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New England ~ March 2014

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/12/2014, 3:05 pm

@NHGardener wrote:CC, is spinach considered a "green"? Because I'd freeze a beaucoup of spinach. Lettuce tho, I don't guess that keeps. What other greens are you thinking of?
 Yup, spinach is a leafy green.  Then there's chard, kale, collards, beet greens...all that kinda stuff that blanches & freezes great.  But how to can them without creating mush?  That is the question...

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  camprn on 3/12/2014, 3:15 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@NHGardener wrote:CC, is spinach considered a "green"? Because I'd freeze a beaucoup of spinach. Lettuce tho, I don't guess that keeps. What other greens are you thinking of?
 Yup, spinach is a leafy green.  Then there's chard, kale, collards, beet greens...all that kinda stuff that blanches & freezes great.  But how to can them without creating mush?  That is the question...

CC
http://www.pickyourown.org/canninggreens.htm

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/12/2014, 3:49 pm

Thanks, Camp.  I read the whole article.  The only diff between this one and the one I have is that mine has the greens thoroughly cooked before canning.  I was hopeful to read that these only require blanching.  But then I read the timing.  Me thinks that 70 minutes in the pressure canner is sure to create mush.

Bottom line: like the article says, frozen greens taste 10 times better than canned.  I guess there's just no way around it.

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  NHGardener on 3/12/2014, 4:20 pm

Do frozen greens take up that much space in the freezer?

I have lots of frozen tomatoes still hogging space in there.

I also have lots of garlic left over that is starting to look iffy.

Does garlic go too bad to eat?

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  camprn on 3/12/2014, 4:21 pm

the only reason I would can chard or spinach is to enter it into the fair. For my own consumption I would freeze it.

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/12/2014, 5:06 pm

@NHGardener wrote:Do frozen greens take up that much space in the freezer?
When my mother is here in the summer, out freezer is jam packed.  I actually put overflow things in the freezers in the cottages across the street if there's no one staying in them. 

I'm afraid that if I buy a freezer unit, it'll jinx my crops.  Rolling Eyes But I'm still looking into that.

Bad garlic?  It gets dried up and sometimes moldy if not used in time.  My never sticks around that long though...

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  NHGardener on 3/12/2014, 6:41 pm

I didn't think I'd +ever+ be in the position of having too much garlic, but now that the kids are getting older and 2/3 moved out of the house, etc., I don't cook as much, and voila, excess garlic. Go figure. I never thought to figure that in...

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/13/2014, 10:59 am

White out conditions here with a ways to go before it's over.  This just just getting annoying now. Evil or Very Mad

Some of my baby toms are getting their true leaves and the peppers are up.  Most of the greens seedlings are trying to climb out of their cells, aching to get outside.  I sure didn't want to pot up but it's looking like that that may be inevitable. 

Lilly was sleeping on the heating pad when I left the house this morning...  Rolling Eyes 

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  quiltbea on 3/13/2014, 12:56 pm

Here are some ways to preserve your garlic.  I didn't realize that garlic in oil was dangerous (botulism possible) and I bought some in the store in a jar.  Its not frozen.  I guess I'll toss it out.

http://www.vegkitchen.com/tips/preserving-garlic/

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  NHGardener on 3/13/2014, 1:17 pm

Thank you for that, quiltbea! I hadn't even thought of freezing garlic. Since I have so much left over, I think I'll just throw all the bulbs in a baggie and toss them in the freezer.

I also looked up if garlic goes bad, and from what I can tell, as long as it's not moldy or excessively yuck, it's okay. It tastes sharper they say after it begins to sprout, maybe not as flavorful.

I wonder if you can plant overaged garlic? I'll have to look that up next. Maybe what isn't great for eating is still fine for planting.

Edit: Yup, looks like you can plant old garlic, as long as it's not dried up. So I may separate out the largest and best looking bulbs for planting towards fall (if they can make it till then) and save $$ on next fall's seed garlic.

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  quiltbea on 3/13/2014, 2:00 pm

Correction:  When I read further, commercially prepared garlic in oil is OK because they add a preservative that keeps it safe.  So I'll keep my minced garlic that's in the fridge.  Its only when you make it at home that its dangerous.

But I like the idea of freezing it.  I'm always having garlic that's old and gnarly and have to toss it in the compost.  This way I'll always have some for cooking.  I especially like the idea of chopping/mincing it, rolling it tightly in plastic wrap and putting it in the freezer.  One can cut off the amount needed in a recipe for quick results.

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  quiltbea on 3/14/2014, 9:58 pm

I just couldn't wait any longer.  Last Feb 19th I started my seeds indoors but today is the first I've started any seeds due to bad weather, too much snow on the ground, too cold from the Arctic winds and really not expecting any early spring this year.
I finally started some flowers, lettuces, and greens and put spinach seeds to soak overnite (a tip from Bob Thomson of
Victory Garden fame) and I'll sow them tomorrow along with some collards, kale, Swiss chard and maybe some cabbages.

Some I put under the lights since they like it; lettuces, baby's breath and impatiens.  Others are on the heat mat; pansies, petunias, lavender, Tokyo bekana (Asian green) and claytonia (greens).

Any other New Englanders taking the plunge and starting seeds yet besides our CapeCoddess?

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Lettuce today

Post  edfhinton on 3/15/2014, 10:08 am

Despite all the snow still outside, I am forging ahead on my planned schedule and planting lettuce seeds this weekend inside.  Onions are a few weeks along already. The onions (green and spanish) also were an experiment.  I started 1/2 of each variety in Mel's Mix and the other 1/2 of each variety in Miracle Grow seed starter.  The Mel's Mix of both varieties are two to three times as tall as the ones in the Miracle Grow seed starter and are way sturdier than my onions last year at this stage that were started in a compost-less seed starter.  I know some advise straight  vermiculite for starts but I think I am going to continue to experiment as I start the lettuce and other veggies over the next few weeks.

Here are two pictures.  The first are the onions started in Mel's Mix.  The second is in the Miracle Grow seed starter.  Both had haircuts at the same time when they hit 3 inches.  The Mel's Mix ones took right back off whereas the others took a while getting taller again.




Unfortunately, the one delay I anticipate is my peas.  I wanted to plant them out from seed at end of March this year, and I am doubtful the snow will be off the boxes by then. I don't want to start the peas indoors this year.  I did that last year and when I planted them out they stopped growing for 3 weeks after transplanting and were pretty late producing.

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  NHGardener on 3/15/2014, 5:13 pm

I agree Ed, I'm not planting peas indoors this year either. 

I am indoor seeding tomatoes, like I mentioned, because of the science fair project, and I got seaweed today from the beach, since that is one of our soil amendments. 

I guess I'll plant some lettuce soon. Not doing onions again, because I transplanted onion seedlings 2 times last summer and neither produced, an entire 4x8 bed, altho it did end up getting taken over by tomato volunteers. This year I have the potato onions, and a couple walking onion plants I can transplant into the beds from last summer. The person I spoke to from Fedco about the potato onions said it's best to dig those out in the fall and replant them in the spring, so they make it thru the winter. 

Peppers probably need to be indoor seeded now.

This year I am doing hoops with agrabon. I like the wire hoops just because they're easy, and the right size, so I have to find those. I think they'll help at staving off the squash borers.

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/15/2014, 6:15 pm

@NHGardener wrote:
This year I am doing hoops with agrabon. I like the wire hoops just because they're easy, and the right size, so I have to find those. I think they'll help at staving off the squash borers.
...and the dreaded cabbage moth!   

What are wire hoops? Are they skinny like wire clothes hangers? Or thicker? Where do you get them?
I must be having a senior moment because I can't figure out what you're talking about.
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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  quiltbea on 3/15/2014, 6:40 pm

He probably means this galvanized wire....
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-5458-coiled-row-cover-9-wire-60-11-hoops.aspx

For now I think I'll stick with wire clothes hangers and clothes pins.  They fit nicely over a 12" square and if you need lots more space, you just anchor them on the corners of your area to cover 4 or 6 or more plants.  Besides, I'm cheap.

I started more seeds today indoors;  cabbages, collards, Swiss chard, kale and some Tokyo bunching onion.  I don't know what these last are but I'm willing to try them.  I think they might be like scallions or bunching onions.

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  NHGardener on 3/15/2014, 7:17 pm

Yup quiltbea, altho I was going to link this, same thing 

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-9155-wire-support-hoops-54-pkg-of-25.aspx

I would do the home-made but then I get caught up in one stage and don't get past it: like, where am I going to get wire coat hangers.... So more and more I find I just get the finished product.

The one thing I do like about the wire hoops is you can use them over and over every year (assuming you take care of them...).  I have not used them before, but I do have the agribon, which last year I just draped over the beds for frost protection.

Oh, I should add that I plan on making a separate sheet mulched raised bed for the vine plants, so I would be using these over a long bed like the ones pictured. I wouldn't be using them on my SFG. That probably helps describe it.


Last edited by NHGardener on 3/15/2014, 7:27 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/15/2014, 7:18 pm

Oh I see. Thanks for the link, QB. I think I'll stick with my hula hoops. although I do need to get more tulle. I think the row cover is too heavy for spring in this area. If anybody sees a fabric coupon would you let me know please?

QB, let me know how you do with your Swiss chard seed sprouting . I'm having a difficult time with my new pack of Fordhook . One comes up then nothing, next one comes up then nothing. I have two out of 30 so far and its been 3 weeks. Same with the cabbages.

I went to a veggie garden talk given by a guy from the Barnstable County Extension office this morning. I learned something interesting. I've always had a hard time transplanting squash and cucumbers started indoors from seed so I stopped trying, and started planting directly outdoor only. He says peat pots are not necessary for indoor starting but that they must be planted out by the time they get their first or second true leaves no later.  I'll try it!

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  quiltbea on 3/15/2014, 7:29 pm

CapeC...I stuck a note on my notebk to keep you advised of my Swiss chard and my cabbages starting.

Thanks for that info on cukes and squash.  I usually just sow directly outdoors but this year with it being so cold and starting later in the garden, I might try some indoors this year.  I wrote myself a note about the 1st or 2nd true leaves the latest to transplant outside.

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/16/2014, 9:24 am

@quiltbea wrote:
Thanks for that info on cukes and squash.  I usually just sow directly outdoors but this year with it being so cold and starting later in the garden, I might try some indoors this year.  I wrote myself a note about the 1st or 2nd true leaves the latest to transplant outside.
He also said that it takes only 3 weeks for the true leaves to appear. I don't know if that was from sprouting or from actual seeding. 3 weeks isn't much time ...I don't know how we're going to figure out when to start them. especially with this weather.   He also said to succession seed them. That way if the first batch are taken down by SVB or whatever then we have the very next batch to play with.
CC

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  quiltbea on 3/16/2014, 11:19 am

CapeC....I'll be sowing some indoors here around April 29th and I'm thinking the 2nd succession sowing would be the ones that go directly outdoors when it gets warm enuf.  I've marked it on my garden calendar.

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/16/2014, 1:24 pm

my second planting of lettuce has sprouted ...next to the full grown everything else 

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  lyndeeloo on 3/16/2014, 7:08 pm

Hi fellow New Englanders!

I've missed the SFG Forum over the winter. Its time for me to stop dreaming and start seriously scheming about my SFG garden beds. Time to draw out a plan of the beds and decide what will go where. They are still under some snow but I've shoveled off most of it in the hopes of encouraging spring to show up sooner. I bought vermiculite and peat moss yesterday to have on hand. I plan on making some of the garden deeper for the root crops and maybe adding another bed...somewhere.

I also want to put some tomato plants in 5 gallon buckets in Mel's mix this year. Been reading up on the 2 bucket self-watering system. I started making contacts at local restaurants and grocery stores to find free food safe buckets. I've been lucky so far and picked up six buckets with promises of more. You got to love free. Of course I got some pretty funny looks from the other grocery shoppers when I was walking out of the store with empty 5 gallon buckets.

CC, your little babies are so beautiful. I'm just green with envy!!! I started many of my seeds earlier this week. To my surprise the broccoli sprouted in three days. It gives me hope for spring. No sign of anything else yet. I have them all in the furnace room until they sprout and then under the lights they will go. As usual I've started far too many seeds of way too many different kinds of veggies and will be scraping around to find space to plant them later. Can't help myself.

I haven't checked the website much this winter, so its time for me to catch up on reading the Forum. I've really missed hearing about everyone's gardens and seeing the wonderful photographs. Won't be long now, just waiting for the sunshine and the wonderful smell of warm earth! Bring on Spring!

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  walshevak on 3/16/2014, 7:43 pm

You should see the double takes when you check out in Home Depot with 50 buckets.  But when we explained about peppers and tomatoes in buckets and the double self watering ones, the garden staff was interested.  Even  purchased, buckets are cheaper than flower pots of equal size.  [size=12.727272033691406]And of course I also directed them to the rack of books and ANSFG.  I suggested they move some of the cement mixing tubs to the garden section, but they never did.[/size]

I went back the next day for something and one of the clerks told me she had bought some buckets to do tomatoes on her patio.  

Kay

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

Post  quiltbea on 3/17/2014, 2:37 pm

I've got babies popping up their little heads.

above left to right:  Tokyo bekana and Dark Cos Romaine lettuce sprouted yesterday after 2 days, then Outredgeous and Truchas lettuces and Baby's Breath germinated today after 3 days under lights.
All were under the dome and under the light without a heat mat (furnace room is 63*F) except for the Tokyo bekana (under dome, on heat mat, NO light).

I'm keeping a close record of what works best.  All these seeds were presoaked for about 20-30 mins. before I sowed them in the cellpacks. 

Its nice to see bits of green even if the day temps outdrs only reached 21 today and the garage door froze from last nite's cold and I had to try it a couple times before it would open.

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Re: New England ~ March 2014

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