Tuesday, December 29, 2015

When is the best time to start seeds indoors

Start by separating all your packets of seed into two piles: those that will be "direct-sown" (planted right in the garden) and those that will be started indoors.

If there's no information on the seed packet, start all your seeds about 6-8 weeks before you'll plant them outdoors. Make note of which plants are too big or too small at planting time, and then you can make adjustments next year based on your notes.  Some seed should be planted directly outside in the ground. Like beans, sun flowers, peas, corn, radish do not like to be transplanted. 

It helps to know how deep the roots are, so you can choose the right size pot to start them in. Like Peanuts have 12 in roots. I did them in new paper folded cups. The roots went thew and under the paper of the other cups. They did fine. But made it hard to take the paper off with out disrupting the roots. 

I am in Zone 5 Missouri. My last frost date is April 15. With the weather changing so much. March was fine for potatoes to be outside. We had our last frost on April 2, 2015. So they had to be covered on that date. 

I use the lunar signs to start seed so after the new moon in Jan, Feb and March, I start seeds. 
The cold crop should be started first. Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, etc.  Jan 

Tomato and peppers are also one of the first ones to start. I prefer larger plants to transplant out doors. Feb, may be when I stat them.  I will also start, true potato seed, (TPS) not tubers in Jan and Feb also. Last year it was March. I found they were to small in April. 

How the Moon affects plant growth

How soil and water temperature affects seed germination

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Harvesting Oca

On Nov 10, 2015 I had some frost damage to the tops of the Oca. Yet there was still green growth on many parts of the stem. I asked and was told by William. On the 23 of November ."The above ground parts of the plant will die in freezing weather. Tubers in soil are generally safe for overnight chills down to 25F, but they'll start to freeze if that continues for more than 8 hours. Frozen tubers are dead tubers."
So I continued to keep them outside and protected
The green gave me hope that the tubers were safe.

Tubers looked great.
Around the first week of December I took these 3 plants into the house putting them in a clear storage tote. I found they continues to bulk up and the tops stopped growing.
Th results of today's harvest
I have learned enough to be able to do a better job of growing them next year.
I will keep them in containers where I can move them around. And get them out of the heat on high heat and humid days. Because I lost 10 of 13 plants the first day heat went up to 97f.   But these were in a more protected area. I also will have them started early to obtain more top growth. As the 3rd plant and some of the others did not grow enough green to stay alive and develop tubers.

These are the 3 variety's,
Yellow with Light red (pink)
Country of origin Bolivia 
is an abundant flowerier, which set quite a bit of seed in it's state of origin. .

Light red (pink) White

I may be the only person in the world with OC-14-1x14x08.

 The most promising variety for yield can have more than 2 pounds from the seedling. It appears I have none of these.

recipes for use

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

More seed potatoes to add to my collection

Purple Peruvian, French Fingerling, 
Ruby Crescent, Russian Banana

Today I added an assortment of fingerling type potatoes to my collection of tubers to grow next summer. I am so happy to have a growing assortment of tubers and TPS seeds. 

Purple Peruvian
I grew some of these last year.  They are mixed up with the exotic potatoes I have. So I bought more to keep them separated this year. 

Russian Banana Fingerling Small 4-5" banana-shaped tubers with light yellow to brown skin and yellow flesh

 It is hard to tell which is which on the red ones.You almost have to cut open to find the specks of red color

French fingerlings 80+ days, mid-season 
red skin with yellow flesh that is specked with red spots
Tubers are larger and more oval in shape than Russian Banana, 

Ruby Crescent  Large fingerling with rose colored skin and yellow flesh

Why potatoe form mini tubers

I have had a number of potato tubers form tiny potatoes on the side of them. Kinda like the potato had baby's attached. Sometimes it is caused by the tuber being old. Yet, this one was never dug up from growing new. I have heard a potato can do this if it is stressed also. 
Dry potato with small micro tubers attached
I was never able to harvest this plant. The top died back like it was time to harvest. Yet, new growth was forming from the new potatoes. With all the rain and temperature up and down. I think this broke the dormancy of the new tuber. Or it had no dormancy in it. I do not have a name for this potato. It was part of an exotic variety pack I ordered to grow this year. It did have a dark purple to brown woody stem and purple flowers.
wet potato tuber to show more color
It seems the loner I leave these micro tubers attached the more they grow and the parent potato shrinks from feeding it. I have them sitting out of soil now. Yet they continue to enlarge. Adding water to the parent helps it to survive and re-hydrate a bit. If I were to put it in moist cocoa coir it would help to re-hydrate it more. Yet it could create roots to get the get plant process going again.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Let's make some comfry tea organic fertilizer

This is not for drinking our self. This is for giving your vegetable or household plants some Comfry organic fertilizer. The nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (NPK) ratio of dried comfrey leaves is 1.8-0.5-5.3; comfrey also contains calcium.

All you do is pull of some of the leaves with the stem. comfrey leaves can irritate the skin, so wear gloves. Add some of the flower parts dry or green. Once you have enough for your bucket. You compress them down with some weight. A brick , board or rock will do. Add water to fill. 
Let the bucket sit with a lid on top. As soon as 20 days pass you can start using it. In about 3 weeks, you will have a liquid fertilize. It will become a gooey substance the longer it sets.  . It will ferment, so the smell will not be so good. I would suggest you keep it outside. The sun may cook it. But shade will do a slow ferment.

When you go to use it. Dilute 1/2 and 1/2 with water. Or thin to 1 part comfry 9 parts water. It is up to you how strong you want to use it.

You can also use the leaves as a mulch.. Or bury the leaves about 2 inches under the soil. It will break down quickly.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Growing Oca in Missouri.

 This year was an experiment in growing Oca (Oxalis tuberosa, in my climate. For a bit I felt like a failure. When our temperatures reached  97f. Most of the plants I had in full sun fell over and died really fast. Even though they had many weeks of extreme rain. We did not have enough sun or good weather for them to fully develop a good top or sufficient root growth. The ones on the back side of the fence sat there like the broccoli did.Stayed immature and died not long after. I have only 3 of 13 variety's to survive real life in Missouri. Other than they were protected by the Bushentino beans from morning sun. They had after noon sun, when we did have any to speak of.. But to be fair. I did it like i would have if I were to have bought them to grow in my yard. So this is a fair test. If I would have put them in a green house environment, or containers. It would have saved more of them. But not prove they could grow in my area. So I have to accept the challenge was done the right way. Because a typical buyer wants to know it will work. Or it has to be babied, like a tropical plant. Yet a tropical plant can survive the summer in my area but not the winter.
Now that temperature are dropping  and the lay length is getting shorter, Tubers are starting to form on some of these  I moved the small one to a grow bag. It has no tubers. The one in the container behind it has 1 white tuber forming so far. I have had frost covers on them. But with temps falling to 28f 33 f and going back up into the 50, 60 and 70's The leaves are suffering a bit. I do not know if I can keep it going into December. One min it looks good the next not so good. But it is still alive.

These are the 3 variety's, I have still growing. 
Yellow with Light red (pink)
Country of origin Bolivia 
is an abundant flowerier, which set quite a bit of seed in it's state of origin. .

Light red (pink) White

I may be the only person in the world with OC-14-1x14x08.

 The most promising variety for yield can have more than 2 pounds from the seedling.

This is what they looked like on Nov 2, 2015. The green has perked up and Ok now. But the lighter parts can not be saved. But the good news it is still growing. The tubers were about 1/2 inch in size. I one looks a little bit to see one for each plant. There may be more. But I do not want to cause too much stress.


Friday, November 6, 2015


I recieved my order today, I am impressed. you can tell by looking at them the are real multipliers. They sold out fast too.
This person wrote this info on them. I will add what I find below the post.

A HERITAGE VARIETY ONION SETS, MULTIPLIER ONION SETS. These are the kind your Grandparents had that makes green onions in fall and winter. Save bulbs for next year. I paid $5.50 per pound, shipping $6.25

The paper included said. Plant them all. Large or small, all will produce green onions, or leave them to make bulbs, each cluster in this box is from 1 small set. 

Look closely at the amount of green coming out of each white bulb. The difference in  normal onions and multiplying onions is. 1 bulb or seed creates 1 normal onion. When on bulb of a multiplier onion creates many onions, that are full of divisions to create even more.
Planting onions
onions do best if the soil pH is between 5.5 and 6.5, a little on the acid side.
Add organic matter, like compost or dry leaves decayed leaves .it acts like a sponge, holding moisture near the surface. That's good for onions, which have shallow roots and can't tap water or nutrients deep in the soil.Clay soil will puddle water on top. So sand and humus/manure should be added.

I am planting in a raised bed. With lots of humus/manure. I have read, Onions like to feed 2x as much as other vegetables. If you find your onions have pale yellow or greenish yellow leaves, that would indicate that onions could lack nitrogen. Also leaves can yellow after long, wet periods of weather because a lot of rain washes nitrogen from the soil.   It's difficult to over-fertilize onions. They require quite a lot of nutrients.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2 new small tomatoes added to my collection.

Looks like I will be growing some small 2-3 bit size tomatoes next summer. Both are from fellow you tube channels.

Orange Roussollini - Tomato (80 days)
This one Luke was sent seed for from one of his viewers. He put the seed up for sale and I got 2 packs. 
He said this is the sweetest tomato he has ever tasted. It was sent all the way from Italy, a family heirloom. Grows in a very lush bushy plant, with so many fruits per plant! Heart shaped, very prolific producer
. This was sent to MIGardener. I paid $4.48 including shipping.
This is his video showing his harvest. 

The 2nd one is a praxxus cherry tomato. From Praxxus55712
I won it for free on a You tube give away.
It was very kind of him to give to 300+/- people.
He has many videos with this plant in it.

What to do with berrys growing on your potato plant.

I have seen so many post on Face book, saying.
What are these ball's or berry's on my potato plant?
They are fruit like, you would find on a tomato or egg plant.
Tomatoes and potatoes and egg plants are all in the Nigh shade family.

I see people reply to them. It is Poisson or toxic berry's. 
Yes, they are right. They are not food to eat. There only purpose is to produce seed to grow new potato plants. That is how we get new variety's.
Please do not destroy them. Give them to someone who wants to save the seed from them. Many times I want to write. SEND THEM TO ME! LOL :)

The purple flower in this photo created my first berry this past summer.
This post will not deal with potato breeding. Just what to do with the berry's

1. Let them stay on the plant as long as possible.
2. If the are not soft like a tomato, store them in a paper bag, or let them sit on a window sill to continue to ripen.

How to process the True potato seeds (TPS) 
I will include a video and photos here to show you what I did with today's ripe berry's. I have also done one in the past with an over ripe berry. I will add that one on here too. 
 This is what you need, ripe berry's, knife to cut open, a container to soak the seed in, yeast to help remove the gel coating on the seed
 The berry's in the photo show different stages of ripeness. The darker the color and harder the berry the fresher it is. The lighter the color and softer it becomes the ripper is it. You want ripe seed,
 Like most tomatoes, the berry has seed on each side of a center cavity. The outer skin will come off easy. But all you want is to squeeze out the seed. removing it from the flesh of the berry.
I am using a small jelly jar I added 1/4 teaspoon of yeast to half a jar of warm water. I will let this sit 24 hours. Then fill the jar up with more warm water. It will set another 24 hours. 

The seed is smaller than tomato see, So I will add a coffee filter to my strainer.
I will then run under water and rinse the seed.
I can let the seed dry on the coffee filter, or transfer to wax paper, paper towel.What ever you prefer to let your seed dry on. The seed will stick more to a paper towel.  But that is not really an issue for me. 
The purpose of this fermentation like process, is to remove the gel coating. It will inhibit the growth of the seed.  
I will let this seed air dry for a week or more. 
I them store it for next years use. 
Labels are important. 
I find if I do not write the name on the filter/jar I will forget what the name was. 

Video 1 is processing ripe berry's / fruit

Video 2 getting seed from an over ripe berry/fruit

Note, The berry's processed in the photo and first video or from The potato plant called Riverwood. 
 Medium-large round Irish potato tubers, white flesh, huge yields, many berry's. Tetraploid. May have a have a high starch and low moisture content, meaning they bake well, are fluffy when mashed and make excellent French fries.
Or turn into a Potato starch or potato flour, made by grinding cooked, dried potatoes, this would be a gluten-free thickening agent. Be careful not to boil a preparation once it has been thickened with potato starch

Riverwood potatoes are very resistant to PVX, PVY and PLRV; good heat tolerance; good processing quality; good combining ability attributes; adapted to lowland tropics
GRIN: PI 607501     Coad: C89.315     CIP 388972.22

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Chosing potatoes to grow in the garden

I know it is fall and time to put the garden to sleep. LOL. I have been ordering and planing next years garden the last month or more. I think I had spring fever all summer long. I was happy with my potato harvest this year. But, I want productive plants.I have seen many Youtube videos showing great harvests in the United Kingdom. Charlotte in one potato, I have been looking to add to my collection. It is the first bag on the left of this photo. These are all 1 pound bags.
You can judge from the tuber that  the potato is a good size for cooking. The Huckleberry potato is close in size.  Skin color is a maroon-beet red and the flesh is dark pink with white marbling.  So this potato may be full of antioxidants. When you find things with colors like purple they somehow have more nutrients and health benefits. So I am also looking to add and keep potatoes like this growing. 

Also I want plants that can produce potato berry's. Because, I want to breed my own potatoes. Or collect seed from them.  If they are tetraploids, nature will take care of them and the bees will pollinate them. But they have a good chance of being male sterile. Like most commercial potatoes,  that do not produce berry's.  Where Diploid requires another plant to cross pollinate with.  They are harder to work with.

I also received Rose Finn Apple fingerling.(beige skin and deep yellow flesh) Even though it is a small potato, it looks like it produces many per a plant.
It is a late-season 105–135 days heirloom variety. I thought would be interesting to try. I have read reviews that they have stored well. So that is another trait I want in my potato collection. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Prepairing for frost in the garden

Cover your plants
Covering plants can give you 2 to 5 degrees F protection.  The covers can be laid right over the crop, or can be supported on stakes.  The difference being that
protection is less wherever the cover touches the plant.  Any material can be used to cover the plants, however woven fabrics are better insulators then plastics or paper.  The best time to apply covers is in the late afternoon after the wind has died down.  Remove covers the next morning before the sun hits them.

Irrigate during the potential frost
 Many people claim that watering the frost off plants prevents frost damage.  This is partially true.As mentioned above, watering plants helps raise their  temperature and the air around them to that of the water. In addition, as water freezes, heat is released; 80 calories for each gram of water that freezes.  Therefore,watering plants before they are injured from frost can help keep their internal temperature above freezing.  A single application at the coldest part of the night (generally just before sunrise) may be enough on 30- to 32-degree F nights.  On colder nights it may be necessary to apply overhead irrigation for an extended period of time, allowing actual ice formation on the plants.  In this case, irrigation must continue until morning temperatures rise above 32 F and the ice melts.  It is important to note that once frost damage occurs, watering does not help.
If this is cold enough to break cell walls or disrupt cell constituents beyond repair, damage, wilting, and
 death will occur in  affected tissue
 How much cold will kill a plant?
Some plants can survive sub-freezing temperatures for months. while others cannot take temperatures below 50 F. (10 C.) more than two or three hours.

Damage to plant tissue can be detrimental to plants.
Light frost typically will not cause major damage, unless it is a very tender plants, A really hard frost, will freeze water in plant cells, causing dehydration and damage to cell walls. Cold injury can then occur when the sun comes up, because the plant defrosts too quickly, killing leaves and stems.

 A good read on frost from  Cornell 

Friday, October 30, 2015

I recieved the multiplier onions I purchased.

 This is from the order I bought from.. I paid $13.00 including shipping.
Green Mountain Multiplier onion

Green Mountain Multiplier onion : (Allium cepa)  Large variety recently selected by Kelly Winterton.   I find that it doesn't cure out as reliably as the yellow potato onion it was bred from, and it has more tendency to bolt.  Once cured though, it keeps very well, into spring, and it is most definitely larger, at least twice as large on average.

Copper Shallot
Copper Shallot..pink tint to the flesh   Info from person I bought this from.
This is the old school type of shallot that does not tend to go to seed, but reproduces like a potato onion from planted bulbs.  For each bulb planted, a cluster of new bulbs forms.  Usually the reproduction rate is somewhere around 6 to every one planted.  These form hard bulbs that store like a rock once cured.  Some losses are always incurred during curing and storage, but most will easily keep until spring in fine eating and planting condition.  It is still better to plant this fall if you can, because they may not all make it till spring.  I have no idea how hardy this variety is in very cold climates.  The person I got this from said" Here I can grow it all winter through temps down to 20 degrees and it won't bolt if fall planted.  The bulbs are nice, with fewer divisions under the skin than the yellow potato onions I grow.  This is a great variety of french shallot that you can grow indefinitely without ever having to buy seed!  The modern varieties are bred to grow from seed and will bolt if a bulb is planted"
I'itoi onions

I'itoi onions  This is a very rare multiplying onion that make little bulbs that are a lot like a tiny shallot.  It is very small, but very productive.  It was supposedly introduced by the Spanish centuries ago and has been grown by the O'odam people of the southwest ever since.  It can also be grown and harvested as a scallion or as chives if left to grow without dividing. A single bulb can turn into over 100 at the end of the season
Re-growth begins again in July and prosper for about 10-11 months annually. As a hardy onion, they require about a third less water than most, since they
seldom get water more than twice a month in Arizona type weather 

Plant 12 inches apart about 2 inches deep.  

When they are young (green onions) they should be dug up with a spade or garden fork and not pulled like regular onions. Fibrous roots go down about six inches, which is why many end up pulling off the tops and leaving the bulbs in the earth.

Yellow potato onion

 The Yellow potato onion  small to medium multiplier.  Extremely good keeper once cured out.  It is a hardy heirloom multiplying onion once popular in home gardens, but now uncommon.  When one bulb is planted in fall, winter or spring, a cluster of onions is produced.  The ratio of reproduction is around 6 produced for every one planted.  The number of bulbs in a half pound will vary, but it’s usually 10 or more.  Generally, if a small bulb is planted, a few large onions will be produced.  If a large bulb is planted, more, but smaller, onions will be produced.  The bulbs are planted between fall and spring.  If fall or winter planting in cold areas, the onions may need to be hilled up with dirt for the winter and the dirt pulled away from the bulbs in the spring. Yellow potato onions are similar to traditional shallots.  The flavor is generally somewhat mild and sweet.  They grow to about 2 to 2.5 inches in diameter if well cared for.  The flesh is yellow.  They can keep extremely well, into and past the following spring.  They mature in late summer from either fall or spring planting, with earlier plantings ripening slightly earlier. The average multiplication is around 6 bulbs per one planted.  So, if 10 bulbs are planted, survive and reproduce and all the offspring are planted, the math works out to, 60 in year one, 360 in year two, 2,160 in year three and 12,960 in year four.  So, consider these bulbs an investment that you can start to share with other gardeners in a couple of years. Be warned that someone on ebay has been selling small commercial onion starts as potato onions for years.  Potato onions do not produce perfect, round, clean, small uniform bulbs.  These are the traditional yellow potato onion.

 The potato onions and shallots usually produce about 6 bulbs for each one planted.  The math works out to 6 = 36= 216= 1296 in year three! and the I'itoi can produce large clusters of small onions in one season.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Growing Glass Gem corn to harvest for seed.

With all the rain we had in Missouri, this year corn was not easy to grow. At the grocery store they want $3.99 for 3 ears. That is proof to me I am not alone in losing my yellow corn. But I waited till later i the summer and planted a few kernels of Glass gem. I had 3 ears grow. Today I had to pull them off. Rain and cold were getting to them. But I should have enough to save for seed to plant next year. 
I find some of the kernels have cracked and look like they were starting to pop.
This is from the outer shell drying up and the inside decided to try and grow some more. Like when tomatoes crack. It is the added water and growing temp returned for a few days. The plants are confused this year. Too hot or too cold. Up and down. But I have these hanging upside down in the house right now. I think they are dry enough but want to make sure before I remove them from the cob.
I really wish I had enough to try popcorn. The ones that have been cracked can still be used for corn meal, But they would not have internal pressure to build up inside of the kernel to create popcorn. I have read you can eat this corn as sweet corn only at a limited amount of time when it is in the milk stage of growth. This corn takes 105 days to mature for dry corn.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Results of the seed grow out for the EFN

It is time to pack up and seed the send back, what I grew out for the EFN (Experimental Farm Network)

BUSHITENO  (Grif 1490) cowpea from Sri Lanka 3 pounds 10 oz
Plum Lemon tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum) (PI 64753)
Phaseolus coccineus
( Black Coat Scarlet Runner Bean )Pollinated by bumblebees) I had to hand polinate
 Pea (Dwarf gray sugar) Low yeild
The grain seed that failed to grow, because of too much rain were.
Belezian cranbe sprout
Faro Quinoa (Pedros select)
Camelina  Sativa L.Crantz

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Soil temperatures for vegetable seed germination

Soil temperatures for vegetable seed germination

ASPARAGUS 50° 60° - 85° 75° 95° 21 - 30
BEAN 60° 60° - 85° 80° 95° 7 - 14
BEAN LIMA 60° 65° - 85° 85° 85° 10 - 14
BEET 40° 50° - 85° 85° 95° 7 - 14
CABBAGE 40° 45° - 95° 85° 100° 7 - 10
CARROT 40° 45° - 85° 80° 95° 10 - 21
CAULIFLOWER 40° 45° - 85° 80° 100° 3 - 10
CELERY 40° 60° - 70° 70° 85° 14 - 21
CHARD SWISS 50° 50° - 85° 85° 95° 7 - 14
CORN 50° 60° - 95° 95° 105° 7 - 10
CUCUMBER 60° 75° - 95° 95° 105° 7 - 10
EGGPLANT 60° 40° - 80° 85° 95° 7 - 12
LETTUCE 35° 40° - 80° 75° 85° 7 - 14
MUSKMELON 60° 75° - 95° 90° 100° 7 - 10
OKRA 60° 70° - 95° 95° 105° 8 - 12
ONION 35° 50° - 95° 75° 95° 10 - 14
PARSLEY 40° 50° - 85° 75° 90° 10 - 21
PARSNIP 35° 50° - 70° 65° 85° 14 - 21
PEA 40° 40° - 75° 75° 85° 8 - 10
PEPPER 60° 65° - 95° 85° 95° 14 - 21
POTATO (TPS) 60° 60° - 80° 70° 80° 2- 14
PUMPKIN 60° 70° - 90° 95° 100° 7 - 10
RADISH 40° 45° - 90° 95° 95° 3 - 7
SPINACH 35° 45° - 75° 70° 85° 7 - 10
SQUASH 60° 70° - 95° 95° 100° 9 - 12
TOMATO 59° 60° - 85° 85° 95° 5 - 14
TURNIP 40° 60° - 105° 85° 105° 6 - 7
WATERMELON 60° 70° - 95° 95° 105° 7 - 10

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Strike bush green bean

I ordered Strike bush green beans, I have seen videos on how productive they are. It is a 55 day to harvest green bean.  I paid $4.50 for 200 seeds.

Plant seed approximately 1 in. deep, space 4-8 inches  in row with rows 24-30 in. apart. These Beans do not tolerate frost so not a good choice to plant in fall. They like soil tempature to be at least 60 degrees.So I will wait till May to direct sow. Unless we have an early start of temps in April again. 

I also purchased 
Daikon Radish  (300 Seed's) It was only $1.75
 The word daikon means "great root" in Japanese. In cool weather, daikon growth is quick and steady. The fully mature daikon can grow up to about 18 inches long and weighs 5 or 6 pounds. There are several varieties. Some are thin and long, while others are short and round. All radish greens are edible.

 This is a cool-season, fast-maturing, easy-to-grow
 Place the seeds ¾ inch deep and 6 inches apart. Leave 3 feet between rows to allow for mature spread. The plants will mature within 60 to 70 days. 
The  tap root that can reach far into the soil to reclaim nitrogen.

This is a very large white radish, from Japan. Eaten raw daikon root  has a very mild taste and is very low in calories, coming in at around 6 calories per ounce. They're a prolific vegetable and can often grow up to 20" in length with a diameter of 4" 
The radishes store well once the tops have been removed. The radish leaves cause moisture and nutrient loss during storage. Store greens separately for 2-3 days

It can be shredded like cabbage or Sweet Pickled.
Sliced up and tossed with carrots, red peppers, shallots, olive oil, salt and pepper. And then roasted. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Luffa sponge gourds

It is getting close to harvest time for the Luffas. I planted 1 on each end of a 16 foot cattle panel. They have taken over the top half of the fence. I started the seed inside last March. These were slow to start as the need the day length to shorten. The needed more heat also. I am in Zone 5b Missouri. If I were farther south I would have had more female flowers and already harvested them. But I hope before a frost I will get them to dry on the vine.
This is a smaller one that may not get big enough to turn into a sponge. So I may try eating it. It is in the family of squash and cucumbers. But, more closely related to a cucumber. I have heard the skin tastes like a green bean. I have seen it used as a face treatment, or cleanser. But Will let you know, when I try it.

NAME: Luffa (Sponge) Gourd

OTHER COMMON NAMES: Vegetable Sponge / Smooth Luffa / Sponge Luffa / Climbing Okra / Dishrag Gourd
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Luffa Cylindrica
COLOR: Green
PLANT SEEDS: Outdoors after frost / Indoors weeks before last frost
HARVEST: 60 Days
PLANT HEIGHT: 48 - 72"
QUANTITY: I had 25 Seeds
OTHER: The Luffa Gourd is an open pollinated variety. You just allow the gourd to dry & peel off the skin to reveal the sponge. How cool is that?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Delicata Winter squash

Today I bought seeds for  Delicata Winter squash, (Intro 1891)  80-100 day
It is an heirloom squash, they say it tastes like a sweet potato. I paid $1.80 for 3.5 oz (79) seeds total.

Fruit is around 3 inches across and 6 inches long.the skin of Delicata is tender and edible, unlike other winter squash variety.

The Cornell Bush Delicata requires only 4 square feet of garden space, but if growing vine type Delicata squash, allow at least 20 square feet of space.
The bush plant will attain a height of 10-12 inches with a 24- to 28-inch spread.
I think I have the vine type

To test Delicata for readiness, press a fingernail against the skin. When the skin is hard, remove the fruit from the plant with pruning shears, keeping about 2 inches of the vine attached. Although its storage life is a little shorter than hard skinned varieties, Delicata can be stored for about 3 months at room temp in a cool, dry area (50-55 degrees F/10-12 C). Or, the fruit can be frozen

When is the best time to plant garlic?

 Fall is the best time to plant garlic
This is a tricky plant to grow. The way our temperatures have changed in Missouri.Some winters have been mild. Some with lots of snow, We have had outdoor family gathering on Christmas and Thanksgiving a few times. 
So just picking a set time is no longer an option. We were in the 80's f yesterday and they say rest of the week will be hot,So I have to hold off on planting right now.

Garlic requires 
1.Full sun and good drainage. That is why my garlic failed this year. Too much rain and not enough sun.
2. 1-2inchesof water per week, stop watering when leaves turn yellow.
3.Phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are important for health and growth.
4. Keep garlic well weeded, as it cannot stand much competition.

 Hard neck garlic should be planted in the fall, when soil temperatures are at 50f (10c) The months of October or November will depends on the temperature of your area. If it is really hot you should hold off on planting. Soft neck garlic can be planted in spring, but bulb size may be reduced. The goal is to get well established roots and as much leaf as possible. That is all we have control over.

If planted too early too much top growth may happen before winter, if planted to late there may not be enough root growth to survive winter. So you really have to know the weather forecast to make a good judgement. The plant will start growing again if temperatures warm up in the winter. The plant can handle stop and start. But if it dies back 2 or more times it will reduce the yield.

 Roots will grow as long as the soil is not frozen
 The tops will grow as long as temperatures are above 40f (4.5 c)

Garlic needs at least 40 days at temperatures below 40f (4.5 c) to make the bulb divide into separate cloves.

Garlic is day length  sensitive
Bulbs start to form and leaf growth stops when the day length reaches 13 hours and soil temperatures are over 60f (15c).  Both has to happen before bulbs form.
.Temperatures cause harvest time to be early or late even if the day length is at least 13 hours.

It can be harder to grow in colder northern  climates Because it takes longer to reach the right soil temperature. 

It is important to have larger plants before they reach the stage of bulb growth. More leaf and root growth, will make a larger bulb..

Temperatures above 91f (33c) will end the growth of the bulb, and trigger the plant to start drying of the plant. The bulb will double in size that last month of growth. So removing the scapes (central stem)  on hard neck garlic will help increase the bulb size at that point.  .

Note garlic should be stored at temperatures of 50-60F (10-15c) Do not refrigerate
Temperatures between 40-50f (4.5-10c)  will cause sprouting before you are read to plant.  .

Here is a good read for in depth information. 

Notes: Don't wait for garlic leaves to start to die back to check for maturity, start checking for mature cloves about late June

The amount of nitrogen (N), phosphoric acid (P) and potash (K) in 
 common manures
Manure Chicken Diary cow Horse Steer Rabbit Sheep
N-P-K 1.1 .80 .50 .25 .15 .25 .70 .30 .60 .70 .30 .40 2.4 1.4 .60 .70.30 .90

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


RED CALYPSO BEAN (Phaseolus vulgaris) - 100 Seeds - Bush, Dry Bean - Heirloom  It is also called a Ying Yang bean because of the red and white that flows along the bean's length. About 3/8 inch long Occasionally there will be a red spot or two on the white half. plant grows 20" tall. The pods resemble a Roma type bean. 

This bean is said to be native to the Caribbean region and dates back to the late 1600’s.

Mild flavor and creamy rich texture. Beans double in size when cooked and retain their color once cooked. This bean can be eaten as a green bean when young or let it mature for a dried bean.  50 days until harvest for fresh beans.
$2.69PAID : $5.64 with shipping

Monday, October 19, 2015


We had 3-4 months of rain this summer, here in Missouri. You would see many worms come up to travel around the top of the soil. You would also see many birds feasting on them. Temperatures were cooler than normal too. (70f/21c+/-) But, still in the range for worms to be happy.

In the fall and spring. There were may giant night crawlers to be  found. Earthworms like cool temperatures of 50 - 70 degrees F (10-21C) and moist conditions. Earthworms aren't active when it's cold or dry. So that is the answer. They are hiding out deep in the soil. Waiting for the right conditions. We have not had much rain since early August. 

I was starting to think the worms may have drown or floated away. It is possible. But I have read can survive for several weeks under water providing there is sufficient oxygen in the water to support them. 
They will come to the surface of the ground as a response to high relative humidity.  They can move around safely without drying out thanks to the humid condition.

 They breathe through their skin, yet the skin must stay wet in order for the oxygen to pass through it. 
Earthworms will dye if they are frozen, so the go deep below the frost line till the ground thaws.

 live deep in the soil, where smaller worms live near the surface. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Growing Turmeric and Ginger in Missouri

Did you know Turmeric is in the Ginger family?

There are 3 variety's we use for spice.
 Curcuma aromatica, found  predominantly in eastern Himalayas and in the warm forests of the Western Ghats (India)cream color inside. The rhizomes are often used in cosmetic herbal medicines and as a culinary ingredient in limited quantities as a food flavor.
 Curcuma zedoaria   it has a white interior and a fragrance reminiscent of mango; however, its flavor is more similar to ginger, except with a very bitter aftertaste The plant is native to India and Indonesia but now naturalized in other places including the US State of Florida.
 Curcuma longa, has a orange or yellow interior
It is native to southwest India It requires temperatures between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive.

 More information can be found on Wikipedia.
Thanks to the internet we can learn anything with a few searches on Google.
I am ready to harvest the ginger, I placed in one of my home made grow bags.

All I did was buy a piece of ginger from the store back in Feb or March of 2014. I broke off a couple of pieces that had nodes. I used a high quality potting soil in.the grow bag, Place 2 pieces of ginger about 1 inch deep. I kept the soil moist and it sat in the south facing window with a grow light near by.  It sprouted up in no time.
 I placed it out doors when the weather was warmer in April/May. It took care of it's self. We had so much rain.I never watered it. The roots went thew the bottom of the bag and planted them self to hold the plant to the ground. Next year. I will Start them in the grow bag and see how they do transplanted into the soil. to see If I get bigger roots. Soon I will add a video to the bottom of this post, to show the results of harvest.

I have read so many good things about the health benefits of Turmeric, I find it is quite expensive and can not find any locally. So I placed an order online for Whole Raw Organic 1LB -NON GMO - Fresh Harvest Yellow Fresh.I paid $13.49 with free shipping.  This is shipped from NJ, but has Country/Region of Manufacture: Jamaica,
So I searched Turmeric grown in Jamaica. I find the type grow there to be Curcuma longa. This is not indigenous to Jamaica, yet farmed there. and shipped to the US.
It is said to be a robust, perennial, tropical herb of the ginger family and like ginger has a thick, round rhizome with short blunt "fingers".
In some ways, it can be compared to saffron.

It also has a fluorescent yellow-coloured extract of a mixture of three dyestuff, including curcumin which has been known for many centuries to give a rich color to silks and cottons I read turmeric is extremely sensitive to light, for this reason curry powders should be stored in the dark.


These plant do not produce seeds for propagation.
Days to germination: Started by root cuttings, not seeds
Days to harvest: 250 days or more (8 to 10 months)
Light requirements: Full sun, or slight shade
Water requirements: Regular watering
Soil: Well-drained soil
Container: Necessary for most climates

So with this information.I need to start my cuttings by December. 
 If there are any knobs or buds on the root, turn it so they are facing upwards. This is where the new stems will come from. It could take a month or more to see the growth depending on the depth you planted the root. 2 inches is recommended. But you can just add more soil later on, if you do less.

Turmeric is a plant that is seldom bothered by insects or disease. Your plant may develop leaf blotch or leaf spot, which is a fungus infection that will start out as brown patches on the leaves. The leaves will eventually turn yellow and drop off If you are growing turmeric outside of Asia, there are not many insects interested in the plant. Aphids and mites sometimes cluster on the leaves, but they can easily be washed off with a spritz of water or a spray of insecticidal soap

 For storage, place the unpeeled roots in an air-tight container. Keep it in a cool dark place for up to 6 months
You can freeze turmeric, but will be mushy when it thaws out. It is still usable.

A great page to read on this is http://www.therainforestgarden.com/2011/12/how-to-grow-turmeric.html

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Seed potatoes to grow in 2016

Blue and white potatoes, patterns of splashes. Will segregate for white flesh or partially blue flesh. Good blight resistance
Huagalina   PI 619141 Peru
Tetraploid. Very late maturity (probably has some day-length sensitivity). Tiny, yellow with red splashes, yellow flesh. 

Tetraploid. Round white, flavor typical of a commercial potato

Touch Down 
Tetraploid. White skin, white flesh, descended from a high-flavored line

Pig Knuckles:
Tetraploid. Pink skin with yellow and pink flesh. Some frost resistance in the tubers.
Variable shape and colors. Red, yellow, and purple with assorted flesh colors. Diploid.

Maris Piper
 GRIN: PI 377745
 Floury white-fleshed potato. Sets tuber high. early-mid season
Bora Valley
GRIN: PI 634776
 medium-late maturing potato cultivar with purple skin and flesh color, good processing quality, and excellent stability. It has medium plant height and dark foliage. ‘Bora Valley’ has a profuse flowering habit and light purple flowers. Tubers have smooth skin, round, with medium eye depth, and short to medium dormancy. It has stable yield under wide range of climatic conditions. This variety is grown in Korea for raw eating - NOT a cooking potato

TPS seeds for 2016

Pig knuckle  purple berry
Yukon gold
Huagalina PI 619141 Peru

Chaucha Amarilla CIP 703308  Peru (Open pollinated)  Genus Solanum, Species phureja


Tollocan  (Tom Wagner)
yellow skin and flesh 
seedling of Tollocan Fiesta

white Fingerling

Red tuber fingerling

Chiar Choque Pitu PI 604207 (Bolivia) (BE-4832 < Other names> Q 30933 )
 female parent is a S. x curtilobum, a pentaploid, so ploidy of the progeny is probably variable. [60 chromosomes instead of 48].

Late harvest
Tetra mix, White- tuber/flesh/flowers

Monday, October 12, 2015

Multiplier Onion's and shallots order recieved.

 I received an order I purchased  for real multiplier onions.
 The red white and yellow sets I received on another post may be just onion sets. I paid allot of money for. But will not know till next summer if I was cheated. 

What I have now you can tell by looking at them. They are real!

Green Mountain Multiplier:   Large variety recently selected by Kelly Winterton.   I find that it doesn't cure out as reliably as the yellow potato onion it was bred from, and it has more tendency to bolt.  Once cured though, it keeps very well, into spring, and it is most definitely larger, at least twice as large on average.

Copper Shallot:  This is an old school shallot that has a very low tendency to flower.  Newer shallots are almost all grown from seed and will blot if planted.  This one is a beautiful coppery color and makes firm little bulbs and store very well.

I'itoi:Multiplier Onion  This is a very rare multiplying onion that make little bulbs that are a lot like a tiny shallot.  It is very small, but very productive.  It was supposedly introduced by the Spanish centuries ago and has been grown by the O'odam people of the southwest ever since.  It can also be grown and harvested as a scallion or as chives if left to grow without dividing.
Latin Name: Allium cepa var. aggregatum. Synonym: Allium cepa Aggregatum Group.  
Details from the seller. 
2 bulbs each of the classic heirloom

Yellow Potato Onion:  small to medium multiplier.  Extremely good keeper once cured out.

Yellow Potato Onion The newer Green Mountain Multiplier potato onion, Copper Shallot and I'itoi  All of these reproduce from bulbs, so you plant one and harvest many.  Small bulbs of Yellow potato onion, copper shallot and green mountain produce large bulbs if small bulbs are planted, or they produce many smaller bulbs if a large bulb is planted.  The collection contains two of each bulb.  In many areas, these can be fall planted and should be.  The yellow potato onion is very hardy, and I believe the Green Mountain is too, but I can't be positive about that.  Copper shallot can easily survive temps down to 20 where I live, beyond that I'm not sure.  I'itoi may be more cold sensitive, but should survive temps above 20 degrees if fall or winter planted.  Fall is a traditional time to plant potato onions in the south.  Since these reproduce by bulbs, there is no need to ever buy seed again.  Consider this an investment and a great way to test several varieties without spending a lot.  The potato onions and shallots usually produce about 6 bulbs for each one planted.  The math works out to 6 = 36= 216= 1296 in year three! and the I'itoi can produce large clusters of small onions in one season.