Indoor Experiment

Growth of the same garlic 3 days apart

It is 75 degrees Fahrenheit today. It’s been like this all week. I feel like every year I complain about it not being cool enough or not being warm enough but that’s kind of the norm, isn’t it? Some days are warmer than others. My garlic has been loving the weather. I hope that’s a good thing! I’m sure their roots are getting nice and established but I haven’t grown garlic before so I don’t know what’s going to happen to their tops once the really cold weather comes. Im in zone 8 so our winters are very mild compared to other areas, so it shouldn’t be too bad right?? 

Still no sign of life in the asperagus. I went ahead and bought asperagus seed so that I can start some from scratch just in case. It’ll take at least two or three years before I can eat those but so I’d rather start them sooner than later. My plan is to start them as soon as they come in and once the spring hits, I’ll see which (if any) crowns come up from the garden and plant these new babies in the place of the crowns that never came up. I’m crossing my fingers that at least 2 of the crowns (out of 15) survived. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking. 

Picture taken Nov 20, 2016

Picture taken Nov 30, 2016

The blueberry bush has changed a little. I have no idea if it’s from the stress of being replanted or from the fall weather (even though it’s been warm the days are shorter obviously). Those pictures were taken 10 days  apart and you can tell the leaves and new growth are more red and less green. It still seems healthy enough! I’m crossing my fingers that it’ll make it-I’d love to buy one less blueberry bush!

With all that fun going on outside, I felt like I needed a little extra green in the house. I started some herbs to have over the winter and I also wanted to try an experiment.

I wanted to see what would happen if I tried to grow tomatoes inside over the winter. On the internet, I’ve seen people who’ve done it… but you can find anything on the internet… What the heck, why not! I had some seeds that are on year 3 so I figured if I use those I won’t feel like I’m wasting anything it if fails. 

I used 2 hybrids – Best Boy (which I actually really don’t like at all. The tomatoes were mealy and teeny tiny. Could have been my soil at the time I suppose… ) and Sweet 100s (sweet 100s are by far my favorite hybrid of all time. They are always the first to sprout, I’ve always had 100% germination all 3 years that I’ve used them, and the grow well into frost. These seeds are all you need during the zombie apocalypse I swear)

I didn’t want to use my heirlooms since in general they’re more difficult to grow and less hardy. I soaked them and put them each in one of those seed starting pellets. Usually I don’t use those but I didn’t have any seed starting mix left and I was too impatient to go to the store. I ended up putting the seed starting pellets in a large pot so that I didn’t have to transplant them. The less work, the better. 

I planted them last Friday, which means it’s been 5 days. No sign of life yet. Usually the sweet 100s would have sprouted by now if they were under grow lights, but like I said both of the seeds I used are three years old. This waiting time between planting and sprouting is so hard!! It’s my least favorite part of gardening. I need instant gratification!

On the plus side one of my herbs have started growing! I didn’t label the pots since I know I can tell the difference between them when they actually get real leaves, but this is either thyme or oregano. 

I can’t wait to have the house filled with plants again!

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Update on Asparagus and Surprise Blueberry Bush 

Autumn definitely reinvigorates me. I’m so much more motivated to get outside and work when the weather is nice and cool. 

Half way done bed. I need to fill it more with soil but I put the garlic and asparagus in it already anyway. The tarp is over the end because there’s no soil there and I want to kill any grass that tries to grow in the mean time

My husband was finally able to put up our raised bed so I could finally put in our poor asparagus crowns. I wrote a post about it a month or so ago, but basically I ordered the crowns right before a hurricane. That meant we couldn’t mow the lawn to put the bed up until the yard dried out. In an attempt to save the crowns I temporarily planted them in pots. I tried to keep them on the front walkway (because most of them actually put out ferns which was super exciting at the time!) to be in direct sunlight, but one morning I woke up and some kind of animal (probably raccoon) had dug through most of the pots! I wish I had taken pictures but I didn’t even think to at the time. You could see where tiny hands had taken soil out and grabbed the crowns and tossed them somewhere else. There was only one crown that was totally ripped up, thankfully. The others had just been taken out of the pots and strewn around the area. Not there were about 4 of them that weren’t messed with, but of course those were the ones I think were duds. They didn’t put out ferns and looks totally unchanged so I’m sure they didn’t smell as enticing.   

After that incident, I kept the crowns that I could salvage and just put them on our porch. I am pretty sure all of them are dead…. BUT I planted them none the less. Just in case they have a glimmer of life in them. 

Once I finished planting I wanted to start clearing out the horrendous landscaping in front of the house. I’ve meantioned it before, but the previous owners put in all tropical plants… so once the frost his everything dies. Makes for a very sad looking house in the winter. 

While I was clearing out the plants, I found a long forgotten blueberry bush! I bought two bushes last year right before the move and never planted them. They were still in the original containers that I bought them in. They were on the porch but must have fallen and gotten lost in the landscaping plants. One of them was way past dead, but the other one had green leaves and new growth!!! It’s 4  years old and very stunted, but I couldn’t believe it lived. I hadn’t watered, fertilized, or even thought about it in a year. I quickly planted it and it still seems to be living! 

My husband and I aren’t sure how long we want to live in this house (I want to move before we have kids… so within the next three years!). So, we don’t want to invest too much money on fruit trees and bushes. Right now there are 2 existing apple trees, 2 pear trees, 2 grape vines, and now one blueberry bush. We’ll have to get at least one more blueberry bush since it can’t self pollinate, but our plan right now is to just maintain what we’ve got. I LOVE blueberries and can eat pounds of fresh/frozen ones so I think I’ll get 3 more bushes in the spring. When we move into out forever house I want way more! 

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Starting the Big Garden Project

Well, the first frost just so happened to coincide with us getting a new bushhog. You know what that means…
Time to tear up the garden! Oh it felt so good to watch my husband chop that thing to pieces! If you’re new here, we just moved to this property in February of this year (2016). The timing of the move forced us to make a temporary garden so that we could have at least a few veggies over the summer. It turned out pretty well. We had some successes and many failures. But now it’s time to start building up a healthy,permanent  garden.

I got one last harvest before the bushhog tore everything down. A few peppers, okra, and even some last cherry tomatoes. The okra are way too woody to eat but I’m hoping to save some seed from them. Man, I know one of my goals is to exclusively grow heirloom plants but those hybrid cherry tomatoes always out perform everything else. We had our first frost and that plant was still flowering! 

Our next step will be building the raised bed, killing the grass, and building the soil. The raised bed will be for the asparagus and root vegetables. All of our other plants will be directly in the ground. This year we didn’t amend the soil at all, and I think that was our biggest short coming. In the spring we’re planning on ordering some truckloads of garden soil (with compost already incorporated). We have a ton more projects to finish around the property, but the  garden is my favorite!

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Ruined Asperagus Crowns… Or Maybe Not?

Let me start out by saying I rarely ever know what I’m doing. Just when you think you’ve researched everything something else comes up.

So I’ve been wanting to grow asperagus for years. We finally have our own land so I looked and looked and looked and found the variety (jersey giant) I wanted for a fairly good price. 

My husband and I attempted a make shift permaculture garden this year without raised beds, but my plan has always been to build a few raised beds for asparagus, garlic, and root veggies. Long story short, we’ve been trying to prep for the raised beds for weeks but the rain keeps preventing us from getting much done (like mowing down the area-it’s beyond weeding). 

Well, the crowns came in the mail a few days ago and of course I had to open the package because I have no self control. The roots were still moist – as if they had just been harvested out of the ground. For some reason I thought they would be dry like onion bulbs. Any way, I wrapped then back up and stored them in my “seed closet” and planned to keep them there until I could get the bed set up. Fast forward 5 days later to today… 

For some reason I wanted to look at the crowns again to see if they had dried out. When I pulled them out I saw lots on condensation on the bag and white mold on the roots. There wasn’t very much but also, the tips of the roots looked wetter than they should be and I was worried they were rotting or something. Every single crown looked like that – some worse than others. 

I racked my brain to figure out what to do. The earliest I could get the supplies for the bed was Monday and even then, it may not be set up until the end of the week. It seemed like keeping the crowns in the bag wasn’t an option either. So I finally decided to plant them in pots temporarily until I could plant them in the beds. Luckily my mother in law gave me quite a few small/medium terra cotta puts recently since they are moving.

I planted 8 of the 10 because I ran out of potting soil đŸ˜¦ I guess I’ll just wait and see what happens. They could die, but they could have died if I hadn’t planted them so what’s the loss. Ironically after I had done all that work I googled “mold on asperagus crowns” and found info that it might not have been a big deal at all. Some mold on the root is normal and won’t hurt the plant. Oh well I already planted them. Fingers crossed!

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$1 Dinner

I’ll be honest… money is a little tight in this girls household at the moment. Between 2 flat tires, an unexpected medical bill, and only getting paid once a month, I don’t want to spend another penny until payday. I’ll never seriously complain about being a salaried employee – thank god for my amazing and stable job – but when you only get a pay check once a month, budget is everything. 

Looks like we’ll be eating out of the pantry this week! Tonight I’m using a small red yellow pepper, red pepper, and one of my tiny onions from the garden. I sautĂ©ed them up and put them in one of those $1 “rice sides” packets (I used the queso flavor) with some roasted okra on the side. 

Now I’m not claiming this is the healthiest meal in the world but I was SO thankful for my fresh veggies. I always feel so sluggish when I eat only rice or only pasta for a dish without any kind of color. Once we have enough disposable income for me to actually go to the store, I’ll definitely make this again but I’ll make my own queso and probably use some brown rice. Or maybe not… Those ready rice packs are so easy and as much as I hate to say it taste really good. 

Now it’s time to process the rest of our peppers, onions, okra, and apples. I’ll be sure to document that as well. Wish me luck!

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Rainy Days, But I Need to Mow the Lawn!

The sky sure does look beautiful after a day of storms. It has been rainy and overcast all day long. I guess the lawn will go another day uncut. 

For dinner I made tacos so that means I popped open my fist can of summer salsa. Delicious! I wish we had a better tomato turn out but I’ll savor what we got.

I had a handful of produce to freeze and it didn’t take me long at all to finish up. We love our vacuum sealer but I do hate how much plastic it wastes. 

I’ll end up canning the hot peppers tomorrow or the day after. This weekend is opening day of bow season in our area so I’m sure I’ll have some time on my own this weekend.  

I love the almost I stand gratification of quick sprouting seeds. The picture above is one of the radishes 2 days after I planted them. The below pictures were taken 1 day later:

lettuce sprout

The only seeds that haven’t sprouted yet are the spinach seeds but they shouldn’t be too far behind. There are only about 4 lettuce sprouts at the moment (3 days post planting) and I think that’s pretty darn good.

I am so ready to upgrade the garden. My goal for the month is to make a raised bed for the asparagus, garlic, and root vegitables. But as you can see, the yard is kind of a swamp right now. Someone needs to invent an amphibious mower….

Anyway, the asperagus just arrived in the mail. I got 5 two year roots and I’m sooo excited to plant them. I believe they are jersey giants. I got excited and unwrapped them and man do they stink. They smell really gross but hopefully that’s normal. They look healthy so that’s a plus. The garlic will be shipped in the next couple days. I can’t remember the name of the variety i got, but I know it’s a soft neck (good for southern climates I hear) and has an above average shelf life (important for the lazy person like myself).  I also didn’t realize buying seed garlic was so expensive. I guess they can charge an arm and a leg when you only need to buy it once. Good thing I ordered all this stuff before our unforeseen money problems happened because I would not have coughed up $9 for a head of garlic knowing what I know now. And that was one of the cheaper varieties! Maybe next year we’ll be able to try out one of the $15 varieties just for the heck of it. 

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Container garden

It was finally time for me to accept that my onions did not do well in the containers. I think the problem was less the restricted space, and more that the soil wasn’t very fertile. I’ll end up using these babies anyway, but I wish they had gotten a little bigger. 

Now that the pots are empty, I want to fill them back up with lettuce and spinach. I love having fresh lettuce on the portch because it’s so easy to grab for meals. It worked great in the spring. All of the leafy greens thrived but started to get bitter after I cut them a few too many times. I’ll try to be better about replanting them this season. 

My tiny haul of seeds came in the mail this past week. I planted some spinach, lettuce, and radishes. I’m planning on planting more in a few weeks to get a succession going. I have 3 large pots (like the one pictures) dedicated to the mentioned plants.

I want to start some lavender just as an indoor plant, but j don’t know how it’ll do. No harm in trying I suppose…

We’ve still got some herbs going so the portch is a little full (but I love it). I have some weed prevention mulch coming in the mail. Once we get that I think we’re going to start the garden rennovation.

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