Saturday, October 29, 2011

This Week's Garden Status.

Although the temperatures have been lower this week, I was still able to harvest some nice vegetables from the garden.

Here are 8 Park's Whopper tomatoes that will go onto the kitchen window sill for a day or two to finish ripening. This group weighed one and three quarter pounds.

Here are a couple of nice ones still hiding under the vines.

As you can see there are still some green ones on the vines. The surprising thing was the number of new blooms that have grown out this week. There's easily thirty of them! I'm contemplating installing a plastic enclosure to see if I can promote the development of these new tomatoes. The plastic will raise the daytime temps inside, but the night air would cool off the enclosure to about equal to the outside air temperature, so I'm not sure it will pay off. It sure is tempting though. More fresh organic tomatoes at this time of year would be great!

I picked two and one quarter pounds of collards this week. We'll cook them up with a nice country ham bone for seasoning and add them to one of our weekend meals.

We are still getting raspberries and picked two and one half ounces of them this week. Several of the canes are browning out so they're about finished for this year I believe.

We got two figs that weighed one and one half ounces total from our brown turkey fig tree this week. There are many more on the tree, but they are not ripe and I don't know what the falling temps will do to them. I suspect we won't be harvesting them because they won't ripen.

My grandkids were helping me pick more giant marconi green peppers. This is Noah and he has been helping me in the garden the longest since he is the oldest. He also helps me turn the compost. He thinks the steam pouring out is really neat! It is!

This is Keira who also loves to go out in the garden with me. You know that when your grandkids come through the front door and ask to go straight out the back door to pick things from the garden, that you have made an impact on their thinking.

Here we are with some of our garden bounty. They picked 49 marconi peppers that weighed a total of three pounds. They were so proud of themselves! I was proud of them too for wanting to be involved in vegetable gardening.

I don't have a picture of them, but I picked four pieces of okra that weighed two and a half ounces. I rinsed them off and put them into the freezer until I accumulate enough to cook.

Now for some items that will hopefully provide future harvests.

I've hilled up the marconi peppers in a beginning attempt to prepare them to try to winter over. When the leaves all have fallen off, I'll clip off all the branches and cut the stalks/trunks all to the same height, then slide a piece of two inch diameter pipe insulation over each of them to protect them from the freezing winds. I'll cover the soil with a heavy layer of compost for added protection for the roots. We'll see how that worked when next spring rolls around.

This is my two rows of buttercrunch lettuce that I just planted last week. So far, so good. I'm planning to put a wide row cover over them for some protection from the weather. I'm also going to take the Swiss chard I have growing in a container and transplant it down the center between the rows of lettuce. I'm going to transplant the celery plants in the same row since I don't have enough Swiss chard to finish a row. I think they'll both do better planted in the soil rather than in a container during the winter. With the cold air all around the container, the roots would probably freeze, so I think this is a better way to try to keep them growing. There's more protection for the roots.

I had to fertilize all the plants and didn't want the fertilizer to get on the leaves and possibly burn them since I was waiting for the next day's rain to water it in, so I created this dispenser. Pretty simple, but it eliminated all that bending over and the flying fertilizer dust. I just contacted the pipe with the ground, put a tablespoon of fertilizer into the yellow funnel, it piled up inside the base, and when I lifted up the entire device the fertilizer was in a pile on the ground with none on the leaves. It was pretty handy to me.

As you can see, the okra is still growing towards the sky. When I put it in the shop for the winter I'll have to lean the plants over to get them through the doorway.

The horseradish is very happy growing in the half-barrel. I won't be harvesting it until next year.

My jalapeno pepper plants are trying to produce a few peppers. This is my first year growing them so I'm not sure what I should have expected, but they only produced two little peppers earlier this summer. Maybe next year they will do better.

The sorrel is also growing well in the half-barrel it is planted in. I can pick these next week for some nice soup.

This is my "East Plot", which has two rows of buttercrunch lettuce, three rows of Vates collards, six rows of premium crop broccoli, and one row of Park's Whopper tomatoes. Each row is twenty feet long.

In my "West Plot", I have six rows of Vates collards, one row of giant marconi green peppers, two rows of premium crop broccoli and one el roma tomato plant with three tomatoes still trying to ripen. Each row is twenty-eight feet long.

Even if these crops don't produce during the winter, in the spring they will be very productive because they will already have established root systems. I have been overwintering these cool weather crops for a few years now and they haven't let me down yet.

That completes the status report for this week. I hope you found it interesting as well as informative.

Thanks to each of you for visiting my blog.  I enjoy when you share your comments with me and I look forward to them.

Have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sustainable Development Is In The News Again.

On this special day, Veggie PAK would like to share some good information with you for keeping up with current events as follows:

How the U.N. influences domestic policy
by Henry Lamb

On Monday, October 24, everyone is supposed to honor the United Nations in celebration of its 66th birthday.

A better idea would be for the United States to send an eviction notice to the U.N., and slam shut the funding door to every U.N. agency. The Department of Education has worked hard to see that generations of students are taught to embrace "the global neighborhood," and look to the U.N. as the last best hope for civilization. Actually, the U.N. has become the best hope to ensnare the world into global socialism under its administrative authority.

Those who snicker, laugh, or deny this reality, are simply ignorant of the facts and procedures, or want you to remain ignorant of the facts and procedures. Nowhere has the U.N. been more effective in its socialist policies than through the concept of "sustainable development" as defined in Agenda 21, a non-binding policy document adopted by 179 nations in 1992.

Agenda 21 policies were embraced and actively implemented by the (Clinton's) President's Council on Sustainable Development between 1993 and 1999. The Environmental Protection Agency provided grants to communities to implement Sustainable Development Policies as defined in Agenda 21. The Federal Register, Volume 63, Number 163, August 24, 1998 says:

"The Sustainable Development Challenge Grant program is also a step in implementing 'Agenda 21, the Global Plan of Action on Sustainable Development' signed by the United States at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992" (page 45157).

President George W. Bush did not promote sustainable development as overtly as did his predecessor, but he did not prevent his agencies from advancing Agenda 21 policies. Barack Obama has picked up where Clinton left off, and has accelerated the effort to implement Agenda 21 polices at every opportunity. His White House Rural Council seeks to transform rural America to the U.N.'s vision of what the countryside should be.

Public [read:

Agenda 21 (Chapter 7.16) says this vision can be achieved by:

a) Adopting and applying urban management guidelines in the areas of land management, urban environmental management, infrastructure management and municipal finance and administration;

c) Adopting innovative city planning strategies to address environmental and social issues;

d) Developing local strategies for improving the quality of life and the environment, integrating decisions on land use and land management,

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has launched a $150 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants program that seeks to fund planning for: (1) economic competitiveness and revitalization; (2) social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity; (3) energy use and climate change; and (4) public health and environmental impact.

Remember that the official land use policy of the United Nations is this: "...government] control of land use is indispensable."

Where does the federal government find authority in the Constitution to take your tax dollars and give them to planning agencies and non-government organizations to develop plans that force your community to conform to policies set forth in Agenda 21? There is no such authority, of course, but then, the Constitution hasn't mattered much to the federal government since Woodrow Wilson. The current president has less respect for the Constitution than any president in history.

Seven departments of the federal government (at 13:23) pay more than a half-million dollars per year in membership fees to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, an NGO in Gland, Switzerland. These departments send a delegation of their employees to conferences where the documents are written that eventually become U.N. Treaties and policy documents. Jessica T. Matthews, Bill Clinton's appointee to the State Department, said in "Foreign Affairs," that NGOs wrote the Framework Convention on Climate Change (page 204) in 18 months. They also wrote the Convention on Biological Diversity and Agenda 21.

These same employees are appointed as delegates to the U.N. conference where they vote to adopt the documents they wrote. These same employees then return home to testify before Congress about why they should ratify the treaties they wrote, and fund implementation of the policy documents they wrote. Then, these same employees actually implement the policies they wrote — and get paid to do it — with our tax dollars. This is precisely how the U.N. influences domestic policy.

Elected officials who insist that the U.N. has no way to enforce its policies are either blind to the actual practice that has been occurring for years, or they want to divert attention from that process and ridicule the people who realize that the United Nations is transforming domestic policy.

Every time the term "sustainable development" appears it is evidence of the influence of the U.N. on domestic policy. The U.N. created and defined the term. Regardless of how it may be presented, "sustainable development" is government-approved development. Freedom cannot long exist where every action requires government approval.

Henry Lamb is the author of "The Rise of Global Governance," Chairman of Sovereignty International , and founder of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) and Freedom21, Inc.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Time For Another Fall Harvest Monday & Other Garden Info.

The summer crops are almost gone now with the exception of some Park's Whopper tomatoes that are still producing and also the good ol' raspberries.

We got two pickings this week for a total of 13 tomatoes that weighed in at two pounds, twelve ounces. Not a bad harvest for tomatoes in the middle of October.

I don't have raspberry pics today, but this week I picked six ounces of plump raspberries.

I got just one piece of okra that weighed one and a half ounces. They're about done for the season as the leaves are falling off and not being replaced with many new ones.

The giant marconi pepppers are also on the wane, but that's to be expected this time of year. I was able to have my laborer pick three okay-sized peppers this week.

All my grandkids love to help their Poppa in the garden and I'm so thankful for that! They're our hope for the future.

Fall is also applesauce time. I bought a bushel of stayman apples to make our applesauce with. I hadn't tried them before, but they were highly recommended by the farmer I bought them from. She was right! This is my new choice of apple for making applesauce with no added sugar.  It's delicious!

I weighed out 25 actual pounds of apples in order to be able to produce seven full quarts. I figured about three and a half to four pounds per quart, based on several "weight vs. number of quarts" calculations that I found online. I leaned towards the heavy side because I didn't want a partially filled quart jar at the end of this lengthy process. I added a quart of "no sugar added" apple juice (to avoid sticking) to the stock pot and began cooking. When the apples became soft, they were ready for being processed through the food mill.

This is what 25 pounds of apples looks like that have been processed through a hand operated food mill. Actually, getting the apples to this point wasn't too bad.

Now for the tedious part which was to cook the applesauce and bring it to a boil without burning it. I had to stir it like this for two full hours to get it to a boil. Let me tell you, when applesauce is boiling, it is really hot when  it spatters onto your finger!

After all the cooking was completed, I ended up with 8 quarts of delicious cinnamon applesauce with no added sugar.

Here's some additional garden info:

This is a pint jar filled with my Fortex green bean seeds that I harvested earlier this year. This is my first time saving those seeds, so it will be interesting to see how they germinate next year.

My collard plants in the west plot are growing very well. I've already picked from them twice this year.

Last week I put in six rows of broccoli in my east plot, with an additional 28 plants to put into the west plot. I'm also planting several rows of buttercrunch lettuce at the far right end of the picture on the other side of the tomato plants.

When I was planting the broccoli, being so close to the soil, I saw little weeds coming up pretty much all over. They were very tender and would come out if you just brushed your hand against them. Since that was the case I thought I would try to make some good time in the weeding process, so I took a wide rake and dragged the back of it over the paths and between the plants. The weeds rolled out with almost no effort other than pulling the weight of the rake over them. I wish all of the weeding went this easy!

That bit of gardening news brings this week's post to an end. I would like to thank all of the people that take their time to view my blog, and I hope you find it informative and thought provoking about gardening.

Have a wonderful week, and we'll see you next time!
Veggie PAK

Monday, October 10, 2011

Our Harvest Monday for October 10th.

While the weather is becoming cooler, at least the rains have stopped for awhile. Daily temps are in the low to mid seventies with lots of sunshine. At last I can get back into the garden without becoming mired down.

I managed to get the rest of my garden tilled up when the soil dried out sufficiently. Now I can go to town planting the remainder of my vegetables.

I picked two pounds of Vates collards this week from our first planting of this year. This was the second picking from these plants.

Here are three more rows of collards that I just planted. They're all looking like they're going to do well.

Here are 22 giant marconi peppers that weighed a total of two and a half pounds.

You can see in the following pics that there are lots of blossoms and baby peppers are still on the plants, so we should be getting many more before they finish for the year.

This is the last harvest of the sweet banana peppers for this year. This is 34 of them that weighed two pounds. I removed the plants after picking these to make room for my fall crops.

My heritage raspberries continue to produce very well. This week I picked six ounces of them.

Judging from the green berry buds that are showing in the pics below, there will be a lot more raspberries to ripen this year.

This isn't a harvest, but it was interesting, so I thought I would share it with you. I know I'll be using this method next year and I'll find out if celery will be a productive crop for me.

I've heard about sprouting plants from the roots of packaged celery, and I decided I had to try it. I bought a two-pack of organic celery and cut off the stalks so I could put the bottoms of them into bowls of water to see if they would grow. I used bottled water to avoid having chemicals impact the growth. In just three days they grew this much! It surprised me that it would do so well so fast. 

Here they are planted in a container so I can move it around when harsh weather is coming. I'm not sure if it will grow inside the house or not.

Our fig tree has a lot of figs on it. I sure hope they ripen in time to harvest before the cold weather gets here!

I was surprised to see a second crop of figs on the tree. I planted it because I like figs. I didn't know it would give two crops in a single year.

The okra plants in the barrel are still growing nicely. I can't help but wonder what the harvests will be like with the plants going into their second year this coming spring.

The container of Swiss chard is doing well. I'll probably be picking that next week.

The sorrel is continuing to grow vigorously in the planter as well as the barrel.

I think I'm going to transplant the ones in the planter into the ground along the driveway. Then they can spread all they want to. That would be fine with me.

The three jalapeno pepper plants didn't do much of anything this year. I got two small peppers so far, with a couple more still on the plants. Perhaps they will winter-over in my shop in an out of the way corner. The plants do seem small to produce the usual large peppers I have seen. Maybe next year they will be more productive.

The Cherokee purple tomatoes had three harvested this week, but no picture. They weighed a total of thirteen ounces.

Last but not least, my Park's Whoppers are almost ready to pick. There are several that are not quite red enough. Another day or two and they'll be picked. Any remainders will be picked for the window sill or for green tomato relish.

That completes another update on my back yard organic vegetable garden.

Visit daphnesdandelions for wonderful pictures of delicious food and a great source of gardening information.

Have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Preparing Compost.

All the rain we've had in the past couple of weeks has provided a rich source of green grass. When the sun came out for a day, everyone was cutting their grass, which is just what I've been waiting for during this time of year!

I went out for a fresh-bagged grass harvest and was very successful. I came back with thirteen large bags of grass clippings for my compost pile.

It was well worth the effort! Being addicted to tracking things on spreadsheets, I just had to weigh these bags, so I set up the hanging scale and went to work. These thirteen bags of grass clippings weighed 332 pounds! No wonder the truck was riding smoothly!

This past spring I stored leaves in the bin to the left side of the picture. There was approximately 100 bags of leaves in that left bin, and they have packed themselves down incredibly tight. That's what I use to blend with the grass clippings for my compost. After blending all the clippings with some of the leaves, the bin was full to the top. Notice how the compost mixture is at the top rail of the back of the bin.

This is how I like for the mixture to look when I am beginning a new batch. Heavier on the nitrogen materials so they will begin to work faster on the carbon materials. It's just personal preference. The information I have read about composting would say this is too much nitrogen-based materials. I disagree with that. When I begin turning this batch, I will be blending in more of the dry leaves on an as-needed basis to avoid clumping of the grass clippings. All I can say is that this works great for me.

This is what the pile looks like on the third day after building it. Look at the top rail along the back of the bin. Remember, I had the bin filled to that point initially. The pile is really cooking!

I took a temperature reading on the third day to see how well it was doing. It was cooking just fine!

That's it for this batch of compost. I'll toss in a few forkfulls of leaves and maybe later on some additional grass clippings just to keep it cooking. The clippings cook faster than the leaves, so clippings will be the last addition to the pile before it is used. Now I'll turn this every three days for the next 30 days or so and then it's ready to go into the garden.

Thanks for stopping in to visit! I really appreciate each visitor and invite each of you to share a comment if you are so inclined.

Have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK