Summers Wild Weather – Tomato’s And Peppers! – What To Do Now?

Last week

I had 3 mornings in a row that set ‘New’ all time over night low temperatures. This week I’m back to our more normal 100 to 103+ degree daytime temperatures and heat index’s pushing as high as the 110 degree zone.

Gardens are really confused. They don’t know if they should be slowing down and getting ready for the first cool days of Fall or need to prepare for more Summer heat stress!

frozen-tomatos Holy Crap I’m up to my knees in garden fresh tomato’s and peppers. You can spend hours standing over a hot stove blanching, peeling and canning your excess tomato’s and pickling peppers or you can do it the cheap, fast easy way. Bag and freeze them.

Your biggest decision will be, how many tomato’s and peppers do you need in each freezer bag? Freezing tomato’s and sweet or hot peppers is a good choice. Frozen tomato’s and peppers work well in soups, stews, salsa or when making pasta sauce. Hint Blanching, roasting and peeling is not necessary if you are going to freeze them whole.

After thawing, tomato’s and pepper skins are easy to peel away ‘without’ first blanching them. After thawing, peel, chop dice or crush using them as you would fresh or canned produce.

Freezing whole vegetables will work well for almost any ‘whole’ un-blanched, un-peeled vegetable like summer squash, zucchini and small whole potato’s.

Many cole vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts as well as green beans, carrots, corn on the cob, sliced / diced potato’s will benefit from blanching and quick cooled on a bed of ice before being well dried for bagging and being frozen.

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Secret Desires – I Love Root Vegetables

sunflowers I’m out of the closet! Yes I ready admit I love root vegetables. All, well almost most all of them. Beets, radishes, turnips, carrots. Potato’s in all of it’s colors, shapes, sizes and colors. Whether that potato be Irish, Yukon, Russian, Polish or if it’s a sweet potato or even a Yam.
Don’t pass up or ignore the ugly looking lesser known and eaten, Jerusalem Artichoke (a member of the sunflower family).

Who could go through life without Garlic, Onions in all it’s different varieties. White, yellow, and red ones. Scallions, small green onions and chives. No salad or pasta sauce is complete without the addition of one or more of these onion family members.

Spinach gets all the good press, but, young tender beet and turnip greens are colorful, tasty as well as being a healthy food. Every part of these root vegetables are eatable, tops and roots. Raw, pickled or cooked they taste great.

Radishes have a undeserved bad reputation. Pulled and served, young radishes are tender and tasteful. Harvest radishes while still young, small and tender. “before’ they become tough, woody, or developing a hot flavor. In a salad radishes are tasty, colorful and if you are a calorie counter, radishes :-) Grin have almost no calories or other real food value. So eat all you want and no need to watch your waste line.

Eat radishes fresh from your garden. Radishes do not store well and should never be stored by canning or freezing.

Healthy good tasting foods fresh from your garden to your table.

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Broccoli The Vegetable We Love To Hate

You have got to love this solution to getting rid of Fruit Fly’s.
Sent to me by WindShift69 on Vancouver Island, BC.

I like to leave a banana peel in the oven, leave the door open a little bit so they can get in. After a few hours I slam the door shut and roast the little bastards.

broccoli President GHW Bush once said ” I’m president of the United States and I don’t have to eat Broccoli if I don’t want to!

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that will benefit from the cooler weather of Fall and early Winter. Broccoli likes full sun and moist, fertile soil that’s slightly acidic.

If you live in Climate zones 5 thru 9 you surly will be able to grow and harvest a Fall / Winter crop of cold hardy Broccoli.
Broccoli Fall plantings, plant seed 85 to 100 days before your average first fall frost. Enter your ZIP code to find your First Frost date.
If you live in a warm climate, a fall planting is best, as broccoli thrives in cool weather. Plant seeds in mid to late-summer in most plant hardness zones.

Plant seeds 1/2 inch deep, or set transplants slightly deeper than they were grown originally. Within a row, space your plants 12 to 24 inches apart with 36 inches between each row. Space plants 12 to 24 inches apart, depending on the side heads you want to harvest.
If you overseed(plant seeds to close together) you will need to thin seedlings to 12 to 24 inches apart to give room for the broccoli to grow.

Fertilize three weeks after transplanting. Provide consistent soil moisture with regular watering, especially in drought conditions. Some varieties of broccoli are heat tolerant, but all need moisture.
Caution Do not get developing heads wet when watering. Roots are very shallow, do not deep cultivate near your Broccoli plants.
Suffocate weeds with mulch or pull weeds by hand. Mulch will also help regulate soil temperatures.

Cabbage loopers leave small holes on the leaves between the veins mean small green caterpillars are present. Look at the undersides of the leaves. Hand pick if the problem is small or control with Bacillus thuringiensis. Use a floating row cover just after planting through harvest to prevent caterpillars.
Cabbageworms and other worm pests. Treat all worm pest the same as treating cabbage loopers.

Signs of Aphids, curling leaves may mean that the plant’s sap is being sucked by insects. To control aphids apply soapy water to all sides of leaves whenever you see aphids. Repeat treatment as needed.

Broccoli is a heavy nitrogen feeder. If the bottom leaves turn yellow and the problem continues toward the top of the plant, the plants need a high nitrogen (but low phosphorus) fertilizer or bloodmeal. Blood meal is a quick Nitrogen fix for yellowing leaves.

Harvest your broccoli crop when the buds of the head are firm and tight before the heads flower. If you do see yellow petals, harvest immediately.
For best taste, harvest in the morning before the soil heats up.
Cut heads from the plant. taking at least 6 inches of stem. Cut the stalk of the main head at a slant, about 5 to 8 inches below the head.
Many varieties have side-shoots that will continue to develop after the main head is harvested. You can harvest from one plant for many weeks, in some cases, from Fall well into Winter if you’re Winter isn’t too cold.
You can store broccoli in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you wash before storing, make sure to dry it thoroughly.

Blanch Broccoli before bagging for freezer storage. Frozen Broccoli can be stored for up to one year.

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Sphinx Moths – aka – Hummingbird Moth In My Garden (Really Bad News)

It’s mid-summer, if your tomato vines haven’t been attached by hornworns so far this summer consider your self lucky. Be on the lookout, it is time for them to arrive in your garden.
If it matters to you there are really two different hornworms commonly called tomato hornworm. The most common is really the Tobacco hornworm larva and is generally green with seven diagonal white lines on it’s sides with a curved red tipped horn. True Tomato hornworms have eight V-shaped marks on each side and their horn is straighter and blue to black in color. Hornworms are the larvae of hawk or sphinx moths, also known as hummingbird moths. Tobacco hornworm are generelly the most commonly seen of the two, but both can be found and may even be present on the same plant.

Tomato / Tobacco hornworms are the largest caterpillars found in most gardens and can measure up to 4 inches in length. The prominent “horn” on the rear of both gives them their name.

Due to their size and appreciate these garden pests can quickly sometime almost over night, defoliate tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Occasionally, they may also feed on green fruit. Gardeners are likely to spot the large areas of damage at the top of a plant long before they see the culprit. Hornworms are often difficult to see and find because of their protective coloring. They are not much for the heat of direct sunlight, they tend to feed on the interior of the plant, out of sight during the day and are more easily spotted when they move to the outside of the plant at dawn and dusk.

Control of horn worms:
* Handpicking. The large size of hornworms makes it easy to get hold of them. Once removed from the plant, they can be destroyed by snipping them in half with shears or dropping them into a bucket of soap water.
* Rototilling your garden, turning up the soil after harvest will destroy any pupae that may be there.
* Biological. Bacillus thuringensis, or BT (e.g., Dipel, Thuricide), is also considered very effective, especially on smaller larvae. You may want to spray your plants with BT to control these pest even before you see plant damage they have caused.

Natural enemies, such as the parasitic wasp that lays its eggs on the hornworm’s back, are common. If found, such worms should be left in the garden so the emerging wasps can parasitize other hornworms.
* Insecticides labeled for hornworm control can be used, products containing carbaryl, permethrin, spinosad insecticides. Read the label carefully before using any insecticide and carefully follow all instructions in their use.

The Bad News is there’s more than 10 or 15 different tomato diseases, bacterial and virus that can effect home gardener tomato crops.

Blossom end rot

Powdery mildew

The Good News is most tomato diseases, bacterial and virus infections can be easily treated if properly identified and treated in a timely manner.

Iowa state university link is for those of you that garden in the northern 1/2 of the U.S. and the University of Texas link provides information that most often effect southern state tomato gardens.

No matter where you live both sites have a huge amount of useful information on Identifying and treating tomato diseases. Don’t be discouraged or intimidated by the sheer numbers of tomato diseases. I’m pretty sure you will not suffer from all of them this year. in fact, insect control very well maybe your biggest problem in a home garden.

Iowa State University Contains Pictures, description, Control and Treatment of tomato disease, bacterial and virus infections.

Texas A and M University Contains Pictures, description, Control and Treatment of tomato disease, bacterial and virus infections.

Insect control just like disease control starts with properly identifying the insect(s) that are causing your problems.

Adult potato beetle

Potato beetle larva

Colorado State University link will help you identify and control some of the most common tomato insect pest.

Texas A and M University link will help you identify and control some of the most common tomato insect pest.

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture contains a lot of useful information on identifying and control of the Colorado Potato Beetle. This insect pest will attack Tomato’s, Egg Plants and Peppers as well as Potato’s.

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Password Help For Seniors

I know that I have addressed the importance of having strong passwords to protect you from ID theft.
Here is a common dialog to help seniors set up a new password.

Senior trying to set a password
WINDOWS: Please enter your new password.
USER: cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must be more than 8 characters.
USER: boiled cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain 1 numerical character.
USER: 1 boiled cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot have blank spaces.
USER: 50bloodyboiledcabbages

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain at least one upper case character.
USER: 50BLOODYboiledcabbages

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot use more than one upper case character consecutively.
USER: 50BloodyBoiledCabbagesShovedUpYourAssIfYouDon’tGiveMeAccessNow!

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot contain punctuation.
USER: ReallyPissedOff50BloodyBoiledCabbagesShovedUpYourAssIfYouDontGiveMeAccessNow

WINDOWS: Sorry, that password is already in use.

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Mid Summer – Dog Day’s – Not What You Think

It has been a long busy week – post 4th of July holiday weekend.
To bring you up to date on my latest whining about our dry weather spell, today soil temperature at the 4 inch depth is 89 or 90 degrees. Available plant moisture form soil surface to the 24 inch depth is (zero) 0 percent. Can’t get much dryer than that). NWS Mesonet Station 2 miles south of my tiny farm

The 4th came off without a hitch even though we did not shoot off any fire works(To dry and fire pron) this year. Small children and big kids still all seemed to have a good time enjoying a day long BBQ with lots of burgers, hotdogs, hotlinks with all potato salad, sweet ice tea and cold watermelons you could eat. Grin … daughter and son-n-law’s horse and Jackass even got into the act, receiving more than their share of leftover melon.

I have been out looking for a feeder pig this week. I’m really disappointed at the asking prices and the poor quality pigs I have looked at so far. Live feeder pigs weighing 30 to 50 pounds are up about $0.35 to $0.70 a pound from this same time last year.

Wheat crop is in, custom cutters have move north to Kansas and Nebraska. Farms that have in the past produced up to 120 bushels an acre this year struggled to hit the cost of production(break even yield) crop yield of 16 to 20 bushels an acre. Farmers can’t stay in business long if they can’t make a living wage / profitable crop yield.

Cost of farming has gone sky high in the past few years. Many farmers will spend $800.00 to $1,000.00 a day in fuel cost alone to deep plow readying the field to plant next years crops. Add that to planting seed cost and fertilizer cost, I really don’t know how any farmer stays in business.

Driving around I am seeing many ranchers are once again culling their cattle herds, cutting them to the bare bones. Keeping only a few of their very best breeders to rebuild their herds when this long running dry spell breaks and it starts raining again.
No wheat pasture remains, Native and planted pasture grass is quickly going brown, some will be killed before we get our next rain. Sudan planted for summer grazing should be head high (6 ft tall). Most of what I have seen is only about knee high and is showing all the signs of heat and dry stress.

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Submit Your Blog URL To Popular Search Engines – It’s Free!

firefox-google Expose your blog to thousands of people by using a ‘Free’ search engine submit service.
Do be aware that some or all of your photographs you posted on your blob may be posted on search engine Image pages.
A copyright notice on your blog home page will not prevent your pictures from being listed/posted on search engine Image pages.
If copyright of images is important to you, watermark each picture with your copyright notice.

There are dozens of ‘Free’ and low cost search engine submitting services available. Google ‘free URL submit services’. Select the one that best fits what you want to accomplish when submitting your blogs URL to Google and other Search Engines.

I use submit express for no other reason than it is easy for me to use Submit Express Is a ‘Free’ service that will allow you to submit your blog URL to many of the most used search engines like Google plus about 70 more search engines as well.

Don’t resubmit your URL more than 1 time every 30 to 45 days, other wise your URL may be identified as a SCAM or SPAM URL by search engine bots that crawl and index your blog URL.

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