Thursday, August 30, 2012

More from my garden..

Eggplants


Okra  Blossom

Cayenne  Peppers

 Tomatoes

Monday, August 27, 2012

My first pick & more...

This season's first pick - Asian string bean

Ready to be picked yet?

& more....




More  String  Beans...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fall Gardening


It is time to start planting your fall vegetables or cool - season vegetables. Some of the vegetables that like the cool weather are broccoli, cauliflower, peas, spinach, onions, garlic, potatoes, lettuce, mustard & cabbage. If the weather in your area is still quite warm/hot, you may want to start sowing your seeds indoors & transplant them when the weather gets cooler. If you have nice cool weather, you can directly plant them in the soil. Take care to water them more than once a day if the weather starts to warm up.

I started a little patch & planted some red onions & carrot seeds in the soil today. Planning to plant garlic, spinach, cauliflower & some peas in the next few days.

Here's a "time window" to plant your fall vegetables in zone 8

Beans - 8/1 - 9/1 (lima beans 7/15 - 8/15)Muskmelon (Cantaloupe) - 7/15 - 8/1
Beets - 9/1 - 10/15Mustard - 9/15 - 10/15
Broccoli plants - 8/1 - 9/15Parsley - 8/15 - 10/1
Brussels sprouts - 8/1 - 10/1Peas, English - 8/15 - 9/15
Cabbage plants - 8/15 - 9/15Peas, Southern - 7/1 - 8/1
Carrots - 8/15 - 10/15Pepper plants - 7/1 - 8/1
Cauliflower plants - 8/15 - 9/15Potatoes, Irish - 8/15 - 9/15
Chard, Swiss - 8/1 - 10/15Pumpkin - 7/1 - 8/1
Collard/Kale - 8/15 - 10/1Radish - 9/15 - 10/15
Corn, Sweet - 8/1 - 8/15Spinach - 9/1 - 10/15
Cucumber - 8/1 - 9/1Squash, Summer - 7/15 - 8/15
Eggplant plants - 7/15 - 8/1Squash, Winter - 7/1 - 7/15
Garlic - 9/1 - 10/15Tomato plants - 7/15 - 8/1
Kohlrabi - 8/15 - 9/15Turnips - 10/1 - 11/1
Lettuce (leaf) - 9/15 - 10/15Watermelon - 7/1 - 8/1

Timing is very important for a successful fall garden. Crops sensitive to the cold need to planted  ahead of time so that it matures before the weather turns cold. Also, heat sensitive plants have to be planted accordingly to avoid any heat but making sure the plant has enough time to grow before the first frost.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Composting

We carelessly throw away table scraps everyday, but these scraps can be really beneficial. Instead of throwing them in the garbage can, we can convert them into compost that will enrich the soil in our garden.

Composting is simple & is a way of recycling our food waste.

So, what exactly can be composted? 

Fruits & Vegetables  - peels & cores
Coffee grinds
Tea bags or used tea leaves
Egg Shells (rinsed & crushed)
Rice & Pasta
Stale Bread
Grass clippings
Dried flowers & plant clippings
dried leaves
shredded newspaper ( skip the colored paper as they have harmful dyes )

Keep a container with a lid in your kitchen to collect all your food scraps.

The method is to use two earthen pots, one a little bigger than the other. The hole at the bottom of the smaller pot needs be covered with a piece of rock. Place the bigger pot on top of the smaller one ( the bottom part of the bigger pot should cover the mouth of the smaller one).

Then place a layer of shredded newspaper & grass clippings in your bigger pot.

Once your container in the kitchen is filled with scraps, empty 1/2 of it onto the layer of newspaper & grass clippings. Layer with more shredded newspaper & grass clippings. Add the rest of the food scraps on top. Slowly mix everything together. The food scraps make the nitrogen layer & newspaper, grass clippings are carbon. The carbon layer should be added above & beneath the food scraps.

Loosely cover this mixture with a piece of wood or some plastic to avoid attracting pests. Mix every few days to provide oxygen to the pile which helps the ingredients break down. Your pile should always be moist, but make sure that it is NOT soaking wet !!!

Place this in a warm sunny location for the composting to be faster.
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