Friday, May 21, 2010

Melons and cukes

I planted them around 6pm.  Overnight temps forecast to be in the upper 40's and lower 50's through next Friday.
They sleep outside in the seed flats as it is, the ground was and stays warmer overnight. Plus i put row cover over them. So they should be cozy.
The soil felt quite warm, the cover on the melon row definitely helped with the soil temperature.

The only melon i did not plant were the Banana. They are late starters and have not sprouted yet.

I plan to direct sow the green beans, and rutabagas ....maybe the beets tomorrow.

I'm sort of throwing caution to the wind at this point.

I doubt i'll  be able to next year, this has been an exceptionally mild spring.  I hope this bit of apparent risk is  going to be worth it. If we have no frosts in the next 14 days, i will be glad i did it.

Under cover, i think the plants can stand a light frost. 


White geraniums attract Japanese beetles, which are poisioned when they eat the leaves  according to this site:

Pickled Ripe Tomatoes:
Saw something similar on a Bizarre Foods episode taped in Russia

Recipe for Cornichons (French sour pickles):

Alton Brown's Dill Pickle Recipe (real fermented)
Dill Pickles


    * 5 1/2 ounces pickling salt, approximately 1/2 cup
    * 1 gallon filtered water
    * 3 pounds pickling cucumbers, 4 to 6-inches long
    * 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
    * 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
    * 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    * 1 teaspoon dill seed
    * 1 large bunch dill


Combine the salt and water in a pitcher and stir until the salt has dissolved.

Rinse the cucumbers thoroughly and snip off the blossom end stem. Set aside.

Place the peppercorns, pepper flakes, garlic, dill seed and fresh dill into a 1-gallon crock. Add the cucumbers to the crock on top of the aromatics. Pour the brine mixture over the cucumbers in order to completely cover. Pour the remaining water into a 1-gallon ziptop plastic bag and seal. Place the bag on top of the pickles making sure that all of them are completely submerged in the brine. Set in a cool, dry place.

Check the crock after 3 days. Fermentation has begun if you see bubbles rising to the top of the crock. After this, check the crock daily and skim off any scum that forms. If scum forms on the plastic bag, rinse it off and return to the top of the crock.

The fermentation is complete when the pickles taste sour and the bubbles have stopped rising; this should take approximately 6 to 7 days. Once this happens, cover the crock loosely and place in the refrigerator for 3 days, skimming daily or as needed. Store for up to 2 months in the refrigerator, skimming as needed. If the pickles should become soft or begin to take on an off odor, this is a sign of spoilage and they should be discarded.


A tsukemono press would probably be good for any brine pickling project, but the ones at Amazon are junky looking and over priced.
Time for another PVC project?

And to round out the subject:



Onions, shallots and.....tomatoes.

Yes, i planted the tomatoes out today. Wisely or foolish, we shall see.  These are the tomatoes that survived that recent frost.  I am glad i kept the Romas because two of them began to generate new leaves and almost looked normal if small.  I figure, these plants have been outside since i wintersowed them in February...  c'est la vie.   If i have to visit my favorite small garden nursery to replace plants there is nothing i can do now that will change it. If the plants have been stunted, it already has occurred.

I even that some pattypan squash seedlings that survived and are throwing out fresh leaves. These are the seed from Johnny's that are somewhere around 10 years old. The seeds that as of the last in the package have still given me close to 85% germination.  I never knew squash seed was that tough... so that is also a good example of the high quality seed that i got from Johnny's.

It the seedlings of tomatoes do well, it looks like the replacement plants that have sprouted may end up  being donated to my parent's garden.

The replacement squashes, and melons are also resprouting so reliably, i may have to split those as well.

I got all the seedling onions set out and the shallots. Those will be safe if the weather turns,  so that was perfect to do.

It was tricky planting those since they were planted in the seed flats that got spilled in the Great Flying Greenhouse Escapade.  I had just planted two flats of assorted herbs and veggies, the wind knocked it over, mixed it all up...  it was all the soil i had left so i put it back in and replanted something totally distinguishable from any herbs and other veggies in there. Onions are perfect. Nothing else that i have for seeds looks like the onion family.
But this is what the cell packs looked like:

There were also 2 nice red Swiss Chard (Bright Lights) in there and i think a basil, both sharing their cells with a nice stocky Ailsa Craig onion seedling.  There is still a Point One cabbage and a tiny Borage (i think) in the last cell on the right.
I saved  all  of the non-onion seedlings,  some were basil and parsley- and i lost a lot of my basils in the frost,  so i kept all i could. Some of them were growing a bit too close so a few of the onions have a little Chervil sidekick in their planting hole.
I put the extra seedlings into new cell packs for planting later.

I didn't get a picture, but those brassica and family plants i set out the other day are looking great. It looks like they have grown quite a bit already.

I hope tomorrow i can finish the squash & melon hills.
After that it is mostly herbs that will need to be planted.

Then i can play with some berry seeds, keep up with weeding, count days until succession plantings, then some harvesting, putting by, green manuring...

That is if it goes well!
Alternatives are:
Cursing the existence of groundhogs
Praying for rain; alternately:
Praying for sunshine
Praying for the weeds to drop dead
Bemoaning the existence of tomato hornworms
Finding a pile of cat poo next to my cucumbers
Finding earwigs setting up house inside my sweet pepper fruits
Battling a slug and snail plague

Hopefully it won't be like that,, but i am steeling myself for it just in case.

The airlock on the Lilac Wine is chugging away most encouragingly.
I sure hope its pleasant, i don't want something more akin to flower scented lighter fluid!

I need to remember to spray the apple trees again, the petals appear to be blown.

The irises are blooming, and my orange poppy has even more buds on it this year.

So i'm going to rest now. I keep thinking i can finish "Root Cellaring" but its a longer book than i thought :o)