Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2011/11/01 - Life got busy, but here's a quick update

My fiance finally moved across the country and is here with me now.  Yay!  This means we're doing more on the garden... a little... kind of.  It also means I'm not spending my evenings blogging.  Yay... kind of.  LOL

So here are the updates!

We've once again moved the barrel beds, and we've been hooking up the plumbing on them and the raft bed.  It's almost done.  (It's been almost done for a couple of weeks now, but I think this weekend we'll probably knock it out.)

We planted some more seeds (cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, peas, and a lot of hot peppers) but something (possum?) got in while the weather was lovely and I was keeping the greenhouse wide open to encourage beneficial flying critters.  He tromped over one of the bell pepper plants, ate the cauliflower seeds and the Sun Thai pepper seeds, and generally made himself unwelcome.  So now we're keeping the door zipped all the time.  Anyone know of a good way to discourage him from coming back?

Fiance has neatly organized the greenhouse with shelving and plastic fish food containers.  It no longer looks like a junk room in there.

The fish are getting so big!  Several of them are starting to get the highly arched back that mature fish are known for.  (Before that, they're just kind of fish shaped, if you know what I mean.)  So I think it'll probably be another month or two and then we'll harvest.  I have had to cut back on the feed a bit.  Since we have lots of big fish, and no longer any tomatoes or other heavy-feeding plants, the balance is getting a bit off.  Once the raft bed is up, this should all be good again.  And then of course we'll harvest some fish and I'll probably be off in the other direction.

Okay, now for the pictures  :-)  Since it's been almost two months, we'll have some older ones and some newer ones:

When I pulled out those tomato plants, some of the ripe tomatoes fell down and went *splat* on the growbed.  Evidently that's all it takes to start new plants.  This is 9/18:

And this is just two weeks later on 10/1:
Yes, I've ripped them all out again.  But WOW is it fertile there or what?!?

I actually got one of the carrots (yes, it's supposed to be small and round):
And the leeks are doing well as is the basil:

And the chard is happy:
The bell pepper plants were also (before our visitor):
(Yes, that's a toilet brush.  It's for keeping the drain pipe clear.)

I don't have any pics of the organized greenhouse or the work in progress on the new section.  But hopefully next month I can post pictures of it finished!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2011/09/11 - A long overdue update

Sorry for the delay, folks!  Life has gotten a little busy.  :-)

On my last post I had harvested a bunch of tomatoes, then blanched, peeled, seeded, and frozen them.  In the weeks since then I've harvested cucumbers and made them into bread and butter pickles (a big hit!), got the cattle trough up onto cinderblocks, and removed the cucumber and tomato plants entirely.  I simply couldn't deal with having cucumber vines all over the ground and hiding all the tomatoes from me.  I also pulled out the Brussels sprouts since the earwigs had so completely destroyed all the foliage. 

In the process of pulling out the plants, I did put branches containing ripe tomatoes into the trough for sorting through.  After sorting, the tomatoes I brought into the house were approximately 9 pounds worth.  And please remember, these were tomatoes I didn't even know I had because they were buried in the center of the plants or behind the cucumber vines!

I've been focusing less on the garden lately, and more on getting ready for Paul to move in.  But I still enjoy spending time out there every day feeding the fish and enjoying the peaceful sound of water falling.

And now, on to the pics!

Armenian cucumber hiding:
 A batch of cucumber found:
 One that I evidently failed to find for WAY too long:
Labor Day Weekend Saturday's harvest, when I thought I'd gotten everything ripe I possibly could, to take to my mom:

The tomatoes and cucumbers trying very hard to pull the entire trellis over:
Trough up on cinderblocks, ready to be hooked up to plumbing:

So the day after that "I'll harvest everything I can for my Mom" picture, I start to pull the plants out, not expecting to find much that's ripe in there.  Boy was I wrong.

Tomatoes that had been hiding behind vines:

 Just the ripe ones that fell as I was pulling the plants out:
 Finally, a clean bed!

 Branches of ripe stuff set aside for sorting:

 Some of my NINE POUNDS of found tomatoes sorted from that bed:

I gave a bunch to my new neighbors and took some to my coworkers.  But the rest I roasted in the oven then mixed with garlic and basil.  Those were bagged and frozen for later use in some kind of saucy lusciousness.

And now, to figure out what to plant for fall.  Replacement brussels sprouts, broccoli, and Paul wants a cayenne pepper plant.  And then... we'll just have to see!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

2011/08/07 - More growth, more changes

Started a fishtank cover.  But the cat jumped in the middle of it and ripped it, so I've put off finishing it for now.  But the new algae eater is doing his job so it isn't as urgent anyway.  But here's the basics of it done:

The cucumber vine grew all the way to the top of the tomatoes, and then down on all sides.  Here's a few weeks back:

And here's yesterday:

 The tomatoes are still producing tons of fruit.  Here are a few harvests over the last month:

That last batch I peeled, cored, seeded, bagged, and froze:

I wanted to move the half-barrel beds onto the new frame, so I just went ahead and tore out those tomato plants.  They were still producing a lot but I just can't cope with it all.  But they'll make fine compost for the dirt garden next year:

Here's those beds before I tore them out.  I put the basil and pepper plants into the big bed for now.

I also took out the lettuce, radishes, and cabbage:

Finally got around to harvesting the coriander.  Got a 1/2 cup of clean seeds.  More than a spice bottle full:

The fish are getting really big.  And it seems like they eat almost 2 cups a day of food.  But I'll have to put them on a little diet again until I get the new beds hooked up.  Here's a video of feeding time:
I got the half-barrels moved to the new frame, and that whole thing in place again.  And I got the cinder blocks in place to hold the cattle trough but I can't lift that onto the bricks by myself.  Even if I were stronger, it's 10 feet long and needs to go up 20 inches, so it's really a two person job.  I'm hoping a neighbor will help.  If so, I should have that all hooked up in another week or two.  The trough will be a raft bed for lettuce and basil and such.

I'm happy with how it's all going.  It's been a lot of hard work, but I'm almost to the end of that.  And the reward of picking my own fresh food makes it all worth while!