Thursday, June 30, 2011

Garden - June 30th

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Summer is well on its way now, and we got another shower today. It is so nice when we get these afternoon showers and I don't have to water every day. I am working on my second plantings of the season in most cases and here is an update on where things are.

Here is a bed of Pink Eye Purple Hull Peas.  They are at 50 days and forming pods now

Here is another bed of the same peas, these are at 11 days

I have high hopes for these 4 squash plants. My first planting didn't do well, but these are doing awesome in my raised bed. Super vigorous and healthy. I already have some baby squash buds at 21 days.

My second planting of Peaches and Cream Corn, this batch is also in a raised bed. It is also doing great. I planted 72 seeds in a 4X8 bed. I hope to get the same output from this 32 sq ft bed vs my previous planting in over 100 sq ft. I think with better soil and easier care I will get more plants with two ears per stalk. The 100 sq ft section produced 85 ears out of 110 seeds planted.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Zucchini Frogger - Can you find him?

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The last few times I picked zucchini I thought I heard something moving around. Well tonight I finally found out what it was and the little guy scared me half to death. I was picking zucchini and right as I had my hands on one to cut, this joker jumps out right onto my hand. It is not that I am afraid of frogs, but when you are not expecting something like that it can really scare you. It happened so fast, I initially thought it was a snake, and boy do I hate snakes.

I bet the little guy got a good laugh, and I did too after my heart rate settled down. I left him down there because he is probably the reason that zucchini plant has done so well. I am sure he loves the huge supply of squash bugs to eat.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I said I want Salsa

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One of my favorite shows of all time is Seinfeld.  I have been watching it for more than 20 years, and I can quote almost every episode.  I thought about this clip for this post

In my quest to make some good homemade salsa, I picked up 3 different tomato plants from the nursery today.  I got one Roma, one Big Boy, and one Better Boy variety.  I am hoping between the three, I will have a good mix of texture and taste for some great salsa.  I also picked up three pepper plants.  I wanted a jalapeno pepper plant, but the only thing they had was something called a cowhorn pepper.  They were cheap so I picked up three of those.  

I weeded my jungle area and amended the soil with cow manure and 10-10-10.  This time I laid some of that black weed fabric and pinned it down.  I cut slits for my plantings and watered everything with some compost tea.
It was a rewarding little project and I hope my little plants thrive.

Soil before working in the manure
Area all nice and weeded and ready to go

Weed fabric laid out in planting area

Tomato plants: Big Boy, Better Boy, and Roma

Cow Horn Peppers

Final Results

Sunday, June 26, 2011

It's a Jungle Out There

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We got rain three days last week. This has been great for the garden and my grass, but it has also been great for the weeds. The area where I pulled my corn a few weeks ago is overrun with weeds now. The area is approximately 100 square feet and just the thought of having to go clean it all makes me sweat.

I need to do something soon. I had thought of completely replanting with Silver Queen corn, but I think I am going to plant some corn, some peas, and maybe even some peppers and tomatoes. I know I have to get some plants from the nursery for the peppers and tomatoes, but I hope there is still time.

As a side note, I don't even like tomatoes, but I do love certain kinds of salsa. I particularly like the kind found in most Mexican restaurants around here. It is very fine, and not chunky at all. I have had this idea in my head for the last few weeks of making my own salsa from fresh tomatoes. We will see, but first I most tackle the jungle.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pinkeye Purple Hull Pea Pests

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Pinkeye Purple Hull Pea Pests, try saying that fast a few times. These "southern" peas are one of my favorites and I have planted two different beds full of them. One of the beds is at 5 days and one is at 40 days since planting. I planted these 3 inches apart, and they really fill out the beds and get bushy. I am having problems with cowpea aphids on the older planting.

Today I tried spraying them with soapy water as I have read that helps. The problem is that the pea leaves make a nice canopy at the top of the plant, and the aphids hang out on the actual stems of the plant. Since this is not a traditional row planting, there is not an easy way to get to the stems of each plant without moving each one.   Does anyone have any experience in dealing with this problem? Any suggestions are appreciated.

This is the bed with the pests, you can see how bushy they are

This is the freshly planted bed, these peas love the heat.

  Here is one of the stems covered in aphids

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Georgia Garden Mulch

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Zac Brown said it best, "I was raised underneath the shade of a Georgia pine and that's home you know..."
I don't know what is worse, paying for pine straw to use as mulch in Georgia or finding someone dependable to actually deliver it. I always find it ironic that I pay $75 dollars for 25 bales of pine straw when there are millions of pine trees all around me. I know I know; I am paying for the convenience of the person collecting it, baling it, and delivering it to my house, but still.

So tonight after work I spread 25 bales in my square foot gardening walkways and my azalea area behind my garden. The grass and weeds were starting to creep in so I spread the straw really thick. After doing that, I cut the front and back yard and I was pretty tired. I always like the way freshly spread pine straw looks.  It looks a little messy now, but once the first good rain comes, it will settle and look great.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Harvest / Garden Update

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It has been several days since I have posted anything on this blog. There hasn't been much going on, I have just been busy with life. My softball season is done, so that frees up one more day to work out in the garden. We played 4 softball games last night and won the championship in our church league.

We got a good three hours worth of rain last Friday and a good storm today. It is amazing how quickly everything bounces back. It just gets so hot this time of year that by the time I get home from work all I want to do is cut the zukes that are ready and go back in the A/C.

Speaking of zukes, here is the latest harvest weighing 4.5 lbs. That brings my yearly total to 44 pounds of zucchini harvested so far. I don't know if that is a lot for 3 plants or not, but it has been more than enough for us to eat and give away.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Corn Cob Cutter Tool Review

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I bought some gadgets last month, one of which was this Corn Cob Cutter.  It is called Lee's Corn Cutter and Creamer.  I tried to use it last weekend and I was extremely disappointed in this tool.  I should have known something was up when I read this warning on the packaging, and I quote exactly:

Warning!  Remember, even scissors or a kitchen knife can be injurious if not used properly.  KEEP FINGERS HIGH ON VEGETABLE  and away from blades and cutting elements.  This product has been used safely by millions for generations.

I was thinking the only reason to put something like that on there is a lot of people have probably gotten injured using this thing.  The way this is supposed to work is you lay the tool horizontally flat on top of a bowl.  You then take your corn and run it "in a quick motion" towards the cutting blades and push the cob past them.  If you look at the pic below, notice where the person's thumb and fore fingers are pushing toward the blade.  I tried this a few times and your hand gets so slippery because the corn and juices run down the tool and your hand.  After 2 minutes, I thought, it isn't a matter of will I cut my finger off, it was a matter of when will I cut my finger off.  I decided to just use a knife and I felt much safer.

I think this product would work great for cream style corn because the instructions tell you to set the blade depth to barely pierce the tip of the kernels.  Thus making it easy to push the cob through the blades and for the serrated blades to cream the ear.

I don't like cream style corn and this product said you can just set the depth of the blade accordingly to cut the kernels clean.  Easier said than done, the blade wants to dig in to the cob while cutting and thus your hands want to slip.

If you have used this tool to cut whole kernel corn and it worked great for you, please tell me what I am doing wrong.  I have seen several videos on youtube of people using it successfully but they were always using it to make cream style corn.

I am going to do more research and maybe I will have better luck with another corn gadget.

Here is a pic from their website.