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Well after venturing out today I've come to the conclusion that right now I live in the tropics. It's a jungle out there!!!! The past few weeks have seen a weather pattern of fairly hot, humid and rain at least every two days even if it's just for a little bit in the evening or during the night. It's absolutely wonderful for the veggies. I've never seen by onions so big at this time of year and the tomato plants are just exploding. Unfortunately in one section of the garden that I didn't get mulched properly I cannot see them anymore. I didn't go out there for two days...only two days! I can't believe it. It's like these these weeds and grass were just plopped down there fully grown. We've just given up on one part of our yard. Mowing every second day or third days is just getting nuts. So it's our brand new 'naturalized' area for the summer at least. I'm trying very hard NOT to complain, water and rain... good. Really..they are...but holy moley I've never seen growth like this before and yeah, the bugs are way worse or at least the ones that have decided to eat the beans. Didn't have one bit of problems with any bugs eating them last year.
Ah nature...gotta love it... [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]
Just a note that I make beer for my slugs. (Neighbour Cats keep the birds away and mice and shrew numbers down so slugs have very few predators) and no fireflys here either. The environment is disconnected into little patches where you can easily get exploding population of slime makers.I did find out that there are carniverous snails and slugs! (even several native to canada).There may be quite a few!This might be a solution for some people. With natural control, you cannot get total rid of pests but you can reduce their numbers a lot.There are SO MANY slugs here especially in the spring and I think they are the main destroyers of my early crops. I am going to hunt around locally and see if I can find the ones that find their neighbours tasty.Perhaps some of you could too?Brian
Will tomatoes grow if the tomato plants are close together? I have a very small greenhouse, so I planted all of them just five inches apart. Now they're all very bushy. I wonder if they need to be thinned out, or will I still have tomatoes if I just let them be?
al-Qa', I really like [i]schlurmed[/i]. Please tell me 'bout it.
I've heard that about beer, too. I also think it would be really neat to learn about what kind of complimentary plants you can grow next to edibles in order to discourage the particular pests that like them.
I have used beer for several years, this year home brew because it gets pretty expensive. The slugs even have favorite beers. Ironhorse is cheap and well liked by slugs. Some other cheap beer is just not interesting to them! some of the slugs seem to have very high alcohol tolerance and do not get drunk and drown.The predatory snail thing is serious. In the states and possibly in eastern Canada, they are sold to gardners and farmers.For me, the nice thing about predatory snails is that it suppresses slug numbers long term.
Originally posted by Michelle:[b]I've heard that about beer, too. I also think it would be really neat to learn about what kind of complimentary plants you can grow next to edibles in order to discourage the particular pests that like them.[/b]
Originally posted by Boom Boom:[b]Will tomatoes grow if the tomato plants are close together? I have a very small greenhouse, so I planted all of them just five inches apart. Now they're all very bushy. I wonder if they need to be thinned out, or will I still have tomatoes if I just let them be?[/b]
I think you really need to thin them out, Boom Boom. To at the least, one plant every 15 inches. Unless they're miniature cherry tomatoes.
Thanks. I'll give away as many as I can and use the rest for compost. They're the big variety of tomatoes. I figure I only need ten plants, but I've got [i]70.[/i] [img]eek.gif" border="0[/img]
Originally posted by Boom Boom:[b]Thanks. I'll give away as many as I can and use the rest for compost. They're the big variety of tomatoes. I figure I only need ten plants, but I've got [i]70.[/i] [img]eek.gif" border="0[/img] [/b]
ROFL! If you had enough space, you could stock the local grocery store and pizzeria!
(edited for speeling)
[ 20 July 2008: Message edited by: Digiteyes ]
Yeah I concur Boom Boom. 5 inches is pretty durn close for big tomatoes, considering the stems of some of mine big varieties end up being an inch and half wide at the base by fall. I plant mine 12 inches apart and that is considered close and intensive planting. I'm not exactly sure what your situation is but when you thin them you could consider interplanting the spaces with some shallow root crops that actually need some protection from heat and some shade like lettuce or other greens that you pick when small and young. Basil tends to work well as it takes the same conditions as tomatoes generally plus it's supposed to and have some companion benefits. It also goes well together when eating them. Pick a tomato, grab a few basil leaves and slice them up, sprinkle on the tomato and have a yum yum fest.
Thanks for all the good advice! I wish I had a larger greenhouse.
Yes, hot, humid, and lots of rain here, too. And as EQ says, it causes everything to grow.
Nature always has a challenge for gardeners. Rain and warm weather is a recipe for weeds to a farmer. Good for pasture growers, if the weeds don't outgrow the grass. I'm trying to establish a pasture and it's more diffcult than you might imagine.
Rain gives and takes away.
Take for instance the recent thunderstorms and hot humid weather in SWOnt. Wheat is ready to harvest right now. But, due to weather, the wheat may end up sprouting on the stalk, with the fields and stalk too wet to work. Remember that $14 dollar wheat? Bye bye. Hope you didn't sign a contract.
Beware, tomato growers. Hot, wet, humid - and bushy, tight plants in a greenhouse, Boomster - could mold your fruit, and will at least stress the plants and cause premature death. Fungicides can help, but need to be applied early, before the problems start.
Overall, and it pains me to admit it, but a dry year it is actually easier to manage food, given the ability to apply water. This is why I imagine California and other sunny and hot, dry-ish, regions are such big producers. And why they also lead the league in irrigation. Potatoes in Idaho and not PEI.
Apparently these gastropods -- slugs / snails --also drink near beer. I'm assuming it doesn't knock them out though (unless they're American?) so you'd have to I guess, round them up manually and deal with them. This Ontario Ministry of Agriculture article says you can also just set out a plank of punky old wood and pick them off when they take up residence underneath. These little slimers are decimating my hostas so I may try that. Hopefully the wood doesn't attract termites.
Is there any non-toxic, non-crunchy way to dispatch these things quickly? I once tried putting a bunch of them in my yard waste bag. Then I remembered they can climb.
[ 21 July 2008: Message edited by: triciamarie ]
We've had lots of heat and rain, so everything's now looking great.
We had pesto today, made from our own basil and garlic. We also had Caesar salad, made from our Cos lettuce. Yesterday was Indian - with home-grown cilantro chutney and a spinach-rice dish in which I substituted beet tops (which gave the rice a pinkish hue)for spinach. I've been throwing mint into everything. Rasberry clafouti was dessert.
Two days ago we had stuffed koosas and stuffed swiss chard, followed by rhubarb crumble.
Peas are just about ready, and it looks like I might soon have an explosion of fava/broad beans. There isn't much action on the aubergine front, though; the plants are still pretty small.
My eggplant is blooming, and a not bad size. We had a serious downpour yesterday and another the day before, so everything is well-watered. Have some weeding to catch up on, though, and the grass is getting too long in the back yard.
My raspberries are finally in gear, we put up some saskatoon berry and rhubarb jam last week and have been enjoying lettuce, chard and zucchinis from the garden. There may finally be some green and yellow beans this week. The tomato plants are getting nice and big, and I have lots of green tomatoes on the plants.
Nothing like home-grown tomatoes!
My beets, radishes, tomato, cucumber, turnip, rutabaga, and spinach plants are doing very well, but the beans, onions, lettuce and carrots have barely survived the lousy cold, wet and windy weather we had all June. I've ordered new carrots and lettuce seeds and will plant them next week. Should be ready for picking by either the middle or end of September. I've ordered the quickest growest plants I could find.
My wildflowers all died - May and June were just too cold and wet, and no sun whatsoever. However, all that rain and the sun we're getting now has given me a bumper crop of marigolds and the sunflowers are really growing as well. I have sunflowers growing everywhere.
Next year I will plant ALL my veggies no earlier than July 1st. I've learned my lesson.
The blackflies are really bad this year, because of the wet May and June we had. I can't even go into my backyard without being doused in fly dope or mosquito netting. I think I'm allergic to blackflies, because I get tired and have to lie down after I get bit.
Flowering wild weeds are doing fine here, so I think I'll let them be, because I have so few flowers at all, although the marigolds and sunflowers are doing really well.
I have wild roses growing in one section of my yard, and I'm trying more sophisicated roses in my backyard, but they're not doing so well. There's a lesson there, too: better to rely on native species than introduce new stuff.
Friends of mine here own four properties joined together, with a gorgeous house they rebuilt, and their gardens are amazing - but they're inland further than I am (I'm right on the edge of the salt water sea) and they don't get salt water spray that harms the crops. Flowers that grow well there are chives (yes, it's a herb, but chive flowers are gorgeous), sunflowers, marigolds, daisies, and forget-me-nots. I planted chives this year but they're slow growing. Next year I'm going to try both daisies and forget-me-nots instead of the tulips and wildflower bulbs that failed this year.
I mentioned in an earlier thread that my backyard/garden is also a sanctuary for small birds - these include a family of seven beautiful Mourning Doves that drop by in the daytime, but usually gather as a group and feed in the early evening. I love those birds. I also have Finches (Purple, and House), Common Gackles, Boreal Chickadees, Swainson's Thrush, too many crows and Common Ravens (which I would like to see move elsewhere - they scare off the smaller birds), American Gold Finch, Sparrows (different varieties), Tree Swallow, Evening Grosbeak, and European Starling.
Other birds that fly overhead but don't actually come into the sanctuary are a variety of hawks, eagles, Canada Geese, and lots of seagulls which poop over everything and drop stuff like crab legs here and there that they've been feeding on.
I just had a tossed salad with a huge radish from my garden - it was great. There's two friends here I grow radishes for - they don't have a garden - and another friend I am growing beets for - he also doesn't have a garden. The beet greens are enormous, very leafy - but the beets themselves are still pretty small. I found some more lettuce growing near the weeds, and also some carrots. I also have a row of rutabagas doing well.
What the heck can you do with rutabagas - anyone know? I usually boil them with potatoes and just mash them along with the potatoes - gives mashed potatoes a bit of a kick. I think I'd hate to eat rutabagas by themselves - too strong a taste.
One way of doing rutabagas is to mash them with milk (or cream), lots of butter, and brown sugar. Not exactly a diet recipe, but the taste is much too pungent otherwise. (I also do what you do, and mix them with potatoes.)
The record rainfall we've had in Toronto has been good for my tomatoes; I planted them kind of late, and they're taller every time I look outside with lots of baby tomatoes. The green pepper plant is also doing well.
But something is munching my herb garden and sunflowers. I planted three varieties of basil, and the Thai basil is doing okay, but the other two are heavily damaged. And the sunflowers have been killed; their leaves look like lace curtains.
I'm nervous about planting root vegetables. I live in a former industrial area, and the neighbours tell me the soil is contaminated. My herbs are in pots, and the tomatoes are in a spot I've excavated and added home-made compost to from our old composter (the one I had to get rid of because of the rats).
No rats here that I know of, but lots of very small moles (they look like mice but with no tail), and they burrow in the ground, and raid the gardens when they think no one is looking. I think the ravens are their natural predator. We also have chipmunks (maybe squirrels, I'm not sure) but I don't mind them at all - I actually enjoy having the chipmunks around, and leave some sunflower seeds for them.
I don't think I'll try your recipe for rutabagas - it made me cringe. They're good with mashed potatoes so I guess that's about it. They're really growing well.
The sky is getting dark early, and it's really blowing, and I can smell rain on the way, so I was out bringing more radishes in, in advance of the storm. They're huge!
I found some Meslun lettuce that I planted as seeds on June 1st growing between the weeds, but that lettuce is really small. I'm going to let the radishes, beets, lettuce and sunflowers grow, but everything else (mostly beans) are too hard to tell apart from the weeds so I'm pulling them all up together and will plant new seeds in their place.
I also have four small apple trees growing that I planted as seeds - they will produce crabapples in ten years or so. Wish there was some magic I could use to make them grow tall overnight! [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]
Don't like the idea of sugar in a mashed veggie??
It's a variation of a "neeps" recipe you might serve on Robbie Burns Day, when the rutabagas (or turnips) are mashed with butter and sugar along side "cock-a-leekie" soup made with chicken, prunes, and leeks. (And the haggis, of course, which is boiled for 20 minutes.) [url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/history/burnsnight/recipes/index.shtml]Yum...
I wish I could get sunflowers to grow. This year they got eaten by (I think) slugs. Last year, the racoons took them out.
For all my gardening problems, though, tomatoes always seem to work. I've never had a problem with pests. The racoons ate my pumpkins, but never the tomatoes.
I love homegrown rutabagas mashed with a little butter. I don't try growing them or radishes any more, though, as they get all wormy here.
I planted Scarlet Runner beans in late June, and theyre already grown half-way to three-quarters up the bean poles. Earwigs attacked the leaves, and I've been waging war on them with pest powder now and then. 32 bean stalks in all and only a few badly eaten leaves and some stalks bent over from the wind before they had a chance to climb.
I found potato beetles all over my spuds when I visited the allottment yesterday.
If you don't mind the greasy ochre ooze that covers your palms (and some errant splattering elsewhere) afterwards, there is quite some satisfaction to be had in smacking them bugs between your hands.
Originally posted by triciamarie:Apparently these gastropods -- slugs / snails --also drink near beer. [b]I'm assuming it doesn't knock them out though (unless they're American?)[/b] so you'd have to I guess, round them up manually and deal with them.
Ha! [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]
Just finished pulling up the last of the @#$%^!!!!! weeds from my veggie garden, and early tomorrow morning will plant a new crop of carrots and lettuce for harvesting at the end of September. Spinach plants are doing very well, a weird looking spinach, but very leafy. Now it's raining - again! Rain in our forecast for every day this week. It's insane to work in the garden in the afternoon, as the humidity is bad, but I went back to bed this morning after feeding the birds and reading my email. Wish the tomato plants would start producing some tomatoes, none so far although the plants are huge.
Originally posted by triciamarie:[b]Apparently these gastropods -- slugs / snails --also drink near beer. Is there any non-toxic, non-crunchy way to dispatch these things quickly? I once tried putting a bunch of them in my yard waste bag. Then I remembered they can climb.[ 21 July 2008: Message edited by: triciamarie ][/b]
Put the beer in a container with vertical sides. Only needs to be about 4" high, unless you're on the west coast and are dealing with banana slugs, in which case, I don't know how you kill them because I don't know if they'll drink a keg of beer before they drown.
Bury the container up to its rim. The slugs will fall in, and drink themselves to death and drown.Then you just have to dispose of dead slugs.
Oh! Okay, thanks.
This is such a silly question but... when a slug falls into beer and starts drinking, is that volitional on their part? Or do they just like, fall in and drown like any other animal? They must feel pain. How long before they go into a stupor? I'm just wondering if I should get over myself and step on the things (or get my four-year-old to do it!) if that would cause them less suffering.
Maybe I'll just let them eat the hostas.
Originally posted by WendyL:[b]al-Qa', I really like [i]schlurmed[/i]. Please tell me 'bout it.[/b]
I just made it up.
I dug up my garlic three days ago. The stalks were all brown, so I figured they weren't going to grow any more. The odd thing is, both those that I planted last fall and the spring plants turned brown. Anyway, I have some nice big heads of garlic this year.
Yhe French courgettes are producing like mad.The aubergines that I started in the house in March are finally blooming, only a week behind the volunteer aubergine that is growing among my swiss charge.
The kiwis haven't grown a bit in a month; they're still the size of grapes. But my grapes actually look like grapes!
I planted marigolds out in the allotment to deter onion maggots. I don't know if the bugs are staying away, but the flowers out there in the middle of nowhere look incredible! What a waste!
Today we had new spuds - steamed, green beans sautйed in garlic and butter, beets, zucchinis baked with mozzarella, salad made from various lettuces, cucumbers, and other greens, as well as tofu Italian sausages that my 11-year old insisted we buy.
I like eating during this time of the year, when all I have to buy are things like butter, vinegar and olive oil.
How about them garden gnomes, eh? [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]
We are awash in squash. Awash in squash, I tell you!
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:[b]We are awash in squash. Awash in squash, I tell you![/b]
I planted several squash plants. One died the others got munched when I wasn't watching and the only one left is just a monster so it's probably good that the other ones didn't grow because they'd have taken over. The main vines are now approaching 20 feet and still going and there are dozens of fruits. I've never seen anything like this. My tomatoes are insane. I built 6 feet tall tripods and many of them are just to small. They just keep growing at this crazy rate. This past week I've just been pruning back branches so the energy will be put into the fruit. The durn things grew so fast that after going away for three days I couldn't get into part of the patch because it was like they just exploded. And the kicker is I haven't watered the garden once this year.
This is all planted in a new garden bed which is basically a patch in a field that I smothered the grass and weeds with plastic this spring. Some things are just planted in half-decomposed straw and lamma manure. I figured the ground would be fertile but this is ridiculously crazy fertile. Even a couple of the weeds like the mallow are growing to monster proportions. According to my weed books it's now even supposed to grow as big as it is. LOL
Very little fertile ground here for anything but weeds. All the gardeners here have to bring in peat moss and topsoil from outside.
My rutabagas are now all grown and ready for picking, the beets still growing, tomatoes are still green and tiny, but the radishes, lettuce and carrots have done very well. I have a second crop of lettuce and carrots beginning to show their greens. My cucumbers are just vines so far, will have to re-arrange the tomatoes and cukes next year.
The lettuce right out of my garden is unbelievable - I picked one head this morning, it measures two feet around. After rinsing the lettuce and letting it cool in the fridge for a few hours, it's really good and crunchy - makes great sandwiches with tomatoes or what have you. I have about 30 big rutabagas that I'm giving away. Beets are still small (I planted them too close together) but the carrots look good. Tomatoes are still small and green, but maybe a few more weeks of warm weather will take cre of that. The crows are getting into the lettuce so I have to find another way of getting rid of them - 'shooing' doesn't have much effect.
I've been pulling zucchini plants because they're crowding other things, and I have way too many zukes anyway.
Out at the allotment I have a mystery. My corn is as high as an elephant's eye, but the cobs are miniscule. I spaced the corn a lot more than usual this year, too, because I've been overcrowding them in recent years.
You must have a fairly large property - corn takes a lot of space.
I decided not to grow potatoes this year, last year's crop wasn't worth the effort.
What the heck did you plant 30 rutabagas for!? [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]
al-Q, I'm so jealous of your garden. I come to this thread just to salivate.
Originally posted by Boom Boom:[b]You must have a fairly large property - corn takes a lot of space.
I decided not to grow potatoes this year, last year's crop wasn't worth the effort.[/b]
I decided not to grow potatoes this year, last year's crop wasn't worth the effort.[/b]
I don't plant corn in the backyard any more, but grow it out on the allotment, which is about a 50' X 30' plot.
Many of my spuds rotted in the ground last fall. It rained so much I couldn't get to them. I'd dig up a hill and find tiny pea-sized second-growth tubers and nothing else - the potatoes had composted themselves into nothing already.
This year's potato crop looks good so far.
Originally posted by Michelle:What the heck did you plant 30 rutabagas for!? [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]
Ha! [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] I had all those seeds left over from last year, and I had the space, so... Besides, I like one occasionally with my mashed potatoes and carrots. I gave away six big ones today to friends. And, they're supposed to be good for the soil. And the leaves, which are enormous, should make good compost. But this will be my last year growing rutabagas - next year, just regular turnip in its place.
The second crop of lettuce and carrots are coming along - in October I should have a bumper crop to harvest, aside from what I'm harvesting now.
I picked luscious ripe tomatoes and a handful of basil leaves from the garden today -- chopped them and tossed them with olive oil, garlic, cheese and pasta. Simple and so delicious!
Boom Boom, I had lunch at a Meditteranean-themed restaurant a few days ago and one of the ingredients inside the wonderful sandwich (chicken with lots of stuff in a pita)was "pickled turnips." I love turnip and rutabaga but I confess, with all my history of pickling and preserving, pickled turnips is a new one on me!
Originally posted by Sharon: I love turnip and rutabaga but I confess, with all my history of pickling and preserving, pickled turnips is a new one on me!
It's not new to me. When I moved to Thunder Bay in 1980 I met a family that gave me pickled carrots and turnips in a jar as a welcoming gift. Delicious! And they keep forever.
Sharon, you should go to an Iranian shop sometime. You'll find pickled garlic, pickled eggplant, and other pickled veggies that surprised me. And oh wow, picked eggplant relish is SO GOOD.
Can anyone suggest a really good 'how to pickle' site? I'm taking two months off from city living and pickling from my Dad's garden is something we wanted to do during our escape.
Well, I'll do some research and perhaps add them to my repertoire! [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]
Recipes for eggplant relish are called "bademjan torshi" or "torshi litteh" if you're google searching. (I can't remember which one is the one I love...I can't tell from looking at the bottles I'm finding in google searches and I know it by the look of it when I'm in the store. "Torshi" is the important word. I think it's "Litteh" actually.) You might try alternate spellings too, since that's transliterated and there's no "official" English spelling for most Persian words.
[ 23 August 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]
sandpiper, I'm trying to get organized to start a babble pickling thread/workshop which first came up last winter sometime -- when harvest seemed so far away.
Michelle and writer -- and others (I'd have to look back) -- were interested and because I have lots of experience, I said I'd direct the workshops.
I don't think we got so far as to figure out how we were going to do it, however. But it sounds like fun. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]
Michelle, thank you. I'll definitely look for delicious Iranian pickles.
[ 23 August 2008: Message edited by: Sharon ]
I think maybe I'd like to make pickles too. Sign me up for the course! [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]
I am happy to help. Even if it is just with some recipes. We produce jams, relishes, and some other things for farmers market sales.
If anyone has access to Tomatillo's we have a fantastic salsa recipe. Also we often just put quatered tomatoes in a jar with some various spicing for the taste of fresh tomatoes in the winter. We grow 26 heritage varities so we are always looking for things to do with the ones that aren't nice enough to sell to others.
Please do share the tomatillo recipe, BA, I haven't grown any but saw some at the supermarket the other day and was tempted to buy some and go looking for something to do with them.
Last night we ate the first two proper-sized eggplants I've grown. I used a variation on a Marcella Hazan recipe -- cut them in half, cut cross hatches in the flesh with a paring knife, stuffed the cuts with garlic slices. Then I browned the cut side in a fry pan with olive oil, then turned them to let the backs cook, covered, for a few minutes. Meanwhile, I made a sauce with peppers and tomatoes (also from the garden). I then put the eggplant in a baking dish cut side up, layered with mozzarella slices, sprinkled with fresh basil (from my herb bed!) and spooned the sauce overtop, then baked the whole shebang until the cheese was runny and the eggplant cooked through.
I have several butternut squashes growing, but they won't be ready for a while. There are some great fall recipes I will use them in. Our potatoes are not as good this year, I don't think, but will do okay. Lots of carrots and the beets are doing well. I think our beans and peas are done for this year, so I need to pull them up and start a compost pile. Tomatoes are going like mad. I will have to can some, probably tonight.
Oh, and I have a one-jar-at-a-time pickle recipe if anyone's interested. Super easy, even my 10 yr old makes her own jars of pickles. [img]cool.gif" border="0[/img]
Originally posted by RosaL:[b]I think maybe I'd like to make pickles too. Sign me up for the course! [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] [/b]
I made my first pickles this year. Can't wait to try them.
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:[b]
I made my first pickles this year. Can't wait to try them.[/b]
I made my first pickles this year. Can't wait to try them.[/b]
Do you have a good recipe? I like them really sour!
I'm also interested in Bookish Agrarian's tomato recipes - and anything else people think might be good.
(Recipe posters: Please describe things in detail: nothing is too obvious to mention. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] )
[ 24 August 2008: Message edited by: RosaL ]