Picture Snob

September 30, 2010

Plant bulbs in fall for blooms in spring

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Now is the time in most of the country when you can plant bulbs that will bloom in the spring. The selections are amazing and almost every nursery has collections of mixed bulbs which include tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, and crocus as well as less familar species. I succombed to the impulse buy at Costco and got their 50 bulb mix of yellow and red rannumculus, forgetting temporarily(until I got home) that the ranunculus I planted last fall did not do well. In fact, I have not seen one, not one, ranunculus open it's flower. If the plants sent up leaves, the deer must have cropped them off as soon as they broke ground. Nonetheless, I am planting them again and hope to put some in around the new house to brighten up the heavy clay that the construction has left.

This fall bulb selection looks really interesting. It is a bulb collection of wildflowers. The picture shows tulips, daffidols and crocus.There is no information of the species but since the flowers are supposed to naturalize and spread, I'm thinking it's worth a try.


At Wild Flower Bulb Garden

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September 29, 2010

The first heavy rain of fall has come

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It rained all night and this morning I went out to see what the rains had done. The lawn was obviously delighted by the moisture and some dryer patches had greened up already. There was a whole flock of quail in the garden ecstatic over the ground cover. I shoed them out but they will come right back. So I spent some time throwing dirt over the seeds which the rain had exposed. I may have to replant the ground cover, but this rain should help the seeds sprout and I'll soon know.

Several of the tomatoes had split. It's interesting to note that I can water and over water the tomatoes, but they never split, but let a good rainstorm come in and they do? Maybe there are nutrients in the rain that the plant loves and so takes in more than it can hold, because splitting from excess irrigation doesn't occur.

The grapes have grown fatter and juicer overnight. There are huge clusters on all the vines and they are almost sweet enough to pick. This is another crop the birds love. They sit on the fence and flutter in and among the vines, filling themselves with the juicy fruit. And the everbearing strawberries are sooooo happy. They are standing up tall with a few almost ripe berries peaking out of the green.

All the dust on the trees has been washed off and the whole forest looks very grateful and happy and I breathe a sigh of relief because the constant watering of summer is now over.

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September 27, 2010

The Square Foot Gardener is a great book with new ideas

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This book can help you rethink the way you garden. This book tells you how to garden without tilling and without fertilizer. Here are some of the ideas:

1) New Location - Move your garden closer to your house by eliminating single-row gardening. Square Foot Garden needs just "twenty percent" of the space of a traditional garden.

2) New Direction - Locate your garden "on top" of existing soil. Forget about pH soil tests, double-digging (who enjoys that?), or the never-ending soil improvements.

3) New Soil - The new "Mel's Mix" is the perfect growing mix. Why, we even give you the recipe. Best of all, you can even "buy" the different types of compost needed.

4) New Depth - You only need to prepare a SFG box to a depth of 6 inches! It's true--the majority of plants develop just fine when grown at this depth.

5) No Fertilizer - The all new SFG does not need any fertilizer-ever! If you start with the perfect soil mix, then you don't need to add fertilizer.

6) New Boxes - The new method uses bottomless boxes placed aboveground. We show you how to build your own (with step-by-step photos).

7) New Aisles - The ideal gardening aisle width is about three to four feet. That makes it even easier to kneel, work, and harvest.

8)New Grids - Prominent and permanent grids added to your SFG box help you visualize the planting squares and know how to space for maximum harvest.

9)New Seed Saving Idea - The old-fashioned way advocates planting many seeds and then thinning the extras (that means pulling them up). The new method means planting a pinch- literally two or three seeds--per planting hole.

10) Tabletop Gardens - The new boxes are so much smaller and lighter (only 6 inches of soil, remember?), you can add a plywood bottom to make them portable.

I'm thinking about using this techinque at the new house site where building up the soil would take years of effort. I could just plant in boxes!


At The Square Foot Gardener

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September 24, 2010

Trying to root the Pearmaine Apple

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On impluse I bought a couple of items from Territorial Seed as well as the ground cover. One was a garlic twister that was supposed to take of the skin and then crush and mince the garlic. Perhaps if I worked out or was twenty years younger, it could work, but I put a clove of garlic in, tried twisting and couldn't get it to budge. I think with a vise and a wrench I could get it to work, but they aren't a part of my kitchen equipment, so I consider that buy a loss.

The other impulse buy was some rooting gel that has all the necessary hormones and the right ph for rooting soft wood plants, like flowers or house plants. My experiment with the gel is less likely to work, but I thought it was worth a try. In spring, a friend tried grafting the Pearmaine Apple onto some volunteer stock in the garden. I was so hopeful it would work, but neither one of the grafts took. So I took some of the soft new growth from the Pearmaine and have put it in the gel where it hasn't wilted, which is a good sign, but where no signs of rooting have appeared, which isn't so good. I just tried this week so it's early yet and there's hope.

The idea behind this product is a good one. The containers are sealed and you puncture just a small hole to put the stem in and the gel can be reused.

At Rooting Gel

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September 22, 2010

The cover crop goes in as the first rain approaches

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I started spreading the cover crop today. A fall mix from Territorial seed. It looked good enough to cook and eat. I couldn't find my broadcast spreader, so I just spread it by hand as the winds picked up and clouds move in from the Northwest. It's such a good feeling to have the first rains coming. It marks the beginning of change of the season.

There are two falls in here in California. A dry fall and a wet one. The dry fall is parched and the crunch of dry leaves and rattle of seed pods, the wind through dusty leaves is a reminder to keep up the constant effort to bring water to the yard and garden. Once the rains come, everything changes. You can turn the sprinklers and the drippers off and just sit back and relax. The fire season is over and it's cooler and time to get some wood in.

I was going to till in the cover crop as it does attract birds, but decided instead to rake and shovel a little dirt over the seeds and see if that does the job. There were a few bare spaces and the corn and tomato rows which will need more and I assured myself I would pick up some more ground cover from the local nursery.

Now! Let it rain!!!!

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September 21, 2010

Antibiotics in our food put us at risk for infections

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This article from the NYTimes has to do with the factory farming of animals and although this blog is about gardening, I think it is important enough to include in a post. Just like factory farming of plants uses chemicals and pesticides and heribcides, basically poisoning the environment, so factory farming of animals over uses antibiotics.

These medicines are used to keep the newly weaned piglets from getting sick. This is a danger because they are held in crowded pens and have to stand in their own excrement until the pens are washed out and then the waste goes into local watersheds. People who live near the factory pig farms complain about the smells and the contamination of ground water.

The pigs are then given antibiotics to make them grow faster. The FCC is getting ready to limit the use of antibiotics in factory farming. One look at those pig pens and I can say I wouldn't want to eat any of that pork. The arguement for its use is that you can produce meat faster and cheaper this way. But faster and cheaper may not be healthier. Immune resistant antibiotics are created this way and pose a risk to humans, besides getting a dose of antibiotics with your meal.

At Antibiotics in meat

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September 20, 2010

My first artichoke is very sad

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As we know, our best efforts don't always work and my artichoke experiment is looking less than successful. The picture above shows what I imagined my harvest to look like. One of the four plants I put in the garden sent up a stalk. The head was very small and as I walked by the plant today, I snipped it off and saw that the whole inside was eaten out by some black fungus.

Now I've done a little more reseach on artichokes and find they are native to the Mediterranean and don't like frozen ground in winter although with some care they can be grown in my area. The also like fairly cool summers which is really not possible where I live. The three remaining plants look fine and show no signs of either disease or of sending up a stalk. I'm going to mulch them for protection this winter.

It seems my one budding artichoke has bacterial crown rot. The plant is stunted. It didn't show any tendency to wilt but the crown and tap root tissues become soft, rotted, and turn brown or black. Infected crowns are readily identified after cutting because blackened tissue can be seen in the cross section of the stem.

sigh

I'm not going to compost this crown for fear of spreading the infection. I'll take it and toss it over a bank on the way to town where it won't hurt anything. Northern Star is the variety to plant if you have cold winters. I'm going to keep on trying with the plants I have.

At Green Globe Artichoke - 8 Plants - Artichokes this Year

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September 17, 2010

Celebrating Soil!

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My garden soil looks great this time of year. I just had visitors who commented on how rich it looks which pleased me immensely. It takes a lot of work to keep the soil friable and easy to work. I've put in fifty pounds of gypsum and plan to add fifty more. Then I'll start the ground cover so it can germinate and get some good growth before it freezes. What weeds havn't been pulled will be tilled under, but this year I've done a good job of keeping weeds out. The second self sowed row of cilantro is coming up nicely and the kale has geminated and is growing. The broccoli is putting out more "broccolini" than I can eat. I had to load up my visitors with it. And then there's the faithful corn and tomatoes, beans and peppers still pumping out vast amounts of ingredients for gazpacho, ratatoui, stirfry, grilling, and steaming.

And all of this is comes from the soil which I work so hard to maintain by adding compost and manures and tilling in green manures(which also includes the weeds I till under during the growing season). I was reading Organic Bytes and it had this quote from the book Vegetarian Myth

the living world is complex, and beholding it should leave us all aching with awe. So start with topsoil, the beginning place. Remember, one million creatures per tablespoon. It's alive, and it will protect itself if we stop assaulting it. It protects itself with perennial polycultures, with lots and lots of plants intertwining their roots, adding carbonaceous leaves, and working together with mycelium, bacteria, protozoa, making a new organism between them, the mycorrhiza that talks and nourishes and directs. "Defend the soil with your life, reader: there is no other organism that can touch the intelligence of what goes on beneath your feet. "So here are the questions you should ask, a new form of grace to say over your food. Does this food build or destroy topsoil? Does it use only ambient sun and rainfall, or does it require fossil soil, fossil fuel, fossil water, and drained wetlands, damaged rivers? Could you walk to where it grows, or does it come to you on a path slick with petroleum?"
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September 16, 2010

Outsmarting the bear by getting the pears first


IMG_1490.jpgIt's not very often I can pat myself on the back about having gotten to the fruit first before the bears hit the tree. Once they're in on it, the tree gets broken and smashed, branches torn and ripped. Bears aren't very delicate about picking fruit. So last year the plum tree took a beating and this year the Bosque pear tree was covered with lovely fruit and I noticed some bear droppings around the vicinity. That was a warning they were checking it out, waiting for the sugar content to make it worth their while.

Bears get very hungry in the fall and they used to be able to fatten up on salmon that came up the river until the logging and floods ruined the fisheries. Now they hang around orchards and trash fruit trees trying to get the calories they need for winter.

This year I decided to pick the pears early. Pears are usually picked before they are dead ripe anyway and allowed to ripen indoors in a cool and dry place. I've got about two or three lugs now, enough to can some pear butter and to eat fresh and give away and I"m very pleased to have managed to save the tree and the pears for myself.

The pear butter is simple to make. Core and pare the pears, cook them to a consistency of applesauce and add spices, nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar to taste and some orange juice or orange zest. It's delicious on toast or with a pork entre. Yummy!

At Surecrop Pear Tree Five Gallon

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September 15, 2010

The mysterious volunteer is always a welcome puzzle

I kept watching this plant in the garden. I didn't recognize it's leaves and it was big and kept getting bigger. I thought it was some exotic herb that an herbalist friend of mine sometimes brings me and that it had reseeded itself, so I let it go.

And Voila! I am walking up from the compost pile and there is the flower! So recognizable. IMG_1475.jpg

I've never grown sunflowers before so this must have come from a bird or a packet of old flower seeds I threw out sure that nothing would geminate. What a pleasant surprise! I'm just going to let it go and let the birds have a feast as I've never found a good way to shell the seeds except with my teeth and that has always seemed like too much work for too little gain. So I'll let it be my gift to the birds!

Sunflowers must be very easy to grow since I didn't water feed or pay any attention to its nurturing. Love it! And if you're interested, they come in all colors.

At Heirloom Sunflower Seeds Flash Blend Certified Organic

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September 14, 2010

Canning tomato juice is easy and makes a wonderful winter treat

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When you've given away all the produce you can, and eaten all the tomatoes you can hold, then it's time to get out the canner and put some away for winter. When I first came to the country everyone was canning all during late summer and fall. The old timers had a lot of trick ways to shortcut canning the acid fruits and vegetables which I vaguely remembered. I haven't done any canning in a long time, but I have a nice, new pantry and would like to see the shelves hold some canned apples and tomatoes for winter.

I had to look up the directions and was surprised to find that the recommended water can method is 45 minutes and they wanted you to add lemon juice to make sure of the acid content. My old Joy of Cooking Book says 30 minutes is sufficient and suggests small amounts of celery or parsley to add flavor.

I opted for the 45 minutes, first juicing the tomatoes and adding some peppers, a few hot and some green. The juicer is a great tool! I can make gazpacho quickly and easity with it and juice tomatoes, apples and grapes.

This is a great link for canning instructions if you have never done it, it will help you a lot. http://www.pickyourown.org/canning_tomatoes.htm

And as for a juicer, this Champion Juicer is 20 years old and still working like a charm. You can juice your way through the garden, tasting the delights of chilled vegetable juice of all varieties.

At Champion Juicer G5-PG710 G5-PG720-WHITE Commerical Heavy Duty Juicer

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September 13, 2010

The Bounty of the Summer Garden!

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Went out to the garden today and picked some of the ripest tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers to make gazpacho which is one of my favorite summertime treats. This is a soup invented for hot weather. If you're interested, I'm including the recipe from Simply Recipes which is easy to fix and delicious. I didn't have the celery so I left it out. And since I was using a juicer, I didn't bother to seed the cucumber and the fresh juicy tomatoes provided all the juice I needed. It worked really well.

Gazpacho Recipe

INGREDIENTS

6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 purple onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper (or green) seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
6 or more drops of Tabasco sauce to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (omit for vegetarian option)
4 cups tomato juice
METHOD
Combine all ingredients. Blend slightly, to desired consistency. Place in non-metal, non-reactive storage container, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, allowing flavors to blend.
Serves 8.

At The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook [Hardcover]

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September 10, 2010

Winter vegetables are in the ground!

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I planted broccoli and cabbage about two weeks ago and they have struggled to survive in the 100 degree weather. Two of them got nipped off by unknown culprits. I doubt it was the grey squirrel I caught because there was so much more inviting plants to nibble on. I put some fertilizer on the plants and they looks somewhat better.

So when I went to town yesterday, I stopped at the nursery and bought a six pack of broccoli and one of brussel sprouts and got them in the ground. I planted near the gate so I don't have to go trapsing over mud to get to them in midwinter. They look great although the row goes wandering around a little. I certainly do not have the military look of straight rows all neat as a pin. But never mind. This winter I will be so happy to go out to the garden and pick a meal of broccoli or brussel sprouts for dinner. All I need are about two heads of cabbage as it is a vegie that last forever picked and in the fridge.

At Ferry-Morse Seeds 2031 Brussels Sprouts - Catskill 1.7 Gram Packet

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September 9, 2010

Round up Ready sugar beets are blocked by a court decsion

As you know, Round up ready vegetables are made so that they can withstand heavy applications of Round Up. Putting aside the dangers inherint in geo engineering like crop contamination which might alter organic and natives species, the heavy applications of herbicide affects for years the soil and the water which the surrounding land drains into. Monsanto doesn't care about these problems; Monsanto cares about profits and the more Round up Ready crops are used, the more Round up Monsanto sells. The tobacco industry is the model for such profit motive without concern for the health of the planet and the life on it.

Here's an article from Organic Consumers online weekly Organic Bytes:

Court Blocks Future Crops of Monsanto's Genetically Engineered "RoundUp Ready" Sugar Beets...

The Center for Food Safety has won an important legal victory in the fight to stop the spread of untested and hazardous genetically engineered crops. After ruling that the USDA (under president George W. Bush) shouldn't have approved genetically engineered sugar beets without assessing the Frankencrop's potential to contaminate conventional and organic varieties, a federal judge has blocked future crops of Monsanto's genetically engineered RoundUp Ready sugar beets.

Monsanto's GE sugar beets now comprise 95% of the nation's sugar beet harvest.
The ball is in the USDA's court. The pro-biotech sugar industry is urging the USDA to rush through an Environmental Impact Statement so they can plant a new crop of Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beets next year.

The only thing that can stop Monsanto's sugar beets is a massive public outcry. The Center for Food Safety's legal work has given the USDA, under President Obama, the opportunity to do the right thing.

Now's our chance to press Obama's USDA to protect biodiversity and human health from contamination with FrankenGenes that never should have been released into nature or the food system!

You can take action by following the link below:

At Take Action Here


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September 8, 2010

Sungold tomatoes are the best!

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Every day at some point I go out to the garden to pick vegetables for supper and I never fail to bring in a couple of quarts of the Sungold cherry tomatoes. They are wihout a doubt the sweetest tomato grown. I planted several hybrids, Brandywine, for one, and some familar hybrid favorite, Early Girl and Big Boy and none of them come close to the flavor and sweetness of the Sungold.

The Sungold was also the first to ripen. They came in about a month ahead of the others, even the Early Girl. I have used them on sandwiches and in salads and to make salsa. I think the only thing they wouldn't work for is a spagetti sauce. Now that all the rest of the big red tomatoes are ripening and it possible to compare the flavor.

I'm definitely including these in my tomato garden every year.

At Sun Gold Tomato 20 Seeds - Golden Orange Cherry - Sweet

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September 7, 2010

The corn earwoms attack!!!!

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This isn't the first time I've had these pests, but this is the first time they have actually gotten down into the ears of corn and eaten their way through the ear, effectively ruining it for me, who has been so loving corn on the cob fresh from the garden. So, what to do? Apparently the moth lays her eggs on the leaves early in the years, but later on, like now, leaves her eggs on the silks and so eggs become larvae who then start their munching.

The worm is about 1 or 2 inches long and greenish in color, although they can be brown. I wonder if the blue jays and crows who occassionally started eating corn at the tip of the silk was after these worms? But this year, the birds are not bothering the corn . Some research tells me to put mineral oil on the silk after it is dry. I don't have any in the house, so will have to wait until I go to town next week. Pesticides don't do any good anyway, once the lavae has hatched and entered the ear and of course would be very hurtful to honey bees who are all over my tassles of corn. The parasitic wasp, Trichogamma, layes it's eggs in the eggs of the earworm moth and thus is effective in stopping the infestation. So that's a possibility also.

At Vi-Jon Inc. S0883 Mineral Oil

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September 6, 2010

The Dig Timer quit turning on!

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I bought this timer this season in hopes it would work as well as the old Dig timer which was black with a square top and took two 9volt batteries to run. But sadly this timer has stopped turning on, leaving a patch of the garden dry.

I brought it in the house, got out the instructions, put in a new battery, and carefullly followed the programming instructions and got nothing. I have a friend who is a wizard at these kind of mechanical failures, usually saying something like the orifice is plugged, but I am not so good at taking things apart and getting them back together properly. But the main issue is that the timer should work for more than four months and that is a huge disappointment and $40 gone after $5 worth of work.

So beware of this product. It was an analog timer which i like better than digital as it's less confusing and has less electronics to go wrong, but in this case, a bad choice.

However as an addendum, I called their 800 service number and answered the questions and was told to send in the timer for a replacement. So it's not all bad.

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September 3, 2010

The Havahart Trap scores again!

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I'm really sorry I didn't think to take a picture to show you. Finally caught the little bugger. i loaded the trap first with cheese and taped it to the trap trigger. Twice the cheese disappeared and the trap didn't spring. It's a big trap and I worried that a squirrel was too light in weight for this trap to work.

So I tried again, this time hanging the cheese in the back of the cage and setting the trigger to the edge so that the slightest pressure would spring the door shut. And bingo, the next day, there he or she was so I took him/her for a ride about five miles away and let it go! It's so satisfying to get rid of a garden pest safely and without harm. The squirrel can live it's life out somewhere else, and my garden won't be bothered by disappearing vegetables and plants.

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At Havahart 1085 32-by-10-by-12-Inch Easy Set/Release One-Door Cage Trap for Raccoons, Stray Cats and Woodchucks

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September 2, 2010

How to save your seed and keep it safe How about a spice rack?

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If you're growing heirloom vegetables and want to save the seed, this article from the University of Illinois is a great help. Not all seed should be saved and doing it properly insures next year's seeds viability. So it pays to do it right.

"Not every plant's seeds are worth keeping. Hybrid plants are developed by crossing specific parent plants. Hybrids are wonderful plants but the seed is often sterile or does not reproduce true to the parent plant. Therefore, never save the seed from hybrids. Another major problem is some plants' flowers are open pollinated by insects, wind or people. These plants include squash, cucumbers, melon, parsley, cabbage, chard, broccoli, mustard greens, celery, spinach, cauliflower, kale, radish, beets, onion, and basil. These plants cross with others within their family. The only way to maintain the original variety is to isolate by large distances. Isolation is often impossible or impractical in a home garden.

Some seeds may transmit certain diseases. A disease that infected a crop at the end of the growing season may do little damage to that crop. However, if the seed is saved and planted the following year, the disease may severely injure or even kill the young plants.

What can you save? Standard or heirloom varieties that are not cross-pollinated by nearby plants are good candidates. Many gardeners successfully keep beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers. Plants you know are heirloom varieties are easy to save. Ask the person or organization you obtained the seed from how they did it. Some people like to experiment, but make sure you don't bet the whole garden on saved seed.

When saving seed, always harvest from the best. Choose disease-free plants with qualities you desire. Look for the most flavorful vegetables or beautiful flowers. Consider size, harvest time and other characteristics.

Always harvest mature seed. For example, cucumber seeds at the eating stage are not ripe and will not germinate if saved. You must allow the fruit and seed to fully mature. Because seed set reduces the vigor of the plant and discourages further fruit production, wait until near the end of the season to save fruit for seed.

Seeds are mature or ripe when flowers are faded and dry or have puffy tops. Plants with pods, like beans, are ready when the pods are brown and dry. When seeds are ripe they usually turn from white to cream colored or light brown to dark brown. Collect the seed or fruits when most of the seed is ripe. Do not wait for everything to mature because you may lose most of the seed to birds or animals.

Beans, peas, onions, carrots, corn, most flowers and herb seeds are prepared by a dry method. Allow the seed to mature and dry as long as possible on the plant. Complete the drying process by spreading on a screen in a single layer in a well-ventilated dry location. As the seed dries the chaff or pods can be removed or blown gently away. An alternative method for extremely small or lightweight seed is putting the dry seed heads into paper bags that will catch the seed as it falls out.

Seed contained in fleshy fruits should be cleaned using the wet method. Tomatoes, melons, squash, cucumber and roses are prepared this way. Scoop the seed masses out of the fruit or lightly crush fruits. Put the seed mass and a small amount of warm water in a bucket or jar. Let the mix ferment for two to four days. Stir daily. The fermentation process kills viruses and separates the good seed from the bad seed and fruit pulp. After two to four days, the good viable seeds will sink to the bottom of the container while the pulp and bad seed float. Pour off the pulp, water, bad seed and mold. Spread the good seed on a screen or paper towel to dry.

Seeds must be stored dry. Place in glass jar or envelopes. Make sure you label all the containers or packages with the seed type or variety, and date. Put in the freezer for two days to kill pests. Then store in a cool dry location like a refrigerator. Seed that molds was not sufficiently dry before storage.

Seed viability decreases over time. Parsley, onion, and sweet corn must be used the next year. Most seed should be used within three years.

Seed saving is essential for maintaining unusual or heritage vegetables and flowers. It is a great way to propagate many native plants too. There are numerous seed saver exchanges, clubs, and listings in magazines like Organic Gardening. Although you shouldn't base your entire garden on saved seed you may want to give seed saving a try."

Small zip lock bags are good seed storers, but this spice rack looks like it would work just as well and be more managable.
At Prodyne A-845 Acrylic 20 Bottle Spice Rack

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September 1, 2010

Gopher and mole problems in the garden

For the first time there are mounds of dirt inside the garden fence indicating the presence of moles or gophers. I've put the have a heart trap with a piece of cheese to try to catch the little pest, but both times I"ve set the trap, the cheese has disappeared and the trap empty. I think whoever it is maybe too small and light to trigger the door.
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So in desparation, I have bought MoleMax which is supposed to repel gophers, moles, armadillos, skunks, rabbits, and ground squirrels. Now I'm really not worried about armadillos and have never envisioned them as garden pests, but I"m hoping this stuff works. You can get sonic battery operated noise or vibration makers and actual traps that snap and kill the invader as well as poison.

I"m going to try the least deadly remedy first. This is made from castor beans and is supposedly safe to use around pets and children. We'll see.

At BONIDE PRODUCTS INC #691 5LB Molemax

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