Sunday, November 22, 2020
OMG! Y'ALL! You NEED to grow these! Seriously! They go by many names: Cucamelon, Mexican Sour Gherkin, Pepquinos, and my favorite Mouse Melons, but their botanical name is Melothria scabra, so as long as you get those, you're golden.
They're so cute that that alone is reason enough to grow them.
But wait! There's more! They're tasty, too! Tart like pre-dilled cucumbers. Tangy and crispy and yummy. Bite sized even, right off the vine no slicing or dicing needed. I think they'll be great in a salad. Wonder if they'll last long enough for my mesclun that's just sprouting to join them. I'm going to leave a few in the fridge to see if they do, then make some 'frigerator pickles out of a some, then can the rest for later.
Last week's frost nipped the vines enough that I could see through them, and lo and behold, there was a shit load of the little buggers on there! Five little plants that covered a 3' wide by 4' tall trellis made a half gallon or so fruit. Interestingly, they also sent out a couple or three vines across the ground, shooting out singly in different directions. One was about eight or ten feet out, headed to the squash bed, and made little melons even right on the ground!
I'm impressed with them since it was so hot and dry this year, plus they were in a shadier spot. Next year they'll get much better accommodations.
Now I'm off to make pickles as the cold front rolls in. Ahh, bliss...
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
If you haven't already, it's time to cut back your tomatoes. By now they're likely
growing out the top of the cages and all the way back down to the ground again, making such a mess that you hardly know where one stops and another begins. They stopped setting fruit over a month ago, you've picked all the ones set before that, and you're getting tired of looking at them. Hornworms are more plentiful than fruit, especially the BIG ones that scream at you when you grab them, and you're probably noticing the beginnings of a spider mite infestation. Wouldn't it be great to just wipe the slate clean and start over?
Well, go ahead then. Just cut off the tops and there ya' go. That's all there is to it. Really.
Some people pull up their plants and replant this time of year, but I think that's such a waste. You've spent months growing a big healthy rootball, so why pull all that up and replace it with a baby that will have to grow it all back? Why not leave the rootball, and just get rid of the raggedy part? That's what I do, and it works wonderfully.
If you want details, here they are: all you have to do is cut about a foot up from the ground, right above a node, preferably one with a little sprout already. Remove all the foliage, throw down some more fertilizer, and top that with a bit of compost. Watch the watering - without leaves, the plants won't need as much water now, so don't overwater.
That's all there is to it! Really. If you get it done now, they'll have plenty of time to regrow their tops in time to set more fruit when it cools off again. So get out there and do it! It looks so much better when you're done.
Sunday, April 19, 2020
It's given us time to think.
Caring about something takes time. Time to learn about it, to actively seek out more information. Time to think about how we feel about it. Time to figure out what we can do about it. Then Time to DO THAT.
The universe is offering us the clarity needed to declutter our lives of all the extraneous bullshit and make room for more meaningful things, and all we have to do is choose to grab it and run with it. We have time now to figure out which items on our overstuffed calendar are really worth having to turn a blind eye to so many objectionable things. IF we choose this, we can come out of this with enough time to do something about those objectionable things - not all, but at least one.
Can y'all imagine what that would look like? What our neighborhoods would be like if all seven billion of us figured out one thing to try to make better, then spent that hour a week we found that was previously filled with shopping or Netflix or whatever pablum we used to use to "find peace" when we were really only finding distraction - if we all used that one hour on making that thing we care about better instead?
We can have that. All we have to do is have the courage to see what this virus has laid bare, then CONTINUE to see it after the main threat is over. When the opium sellers come calling, trying to convince us it really wasn't that bad, we really didn't see the man behind the curtain, close our eyes and buy this thing or believe this other thing and it'll be okay just like it used to be... please, please, don't listen to them.
This chance - it won't come again. Please just think, and don't close your eyes.
Friday, April 17, 2020
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Nope! Just grow your own!
|Roots coming off them are normal, and good.|
|I put this one in water about a week ago.|
|More sprouts will grow soon. You can see one at the top of that|
beige-ish stem/growth point already. See the tiny little green leaf?
Cute little thing.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
This is funny: I misplaced my phone during all this, so as I was walking around trying to find it, I'd just finished saying, "Okay, Mom, help me find my phone, please." and the ringtone started up. I'd left it on the trunk of the Miata where I wouldn't have looked for an hour, and it was a dear DEAR friend calling to wish me happy birthday. I so enjoyed that conversation. She laughed when I thanked her for helping me find my phone.
|I love my tub on the porch.|
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Here are a few tips to get things started:
~ To find a spot that gets enough sun, take pictures throughout one day, every hour on the hour, then flip through them that night to count how many show sun on the spot - that's how many hours of sun that spot gets. Choose a spot that gets *at least* 6 hours of sun a day, preferably not all afternoon or evening sun. If you can, avoid the west side of your house or other building - things tend to fry there.
And you don't need a formal garden plot - just find any old patch of dirt with enough sun. If you have a flower garden out front, use that! Don't have any ground, but do have a balcony? Use old pots or empty coffee cans or used milk jugs or even straight in that bag of potting soil - just lay it flat and cut it open. Boom, done.
~ Need compost, but garden centers are closed? Look under bushes in your yard for all those leaves that have accumulated over the years and dig under them. See that black rotted stuff that doesn't look like leaves anymore? Rake it up, pick out bits of sticks and wood, and use that. It's called "leaf mold" and is fab stuff. Be sure not to use it if it's mostly un-rotted wood since if you mix that in, that will tie up nitrogen in your soil and starve your plants. Mulch on top of the ground = good. Mulch IN the ground = bad.
Also look in your garage for that half bag of potting soil, and round up those pots containing nothing but dirt and Ghosts of Springs Past. Most potting soils are made of things that will definitely lighten up the dirt in your new garden plot. Other things you can use: peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and coco coir fiber if you have any of those.
Nice side effect of this exercise: your garage's garden corner will get cleaned out.
~ Don't think you have seeds to plant, and again garden centers are closed? Look in your pantry. The best and quickest thing you likely have are those pinto beans from HEB. Yep, they'll sprout. Yep, the ones for cooking. Yep, they really will. So will the black eyed peas, navy beans, limas, and garbanzos. The only ones that won't are anything "split" or "cracked", like lentils and green peas. If you have any whole grains that haven't been steamed or rolled or whathaveyou, those might, too. It'll take 'til fall to get anything from them, but what the heck! They're fun to grow.
~ Look in your fridge, too. All these things will sprout:
white potatoes, sweet potatoes, sprigs of basil and mint, ginger root, turmeric root, seeds from pumpkins and watermelons and spaghetti squash, carrot tops (though it's a bit late for them), and basal root plates from onions (especially scallions).
~ Once things get going, it helps to fertilize. If you have any fertilizer in your garage, use it. Even if it's not the "right" numbers on the bag, it'll help. Even if it's a conventional "chemical" type, it'll be better than nothing - just DON'T use any kind of "weed and feed" since the "weed" part will kill all broad leaf plants, and your veggies are broad leaved plants. And DON'T think, "A little is good, so more must be better!" Nope, it's not. Really. If anything, give them less.
If you don't have any fertilizer, try to find alfalfa-anything at the feed store. A bag of alfalfa pellets or range cubes will work. Put 2 or so inches in the bottom of a five-gallon bucket, cover with water, let sit overnight, and water your plants with it. Do this once or twice a week. You can do this a couple-or-three times before you've gotten most of the goodies out of the pellets, then just spread the sludge out over the top of your veggie bed soil and do it again.
Also, put any kitchen scraps in a blender with some water, then spread that on the beds as well or dig a little shallow trench a foot from the base of your plants to pour it in, spreading it out fairly well, then cover it back up. Blending it up will help it decompose faster so the plants can get those nutrients quicker. Don't put it too thickly anywhere - spread it out to about 1/2" thick - so it breaks down quickly and doesn't get nasty-smelly-slimey as it breaks down. If it does, it won't hurt anything, but isn't nice to work around while it rots.
So come on everybody! Send me your questions! Just post them right down there in the comments, and I'll answer them as soon as I see them. Or if you'd rather, comment on my post on Facebook. See you there!
Even the dogs are bored.