December 30, 2017

Saturday Gardening Thread: Winter by the Fire [KT]
— Open Blogger

Victory_Vegatables.jpg1904vickscatalog.jpg

Hello, gardeners and friends of gardeners. It has been pretty warm for this time of year in our part of California. The navel oranges are good. But I guess it is pretty cold in the East. Here at the Saturday Gardening Thread, we do not like wildfires. We do like cozy fires. In front of which one might look through some seed catalogs. The first image above is from the Los Angeles County Arboretum Fruit and Vegetable Seed Catalog Collection. The 1904 Vicks catalog cover is from the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

We also like cooking fires or fire substitutes for preparing treats saved from the garden. Cooking with The Horde

This week, I received a signed copy of The Deplorable Gourmet from the Deplorables Global Initiative, Inc. Thanks, bluebell and Weasel! It's Super-duper!

deplrble.jpg

I notice that some of the hordelings who sent in recipes use produce from the garden. For example, Hal Dall writes about Mrs. Dall's Pork Pumpkin Stew on page 338:

This was created because Mrs. Dall loves to grow pumpkins and winter squashes.

Looks like a good thing to have on hand for New Years Day!

Since this is seed-ordering season, it is important to remember that not all winter squashes will last until winter. Flavor of each type of winter squash tends to reach its best after a certain time in storage. With a few exceptions that are tasty right off the vine. Serious Eats has published a basic winter squash guide with recipes. It could get you started on choosing winter squash for the garden.

-squash-varieties.jpg

Also remember to check catalog descriptions when you order seeds. Plant nerds may appreciate this blog post on Perplexing Pumpkins, which gets into the development of 5 squash species into the squashes and pumpkins we know today.

Do you have any winter squashes in storage? I have a butternut on the counter.

Are you using other produce you preserved for winter? It it tasty? Maybe we should visit Sherpa_K2.

DSC_9004 (3).JPG

Catalog Corner

I've been getting LOTS of catalogs. Anyone else? Maybe we can discuss intriguing offerings in the comments.

Gardens of The Horde

You desert denizens got anything going on? We would like to hear from you.

Believe it or not, it is time to start tomato seeds here in the San Joaquin Valley. My sister-in-law may be visiting in the room where I usually set up lights, so I'm thinking about winter sowing. (Don't comment on old threads).

A friend wants me to take over care of her desert tortoises. What do you think?

Probably less dangerous than a beautiful swan.

If you would like to send information and/or photos for the Saturday Gardening Thread, the address is:

ktinthegarden
at g mail dot com

Include your nic unless you want to be a lurker.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 07:44 AM | Comments (88)
Post contains 478 words, total size 5 kb.

1 Time of year to do indoor gardening.

Posted by: HH at December 30, 2017 07:40 AM (mIJBI)

2 Good point, HH. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 07:45 AM (BVQ+1)

3 Dead sticks in pots still on the front porch. Meant to clean up before it got cold. It got cold fast. Parsley doing well, moved inside to the west window. New addition to the potted garden: live Christmas tree. If it survives 'til Spring, it gets planted. (One from two years ago seems to be thriving in the yard.) Gardening is much simpler in late December. Happy Almost New Year, Morons of the Land.

Posted by: mindful webworker's mindless meanderings at December 30, 2017 07:47 AM (VQjKe)

4 Hey KT, are the fires out yet? Haven't seen much on the news lately, just the year end stories about the destruction.

Posted by: HH at December 30, 2017 07:48 AM (mIJBI)

5 Happy New  Years KT!!!  Thank you for a year of wonderful gardening threads and some excellent advice! I am preparing year two of my garden for Spring 2018, and have started receiving seed catalogues. (It's like it's still Christmas!) I have Burpee and Southern Exposure Seed Company, but are there others you recommend?

Posted by: moki at December 30, 2017 07:49 AM (V+V48)

6 I need to snap a pic of the basement jungle.

Posted by: Iron Mike Golf at December 30, 2017 07:49 AM (di1hb)

7 I've got a ton of seeds, and every year I neglect to start anything, so I end up buying plants from the nursery. Maybe I'll do better this year.

Posted by: Emmie -- please, no public display of insanity at December 30, 2017 07:49 AM (/A+Cl)

8 Careful with the Desert Tortoises, KT. They are an endangered species and there are regulations you can run afoul of.

Posted by: Blake at December 30, 2017 07:50 AM (WEBkv)

9 Mindful, are those the kind of sticks that will re-animate in the spring?

Posted by: Emmie -- please, no public display of insanity at December 30, 2017 07:52 AM (/A+Cl)

10 Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.

Posted by: Insomniac - Bah humbug! at December 30, 2017 07:52 AM (NWiLs)

11 Good afternoon snowmen

Posted by: Skip at December 30, 2017 07:53 AM (aC6Sd)

12 moki at December 30, 2017 12:49 PM

It depends on your interests and your region.  I think Pinetree is good for basic gardeners.  There are other catalogs that provide more information than Burpee.  But they sure do have pretty pictures. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 07:56 AM (BVQ+1)

13 Do want to say Happy New Year KT thanks for these threads every week

Posted by: Skip at December 30, 2017 07:56 AM (aC6Sd)

14 We FINALLY got some seed catalogs the other day. (I was beginning to think it was personal.) My favorite is the Shumway catalog with those vintage-looking paintings of the offerings. We go through them building dreams of Edenic plenty. Then, gradually, reality asserts itself as to what we really need. But until that happens, we have a lot of fun.

Posted by: JTB at December 30, 2017 07:56 AM (V+03K)

15 So I am looking at our now rather large Carolina Reaper, happily occupying the window area in our dining room. He seems to be flipping between pepper production, and the putting out of new leaves. The peak size of the peppers before they ripen has gone from almost egg size to about grape size. Intent is to fertilize with miracle-grow tomato food every other week, and see what happens when spring hits. I'm kinda liking the big guy, what with the ornaments and all hanging from his branches.

Posted by: Village Idiot's Apprentice [/i] at December 30, 2017 07:57 AM (EyPfd)

16 10-it is cursed, but at the same time, I feel closer to God in a garden more than any other place. There is something holy and serene about digging in dirt, planting seeds and caring for new growth, as well as the harvest of flowers, fruit and vegetables. And the leaving of zucchini in unlocked cars.

That might be part of the curse.

Posted by: moki at December 30, 2017 07:57 AM (V+V48)

17 Twilleys has LOTS of pumpkin varieties.  It's a market catalog. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 07:57 AM (BVQ+1)

18 KT, Happy New Year to you and the other gardeners. Another year of beautiful photos, valuable information, and lots of fun. Thanks!

Posted by: JTB at December 30, 2017 07:59 AM (V+03K)

19 HH, the big Thomas fire in the Santa Barbara area is still burning.  Terrible. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 07:59 AM (BVQ+1)

20 Happy New Year, KT! Thank you for hosting weekend threads!

Posted by: Emmie -- please, no public display of insanity at December 30, 2017 08:00 AM (/A+Cl)

21 6 I need to snap a pic of the basement jungle. Posted by: Iron Mike Golf at December 30, 2017 12:49 PM (di1hb That means something maybe a bit different here in Colorado.

Posted by: Emmie -- please, no public display of insanity at December 30, 2017 08:01 AM (/A+Cl)

22 mindful webworker's mindless meanderings at December 30, 2017 12:47 PM

Potted Christmas trees are a challenge. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:02 AM (BVQ+1)

23 21 ...like high electric bills.

Posted by: Emmie -- please, no public display of insanity at December 30, 2017 08:02 AM (/A+Cl)

24 10 Amen. Could be worse though.

Posted by: Johnny at December 30, 2017 08:03 AM (kUotE)

25 The cookbook is fabulous. Thanks KT for pointing out the pumpkin and squash recipes. I have some I bought as fall decorations. Right now I'm kicking myself though. I should've sent the pumpkin with my son this morning as he headed to the ranch with my sister's family. I'm sure they'll go shooting and pumpkins make fun targets, especially when stuffed with tannerite. The only gardening I'm doing is deciding on which method I'm going to use to keep the potted bougainvillea alive when the hard freeze hits in a couple of days.

Posted by: stace at December 30, 2017 08:03 AM (6HFDU)

26 Iron Mike Golf at December 30, 2017 12:49 PM

By all means, send in a photo. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:03 AM (BVQ+1)

27 Pine Tree Garden Seeds

Posted by: garrett at December 30, 2017 08:04 AM (dmj8Z)

28 Emmie -- please, no public display of insanity at December 30, 2017 12:49 PM

A familiar story.  Those seeds are so enticing

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:04 AM (BVQ+1)

29 And the leaving of zucchini in unlocked cars. That might be part of the curse. Posted by: moki at December 30, 2017 12:57 PM (V+V4 Better it be stolen than left to sit in a hot car. Ewwww.

Posted by: Insomniac - Bah humbug! at December 30, 2017 08:05 AM (NWiLs)

30 Vitamins. Veggies. Vici. Can't win if you're not "regular".

Posted by: Julius Cæser Salad at December 30, 2017 08:05 AM (/qEW2)

31 Victory Vegetables Vitamins Vicks When people see words that begin with a 'V', you know what they think of.

Posted by: Tony Soprano at December 30, 2017 08:06 AM (FUu/Z)

32 Blake at December 30, 2017 12:50 PM

I had considered this.  There are Desert Tortoise clubs that seem to have approval to care for tortoises.  Not sure how they work. 

About the piano piece:  Easier to play than the Can-can.  Despite the 2s against 3s. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:07 AM (BVQ+1)

33 10 What book/verse is that btw?

Posted by: Johnny at December 30, 2017 08:07 AM (kUotE)

34 JTB at December 30, 2017 12:56 PM

A perfect description of catalog shopping.  I like the Shumway catalog, too. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:08 AM (BVQ+1)

35 Thanks for the links about winter squash. They are some of my favorite veggies, like healthy candy. Cut them in half, roast them in the oven, then just use butter, salt and pepper. Superb!

Posted by: JTB at December 30, 2017 08:10 AM (V+03K)

36 mmmm mmm I don't know why they call it hamburger helper... It does fine all by itself,,Huh Clark..

Posted by: Cousin Eddie at December 30, 2017 08:10 AM (U5Xeq)

37 I want to especially recommend Summer Dance cucumber for people with a hot, dry summer climate.  Still has to be grown upright here, on a fence or trellis, to do well. 

And Giant Italian Parsley.

Both available at Pinetree and other catalogs. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:11 AM (BVQ+1)

38 Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 01:07 PM (BVQ+1) This time of year, though, I understand the Desert Tortoise is pretty easy to care for, as they go into hibernation. Heard of one where the owners would just move the tortoise inside, put it in a plastic tub and let it sleep through the colder months.

Posted by: Blake at December 30, 2017 08:12 AM (WEBkv)

39 Ok, I looked it up. Genesis 17-19. *not a bible scholar*

Posted by: Johnny at December 30, 2017 08:13 AM (kUotE)

40 Ran out of hot things to have so a brandy it is

Posted by: Skip at December 30, 2017 08:14 AM (aC6Sd)

41 Village Idiot's Apprentice at December 30, 2017 12:57 PM

Impressive!  Even the name 'Carolina Reaper' is impressive. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:15 AM (BVQ+1)

42 39 correction 3:17-19 *not a bible scholar*

Posted by: Johnny at December 30, 2017 08:18 AM (kUotE)

43 42 39 correction 3:17-19 *not a bible scholar* Posted by: Johnny at December 30, 2017 01:18 PM (kUotE) Heh.

Posted by: Insomniac - Bah humbug! at December 30, 2017 08:19 AM (NWiLs)

44 Covering Strawberries w/Straw in Winter: My strawberry patch was successful, and after the first hard freeze here (on the Cumberland Plateau) i covered the strawberry plants with straw. Under the straw the plants are now rotting. I hope I did this right and that new growth comes back from the crowns.

Posted by: Cumberland Astro at December 30, 2017 08:20 AM (cEKqm)

45 Emmie: Mindful, are those the kind of sticks that will re-animate in the spring? Alas, mostly not these, Emmie. The strawberries may survive. Depending on how we treat them.

Posted by: mindful webworker's black thumb at December 30, 2017 08:20 AM (VQjKe)

46 Ran out of hot things to have so a brandy it is

Here you go:  https://youtu.be/DVx8L7a3MuE

(sfw)

Posted by: Blanco Basura - It's OK, I'm with the banned at December 30, 2017 08:20 AM (IcT7t)

47 So, OT but since it's slow I'd like to know if anyone has experience with keeping Majesty Palms alive indoors. They die every winter. I have a 75 watt UV lamp and I water them sparingly, but they always die.

Posted by: Johnny at December 30, 2017 08:21 AM (kUotE)

48 Happy New Year to everyone, and thanks for your insightful comments to the Gardening Thread this year.  And the photos. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:24 AM (BVQ+1)

49 ...through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until... ...after the Industrial Revolution, when modern agriculture, pesticides, herbicides, mechanized planting, irrigation, and harvesting (enclosed tractor cabs with A/C and web streaming audio), refrigeration, mass transportation, and mass marketing. Then things get a little less sweaty.

Posted by: mindful webworker's twisted tales at December 30, 2017 08:25 AM (VQjKe)

50 >>>So I am looking at our now rather large Carolina Reaper, happily occupying the window area in our dining room.<<<

Say, those Reapers are deadly hot.  I'm thinking a SWAT team for containment may be totes appropriate here, just to be sure.

Posted by: Fritz at December 30, 2017 08:25 AM (A1FgP)

51 Blake at December 30, 2017 01:12 PM

My uncle had a couple of small ones in Southern California.  They kind of disappeared in winter. 

My father's cousin in Salt Lake City and his wife kept big ones on the lower level of their home.  With seven standard poodles.  Quite a place to visit. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:26 AM (BVQ+1)

52 Johnny #33: 10 What book/verse is that btw? Pro tip: biblegateway.com

Posted by: mindful webworker's kinky link at December 30, 2017 08:28 AM (VQjKe)

53
Stop the hammering, stop the hammering, this is not the construction thread!

Posted by: Larry O'Donnell at December 30, 2017 08:31 AM (r+sAi)

54 52 Yeah I was just being lazy. Always loved that verse. Humbling.

Posted by: Johnny at December 30, 2017 08:33 AM (kUotE)

55 Johnny at December 30, 2017 01:21 PM

Majesty Palms would need more that 75 watts of light.  And a fuller spectrum than just UV.  And moisture in the air.  Any chance of putting them by a window? 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:37 AM (BVQ+1)

56 55 yes they're near a window but I live in Oregon so there's very little natural light during the winter. So, more light? Explain the spectrum thing, I'm a noob.

Posted by: Johnny at December 30, 2017 08:39 AM (kUotE)

57 44 Covering Strawberries w/Straw in Winter: My strawberry patch was successful, and after the first hard freeze here (on the Cumberland Plateau) i covered the strawberry plants with straw. Under the straw the plants are now rotting. I hope I did this right and that new growth comes back from the crowns. Posted by: Cumberland Astro at December 30, 2017 01:20 PM (cEKqm) This amazes me that strawberries make it through winter. If they survive does the yield decrease? Would you keep the plant for years? We grow commercial berries. I'm probably wrong but we harvest them for a few months and then replant. I don't know why, I'm sure it's because of yields.

Posted by: CaliGirl at December 30, 2017 08:41 AM (Ri/rl)

58 Happy New Year to all.

I never had much luck with Strawberries.

Posted by: Ronster at December 30, 2017 08:46 AM (TYp27)

59 19 HH, the big Thomas fire in the Santa Barbara area is still burning. Terrible. Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 12:59 PM (BVQ+1) It's burning in the backcountry now. My friend has property in Carpinteria or Monticeto and he said the firefighters did an amazing job of protecting structures. He said when you go up there and look at the burn scars you cannot believe how the firefighters kept so many properties safe.

Posted by: CaliGirl at December 30, 2017 08:46 AM (Ri/rl)

60 Johnny at December 30, 2017 01:39 PM

A combo of cool white and warm white fluorescent lights is often recommended for starting plants.  UV light may trigger blossoming in some plants, I think. 

When starting plants, bulbs are put very close to the plants.  I think moving a light closer might help in your situation, too.  

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:52 AM (BVQ+1)

61 One of my new picks for seeds is "Territorial Seed Company" Highest quality seeds, plants, and supplies. TerritorialSeed.com  ~  Thank you for posting the photos of  the sheet pans of heirloom tomatoes. With that baking recipe we were able for the tomato season put up 37 half gallon freezer bags of sauce. Yo-Yo, KT, Scones and coffee. Lovely Saturday Morning. And so it goes....

Posted by: sherpa_K2 at December 30, 2017 08:53 AM (QAFyR)

62 And Johnny, you should probably turn off the light at night. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:54 AM (BVQ+1)

63 62 ok. It's on a timer, 12 on 12 off. Sounds like just buying a new one every February is the more economical option. Thanks KT!

Posted by: Johnny at December 30, 2017 08:57 AM (kUotE)

64 nood ace iran

Posted by: m at December 30, 2017 08:58 AM (6gGph)

65 Stop the hammering, stop the hammering, this is not the construction thread!

Posted by: Larry O'Donnell at December 30, 2017 01:31 PM (r+sAi)


You left out the obscenities...

Posted by: Colin at December 30, 2017 08:59 AM (ht+dt)

66 CaliGirl at December 30, 2017 01:41 PM

Your strawberry plants probably come from the mountains every year, so they get some winter chill.  

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 08:59 AM (BVQ+1)

67 When starting plants, bulbs are put very close to the plants. I think moving a light closer might help in your situation, too. Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 01:52 PM (BVQ+1) If I visit my tomato plants this year in the greenhouse, I will take some photos of their operation. It is amazing. Computer controlled environment for starting plants from seed. It's interesting.

Posted by: CaliGirl at December 30, 2017 09:00 AM (Ri/rl)

68 Beautiful catalog covers. We have 6+ inches of snow on the ground and drifting snow today, will wait for the wind to drop before clearing the drive. Missus is making hubbard, carrot, and ginger soup for dinner. The squash and carrots are home grown. I will pick greens from one of the cold frames. We are facing 6 straight days of highs a few degrees below zero and lows in the minus teens. Wind chills will be truly brutal. But no room to complain considering the what the folks along the northern border are facing. Happy Saturday.

Posted by: colfax mingo at December 30, 2017 09:01 AM (C8LGv)

69 sherpa_K2 at December 30, 2017 01:53 PM

Thanks for sending the photos and recipe. 

Territorial is a great source for the Pacific Northwest.  They do actual field testing. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 09:01 AM (BVQ+1)

70 48. Wishing you the same. Had all good intentions of sending pics of my plant berries but never followed through.

Posted by: kallisto at December 30, 2017 09:01 AM (AJwk0)

71 56 55 yes they're near a window but I live in Oregon so there's very little natural light during the winter. So, more light? Explain the spectrum thing, I'm a noob. Posted by: Johnny at December 30, 2017 01:39 PM (kUotE) Think about a clear sunny day. Bright yellow sun and a blue sky. And sunlight contains all the colors. Now chlorophyll looks green. That's because it sucks up all the other colors of light to use as energy. The green is used less, so it gets reflected and we see it. Red and blue work best for chlorophyll. That's why plant fluorescent tubes have that pink color. We've had great success with daylight color spectrum LED shop lights. We run them 12 hours a day..

Posted by: Iron Mike Golf at December 30, 2017 09:01 AM (di1hb)

72 starting tomatoes already ... way early for that here, but I may try to grow some lettuce under lights in my big aquarium. and then might as well add something colorful to fill up the space. Coleus worked well but they tend to get leggy. The seed ads compelled me to buy some seed already -- I might try to start some of the salvia (blue queen) high for all next week here is 17, so I did bring in my potted Nandina. The indoor aquarium/greenhouse puts out some nice bright light for the plants, and maybe avoids SAD symptoms from all the dark days. And I'm growing sprouts again ... on the second jar of those since getting my nifty plastic screened lids for wide mouth mason jars. Sprout omelets with cheese ... mmmgood. cheers and happy New Year

Posted by: illiniwek at December 30, 2017 09:01 AM (otAqJ)

73 CaliGirl at December 30, 2017 01:46 PM

Impressive story about the firefighters.  'Carpinteria' always reminds me of 'Carpenteria' or 'Bush Anemone', which is native to the foothills of Fresno County.

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 09:03 AM (BVQ+1)

74 CaliGirl at December 30, 2017 02:00 PM

We would love to see photos of the operation. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 09:05 AM (BVQ+1)

75 colfax mingo at December 30, 2017 02:01 PM

Yipes!  That's cold!

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 09:08 AM (BVQ+1)

76 Does anyone know if seeds packed for 2017 will be good in 2018?

Posted by: kallisto at December 30, 2017 09:08 AM (AJwk0)

77 "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until... " ...after the Industrial Revolution, when modern agriculture ..." mindful ha, yeah. Carrying the groceries in might produce a little sweat in summer, but the whole survival thang has gotten relatively easy.

Posted by: illiniwek at December 30, 2017 09:11 AM (otAqJ)

78 Interesting. Thanks Mike.

Posted by: Johnny at December 30, 2017 09:14 AM (kUotE)

79 "Does anyone know if seeds packed for 2017 will be good in 2018? Posted by: kallisto yeah they will be fine, maybe slightly lower germination rates. Just keep them in a dry place, and preferably cool. Some kinds do better than others but most are good for at least one year, often five or more. Beans are better sooner than later, for instance. Corn good for a few years.

Posted by: illiniwek at December 30, 2017 09:14 AM (otAqJ)

80 A lot of the commercial strawberries plants are grown initially in Klamath Falls, and then trimmed and shipped to California for the farms to plant.


Posted by: Kindltot at December 30, 2017 09:21 AM (2K6fY)

81 illiniwek, That's good advice about saving seeds until the next season, I do the same thing. We buy seeds from Seed Savers farm in nearby Decorah. KT, We live in the middle of the continent so extremes of cold and heat are not unusual. 100+F and 90% humdity for ten straight days happen every few summers. Nothing to do but roll with what you get.

Posted by: colfax mingo at December 30, 2017 09:33 AM (C8LGv)

82 illiniwek: thanks!

Posted by: kallisto at December 30, 2017 09:46 AM (AJwk0)

83 I hope my strawberries survive this cold snap. The wild strawberries sure AF do.

Posted by: kallisto at December 30, 2017 09:49 AM (AJwk0)

84 Now I want "pumpkin" pie. I like to use Hubbard squash to make it. "For pottage and puddings and custards and pies Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies, We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon, If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon." Pilgrim doggerel from the 1600s

Posted by: The Inexplicable Dr. Julius Strangepork at December 30, 2017 10:26 AM (iMO2e)

85 Not much going on in Idaho's Treasure Valley. We had snow overnight on the 22nd and 24th (Christmas Eve) (5 inches total) so we did have a white Christmas. But today it's warm enough that snow is melting, and I can see grass! The birds have found the seed feeder outside the front window - I love watching the finches, sparrows, and juncoes. We also have a quail block out back, for the shy birds that prefer the back yard. We shoveled a path around the front of the house, and the front sidewalk, after we'd gotten enough driveway cleared to get the cars out. We also shoveled a path to the back shed, so we could get to the woodpile - husband piled a bunch of wood near the back door so we can easily get at it when we want a fire. No catalogs yet. I did inventory our remaining seeds. (Some seeds keep longer than others - I know there are reference materials for this sort of thing, out there somewhere.) We still need to pick a night to sit around, talk about 2017 results, and make a plan for 2018. Hmm, my strawberry story: Part 1: We bought a batch of 25 bare-root (from an unnamed large national company), which arrived in March 2016. We thought they knew what they were doing, sending them to Idaho in March. They didn't. We planted them and they died. Part 2: we got some locally from Home Depot, planted them in April. They did well. I cut off the runners until after they fruited. Part 3: Snowpocalypse. Temps as low as -18F, and 3 feet of total snow. We had not covered them with anything. Part 4: Spring/summer 2017. Not only were they fine, they were growing densely enough that I moved some of them to a second bed. They produced fine. Once again I did not let runners form until after fruiting. Part 6: Fall/winter 2017. Decided they were too crowded, and dug some plants out and threw them away. Only let a very limited number of runners set, because the plants were so crowded that I was losing berries to white mold. After several very cold nights, covered them with pillows of dried cut grass. So far, this winter is more normal - so far, lowest temp is +4F, only 5 total inches of snow. Part 7: Spring 2018. Will have to see if covering the strawberries worked better than leaving them bare. My prayers are with those who are being hit by this year's arctic blast - it seems even worse than what we got last year... From Wikiquote: The kiss of the sun for pardon, The song of the birds for mirth, One is nearer God's Heart in a garden Than anywhere else on Earth. -"God's Garden", lines 13-16, Poems, by Dorothy Frances Gurney (London: Country Life, 1913) A green, fruitful (and vegetableful?) New Year to us all!

Posted by: Pat* at December 30, 2017 12:04 PM (FtfVi)

86 Thanks for the strawberry details, Pat*  Strawberries can be tricky.

Parsnips have one of the shortest shelf lives of seeds.  You can extend the life of most seeds by keeping them in a sealed container with a dessicant, the cooler the better.  Even frozen. 

Don't store bean seeds with a dessicant, though. 


Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 12:56 PM (BVQ+1)

87 I liked the poem, too, Pat. 

Posted by: KT at December 30, 2017 12:56 PM (BVQ+1)

88 Our strawberries started from five bare root plants three years ago. The have now expanded to about 150 square feet. We didn't cover them with anything but naturally fallen leaves the first two Minnesota winters. This year they got covered with the straw/peat blend I used in the tater barrels. I have found that if I have strawberries in planters, I can put the planter in the garage overwinter and the plants come back just fine. This helped as our squirrels like to bury a partially eaten berry in various planters, and we get volunteer plants. There is a variety that one of the market growers here has. They are not very pretty as strawberries go, but the flavor is amazingly intense. I should have started some from the berries last season, but I was foolish. I will do so in 2018, and if they take and produce, I'll just till up the other variety.

Posted by: Gordon at December 31, 2017 07:00 AM (TYh1g)

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