Monday, January 13, 2014

Catch-up time and photo-dump!

Well,  i guess i'm another 4 months late.  My excuses are a busy summer,  then school started,  then i started working at a paying job again.  I forgot my Photobucket password and i simply did not ant to deal with the whole thing. lol
The garden did pretty well this year.  The stars of the show were the sweet peppers.  I was amazed.  I have struggled to grow sweet peppers for years without any real success.  This time i decided to lay down black plastic- mostly for weed control more than anything else.  What it did for the pepper plants was nothing short of amazing.  I bought some seeds for Ancient Sweet peppers, used up what was left of my Zsa Zsa seeds and my dad gave me a few extra seedlings that he bought at the local nursery.  We had a hot summer too-  the result was that we were up to our ears in peppers.

 Growing up,  my parents always had a few pepper plants in their garden and they often did ok.  We'd get a few off each plant before frost came but i don't recall the fruit ever ripening.  We were always happy with green peppers so that was fine.  This year my plants not only grew and fruited,  most of them completely ripened!  I could not keep up.  I was giving them away,  cooking them,  using them in salads.  I ended up dehydrating the last batch which filled my 9-tray Excalibur.  I packed the strips on the trays,  i did not cut them in rounds because there was not enough space.  After dehydrating,  the strips filled a quart jar tightly packed.  We've been using them in spaghetti sauce ...  i need to find other uses because this jar will last 5 years otherwise. :)

Ok,  so for the pictures i spent the summer taking but not posting.  I'm just going to work straight from my Photobucket page and drop them here,  hopefully i will remember what each pic was all about and i can blabber a little about it.

The last pictures i posted on the blog were of the Adirondack Blue potato plants just breaking the surface of the soil.  So i'll not repeat that but start here:

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The Gojiberries did awesome again this year.  I got two distinct crops, one fairly early and the other lasted through the first couple mild frosts.

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This was the early start to the garden.  I didn't use plastic on all the rows.  I had some trouble at first with the wind blowing up the ends of the plastic.  Once the ground staples began to corrode and the plants got bigger,  things stayed down tighter.

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I did not use plastic on the bush bean rows,  but i probably could have.  Wider spacing would work well,  but close spacing would probably not.

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This old semi-climbing rose came with the house. I don't know if it is the original plant or if it is the result of the root stock taking over.  The color is really nice but there is hardly any scent.  I like it in a way but i mostly keep it because its one of the few things i kept that is original to the property.  I like a little continuity.

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I love to see the cracks in the soil when the bean plants begin to break through.  I get a kick out of it every year.

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These are the peppers getting some early blossoms.

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If i remember right,  the tomatoes and the peppers started blossoming within days of each other.  Usually the peppers are much further behind.

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Looks like all the bush beans are up in this picture.

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These are the Sparkle strawberries that were planted earlier that spring.  Only 2 of the plants failed.

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Another photo of the Goji,  looks like a couple of ripe ones down at the base.

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We did get some blueberries this year. Not a lot though. If i remember, one plant produced nothing, two others produced only a few and this one had the most.  My youngest daughter didn't pick the green berries off this year,  the plants just didn't bloom well.  There weren't any late frosts either as i recall.

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I planted some nasturtiums as well.  I love eating the flowers.

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A little further on in the summer.  Still keeping ahead of the weeds at that point!

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More 'nasties' awaiting planting.  They are hanging out with the Schizandra seeds which did not germinate over the summer.  They are still living outside on the off chance that spending a winter outdoors will kick them into gear.  If i see no results this spring,  i'm going to buy some seedlings from Oikos Tree Crops.

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Basil.  I love the stuff.

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I think these are cucumber blossoms.  Another successful planting.  Between peppers and cukes we had some great salads!

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Summer Squash.  I grew Yellow Zebra again this year.  I really like this variety.  Excellent flavor and texture, produces well but not overwhelmingly.

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Summer squash again i think.   The plastic mulch kept the rows nice and clean.

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Shiso.  These plants went bonkers,  growing almost 4 feet high.

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Peppers...looking sharp.

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Red Russian kale....   this is a staple.  I hope i never have to go without seeds for this variety.

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Broccoli.  Not sure what type or types.  I think i bought a mix for next year.  (this year- 2014)

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Tea hibiscus.  This is the type that grow those bright red calyxes used in herbal teas.  They didn't do very well.  The plants grew tall but i never saw a flower and therefore i got no calyxes.  The leaves developed these circular marks all over them.  You can see one on the middle left leaf.  It got worse as the season went on and i never found the time to research what caused it and what to do about it.   The plants were placed close to the Jerusalem Artichokes and may have been too shaded for optimum health.

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The strawberries did well,  i think i got a few large berries and about 6 or 8 small ones.  I let my youngest daughter eat them,  i did take one for myself toward the end of the season.  Very tasty.  I ordered more for this coming year.

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Again,  this is the blueberry plant that actually produced normally.   I've got to look it up,  but i think that was year 4,  this will be year 5.  The plants are supposed to reach 4 feet in height,  but these guys are all still a foot and a half at most. They produced well their second and third years,  but don't put on much growth.  I selected them for the berries and their modest mature size.  They are planted in the box in front of the house and i was kind of looking for that landscape shrub look- but its just not happening.   They aren't filling the space like i wanted them to.   Maybe a few more years?  I like them so i won't rip them out but i'm just a slight bit annoyed.

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The climbing rose again,  blooms beginning to fade but still nice.

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Adirondack potato plant.  I threw in some radish seeds because the seed potatoes were beginning to rot when i planted them and i wasn't sure any would grow.  We ended up with enough potatoes for a few side dishes and a small pot of beef stew.

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Blurry pic of Golden Zebra summer squash.

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Small picking of radishes.

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I want to say these are Romas,  but i'm not sure.  My dad gave me a few seedlings of a cherry tomato called "Stocky- somethingorother"  i forget the name.  Those did pretty well and were early.  So these are either Romas or the stocky cherry.

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A few nicely sized radishes.

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This was when the summer squash and the cukes began taking off.

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Nice head of broccoli.  We didn't get much more.  After a year off,  a woodchuck once again discovered our garden and feasted.

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Just a pretty moth i spotted.  Never got it identified but there is a page on Facebook i could submit it to,  i just never got around to it.  It laid eggs a few days later,  then disappeared.  The eggs were a pretty jade green.  I never saw the larvae but the eggs did hatch at some point because they left behind little bits of shell still stuck to the wood.

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More cucumbers!

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The spots on the tea hibiscus leaves.

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Ancient Sweet pepper fruit.

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Some ripe blueberries.

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First crop of all three types of bush beans.  Very yummy.

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Elderberry.  Later,  the birds discovered them and wiped them out.

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Another box of cukes.

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More bush beans.

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A morning glory flower from volunteers.  I planted some seeds in a three-pot plant stand about 3 or 4 years ago.  Since then,  i get these flowers as a bonus because they keep reseeding.

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First tomatoes.  These should be from that "Stocky" plant.

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Growing like crazy.  I think the weeds started getting away from me in the rows without plastic.

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I grew Daikon Radish for the first time this year.  They did great and were tasty in salads,  by themselves and i even put some in a pot roast.  There was another box of cukes and i think this was the beginning of the sweet pepper stampede.

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More to come...

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Zsa Zsa peppers,  pale green when ripe.

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Hummingbird moth on what i think is phlox.  This is at my parents' house.

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Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes.   Very tasty.

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I think this is a Cherokee Purple.  I failed again this year to tie up or properly stake the tomatoes,  so it all became a mess.  The vines grew so thickly we could not even reach many of the tomatoes.  I didn't prune or anything.  I just let it go.   We got plenty of cherry tomatoes but for the most part,  the rest went to waste.  I didn't really have time to process them anyway.  I need to have a better plan from here on out.

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I never knew that woodchucks like unripe butternut squash.  I ended up picking all the undamaged ones i could find and let them ripen on the picnic table.  I got enough for quite a few gallons of butternut squash soup.

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The Raveena eggplant did very well.  This one got a little too big.  I picked the rest at a smaller size.  I used them in stir-frys.

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Ancient Sweet peppers get very large.  They are also very tasty,  have few seeds and very little pithy ribs.

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Ripe peppers.  The white ones are Zsa Zsa,  the long red is Ancient Sweet of course and the other two were from the plants my dad had extras of.  The Zsa Zsa peppers were good but not as good as the other two types.  They were from my last seeds and Pinetree no longer carries them.  The very pale green color is nice but i won't miss them.  I am glad i finally had success with them.

Ok,  well we lost power for some unknown reason.  We have battery backup but who knows how long the outage will last and the internet access.  I also cannot access older photos i took  with my cell phone,  so these are all i have until i can figure what is going on.   I'll hopefully do another update soon-  not in another 3 months!