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Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  bigdogrock on 5/8/2016, 7:48 pm

Welcome Beetles! You have a spectacular looking garden, WOW!  I love Jerusalem artichokes, my wife planted some a while back, and they are prolific. I am going to find a section in my perennial bed and see how they do. There are a lot of knowledgeable folks here, read and enjoy, and your pics are fantastic.
     Rock

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 5/8/2016, 9:00 pm

@bigdogrock wrote:Welcome Beetles! You have a spectacular looking garden, WOW!  I love Jerusalem artichokes, my wife planted some a while back, and they are prolific. I am going to find a section in my perennial bed and see how they do. There are a lot of knowledgeable folks here, read and enjoy, and your pics are fantastic.
     Rock
Thanks, Rock! I'm glad you think it's spectacular even though it's not 'green' yet! I'm over-run with plants inside (and then I just got two dozen more at my favorite greenhouse/farm yesterday on top of that...) but it's just not quite warm enough to put most of them out yet. A mile up the road the lilacs and tulips are blooming, but not mine. I got the onions and leeks transplanted yesterday, and the parsley today. I plan to get the tomatoes out and into their wall'o'waters tomorrow. 

I like the Jerusalem artichokes -- the yield for the amount of effort is very encouraging for a less experienced gardener. At the same time, I'm happy one of them doesn't seem to have come up at the end of their new section. I was happy with the fall harvest, but the additional quantity I've harvested now that the escapees are sending up shoots tells me I over-planted for the coming year.

Glad you like the pics, hopefully I'll have more soon (lotsa rain lately, so it's been hard to get stuff done, and the camera doesn't like the rain.)

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  bigdogrock on 5/8/2016, 9:03 pm

Cool, how do you prepare and cook them?

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Sunchoke preparation and recipes

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 5/8/2016, 9:45 pm

@bigdogrock wrote:Cool, how do you prepare and cook them?
[size=16]I clean them with a old (dishwasher cleaned) toothbrush, and break off any knobs that are too knobby and have deep crevices that are hiding dirt. Once clean I carve out any bug holes with the tip of a paring knife. Then I slice or dice -- no peeling.

Sometimes
I prepare them as a side, steamed, or microwaved, or roasted -- with butter and salt.
[/size]Sometimes raw as a faux water chestnut in stir-fries and fried rice (but they lose the crunch when reheated.)

Here's two soup recipes I enjoyed:
http://food52.com/recipes/20538-velvety-leek-potato-jerusalem-artichoke-soup-dairy-free
 (I think I used chicken broth instead of vegetable)

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/wampanoag-autumn-sobaheg-modern-version-233188
(skipped peeling, substituted beef for the venison, and pecan meal for the ground walnuts)

And I liked this salad:
http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Fennel-Sunchoke-and-Apple-Salad

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  sanderson on 5/9/2016, 5:44 am

Beetle, Can you post those recipes under the Recipe subforum, side dishes? Thanks, they will get lost in this thread.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  bigdogrock on 5/9/2016, 8:45 am

Thanks

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/9/2016, 1:25 pm

I LOVE these!
http://www.rareseeds.com/shungiku-edible-chrysanthemum/
I want some! 
Beetles, thanks for the heads up.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  jimmy cee on 5/10/2016, 8:05 am

Hi Beetles and a hearty welcome (neighbor) to our fantastic group.

150 miles due west of you I have been enjoying SFG for my 4th season now.
Nice pictures you have, however I don't see any compost piles.??
Nice weather should be coming along soon and then maybe we can tend to our gardens in comfort.
Nice to have you here.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 5/10/2016, 9:00 am

@jimmy cee wrote:Hi Beetles and a hearty welcome (neighbor) to our fantastic group.

150 miles due west of you I have been enjoying SFG for my 4th season now.
Nice pictures you have, however I don't see any compost piles.??
Nice weather should be coming along soon and then maybe we can tend to our gardens in comfort.
Nice to have you here.

I tried composting last year - got leaves from a friends apartment (which sadly changed hands before I could gather my fill for use as mulch this year), got manure from a horse farm, got coffee grounds from the local coffee shop, dried grass clippings, paid attentions to ratios, tried wetter, tried drier, tried black plastic on top... and couldn't get it to "go." The leaves were oak, and weren't chopped, which didn't help, but I had no way to do that. All the sites say to just use the lawn mower, but I rent and the landlord has someone who mows his properties, so I haven't got one.  I've also decided hand turning compost isn't for me. I'll 'happily' dig clay-heavy soil and rocks, but I read about people turning their compost and I find it baffling that they can do that; I couldn't do anything of the sort with my mess. At the start of this year I just threw 6" of MM on top of it all (in an 8" high bed), and planted peas that won't care about nitrogen being tied up, and will be planting cucumbers/squash, which seem to appreciate growing in compost piles.

I do have a bucket in the kitchen for collecting compostable kitchen waste, but it gets taken to my favorite CSA, even though we no longer have a share, because that's what we did for a decade while living in an apartment. I'm interested in getting one of the tumbling composters but
1. the place by the garage won't be available until I finish resetting my fence
2. $$$
3. I don't have enough browns to balance my scraps. We only really have one tree, an elm. It doesn't seem to generate leaves in the fall - it has leaves, and they fall off, but I don't know where they go...the neighbors yards I guess. They never amount to enough to bother raking in any case.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  sanderson on 5/10/2016, 3:44 pm

I also have trouble getting enough of the right kind* of leaves. I have to rake neighbor lawns for my leaves.

*Not oak, walnut, Cyprus, or too waxy (drought resistant), etc. I like Pistachio, Japanese maple, Modesto ash and pear.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  herblover on 5/11/2016, 2:35 pm

I use some dried foliage from perennials as well as the paper from my shredder for browns; not the best but its what I have.  I have never had very good compost so supplement with organic fertilizer.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 5/12/2016, 8:12 am

@jimmy cee wrote:Hi Beetles and a hearty welcome (neighbor) to our fantastic group.

150 miles due west of you I have been enjoying SFG for my 4th season now.
Nice pictures you have, however I don't see any compost piles.??
Nice weather should be coming along soon and then maybe we can tend to our gardens in comfort.
Nice to have you here.
Jimmy - Sorry for the somewhat cranky response ... I apparently needed a nap because I took one.
Thanks for the welcome, compliments, and encouragement! I really hope the nice weather appears soon. The cold dreary drizzle makes me unhappy.

sanderson - thanks for the suggestions. I don't think we have pistachio in PA, and the emerald ash borers have killed "all" the ash trees. There's plenty of Norway maples about, but I don't have the right connections. One neighbor sprays something, the other has just a pine tree, and across the street is a giant lawn (it would be a field, but it's kept mowed.) I have two friends moving soon, maybe they'll end up somewhere with trees and will let me have the leaves. *crosses fingers*

herblover - thanks for your suggestions, too. Not many perennials: 5 evergreens, 3 small deciduous shrubs, and some clusters of zebra grass (that big tall ornamental stuff that's mostly stem.) I'm a bit leery of the inks on junk mail but I'll try to keep it in mind for the plain stuff.

For now, the plan is to just buy a different compost each year to top off the beds with.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 5/12/2016, 8:31 am

This week's pics are close-ups of some of the beds since the 'aerial' view looks the same to me as 2 weeks ago.


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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 5/27/2016, 11:42 pm

Pic inside the wagon-hoop covered tall bed



Left to right, front row to back row
arugula, onions, mustard, turnips; cabbage, collards, red cabbage, beets;
arugula, kale, collard seedling, broccoli; claytonia, beets, --(will be scallions), arugula

The cover has been keeping the cabbage butterflies out (hence the concentration of brassicas), but I need a different method of securing it because I keep getting other bugs (including a wasp... more than once) trapped inside. I've got two binder clips up top holding the cloth to the center beam, and two on each side clipping it to the box, and I've been trying to gather the front/back with clothes pins and weighing down the end of the bundled edge with a brick.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  sanderson on 5/28/2016, 7:47 pm

It looks so cozy in there.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/28/2016, 8:01 pm

Lovely! What are the colored pieces of paper under the plants?
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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 5/28/2016, 8:25 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Lovely!  What are the colored pieces of paper under the plants?
CC
They are homemade "cabbage collars" made of felt. I scavenged the felt from someone's curb, hence the rather odd colors. Same reason my fence posts don't match.
http://www.organiccatalogue.com/p518/CABBAGE-BRASSICA-COLLARS-Pack-30/product_info.html

Taping the open slot is recommended by some, but I used a pinch of wood ash instead, as that, too discourages the cabbage root flies from laying eggs. Those maggots made a mess of things last year - inexplicable wilting, death of some of my napa cabbages, maggots in my radishes.... I was picking out numerous pupae from my MM during garden clean-up in the fall/spring which confirmed my late diagnosis of the problem. I don't think the collars are a 100% solution, but I think they'll help. I had the plants out before I had the cover up, so they got collared (even the collard got collared!) just like the uncovered brassicas did.

The collars have the added benefit of making a little more humid microclimate right by plants, so I can peek underneath and remove those tiny little slugs from what they think is a bed and breakfast.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  jimmy cee on 5/28/2016, 10:01 pm

Try these, their working nicely for me for 3 season. easy to add and remove, not to expensive either. Come in packs at the local shops.Get the right size for your size pipe. I have the top part and ends of my hoop material sewed on because it stays till winter.  I'm presently changing over a bed from sprinter to summer.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 5/28/2016, 10:45 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:Try these, their working nicely for me for 3 season. easy to add and remove, not to expensive either. Come in packs at the local shops.Get the right size for your size pipe.
Those look useful! What are they called / what are they associated with (i.e. electrical, plumbing, something else?) I wish I could just show a picture to employees but they tend to just say they don't have something when they don't know where it is.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  jimmy cee on 5/29/2016, 5:47 pm

Spring Clips in hardware dept at Lowes

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/29/2016, 6:15 pm

When I got mine at Ace Hardware they called them clamps.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  bigdogrock on 5/29/2016, 6:53 pm

I have used these before and I have purchased them from all of the following places. Please understand these are not a high quality tool, they are plastic and they break if over used. They should hold the tent down unless you get a very forceful wind or gale. When they give you a dimension such as 2", I believe it means that it should hold something up to 2" thick, but in my experience they usually open a little wider.

Here is what Lowes offers:

http://www.lowes.com/pd_552521-281-1901245___?productId=50214659&pl=1&Ntt=spring+clamps

I added this set from Home Depot for a comparison, and those who are looking for more.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Spring-Clamp-Set-22-Piece-TGS0073F/203404716

For those of us who are extremely frugal (otherwise known as CHEAP) I add Harbor Freight, also  known as the "Guy's Toy Store" where price makes us drool but quality is similar to flying pink elephants.

http://www.harborfreight.com/2-12-in-nylon-spring-clamp-69290.html

http://www.harborfreight.com/1-34-in-nylon-spring-clamp-69291.html

http://www.harborfreight.com/1-12-in-nylon-spring-clamp-69292.html

I am not promoting any of these, just giving you an idea of what is out there. I hope this helps, Rock

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  sanderson on 5/30/2016, 4:07 am

Harbor Freight looks like the best deal. I use large binder clips (50 centers) but these are interesting. Hummmm

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/30/2016, 8:22 am

Quote Rock: I added this set from Home Depot for a comparison, and those who are looking for more.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Spring-Clamp-Set-22-Piece-TGS0073F/203404716

Thank you for this, Rock! I added it to my big city (Hyannis) shopping list. The Home Depot website even gave me the aisle and the bay number.  I'm finding that one can never have too many clips.

Sanderson, I like these over the binders because the binders I have are metal and rust out eventually.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

Post  sanderson on 5/30/2016, 2:12 pm

I'm scratching my head thinking  , and then I remembered!  I live in an area of low humidity and rain, so the binder clips are only spotted with rust here and there.  They may not last long in more rainy and humid areas.  I like the clamps being discussed and will check them out.

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Re: Gardening in Central Pennsylvania

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