Saturday Gardening Thread: Bi-Polar Edition [Y-not and KT]

Y-not: Good afternoon, gardening morons and moronettes! Weirddave is indisposed so today's thread is a bi-polar edition featuring self and KT.

To get us in the mood, how about a song?

(You can read IZ's story here.)

The emergence of Spring coupled with those last few winter storms that are still hitting parts of the U.S. got me thinking about weather prediction, particularly almanacs. I have a feeling we have experts on this topic in our midst, so I'll just put together a few interesting links I found and let you all share your knowledge with the horde.

What is an almanac, anyway? Here's a brief summary from Mental Floss:

Historically, almanacs are annual publications that outline the days of the year alongside factors like sunrise and sunset times, holidays, moon phases, and solstices. The calendar hanging on your wall is an example of a simple almanac. Some of the earliest almanacs referenced celestial events to tell readers whether they would have good or bad luck on certain days, much like how we use horoscopes today. By the 17th century, the only publication more popular than almanacs in England was the Bible. Around this time, they began popping up in the America colonies, offering seasonal weather predictions, tips for household management, and entertainment like puzzles and jokes.

The Farmers' Almanac (founded in 1818 ) and the Old Farmers' Almanac (founded in 1792) are two of the most popular remaining almanacs. The former offers long-range weather predictions made two years in advance. Today it claims to have an annual distribution of more than 2.6 million copies and a readership of 7 million.

Both publications claim to have a roughly 80 percent accuracy rate. Their predictions are the products of top secret mathematical formulas that take into consideration things like sunspot activity, tidal action, and planetary positioning

For those of you who use Almanacs, especially for your garden planning, do you think this 80 percent accuracy rate is correct?

An article published at the Daily Beast last month claims that the harsh New England winter was predicted correctly by The Farmers' Almanac:

Not only did they get it right, just as they claim to around 85 percent of the time -- they actually made this winter's predictions almost two years ago, using much the same technique they did back in the 1800s.

"It's like an ancient Chinese secret," says the Almanac's managing editor, Sandi Duncan gravely, before laughing. "No, I'm kidding. It is an old, old formula that dates back to when the Almanac was first founded back in 1818, it's a mathematical and astronomical formula. It takes things like sun spot activity, position of the moon, the phase of the moon, and a variety of other factors into consideration."

Even Duncan doesn't know the details, which are passed on only to the venerable publication's resident weatherman, Caleb Weatherbee, a shady, pseudonymous fellow who has had a byline in the book for two centuries.

"He's a real person, but he has a false name to keep him secret," Duncan explained. "We've only had seven weather prognosticators actually, in almost 200 years..."

This chap at OPENSNOW seems less impressed. His analysis (published last year) suggested that neither almanac was particularly accurate. Here's his summary of the Farmers' Almanac's predictions for this past winter (which would have been in the future when his post was written):

OpensnowAlmanacs.jpg

Follow the link for pretty maps of his analysis. (I knew that would appeal to the horde after Meatball's Map Fests!)

If you're interested in learning more about how and why almanacs developed, this blog might be of interest to you. Here's a sample:

Almanac. Or Almanack. Or even Almanach. It doesn't matter how you spell it, we don't know for sure where the word comes from. The al bit at the beginning would point to an Arabic etymology -- it means the -- as in algebra, alcohol or alchemy. The latter part of the word could come from menakh, and al-menakh appears in Pedro de Alcala's Arabic-Castilian Vocabulista (1505), referring to the climate, with manah (probably intended as the same word) as a word for a sundial, but the word isn't found elsewhere in Arabic. Walter Skeat, in his Concise Etymological Dictionary (1882), is unequivocal that the word has no connection with Arabic whatsoever.

You-Know-Who will be crushed to learn that. Heh.

He goes on:

The first use of the word appears in Latin, in Roger Bacon's Opus Majus (1267), where he mentions ancient astronomers discussing tables that are called almanacs -
"In expositione tabularum, quae almanac vocantur."

Follow the link to this blogger's post and you'll be treated to interesting history, as well as beautiful images of ancient almanacs.

Closer to home, there are three almanacs that are probably most familiar to American gardeners: Poor Richard's Almanac, the Old Farmers' Almanac, and the Farmers' Almanac.

Poor Richard's Almanac was the brainchild of Benjamin Franklin:

After The Pennsylvania Gazette, Poor Richard was the most profitable enterprise that Franklin undertook as a publisher. It sold about 10,000 copies a year. Given the now indissoluble connection between "Poor Richard" and Benjamin Franklin, it should be emphasized that most of the material in Poor Richard was not actually written by Franklin. This was especially true of the aphorisms, their most famous feature. Franklin could have had no idea that the brief sayings he used, taken from "many Ages and Nations," would become the primary basis for his international fame as an author. He never pretended they were his own. He wrote in Poor Richard for 1746,

"I know as well as thee, that I am no poet born; and it is a trade I never learnt, nor indeed could learn. . . .Why then should I give my readers bad lines of my own, when good ones of other people's are so plenty? 'Tis methinks a poor excuse for the bad entertainment of guests, that the food we set before them, though coarse and ordinary, is of one's own raising, off one's own plantation, etc. when there is plenty of what is ten times better, to be had in the market."

Intellectual property, the ownership of ideas, was not what mattered. The point was not where the ideas had come from but the uses to which they could be put.

The Old Farmer's Almanac was originally published in 1792.

Under the guiding hand of its first editor, Robert B. Thomas, the premiere issue of The Old Farmer's Almanac was published in 1792 during George Washington's first term as president. Although many other almanacs were being published at that time, Thomas's upstart almanac became an immediate success. In fact, by the second year, circulation had tripled from 3,000 to 9,000. Back then, the Almanac cost only six pence (about nine cents).

An almanac, by definition, records and predicts astronomical events (the rising and setting of the Sun, for instance), tides, weather, and other phenomena with respect to time. So what made The Old Farmer's Almanac different from the others? Since his format wasn't novel, we can only surmise that Thomas's astronomical and weather predictions were more accurate, the advice more useful, and the features more entertaining.

Another well-known almanac in the U.S. is the Farmers' Almanac. A bit about it here:

The Farmers' Almanac weather predictions are based on a secret mathematical and astronomical formula. Developed in 1818 by David Young, the Almanac's first editor, this formula takes many factors into consideration, including sunspot activity, moon phases, tidal action, and more. This carefully guarded formula has been passed along from calculator to calculator and has never been revealed.

Finally, while reading up on almanacs, I was reminded of just how amazing our ancestors were. Do you remember learning about Benjamin Banneker when you were in school?

Astronomer. Entirely self-educated, Benjamin Banneker was born November 9, 1731, in Ellicott's Mills, Maryland. He was the son of an ex-slave named Robert, whose wife, Mary Banneky, was the daughter of an Englishwoman and an African ex-slave.

Because both of his parents were free, Benjamin escaped the wrath of slavery as well. He was taught to read by his white grandmother, Molly, and for a short time attended a small Quaker school.

For the most part, though, Banneker was self-educated, a fact that did little to diminish his brilliance. His early exploits included constructing a wooden clock in his early twenties, despite having seen only one other timepiece in his life. In addition, Banneker taught himself astronomy and accurately forecasted lunar and solar eclipses.

Banneker's talents and intelligence eventually came to the attention of the Ellicott brothers, industrialists who had made their name and fortune by building a series of gristmills in the Baltimore area in the 1770s. George Ellicott, a fellow mathematician and astronomer, loaned Banneker numerous books in both fields.

In 1791 Banneker teamed up with Major Andrew Ellicott, an American surveyor, to map out a new national capital.

He also wrote almanacs.

Now, here's KT:

Weed of the Week

I hate grasses like these. They are so dangerous to pets - dogs in particular - and to livestock. Like a government program, the seed heads just work themselves in deeper over time. Plus, those nasty seed heads get stuck in your socks.

This list of nasty grasses is for California, but there are similar species in other parts of the country. You know that if a grass is called "ripgut", it must be pretty horrible. These grasses are more problematic for people on the edge of civilization, like we are, than for those in the Big City. But check your dogs after walks in slightly wilder areas.

Years ago, one of our dogs got a foxtail seed head in her paw, and it traveled almost to her knee before wreaking more havoc on a partial return trip down her leg. We had little clue that there was something wrong until just before we took her to the vet. Dogs are tough. When he saw how she was standing, he said, "I didn't know you lived in the country".

This year, I think we have cleared the yard where the dogs play. Still working on the yard where the cats play. Gotta hurry, because the seed heads are ripening now.

foxtail2.jpg

Rip them out.


I hope the topic below is more pleasant:

Beefsteak Tomatoes

We had a couple of really hot, summery afternoons here recently that made me think it was time to be eating tomatoes from the garden. The hottest days came about the time that the birthday of Benito Juarez was being celebrated in Mexico, one of the first places where tomatoes were used as food. Juarez was unusual among historic Mexican leaders for his indigenous ancestry. He was born in a small Zapotec Indian village.

His ancestors may have eaten tomatoes something like the Zapotec Tomato (AKA Zapotec Pink Ribbed). A lot of people like this tomato for salsa, salads or for stuffed tomatoes. It is partially hollow. The stuffing tomatoes shaped like bell peppers never appealed to me much, but I might try Zapotec sometime. Here's a simple stuffed tomato recipe if you ever decide to try this cultivar. You could use regular tomatoes in this recipe, too.

TomatoZapotecMontage.jpg

Zapotec

Tomatoes have changed since old cultivars like the Zapotec Tomato were developed. But you can see traces of its form in some famous Italian cultivars and in some of today's beefsteaks.

4484.jpg

Neves Azorean Red. One of the beefsteak tomatoes I planted this year

When some people think of beefsteak tomatoes, they think of tomatoes big enough to cover a sandwich with one slice. And many beefsteaks are big enough to meet this criterion. But for me, the small seed cavities of a beefsteak tomato are the primary "beefsteak" characteristic. This makes the tomato less juicy, so it is not quite as messy on a sandwich. "Fine Cooking" has some good tips on choosing and storing beefsteak tomatoes. They also have a fairly extravagant recipe for a BLT Burger. I can enjoy a simple tomato sandwich - a slice of beefsteak tomato on good bread, with a little salt. Maybe a touch of butter. Maybe some bacon.

Note the small, irregular seed cavities in Giant Belgium, below. An advantage if you're making sandwiches.

tomatogiantbelgium22.jpg

Giant Belgium. One of the sweetest beefsteaks

Some of the Neves Azorean Red tomatoes above look better suited to salad than sandwiches, because of their shape. I'm with James Beard - keep a beefsteak tomato and onion steakhouse salad simple. You can't beat ingredients straight from the garden. In Switzerland, they would arrange the tomatoes on a platter and top with the onions and vinaigrette.

The unpredictable shapes of many beefsteak tomatoes come partly from big, complex blossoms. There are some unfortunate consequences of these irregularities in many cultivars, including cracking (usually starting at the shoulder of the fruit) and catfacing on the blossom end. Tomato nuts who care mostly about flavor generally look beyond the defects. You can't always judge veggies, or people, by their appearances.

crack2.jpg

Catfacing on tomatoes

CatfacePerson.jpg

Catfacing on a person


Are you now asking yourself, "Are beefsteak tomatoes right for my garden"?

Tomato Growers Supply has separated most of its red and pink beefsteaks into a distinct category. The venerable hybrid "Big Beef", which I grow every year, is not in the beefsteak category. It is listed with the main crop tomatoes, because it does not have the interior structure of a beefsteak.

Other suppliers offer many more beefsteaks. Check out some descriptions and evaluations on the net from people who live in your region. I like to experiment with a few new cultivars each year. I planted 21 tomato cultivars this year. Eight are beefsteaks and one appears to be an oxheart/beefsteak cross. Only two of this year's eight beefsteaks have a prior good track record in my garden, and they were still not extraordinarily productive.

I'm not really up on some of the newer hybrid beefsteaks. Burpee has some huge ones now. Other seed houses have signature series, too. Let me know if they have worked for you.

Following are some recommendations I have picked up over the years. No guarantees:

Container Planting: New Big Dwarf (the inspiration for the Dwarf Tomato Project), Roselle Purple or Dwarf Wild Fred.

Short season or cool summer areas: Gregori's Altai, Pruden's Purple, Pink Berkeley Tie Dye, Soldacki, Goldie, Gold Medal, Chianti Rose, Bush Beefsteak F1 or New Big Dwarf.

Hot, dry areas (not the interior deserts, necessarily): Dr. Lyle and Stump of the World have done well for me. Others recommended for our area include Boondocks, Brandy Boy F1, Neves Azorean Red, Giant Belgium, Marianna's Peace, Jumbo Jim Orange or Mexico (not "Mexican Beefsteak").

5645.jpg

Mexico

Hot, humid areas: JD's Special C Tex, Indian Stripe, Dixiewine or Florida Pink. I know there are more.

Really big plants: Climbing Trip-L-Crop or Pink Climber.

Competitive tomato-growing: Last I heard, "Delicious" held the world record for the largest tomato - more than 7 pounds. Burpee introduced this cultivar in 1964 after years of selection from "Beefsteak" (AKA Crimson Cushion or Ponderosa Red). Delicious is reputed to hold its flavor when the nights turn cold in fall. This is probably a good thing, since it ripens late.

Other tomatoes promoted for competition include Big Zac F1, Goliath (open pollinated - not the hybrid lines) and Believe It or Not.

I was surprised to find a giant tomato contest in the UK, because they tend to grow tomatoes in greenhouses. A cash prize is involved. How long can Delicious hold the title in the face of international competition?

The article linked above has a side discussion on tomatoes resistant to "Blight" - known as "Late Blight" in the USA. This is the organism that produced the Irish Potato Famine. A few hybrid tomato cultivars carrying specific genes for resistance to this organism have now been introduced. Two were recently released through the University of North Carolina. A few heirlooms and other tomatoes have varying amounts of natural resistance. But if you live where tomato diseases are a big problem, hybrids with known resistance to the diseases in your area may be good "crop insurance". You may still want to baby an heirloom beefsteak plant for a chance to experience sublime flavor.

Y-not: Thanks, KT!

Speaking of Benjamin Franklin:

Benjamin Franklin is sometimes erroneously credited with the idea of Daylight Saving Time.

Franklin discussed the idea of changing sleeping times in a 1784 satirical essay sent to the editor of the Journal of Paris.

"I looked at my watch, which goes very well, and found that it was but six o'clock; and still thinking it something extraordinary that the sun should rise so early, I looked into the almanac, where I found it to be the hour given for his rising on that day. I looked forward, too, and found he was to rise still earlier every day till towards the end of June; and that at no time in the year he retarded his rising so long as till eight o'clock. Your readers, who with me have never seen any signs of sunshine before noon, and seldom regard the astronomical part of the almanac, will be as much astonished as I was, when they hear of his rising so early; and especially when I assure them, that he gives light as soon as he rises. I am convinced of this. I am certain of my fact. One cannot be more certain of any fact. I saw it with my own eyes. And, having repeated this observation the three following mornings, I found always precisely the same result."

According to WebExhibits.org, Franklin thought the switchover would be easy with "All the difficulty will be in the first two or three days; after which the reformation will be as natural and easy as the present irregularity."

According to Franklin, if people were to rise an hour earlier, they would willingly go to bed an hour earlier in order to compensate. He also said the citizens of France could save the modern-day equivalent of $200 million on candles because as many wouldn't be needed if people slept when it was dark and awoke when it was light. He even worked out the math.

Well, everyone makes mistakes!


What's going on in YOUR gardens this week?

Posted by: Open Blogger at 02:10 PM




Comments

(Jump to bottom of page)

1 One of my favorite songs in the world, and my favorite version. Thank you!!!!

Posted by: Peaches at March 28, 2015 02:12 PM (EgOr3)

2 Dig in!

I was a little under the weather when formatting, so make sure to let me know if I've messed up any of the links etc.

Posted by: Y-not at March 28, 2015 02:15 PM (9BRsg)

3 Cherokee Purple is the one true tomato

Posted by: The Dude at March 28, 2015 02:15 PM (SyKbw)

4 Spring finally got here. My Bradford Pear is in full bloom and my two Jane's Magnolias are blooming. That would be good except they are calling for a hard freeze tonight with 28F temps. I will cover them but if that 28F lasts for long they will be toast. And I can't cover the tree.

Posted by: Vic We Have No Party at March 28, 2015 02:16 PM (wlDny)

5 >>Spring finally got here.

Yep and don't my sinuses know it! Spent a few hours out in the garden this weekend cutting stuff back, weeding, and prepping the beds and was sidelined with a terrible sinus headache yesterday and overnight. Ugh.

Posted by: Y-not at March 28, 2015 02:18 PM (9BRsg)

6 the best rule of thumb on tomatoes is still: the uglier it is, the better tasting it is

Posted by: The Dude at March 28, 2015 02:20 PM (SyKbw)

7 For those of you who use Almanacs, especially for your garden planning, do you think this 80 percent accuracy rate is correct?


I don't do any planting but the OFA long range regional weather forecasts is better than 80%. They are spot on and much much better than the government which has sold its soul to the devil and global warming.


My great grandmother who planted a fair size garden every year also swore by them.


And and added benefit is their write up on the global warming scam last year. They said there was no global warming and further more all the indications were that we were going into global cooling.


And they have been spot on with that too. And that is amazing since they are from that liberal hell in VT.

Posted by: Vic We Have No Party at March 28, 2015 02:21 PM (wlDny)

8 1
Me too, Peaches. I'm listening to it for the third time now. (Today's earworm confirmed).
IZ is a bit of an iconic figure in Hawai'i from what I understand.

Posted by: shredded chi at March 28, 2015 02:21 PM (CN6G3)

9 I like the photo of the Olympic gold medalist in the swimming cannonball.

Posted by: Roy at March 28, 2015 02:22 PM (fWLrt)

10 I don't do any planting but the OFA long range regional weather forecasts is better than 80%. They are spot on and much much better than the government which has sold its soul to the devil and global warming.
----

Yeah, I wonder how the AGWers square that circle.

It's sad about Vermont. It was very nice 30+ years ago when I was in college. People were quiet, but not unfriendly really.

Posted by: Y-not at March 28, 2015 02:25 PM (9BRsg)

11 KT's tomato section is making me hungry!

Posted by: Y-not at March 28, 2015 02:26 PM (9BRsg)

12 9 cents in 1800 is worth $1.23 using government inflation numbers. (most of that occurring after the 30s when FDR put us on pure fiat money and started printing.) The OFA currently costs $6. When I was a kid and my great grandmother was getting them I think they were 50 cents.


Shows you how good those government inflation numbers are.

Posted by: Vic We Have No Party at March 28, 2015 02:26 PM (wlDny)

13 IZ is a bit of an iconic figure in Hawai'i from what I understand.

I think more than that, chi! His coffin lay in state at the capitol building in Honolulu - only the third person to be so honored and the only one not a government official. 10,000 people attended his funeral. He makes me smile and gives me chills.

Posted by: Peaches at March 28, 2015 02:26 PM (EgOr3)

14 The OFA is great. But to be sure go to the rural bars during the day when the old timers are there. 50+ years of spring bets on planting is a great resource. Plus the general stories are great too.

Posted by: Robinson at March 28, 2015 02:27 PM (W2Cji)

15 Cherokee Purple is lush, isn't it, Dude? I have produced a few here in part shade.

Around here, Indian Stripe is probably a better choice for most people: more productive in heat, plants and fruits are a little smaller and you can pick it when it is ripe.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 02:28 PM (qahv/)

16 Those tomatoes are soooooo gorgeous!! There is not much in this world that beats the taste of a freshly picked vine-ripened beefsteak tomato. mmmmmmmm . . .

Posted by: Peaches at March 28, 2015 02:28 PM (EgOr3)

17 yeah, drinks like a fish as well in july/august here. Still, best burger tomato on the planet

Posted by: The Dude at March 28, 2015 02:29 PM (SyKbw)

18 When I first moved into my house the yard was overrun with what we call sand spurs.


This is what they look like. It took me two years of anti-wee chems and burning them out to finally get rid of them.


http://binged.it/1bETCbv

Posted by: Vic We Have No Party at March 28, 2015 02:30 PM (wlDny)

19 Love the song, I prefer this version. So is the IZ guy dead and that was his ashes they were pouring into the ocean?





http://tinyurl.com/lh5of6k

Posted by: Nip Sip at March 28, 2015 02:30 PM (0FSuD)

20 Those tomatoes make me hungry just looking at them.

Posted by: Vic We Have No Party at March 28, 2015 02:31 PM (wlDny)

21 I saw some article recently (Buzzfeed?) that showed a bunch of vegs that can regenerate.
You know, like when we cut the top off of a pineapple when we were kids?

Anyway, I know the trick with potatoes, scallions (I plant them in a pot then clip the green shoots), and a few others, but does anyone know what else works like this?
I think the article said you can root & plant the end of a celery bunch, which would be cool, maybe carrots - anything else?

Posted by: shredded chi at March 28, 2015 02:31 PM (CN6G3)

22 have about 30 of my Carolina Reaper seeds seedling right about now. Gonna trade a few for some tomater plants in a few weeks

Posted by: The Dude at March 28, 2015 02:31 PM (SyKbw)

23 Yay gardening thread. I wanted to ask the experts when and how one should separate tulips. We have several clumps. I don't know if I'll make the time if it requires drying the bulbs or marking before the leaves die totally back and not digging until fall but if its not too much of a time sink they'll be happier if I spread them out.

Posted by: PaleRider at March 28, 2015 02:33 PM (7w/kf)

24 I'll give IZ peep points for a beautiful voice and an emotional rendering of the song....but the video? It's why Christopher Cross didn't make the transition to MTV. blaaah.

Posted by: rduke at March 28, 2015 02:33 PM (qYYl5)

25 Funny you used a Grand Junction article for cheatgrass. Stuff is nasty, nasty.

It's way to early to plant tomatoes here. It's always been common knowledge here that you never plant tomatoes before the swan's neck melts on the side of the Grand Mesa. You can cheat if you use water walls which are sorta pricey, or I have used gal. milk jugs with the bottom cut off to cover little plants. It's never a sure thing tho. Won't be able to plant until May. I planted too early last year and even covering with plastic and sheets didn't work.

Posted by: Infidel at March 28, 2015 02:34 PM (9HaoF)

26 A local pharmacy used to give away calendars every year with tiny astrological symbols for each day of the month. There was a key at the back to tell you how to interpret the symbols. Unfortunately, they got the "light of the moon" and "dark of the moon" thing off by a quarter cycle from the almanacs. Kinda funny.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 02:36 PM (qahv/)

27 Flowering bulb plants only need to be separated every 3 to 5 years when the patch gets crowed (they will divide themselves to some extent). The books say every three to five years in the fall when they quit growing.

Posted by: Vic We Have No Party at March 28, 2015 02:37 PM (wlDny)

28 Israel supposedly called his producer up at 2:00 a.m. or so and asked him to open up the recording studio, came in and did 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' in one take in memory of his older brother.

Posted by: whatmeworry? at March 28, 2015 02:38 PM (dZGNV)

29 Is this a punishment thread? Last time there was a fat dude it was a punishment thread.

Posted by: Brucella Jenner at March 28, 2015 02:39 PM (3F6F8)

30 wish my angel's breath plant didn't die during the winter. I screwed up with not putting perlight in the soil and it just stayed in a state of funk till no matter how much water I gave it, it still dried out in my pot.

Probably going to get another in May

Posted by: The Dude at March 28, 2015 02:41 PM (SyKbw)

31 >>Is this a punishment thread?

Spank me!

Posted by: Zoot at March 28, 2015 02:41 PM (9BRsg)

32 Wow, Vic
Those sand spurs look horrible.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 02:41 PM (qahv/)

33 I'll give IZ peep points for a beautiful voice and
an emotional rendering of the song....but the video? It's why
Christopher Cross didn't make the transition to MTV. blaaah.

Posted by: rduke at March 28, 2015 02:33 PM (qYYl5)
He died in 1997 at age 38. He was morbidly obese and had a lot of health problems stemming from that. The ending of the video above was when they spread his ashes into the ocean.

Posted by: Peaches at March 28, 2015 02:42 PM (EgOr3)

34 32
Wow, Vic

Those sand spurs look horrible.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 02:41 PM (qahv/)

They are and as I said, they are the very devil to get rid of.

Posted by: Vic We Have No Party at March 28, 2015 02:42 PM (wlDny)

35 For the fourth year running I failed to get the pre-emergent spread in time. Damn weedy grass is everywhere in my beds.

Posted by: Y-not at March 28, 2015 02:44 PM (9BRsg)

36 Last winter was so cold I lost all kinds of plants. This winter in GJ I left a pansy plant in a planter bc it still had color. It's going gangbusters. Still don't trust the weather. I know all the orchards still have their smudge pots handy.

Posted by: Infidel at March 28, 2015 02:44 PM (9HaoF)

37 Dude, some types of Angels Breath are annuals. It might not be you.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 02:45 PM (qahv/)

38 err I meant Angel's Trumpet

Posted by: The Dude at March 28, 2015 02:46 PM (SyKbw)

39 I thought cheat grass and fox tail were 2 different animals. We have them both around here. If it rains enough we get 2 crops of cheat grass, one in the Spring and another in the Fall.

Posted by: Ronster at March 28, 2015 02:46 PM (4NtAn)

40 I got the Raccoon planted last Saturday. It hasn't come up yet. Maybe I planted it too deep.

Posted by: Ronster at March 28, 2015 02:50 PM (4NtAn)

41 Dude,

I don't dare plant Carolina Reaper peppers. You might be able to help with a discussion of really hot peppers on the Saturday Gardening Thread sometime.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 02:50 PM (qahv/)

42 Brother Iz originally recorded that late at night. He was screwing around with his uke when he did the arrangement. Got excited and played a portion for his record producer over the phone. The producer told him to get down to the studio immediately and they made the tape.
and there's my home right at the end.

Posted by: Pat at March 28, 2015 02:54 PM (c+vKr)

43 Ronster, I guess the "official" nicknames " foxtail" and "cheatgrass"are for different species. I kind of use "foxtail" in a more general way sometimes, though. Like when talking about how they affect animals.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 02:54 PM (qahv/)

44 What's there to talk about

Bird's Eye chili for everyday use
Carolina Reapers to wow people

With the reapers, treat them like shit without killing them to get them to get the most out of them in full sun.

Posted by: The Dude at March 28, 2015 02:55 PM (SyKbw)

45 Wish I could afford to live in Hawaii

Posted by: The Dude at March 28, 2015 02:56 PM (SyKbw)

46 So...this isn't the "drinking at the laundromat" thread?

No?

Carry on.

Posted by: AltonJackson at March 28, 2015 02:59 PM (irT2h)

47 this isn't the "drinking at the laundromat" thread?

dang . . . when you find that one, come back and get me, okay?

Posted by: Peaches at March 28, 2015 03:02 PM (EgOr3)

48 Thanks Vic. The question in my mind is because the tulip leaves will die back early in the summer, way before normal bulb planting time. We have some gardening books around here somewhere and there is always the web so I can probably find info for Colorado climate if I look for it rather than forgetting all about it with other summer activities.

Posted by: PaleRider at March 28, 2015 03:03 PM (7w/kf)

49
The rate we're going here, things won't sprout until mid-July.

Even the crocus said the hell with this. We have a couple inches of Mother Nature's dandruff laying around as of last night.

Think it's gonna be a cool Summer.

Posted by: irongrampa at March 28, 2015 03:04 PM (jeCnD)

50 maybe carrots - anything else?
Posted by: shredded chi at March 28, 2015 02:31 PM

Funny you say that, I just recently tried scallions and carrots as an experiment. Both seem to be doing OK.

Posted by: Jimbo Buchanon at March 28, 2015 03:05 PM (3hlFs)

51 KT at March 28, 2015 02:54 PM (qahv/)

I looked up cheat grass and foxtail in my weed book. They call cheat grass Downy Brome (Bromus Tectorum L.)

It listed 4 or 5 different fox tail grasses.

Posted by: Ronster at March 28, 2015 03:06 PM (4NtAn)

52 One thing you learn when you start looking into heirloom tomatoes is that what you get when you order plants or seeds depends a lot on your supplier.

This year, I planted a tomato which Totally Tomatoes" identifies as "Wins All". But the original "Winsall" tomato was regular-leaf, not potato-leaf. In 2015, they dropped "potato-leaf" from their description, so they may have substituted the real deal for the unidentified tomato they offered before.

BUT a lot of people liked their potato-leaf version, and they left the reviews for that variety up. So confusing. I'm calling mine, "Wins All PL".

This is the original "Winsall" tomato, produced by a promotion by a the Henderson seed company:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/ongvb2b

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 03:08 PM (qahv/)

53 Well that sock was pretty irrelevant here, duh.

Posted by: Farmer at March 28, 2015 03:08 PM (3hlFs)

54 Thanks for the email KT. I'll respond when I get home from work.

Posted by: Farmer at March 28, 2015 03:10 PM (3hlFs)

55 Nice to hear from you, Farmer.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 03:13 PM (qahv/)

56 Wow, KT, that Italian Heirloom looks yummy!

Posted by: Infidel at March 28, 2015 03:13 PM (9HaoF)

57 Another great gardening thread. Thanks to both of you.

Question: We have an area in the front of our property, a hill side, that gets no direct sunlight. The last patch of snow in the county is probably that spot. Any thoughts on what we might plant there? Preferably low maintenance.

Posted by: JTB at March 28, 2015 03:20 PM (FvdPb)

58 I always loved reading the almanac as a kid. Now I just watch the old guys (and Gals) around here, if they till... it is time.

Posted by: JDub (was BunkerintheBurbs) at March 28, 2015 03:21 PM (X3xYu)

59 Question: We have an area in the front of our property, a hill side, that gets no direct sunlight.
---

I put in vinca (periwinkle) on my problem slope last summer and it is doing well. Seems well-established, drought-tolerant, not fussy about light or soil. Currently in bloom. Spreads.

Posted by: Y-not at March 28, 2015 03:22 PM (9BRsg)

60
Vic:

I know you buy one of those almanacs every year. What's their prediction for the summer in the northeast this year?

Posted by: Ed Anger at March 28, 2015 03:22 PM (RcpcZ)

61 Hmmm I did not know the Pink Berkeley Tie Dye was a cool summer tomato. Will be interesting to see how it does out here in So Cal where it's warm summer for sure.

I have a cucumber trellis but is there such a thing as a zucchini trellis or are zucchini too heavy? A few of those buggers always escape me under the leaves and I find them when they are the size of a watermelon and all gnarly!

Posted by: keena at March 28, 2015 03:24 PM (RiTnx)

62 "Climbing Trip-L-Crop" is another one which varies a lot depending on where you get your seed, apparently. But it looks like you can even grow them in Manitoba if you have a greenhouse.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/nvyeol4

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 03:25 PM (qahv/)

63 I put in vinca (periwinkle) on my problem slope last
summer and it is doing well. Seems well-established, drought-tolerant,
not fussy about light or soil. Currently in bloom. Spreads.

Posted by: Y-not

When we moved into our house, there was an area that thru out the summer would be shaded except for an hour early morning. The people before us had planted vinca and pachysandra. 20 years later both are doing well. And they put up with low moisture, high moisture, snow, and getting walked on.

Posted by: Bruce at March 28, 2015 03:27 PM (8ikIW)

64 37 deg. and windy.
I'm going out to prune shrubs.

Posted by: Mike Hammer, etc., etc. at March 28, 2015 03:27 PM (l1zOH)

65
Best quote from that randy old reprobate Ben Franklin: "Neither a fortress nor a virgin can hold out for long, once they begin to negotiate."

Posted by: IllTemperedCur at March 28, 2015 03:28 PM (ynQIy)

66 Tough to grow big 'maters from seed here in Colorado Springs. At least in any abundance. I stick with various cherries, though I had some success with Cherokee (RACISS!) Purples.

With the big ones, you basically get one harvest.

Posted by: Bob's House of Flannel Shirts and Wallet Chains at March 28, 2015 03:29 PM (yxw0r)

67 I grew up on an island. I think every home had a copy of the Old Farmers Almanac for the astronomical and tide info and just for fun reading. This despite the fact that the local paper published tide charts every day.

I don't have to be concerned with tides anymore but I look forward to the Almanac every year and buy it the first day it comes out. I can't prove it but I believe their forecasts are AT LEAST as good as anything put out by government agencies. Sometimes it's fun to see how their predictions match the days actual weather. (Yeah, I'm a nerd about such things.)

Haven't tried planting by the phases of the moon but it would be an interesting experiment sometime.

Posted by: JTB at March 28, 2015 03:31 PM (FvdPb)

68 I grew up on an island. I think every home had a copy of the Old Farmers Almanac for the astronomical and tide info and just for fun reading. This despite the fact that the local paper published tide charts every day.

I don't have to be concerned with tides anymore but I look forward to the Almanac every year and buy it the first day it comes out. I can't prove it but I believe their forecasts are AT LEAST as good as anything put out by government agencies. Sometimes it's fun to see how their predictions match the days actual weather. (Yeah, I'm a nerd about such things.)

Haven't tried planting by the phases of the moon but it would be an interesting experiment sometime.

Posted by: JTB at March 28, 2015 03:31 PM (FvdPb)

69 Funny you say that, I just recently tried scallions and carrots as an experiment. Both seem to be doing OK.
-------------------------
Been googling the subject, and I see onions, turnips, carrots, celery, ginger...
I'm thinking anything with a root end should work.

I did potatoes from eyes last year in a cage-like thing I saw here on the gardening thread, but too late (got some nice baby spuds, tho!) I've been doing scallions for a couple years - piece of cake. But I left the pot outside too late this winter.
I'll get some more started tonight or tomorrow. I'm going to try celery, too. And anything else that catches my eye at the store.

Take care, Farmer

Posted by: shredded chi at March 28, 2015 03:33 PM (HXQvh)

70 60

Vic:

I know you buy one of those almanacs every year. What's their prediction for the summer in the northeast this year?


Posted by: Ed Anger at March 28, 2015 03:22 PM (RcpcZ)

They say hot and dry in the NE States and along the coast down to DC. they have a band of cool and dry inland down to VA changing to cool and wet from VA down to north GA.


You can get a two month prediction from their web site online for free.

Should default to what ever your local town is via your computer info.
http://www.almanac.com/

Posted by: Vic We Have No Party at March 28, 2015 03:36 PM (wlDny)

71 Posted by: The Dude at March 28, 2015 02:31 PM

Dude, I was not aware of the Carolina Reaper. Apparently Ed Currie of PuckerButt Pepper in SC crossed a ghost pepper with a red habanero.

Son is now loading up his online cart at PuckerButt's. Sauce is pricier than gold. I told him to throw in a bottle of "I Told You Stupit Mustard" too. Hot mustard. Mmmm.

Posted by: olddog in mo at March 28, 2015 03:39 PM (3eZI/)

72 Thanks, Vic.

Posted by: Ed Anger at March 28, 2015 03:39 PM (RcpcZ)

73 Hey, and the OFA still has the hole in the upper left corner that was originally used to tie it up in the outhouse. They eliminated it one year a people raised cain about it being missing so they put it back.

Posted by: Vic We Have No Party at March 28, 2015 03:40 PM (wlDny)

74 Y-not, did you plant Vinca major or Vinca minor? There are some improved cultivars if you are looking for something to cover some ground. Also a few color variations. They are invasive to one degree or another.

Since they are in the East, Mr. and Mrs. JTB might look into some of the pipe vines (Aristolochia) for an area like that. To serve as food for Pipe vine Swallowtails. Canada Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) contains aristolochic acid, and I have read that it is an alternate host.

There's also pigsqueak for shady areas, though maybe not on a slope. http://www.hortmag.com/plants/plants-we-love/pigsqueak

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 03:40 PM (qahv/)

75 I go to Hawaii every year for business.
I swear, I could go the rest of my life without ever hearing again the "it's a wonderful world/somewhere over the rainbow" mashup.

Every. F*ing. Night. At least twice, usually 5 or more. Nothing makes me happier than to see a Slack Key guy without a mic.

Sorry Iz - I liked it 12 years ago, but like too much candy I've gone diabetic.

Posted by: Clutch Cargo at March 28, 2015 03:44 PM (sH832)

76 A lot of food type stuff we take for granted now used to be expensive as rip. In the middle ages spices which had to be carried in bags from China to Europe cost more pound for pound than gold. In the US sugar used to be expensive as all get out. It was sold in blocks about the size of a brick and people kept it in locked "sugar boxes" that you can occasionally find in antique shops. People who wanted to "sweeten" their coffee mostly used molasses.

Posted by: Vic We Have No Party at March 28, 2015 03:45 PM (wlDny)

77 I put up a post and we get a nood.

Posted by: Vic We Have No Party at March 28, 2015 03:48 PM (wlDny)

78 Nood

Posted by: Y-not at March 28, 2015 03:48 PM (9BRsg)

79 Keena, the originator, Brad Gates, suggests that Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye is a good one to try in "marginal" (cool) climates. His farm is somewhere around Napa, I think. Should be good for "June Gloom" along the coast. I think it does fine in warmer weather, too. Don't know about hot weather. I planted one once, but it got cucumber mosaic virus.

You can tie some types of bush zucchinis up to a stake. There are also a few climbing zucchinis that could go on a stout trellis.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 03:49 PM (qahv/)

80 Sweet potatoes are the ultimate regenerating veggies, if you want an easy houseplant. The stems root faster than any plant I know of.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 03:58 PM (qahv/)

81 Thanks for the shady area suggestions. They are really helpful. We have had English ivy in the spot but it threatened to take over the neighborhood and the stems or canes were too thick for mowing. They are a problem to pull up as well. We'll check into the suggestions this summer after the garden is established.

Posted by: JTB at March 28, 2015 03:59 PM (FvdPb)

82 Ronster, I'm kinda glad you didn't wait for the almanac to indicate the best time to plant that racoon you found. Even if it never comes up.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 04:20 PM (qahv/)

83 About forty years ago I had a weeds class, and remember how fascinating I found the highway drives after that. Learning even the weeds makes life more interesting, but the fruit of the vine is even better.

Some of my hardwood grape cuttings seem to be fine and leafing out, but haven't opened them up to see the roots except on one. Started a bunch of tomatoes from seed ... "Cupid Grape" is a new one, sold five seeds per packet. Supposed to have great taste for a cherry tomato. Still another month or so before I'm "serious" about the garden here in central Illinois, though the strawberries are well under way.

Thanks for all the commentary about spring bustin out all over ... hope Vic and the rest in hard freeze zone don't lose the azaleas. I covered some daffodils last night, but they endure freezes pretty well. cheers

Posted by: Illiniwek at March 28, 2015 04:28 PM (ZU84r)

84 KT

Heh

Posted by: Ronster at March 28, 2015 04:33 PM (4NtAn)

85 I'm still on the fence about buying the garden tower. Hella expensive, will never pay for itself, but sometimes you just gotta have fun.

Posted by: Ronster at March 28, 2015 04:38 PM (4NtAn)

86 Thanks for all the commentary about spring bustin
out all over ... hope Vic and the rest in hard freeze zone don't lose
the azaleas. I covered some daffodils last night, but they endure
freezes pretty well. cheers


Posted by: Illiniwek at March 28, 2015 04:28 PM (ZU84r)

Azaleas in my area are not blooming yet but others are.

Posted by: Vic We Have No Party at March 28, 2015 04:41 PM (wlDny)

87 Ha ... I have three raccoons out front here that bit into a live wire a "friend" managed to knock down. It was the neutral, but found it was rubbing the live wire, coons would bite it, it bit back. The eagles ate on them in snow, now the turkey vultures are liking them. When they start to stink it will be time to "plant" them.

Posted by: Illiniwek at March 28, 2015 04:43 PM (ZU84r)

88 One of the kitties left a big gopher head on the porch for us this morning. So sweet.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 05:15 PM (qahv/)

89 The weather here is PERFECT today.

My "gardening" this morning consisted of running a crew of high school volunteers removing invasive catclaw vine from the neighborhood nature trails. That was mostly done just by hand, and they got done early. The boys cracked me up when they got into my toolbag and started swinging my saws and machete around. They were so eager to hack something that I set them upon some disgustrums, which are highly invasive. They were really funny, and the girls were sweet.

Then husband and I went to lunch, and after that we took the two idiot dogs to the new neighborhood dog park. It's so new it doesn't have any gates or poop disposal units, but idiot dogs were obedient and didn't run away or gang up on little dogs. They didn't even poop.

Posted by: stace at March 28, 2015 06:03 PM (ImzkZ)

90 Ohh, Garden thread! We went around to one of my favorite nurseries today, just to pick up some plants to fill in a bare patch which used to be shaded to oblivion and beyond. Sam's Club had a pack of purple asparagus in their section devoted to seasonal garden things, so I will try that. The trunk of my car is filled with mulch and bags of garden and potting soil ... the soil here is pure nasty clay, you could make adobe bricks out of it, I swear. The best-growing areas are those that I have dug mulch into for years, or a couple of raised beds where I added a lot of sand and good soil.
The one self-sowing heirloom tomato that grew and thrived all winter in a pot on the back porch already has produced ripe tomatoes. OK, so only about a dozen and the size of grapes ... but still tomatoes!
The back yard smells amazing, this week - the wisteria has bloomed, the almond verbena tree has blooms all over it, the lemon and lime trees are all in frantic bloom, and the Spanish jasmine is in bloom, too. It's almost a sensory overload.

That nasty foxtail grass was all over the place when I was growing up in So Cal. One of our poor doggies got one up his nose. I think it had to be removed by the vet, after it had caused all sorts of problems.

Posted by: Sgt Mom at March 28, 2015 06:07 PM (95iDF)

91 Just bought seeds from Amazon - calamint, fig, mulberry and shallots. I blame the Gardening Thread. :-)

Posted by: gingeroni at March 28, 2015 06:09 PM (baKy9)

92 The shallots and calamint seeds sound great, gingeroni. You might want to re-think the mulberry and fig seeds if you're looking for fine fruit. Unless your really adventurous. Named varieties, cuttings or grafted, are likely to be much better. Though you may be able to use the seeds for rootstocks.

Mulberries can be great ornamentals. The male trees make pollen and the females make fruit every year if not severely pruned.

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 06:18 PM (qahv/)

93 Sgt. Mom, I have never heard of almond verbena. Sounds great. What is it like?

Posted by: KT at March 28, 2015 06:22 PM (qahv/)

94 It was something that I have bought at a couple of herb fairs, locally - it can remain a shrub if consistently pruned, tends to go into a small tree, otherwise. It has medium-sized leaves, isn't very much to look at ... but it has clusters of very tiny flowers more or less year around where I live. They have the most amazing scent, and the bees and butterflies love it extravagantly. Mine have all gone to small-tree size. They seem to be fairly drought and poor-soil tolerant as well, but need lots of sun.
Also known as sweet almond verbena, or incense bush. Warm climates - I think it came from Argentina, originally.

Posted by: Sgt Mom at March 28, 2015 06:38 PM (95iDF)

95 Iz was one of those sovereignty assholes all to common in that shit-hole known as Hawaii. appaerntly he was fond of the American invention of burgers.
Fuck that place. We should give it back. In a generation they'll be back to fucking their cousins and eating each other.

Posted by: Dirk Steed at March 28, 2015 07:52 PM (m27jP)

96 Mulberries grow all over this town from what look like very old plantings or volunteer plants and they have plenty of fruit for me. I'm outside of the prime area so I either have to find a tree in a public place or buy seeds. I've tried mail order plants but they don't thrive. Nurseries around here go for fruitless varieties because we're too good for messy home grown fruit.

The fig was just a lark.

Posted by: gingeroni at March 28, 2015 09:25 PM (baKy9)

97 Vinca is as invasive as English Ivy. It will indeed spread (by runners), even under adverse conditions. Once established, you can rip it out by it's guts by the handful and it will come back. It is however, bulletproof and will do the job on a slope without babysitting. If you want to plant this, I'd have some serious edging to try to hold it at bay. Because it will eventually spread...into flowerbeds, around and through shrubs, lines in the sidewalk....

As to almanacs, I buy one yearly, it's fun. Their forecast for my area got the cold right, but the 'snowy' part, not so much at all. We got more cold rain and random spatterings of frozen gak than snow. Spring is slow in coming. Forsynthia is just starting to bloom, have seen a few early daffodils and just a few buds on trees.

Posted by: tired at March 28, 2015 11:03 PM (adOUE)

98 Your mulberry observations sound about right, gingeroni. I was just thinking that if you wanted quality fruit, something like Illinois Everbearing might be nice for you. There are some pale ones that sound nice, too.

Posted by: KT at March 29, 2015 01:13 AM (qahv/)

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