Sunday, June 13, 2010

Buying Transplants: A How To



Who/Why: Transplants are better for long season crops, such as peppers or tomatoes. They take awhile to grow and you have to worry about keeping those plants out of the frost if you grow them at home. Where as you can pop a squash seed in the ground and bam, you have squash, no problem. Transplants can also be helpful in growing things that are challenging to grow from seed, such as some herbs. It is always much cheaper to grow things from seed but sometimes there is 1. not enough time before growing season or 2. your seeds did not come up.

How: When you are at the store, you should look for short, bushier plants. You need a strong, smaller plant to build on. You need at least as much root mass as you do above ground plant to make for a smooth transplant. Those long and leggy ones are more likely to be root bound. Root bound means that the roots have spiraled around their container and there are too many roots for a small pot. Then once you put the roots in the ground to plant, they will continue growing around instead of branching out to get more nutrients. If you do find you have bought a plant that is root bound, you can trim the tips of some roots off before planting. We untangle some roots before we plant as a general rule, so they have an easier time reaching into the soil.

Where: You tend to find better quality at smaller, local centers. Our favorites are Shades of Green and Fanicks.


One last thing to remember: Transplants are grown to look good in pots for resale, not necessarily for being the best tasting or most beautiful variety. Growing from seed not only saves money, but also gives you a huge selection for taste and color. Buy better quality, organic seeds and you will get better results. The seeds they sell at large chain stores are usually the left overs of the bunch that are impossible to grow, and convince new gardeners that they can't grow from seed.

Happy Sunday Gardening!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chianti!



You might not know it from all the bug posts lately but we are still growing food. Lots of food. The tomatoes are ready!

My favorite is the Chianti Rose. Here is our first one of the season. Yum yum yum.



There was a wicked storm recently and most of our corn blew over. I am not quite sure what farmers do about this issue. Wind breaks? Anyhow, the curse turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We harvested a few to see if they were ready and they were! We harvested all the corn that got knocked down and roasted it up for a big family BBQ.


This Corn has Justin Bieber Hair


Pre-Storm

We also have cucumbers, zuchini, and green beans popping right now. The basil is begging me to turn it into fresh tomoto sauce and when the basil begs, I oblige.


Sorry for the quote, but you just can't get around saying the word chianti without it. Timely too.
"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."- Hannibal Lecter

Sunday, June 6, 2010

He was a beautiful butterfly!

Hungry has done grown up on us.

He has been in a chrysalis for about two weeks. He was in a green chrysalis because he perched on a green stick. If he had been on a brown stick- the chrysalis would have been brown. Every day we have checked in on him and have seen this:



Then this morning! Miracle!




He was slowly flapping his wings. We let him go outside immediately after taking these photos because I was afraid he wouldn't have the food he needed in his house. I wish I had grown up to be a bug scientist.

"Butterfly, baby I still have my doubts about you, cause butterfly, I can't find nothing bad about you." Mason Jennings

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Spring Cleaning





Jerks AKA Leaf Footed Bugs

Oh hello. Just here vacuuming our tomatoes (and artichokes.) In case you have been out of the loop, I thought we had Assassin bugs (good) that turned out to be Leaf footed bugs (bad) and read online you can dirt vac them off your plants. Everyone knows that anything you read on the Internet is true- so we had to try it. It worked decently well. It was much easier than hand catching them but they also started to fly away after witnessing a few of their buddies being sucked up. Thus it took a few cleaning sessions to gathering up any real amount of them up. It's a nice little hobby to pass the time though- vacuuming bugs. Dirtiest Husband in the World works at a vegetarian restaurant and some of his vegan coworkers were horrified to hear we were vacuuming up bugs. I thought vegans loved home grown tomatoes. This is war. But not chemical warfare. Unless you call bath and body wash exfoliating soap that your beloved sister-in-law left behind chemical warfare. We dunked the bugs in soapy water to finish them off.

My bestie friend sent me a link with more info on the mistaken id of these bugs. Hot tip: Assassin bugs feast alone, and Stink bugs (or Leaf Footed Bugs) eat in big ol' groups. That would have been really useful information a few weeks ago.

There is one bug that escaped capture.

Most often found hovering near just made sun tea.

"When your dreams turn to dust, vacuum"