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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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SUGA 2017

Scorpio Rising
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SUGA 2017 - Page 2 Empty Re: SUGA 2017

Post  SQWIB 1/10/2018, 2:48 pm

A buddy called me up to help him remove some of his Magnolia tree, that took up most of Saturday and we almost ended up in the ER, My buddy fell out of the tree, well he more or less was shot out, when the limb he cut slapped him upside his head, no broken bones or lacerations but he was banged up pretty good.

  • He was going to toss the wood and I said, "No Way, let's put it in the back of my truck"!

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  • Fresh wood has a lot of moisture, I guess I should have cracked the windows in the truck.

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I installed the EMT Conduit vertical tomato supports on one side of the raised beds, and on the other side, I'm going to try a Florida Weave between two posts.

  • Started the vertical support lines on the hugelkultur beds. For the vertical supports I'm using wire leaders and Jute twine. This is my first year using this system but have had success with vertical supports using EMT. My main concern is the weight of the plants spanned across 36' of cable. My back up plan is a center support if the cable sags too much.

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  • At the end of the season, the twine will be cut and composted, then the fishing line leader will be slid to one end.

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  • After work today I picked up my Lights and some other supplies. I removed the hose from the pond area and had Stephen help me reroute it to the back of the playhouse, installed a hose hanger, hose and spray nozzle.

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  • Now onto the fun stuff, today I Installed the lights by the back fence, I'm still playing with different patterns and will need to readjust when the plants grow in. I ordered another set of 4 and will accent the pond, the tree of life, and the front gardens.

Photo#1 - Lights spaced 18" apart up against retaining wall. 
Photo#2 - Lights back to back up against retaining wall 
Photo#3 - Lights at each post up against the fence.

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  • Installed the backyard pond lights, I may look into a lower wattage flood light for the wall but will most likely keep the 40 watt on the waterfall.

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  • Replaced all the incandescent Low Voltage bulbs on the deck with LED's

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Finished the irrigation out front but may still run a 1/4" line to the pond and planters, but I need to cut a bit of concrete, maybe one day when I'm bored.

May 7th - May 17th, 2017
I got a lot done this weekend but NOTHING from my list.

  • Installed some underdecking but still needs tweaks, this is definitely a case of "Functionality vs. Aesthetics in Design".

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  • Started transplanting Chocolate mint to the curbside. The mint was doing well till the neighbors grandson ran it over with the lawnmower, but thats fine its just for a ground-cover, because crap grows here all the time.

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The front gardens are doing real well. 

  • Lavender, Calla Lilies, Oregano, Thyme, Stevia, Marigolds, Parsley, Dill, Gaillardia Goblin, Rogue Tiger Lily that I will dig out, I also planted some Swamp Milkweed and Butterfly Milkweed, but they didn't make it.

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  • Herb Garden, Chocolate mint, Spearmint, Chives, Sage, Horseradish, Phlox, Tiger Lily, Day Lilies, Rosemary, Marigolds and some Rogue squash type plant I may let go for fun.

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  • Sunpatients, Crocus, Lilies, Japanese Andromeda Pieris Japonica "Bonfire", Jack Frost Heartleaf Brunnera, Marigolds.

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  • Irrigation for the front lower garden, I still need to do a few tweaks, mulch the rest of the gardens and hide the irrigation lines, replace the Y with my new Ball Valve Y, possibly run a line to the pond for Auto Fill?

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  • Leeks, Vinca Minor Periwinkle, Japanese Stewartia that replaced my Beautiful Red Maple, and a three a 3 year old Rogue maple plant in there that I have been keeping for my neighbor.

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  • Sprite Tomato, Basil, Parsley, Marigold?

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  • Tiger lilies from the lower garden and a Dwarf Azalea that needs a new home.

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  • Patio Princess Tomato, Strawberries, Parsley?, Basil, Marigold, Sunpatients. Leeks in the white planter in the back.

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  • The pond - Yellow Iris Pseudacorus, Black Gamecock Iris.

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Veggie filters for pond

  • Top - Sunpatients

  • Lower - California Wonder, Ruby King, Poblano, Poblano, Corno Di Toro Giallo, Corno Di Toro Giallo. The Phlox is in the soil not the veggie filter.

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  • Side patio - Celebrity Tomato, Basil, Parsley, Marigold, Lilly's

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  • Side yard Hugelkultur Bed - Matts Wild Cherry by fence, Ruby King, Corno Di Toro Giallo, Anaheim, Poblano, Black Beauty, Sunflower, Basil, Parsley, Marigold, Swenson Snow Peas.

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  • Asparagus

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  • Raspberry

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Mammoth Snow Peas
Black Seeded Simpson
Indigo Blue Berries Tomato
Abe Lincoln 
Abe Lincoln
Corno Di Toro Giallo
CornoDi Toro Giallo
Cherokee purple
California Wonder
Black Beauty
Black Beauty
Box Car Willie
Box Car Willie
Brandywine red
Brandywine red
Ruby King
Black Seeded Simpson
Bush Beans

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  • Raised Beds, 

California Wonder
Black Beauty Eggplant
Brandywine Red Tomato
Abe Lincoln Tomato


Cherokee Purple Tomato
Black Vernissage Tomato

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  • Fence in the back, I don't think any of the Milkweed Plants made it.

Elaeagnus ebbingei ‘Gilt Edge’ 
Corno Di Toro Giallo
California Wonder
Swamp Milkweed Cinderella
Bee Balm
Gaillardia Goblin
Tiger Lilies
Butterfly Milkweed


  • Trellis - Swenson Swedish Snow Pea, Marigold

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  • Back Pond

Yellow Iris pseudacorus
Garden Pink
Camellia, April Remembered
Bee Balm
Ghost pepper

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  • Shasta Daisy and Marigolds on the deck.

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Posts : 366
Join date : 2016-03-07
Location : Philly 7A

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SUGA 2017 - Page 2 Empty Re: SUGA 2017

Post  AtlantaMarie 1/10/2018, 3:43 pm

What a gorgeous set-up! And I like the smoker exhaust too....

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 5602
Join date : 2014-03-18
Age : 61
Location : Buford, GA - Zones 7B/8A


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SUGA 2017 - Page 2 Empty Re: SUGA 2017

Post  SQWIB 1/11/2018, 7:31 am

AtlantaMarie wrote:What a gorgeous set-up!  And I like the smoker exhaust too....
lol, Thanks, I was actually worried about the extension on the stack increasing draft too much, but it works fine

Posts : 366
Join date : 2016-03-07
Location : Philly 7A

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SUGA 2017 - Page 2 Empty Re: SUGA 2017

Post  SQWIB 1/11/2018, 7:34 am

  • I wonder what this is?

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  • Woohoo! my sun came in.

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  • I'm just worried that it will blend too much with the fence once I stain the fence, I may have to throw some light at it if it blends in too much.

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  • Swapped out the 40 watt flood light with a 20 watt spotlight.

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May 18th - May 25th, 2017

I got a few things done this week and some were actually from my list this time, Yay!

  • Wired in the new Hugelkultur bed lights, they're not secured yet, I will secure them after the bed is stained.

  • Installed New Y valve

  • Ran some vertical support lines for the maters on the hill.

  • Mulched the front garden and in front of the new Hugelkultur Bed

  • Fixed some leaks on the under-decking still nee to fix a few more leaks

  • Installed a light for the cooking area.

  • Took off the storm door and reinstalled, it was hitting the bottom concrete pad and wouldn't close properly or latch properly.

  • Laura painted the back wall.

  • Scrubbed the patio, coolers and bench seat

  • Repainted the patio table.

  • Added composted manure to the Aquaponic peppers.

  • Lifted a bunch of pavers and added paver base to level the pavers better.

  • Fed all the flowers and shrubs.

  • Installed the new Ceiling Fan

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  • And look who's munching on my dill, a few Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars. Eat up guys there's plenty for everyone!

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I have been having issues with garden pests this year, I know I have an Aphid problem but something is knocking the snot out of my Broccoli.
A few nights ago I inspected the garden with a flashlight to see what critters are decimating my plants. I found the culprits, Slugs, tons of them, real tiny guys. Whats odd is the infestation is only one half of the bed. I did dump some ash in the bed to the left so that may have helped.

  • So I decided to make some slug traps but first I needed a little bit of beer.

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  • First I sprayed all the plants with Neem Oil, then laid out my Slug Traps.

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Note the marigold plant bottom right. The sacrificial Marigolds are sort of working but I don't want to loose them either.

  • I put four slug traps in the 10' bed. After I set up the slug traps I sprayed all the plants with Neem Oil.

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  • Trimmed the tomato plants to one stem.

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I checked the beds last night and the slugs seemed to have disappeared. I did see a few slugs in one of the traps in the morning.

  • Maybe as a treat I'll feed the Beer soaked slugs to reds.

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  • Installed the new ceiling fan.

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Posts : 366
Join date : 2016-03-07
Location : Philly 7A

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SUGA 2017 - Page 2 Empty Re: SUGA 2017

Post  SQWIB 1/11/2018, 7:37 am

May 26th, 2017

  • Walkthrough

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Posts : 366
Join date : 2016-03-07
Location : Philly 7A

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Post  SQWIB 1/11/2018, 7:40 am

June 13th - 17th, 2017

My brother and I stopped at the "Fairmount Park Organic Recycling Center" to check it out and was quite impressed, we pickup up some compost to try in our gardens and Moms garden.

  • Walkthrough

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  • Every year I let the tomato plants on the hill get out of control. Next year I'm going to purchase some Texas Tomato Cages.

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I have been using the "chop and drop" method with the oregano and letting some flower to attract more beneficial insects, so far it seems to be working pretty good.

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  • Getting plenty of "Buzz Pollinators"

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Posts : 366
Join date : 2016-03-07
Location : Philly 7A

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SUGA 2017 - Page 2 Empty Re: SUGA 2017

Post  SQWIB 1/11/2018, 7:46 am

June 22nd, 2017

  • Walkthrough

I got tired of looking at the broccoli, nothing was happening so I tore them out and tossed in the compost heap. Pulled and composted the Snow Peas, but left the roots in the soil.

Cut back all the lettuces, I wanted to leave a few flower but they got so heavy that they couldn't support themselves. I thinned out the Bush Melons, when I planted them I thought the package said Bush Beans, wrong, they were watermelons.

Moved a couple of the plants around, weeded then planted some Crimson Clover.

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June 27th- 29th, 2017

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  • Loving my new Hori Hori Garden Knife.

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Posts : 366
Join date : 2016-03-07
Location : Philly 7A

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Post  SQWIB 1/11/2018, 7:52 am

June 30th, 2017

I fertilized the beds with some 10-10-10 and some lime. In the future I am hoping to use cover crops and compost to build the soil without the use of any fertilizers. The reason I am using fertz this year is because it is the 2nd year with a few of my Hugel beds and the first year with the newest bed. I'm figuring they should stop pulling nitrogen around the third season.

July 1st, 2017

A few weeks ago I picked up some compost from the recycle center and tossed in Moms garden and my garden. The compost looks good and 0 weeds so I picked up some more compost Saturday.

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July 2nd, 2017

  • "Birdproofing" the Bar Roof.

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  • Last week I repainted the bar stools, today my better half and I reupholstered the outdoor bar stools adding some additional foam. 

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  • I installed some RGB lights a few weeks ago, a few more tweaks and the bar area is done then I need to re-stain the deck and do some minor repairs.

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  • Laura picked up some new seat cushions, a new patio umbrella and was gifted the blue hurricane lamp. All the deck lights were swapped out with new LED bulbs.

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  • Not much going on in the garden, picked another zucchini, a few Box Car willies and a couple Corno Di Toro Gallo peppers for some skewers and tossed some Blood Meal in the gardens.

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  • The frog in the Back pond is getting bigger, must be all those skeeters.

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July 12th, 2017

  • The back pond plants are doing well, I just planted some Queen Anne's Lace in the back corner to fill in a void, I get this weird type grass that grows there. The QAL is struggling a bit from transplant shock, hopefully it will come back next year.

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  • Indigo Blueberries Tomato, the two on the left are ripe the other one is not ripe but was picked for comparison. These are OK but was more of a novelty for me, the flavor is OK, however with my limited space I am sure I can find something more to my liking to fit this area. The plant appears to be struggling but still producing. If it continue to struggle it will be terminated. 

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  • Box Car Willie in the first year hugelkultur bed. I really like these tomatoes, they are a good looking tomato, they ripen to a bright red, very hardy and prolific, great flavor, fairly thin skin, perfect for slicing for sandwiches. 

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  • This is the same cluster of tomatoes as above 12 days earlier.

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  • Black Beauty Eggplants, these plants are doing well again this year, especially in the raised beds on the hill the one in the 2 year Hugelkultur bed has a few fruits also, the 2 in the 1 year Hugelkultur bed has blossoms but no fruit yet. Its hard to believe that I struggled with these plants quite a few years ago. The fruit to the right will be left for seeds and picked at the end of the season.

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  • These are the same two as above a week earlier.

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  • Corno Di Toro Giallo, this one is in the 2nd year Hugelkultur bed and is doing fairly well.

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  • Here is another plant in my Aquaponics veggie garden, they seem to like it here.

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  • This is my 2nd time growing Poblanos in the veggie filter and they seem to like it here as well. I usually stick a tomato spike in the planter early in the season and drop a small handful of 10-10-10 or Osmocote on top of the soil three times in the season. I am very careful about the fertilizers due to the Koi, Frogs and Mosquito fish in the pond

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  • The California Wonder in the Raised bed is producing.

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  • Patio Princess.

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  • Sprite

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  • Celebrities.

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  • Sunflowers are happy

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  • Vertical gardens are doing well.

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  • The marigolds have exploded everywhere.

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  • this is a few days earlier

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  • Brandywine Reds.

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  • Black Vernissage

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  • Brandywine red.

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There's no signs of anything ripening on the Abe Lincoln's, Cherokee purples and Brandywine reds. We have been enjoying the Box Car Willies, Celebrities, Patio Princess and Sprite tomatoes for a few weeks.

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Post  countrynaturals 1/11/2018, 12:44 pm

Omigosh, Sqwib, you are such an inspiration!  I love you Thanks for posting such a detailed account of your fabulous success. I love your deck and bar. Remodeling mine will be my next project thanks to your example. happy turtle

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Post  SQWIB 1/11/2018, 12:58 pm

countrynaturals wrote:Omigosh, Sqwib, you are such an inspiration!  I love you Thanks for posting such a detailed account of your fabulous success. I love your deck and bar. Remodeling mine will be my next project thanks to your example. happy turtle

Thanks, I just feel bad that I forgot all about this thread and I'm now bombarding it in a few days.

Keep us posted I would love to see your remodel.

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Post  SQWIB 1/11/2018, 1:05 pm

July 15th - 18th, 2017

Saturday I grabbed another Queen Anne's Lace for the pond and dug up a few Blackberry plants I found in a parking lot at the industrial park. These things were growing through asphalt and there was barely any soil it was all shale and rock.

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  • I don't have much hope for this one.

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  • Just to make sure it's a Blackberry plant I ate a few!!

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  • Hopefully this one will make it. There was Blueberry plant there but it has never bloomed.

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  • My sunpatients have never grown this big. The drip irrigation I put in seems to be working well.

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  • I have the entire front lower yard on a drip line with the exception of the tree.

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  • I picked my first Brandywine Red of the season, (Box Car Willie on the left)

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I also got my first Abraham Lincoln picked, It seems that the AL are prone to splitting, sorry the photo I took was too blurry to post.

I planted some Melting Snow Peas by the pea trellis and Broccoli in the Hugelkultur beds.

The most exciting and rewarding feeling I get from gardening is when I pick my first Eggplant, well other than seeing everything in my garden doing so well knowing it was all planted from seed!

This will be dinner tonight. I do have another that was ready a week ago but that will stay on the plant so the seeds can mature for harvesting. I will now be driving Laura nuts with all of the eggplant recipes I will be asking her to make, thank goodness she likes eggplant too!

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  • Sitting by the back pond I realized the lights by the back fence weren't working.

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  • Now how did he get a tomato

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  • Leopard slug, This guy was huge, that's not a dime next to him its a quarter. and I'm a bit pissed that I offed 2 of them and found them to be beneficial.

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Anyhow there were few up on the hill that big, I got the lighting working and learned a few valuable things... Don't off anything without researching it and DON'T wear socks ONLY on that hill!!!

Saturday Sam painted underneath the Bar Roof on the deck, thank you Sam , I hate painting and just couldn't do it, it took her all day, anyhow she said, "We need a new ceiling fan". So as she was painting in the 90° heat, I went down to the Air- Conditioned Mancave, popped on Netflix and ordered a new fan.

  • I Installed the ceiling fan last night and Sam loves it. I think it looks good too!

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  • This fan has paid for itself, considering its not an outdoor fan and must be 10 years old, it still worked but was looking a bit nasty.

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The tomatoes are starting to come off quicker and I keep chopping the basil. I actually sent a box of Basil to my wife's work for some of her co-workers.
I have one basil plant that smells a lot like anise, I am letting this go to seed to harvest the seeds, I thought it smelled really interesting.

  • Brandywine Red left and my first Cherokee Purple.

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July 21st, 2017 -  July 23rd, 2017

  • Brandywine red, these are doing real well this year, there is a little bit of splitting at the tops.

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  • "Wing nite" with Stephen on the deck during a monsoon lol.

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  • Starting to clear up.

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  • The garden is getting near its peak and is getting a bit out of control, I really need to get in there and try to clean it up a bit.

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  • I stopped at the recycle center Saturday morning and picked up some more compost then stopped over Moms and topped off her Hugelkultur bed and planted some broccoli, I also picked up another flat cut piece of wood. I needed a path in front of the new Hugelkultur beds and figured this would be nice for a few years before it rotted out, plus I save on buying mulch!

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  • The Cherokee purples are doing well, I just need to pick them a tad earlier, they develop splits on the top and the ants are getting in the splits. I have been freezing the split maters and will roast them later for different things.

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  • Dinner Last night, Brandywine Margherita Pizza.

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  • Eggplant, Green Pepper, Black Olive, Onion, Mushroom Pizza.

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Post  sanderson 1/11/2018, 3:08 pm

Sqwib, You have done a wonderful job transforming your yard!


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Post  SQWIB 1/12/2018, 9:48 am

July 26th, 2016

  • Enjoying a break in the heat wave.

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July 27th, 2016

  • My leek garden is doing well

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  • I also can not get over the flowers, I guess they really like the drip irrigation I installed.

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  • I stopped at the trailer to do some maintenance and battle some ants For dinner I enjoyed some stuffed peppers, fried eggplant, sausage, some happy juice a few beers and banana bread for dessert.

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July 28th, 2017

  • Well, I found out why my Zucchini wasn't producing, nasty little B@STARDS!

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July 29th, 2017

  • Started a fresh batch of Sun-Dried tomatoes

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  • This is a rogue Matts Wild Cherry, the one I grew from seed died, I think. It's kinda hard to tell because it is growing like a weed. Tasty Little buggers, I think these and sweet 100's are my wife's favorites.

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  • And something for dinner!

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August 4th, 2017

  • Our company moved, we done the move in a three days.

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August 6th, 2017

  • We went on vacation to OC MD. for a week.

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  • Nature always finds a way.

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  • Harvested a bunch of maters and eggplant to take with us, ended up roasting most of the maters and we really enjoyed the eggplant and stuffed Poblanos.

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  • When we got home I unpacked and headed out to the garden to see what was going on, my neighbor had stopped in and picked some maters to head to Wildwood for a few days while we were on vacation. I marked what not to take.

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  • I picked mostly tomatoes I have some Poblanos and bells to pick but needed to get the maters picked right away, I ended up tossing a dozen or so. I had my better half run a bunch to the neighbors.

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  • Spot the critter

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  • Many moons ago, I had a butterfly bush planted next to the Butterfly House. The bush got very leggy and Gnarly so I removed it, this has to be 10 years ago. Anyhow I found this growing in the same spot, I'm pretty sure it is a Butterfly Bush. I wonder if there were some dormant seeds or something that got kicked up when I redid this garden?

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  • The Rosemary is doing great.

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  • Harvesting some Dill Seed, once all the heads start browning I'll cut back the dill.

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  • Leek garden is doing great, hopefully I'll have plenty for some Leek Soup in September.

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  • The other day I came home and noticed this plant in the center nearly died, I just thought it was done for the season, later I realized I turned off the water after I used the hose, how long ago? Who knows. Anyhow I remedied the problem.

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  • The garden towers are doing as well as can be expected.

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  • The pond plants are doing well, so are the Ghost peppers and Tabasco peppers, the Bee Balm has been shaded out of existence.

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  • This year  I have been roasting a lot of tomatoes to freeze.

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  • These were roasted near 5 hours at 275°F, down the shore I was roasting at 300° for three hours, I like the results of the latter better.

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  • Dinner

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Post  sanderson 1/13/2018, 3:41 pm

How would you describe the taste of roasted/frozen verses fresh canning?


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Post  SQWIB 1/13/2018, 3:56 pm

sanderson wrote:How would you describe the taste of roasted/frozen verses fresh canning?

I honestly can't answer that but if I was to can/jar, I would still roast them.
Especially using non-paste tomatoes, as far as taste goes, these definitely have a richer/ deeper taste,

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Post  sanderson 1/13/2018, 11:51 pm



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Post  SQWIB 1/15/2018, 11:29 am

August 21st, 2017

This weekend was productive, as far as gardening goes.

  • Enjoyed a bit of Rain. Best time to weed!

  • An Eastern Black Swallowtail, enjoying my vertical tower.

  • The Koi are happy and the Poblanos in the pond are producing nicely.

  • I thinned out the Hugelkultur beds and planted some Bush Beans, Broccoli and Lettuce. Thinned out the Zucchini Air pots and replanted some more Zukes, I'm going to order some BTK to try to keep the SVB off the plant.

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  • The Marigolds were taking over, I thinned them out and just let a few hang over the sides.

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  • Removed the Patio Princess and Sprite from the front planters and planted some Bush Beans, the Patio Princess was done producing and the sprite wasn't looking good and wasn't worth keeping.

  • Corno Di Toro Giallo

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  • Ruby Red Bell Pepper

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  • Some Black Beauty Eggplants

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  • Harvested most of my seeds for next year.

  • Made 10 pounds of Chili, one sweet and one sweet and spicy. Roasted some tomatoes for the chili, they were mostly Black Vernisssage.

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  • Harvested some Dill Seed

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  • Hooked up a pond pump to my rain barrel to water my fall plants.

August 22, 2017

  • Tonight was an exciting night for my daughter at the Phillies Game, no she didn't catch a 'Foul Ball', something much more exciting, she rescued a Peregrine Falcon at Citizens bank Park.

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August 23rd, 2017

  • Rosemary Exploded

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  • Got home early so started dinner.

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  • Today Amanda rescues yet another critter, a Great Egret. I have to laugh, every time I sit down to dinner, go on the deck, in the basement or in the yard, I am being stared down by Screech Owls, Morning Doves, Snakes, Gray Squirrels, Flying Squirrels, Raccoons, Canadian geese, Pheasants, Rabbits, Turtles or some type of critter. She gets calls from the police, environmental centers and wildlife officers all the time. She works at the Pennypack Environmental Center and some animals are brought there because they know she is a Volunteer at the AARK Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center and will take them there when she can.
  • The dogs don't know what to think when she brings these rescues home.

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August 24th, 2017

  • This morning was a little cold for this guy, just below 60°, I gave him a little pat to see if he was alive, yep still alive but moving very slowly.

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August 25th, - 27th 2017

I was jonesing to build another Raised Hugelkultur Bed on the patio, but have been putting it off for a while, because it just didn't feel right, if that makes sense.
Anyhow I threw one together and it seems a bit overwhelming of the patio. I'm gonna give it a season or two and see if it should stay or go.

Since I was cutting back some of my shrubs I asked the neighbor if he wanted me to hack his stuff back. It's so overgrown you can barely get into his back yard and he has some large silver maple trees in there that gotta come out.

After the bed was built I removed the pavers underneath but didn't cut the other pavers, just in case I decide to take the new bed out.

I lined the bottom with Magnolia stumps and on top of that some thin cut Ash logs and then a boat load of Rose of Sharon cuttings, followed by a little of my clay soil, the contents of a planter that contained, peat, sand compost and manure then topped off with compost. In an effort to make it look a Little respectable, I tossed in some flowers and a basil plant then planted some Kale and Spinach.

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I burnt the a lot of the heavy trimmings and this will be used for Bio Char and potash, I let the fire burn until everything was at coals and then sprayed with a hose.

I usually burn the evergreen stuff, weeds and tomato plants, everything else gets composted. A lot of the yew needles were used as a pathway, first I layered cardboard then the  trimmings then cardboard and mulch will be added in the fall, my hope is that the yew needles are allelopathic.

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  • I added a fridge to my smoking area, love it. My beer would always get warm while I was doing my yard work now it is ice cold.

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  • I planted some Garlic cloves.

  • My Jalapenos in the Vertical Tower are really producing rather well.

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  • I'm very happy with my Leek Garden out front, I may make this a tad bigger next season.

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  • Moving day for my daughter, we stopped at Uno's to grab a bite after we got her moved in.

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  • Trimmed the Black Vernissage tomato plant, its way out of control. I 'll make some Roasted tomatoes out of this, I may smoke them too.

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  • Welcomed Guest

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I had a few Goldfinches making their rounds on the sunflowers

We were laughing as we were listening to the bullfrogs in the pond and watching the Goldflinches tossing sunflower seeds everywhere.

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Post  SQWIB 1/15/2018, 1:02 pm

September 5th, 2017

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  • Been adding to my Tabasco sauce again this year.

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  • Found this Hornworm in the garden, my daughter took it as a little to do project.

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  • Tore out my Black Vernissage and put in some Bio-char, rabbit manure and old potting mix from one of my Air Pruning Pots.

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  • Another critter found

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  • Planted some Crimson Clover and Oats. I plan on doing a section at a time as the Bio-Char and Rabbit manure come available.

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  • Picked some peppers from the pond and Hugelkultur beds.

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  • Roasted some Tomatoes and peppers

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  • Picked up some more compost and topped off Moms Hugelkultur bed and some of my beds.

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  • Grabbed some wood too!

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  • Picked up 20 bags of mulch and cleaned up my pathway in front of the Hugelkultur beds.

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  • Transplanted the Calla Lilies, they were taking over the Herb Garden..

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  • And got some smoking and cooking done.

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September 9th, 2017

  • Leopard slug.

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  • Started staining the Retaining wall and top pieces for the wall and fence.

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  • Boards are flipped and stained on the other side.

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  • The irises took over the pond and were really messing with the filters so I had no alternative but to tear them out, I'm still debating on what to do with the pond.

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  • Replaced most of the rubber hoses with silicone hoses, the rubber ones always end up splitting on me.

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  • Decided to put some of the plants back, had to go swimming. I think I am going to remove the shrub in the back before it is too late.

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  • My original plan was to make a Sub Irrigated Planter that is constantly fed by the pond that is filled with calla lilies, and add some metal wall art.

  • Went back a few days later, pulled all of the Water Lilies, cleaned and fed them and placed back in the pond.

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  • I still need to thin out the irises in the back pond and pull the ivy as well as a bit of weeding. The Tabasco and Ghost Chili peppers are kicking butt.

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  • Eastern Black Swallowtail. There are about half a dozen scattered through the garden.

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  • Sam laying cardboard for a weed barrier.

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  • The family helping lay out the cardboard and mulch.

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  • Sam and Laura staining the new Hugelkultur bed.

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  • Since everyone is helping, I can take a break.

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  • Mulch is finished.

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  • Top plate is installed.

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  • Two more turtle rescues, these will be let go in a week or two. (Hey what are you two doing?)

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  • Some stuff from the Garden. Eggplant, Chives, Jalapenos, Cherokee purple. (Grilled Sirloin with Tomato and feta, Sweet potato and brown sugar, Fried Eggplant, Buffalo Wing ABT, Potato pancake).

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  • One hungry family.

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Post  sanderson 1/16/2018, 3:46 am

Your food looks absolutely delicious.  And, the staining and red colored wood chips are stunning. Shocked


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Post  SQWIB 1/16/2018, 7:00 am

sanderson wrote:Your food looks absolutely delicious.  And, the staining and red colored wood chips are stunning. Shocked

Thank you

I actually like the red mulch better after a few seasons, I feel its too red the first season its down.
It's the only colored mulch that weathers/seasons nicely, well in my opinion anyway.

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Post  SQWIB 1/16/2018, 7:09 am

  • More from the garden

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  • Some of my eggplants are struggling but some have set fruit and are still flowering.

  • Moms eggplants wont quit, this is a first year Hugelkultur bed I have no idea why these things have exploded, they have been supplying the neighbors with eggplant off of these two plants, I started these seedlings the same time I done mine and my plants look pathetic.

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September 17th, - 22nd, 2017

Well it's about that time of year, the garden is past its peak and some hard choices for the garden need to be made, this is a melancholy time for me. Some fall crops have been planted and some plants are being pulled here and there. I guess I shouldn't be too sad, after all, I did have a great growing season. More Pond work needs to be done also.

  • Tore out the Laurel behind the pond and planted Calla Lilies. Hopefully the Flowers will take hold and grow in nice next year, it looks so bare! I also need to get something to cover the top of the Wendy Filter...the blue foam isn't cutting it!

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  • Mom wanted to find a new home for her Koi, it was getting too big for her pond.

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My first frost is in less than 4 weeks.

The tomatoes have slowed production with the exception of the Matts Wild Cherry, Celebrity and Box Car Willie, the BCW will not stop producing and "0" splits thus far. I do have quite a few green tomatoes and some random flowers. My Cherokee purples split and become bug infested while they're still mostly green, I'll never grow them again, I threw out almost every CP tomato the last month.

My peppers plants are doing real well;

  • The Jalapeno is on its third huge harvest (one plant). I may try to overwinter this guy.

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  • The green (California Wonders) and Ruby Red bells fizzled out. I still have a few peppers that need to be picked.

  • Poblanos, Anaheim and Corno Di Toro Gillo still have plenty of fruit and some Poblanos and Anaheims are ripening to red, some will be roasted, peeled, smoked and dried, others may be stuffed.

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  • The Corno Di Toro Giallo in the side Hugelkultur bed (2nd season Hugelkultur) is so loaded with peppers that I had to secure it to the trellis.

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  • The ghost chili's are starting to ripen as well as the Tabascos. The Tabascos go into my sauce jar thats on its second year resting on charred oak. The ghost Chili's will be smoked and made into a Ghost Chili Salt.

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  • The flowers out front look healthy, I never did get the "sunpatient" in the center to recover completely. The marigolds are doing great.

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  • I don't know what I did to this Eggplant Plant but I couldn't bear to watch it suffer anymore so I tore it out and composted it, There were about 5 eggplants on it but only one was salvageable. I cut back the other two a few days ago and will let it go another week.

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  • The Eggplant Plants in the Hugelkultur beds still look OK and have plenty of flowers but I don't see any new fruit yet. This one looks a little bit nutrient deficient than the on in the Side Hugelkultur bed.

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  • Side Hugelkultur bed

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  • Rosemary is looking great.

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  • The asparagus is going nuts, this is my 2nd year of not harvesting, next year I will harvest it a lot more.

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  • The sunpatients in the upper veggie filter still look great.

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  • I had a few eggplants that I dehydrated and made some flour to try in some flatbread recipes.

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  • I fear my eggplant supply is done for the year, so we made a few Eggplant Dishes.

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September 22nd, 2017

  • Was in garden mode after work today and decided to clean out one of the beds. I left one eggplant and the marigolds, the eggplant had a couple possible fruits on them.

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  • Pulled the leeks for a buddy, they were puny but he didn't care. Gave him a bunch of Cherokee purples, celebrities, Box Car Willies, some basil, and some rosemary. I kept a few leeks for dinner. I had given a few of the CP's earlier to a neighbor

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  • The Leeks in the Air Pruning Pot will be pulled next, Ill leave the leeks in the ground go till late October early November. I still have another pot of leeks that will be harvested sooner.

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  • The Zucchini plant is doing well, I need to hit it with some BTK. I never grew Zucchini in the fall, we will see what happens.

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  • Cut back the Raspberry and planted some more Garlic.

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  • Time to play in the dirt, it is really nice being able to garden and not need a jackhammer. The Hori Hori wasn't even needed. Tore out most of the Oregano and left a little in each corner for next years pollinators.

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  • The compost bin was full, it was actually about a foot higher a few weeks ago and the lid was just floating on top, it dropped quite a bit the last few weeks but I needed to make more room for the end of the season cleanup.

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  • I pulled about 4 bucket loads and top dressed the top of the upper retaining wall, I'm concentrating on building the soil up there especially the ends because I plan to plant Asparagus beans and Spaghetti squash next year on either side.

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  • I really need to do something with the Ghost Chili's, I'm thinking on drying a few and making a Ghost Chili salt.

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  • The Tabasco and the ghost chili plant are really doing well here, I'll probably try a Serrano in place of the Ghost Chili next year.

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  • I'll also space them a bit better and try not to shade out my Bee Balm. I also need to cut back the iris.

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  • Since I was in garden mode I decided to have a garden dinner.

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  • Thickened with Eggplant Flour

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September 24th, - 26th, 2017

  • Made some Horseradish and Horsey Mustard for a buddy and myself.

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  • Made some Datil Pepper salt and Ghost Chili Salt

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  • Got a chance to try the eggplant flour on some flatbread pizzas, I used it 7 parts wheat one part eggplant flour, I'll try doubling the EP Flour next time 6 to 2, and go from there.

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  • Had to pull a few of my leeks, the neighbor trampled them.

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  • Prepping an area for some Phlox Transplants

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  • Harvested some peppers and played a little.

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  • Since I had the smoker going, I Roasted, Smoked and dried some Poblanos

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Since I removed the Laurel, the Koi pond area is now so bare, I wanted to dress it up a bit so I ordered some fake flowers and topped my Wendy filter. I think it looks good, better than the blue anyway, and most importantly, Laura likes it.

  • Before

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  • After

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  • Eggplant from moms Hugelkultur bed, Her eggplants are still putting out fruit, this guy was peeled, diced, blanched and dehydrated for winter addiction needs.

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  • Prepped a third area to plant GARLIC, waiting for garlic to sprout.

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  • Strawberries are still spitting out some fruit here and there, just enough to enjoy a treat when in the yard and to share with the turtles.

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  • Sprayed the Zucchini and Broccoli with some BTK and put out some "Sluggo Plus"

  • Planted some Oat seeds and covered with cardboard to keep the birds off of them, they were up in three days. I'll be tossing down some more Crimson Clover as well. Prepped the garden area by the back fence with a load of compost and some rabbit dung. I really need to suck it up and pull the eggplant plant.

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  • I had to get away from the garden for a few days, I was starting to obsess over everything. Saturday we walked at Challenge Grove Park in NJ for "Energy For Life Walkathon" to benefit United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.

Nice Park.
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  • Stopped at my Daughters Fall festival at the PennyPack Environmental center and Celebrated my SIL's birthday as well as mine with the family. It was actually nice to get away from the gardening.

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The rest of this week I'm just putzing around a bit in the yard but will be away this weekend, I still feel I need a break from the gardening, hopefully this weekend will do the trick!

Its been high 80's most of the week with mid 80's nights, this morning it was 50° so I guess thats it, anyhow here is a quick walk through of whats going on.

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Post  SQWIB 1/18/2018, 12:57 pm

September 28th, 2017

Garlic first and 2nd planting.

  • August 27th

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  • September 22nd

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  • Oats in one of the raised beds on the hill, they're not even a week old yet, covering in cardboard the first three days really helps.

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  • The other raised bed still has a few Cherokee purple plants that seem to be doing pretty good, the tomatoes are actually coming off less cracked, split and bug infested. Maybe due to a lot less rain?

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  • Ghost Chili's and Tabascos are doing great, the entire pond area is doing great, I'll have to cut back the irises this year.

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  • Front pond, the Poblanos, Corno Di Tori Giallo and Ruby Red peppers are still producing. The plants are definitely deficient in something here, but this is a balancing act between the nutrient, plants and fish. The plants are mainly there to clean the water, the veggies that are harvested are a bonus.

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  • Asparagus

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  • Side Hugelkultur bed.

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  • Zucchini test, direct sowed August 21st, next year if I have issues with the SVB and the Btk does not work, I'll try planting zucchini late July. I have sprayed this twice with Btk and will continue for another week, but I don't think that the Squash Vine Borer is active this time of year.

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  • Side hugelkultur bed, year 2.

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  • Backyard hugelkultur bed, left side year 2 (section with patio), right half year 1, (section with mulch). Got some romaine in the 2 year Hugelkultur bed. Have some struggling broccoli in the 1st year Hugelkultur bed.

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  • Eggplants in the first year Hugelkultur bed (mulch section). I wouldn't bet on these getting any bigger than a baseball, but we shall see. The eggplant plant on the hill is getting flowers but no fruit. The plant in the side Hugelkultur bed have quite few flowers and may have a few eggplants forming.

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October 1st, 2017

  • Zucchini has some flowers, I'll start hand pollinating this week.

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  • Got some pond work done I decided to cut the iris back completely so I had to go in, it was getting out of hand, it should come back next season. Since I went swimming I decided to work on the Koi pond as well, I just stirred up the bottom, picked out some pavers that had fallen in and replaced the filter sponges with a coarser sponge. The filters were clogging up almost every third day.

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  • Transplanted a bunch of Phlox.

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  • Planted the rest of my Oats and some of my Crimson Clover. I really need to find a supplier for oats and get 10 pound bags.

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  • I'm still rooting for these guys

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  • My romaine is finally perking up, somewhat.

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  • I might as well give up on broccoli, this is my best plant.

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  • Clover is growing nicely.

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  • Playing with my peppers.

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  • My Tabasco hot sauce is on year two, started the hot sauce summer of 2016, these are resting on charred oak and I will try some fall of 2018 to see if it is ready for processing.

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  • Made some bio-char burning a lot of the marigolds, some cardboard, tomato plants, sunflowers, some old tree trimmings, woody plant stems, weeds, dog poo, and some pallets. I got about 2.5 five gallon buckets, I'll be adding some urea to the 5 gallon buckets and then topping the one raised bed on the hill or dumping in the compost heap. This stuff is great for amending clay soil but from what I have read I don't think it does much good in my Hugelkultur beds due to the healthy soil, none the less I add some here and there and also will add ash.

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  • Pulled my Corno Di Toro Giallo pepper plant to make room for the garlic. This thing was so heavy with peppers that it completely toppled over when I removed the support.

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  • I'll try stuffing these this week and see how they are.

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  • Planting the garlic

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  • The eggplant plants in the Hugelkultur beds are doing well but the eggplants are growing slowly, I am not holding my breath for a late harvest, but I'm curious how far these guys will get.

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  • The side Hugelkultur bed is doing real well and noticed a few eggplants on this plant as well.

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  • This Jalapeno Pepper plant in the Vertical Garden is simply amazing, this will be my 4th harvest this year, I need to make sure and keep picking the peppers next year to promote new peppers. The first two harvests were about 18 each, the third was a dozen, looks like I'll have another 18 coming off in a bit.

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  • Time to shut down the veggie filter. The cover to the veggie filter was looking a little weathered, so I sanded and stained it.

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  • The pepper plants in the Koi ponds veggie filter are DEFINITELY finished.

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  • Impatients are still looking good so I need to bypass the overflow. The soil is recycled into the compost bin with the plants The pots, saucers and fabric are stored away.

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  • Bypassing the lower veggie filter to drain directly into the pond. Oh crap, just noticed in this picture that Laura stuck a fall decoration in the upper veggie filter, I hope she didn't tear the liner.

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  • Pond work always requires a beer

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  • Had to catch a frog that insisted on staying in the veggie filter, I called Amanda out to get him, she loves that kinda stuff. The weather is still fairly warm so technically I could have removed the stuff from the filter, placed on the cover and kept it running. There... all finished, now Laura can decorate this area with her festive fall stuff.

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  • Planted a few Sunchokes on the upper hill. Planted two varieties of spinach and will let them go through the winter, I'm curious if they'll make it.

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  • Played with the Swallowtails for a bit, easily two dozen on this one plant.

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Post  SQWIB 1/22/2018, 8:14 am

OK, this will be the last post for my 2017 garden...thank goodness!

October 10th, 2017

  • Dam... Look at my parsley lol.

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  • The everlasting gobstopper jalapeno pepper plant, I'll pickle a lot of these and make some Taco ABT's

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  • Corno Di Toro Giallo, they really love this Hugelkultur bed.

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  • Oats and Crimson clover are doing well, pulled the eggplant plant and diced the fruit up for my Saturday Garden Jambalaya. The marigold blows my mind, this was cut back twice.

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  • The Box Car Willie still putting out red tomatoes, I got my first tomato off of this plant and it looks like I'm gonna get my last from it too.

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  • The rest of the eggplant plants will be pulled Saturday.

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  • The Composter is kicking @ss. My compost bin was full when I poured this 2nd batch of trub on it, a few days later it dropped a foot, must be the yeast.

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  • The bin is absolutely crawling in Black Soldier Fly Larvae.

October 23rd, 2017

Well, I did my end of year cleanup this weekend and I made another batch of Bio-Char, using, pallets, cardboard, junk mail, documents, (dog poo, only what was collected this week), Bones, woodsy plant trimmings, some hardwoods and the tomato plants.

  • I tore out all the summer veggies with the exception of a Box Car Willie tomato plant, a celebrity, Matts Wild Cherry and a Corno Di Toro Giallo.

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  • The Corno Di Toro Giallo peppers are from one plant

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  • And I had 2 surprise Eggplants that were growing through the fence on the neighbors side in the side Hugelkultur bed. The two big ones will be fried, the little ones go in the Jambalaya.

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  • My compost bin has been kicking @ss this year the lid wouldn't fit on this 4 days ago.

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  • Cleaned out the freezer and tossed everything on top, yes I tossed in meat like, pepper steak, chicken noodle soup, old chicken breast, cheesey dishes like stuffed shells etc...

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  • This is the only problem with composting any type of meats and cheese. I could have burned these foods but wanted to try them directly in the compost bin first, the dog was up there before I could even get the lid on.

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  • I start off with a few pallets with all the junk then started tossing on hardwoods to make my end of year Garden Jambalaya. Preheating with oil.

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  • While the pallets and junk burn down, I started making some ABT's to snack on. I just cant believe I got another 32 peppers off of this plant, this is the 4th harvest.

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  • Separated the peppers, some for pickling and some for stuffing.

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  • My basic "Chicken Taco ABT's". Boiled Chicken breast, three cheese blend, taco seasoning, chili powder and a bit of chicken broth.

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  • ABT's are tossed into the smoker with some Apple wood

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  • Tossed in some Poblanos, these will be fully dehydrated in the dehydrator for later recipes. (Awesome in my Baked Beans)

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  • Added the rest of my Tabasco peppers to my Tabasco sauce that has been resting on charred oak over a year now.

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  • OK, time for the jambalaya. preheated oil, Chicken thighs, Hot Sausage, ground meat, onions and eggplant.

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  • Corno and Anaheim peppers

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  • Roasted tomatoes from earlier in the season, can of crushed tomatoes, Montreal steak seasoning.

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  • While that simmered I installed a rack for my garden tools.

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  • Barley.

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  • I snacked on some ABT's, sampled a bowl of the Jambalaya, then the rest was put in containers and placed in the freezer.

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After I was done making my Garden Jambalaya, I spent a few more hours burning up some hardwood. When the last flame flickered out, I busted up all the hot coals, let it burn down a bit more, then covered the coals with some potting mix from a 10 gallon Air Pot of spent potting mix, perlite, peat, potting mix.

The next day I mixed the rest of the potting mix in with the coals real well, dug it out and put about 20% in my raised beds and the rest in the compost heap, then poured 3/4 gallon of urea on top of the bio-char in the compost bin.

I made sure to cover the top of the compost bin with the Bio-char and urea to keep critters out, on the other hand my dog was quicker than me. SUGA 2017 - Page 2 Icon_eek

I know that there is going to come a time when I will have to stop adding bio-char, but for now, a half a dozen fires a year should be OK for the next 10 years... I still have an entire front yard to do. SUGA 2017 - Page 2 Icon_biggrin

This end of season clean up works out well for me because, I get to clean out the freezer, clean up the gardens, add to my compost bin, use up all my extra veggies, have lunches at work for a month and have an excuse to hang out all day by the fire, listening to music, smoking, cooking and tossing back a few beers.
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  • My daughters car blew up on the turnpike.

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So what do we do?

  • We go out to eat of course.

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  • A few more turtle rescues being rehabbed.

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  • And I fear this may be my last tomato, a Box Car Willie, we will see, I left the BCW in the bed. (Roast beef is from Manday 6 cook)

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October 29th, 2017

  • Smoked and dehydrated my Poblanos and into the jar they go..

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  • Made my Fall Leek Potato soup.

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  • I finally got around to making my Dill Bread. First I needed a way to separate the seeds. I used a colander for the first screening, most of the seeds went through the colander.

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  • The next step was a coarse strainer to let the smaller particles and husks fall through.

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  • There's still a good amount of Dill seeds in the screened pieces, these are placed in a jar to grow some dill next season.

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  • Worked beautifully.

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For the bread I just used a box of Bread Machine mix (white) and added a few of my own ingredients.

  • 1 box of Bread Machine mix follow directions, I cut back on the water 2 tablespoons and added an extra tablespoon of oil.

  • 1/4 Cup of Cream Cheese

  • 1 tablespoon of Dried Minced Onions (will increase to 5 teaspoons next time)

  • 2 teaspoons of Dill Seed (Will increase to 1 tablespoon next time)

  • The bread was fantastic, everyone loved it, but I want to increase the Dill flavor a bit next time I make this.

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SEEYA IN 2018!!

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Post  Kelejan 1/22/2018, 2:29 pm

Phew!  SQUIB, I have just read your 2017 results, looked at your pictures and I am feeling slightly inadequate.  I will amend that, I am overwhelmed.
Can I borrow you for 2018?

I think this has given me some motivation to get on with things this coming year.
I already have a couple of hugelculture beds that I had to make about four years ago as I had so much wood laying around from when my birch trees was cut down.
when the snow disappears from my yard I will investigate to see how much the wood has rotted down etc.  I do know that there are lots of growth coming from that area.

A couple of years ago I had masses of tomatoes harvested from a few plants, most have been eaten, frozen, dried etc., but this year I will try roasting them before further processing and they sound  much more tasty roasted first.  I will also look out for those Box Car Willie tomato seeds.

Thanks for all the words and photos, I have really enjoyed your year.  Kelejan

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Post  sanderson 1/22/2018, 3:19 pm

Your gardens are beautiful. Do you want to share any recipes?


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