Archive for July, 2010

Why so Melon-dramatic???

Oh, the melon-drama.  First, I thought I had watermelons.  Then I discovered I’d grown cantaloupes only to conclude the watermelons had died.  (Exhibit A):

See how I'm getting wrinkly... I'm a cantaloupe!!!!!

BUT, As usual, the Dread Pirate Roberts surprises me and today I found… WATERMELONS (exhibit B):

Hello. I am a watermelon.

It seems both seedlings did well, the cantaloupe was just an earlier bloomer!  I think I should have yummy fruit in a few weeks — I can’t wait!!  As for the rest of DPR, well he’s busting with stuff!  Check out my veggie caddy (the squash was grown by a friend… but the rest is from DPR):

Holy Summer Vegetables, Batman!

I guess it’s official.  I can grow things!!! Everything in this basket was a seedling start.  I really think it’s the best way to go and here’s why:

  1. You can support your local nursery and buy their seedlings
  2. You can see where you planted a seedling as opposed to having to guess where the seeds are
  3. There is no thinning needed, just spread them out nicely
  4. You do not pull your freshly sprouted seed-start thinking it’s a weed (See #2)
  5. It’s faster!!!!!

Well, that being said, I absolutely had to seed-start my pumpkins because I couldn’t find seedlings anywhere.  I definitely won’t be pulling these as weeds (12 days after planting):

That’s all for today.  Tune in next time for our discussion on picking tomatoes:  How red is ripe???


🙂 Farmer Ran


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Do you remember Jessica Tandy??? I do… and she was fabulous.  With movies like Cocoon, Batteries Not Included and of course, Fried Green Tomatoes.  Today we pay homage to a great actress and great movie.  Today we made, fried green tomatoes.  The southern classic is the perfect dish to prepare if you just cannot wait for a few tomatoes to turn red!  Our version used unripe Romas and was delish!  Sometimes you just need to fry some veggies… its just that good.

On a more reddish note, we picked our first large red heirloom!  It is currently sitting in the windowsill to get extra ripe… I’m hoping to make some Caprese salad with it tomorrow.  I mean, what screams summer more than off the vine tomatoes, fresh grown basil and delicious creamy mozzarella?  It’s the perfect summer dish!

In other news… I recently discovered that those “watermelons” I’ve been going on about are actually CANTALOUPE!  Ooops… I think the cantaloupe took over the watermelon plants… maybe I should have separated them a bit more.  Oh well, I love cantaloupe equally so no hard feelings here!

Well, that’s the latest on the fruit front!  RIP Jessica Tandy — tonight’s appetizer is for you!

🙂 Farmer Ran

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OK, ok, so the title may imply some sort of pumpkin escapades, but really I just planted seeds!  Gotcha (or, in the words of my favorite nerd on “The Big Bang Theory”, BAZINGA!) I went looking for pumpkin seedlings since I didn’t have much luck seed-starting anything this year, but alas it was a lost cause.  I couldn’t find any at the local nursery.  So, I took a chance and planted seeds.  Planting pumpkin seeds is very much like planting cucumbers actually.  You first want to make little hills (I made them medium ant-hill size) and you put your seeds in spacing a few inches apart.  In about 10-12 days, I should have germination.  At this point, I will look for the “healthiest” sprouts and leave only 2-3 seedlings a hill.  According to my seed packet, harvest is approximately 90 days after planting which will put me at mid-October (perfect timing)!

Luckily, we got some much needed rain today so the garden should be getting a nice soaking (always good after a fresh planting).  I would show some pictures, but I don’t feel like standing out in the rain this afternoon.  Plus, who wants to see a mound of dirt anyway??? The variety of pumpkin seeds where Connecticut Field — whatever that means…

Now, the bigger question looms — what to carve when these puppies come in?? I guess I have 88 days to think on this…

Happy Farming!

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First and foremost, the good news: my green peppers seem to be doing a little better.  I’ve been sprinkling with some epsom salts and pulling them a little early.  This means a stronger flavor, but it’s yummy none the less!  The cucumbers and jalepenos are still going strong.  I made some homemade guac last night with the jalepenos, and Greg made poppers on July 4th — YUM!

On the stagnate front: my tomatoes and cayenne are still green (for the most part)!  Other than a handful of cherry tomatoes, I have softball sized heirlooms and long cayenne, but they are green, green, green.  As Kermie knows…. “it’s not easy being green”… TURN RED ALREADY!  I am willing them to turn, but to no avail.  URGH.  Good news is that this is the story all over Blacksburg!  It seems to be a slow growing year… maybe it’s the devastating heat!  Although, tomatoes love warm summer nights so who knows!?!

THIS JUST IN: Dread Pirate Roberts has 3 new crew members on the deck: watermelons!  There are 3 nerf football sized watermelons growing strong!  There’s a picture of the first one on the last post!  Let’s hope I get fruit with my rind.  I have yet to spot a cantaloupe, but the plant is blooming so let’s hope we’ll have some soon.

Next up: Pumpkins!  I need to plant some pumpkins, but I was hoping for the heat to break a little!  I think I’ll spend my weekend turning the empty half of the garden in preparation for the gourds.

🙂 Happy Farming!

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Well, based on some feedback and Googling, I think I have blossom-end rot on the peppers!  Good news is that this very common — bad news is the lack of consistency on what to do!  It’s a nutrient deficiency so not a disease or critter ~ phew.  I’ve posted some pictures here so you know what to look for if you have a mysterious black “rot” forming on your peppers:

Classic Blossom-End Rot

Here's some blossom-end rot starting

Based on some sage advice, I pulled the fruit off and threw it away — but no need to uproot the whole plant! 🙂

On a happier note, I plucked some cherry tomatoes last night!  Take a look:

The first tomatoes of summer!

My heirlooms are still growing huge… but not red yet!
I also have some new friends popping up in Dread Pirate Roberts… check out this baby watermelon:


And lastly, there has been a lot of talk of my compost pile… here she be:

Composting for Dummies...

🙂 Happy Farming!

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The title says it all and isn’t that a lovely breakfast thought!?!  I noticed that a few of my green peppers had a moldy/fungal/disgusting/gross/ewww it sickened me black rot growing on the side.  What is this?  Is it some sort of disease?  Will it spread?  I checked the rest of my peppers and it seemed to be limited to those few, which promptly got tossed into the compost pile.  Any thoughts?  I need to hit the books (errrrr, Google) ASAP!  This brings me to composting (nice segue, huh?).  What is the deal?  Do I need to cover with soil or no?  Right now it’s just a pile of rotting kitchen scraps laying over a parfait of dirt and more rotting vegetables.  Can you mess up compost?  I’m working hard at doing nothing with the pile — is this a mistake?  HELP!

In other news, I have some red tomatoes!  So far they are only the cherry tomatoes but it’s still pretty exciting.  I need some good cheery tomato and Roma tomato recipes because I have about 10, 000 growing.  What is a girl to do with 10,000 tomatoes?  Anyone out there in blogville have a good homemade tomato sauce or tomato soup recipe?

Check out my recipe page for my latest cake!

🙂 Farmer Ran

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