.

To get best results with only a few plants and minimal trouble, purchase plants from a local greenhouse or nursery at the proper planting time.

Photo from Renee's Garden

Photo from Renee’s Garden

When is the soil warm enough?

Soil is at least 60 degrees in the daytime and at least 50 degrees at night. Tomato plants will not grow until the weather gets warm.

If this little tomato lives, it will be a delightful surprise. Gardeners are always full of surprises.

This little Stupice tomato plant is in a large container, in full sun, Zone 6, SE Missouri.

I bought these seed from Renee’s Garden. They were planted under the grow light March 13, 2013. It was transplanted into the garden container April 6, and another Stupice  tomato plant was planted April 8, 2014.

If we have a freeze, the plants will curl up and die. That is OK, I have plenty more Stupice tomato plants inside thriving under the grow lights. I will plant them when I am supposed to, more than one month later an Mid to late May.

p.s.

five days later , the Stupice tomato plants are thriving and have outgrown their quart jar solariums. So it looks like we will have a week of windy days above 60°. So, I’ll forge ahead with planting the container tomatoes.

Take advantage of the decent weather whenever you can. Garden at every opportunity, because you never know when the next beautiful day is coming. This summer may turn into a scorcher, getting so hot the tomato plants won’t set fruit.

Or, for example, put off mowing one more day, tomorrow and the rest of the week it will be downpours. You will need to cut and bale the grass at your next opportunity.

Wish me luck. I am planting tomatoes a month earlier than I ever have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get ready for gardening season


2014
03.19
potato bloom

These potato flowers are such delicate little lavender flowers. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Gardeners Get In Shape

Getting in shape for the rigors of the upcoming garden season will prevent muscle strain and other injuries. I am neither a physical therapist nor a fitness trainer, but this works for me:

Start now so you can begin your fitness program slowly. Three days a week will yield results.

potato plants Strengthening arm and shoulder muscles: begin by standing outside on a level surface, and with a 5-lb. potato sack in each hand… extend your arms straight out to your sides and hold them there as long as you can.

After a few weeks, move up to 10-lb. potato sacks and then 50-lb. potato sacks, and finally get to where you can lift a 100 lb. potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.

Next…start putting a few potatoes in the sacks, but be careful not to overdo.

dig potatoes

Dumping the soil out of the potato planter and discovering the potatoes is a lot easier than digging. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Snail Nail


2014
03.10
coffee and cream

Caffeine will kill snails and slugs.
Photo Patsy Bell Hobson

The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has seen promising results using 1 and 2 percent caffeine solutions to kill snails and slugs. Research showed the 2-percent caffeine solution more effective than metaldehyde, a common pesticide used to control slugs and snails.

Instant coffee is about 0.05 percent caffeine. Normal brewed coffee is a little stronger. The coffee I make is defiantly strong enough to kill a slug. Though I have no idea where you find coffee cups that small.

Becky’s Flowers


2014
02.10

Sunflowers! Becky, they remind me of you. Sunflowers make me happy.

Here’s to sunny days!  True, the sunflowers aren’t even planted yet. But they will be.

sunflower-musicbox_5001-1

Musicbox 2 1/2′

 

I’ll be taking pictures of all of them when they bloom. I grow them for the birds (goldfinches) but the squirrels get their share.

Some are pollen free, so they are not messy and make wonderful bouquets. They are top-heavy sunflowers, so they seem to like heavy glass pitchers or old crocks as flower vase.

 

valentine

Valentine 4-5′

You’ve seen a lot of different sunflowers in my garden. I can never have too many sunflowers.

Anyway, Becky, these sunflowers make people happy and I think that is one of the reasons they remind me of you.

 

snackseed

Snack seed 6-8′

The birds and the squirrels get all the Snack Seed sunflowers. Sometimes, if I can get out there before that trashy little squirrel tears them up, I’ll cut a few seed heads to dry. In the winter, the birds flock to these seed treats.

When I was on my knees weeding, last summer, I heard voices. But we couldn’t see each other.” Jean, look! That‘s  a red sunflower!   (She was pointing at the Chocolate Cherry .)

 

Sun Samba

Sun Samba

 

These mixed sunflowers are just like planting surprises. You never know exactly will come up, but you know you are going to like them no matter what.

 

Chocolate Cherry 6-8

Chocolate Cherry 6-8

 

sunzilla

Sunzilla 10-16

 

The neighbors, a couple of houses down, thanked me for growing those long tall Sunzillas. “We sit on the porch every afternoon and it looks those sunflowers are smiling at us.”

 

Oh, and the red sunflowers? Well, when I stood up, I think I scared the crap out of my visitors. One made a little yelp.  And they grabbed each other.   “We didn’t know anyone was here!” she screamed at me. “WE ARE SORRY!”

“Well, you are always welcome in my gardens,” I said.

P1070312

*Becky Funke is in a hospital that does not allow flowers in the rooms. So, not to be deterred, I’ll send them on Pinterest. You can stop by her CaringBridge site to leave well wishes and get updates. Her family keeps the site up to date.

 All of the sunflower seeds are from Renee’s Garden  The sunflowers have beautiful photos and planting/care guides online at Renee’s GardenOn Facebook.

Comments Off

Becky’s Flowers*


2014
01.01

Aztec Nicotiana

Delivered January 1, 2014
Aztec Nicotiana

Aztec Nicotiana flowers dance in the wind, scenting the area. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

These lovely flowers wave in the breeze scenting the pergola seating area with the heady scent to jasmine. When you come visit, we will sit under the pergola and enjoy all the scented white flowers.

This garden area is designed as a night garden showcasing white flowers like white Bougainvillea and this Aztec Nicotiana.

Aztec Nicotiana  Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson.

Aztec Nicotiana Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson.

This is the first time that I grew Nicolina. The jasmine fragrance is light, never overbearing. It was the start of the containers, crowding out the shy flowers and taking center stage.
Aztec Nicotiana is so named because the Aztecs considered the plant sacred and medicinal.

Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees love this plant. This flower is a good choice to plant near vegetable gardens because it attracts so many pollinators.

It's a shame that these flowers are so short lived. there are plenty of them, blooming right through summer. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson.

It’s a shame that these flowers are so short-lived. There are plenty of them, blooming right through summer. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson.

 

 

Becky, I’m sending these flowers in a tall, clear cylindrical vase to accent the height and grace of this flower.

*Becky Funke is in a hospital that does not allow flowers in the rooms. So, not to be deterred, I’ll send them on Pinterest. You can stop by her CaringBridge site to leave well wishes and get updates. Her 3 daughters, keep the site up to date.

Comments Off

Bees Make the Best Pets by Jack Mingo -review


2013
12.22

Bees Make the Best Pets by Jack Mingo – All the Buzz about Being Resilient, Collaborative, Industrious, Generous, and Sweet – Straight from the Hive.

Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by “Conari Press”

P1070110

A honey bee flies up to 15 mph and its wings beat 200 times per second. photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

The memory jogger “A pint’s a pound the world around” may help you out in culinary school, but a pint of honey weighs 1 pound, 6 ounces. The book oozes with bee facts and trivia like this.

If you are looking for protection from marauding elephants in your garden, curious about the color and quality of the highly touted local honey, or are curious about the role of bees in the Civil War, buy this book.

Winter is a good time for reading bee guides, brushing up on beekeeping knowledge and skills.

Winter is a good time for reading bee guides, brushing up on beekeeping knowledge and skills.

Bees Make the Best Pets, is an entertaining read. Perfect for a winter read, while gardeners wait to get into the spring garden. Your cabin fever and desire to get back in the garden is, by the way, no greater than that of the honey bees.

The author started out simply as wanting one simple observation hive. But keeping bees is likely to became a bigger project than you might anticipate. Bees demand more time, space and money than you might think.

If you are thinking about raising bees, ever wondered if it would make your great garden even better, or are looking increase your own revenue stream, read this book first.

Looking at bee keeping as a natural step toward sustainable living, Bees Make the Best Pets can teach you a lot about raising bees. It is a sweet introduction to raising bees.

Raising bees may prove to be a boost for garden productivity. Or, consider bee keeping as a fun hobby. Bees do make good pets and this book is a gentle introduction to the world of back yard bee keeping.

I’ve always flirted with the idea of raising bees. This paperback book is light introduction to the art of keeping bees. It will load you up on bee humor and trivia, guaranteeing your success at happy hours and tea parties.

Thankfully, this book is not a tedious accounting of the business of beekeeping. There are plenty of good manuals and how-to handbooks for that. Jack Mingo’s book is a fun and sweet introduction to raising bees.

Future honey beekeepers, gardeners, readers looking for a light and humorous winter read, will like this book.

Jack Mingo published over 20 books, including Random Kinds of Factness (Conari, 2005. He is an author specializing in offbeat trivia books. Mingo keeps six hives, and half a million bees, in his California Bay Area back yard.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review.

Bee and Honey triviaIMG_4050

  • It takes around 25,000 trips between the hive and the flowers to produce a pound of honey.
  • A pound of honey contains the essence of about 2 million flowers.
  • The color of honey ranges from white through golden to dark brown. Usually the darker the color the stronger the flavor.
  • Most harmful bacteria cannot live in honey, making honey one of the safest foods.
  • Bees been producing honey from flowering plants for 10-20 million years.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...