Still Alive

I have finished most of my fall planting. In an effort to remember what I planted this year I drummed up a quick diagram with the fall plantings in red, the summer is left in blue.

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Blue Curled Scotch Kale
Ragged Jack Kale
Neon Lights Swiss Chard

I found garlic at a local shop, so these aren’t links to the exact source.
Chesnok
German Red
German White

Parsley Root
Lutz Salad Beet

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Killer Rabbits

No, I don’t mean the one from Monty Python and the Holy Grail; I mean this guy and his siblings.

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I blame them for eating all of our peas as they shot out of the ground, and for eating a lot of the salad greens (they seem to have really liked the kale). They have been gnawing on the beans but not as badly as the other plants. The salad green bed was a mess anyway, so I weeded it pulled out the plants that had bolted on us. I replanted it with some other mesclun mix, radishes, and carrots. I’m excited about the colored carrot mix.

Ghetto Greenhouse

I made a pair of mini greenhouses/cold frames over one of our raised bed. Our raised beds are surrounded by gravel with landscaping cloth under it so I had to put all my supports inside the raised bed. The raised beds I used are 3 feet by 5 feet (approximately.)

I took two pieces of 10 foot 1/2 inch PVC pipe and cut the pieces in half; I used three of these pieces as the ribs.

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The fourth piece was used for the ridgepole which was attached with zip ties. I did one ridgepole over the top and one under to see if I liked one method better then the other.

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I padded the ends of the poles of one with some plastic grocery store bags and the other with rags attached with more zip ties.

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I covered it with some 6mil plastic drop cloth off a roll. Right now its being held down around the edges by bricks. I have some scrap wood that I may cut down and staple it to the edges of the plastic to give it a more finished look.

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For the ends i just twisted and clamped it with a $0.99 clamp from home depot.

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It looks messy because of our fancy dog eared raised beds. The shape really makes it hard to tuck things in neatly.

The most expensive thing for the project was the roll of 6mil plastic. I couldn’t find a smaller package so I spent $25 for 10×100 feet. I spent $34 for two beds, and have more then enough plastic to do additional beds.

Now we have peas started out in the open and lettuce and spinach under the plastic.

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The mescalin mix has gone a bit crazy, the other ones are showing up, but not quite as much.

Beans are going to get planted as soon as the soil temperatures under the plastic get warm enough. We got all of our seeds so far from Comstock and Ferre which was bought by Baker Creek last year. I’ve got my fingers crossed that they all do well. The list of what we have going on is below.

Sugar Ann Peas
Corne de Belier Peas
Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach
Big Boston Lettuce
European Mesclun Salad mix
Valentine Bush Beans

Pickles and Beans

Today I was tasked with getting ingredients so my mom could make pickles. I went to two stop and shops, price right, and walmart. No pickling salt to be had. We called a few places and no one had any. Some of these places didn’t have any because its a fall seasonal item. Now the reason my mother is making pickles is because the cucumbers are ripe; in the fall there will be no cucumbers left to pickle. Finally we called a few Agways and they do carry it during the summer. IN the end it didn’t matter because they where closing before we could get there and my mom decided to just use kosher salt. Alton Brown says that they are chemically identical, but you need to adjust your measurements because the pickling salt has a smaller crystal and packs more tightly into a measuring cup. The pickles will be ready in three days, I think that I will take another shot of all the jam and pickles once we get them jarred up.

While I was out I decided to check out the re-opened seed store. The oldest seed store in the country closed last August and was purchased by the Baker Seed Company a few weeks ago. They opened up selling old stalk almost immediately selling old stock. Now their own brand seeds in stock. It was fun to look at all the strange shapes and colors of the heirloom plants and I would love to buy all of them. Next spring I will have to battle my parents to get some of them in the garden. (They prefer conventional plants)

I got a packet of Dragon Tongue beans to put in the bed that was supposed to have peas. Most of the peas got eaten by something, so I took the few that where left and put them in a pot. I snagged a few very young pods off the plants… they are nice and sweet and tender.