Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

And more done..

Happy Tuesday!

Went out to see if I had any wild carrot seed heads ready yet- I don't :(

However, while wandering down by the tulip border, I noticed that not only had the cilantro grown- it has already started setting seed :) This is what happens when you plant in the spring and then ignore till the end of summer, lol. Of course I collected the seed that was ready to be picked, there is still tons of them green on the plants :)

So I weeded out the entire tulip bed, gack. It was pretty easy going since I had just dug it all up this spring, but some of the weeds were HUGE! Also discovered a goodly amount of the parsley still chugging along- hopefully it will survive the winter so it can set seed next fall. Haven't a clue if any of the tulips survived or are still there, I will find that out next spring. But if the cilantro and parsley do well down there, I might sow in a patch of dill too.

Picked a few pounds of red apples and juiced them up- I now have the stuff sitting in the fridge for a day or two to separate. These aren't the best of apples- most are pretty bug pocked or small, that's why I'm juicing them instead of properly preserving them. I figure if I get a gallon of juice off these, I might just try my hand at making a batch of apple cider or wine. Apparently the first ciders were often made with the apples unsuitable for good eats, so I figure why not?

Picked a couple more pounds of green beans. I realized I didn't have any on the pantry shelf yet, so these got cut up into 1 inch pieces, blanched and shocked, and are now dried.

 Here's what a tray of freshly picked, shocked, and blanched beans look like.

Here's what those beans look like after dehydrating at 145 for 10 hours.

Here's what I picked- using my wonderfully huge colander I got as a present a couple christmases ago. It's 18"wx6"d so that's a lot of space for picking and rinsing!

Summer-riffic Wednesday!

Today has been wonderfully summery just like August is supposed to be, yay! Made me not want to be out in the yard busting butt in the sun too much, but I have caught up on a lot of computer stuff I haven't been to up on lately.

Off the Gardenweb, I have adopted two more newbies for my seed exchange offerings, and adopted my first milkweed newbie, yay!

I started going through all my old OG's last night. Tagging off pages, seeing what I have already highlighted- Winter months this year is going to get some dedicated time into transcribing those into electronic format. Making a GrowboxHill Bible.
Also discovered I really am zone 6- explains a lot about most of the gardening difficulties I've had. I grew up in zone 5, west pushing east over the lake. Now I'm east getting west push over the lake, apparently it really does make a huge difference.
I also started making my next batch of recycled plastic bag twine last night. This time I'm also using a recycled spool from my loves 3D printing plastic- much nicer to wind up on. Making twine is EASY!!! And a wonderful way to give another life to what otherwise often ends up in landfills. And so far, it's holding up much better under gardening stress than standard garden twine is.

On the left is regular twine, the right plastic twine. You can see some lovely yellow blooms of more luffas that probably will come out. In the lower left corner is the one tomato plant that grew well this year, and it's a monster.

The first luffa I caught growing now looks like this:
If no other luffas do well, I really extra hope this one does. One luffa of seed is priceless.

I also made a batch of fruit leather today, it's on the dehydrator now at 145. I had three yellow peaches, two white peaches, and about 15 Manyel plums sitting in the fridge. Looking a bit too withered for fresh eating. I sort of peeled the peaches, and cut out the bruised spots, peeled the plums. Of course I removed the pits, duh. In a couple of batches in the blender, with a couple tablespoons of lemon juice, I pureed the pulp. All together it made one blender pitcher, or one liter of puree. Poured it out into the jelly trays and it took up all 6 with filling them to about 1/4 inch deep on each tray.
This is what the puree looks like when first spread out. Pretty unimpressive. The dark flecks are bits of peach skin.

This is what it looks like after the leather is dry. It's flexible, tearable, and surprisingly... it's tasty.

I started a big germination test today. 8 kinds of seeds-
cilantro, gathered from the garden-25
wild onion, gathered from the yard-25
allium of some sort? gathered from the corner of the solarium-10
banana peppers- yellow an young from watervliet-25
banana peppers2- from an orange mature from waterfliet-10
serrano pepper- from the mexican produce place in BH-10
purple bell pepper- from watervliet-10
orange sweet pepper- from the produce place on Berrien Center-10

The banana peppers 1 are currently undergoing a germination test in a smaller dish for the last few days, and nada. The seeds didn't look like they dried right either. So I'm giving them a second shot, but not too hopeful.

It's super easy to do a germination test.
2 plates, as in food plates
couple paper towels
sharpie marker

Put your first plate down. Mark it with sharpie your seed information and germ start date.
Get paper towel a bit wet
lay out your seeds
place second paper towel on top- wet again
place second plant upside down over first plate to make a "sandwich".
Place your sandwich in the warmest place in your house, usually the kitchen.
Let sit for a couple days, then check daily to see if you have sprouts.

Use 10 or more seeds, and use numbers that make an easy 100% like 10 or 25 at most. Don't do a 50 test, that's just wasting seed.
If I'm doing a dish of just a couple seeds, I let them sprout at will. If I'm doing a lot of different ones on one dish, I remove sprouted seeds when they happen, and then count up unsprouted seeds later. Sprouted seeds can really get invasive to the test.
If it's a seed I really want to keep, I can transplant it to somewhere else.

Lovely Thursday...

We got in some pretty decent rain during the night. Which is nice because that means I don't have to water the containers today :) It also rained enough to show up the "pour spots" off the solarium roof.
So I was able to get the east side of the solarium planted in before the rain comes back for the rest of the afternoon.

Fie rose bushes all in a nice row along the whole strip, and a few dozen irises replanted in. I grabbed the pots of irises that have been sitting in the container area all year and planted them in closest to me in this pic- I used bamboo skewers to mark where they are so I know what to look for in the future out of them. I know it does not look like much, but next spring the whole area should really take off and start growing in plush... I hope.

Then I got over to the container area and finally did some weeding that was seriously needed. Heh, when isn't weeding seriously needed, I'm the laziest gardener on the planet. So I pulled up a ton of weeds and left them on the concrete to die for a day or few before tossing them onto the heap.
The Bloomsdale spinach seed I sowed in with the dying Mr. Stripey tom a week or two ago appeared to be doing nothing. So I ripped out the whole plant and tossed it on the heap, added in a bit of dirt to the pot that I had leftover from planting in the irises, and sowed in a new round of spinach, this time a spinach mix from Pinetree seeds. I really do hope we get some greens in before the end of the season. Nicely enough the Green Arrow peas I planted up a bit back mostly seem to be sprouting and growing up.. And there are now even more blooms on the luffa and it's starting to eat the container structure, yay!

But now it sounds like the goodly rain is coming in, so it's time to sign off for now...

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