Wednesday, March 17, 2010

HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY!

Top of the mornin’ to you! How are you this bright and shiny green day of days?! I’m super spectacular and I hope you are too! Well today we are officially half way through Spring Break. YAY! Alex has been having a hard couple of days really, so I have to figure out what is going on with him! Yes I must admit, having my daughter fall asleep in my arms was quite nice. As they get older, you learn to cherish those small moments which brings them back to their “sweet” stage LOL. Did you take a guess on how long she's sleep? Well she was up for maybe 45 minutes to eat yesterday, but slept the whole day & night and is STILL asleep this morning!! LOL!

To address my reader comments, Hazel, you are very correct… it is Mom’s chance to relax now LOL! To Jean- all Disney’s greenhouse plants are hydroponics… meaning there is no soil only water and nutrients sprayed on their roots with special machines. They have trained that tomato tree to grow that way… up and then across the netting that hangs from the ceiling. And to Mom… yes we would be set in salsa and such, but you can have eating them plain with salt. Not for me thanks! You had a mass explosion of tomatoes before… you should see if you can train yours to do that! And to Vincent, thanks for the kind remarks. I will tell the kids your message.

Ok my darlings, I need your advice! I am thinking about doing the seedlings to plant sale. I, knock on wood, am having such good luck with these seeds sprouting that I thought about starting tons of them and setting up a table on the side of the road and selling the plants for $1 a piece. The plastic containers however, are a very decent chunk out of my budget… of course I can get a case of 900 or I can buy them buy the piece. LOL. I think it would be very successful and helpful to those who might be like I was with seeds. So I don’t know what to do. What do you suggest? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Since I am on the topic of seeds, I think it would be the appropriate time to share with you another FREE SEED offer! The offer is from Dinner Garden and I think you should check them out! Once again, this great find is courtesy of the $5 Dinner newsletter that I get in my email everyday! This one lists places you can find to get the seeds locally or you can fill out their contact form at the link at the bottom of the page and request your seeds that way. I requested them and I am just waiting to see what glorious things I get. I will let you know when I get mine.

Ok, with all the garden talk, I figured I would speak some reality to you… nothing is without at least one troublesome problem. So, I have a great article for you regarding problems you might encounter during your gardening adventures.

Troubleshooting Your Vegetable Garden
By Ellen Brown

If you grow edibles long enough, you're bound to run into some problems. Many these problems can be avoided (or at least overcome) with proper cultivation techniques. Unfortunately, once in a while problems crop up that are difficult to diagnose and not easily remedied. Whether one plant is having a problem, or a whole crop, here's a list of some common problems in the vegetable garden and what causes them.

General Crop Problems

Seed Not Germinating: Caused by old seeds, washed away seeds, lack of moisture, temperatures being too cold or too hot, improper planting depth or seeds being stolen by animals.

Plants Lack Vigor (spindly seedlings): Usually due to tired soil (lack of organic nutrients), lack of proper light, and root damage caused by disease or transplanting.

Low Yields: This could be due to a lack of water, using the wrong type of fertilizer (fruiting crops like tomatoes and peppers like high amounts of potassium, while leaf plants like cabbage like high amounts of nitrogen), or plants may be too crowded and unable to compete for nutrients.

Generally Slow Growth: This could be due to improper pH, infertile soil, cool weather, low light conditions, poor drainage (poor soil structure) or too little or too much moisture.

Unsteady Supply of Crops: This is primarily due to a lack of succession planting. Stagger crops like carrots, lettuce and green beans a few weeks apart so you have a continuous supply all season long.

Pin Holes in Leaves: The culprit here is usually the flea beetle, a small, black or silver insect that jumps when disturbed.

Standing Water: This indicates a drainage problem caused by poor soil structure.

Crop Specific Problems

Artichokes

- They Are Taking Over: Shoots (or fragments of shoots) left over in the ground after harvesting will form new plants the following season.

Beans

- Failure to Develop Flowers: This is caused by elevated daytime temperatures (above 90ºF). The beans will usually resume flowering when temperatures drop.

- Failure to Form Pods: The failure to develop pods is usually caused by one of three reasons. The first is due to inadequate moisture levels (beans are a thirsty crop). The second happens when bees fail to pollinate the bean flowers while raiding them of nectar. White-flowered varieties seem less susceptible to this. A third reason is flower damage caused by birds-usually indicated by a pile of shredded flowers on the ground around the bean plant.
Carrots (radishes, etc.)

- Forked or Deformed Roots: Usually caused by erratic watering, applying too much manure close to planting time, inadequate thinning or compact, stony soil.

Corn

- Misshapen Ears or No Ears: This is usually due to improper pollination and happens when corn is planted in straight rows (instead of grids) or if corn is planted on an overly windy site.

Cucumbers

- Mottled or Spotty Leaves & Wilted Fruit: The likely culprit is either the result of cucumber mosaic virus, or sudden swings in temperature and soil moisture.

- Odd-shaped or Very Small Fruit: Caused by a lack of soil moisture, cool temperatures during development, or poor pollination due to a low numbers of bees and/or male flowers.

Eggplant

- Failure to Set Fruit (blossom-drop): This can be caused by too cool (below 60ºF) or too warm (above 75ºF) nighttime temperatures.

- Blossom-end Rot: Usually caused by dry soil due to a lack of irrigation or erratic watering.

Lettuce & Spinach (also onions)

- Bolting Early (going to seed): Caused by dry roots or low temperatures during certain stages of development. This can also happen during warm temperatures and long days. Early producing varieties are more susceptible to bolting.

Onions

- Smaller Than Expected Onions: Usually caused by over-crowding, or a lack of moisture.

- Onions Turn Soft During Storage: This is often happens after harvesting unripe fruits, failing to cure (dry ) the bulbs naturally before storage, or storing onions in poorly ventilated areas.

Peas

- Flowering Ceases: This usually happens naturally once warm summer temperatures arrive.

Peppers

- Failure to Set Fruit (blossom drop): This can be caused by too cool (below 60ºF) or too warm (above 75ºF) nighttime temperatures.

- Blossom-end Rot: This is usually a result of dry soil due to a lack of irrigation or erratic watering.

Potatoes

- Green (sunburned): Potatoes turn green with exposure to light. This is caused by a failure to cover them with soil while they develop.

Radishes

- Poor Root Development: The cause is usually warm temperatures. Roots develop best in cooler temperatures, while warmer temperatures tend to stimulate the growth of leaves.

Tomatoes

- Split Fruit: This happens as a result of watering after a period of being overly dry.

- Poor Growth & Small Fruit: Caused by using old, large or overly hardened transplants. Young transplants with 5-7 true leaves and just slightly hardened normally produce the best yields and fruit size.

- Blossom-end Rot: Usually caused by dry soil due to a lack of irrigation or erratic watering.

- Failure to Set Fruit (blossom drop): Often caused by too cool (below 60ºF) or too warm (above 75ºF) nighttime temperatures.

- Slow Growth: Usually a results of failing to harden off plants properly before transplanting-often seen with purple-tinted foliage. Slow growth can also be an indicator of root rot due to tomatoes being grown on the same site for several years.

Zucchini

- Turns Moldy: Usually caused by a fungus brought on by wet weather and further encouraged by over-head watering.

- White or "Felted-looking" Leaves: This is powdery mildew caused by wet conditions and poor air circulation around leaves.

Alright, so now you have some valuable information to help if you come across any difficulties in your path. Now… onto crafts. Today I want to talk about gingerbread… its not just for Christmas ya know! Have you ever thought about this?



Craft Idea of the Day: Easter Gingerbread House

It's all edible. The little circles are from a candy necklace, I made little circles using the same candy for the windows; stuck together with royal icing. The flowers are Charms zip-a-dee mini pops. It wasn't easy finding pastel lollipops. I used Twizzlers rainbow twists(the green ones) for the stems. I cut off "stem" lengths & cut along the twist lines to form "leaves" & inserted the lollipop sticks into the centers.

By Jan Lee from L.I. NY

Isn’t that the cutest idea? And it would make a nice centerpiece too! Hungry yet? I am, so let’s talk munchies… I wanna give a fresh idea… how about serving this over a bed of lettuce, on a sandwich, or even just with some club crackers!



Mendocino Chicken Salad

Ingredients

1 (6 ounce) package smoked chicken breast, skin removed, cubed
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup diced red onion
3 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
1 cup blanched slivered almonds
3/4 cup mayonnaise

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the smoked chicken, grapes, red onion, celery, basil, almonds and mayonnaise. Mix well; chill and serve.

And there ya have it guys and gals… another day jam packed with all kinds of information you never thought possible LOL! The family is debating on going to the park or the beach or just chillaxing here at the casa. Until they decide, I think I am going to just go play with some seeds LOL! So go enjoy your day... enjoy your family... and enjoy your life! Until tomorrow... HUGS!

1 comment:

  1. Debbie "MOM"March 17, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    Excellent tips for the garden today. Unfortunately, I have run into some of these problems. But you must not let it get you down. One year when I first started organic gardening without the help of pesticides some of my plants especially persley got infested with big striped ugly worms. Of corse I killed them and later found out they were butterfly caterpillars. OMG! I am still traumatized.
    Just heard on the Ellen Show that Triscut crackers will be putting free seeds in their boxes for a promotional giveaway to help encourage home gardening. Look for them now. Stuff like that usually goes fast.

    ReplyDelete