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Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Ha-v-v on 7/18/2010, 11:04 am

If you have extra, try butternut ravioli!

Oh man I cant wait to see if the grocery store has won ton wrappers !! I will do that with the next batch of butternut. I have decided on them mashed with some of my herbs mixed in with some butter Smile a little half and half Smile
I cant wait to try the raviolis !!! That is definite on my list of to dos Smile !! Thank you for that idea.
Ha-v-v

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Megan on 7/18/2010, 11:20 am

Use the leftovers from your mashed butternut, that's really all it is unless you want to season them up a bit.

Even egg roll wrappers will do, just cut them down to size. When you cook them up, try it with some frizzled sage and browned butter sauce... maybe a few chopped walnuts... OH MY!!! Very Happy Enjoy! cheers

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Megan on 8/15/2010, 7:17 pm

I've learned that when making jelly, you need to pick a saucepan which can hold at least more than twice the stuff you're trying to boil. Bigger = better.

P.S. Anyone have good ideas for removing burned sugar from a stovetop?? Embarassed

P.P.S. 5 jars, 5 pings... I love it!!! flower

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  camprn on 8/15/2010, 7:43 pm

@Megan wrote:I've learned that when making jelly, you need to pick a saucepan which can hold at least more than twice the stuff you're trying to boil. Bigger = better.
P.S. Anyone have good ideas for removing burned sugar from a stovetop?? Embarassed
P.P.S. 5 jars, 5 pings... I love it!!! flower
Pop! I love that sound! what kind of stove top have you got? What have you tried to remove the sugar?

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Megan on 8/15/2010, 7:46 pm

It is a gas stove from the 70s, but it works. I am trying to soak it off with wet paper towels. Sort of working.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  camprn on 8/15/2010, 7:49 pm

I would try it this way: wash cloth over burnt sugar, pour boiling water on it and let sit. Try to scrub w/ green scrubby. Then if that didn't work I would try salt and a slice of lemon, then I would try soaking again and a putty knife. Shocked

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Megan on 8/15/2010, 7:51 pm

Maybe with great cautiousness. Do not want to put out the pilot light. But thanks, I'll try Smile

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Ha-v-v on 8/15/2010, 8:17 pm

I use vinegar and baking soda.. it makes that lovely volcano reaction Smile It takes off the really hard stuff.. :-D

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Ha-v-v on 8/15/2010, 8:24 pm

I do have to scrub...but the baking soda wont hurt the finish Smile

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  sceleste54 on 8/15/2010, 9:44 pm

Here's what I do. My stove burner does not have a pilot light though. I put about 1 to 2 tablespoons of household ammonia on the caked on stuff and then invert a large bowl over it, to hold in the fumes. Leave it sit overnight and see if that doesn't soften it up! My burners are in a bowl shaped depression and just a couple of TBS won't swamp the ignighter. Its an enamel finish but I think it would be safe for stainless as well.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Megan on 8/15/2010, 9:45 pm

I love this forum!

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  sceleste54 on 8/15/2010, 9:55 pm

I learned that I'm not making my compost pile correctly.
Tomatoes need 2 sq feet at least, don't try to grow anything underneath them, they will just be shaded out.
I learn something new everytime I log on here, so many things to keep me from getting discouraged when something doesn't go right!
I MUST prune tomato suckers, otherwise I will end up with an impenetrable jungle!
I REALLY enjoy hearing how things are going in other parts of the country !!
You guys ROCK!!


Last edited by sceleste54 on 8/15/2010, 9:56 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : underline)

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Megan on 8/15/2010, 10:17 pm

@sceleste54 wrote:I learned that I'm not making my compost pile correctly.
Tomatoes need 2 sq feet at least, don't try to grow anything underneath them, they will just be shaded out.

I gave mine 1.5 square feet on one side of the trellis... but they are sucking up an equal amount of space on the other side of the trellis, too. I planted my peppers there, they are getting seriously crowded. They are doing okay so far, but I will not grow my peppers so close to the tomatoes again.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Chopper on 8/15/2010, 11:53 pm

I don't think the part about the shade that tomatoes cast can be overstated, I definitely want to design my own tomato tower/holder, too. I did see a film - from a link by a forum user, I believe, that suggested taking the lower leaves off asap and I will do that in the future.

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Re - Care to share what you have learned in the last few months

Post  Ray'ssfg on 8/16/2010, 2:31 am

After hearing about all the problems with the heat etc in the northern hemisphere, It is great to live in a mild climate and be able to grow veg's all year round.
I will never transplant carrots again.
I love to read the stories and posts on this forum. Very entertaining as well as informative. "Go Boffer"
I have had my best year yet with sfg.
Too much shade in my garden for melons.
Beet out of the garden are much better than the ones in cans.
I can't wait to retire to be able to spend more time in the garden. Having to work sucks.
Having no weeds is a relief.
Planting lettuce and raddish with young tomatoes is very productive before the toms need the space.
Not having to use sprays and powders is much healthier.
Being able to experiment with heirloom varieties because you only need to commit one square at a time.
With this forum site it feels like being part of a big family.
Cheers Ray

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Momma Pajama on 8/16/2010, 9:15 am

These tips apply to the Pacific Northwest!

1. I have learned that potatoes (especially white baking potatoes) do not belong in the middle of the veggie bed. So far ours is 5 feet tall and I have it tied in a "ponytail" to allow the sun to reach some of the other plants.

2. I learned that white potatoes have white flowers and red potatoes have purple ones.

3. I've learned that seven-foot-tall trellises are as high as anyone can comfortably pick from without a ladder (I'm glad that's what we have).

4. I've observed how MUCH the sun angle changes over the course of the year here in the Seattle area. At summer solstice, our entire front yard is sunny, and the trellises actually cast a shadow forward onto the beds.

5. Now I know that a half-row of sweet peas makes the whole front yard smell good, and the blooms last 6 weeks if you keep picking off the dead ones ...Very Happy

6. ...But nothing can share the trellis with them - they are too thick and grabby.

7. I've learned to be careful which variety of nasturium I grow. Some are low and drapey, but mine (Ed Hume's "Tall Single Mix") has leaves like lilypads and can grow 3+ feet tall and wide! And nasturiums attract aphids more than ANYTHING!

8. Deer netting not only keeps out squirrels, raccoons and cats, but also will keep momma cabbage moths off the broccoli and cabbages if the netting encloses the whole bed.

9. It's good to plant 2 squashes (and pumpkins) for every one you really want, then pull up the weaker one later if there's not enough room. Some never set fruit.

10. Walla Walla onions may not reach full size in Western Washington, but they make very nice green onions!

11. Slugs LOVE beans. And lettuce. And tomatillos. And bok choy. And slug-picking may slow them down but not enough to save those seedlings. Sad

12. Once it is warm enough for slugs (July this year) to be out, you'll need chemicals help to stop them.

13. It is really nice to have a square or two of flowers mixed into each veggie bed! Especially edible flowers, like violas, nasturiums, and calendulas. Pretty in salads!

14. Even if the lettuce doesn't bolt (in cool, gray summers), it gets bitter when it is several months old.

15. Once critters find something they like, they won't let up. Keep the strawberries well fenced at all times.

16. Even if the birds can't eat the cherries through the netting, they will knock them off unless you put visible flags on the netting to scare them away.

17. I've learned that although growing starts from seed is more cost-effective, it is worth the money to buy healthy, large starts of some types of plants at the time the weather permits planting. Homegrown tomato, pepper, melon, and eggplant starts may die after months of babying and hardening off since February.

18. Compost needs a LOT of dry "brown" material and a LOT of turning and aerating.

19. It is always better to plant 2 seeds per hole and thin or transplant, than to lose 2 weeks of the growing season and replant again.

20. Just because a certain crop grew like gangbusters LAST year, is NOT a guarantee that it will do this year too. And if something failed last year, it could do great this year. I would try AT LEAST 2 years before giving up on a variety.

21. Rabbits are merely AMUSED by plastic fencing. (at least my pet rabbit)Evil or Very Mad

22. Yes, you REALLY DO need FIVE kinds of compost! Embarassed

And last, but not least...
23. Gardeners always want to have MORE space and try MORE varieties "next year."

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What I've learned

Post  ander217 on 8/16/2010, 9:41 am

The main things I've learned:

1. I cannot buy enough kinds of good compost in my area, so from now I will always add bone meal, blood meal, epsom salts, and a few wood ashes to Mel's Mix to give it a boost.

2. You can fight some of the squash bugs all of the time, and you can fight all of the squash bugs some of the time, but you can never fight all of the squash bugs all of the time. (Farewell, dear butternuts, baby pumpkins, and zucchini. We fought the good fight before we went down in defeat. Thank you for the harvests you managed to give us before we failed you.)

3. It takes very little food to satisfy when it is good food.

4. No two garden seasons are ever the same. Pests, weather, and harvests will always be different.

5. Voles can make a lady cuss. (Again, and again.) (And again.)

6. Exchanging seeds is fun!

7. SFG'ers are some of the nicest and most helpful people in the world.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Odd Duck on 8/16/2010, 10:18 am

@ander217 wrote:

2. You can fight some of the squash bugs all of the time, and you can fight all of the squash bugs some of the time, but you can never fight all of the squash bugs all of the time. (Farewell, dear butternuts, baby pumpkins, and zucchini. We fought the good fight before we went down in defeat. Thank you for the harvests you managed to give us before we failed you.)



Aaaggghhhhhh! This is entirely too true! I was going great, getting plenty of summer squash, even harvested a few winter squash, waiting on my first spaghettis squash, when the heat hit and lasted so long I got lazy, missed a spray, then BAM! Lost nearly all of what I had - was able to salvage 1 butternut.

Death to the squash vine borer moth!!!!!!!

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  dixie on 8/16/2010, 10:29 pm

Don't plant my pretty zinnias near the veggie garden - they are covered in moths of all colors & description, which means worms on practically everything now. I pulled them all up today, even though it's too late to prevent the worms. The bees still have plenty of cuke & delicata flowers to enjoy.

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Butterflies

Post  ander217 on 8/17/2010, 10:26 am

@dixie wrote:Don't plant my pretty zinnias near the veggie garden - they are covered in moths of all colors & description, which means worms on practically everything now. I pulled them all up today, even though it's too late to prevent the worms. The bees still have plenty of cuke & delicata flowers to enjoy.

LOL, Dixie, I'm just the opposite. I plant zinnias in my garden specifically to attract the butterflies.

I enjoy sitting in the garden looking at the flowers, watching the butterflies flutter among the flowers. I even enjoy seeing the beautiful swallowtail caterpillars munching on my plants - I have them now on my carrots and fennel. I always leave a few of those plants in the garden specifically for the caterpillars, and I'm happy to sacrifice a few of those plants in exchange for watching the awesome adults. I've never found those caterpillars to be particularly destructive such as tomato hornworms and fruitworms are, so I don't mind them, but maybe the less desirable types of moths are visiting my zinnias at night when I don't see.

What kinds of worms are you having problems with?

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What I've learned

Post  junequilt on 8/17/2010, 1:46 pm

I've learned that I love how Mel's mix absorbs water. Even when it's really dried out, if I give it a chance to s-l-o-w-l-y begin rehydrating, it sucks up the water like nobody's business!

By way of comparison, in addition to our beds filled with Mel's mix, we also have one filled with a locally available commercial mix. It resists rehydrating like crazy -- the water just sits on top for ages before it finally sinks in, and then it doesn't go very far down. Mel's mix is just so superior!

I've also learned that my plants really like a small amount of composted chicken manure as one of the components of Mel's mix. Here in South Carolina we are able to buy Black Hen (sold at Lowe's and various other hardware/feed stores). We added it at half the amount of the other composts. We got wonderful production from those beds, and they were not over-nitrogenized for peppers and tomatoes. The bed we filled before we bought Black Hen didn't produce nearly as well.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  dixie on 8/17/2010, 3:23 pm

Im still having white cabbage moths & a black caterpillar that eats into my tomatoes. The brown moths are always in cukes & delicata squash in the mornings, so I guess that's where they lay their eggs. I've seen some damage to tomato & pepper leaves, but no hornworms lately. They were pretty bad earlier in the season. I'll probably plant my zinnias in the same spot because they peek through the white picket fence & look really nice there. I have had a pair of yellow finches eating seeds out of the dried seed heads.

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What I've learned in the last few months

Post  trukrebew on 8/18/2010, 1:10 am

Don't grow 8 plants of just 1 kind of cucumber...even if you really, really like pickles.

Don't hide your corn behind the cuke trellis, thinking that they will grow faster and not be shaded out. It's 6 weeks past the 4th of July and my corn still isn't knee high!

Do enjoy the surprises as they occur. Like when your 5-year-old brings home marigold sprouts from school and half of them grow to 4 feet tall! And yes, as Mel says in the book, those really are too big for SFG.

Do cage the strawberries and blueberries from the start. If not, at least enjoy watching the chipmunks and birds eat fresh fruit all summer.

Do add supports around bush beans early on to keep them from flopping all over their neighbors.

Do plant twice as many bean squares next year, because the whole family would like more than a handful at dinner.

Do grow more lettuce and spinach more often.

Don't hide the zinnias behind the tomatoes. They want to be seen!

Do grow more herbs in the little nooks of squares. My herb box was overpowered by the oregano and basil, crowding out everything else. Seems I could have put some dill and cilantro in a lot of little corners.

Do try growing radishes again. Hopefully, 3rd time will be the charm and they will actually fatten up into bulbs instead of strings!

Do take more pictures, more often. And post'em, too! I was really bad about both of these so far this year. I can easily sit on my butt and look at everyone else's pics, but am too tired and lazy to get up and share my own.

Do keep writing in the journal, it does help to keep track of these do's and don'ts. Don't wait for 4 or 5 days to go by before writing, though. Because then the days just blur together into one. Well, that does make for less writing, anyway!

Do keep reading these threads. Accessing this group of fine people is like having a team of SFG consultants on-call 24/7.
With a bunch of comedians thrown in for free!

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  Chopper on 8/18/2010, 1:41 am

@trukrebew wrote:
Do add supports around bush beans early on to keep them from flopping all over their neighbors.

Ditto on this. That was today's project and I don't know why I didn't learn from the last batch. But at least I acted on it this time.

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

Post  kshimpi on 8/18/2010, 7:38 am

I am still getting started, but after trying vegetable gardening in 2 other locations at my house with little success, I would say DO pay attention to location. I have a really good spot this time around. Crossing my fingers for a nice fall crop in approx 60 days :-)

Kristan

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Re: Care to share what you have learned in the last few months?

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