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Archive for June, 2010

Just a quick note: the cucumbers were delicious (or in the words of my college doppleganger Rachel — “Yum-O”)!

Today, Greg and I (mostly Greg) worked on the “front garden” out in front of the house.  We bought a ton of mulch and we mulched over the gross orange clay we have (anyone from the Piedmont — holla)!  The nice thing about mulch is that not only does it have a lovely pine smell (no need for a car air freshener for a while), but it also prevents weeds!  WOOHOOO… now if only I could mulch my vegetable garden…  Anywho, we (and by we I mean me) relocated the weed like bush we had growing up the front of the house to the side and planted another large hosta out front.  I think those are becoming my most favorite plants.  If you don’t know what one looks like, check some out:

Link to pictures of hostas

Nothing else new in the veggie garden — tomatoes and cayenne are still green despite all my willing of them to turn red!!!

🙂 Happy Farming!

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WOOHOOO Harvest!

I don’t want to speak too soon, but it appears I may be in summer harvest mode!  For those of you new to gardening like me, I have discovered that you can harvest 1/2 a garden at a time and prep the other half for the next growing season.  For example, the first half of my garden was lettuce, green onions, garlic, etc.  As I was harvesting those early summer crops, I was planting my tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and melons.  When it got too hot, I had to pull out the lettuce and such, but then I got to start harvesting my mid-summer crops.  Now, the lettuce half of the garden is open and ready to be planted next month with late-summer/early-fall crops (gourds and the like).

I’m sure I could have read a book that shared this with me, but I find it was more fun to do it the old fashioned way: just figure it out.  It’s kind of like a new surprise every day!  So, without further ado… I give you, the first of the summer harvest:

Look at those cukes!

And here’s what’s to come:

I cannot wait to make pizza!!!

We're going to have a million cherry tomatoes!

We also have green pepper and cayenne that should be ready within the next week!

Here’s my tips for harvesting:

Cucumbers – pick these when they are as big as you’d see them in the store.  Also, they grow with prickly things (I mean, who knew?) and the prickles should be mostly flush with the cucumber.  (No need for comments about this picture… I know what you’re thinking) Here’s what I’m talking about:

See how the prickly things are nearly flush with the cuke?

🙂 Happy Farming!

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Cucumbers???

Super short post: I got back from Chicago last night and Greg told me I have two cucumbers ready to be picked!  I cannot wait to see for myself!

Updates to follow with pictures of course!  My garden looks well watered.  I guess I can keep Greg around!

🙂 Farmer Ran

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On Soil and Cargo Pants

For anyone who knows me well, this question may seem ridiculous coming from someone who got 2 degrees in soil engineering (yes you read that right, you can get a degree in dirt).   Since the entirety of my schooling at the University of Florida revolved around the science of engineering soil, it may come as a surprise that I have NO IDEA what kind of soil is in our yard.  Other than visually observing that 1/2 our yard seems to be a sandy clay and the other 1/2 a clayey sand (and again, yes there is a difference), I know absolutely NOTHING about the acidity, level of organics, etc.  Quite honestly, this is pure laziness given that I work in lab and have access to all the tools to identify and classify my soil.  But quite frankly, who cares?

Gardeners care — that’s who!  I have read scores of books, articles, posts, etc on the importance of garden soil, and when friends have looked at my garden they comment on my soil.  I on the other hand tilled a  spot (well Greg did this actually) and loaded it up with Organic Garden Soil and a composted Humus and Manure mix.  This spring, we turned the garden and loaded it up with more soil/manure.  This did the trick!  Now, did the base soil matter — I have no clue.  Personally, I think you can engineer almost any type of soil you want — and at $1.50/bag, the composted manure (that doesn’t smell) from Lowes did the trick.

Personally, I’m not sure I care what the base soil is… as long as you’ve turned it and loosened it!  I think there are two things more important than soil: full sun and happy thoughts.  Oh, and watering is probably a good idea, too.

Then again, maybe it’s just LUCK.

While we’re on the soil discussion, let’s talk composting.  Again, I’ve read all this literature about the need to turn, screw, mix whatever your compost.  There’s talk of layering with soil for optimization of composting.  Well, this too I think is a load of malarky!  I mean, who has time for that kind of nonsense?  Talking with my friend Jeff, I learned there are two types of composting: active and passive.  I give you two guesses as to what I have embraced!

Check out the recipe page later today for an awesome fish and tartar sauce recipe that we made last night with our home grown herbs (dill, parsley and chives) and onions!

Happy Farming!

🙂 Farmer Ran

p.s. Greg just came in asking where someone would buy $200 cargo pants.  I say “Bergdorf” he thinks I made up this store and it doesn’t exist!  LOL He has no idea what kind of shopper I could be if I wanted to!!!!

p.p.s. The proof is in the pudding: http://www.bergdorfgoodman.com/store/catalog/templates/P9.jhtml?itemId=cat255914&parentId=cat263500&masterId=cat000024

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As a novice garderner, at best (I think the better term here is dabbler, but whatever), a question I often find myself asking is: when to harvest these things?  I mean, they look ready, but how do you know?  Again, being the quality reseracher I try to be, I Googled.  It seems EVERYONE has an opinion on the “best time to harvest” yet NO ONE seems to agree.  For instance, I am growing Cayenne.  Some people are certain it turns red, while others “know absolutely” that some varieties stay green — and it’s better to pluck when green and waxy.


Which brings me to rant two for the day.  Waxy?  What exactly does this mean?  It’s like when I read an icing recipe that says beat until fluffy.  I looked fluffy when I started!  What are these ambiguous adjectives?  I need pictures and details, people!

Oh well, I guess The Dred Pirate Roberts Project is just going to continue on the path of trial and error — it is the best way to learn right?  It is why I planted 2 plants of each vegetable that should yield about 10xs what a two person house can eat right?  And, if all else fails, there’s always the farmers market.

Happy Farming!

🙂 Farmer Ran

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Blog Title Change

So, I was walking into the lab this morning and this new title just popped into my head! Since I spend most of my farming life confused, puzzled and utterly mind boggled by what people tell me, I thought this was more appropriate.

No worries, though, I’m still a Macy’s Girl through and through.

🙂 Farmer Ran

FYI: Edited because clearly I wrote this before I had my coffee… it basically lacked any kind of sense… well, the basic premise is the same!

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One day, my garden parents will slice me open, fill me with cream cheese and fry me because they love some Jalepeno Poppers!

Wooohoooo… I’m an heirloom!
Watch out… I’m prickly! Who knew cucumbers were prickly???
Teehee… it’s like Where’s Waldo? Can you find me??? I’m a baby green bell pepper!
Yet another picture of an heirloom!

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Tales of an Urban Gardener

Learning As I Grow

Cupcake Addiction

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