Gardening & Google Voice

Well, my garden is doing… OK now, I guess. At least half of my peppers have died – all the bells, 10/12 jalapenos, 8/12 hungarian hot, all the rio grand hot, and a rather random selection of others. But, those that have survived are looking pretty good. So, hopefully we get some peppers, though I’m definetly going to have to buy jalapenos to pickle like I did last year.

Unfortunately though, my cucumbers & zucchini appear to be doing the same thing as my peppers. They all looked absolutely awful on Monday when we got back from Findlay. Right before we left I sprayed them pretty good with peroxide & spread my remaining cornmeal around on them, and I think it *might* have helped as some of them are looking like the might survive. Though they still look pretty awful. But we’ve gotten a handful of zucchini (like.. 5 or 6 now), and I think we *might* get some more. And I got one nice lil cucumbuer the other day too, and theres a few more that look like they *might* keep growing and get slightly bigger than 3 or 4″.

And then today I went ahead and pulled out all of my peas, broccoli & onions. The peas were definetly dead, and I’ve just been highly disgusted with how they’ve done – I swear I got more broccoli from 6 plants last year than I did all 40 odd plants this year!! But, I did get quite a few nice onions from between my broccoli plants… Now I’m just trying to decide what I want to re-plant in those beds. I’m thinking I’m going to try and plant broccoli from seeds where my peas were and put peas & beans where the broccoli were. Who knows if I’ll actually get any peas/beans/broccoli, but its at least worth a try!!

On a totally, completely, utterly unrelated note, I got an invite (and then registerd) for Google Voice – which seems pretty darn cool. I can send text messages from my computer now (which is super cool since I normally can’t since I don’t have cell phone reception at home), and the fact that I can call anyone from home for free is also super cool. So yeah, go request an invite and try it out. It seems quite cool!!

And the preserving begins!

Today I did my first batch of freezing – broccoli! Considering I have 45 odd broccoli plants, there was surprisingly little from them – but the heads weren’t getting any bigger and were in fact starting to flower, so I cut them all off and blanched and froze most of them (reserving a small bit for tonights dinner – I’m planning on doing a roast chicken:), probably amounting to 1-2 bags once they’re bagged (I freeze everything on a cookie sheet first so I can pull out only how much I need).

I also noticed that the local You Pick strawberry field is opening up (they were open on thursday, apparently closed today, but open tommorrow…), so I’m planning on going and picking strawberries tommorrow for the first time. Not sure how many bags of strawberries I’ll want for this year – I know I started out with 12 last year, but I also had some from my co-op, and they’re all gone… and Andros is getting bigger and eating more, so I might shoot for 15 or so.

Everything else in the garden is looking good – my peas are starting to flower, and so are a few of the bigger tomatoes, so with luck we’ll be eating fresh peas & tomatoes here shortly. I finished planting everything on Tuesday when my mom came down – she brought me another 8 basil plants, which went beside my tomatillos and then the rest of the bed and end of the cucumbers were planted in beans. My first bed of beans has started to sprout up and are looking pretty good. Though I should probably plant another little row of carrots & radishes!!

Also on Tuesday, we moved our chickens’ fence around the garden, and just let them go free. They seem to be doing pretty good, though they are scratching an awful lot around our blueberries, so we’re not sure they’ll be free for much longer… Of course, the other option is to put chicken wire around the blueberries and go from there.ย  We also just orderd 3 new grape vines – Reliance seedless, which are supposed to be pretty hardy and disease resistant. Hopefully they come soon and do well and next year we start having seedless grapes!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Another year, another garden!

Well, its been nearly a year since I posted on here, but I think I’m going to give this another try. We’ll see how it goes and if I’m able to keep it up or not.

Quite a lot has gone on since my last post, mostly involving lots of canning (I ended up doing 98 quarts & 18 pints of diced tomatoes; 3 quarts & 8 pints of green beans; 26 pints of pickled jalapenos, 4 half-pints of jalapeno jelly & 31 pints of pickled banana peppers; 34 quarts & 17 pints of apple sauce, 17 pints of apple butter, & 22 half gallons ofย  apple cider, 14 quarts of grape juice) freezing (12 bags of green beans, 3 bags of red & 4 bags of green bell peppers, 12 bags of blackberries, 20 bags of blueberries, 3 bags of peaches & 12 bags of strawberries – all in quart size ziplock bags). Over the winter I made some of the berries into jam & used some of the juice for jelly, both for us and to give away at christmas (cause’ like, who doesn’t like homemade jam/jelly/applebutter/blueberry butter?!?!).

Oh, and I got pregnant again ๐Ÿ˜€ So, I’m due on August 11, 2009 with another baby boy. Andros has gotten very big and active and is just a little ball of energy from the moment he wakes up in the morning till he goes to sleep at night (though he thankfully does still take a 1-2 hour nap around 2ish!!). As a result of the new baby, we’ve transitioned him into his own ‘big boy bed’ in my old room (and we got a nice new queen size bed for us:).

And then, of course theres this years garden. We started a whole bunch of tomatoes, peppers & broccoli this year, and they’ve (mostly) all done really well. My broccoli has been in the ground for probably ~1.5 months now, and its just starting to have little broccoli heads – here in another week or two I expect to have broccoli coming out of my ears – we started 48 broccoli plants, had 46 come up, and all but 3 or 4 have survived being put out. I think the ones that died once they were outside did so because of either a lack of water (its been VERY dry here lately), or due to critters digging tunnels/holes underneath them and through their roots. Around the same time I put the broccoli in I also put in a bed of snow & sugar snap peas, both of which are now 2-3′ tall and looking very good. And about a week later we put potatoes in too – which got frosted a bit but look like they’ll survive thanks to mostly having been under the straw still ๐Ÿ˜€

On a seperate note, our grapes got frosted last weekend, along with some other stuff that has *never* been frosted before – my yuccas, bleeding heart & trumpeter vine, along with the potatoes. Thankfully, I didn’t have anything else in, but its just pretty surprising. We were away, but the neighbor who owns the greenhouse I go to said it got down to 28!! On the 16/17th of MAY! How crazy is that?!? Thankfully though, I think everything will survive, though how many grapes we’re going to get this year I don’t know ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Just over the past couple days I’ve gotten most everything else in. Namely all my peppers (76 total – 6 Purria Chili, 6 Ancho/Pablano Chilis, 6 Corno di Toro Sweet Peppers, 6 Rio Grand Hot, 6 Ring O’ Fire Cayannes, 5 Pimientos, 12 Hungarian Hot Wax, 12 Jalapenos, 3 Habaneros, 8 California Bell Peppers & 6 Sweet Red Beautys…), tomatoes (66 total – 6 Amis Paste, 6 Peacevine, 8 Stupice, 8 Santiam, 7 Bavacchi, 8 Dr Wyech’s, 4 Arkansas Travellers, 4 Poland, 8 Peron Sprayless & 7 other heirloom types from a friend…). I do have space for another 4+ tomatoes and a few more that I could plant but just never got transplanted into peat pots. Oh, and I did 7 tomatillos down by my peppers. I also put in 3 Sugar Baby Watermelon’s, 2 zucchini & 6 Straight 8 Cucumbers today – I want to get another dozen or so cucumbers to fill in the rest of that bed with and hopefully have a bumper crop to pickle a bunch ๐Ÿ˜€

So… basicly my garden is in for the year! I do want/need to plant a couple beds of beans, some more squash (pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash & spaghetti squash), cucumbers & possibly another melon or two of some sort, but BASICLY, the bulk of my garden is in – now its just keep it up!! ๐Ÿ˜€ And this year, we’re prepared to combat the powdery mildew & other blights we had last year, we hope. I plan on spraying my tomatoes for the first time here in a little bit or tommorrow at the absolute latest!! I’ll try and post pictures of everything in the next few days:D