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We finally staked the tomatoes today. It really was almost too late and I hope they survive.

The winter squashes got weeded but they are still not doing too great.

We are finally getting zucchini!

DS pulled the most beautiful beet I had ever seen today. It was part of a grex and bright candy cane red. Now I am on a mission to find seeds for a beet that color lol. Kholodnik for lunch tomorrow!

 

 

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Instead of my normal grocery bag for picking I used a plate tonight, so I wouldn't squash all the little things.  It looks cute and delicious.   I ate half the cherry tomatoes already.

Although my flowers didn't grow as much this year I still have some and picked these tonight!  

Ooooh, for the first time ever I have neither pets nor small children, so I can have foxgloves. They’re bigger than me! I tried to grow castor beans but they didn’t germinate. ☹️

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harvested two more zuch, 1 cuc, 1 big tomato, and a bunch of kale  today. I'm also going to pick basil to make pesto for dinner. I pruned my zuch a few days ago and they loved it. they have grown incredibly since.I have to prune some of my other plants today and do some weeding.

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3 hours ago, cjzimmer1 said:

Did you just use a landscaping tarp to line the inside?  That looks like a much more economical way to build a raise bed than the solid wood sides that I usually see.  

We used builders plastic to line the sides. It is to stop the dirt falling out and drying out 

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6 hours ago, ***** said:

Melissa in Australia, great idea for use with the pallets!  I have also watched a video on youtube about using 'stuff' like your brother did that will break down and be good soil eventually.  Maybe putting soil on top?  Keep us posted to let us know how this whole method works this next year or so!  He may be on to something with those pallets!

Will do the top layer with soil. The beds have to be raised this high as his wife has a back injury and cannot bend down. It is almost like building a giant compost pile then a garden on top. 

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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Well, it's a raised bed, and someone did do that method on youtube.  He filled the bottom with stuff since it really wasn't necessary to use all soil.  But I think he did it more in the fall to winter over and break down, yes, like a compost bin.  Great idea I think...that way the raised bed always had nutrition in the soil. 

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6 hours ago, Lady Florida. said:

I also want to ask about a few native plants I'm hoping to grow in a pot (passionflower

I'll send you one of my passionflowers if you'd like. It's an incense, though, so may not be native. I saw one popping up this morning.

IMG_20200716_154608.jpg

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10 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Those look so cool?!

They're unusual flowers and very pretty.  This particular one is supposed to come back up each year even if planted in someplace that freezes like Colorado. I like them because they're a host plant to the gulf fritillary butterfly. I love watching the caterpillars' life cycle. They're also considered invasive because they have an extensive root system and produce numerous vines each year. This year I've given away or sold about 15 plants. 

Eta: They're supposed to fruit, but in the 4 years I've had them, I've only had 2 fruits and neither of them ripened before they rotted.

Edited by wilrunner
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15 minutes ago, wilrunner said:

I'll send you one of my passionflowers if you'd like. It's an incense, though, so may not be native. I saw one popping up this morning.

IMG_20200716_154608.jpg

Oh, I love passionflower. We used to have it all over our front yard,  it was the best invasive plant. To me it exemplifies what I love about Texas. My mother has one that has grown to the top of her two-story garage. 

Edited by Dotwithaperiod
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13 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Those look so cool?!

They may even grow where you are, I think they’d prefer warmer, but I’d try it. They grow fast, smell great, and once established they’ll pop up all over. 

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1 hour ago, ***** said:

Well, it's a raised bed, and someone did do that method on youtube.  He filled the bottom with stuff since it really wasn't necessary to use all soil.  But I think he did it more in the fall to winter over and break down, yes, like a compost bin.  Great idea I think...that way the raised bed always had nutrition in the soil. 

All my beds this year have been built this way. The technique is called "Hugelkultur". My DH was cutting down a couple of trees and I used all the smaller branches, twigs and leaves to fill my beds before adding top soil. This method has its advantages in the winter because the slow decomposition of the material in the bottom will generate heat due to composting all winter long keeping roots happy in the cold.

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1 minute ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

They may even grow where you are, I think they’d prefer warmer, but I’d try it. They grow fast, smell great, and once established they’ll pop up all over. 

My mom grew one in a pot during the Colorado summer. She brought it in during winter. 

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1 minute ago, wilrunner said:

My mom grew one in a pot during the Colorado summer. She brought it in during winter. 

 Yep, I’ve seen them at the nurseries here, but it would have to stay in a pot. They also sell hibiscus and other tropical type plants. To me, I feel too sad to get them, lol, because I remember how happy mine were in the ground back then. So I get flowers like fuchsias, lilacs, and columbines, stuff that I couldn’t keep happy back in TX.

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1 hour ago, ***** said:

Well, it's a raised bed, and someone did do that method on youtube.  He filled the bottom with stuff since it really wasn't necessary to use all soil.  But I think he did it more in the fall to winter over and break down, yes, like a compost bin.  Great idea I think...that way the raised bed always had nutrition in the soil. 

Yes it is winter here. It will be ready for spring planting  in September 

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13 minutes ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

lilacs

Lilacs are my very favorite flower, probably the one I miss the most from up north. I also miss rhubarb, but when I mention it here in Texas, I get blank looks because very few know what it is.

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Instead of my normal grocery bag for picking I used a plate tonight, so I wouldn't squash all the little things.  It looks cute and delicious.   I ate half the cherry tomatoes already.

garden .jpg

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2 minutes ago, Mbelle said:

Instead of my normal grocery bag for picking I used a plate tonight, so I wouldn't squash all the little things.  It looks cute and delicious.   I ate half the cherry tomatoes already.

garden .jpg

beautiful!  

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1 hour ago, mathnerd said:

All my beds this year have been built this way. The technique is called "Hugelkultur". My DH was cutting down a couple of trees and I used all the smaller branches, twigs and leaves to fill my beds before adding top soil. This method has its advantages in the winter because the slow decomposition of the material in the bottom will generate heat due to composting all winter long keeping roots happy in the cold.

That’s what we did, except ours are “slightly raised beds.” Basically, we dug really deep into the rows and put in the wood (no leaves ‘cause the tree was dead), then put what we dug out back in. Our rows are maybe six inches above ground?

The other thing we have been doing this year is mowing between the rows instead of tilling. We get so much rain and our ground is solid clay, this is the first year we’ve been able to get into the garden on a regular basis to weed because the grass keeps everything from turning into a bog.

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23 minutes ago, Mbelle said:

Instead of my normal grocery bag for picking I used a plate tonight, so I wouldn't squash all the little things.  It looks cute and delicious.   I ate half the cherry tomatoes already.

garden .jpg

Looks like an advertisement for a fancy CSA basket!

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5 hours ago, hjffkj said:

I pruned my zuch a few days ago and they loved it.

hjffkj, can you share what you do to prune your zuch?   Right now, my lower leaves are being eaten by earwigs. I figure I might as well leave those for them, or they will continue to destroy others...should I prune those or not?!  Thanks.

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I think maybe my zukes and butternut vines have that powdery mildew.  So, it will work to get rid of it if I mix and spray milk and water 1:1 - didn't I read that upthread?  Any particular kind of milk?  Do I need to buy whole?  

And anyone know why those vines seem to be in trouble while my cuke and spag squash in the next bed seem happy? (knock wood!)  Could it be because the zuke/butternut bed is getting more shade?  If so, there's a dead tree I need to get removed...

And also, something buggy is eating a couple of my cabbages that are valiantly trying to come back.  I don't see any caterpillars - any ideas?  The rest seem fine so far... is it only a matter of time?

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1 hour ago, ***** said:

hjffkj, can you share what you do to prune your zuch?   Right now, my lower leaves are being eaten by earwigs. I figure I might as well leave those for them, or they will continue to destroy others...should I prune those or not?!  Thanks.

 

I cut the leaves that were on the first foot of the stem. I don't know if you should prune them or not. Maybe deal with the earwigs somehow and prune at the same time?

My understanding is that generally they don't destroy healthy parts of the plants and only eat what is already dying.  So, maybe your bottom leaves are just self pruning and they are taking care of it.  But if they get over populated they are more likelyto start eating healthy plant parts.  They do eat aphids and eggs so they might actually be helping you in the long run

Edited by hjffkj
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15 hours ago, Matryoshka said:

I think maybe my zukes and butternut vines have that powdery mildew.  So, it will work to get rid of it if I mix and spray milk and water 1:1 - didn't I read that upthread?  Any particular kind of milk?  Do I need to buy whole?  

I use 1:1 ratio for whole milk because that’s what I have at home and I was using it on my rosemary plant. You could use skim/low fat milk


https://plantsomethingoregon.com/milk-it-does-a-plant-with-powdery-mildew-good/

“Researchers in Bazil found that weekly sprays of milk controlled powdery mildew in zucchini just as effectively as synthetic fungicides. They also found that milk acted as a foliar fertilizer, boosting the plant’s immune systems. A concentration of 10-30% significantly reduced the severity of powdery mildew by 90%. Scientists aren’t 100% sure how milk works to control powdery mildew; it appears to be a natural germicide and possibly boosts the plant’s immune system to prevent the disease.

Sharon Sweeny wrote in “Dealing with Powdery Mildew – 7 Home Made Remedies that Really Work” that before using any natural remedies, plants should be hosed off “to remove as much mildew from the surface as you can. Be sure to cover all parts of the plant with the treatment spray, including the undersides of the leaves and the stems. Spray some on the soil around the plant as well. Finally, spray for mildew early in the morning before the sun rises too high in the sky. Spray plants once or twice a week in dry weather and more often if rainy.”

Milk-based recipe: Real Simple magazine (Sept. 2011) – 1 part skim milk to 9 parts water. Spray on plants dotted with powdery mildew. Repeat weekly to keep leaves fungus-free. [Note: Skim milk has no fat content so there is less chance of odors.]

Baking soda recipe: Mix 1 gallon of water, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid or castile soap (e.g., Dr. Bronner’s). Mix the ingredients together and add them to a spray bottle. Spray weekly.”

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21 hours ago, wilrunner said:

I'll send you one of my passionflowers if you'd like. It's an incense, though, so may not be native. I saw one popping up this morning.

IMG_20200716_154608.jpg

Aw, thank you. Passiflora  Incarnata is our native passionflower and it's the larval host for our state butterfly, the Zebra Longwing. I want to make sure I get the right one because I want the caterpillars, so I'll go to the local garden store. 

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1 hour ago, Lady Florida. said:

Aw, thank you. Passiflora  Incarnata is our native passionflower and it's the larval host for our state butterfly, the Zebra Longwing. I want to make sure I get the right one because I want the caterpillars, so I'll go to the local garden store. 

I thought you might prefer that one. Enjoy it when you plant it! 

(I didn't realize how big that pic is until I saw it just now on my computer. How do I make it smaller?)

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On 7/16/2020 at 4:57 PM, Matryoshka said:

I think maybe my zukes and butternut vines have that powdery mildew.  So, it will work to get rid of it if I mix and spray milk and water 1:1 - didn't I read that upthread?  Any particular kind of milk?  Do I need to buy whole?  

I use 2% milk and dilute it way more than 1:1 (actually 1:8 is my ratio). another deterrent is Worm Castings Tea sprayed on leaves. I don't have the patience to aerate the tea for hours, so, I just mix some castings with water in a bucket and leave it overnight and dump on the leaves and roots of the cucurbits.

As for why some plants get it, my theory is that the more stressed a plant is, the more susceptible it becomes. I left 2 pumpkins out from watering for a couple of days and they now look diseased.

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4 minutes ago, mathnerd said:

I use 2% milk and dilute it way more than 1:1 (actually 1:8 is my ratio). another deterrent is Worm Castings Tea sprayed on leaves. I don't have the patience to aerate the tea for hours, so, I just mix some castings with water in a bucket and leave it overnight and dump on the leaves and roots of the cucurbits.

As for why some plants get it, my theory is that the more stressed a plant is, the more susceptible it becomes. I left 2 pumpkins out from watering for a couple of days and they now look diseased.

My mom's not convinced it's powdery mildew because the main thing is the leaves are getting yellow.  I do think the butternut might have some white patches?  I have milk now; will spray this evening when the sun is off the beds - can't hurt, right.

I think I do see at least two baby zukes now!  Still no butternuts...

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On 7/16/2020 at 2:38 PM, Melissa in Australia said:

Will do the top layer with soil. The beds have to be raised this high as his wife has a back injury and cannot bend down. It is almost like building a giant compost pile then a garden on top. 

It’s a hugelculture! Look it up. It’s a real thing and it’s supposed to be great for water conservation. I experimented with it on a typically wet year, so it wasn’t great for my climate, but THIS year would’ve been awesome. 

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Any tips for keeping deer out of the garden?  We have a low fence to keep out the bunnies, but a deer the last few days has consumed the Brussels sprouts, the bean plant, and the one green pepper I had so far.  I am worried about my tomatoes.

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1 hour ago, Mom2mthj said:

Any tips for keeping deer out of the garden?  We have a low fence to keep out the bunnies, but a deer the last few days has consumed the Brussels sprouts, the bean plant, and the one green pepper I had so far.  I am worried about my tomatoes.

We ended up putting an electric fence around the garden. But, they jump right over it if they see something they really want. So no advice, just sympathy.

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3 hours ago, Mom2mthj said:

Any tips for keeping deer out of the garden?  We have a low fence to keep out the bunnies, but a deer the last few days has consumed the Brussels sprouts, the bean plant, and the one green pepper I had so far.  I am worried about my tomatoes.

Height is the biggest factor, but even that doesn’t always work. Our local charity garden has 8’ fences that have been jumped a few times.  Double-fencing without enough room in between to jump again is a good but expensive trick.

My fence is only 4’, but it runs along an elevation difference that helps, and there isn’t enough landing room between the fence and the beds.
I used to fence in the beds themselves with plastic fencing and roll it back to give myself access, but the deer could pull plants through the fence! @@. They are smart buggers.

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On 7/18/2020 at 6:18 PM, Mbelle said:

Although my flowers didn't grow as much this year I still have some and picked these tonight!

 

flowers 2020.jpg

Wow!

 

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Cherry plum tree! Got ~50 lbs total (2.5 of those clear box things), turned into 66 jars of jam. 

Other things are showing great progress, I'm going to have way way too many jalapenos, habaneros. Tomato plants all look beautiful but no real flowering started. I need to be patient for when it gets a bit cooler. 

@Math teacher, I'm zone 8b, so I'd be interested in what you're planning for fall! My plan at the moment is panic in November, so I'm open to suggestions 😉 

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 10.29.04 AM.png

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My toms are finally starting to slowly roll in.  I picked like 4 cherry toms yesterday, plus my first "black prince" which is supposed to be a bit purple-y....but it's looking more brown-ish.  Which, actually, now that I look at the pic on the bonnie plants site, the outside is supposed to be a bit brownish, but the inside looks purple-y.  

And I am picking zukes at a rate of about 1 every two days or so....which is perfect for us.  I tried to do "zucchini chips" in my air fryer but I messed it up.  I cut them too thin and was struggling to find the balance between cooked crispy, and burnt.  The line was very thin lol.  But I still have one zuke in the fridge from a few days ago, and I just picked a new one yesterday.  I did buy just 2 roma toms at the store this past week, but I think that might be the last time I need to buy tomatoes.  As far as cukes and peppers....I haven't had any more ready to pick, but I still have the last ones I picked in the fridge.  Plus, meijer had a coupon for buy 2 get 1 free on the peppers, AND I got a "free cucumber" coupon in the mail from them, so I grabbed those this week....I think they are the last I will have to buy.  I have several cukes on the vine, and several peppers that are in progress-2 purple, 2 orange and another green one.  

Shoot, which reminds me, I need to get some cages for the peppers.  They are apparently on just enough of a slope that when I water some of the soil erodes, and they are starting to lean over.  They need some support I think.  (well, plus some more dirt lol.)

Anyway, I also have eggplant on my plant.  Actually 3 of them!  And I have a tiny little watermelon started.  

 

I need to move my cantaloupe pots to the back yard.  And I still haven't started my potatoes yet.  I plan to do that this week.  

 

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Ok so a question...

 

I have learned that I have squash vine borers in my pumpkin. 😭

 

They are not in the zukes or cukes which are in the same part of the garden.  If I pull the pumpkin, are they going to just migrate there...or will pulling the pumpkin be good enough?

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41 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Ok so a question...

 

I have learned that I have squash vine borers in my pumpkin. 😭

 

They are not in the zukes or cukes which are in the same part of the garden.  If I pull the pumpkin, are they going to just migrate there...or will pulling the pumpkin be good enough?

In my experience, pulling the pumpkin should be good enough if they are not next to each other. 

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37 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Oh no, they are like right on top of each other.  I didn't allow enough space in that section.  I don't know why they aren't in the cukes or zukes yet, but I would like to keep it that way if I can...

Try it.  If you notice any signs of disease, then pull.  

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I've gotten behind using up my produce so today I made a point to clear out some space in my fridge.  I made taco meat for lunch and used up the 7 poblano peppers I had in it (of course later I found another one hidden in the drawer) as well as some fresh tomatoes.  Then I sliced a huge bowl of cucumbers and salted them (for cucumbers and cream).  I had about twice as many in the fridge as I thought so I went ahead and made a bowl of cucumbers and tomatoes as well.  Then I made 4 loaves of zucchini bread.  I'm taking a break now but after supper, I'm hoping to mix up a batch of pico de gallo and then load up the dehydrator with sliced tomatoes and cherry tomatoes.  That should get me past the urgent needs to be dealt with now stuff.  At the beginning of today I had about 3/4 of a bushel of tomatoes, 7 zucchini, 3 quarts of cherry tomatoes and about 20 cucumbers to deal with.  That was all picked in the last 4-5 days plus what we used each day.  The tomatoes are coming on strong but they've got blight pretty bad so I'm expecting an early end to them.  I will probably have to buy some for canning but at least we are getting enough to make the foods where we value the better flavor of my home grown ones (fresh stuff plus the dehydrated ones, and ideally my homemade salsa that I can, the plain canned ones I don't care as much as if I use my own tomatoes since I don't notice the difference as much in things like chili and stuffed peppers).  

Normally I would be gone for the next 2 weeks but since everything is cancelled, at least I'm home to deal with all the produce.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, this year continues to be a real learning experience. For one thing, I definitely need a lot more space next year.

My tomatoes are all doing well but I was very wrong about having too many plants.
I will figure out how to be more successful with starting peppers because all of my store bought plants are still in baby pepper stages.

My peas were almost a complete bust, which has never happened to me before. All of my pea plants mysteriously died overnight one night.  I’m going to switch to pole beans next year because I’ve decided I hate hunting n bush bean plants. Those were doing really well and then some sort of bug turned most of the leaves into lace one night.

Rabbit deterrent isn’t doing much to protect my squash like plants. Out of maybe a dozen or so plants,  Ihave two yellow squashes looking promising. My cucumber leaves have some sort of disease.

I didn’t have high hopes for corn because we have very hard, rocky soil under our raised beds. One storm knocked them over a while back, but they were overcoming. Yesterday’s storm snapped a few of them in half. Sigh.

But I have fallen in love with the couple of giant sunflowers I planted. They don’t have flowers yet, but they are enormous and fun to look at I’d love to do a big patch next year.

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I feel like I discovered the sun.  I got a community plot this year in full sun and the difference between that garden and my part-shade garden at the house is staggering.  Who knew?!?! II know.  EVERYBODY knew.) I've spent the last few weeks forcing zucchini and squash and cucumbers on everyone.  Then I ate a lot of tomatoes (both fresh and fried green) and then moved on to canning some pasta sauce and freezing the corn.  I've made and served some pizza sauce. Today I'll bust out the puree attachment on my kitchenaid and I plan to can some puree and make some tomato soup for lunch.  

Looking ahead, I may seriously consider transitioning my home garden to just herbs, lettuces, onions, and easier maintenance landscaping plants and move most of my food production to my community plot.  At the beginning of the season I didn't know if I'd really drive the 3 miles often enough to keep it up, but that's been no problem at all.  I enjoy my little private oasis over there. Not one family member has even cared to see it, so I think next year I'll add a comfy seat-for-one and create a nice, pretty hideout over there. 

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Bird’s Eye Chilli (Chilli Padi). First time growing this species and had to release ladybugs many times to eat the aphids. Typically they can grow to about 5cm long, mine have their growth kind of stunted when the aphids invaded.

163464DD-F000-46CC-B1E8-54987DD68923.jpeg

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Guys, I might be a gardener! And look, first tomato from my garden! (Don't laugh too much lol)

Most of the plants are growing beautifully (except, oh cucumbers, why do you hate me?), but aren't in the mood to produce. 

 

IMG_5322.jpg

IMG_5325.jpg

IMG_5328.jpg

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1 hour ago, Arcadia said:

Bird’s Eye Chilli (Chilli Padi). First time growing this species and had to release ladybugs many times to eat the aphids. Typically they can grow to about 5cm long, mine have their growth kind of stunted when the aphids invaded.

163464DD-F000-46CC-B1E8-54987DD68923.jpeg

Mind pointing me to a local source of the plants? I am pepper plant collector and overwinter a lot of varieties. The bird varieties that I grow are Thai Bird's Eye, Tepin and Pequin Bird but I am not as satisfied with the flavors they produce.

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Well I feel like we've hit full swing on production.  I'm picking 3-5 quarts of cherry tomatoes and about 10 pounds of slicing tomatoes every day.   The blight is getting pretty bad on some of the plants but some have been barely touched and are pushing ahead at full speed.  I've gotten enough to keep up with all our fresh use.  I've done one full load of them in the dehydrator.  I've canned 23 pints of salsa and 14 quarts of plain.  I have about 40-50 pounds on my counter that I will be doing another batch of plain ones this weekend.  I want to get at least 50-60 quarts of plain done.  I was worried I might still have to buy some but I'm getting more hopeful that I will actually be able to produce enough on my own.  That would be a first but with staying home all summer, I've really been able to keep up on the care and picking and processing so that is working in my favor. We did have a storm come through last week and topple several of my potted tomatoes down my rock wall.  We ended up going out and pulling them all down before the worst of the storm hit.  We only lost a few branches but close to 20 pounds of green tomatoes fell off the plants.  I have no idea what to do with them.  I mean I know I can make fried green tomatoes but I did that once a long time ago and they just seemed like a lot of work for something that was just meh in taste.  

Zucchini, I'm averaging about 1 every other day.  SInce there are only a couple of us who will eat zucchini this is the perfect rate.

Cucumbers are much slower coming than last year and my family is very grateful about that (last year I picked 250 cucumbers in less than 2 months on the same number of plants).  I made one jar of refrigerator pickles and several deemed them good enough that they want me to make a second jar.  We've also had several large bowls of cucumbers and cream. Overall the rate feels perfect.

The colored bell peppers are starting to ripen.  The orange one is a new variety we tried in the greenhouse this year and they are running several weeks ahead of the other varieties.  Not sure why since they weren't suppose to be an earlier but they look beautiful so I'll be lobbying for keeping that variety next year.  

In the next week or so I'm going to pull out some of the worst hit tomatoes and plant lettuce in their spots.  

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1 hour ago, mathnerd said:

Mind pointing me to a local source of the plants? I am pepper plant collector and overwinter a lot of varieties. The bird varieties that I grow are Thai Bird's Eye, Tepin and Pequin Bird but I am not as satisfied with the flavors they produce.

I bought the seedling from Lowe’s when they were selling 4 seedling pots for $10. Mine reached one foot tall.  Should be same species as your Thai Bird’s Eye.
https://bonnieplants.com/product/thai-hot-ornamental-pepper/
 

I do leave the chillies on the plant until they start to shrivel to get maximum spiciness. Then I air dry them. 

 

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