Friday, August 7, 2009

Is that a zucchini in your hands?

The Boys planted the Zucchini and the squash this fall, we grabbed a few and took a some pics with their squash. These are only a few (there were 11 plants with one to three squash on each one), and the two spaghetti squash plants have 12 squash between them.

We have also been picking tomatoes like crazy the past few days. This is the first Kelloggs Breakfast. When I brought it inside Brayden asked if it was a pumpkin! We sliced it up, seeded it (we have seeds fermenting for the KB and an Ananas Noire right now). It was fabulous with real tomato flavor with sweet and citrus overtowns.

Yes that is a picture of it next to the iphone, this was a huge tomato!

I will post something in the next little while about the tomato seed saving process. with some pictures of each stage.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Other updates

Most of the squash is going nuts, yellow squash and the boys zucchini are huge. There have to be 10 or 11 spaghetti squash. Unfortunately the baby blue hubbards are pretty slow. Zucchini on the vine. This is only one of Many. It is time for zucchini bread.

Spaghetti Squash anyone? There are lots!

Corn is tasseling, and we have cobs coming out. The beans that made it past the bugs are climbing the stalks very well, it looks cool...the problem is that only a few of the pole beans made it. We do have lots of purple bush beans though and they look pretty cool I will have to get some pictures of them.

Enjoy the pics. and I will post more soon

It's Tomato Fest

Super 100 cherry tomatoes are just starting to com on.
There are 4 plants and there are tons of tomatoes on each one. Matt and Jed had the first ones.

This is the Blondkopfchen. there are far fewer fruits, because they did not set too well. we probably have 50 or so (but theere were well over 200 blossoms). I ate the first one a few days agoand it was fabulous

To the left we have the purple cherokee, filling out pretty well. This is actually the smallest plant of the three. it is a little stundted because the Kellogs Breakfast(below) shot up so quick and shaded it a little.
The KB here is huge!! this one fills my whole hand. They are doing well even I let them go a little too long before their pruning so we did not get too many fruit.

This first of the Ananas Noire you can see that it is changing shades in that funky multi colored way. it is actually almost ripe, and the center will be black. These three did very very well, and they are right among the tomatillos that are toing great!!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I re-fed the beast on Monday and it is already starting to compost very well. It smells nice and earthy, and it is already starting to change color. You can see the leaves breaking down with the grass. Take note of the PVC pipe that helps break up the compost as you turn it. and note the holes in it for aeration.

Three sisters update

The corn is about 5 inches tall and we planted the beans, you can see all four corn and all four beans in this square. Note the zucchini leaf creeping in to the picture. The boys and I planted a vining zucchini in this square. You can also see the 3/4 inch porous soaker hose on the left....

This is the opposite corner of the same square. you can see that some of the corn came up really quick and so it is as high as a foot tall. We are having a problem with the birds, they love the cotyledon leaves on the beans. I actually watched one clip one of the leaves off of one.
We will see how they turn out. it is fun to see this stuff growing up.

When we planted the beans I also planted about 75 purple bush beans so hopefully we will have lots of beans to pickle and freeze.
Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Spent a few minutes in the garden today and just wanted to share an update.

About 80% of the corn is up on the south side (first on just came up today on the North side), the brocolini is coming up, the beets are finally coming up, and we have lots of tomato plants in.  we also have lots of volunteer potatoes coming up.  The boys zucchini came up yesterday and we are almost ready to put in the beans.  The grapes are looking great and I am way excited. . . maybe some white jelly this year!

The compost is doing well, and I expect to have a batch ready next week or so.

I will take a few pictures and get them up in the next few days. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rotating Composter

So $60 and several hours later we have a tumble composter.  The idea is that this sits in the sun to get nice and warm, and then gets rotated daily in order to keep the content aerated and keep the aerobic fauna working on it.  This one is built with a plastic barrel, 1 inch galvanized conduit, some PVC fittings, some 2x6 lumber for a stand and a few scraps of lumber.

Shots from the top and bottom of the lid with the conduit through it and the 2x6 support.

Shots through the door at the yummies inside.  The PVC struts offer, handles on the outside for turning the pile, and they help break up the compost.  Note the holes in the struts to help with aeration.

From the outside with the straps keeping the door closed.  In two weeks we should have some yummies to show.

Update... After 2 days the compost smells like great hummus.  exciting

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Three Sisters

We are trying a new experiment this year, I guess that should come as no surprise I am doing a new experiment every few weeks it seems like.  There is a gardening strategy called companion planting.  Many plants have synergistic "powers", they work together, to provide more than they could on their own.  For example marigolds can be used as a natural pest protection, or basil and chives can improve the flavor of tomatoes when grown in close proximity.  

One of the oldest of these companion plantings is the three sisters, corn, beans and squash.  The Native Americans grew these three together with great success.  The corn provides a stalk for the beans to grow on, the beans foster nitrogen fixing microbes in their roots to feed the nitrogen hungry corn, and the squash provides ground cover to reduce the weeds et cetera.

Today we planted the corn for our three sisters garden.  It is an heirloom black sweet corn that can be eaten early as sweet corn, but then will dry into a black corn for seed and to be ground into meal.  I am way excited for the purple cornbread in the fall.  In about two weeks we hope they will be tall enough to plant the beans and the squash.  Because we are doing it in a square foot garden, we are about a foot short of the normal spacing for the hills.  There are several people who have talked about wanting to do a square foot three sisters garden, but I have not found anyone who actually has done it, so here is the layout.

4x4 squares with 4 corn in a hill on each of the four corner square feet.  Then 1 bean for each corn stalk.  There will be a two squash hill in the center of the 4x4 bed.  We have 5 of these three sisters beds.  There should be lots of squash and hopefully lots of corn and beans.

You can read about the three sisters legends here and here

The boys and I also planted 36 beets and 18 broccolini today.  The carrots and onions are coming up like crazy, and some of the spinach is almost two inches long.  The peas are about 8 inches tall, along with the Mesclun.  There is also a lot of lettuce popping up all over where the cat dug it up and spread it all over the box.  The grapes are leafing out nicely.  The rhubarb is almost ready for a first harvest, mmm pie reminds me of grandma...

I hope to get tomatoes into the ground this week if things stay warm.  We are waiting on pepper starts to come up and we will have them in the ground as soon as they come up.  The winter squash (Hubbard and Pumpkin) will probably go in this week too.  It is a great time in the garden.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Herb Tower or "tippsy pot"

Mom Cummings found this in one of her magazines. We did it in her yard, and it turned out so great, that I did two of them in my yard. Here is the basic premis:

Drive a piece of steel rebar into the ground (I used a 5' long piece of .5" rebar from Home Depot). Don't go too far because you can't really pull it up without sacrificing a lot of stability.

Once you have the Rebar in the ground, add clay pots (the ones with a hole in the center of the bottom) alternating the direction of each one. Once you get them on, check the rebar and if you need to drive it a little bit deeper, take the pots off, hammer it in a little more and then check again.
Most people recomend larger pots on the bottom with same size or smaller pots on top. They even recomend a much larger pot on the bottom, and that it should go on flat, fill it with soil and then add the tipping pots. My rocks and planting bed can take it at any angle so I just started with the first one tipped. When I was checking it out online, I even saw one of these hanging on a rope instead of rebar in the ground, it was pretty cool.

We used some moisture control potting soil since the water will just run out of that little hole. it has pearlite in it to trap the water before it runs out the bottom of the pot.

This should be a fun way to have some fresh herbs all summer, and then the pots can come indoors at the end of the season so we can over winter them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The hoop house is made of PVC pipe, it stands about 5 feet high and 4 feet wide, covering the 4x12 square foot bed. There is now (not visible in the picture) another 12x4 box to the right of this one so we can do a large hoop house this winter including both beds. We will move the hoops to the new bed to warm up the soil before we plant the warm weather plants (tomatoes, and peppers especially).

Here are the peas a few weeks ago. They are just starting to take off in this picture. The box is filling in very well now, most all of the peas are up.

The Grapes are going crazy.
We have buds coming out everywhere. This is finally year three for the grapes so we should be getting real grapes this year. These are from the himrod, but the Fire red and the Candice are also looking really good.

I will nab a few pictures of the rhubarb that is also coming along very well and put them up there. I also will take a few pics of the new box.

Monday, April 27, 2009

MMM seeds

Seeds came today, I actually got two free additional seed packs. We received a brandywine cherry, that is a genetic mutation on the brandywine beefsteak. so tastes like a beefsteak, but smaller fruit in clusters like a cherry tomato and it is a potato leaf so it should be very hardy. The other is an old Russian heirloom, called 117 (to distinguish it from all the other heirloom tomatoes called "Russian", this one is regular leaf, and has varying fruit, with vertical striations. Flavor is supposed to be good also.

So the sprouts are started, and we just need to figure out where to put them all!

I also bought 12 bags of mulch/potting soil/compost from Home Depot today for $4.50. all of the bags were ripped, and so the customer service rep gave them to me cheap. This will be great for my herb towers (future post).

You can check out the map of the garden and the current speculation of where things will go here: Naylor Garden

Check it out, comment here (especially reasons that Heidi should let me take out that one little walnut tree :-) so that we can decide. BTW I do have several seeds left, but I have only planted a few more than we are planning (only enough for germination issues) so if you did not tell me what varieties you are interested in, then I did not plant any seeds for you. Let me know so that I can get them going right away. Seed lists are in this post and in the Naylor Garden doc.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Latest Spring Veggies

So  a cat got into our 4x12 raised bed several nights in a row (while the hoop house was over it) and decided to use it for it's litter box.  it dug up the peas, the mesclun, the bib lettuce, and some of the carrots.  

I re-planted 12 feet of peas two weeks back and they are now about 3 inches tall.  There are 2 volunteer peas growing in the midst of the other 4x4 beds, but I just planted over them today...they can share a few inches :-)

Today we (Bella and I) put in 4 feet of spring mix lettuce(4 per foot & 2 seeds per hole), 8 feet of yellow onions (9 per foot & two seeds per hole),  4 feet of carrots (16 per foot & 2ish seeds per hole), 8 feet of spinach (4 per foot & 2 seeds per hole).  Heidi loves her spinach!!!

As I was planting the carrots I pulled up a few "weeds" and then thought "These may be carrots from before the cat..."  so I ate one.  Definitely carrots!  We also have a few volunteer mesclun growing amid the 12 feet of peas.  We still have 8 feet in that bed for something.  I think we are going to put in beets and turnips so that we can have Garden Borscht in a few months, as well as some yummy beet greens.

Looks like the top will have to go back on the hoop house tomorrow, so I will take some pictures and get them up here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I ordered more seeds today!

I may have gone a little over board.  I ordered 200 tomato seeds today :D
We got eight varieties from along with baby blue Hubbard squash seeds and sugar baby watermelon seeds.

So here is the breakdown (25 seeds of each variety)

Beefsteak - These are the big slicing tomatoes, great for fresh sauces and eating right off the vine:
Ananas Noire - Black & yellow multi color, prized for it's sweet flavor with mild acid overtones.
Aunt Gertie's Gold - Yellow fruit, potato leaf (more hardy) outstanding flavor.
Cherokee Green - Large amber green fruit, Outstanding flavor (the Cherokees are some of the most sought after tomatoes around
Kellogg's Breakfast - Orange fruit, on the forums this is the only fruit more prized than the Cherokees.

Paste Tomatoes - These are the "Roma" like for sauces and canning:
Tom Patti's Italian Paste - Red fruit, this is the real deal, the Italian tomato for sauces
VB Russia - Pink fruit, impressive yield, excellent flavor

Long Keeper - keep them on the shelf several months (garden tomatoes in a salad for Christmas!!)
Garden Peach - Gold, fuzzy fruit - Andean heirloom from the 1600s

Chery Tomatoes - The only hybrid in the bunch but it is a derivative of the Sun Seeds F1 Hybrid
SunSugar - Bright orange fruit, outstanding sweet/tart fruit flavor.  Everyone I have talked to raves about this cherry tomato!

So, I will start the seeds as soon as they arrive.  I anticipate that we will have a few more than we will be using so if you want a tomato plant, put in your order early so that I can grow the right amount of each one.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

OK Spring is here, time to start posting again

Spent several hours today assessing things.  We are re-doing the middle beds this year into one 3x12 bed, that will have the warm weather plants in it.  Last year the morning glory took hold in those beds and the soil was awesome, but it has to go.  I screened the soil from one whole bed for hours this morning.  A few interesting observations:  Morning Glory gets everywhere!  We have tons of worms in our soil.  there were a few that could have been red wigglers from our worm bin, but mostly night crawlers that are coming up into the friable soil.  It's a great thing, they bring lots of added nutrients and keep the soil well draining.

I still have one bed to screen out, and it is already getting green and leafy, much more morning glory to purge.  We got a free bail of peat moss from Home Depot because the bag was damaged.  hopefully we can get one more. then the new bed will be alternating layers of last year's soil, the over wintered compost, and peat moss, should be a great lasagna bed.

More to come later :)

I so forgot to say "THANK YOU!!!" 
  • To Danny for all the help gathering more rocks on on Saturday.  We got a full load of rocks in Danny's truck and brought them to the house to cover the muddy part of the drive.  
  • To Tracy for coming to cut up the branches with his extending saw.  
  • To Tim Hunt for taking away so many of the branches (and for the book).
Without all your help we never could have done it in one day.  "thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!"