Category Archives: Gardening

Experiment with Soils

What is wrong with me that i have to have some sort of experiment going nearly all the time?!!!

Here’s the one i started today:  Start and plant date:  6 APR 19

Four containers which previously held Portabella mushrooms

Two containers are filled with soil from my garden.  One is unamended, the other is mixed with 2 teaspoons of Thorvin Kelp from Iceland which i keep on hand for my cows.  Each amount is approximately 2 quarts of soil.

Two containers are filled with ‘Magic Dirt’ organic potting soil.  One is unamended, the other is mixed with 2 teaspoons of Thorvin Kelp from Iceland.  Each amount is approximately 2 quarts of soil.

The purpose is to discover if the Magic Dirt is better than my soil (probably!) and if how it compares to each amended with Thorvin Kelp.

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On the left are the two garden soil with the one at the bottom being amended with 2 teaspoons of Thorvin kelp.  On the right are Magic Dirt  with the one on the bottom amended with 2 teaspoons of Thorvin Kelp.  I placed 4 seeds in each container of Squash Zucchino Rampicante- one of our very favourite winter squashes.

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Ivan Tomato Seed Saving

As you may remember, my husband was beat up by a mature bull last summer and ended up in hospital and eventually ICU for several days.  Fortunately, and against all odds, he was back on a four wheeler and checking cattle in 15 days from the incident!!  So the tomato story comes from his nurse in ICU who gave us some heirloom seeds he had saved – a tomato called “Ivan”.  The seeds he share were prolific with high germination rate, so i had far more plants that i could possible use.  i just had to end up throwing them away.  However, a 25 foot row of about 20 plants produced ample enough fresh eating and canning for our family until next year’s crop is ready.

“Ivan” i learnt is a native tomato of Missouri which was apparently in need of rescuing!  My plants were not properly pruned or staked, so i had a lot of vines which no doubt took away from crop production. But, i simply didn’t have time.  If Yah allows, I’ll be ready next year with panels and time to care for the plants properly.  These tomatoes are delicious.

For the first time, I’ve tried my hand at seed saving with both this Ivan and Pink Oxhearts (Hungarian Heart Tomato), which i like for slicing and using on sandwiches.

Happy Gardening!

tauna

 

 

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Asian Long Pole Beans

These beans are so amazing that they just need a bit of bragging upon!  A small handful of seeds given to me by a friend from Philippines at least a decade ago resulted in being planted every year.  Not only are they easy to grow, they produce like crazy, taste great, and plenty left for seed saving. (normally i harvest those allowed to mature early in the season, but this year there were people wanting seeds, so i’m gathering now.  Does it make a difference?  don’t know, have to leave that to the plant scientists and agronomists)  In addition to preparing and eating a lot of these and giving a lot away, I still froze up about 12 gallons so far, even though i planted them late.  Production is really slowing down now due to continued drought, but mostly shorter days as we transition to fall.

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Dried mature beans, fresh beans to eat, and a plateful of harvested seeds from those dried shells.  Those beans clear to the left are too mature for eating, so i’ll pop those inside beans out and use them to cook and add to my salads.

 

 

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My row is 24 feet lot and 8 feet high!
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A long bean i missed harvesting at the right time. Now it’s past prime so i’ll leave it to mature, then harvest the inside bean seeds to plant for next year’s crop.

 

Happy Gardening!

tauna

Hornworms in my Garden!

Hornworms earn their common name by the hornlike structure at the tail end of the caterpillar.   The tomato hornworm is actually the larva of the Five spotted hawk moth (Manduca quinquemaculata), whereas, the tobacco hornworm develops into a tobacco hawk moth or Carolina sphinx moth (Manduca sexta).

Tomato Hornworm (2)

Typically, the tomato hornworm is found in the northern part of the United States, while the tobacco hornworm is found in the southern.  Not sure how north Missouri is defined, but all i’ve ever seen on my tomato plants are tobacco hornworms.  Hornworms are not defined by what they are eating, however, since they tend to defoliate potato plants, eggplants, moonflowers, peppers, as well as tomato and tobacco.

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Destructive little buggers!

Eggs deposited on the plant hatch into larvae in about a week in late spring, grow to maturity at about 10 cm (3-4 inches), then drop to the ground to pupate into moths.  They overwinter near the host plant – ready to infest the next year’s crop.

Control of the hornworms is essential if you want any crop production.  On smaller garden plots like mine (only 25 tomato plants), i pluck them off by hand and feed them to the laying hens.

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Parasitic wasps are a natural control.  I didn’t introduce this wasp, but it found this worm in which to deposit its eggs.   After hatching, the wasp larvae will feed on the internal organs of the hornworm.  On the back and sides of this hornworm are visible the cocoons of the wasp larvae.
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Another species of hornworm without the horn!  This one is found on a wild grape vine, Virginia Creeper, and such.  It is an Achemon Sphinx. 
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I added this photo for fun, though it is not a hornworm, but the larva of a Luna Moth!

On Safari in Missouri!!!

tauna

Powell Gardens

Public gardens provide a quiet oasis in the midst of many large cities in the world and they are typically on our list of  tours whilst on holiday with my children – even now that they are in the 20s, (though they usually travel by themselves now :-(.

The Royal Botanic Garden in the heart of Sydney, Australia,  Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis, MO,  Kumpula Botanical Gardens, Helsinki, Finland and so many others provide a relaxing retreat from the noise of car and public transport.

Powell Gardens, though calling itself the botanical gardens of Kansas City, is actually located some 43 minute drive from Kansas City in the town of Kingsville, MO.  (actually closer to Lone Jack, Missouri)

Powell Gardens has a tiny connection to our family by way of my father-in-law’s uncle, George Powell, Sr who grew up on a farm near Linneus, Missouri.

Currently, Powell Gardens is a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organisation operating on gifts and donations.  It is a beautiful place with seven themed gardens, the Marjorie Powell Allen chapel (available for weddings, funerals), educational center, picnicking areas, and year round organized educational and art events, activities, programs, featured events, and annual festivals.  If you have time and can schedule a tour, it will be worth the time.  If your legs cry for a rest, hop on the free tram which runs daily to the various gardens and is wheelchair accessible.

Please bear in mind, the gardens are closed for daily admission in January and February.  As far as i can tell, the only way to get to the gardens is via car (no public transport), so your visit will need to be well planned.

Powell Gardens maintains a Facebook page as well as other social media outreach.

Ultimate Recycling

The most recent issue of Rural Missouri carried a short article on composting.  I never seem to get around to building a compost pile, but i compost all the time on the fly.  I compost straight into the garden or pasture.  The less materials have to be handle the better in my book.  BUT, on a small scale with limited space for growing plus needing a place to ditch those apple cores and coffee grounds, backyard or porch composting is awesome!

Composting:  The Ultimate Way to Recycle

Author,  Pamela A. Keene bases her article on the expertise of Joe Lamp’l, founder of www.joegardener.com and “Growing A Greener World” television show.

Backyard Composting: A Simple Recipe for Making Great Compost

 

Happy Gardening!

tauna