Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

And the closing of the season...

A bit of an update first.. I realize I haven't posted for weeks...

Won the November elections, I'm now a trustee for my township. My area will be parks, of which we have four. And being involved with the cleanup and utilization of one of our major riverways. How cool is that?
Watervliet called me back in at the beginning of October. I've been working a few days a week, filling in and helping get the place back into shape again. Gosh. That will be ending soon though, it's another temp gig.
Everyone in the house is in fair health. Been several personal upsets in the family over the course of the whole summer. We've lost a beloved companion, a family home, a beloved family member, and an extraordinarily dear friend and companion of a lifetime. It's been a cruel summer that has stretched into the warm autumn... Let's hope that has stopped with the final coming of hard frost.

Hard frost finally has finally come. We got a straw bale enclosure set up in front of the kitchen window and filled it with all my late season perennial purchases that I got super cheap. Had just enough left over from last winters compost enclosure, 6 bales. And got a double layer of frost cloth laid over the huge beer garden radish just in time on Friday. We got our first hard frost yesterday morning.
We got all the marigold borders picked of this years seeds- it's a lot! And all the marigolds are now heeled over to the outside of the beds to die off and drop their final seed heads. If I did this right when I set up the borders this spring, they should start self-sowing in there next year.
And just saying- will for real do the hunk of seeds full flat sowing with marigolds again next year. That worked out exceptionally well.

I've decided I'm going to try for advanced seed saving this year and try brussels sprouts. This years growing season was difficult, and I didn't get a good crop of heads. But I can shear off the bottom heads and leaves, mulch them all in, and use them for spring seed production next year.

Tomatoes were a total washout this year. Too little rain at the wrong time of the year combined with too little upkeep. We got to eat a bunch fresh, and I dehydrated a batch, but that's it. I ended up buying a couple 10 pound boxes of basic reds to do up some stuff with.
Same goes for peppers. All the blacks and whites failed. Totally. We did get a midseason flush of a few, and here at the tail of the season I got enough cherry bombs to pickle up a quart.
No squashes, cucumbers, or melons. Bean yields were seedstock only low, but at least I did get some seedstock.
The greens did well. Asian greens seemed to drop off early in the spring, but todays harvest of fall pickings was a half-bushel full. The kale garden has done really well too, and we are already tucking in on the good eats.

I've already started the 2017 seed season. Gathering seeds here and have hit a couple of good seed sales from a couple favored vendors. Completely organized my current seed collection- though I haven't finished cataloging yet. The solarium is finally done being sealed up.

I did the whole solarium in clear window film this year. And it was fairly cheap to do so. Out of 20 windows, three of the four north side windows have fogged plastic, the last will get a clear panel. The outside door and window to the right are fogged too. Three already had clear panels from last year that were still good. So that left 13 windows to plastic up.
Sounds expensive, right? Yes and no. After tinkering last year with clear and using 60" wide gift wrapping shrink film I had sitting around.. I used it again this year.
The plastic is thicker, sturdier, and holds up longer. It's nice to use- instead of unfolding a tiny compressed cake of super thin plastic and trying to dewrinkle it and cut it up to use... Shrink wrap comes in 30" wide tubes like wrapping paper. And like wrapping paper, it unrolls nicely. Especially on a clean table- it has static cling that makes it want to lay down to the table. It comes perfectly folded in half, and static cling is great here too- you have time to pin one half of the window down neatly before doing the other half.
A side benefit is that since it rolls out nice, leftovers can be rolled back onto a tube nice. And since the stuff is thicker, already smooth, and has static cling to lay it flat, it tapes up really well with clear packing tape to use up scraps.
Cost wise... It actually ends up being cheaper to use the easy to use 60"x9' rolls. Typically, brand name 6 window kits of 62x252 run 12-15 bucks. On sale 5-6 bucks. Jo-Ann fabrics often has 50% off coupons, when everything you want is already on sale. But shrink wrap rarely is, and runs 14-15 bucks. And wait for that additional 25% off total purchase coupon and a three pack of rolls costs 5.63. Sometimes their 25% off total purchase runs along with a shrink wrap clearance, typically after Christmas and Easter. If it goes cheaper than that half off, even better. I've gotten it for around 3 bucks with timing and luck, lol.
The flip side of this is you gotta buy your own tape- and that stuff can be costly too. But it too goes on sale at the bigger box hardware places, and it's well worth stocking up.
Penny for penny, the cost between the name brand fold out 6 window kit is comparable to doing it with shrink wrap on sale and tape seperately. But the wonderful ease of the rolling out of the much thicker film and ability to use the scraps up with as much ease is worth it. Hands down.

Of course, yes.. we have had Nightvale County up and building since the day after Labor Day. I took a ton of pictures of it before I started taking down the Halloween and Samhain Week celebrations. This weekend I tore down the whole End's Meet alley district, and the outdoor movie theater. Started clearing out the orphanarium- the theater is getting moved there and staying put through new years. It's way too cool to pack away yet.
But several of our spookier places have been pulled out and packed away. Zombies, ghosts, vampires, and mummies are going back to their winter homes. October beer fest patrons and folks dressed up for the chilly weather have started coming in for their winter bird stay. Thanksgiving time and the Third Harvest have settled in.. Hard Frost has come.
When I first came back on to Watervliet in early October, we had a full pallet crate half filled with small gourds. About 15 half-bushel baskets worth. I sorted out the whole thing, picking off early rotters, repacking into half bushel baskets.. and choosing off a select peck or so of super small gourds.. that I have been curing off in the solarium for weeks now. They are now ready for final cleanup to set up into the villages along with a lot of foliage that is getting pulled off and re-distributed.

Anywho.. homemade pizzas tonight. All sorts of goodness. But gonna post now instead of saving it for another day this time, lol..