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RE: Orchard pictures... (Follow-Up #50)

posted by: konrad___far_north on 03.18.2011 at 08:22 pm in Fruit & Orchards Forum

Thank you all!
>>How did you get that close?<<
These pictures were taken with a home brew camera put inside a water tight pelican case, activated by a motion sensor, hooked up with camera, then pictures are taken by itself. Camera is a Sony point and shoot Cybershot. See.. deer noticed the camera and looking straight at it, probably only 2 to 3 feet away. I use it for birds also.

Baltimore Oriole
June 27, 2010


clipped on: 04.25.2013 at 06:08 pm    last updated on: 04.25.2013 at 06:08 pm

RE: Your favorite tree fruits? (Follow-Up #19)

posted by: Woodyorch on 07.14.2012 at 06:39 pm in Fruit & Orchards Forum

tmunson - Spice-Z is patent name, from H&H Nursery in Lakewood, Ca. I make the 60 mile trek once in a while because their stock is good. They, and everyone else get them via Dave Wilson, the distributor for Zaiger.

Fruitnut - yep, it's the climate :(

Letsski - Granny Smiths - I so envy you, they don't like the beach climate here.

Harvestman - Great point, spreading maturities here is the name of the game too. The Nectaplum began ripening a week after the Blenheim Apricot was finished and pruned - right on cue the first year, slick!
Here in the cool of the Catalina eddy some other trees do very well also. Beginning arbitrarily in November, this is the calendar order of ripening I originally planted to have fruit all year and spread the care and maintenance.

Feijoa, or pineapple guava - for Thanksgiving. Stellar fruit, gorgeous blue-green evergreen (pictured below), LaVerne Growers.

Pineapples, 'Smooth Cayenne' - for Christmas. Forgive me, not a tree fruit, but little else makes fruit in December, and I am quite proud of them. Large delicious fruit, cuttings from the store's Hawaiian-grown produce.

Washington Navel Orange - brings in the new year - luscious!
Riverside Citrus Preservasion budwood on C25.

California Honey Mandarin - brings color & fruit to February. Beautiful deep color, and wonderful juice. LaVerne Growers.

March is a bit thin here. but I'm working on it . .

Bears Lime from April to November - gotta have margaritas, and makes a better pie than Key limes. Large & Seedless.

Golden Nugget Loquat - May, occasionally December also. Sweet as candy, fragrant, and occasionally becomes candy. Has big brown and cream-colored shaggy blossoms from outer space, ornamental classic. LaVerne Growers.

Boysenberries May through June, and lots of them. Wow, I'm drifting again - not a tree fruit . .

Blenheim Apricot in the cool marine layer of June. Large, dark orange, comically juicy, and very sweet. LaVerne again.

Blackberries mentioned, July through August. Intensely concentrated flavor, not particularly sweet. Best for baking, compotes, and other sugar-combined schemes . . Jeeze . . vine, not a tree . .

Lemon Guava in August, another pretty ornament with fruit that is great out of hand, and not messy. LaVerne.

Mid-knight Valencia orange at this time also. Large, high juice volume, not as difficult to peel as other juice oranges so juice or hand optional, but a wet experience. another RCP budwood graft.

Ice Cream Banana is next. Ok it is A grass, but at this point taller than nearly everything else. Blue-skinned, medium sized, white soft meat you can almost eat with a spoon. Actually tastes like banana with vanilla ice cream. 30-60lb bunches, and another great ornament, tolerant of cool weather. Thank you LaVerne!

Since the initial planting, fill-ins and additions the following few years included:

Malaysian red Guava
Macadamia nut, Beaumont
Big Jim Loquat
Haas avocado
Pomegranates, Sharp Velvet & Desertnyi
Understory plants - fruiting shrubs and vines, then herbs and California & Hawaiian native wild fruits (logans, huckleberries, wild strawberries, ohellos etc.)and their prime overstory species - non-fruiting, like Sequoya Sempervirens.

Guavas are smaller, slower growing trees, often kept as shrubs. Those that might grow in your climate would add something more tropical and exotic to your collection by fitting in among the larger plantings, or close to building walls as ornamental landscape. This has the advantage of helping the thing in a bit colder climate too, by scavenging heat off the building - sunset-facing helps even more.

Great fun this thread, I'm getting some ideas from other's choices mentioned above.


clipped on: 04.25.2013 at 05:54 pm    last updated on: 04.25.2013 at 05:54 pm

RE: A unique cherry tomato that I grow (Follow-Up #40)

posted by: carolyn137 on 04.23.2013 at 08:15 am in Growing Tomatoes Forum

He named it Selbo's Red Ribbed.

And it's now in NC where one of the four wonderful folks do seed production for me since I no longer can having fallen in Dec of 2004 and severed all four quad muscles in my right leg, hence, I've had to use a walker since then,

If it llooks good and seed production is good, as someone said above I do send seeds for trial to certain seed sites and also sometimes SSE list a variety although I'm cutting way back on my SSE listings, as well as offering it my annual seed offer elsewhere.

I don't know who else Mike sent seeds to, but as far as the seeds to me, seeds produced this summer will go to the kinds of folks /places I mentioned above and then they grow it out in 2014 and save their own seeds, so it takes about two to three years before a new variety becomes publicaly available if all goes well..



clipped on: 04.23.2013 at 05:37 pm    last updated on: 04.23.2013 at 05:37 pm

RE: Looking for Hot Pepper for Pickling between (1,000-5000 SHU) (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: PEPPERMEISTER1 on 04.16.2013 at 05:57 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

I agree with the HHW and the Jaloro.

I'm a big fan of pickled sport peppers. They are smaller and a bit hotter than pepperoncini and grow in abundance. The color is boring as the flavor is best when they are pale green.

I grew Wenk's Yellow Hots last summer and they develop a cool pastel yellow while ripening and a beautiful red-orange hue when ripe. great to slice and pickle. Crispy and hot and a Southwest USA heirloom.

My final recommendation is the Beaver Dam. It has super crispness and nice heat. Pickled slices of heaven on almost any sandwich. The BD puts on quite a show as it gradually ripens from lime green to deep red.

Here is a link that might be useful: Article about Sport Peppers


clipped on: 04.17.2013 at 01:06 pm    last updated on: 04.17.2013 at 01:06 pm

RE: What would you do with two acres? (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: paula11366 on 07.23.2009 at 02:11 am in Homesteading Forum

We have two and one half acres. The one half is pond, so I don't include it when describing the rest. We have 12 vegetable beds, fruit and nut tress (dwarf on the fruit), a corn field and a wheat field, blueberries border the house, a male and female kiwi grow on either side of our front porch, blackberries, strawberries, grape arbors, raspberries, a large herb garden, chickens for eggs and meat, 2 milking goats, 1 beef steer, rabbits for fertilizer, ducks for fun, 2 pigs for bacon and sausage, etc. We do farm quite intensively on our two acres. You can get a lot our of an even smaller space if you plan and don't mind not having a huge yard. My daughter has a swing set and a pool, and she has plenty of room to play.


clipped on: 04.07.2013 at 12:20 pm    last updated on: 04.07.2013 at 12:21 pm

RE: Best Potting mix for peppers? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: habjolokia on 04.03.2013 at 07:29 am in Hot Pepper Forum

Hi PunkRotten, what are you currently using? Leaves are smaller? It depends on the variety like a jalapeno compared to a Bhut the Bhut leaves are 3 to 4 times larger. This is what I use.

45% MG Orchid mix (not the course blend)
45% MG Organic Choice
8% Perlite
2% Bone Meal

I have used just only MG Orchid mix and it works fine on its own. I've used the MG Organic choice with lots of additional perlite and that worked well. I add the bone meal for future use since its takes awhile to break down I add it to the mix and by the time it's plant useable it will be the perfect time of growth when they need it. I also use Alaska fish fert and sometimes MG fert. But at this point have not used any additional fertilizers, they have been using the already added MG ferts included with the mix.

Here is a pic of one of my happy plants. Seeds were started Jan 12th.


This post was edited by habjolokia on Wed, Apr 3, 13 at 7:42


clipped on: 04.03.2013 at 01:28 pm    last updated on: 04.03.2013 at 01:28 pm

RE: How do I grow ALL the varities of tomatoes? (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: linzelu100 on 03.28.2013 at 04:49 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Carolyn- I was hoping my question wouldn't be misconstrued, but I think it may have. I am not wanting to grow as many tomatoes as I can just for the sake of it. I am a greedy eater and I find the different flavor profiles so exciting. From one tomato to the next there is so much VARIETY! I grew up in NJ, city lifestyle and all the tomatoes looked the same, round and red. Probably Rutgers tomato. I had no idea there were striped tomatoes, green when ripe tomatoes, or white! Who would have guessed it...not me. One day I was having lunch with my grandmother who I adore and respect and she was on a Mansanto rant. I asked her what I could do about it since she said my generation is lazy and oblivious to what's going on and she told me to become a seed saver and protect a variety. Ok I told her, calm down I will protect one variety. She said she could die happy if I knew how to save seed from something and re-grow it. She gave me a Bakers Creek catalogue to pick one out and when I saw all the variety I was overwhelmed, in a good way, once I started growing and tasting...I was hooked. We even moved to a multiple acre lot so I could grow more. I just want to experiment with so much, finding what works for us. Plus, I do it all with my little girl. I plan on saving all the good seeds for her and passing them on to her- she won't have as much of a learning curve as I am having now. I will be able to help her. No one in my family grew food. All semi-recent Europe immigrants who lived in Philadelphia.

I usually buy from Bakers Creek, Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and then do online trading which I have had great success with.

The ones I save seed from regularly are:
Pink Brandywine
Purple Cherokee
Violet Jasper
Italian Heirloom (from SSE)
Emmy (from SSE)
Juane Flamme
Red Zebra
Riesentraube Cherry
Pearly Pink (My daughter really loves this bland tomato, my husband and I don't like it much!)

Ones I tried and didn't continue to save:
Green Zebra (yuck!)
Yellow pear
Black cherry (they taste great but ripped and molded a lot)
Beauty King

This year the new ones:
Jersey Devil
Dr. Wyches Yellow
White Queen
Aunt Ruby's German Green
Lemon drop
Sara's Galapagos
Isis candy Cherry
Gold Medal
Rhoades (probably incorrect name)
Cour d'bue
Fantome du laos
Omar's Lebanese
Hawaiian Currant

Oh my I am so sorry for the length of this!



clipped on: 03.28.2013 at 05:26 pm    last updated on: 03.28.2013 at 05:26 pm

Anyone try Peppers and Tomatoes in Gritty Mix?

posted by: ideal2545 on 02.22.2012 at 08:40 pm in Container Gardening Forum

Hi Everyone,

I have a whole lot of Turface, Granite and Repti-Bark sitting in my garage right now and I was curious if I could just make up some extra gritty mix for some tomato/pepper plants, or if you guys think the 511 mix is just simply better. I plan to use Foilage Pro and then add in some Pro-Tekt later on for some blooming and whatnot.



wonder why this thread ended so abruptly?
clipped on: 03.21.2013 at 03:45 pm    last updated on: 03.21.2013 at 03:45 pm

Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention XV

posted by: tapla on 02.06.2012 at 02:58 pm in Container Gardening Forum

I first posted this thread back in March of '05. Fourteen times it has reached the maximum number of posts GW allows to a single thread, which is much more attention than I ever imagined it would garner. I have reposted it in no small part because it has been great fun, and a wonderful catalyst in the forging of new friendships and in increasing my list of acquaintances with similar growing interests. The forum and email exchanges that stem so often from the subject are in themselves enough to make me hope the subject continues to pique interest, and the exchanges provide helpful information. Most of the motivation for posting this thread another time comes from the reinforcement of hundreds of participants over the years that strongly suggests the information provided in good-spirited collective exchange has made a significant difference in the quality of their growing experience. I'll provide links to some of the more recent of the previous dozen threads and nearly 2,500 posts at the end of what I have written - just in case you have interest in reviewing them. Thank you for taking the time to examine this topic - I hope that any/all who read it take at least something interesting and helpful from it. I know it's long. My hope is that you find it worth the read, and the time you invest results in a significantly improved growing experience.

Since there are many questions about soils appropriate for use in containers, I'll post basic mix recipes later, in case any would like to try the soil. It will follow the information.

Before we get started, I'd like to mention that I wrote a reply and posted it to a thread recently, and I think it is well worth considering. It not only sets a minimum standard for what constitutes a 'GOOD' soil, but also points to the fact that not all growers look at container soils from the same perspective, which is why growers so often disagree on what makes a 'good' soil. I hope you find it thought provoking:

Is Soil X a 'Good' Soil?

I think any discussion on this topic must largely center around the word "GOOD", and we can broaden the term 'good' so it also includes 'quality' or 'suitable', as in "Is soil X a quality or suitable soil?"

How do we determine if soil A or soil B is a good soil? and before we do that, we'd better decide if we are going to look at it from the plant's perspective or from the grower's perspective, because often there is a considerable amount of conflict to be found in the overlap - so much so that one can often be mutually exclusive of the other.

We can imagine that grower A might not be happy or satisfied unless knows he is squeezing every bit of potential from his plants, and grower Z might not be happy or content unless he can water his plants before leaving on a 2-week jaunt, and still have a weeks worth of not having to water when he returns. Everyone else is somewhere between A and Z; with B, D, F, H, J, L, N, P, R, T, V, X, and Y either unaware of how much difference soil choice can make, or they understand but don't care.

I said all that to illustrate the large measure of futility in trying to establish any sort of standard as to what makes a good soil from the individual grower's perspective; but let's change our focus from the pointless to the possible.

We're only interested in the comparative degrees of 'good' and 'better' here. It would be presumptive to label any soil "best". 'Best I've found' or 'best I've used' CAN sometimes be useful for comparative purposes, but that's a very subjective judgment. Let's tackle 'good', then move on to 'better', and finally see what we can do about qualifying these descriptors so they can apply to all growers.

I would like to think that everyone would prefer to use a soil that can be described as 'good' from the plant's perspective. How do we determine what a plant wants? Surprisingly, we can use %s established by truly scientific studies that are widely accepted in the greenhouse and nursery trades to determine if a soil is good or not good - from the plant's perspective, that is. Rather than use confusing numbers that mean nothing to the hobby grower, I can suggest that our standard for a good soil should be, at a minimum, that you can water that soil properly. That means, that at any time during the growth cycle, you can water your plantings to beyond the point of saturation (so excess water is draining from the pot) without the fear of root rot or compromised root function or metabolism due to (take your pick) too much water or too little air in the root zone.

I think it's very reasonable to withhold the comparative basic descriptor, 'GOOD', from soils that can't be watered properly without compromising root function, or worse, suffering one of the fungaluglies that cause root rot. I also think anyone wishing to make the case from the plant's perspective that a soil that can't be watered to beyond saturation w/o compromising root health can be called 'good', is fighting on the UP side logic hill.

So I contend that 'good' soils are soils we can water correctly; that is, we can flush the soil when we water without concern for compromising root health/function/metabolism. If you ask yourself, "Can I water correctly if I use this soil?" and the answer is 'NO' ... it's not a good soil ... for the reasons stated above.

Can you water correctly using most of the bagged soils readily available? 'NO', I don't think I need to point to a conclusion.

What about 'BETTER'? Can we determine what might make a better soil? Yes, we can. If we start with a soil that meets the minimum standard of 'good', and improve either the physical and/or chemical properties of that soil, or make it last longer, then we have 'better'. Even if we cannot agree on how low we wish to set the bar for what constitutes 'good', we should be able to agree that any soil that reduces excess water retention, increases aeration, ensures increased potential for optimal root health, and lasts longer than soils that only meet some one's individual and arbitrary standard of 'good', is a 'better' soil.

All the plants we grow, unless grown from seed, have the genetic potential to be beautiful specimens. It's easy to say, and easy to see the absolute truth in the idea that if you give a plant everything it wants it will flourish and grow; after all, plants are programmed to grow just that way. Our growing skills are defined by our ability to give plants what they want. The better we are at it, the better our plants will grow. But we all know it's not that easy. Lifetimes are spent in careful study, trying to determine just exactly what it is that plants want and need to make them grow best.

Since this is a soil discussion, let's see what the plant wants from its soil. The plant wants a soil in which we have endeavored to provide in available form, all the essential nutrients, in the ratio in at which the plant uses them, and at a concentration high enough to prevent deficiencies yet low enough to make it easy to take up water (and the nutrients dissolved in the water). First and foremost, though, the plant wants a container soil that is evenly damp, never wet or soggy. Giving a plant what it wants, to flourish and grow, doesn't include a soil that is half saturated for a week before aeration returns to the entire soil mass, even if you only water in small sips. Plants might do 'ok' in some soils, but to actually flourish, like they are genetically programmed to do, they would need to be unencumbered by wet, soggy soils.

We become better growers by improving our ability to reduce the effects of limiting factors, or by eliminating those limiting factors entirely; in other words, by clearing out those influences that stand in the way of the plant reaching its genetic potential. Even if we are able to make every other factor that influences plant growth/vitality absolutely perfect, it could not make up for a substandard soil. For a plant to grow to its genetic potential, every factor has to be perfect, including the soil. Of course, we'll never manage to get to that point, but the good news is that as we get closer and closer, our plants get better and better; and hopefully, we'll get more from our growing experience.

In my travels, I've discovered it almost always ends up being that one little factor that we willingly or unwittingly overlooked that limits us in our abilities, and our plants in their potential.

Food for thought:
A 2-bit plant in a $10 soil has a future full of potential, where a $10 plant in a 2-bit soil has only a future filled with limitations. ~ Al

Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention

As container gardeners, our first priority should be to ensure the soils we use are adequately aerated for the life of the planting, or in the case of perennial material (trees, shrubs, garden perennials), from repot to repot. Soil aeration/drainage is the most important consideration in any container planting. Soils are the foundation that all container plantings are built on, and aeration is the very cornerstone of that foundation. Since aeration and drainage are inversely linked to soil particle size, it makes good sense to try to find and use soils or primary components with particles larger than peat/compost/coir. Durability and stability of soil components so they contribute to the retention of soil structure for extended periods is also extremely important. Pine and some other types of conifer bark fit the bill nicely, but I'll talk more about various components later.

What I will write also hits pretty hard against the futility in using a drainage layer of coarse materials in attempt to improve drainage. It just doesn't work. All it does is reduce the total volume of soil available for root colonization. A wick can be employed to remove water from the saturated layer of soil at the container bottom, but a drainage layer is not effective. A wick can be made to work in reverse of the self-watering pots widely being discussed on this forum now.

Consider this if you will:

Container soils are all about structure, and particle size plays the primary role in determining whether a soil is suited or unsuited to the application. Soil fills only a few needs in container culture. Among them are: Anchorage - a place for roots to extend, securing the plant and preventing it from toppling. Nutrient Retention - it must retain a nutrient supply in available form sufficient to sustain plant systems. Gas Exchange - it must be amply porous to allow air to move through the root system and gasses that are the by-product of decomposition to escape. Water - it must retain water enough in liquid and/or vapor form to sustain plants between waterings. Air - it must contain a volume of air sufficient to ensure that root function/metabolism/growth is not impaired. This is extremely important and the primary reason that heavy, water-retentive soils are so limiting in their affect. Most plants can be grown without soil as long as we can provide air, nutrients, and water, (witness hydroponics). Here, I will concentrate primarily on the movement and retention of water in container soil(s).

There are two forces that cause water to move through soil - one is gravity, the other capillary action. Gravity needs little explanation, but for this writing I would like to note: Gravitational flow potential (GFP) is greater for water at the top of the container than it is for water at the bottom. I'll return to that later.

Capillarity is a function of the natural forces of adhesion and cohesion. Adhesion is water's tendency to stick to solid objects like soil particles and the sides of the pot. Cohesion is the tendency for water to stick to itself. Cohesion is why we often find water in droplet form - because cohesion is at times stronger than adhesion; in other words, water's bond to itself can be stronger than the bond to the object it might be in contact with; cohesion is what makes water form drops. Capillary action is in evidence when we dip a paper towel in water. The water will soak into the towel and rise several inches above the surface of the water. It will not drain back into the source, and it will stop rising when the GFP equals the capillary attraction of the fibers in the paper.

There will be a naturally occurring "perched water table" (PWT) in containers when soil particulate size is under about .100 (just under 1/8) inch. Perched water is water that occupies a layer of soil at the bottom of containers or above coarse drainage layers that tends to remain saturated & will not drain from the portion of the pot it occupies. It can evaporate or be used by the plant, but physical forces will not allow it to drain. It is there because the capillary pull of the soil at some point will surpass the GFP; therefore, the water does not drain, it is said to be 'perched'. The smaller the size of the particles in a soil, the greater the height of the PWT. Perched water can be tightly held in heavy (comprised of small particles) soils where it perches (think of a bird on a perch) just above the container bottom where it will not drain; or, it can perch in a layer of heavy soil on top of a coarse drainage layer, where it will not drain.

Imagine that we have five cylinders of varying heights, shapes, and diameters, each with drain holes. If we fill them all with the same soil mix, then saturate the soil, the PWT will be exactly the same height in each container. This saturated area of the container is where roots initially seldom penetrate & where root problems frequently begin due to a lack of aeration and the production of noxious gasses. Water and nutrient uptake are also compromised by lack of air in the root zone. Keeping in mind the fact that the PWT height is dependent on soil particle size and has nothing to do with height or shape of the container, we can draw the conclusion that: If using a soil that supports perched water, tall growing containers will always have a higher percentage of unsaturated soil than squat containers when using the same soil mix. The reason: The level of the PWT will be the same in each container, with the taller container providing more usable, air holding soil above the PWT. From this, we could make a good case that taller containers are easier to grow in.

A given volume of large soil particles has less overall surface area when compared to the same volume of small particles and therefore less overall adhesive attraction to water. So, in soils with large particles, GFP more readily overcomes capillary attraction. They simply drain better and hold more air. We all know this, but the reason, often unclear, is that the height of the PWT is lower in coarse soils than in fine soils. The key to good drainage is size and uniformity of soil particles. Mixing large particles with small is often very ineffective because the smaller particles fit between the large, increasing surface area which increases the capillary attraction and thus the water holding potential. An illustrative question: How much perlite do we need to add to pudding to make it drain well?

I already stated I hold as true that the grower's soil choice when establishing a planting for the long term is the most important decision he/she will make. There is no question that the roots are the heart of the plant, and plant vitality is inextricably linked in a hard lock-up with root vitality. In order to get the best from your plants, you absolutely must have happy roots.

If you start with a water-retentive medium, you cannot effectively amend it to improve aeration or drainage characteristics by adding larger particulates. Sand, perlite, Turface, calcined DE ...... none of them will work effectively. To visualize why sand and perlite can't change drainage/aeration, think of how well a pot full of BBs would drain (perlite); then think of how poorly a pot full of pudding would drain (bagged soil). Even mixing the pudding and perlite/BBs together 1:1 in a third pot yields a mix that retains the drainage characteristics and PWT height of the pudding. It's only after the perlite become the largest fraction of the mix (60-75%) that drainage & PWT height begins to improve. At that point, you're growing in perlite amended with a little potting soil.

You cannot add coarse material to fine material and improve drainage or the ht of the PWT. Use the same example as above & replace the pudding with play sand or peat moss or a peat-based potting soil - same results. The benefit in adding perlite to heavy soils doesn't come from the fact that they drain better. The fine peat or pudding particles simply 'fill in' around the perlite, so drainage & the ht of the PWT remains the same. All perlite does in heavy soils is occupy space that would otherwise be full of water. Perlite simply reduces the amount of water a soil is capable of holding because it is not internally porous. IOW - all it does is take up space. That can be a considerable benefit, but it makes more sense to approach the problem from an angle that also allows us to increase the aeration AND durability of the soil. That is where Pine bark comes in, and I will get to that soon.

If you want to profit from a soil that offers superior drainage and aeration, you need to start with an ingredient as the basis for your soils that already HAVE those properties, by ensuring that the soil is primarily comprised of particles much larger than those in peat/compost/coir/sand/topsoil, which is why the recipes I suggest as starting points all direct readers to START with the foremost fraction of the soil being large particles, to ensure excellent aeration. From there, if you choose, you can add an appropriate volume of finer particles to increase water retention. You do not have that option with a soil that is already extremely water-retentive right out of the bag.

I fully understand that many are happy with the results they get when using commercially prepared soils, and I'm not trying to get anyone to change anything. My intent is to make sure that those who are having trouble with issues related to soil, understand why the issues occur, that there are options, and what they are.

We have seen that adding a coarse drainage layer at the container bottom does not improve drainage. It does though, reduce the volume of soil required to fill a container, making the container lighter. When we employ a drainage layer in an attempt to improve drainage, what we are actually doing is moving the level of the PWT higher in the pot. This simply reduces the volume of soil available for roots to colonize. Containers with uniform soil particle size from top of container to bottom will yield better and more uniform drainage and have a lower PWT than containers using the same soil with added drainage layers.

The coarser the drainage layer, the more detrimental to drainage it is because water is more (for lack of a better scientific word) reluctant to make the downward transition because the capillary pull of the soil above the drainage layer is stronger than the GFP. The reason for this is there is far more surface area on soil particles for water to be attracted to in the soil above the drainage layer than there is in the drainage layer, so the water perches. I know this goes against what most have thought to be true, but the principle is scientifically sound, and experiments have shown it as so. Many nurserymen employ the pot-in-pot or the pot-in-trench method of growing to capitalize on the science.

If you discover you need to increase drainage, you can simply insert an absorbent wick into a drainage hole & allow it to extend from the saturated soil in the container to a few inches below the bottom of the pot, or allow it to contact soil below the container where the earth acts as a giant wick and will absorb all or most of the perched water in the container, in most cases. Eliminating the PWT has much the same effect as providing your plants much more soil to grow in, as well as allowing more, much needed air in the root zone.

In simple terms: Plants that expire because of drainage problems either die of thirst because the roots have rotted and can no longer take up water, or they suffer/die because there is insufficient air at the root zone to insure normal root function, so water/nutrient uptake and root metabolism become seriously impaired.

To confirm the existence of the PWT and how effective a wick is at removing it, try this experiment: Fill a soft drink cup nearly full of garden soil. Add enough water to fill to the top, being sure all soil is saturated. Punch a drain hole in the bottom of the cup and allow the water to drain. When drainage has stopped, insert a wick into the drain hole . Take note of how much additional water drains. Even touching the soil with a toothpick through the drain hole will cause substantial additional water to drain. The water that drains is water that occupied the PWT. A greatly simplified explanation of what occurs is: The wick or toothpick "fools" the water into thinking the pot is deeper than it is, so water begins to move downward seeking the "new" bottom of the pot, pulling the rest of the water in the PWT along with it. If there is interest, there are other simple and interesting experiments you can perform to confirm the existence of a PWT in container soils. I can expand later in the thread.

I always remain cognizant of these physical principles whenever I build a soil. I have not used a commercially prepared soil in many years, preferring to build a soil or amend one of my 2 basic mixes to suit individual plantings. I keep many ingredients at the ready for building soils, but the basic building process usually starts with conifer bark and perlite. Sphagnum peat plays a secondary role in my container soils because it breaks down too quickly to suit me, and when it does, it impedes drainage and reduces aeration. Size matters. Partially composted conifer bark fines (pine is easiest to find and least expensive) works best in the following recipes, followed by uncomposted bark in the <3/8" range.

Bark fines of pine, fir or hemlock, are excellent as the primary component of your soils. The lignin contained in bark keeps it rigid and the rigidity provides air-holding pockets in the root zone far longer than peat or compost mixes that too quickly break down to a soup-like consistency. Conifer bark also contains suberin, a lipid sometimes referred to as nature's preservative. Suberin, more scarce as a presence in sapwood products and hardwood bark, dramatically slows the decomposition of conifer bark-based soils. It contains highly varied hydrocarbon chains and the microorganisms that turn peat to soup have great difficulty cleaving these chains - it retains its structure.

Note that there is no sand or compost in the soils I use. Sand, as most of you think of it, can improve drainage in some cases, but it reduces aeration by filling valuable macro-pores in soils. Unless sand particle size is fairly uniform and/or larger than about BB size, I leave it out of soils. Compost is too fine and unstable for me to consider using in soils in any significant volume as well. The small amount of micro-nutrients it supplies can easily be delivered by one or more of a number of chemical or organic sources that do not detract from drainage/aeration.

The basic soils I use ....

The 5:1:1 mix:

5 parts pine bark fines (partially composted fines are best)
1 part sphagnum peat (not reed or sedge peat please)
1-2 parts perlite
garden lime (or gypsum in some cases)
controlled release fertilizer (if preferred)

Big batch:
2-3 cu ft pine bark fines
5 gallons peat
5 gallons perlite
2 cups dolomitic (garden) lime (or gypsum in some cases)
2 cups CRF (if preferred)

Small batch:
3 gallons pine bark
1/2 gallon peat
1/2 gallon perlite
4 tbsp lime (or gypsum in some cases)
1/4 cup CRF (if preferred)

I have seen advice that some highly organic (practically speaking - almost all container soils are highly organic) container soils are productive for up to 5 years or more. I disagree and will explain why if there is interest. Even if you were to substitute fir bark for pine bark in this recipe (and this recipe will long outlast any peat based soil) you should only expect a maximum of two to three years life before a repot is in order. Usually perennials, including trees (they're perennials too) should be repotted more frequently to insure they can grow at as close to their genetic potential within the limits of other cultural factors as possible. If a soil is desired that will retain structure for long periods, we need to look more to inorganic components. Some examples are crushed granite, fine stone, VERY coarse sand (see above - usually no smaller than BB size in containers, please), Haydite, lava rock (pumice), Turface, calcined DE, and others.

For long term (especially woody) plantings and houseplants, I use a superb soil that is extremely durable and structurally sound. The basic mix is equal parts of pine bark, Turface, and crushed granite.

The gritty mix:

1 part uncomposted screened pine or fir bark (1/8-1/4")
1 part screened Turface
1 part crushed Gran-I-Grit (grower size) or #2 cherrystone
1 Tbsp gypsum per gallon of soil (eliminate if your fertilizer has Ca)
CRF (if desired)

I use 1/8 -1/4 tsp Epsom salts (MgSO4) per gallon of fertilizer solution when I fertilize if the fertilizer does not contain Mg (check your fertilizer - if it is soluble, it is probable it does not contain Ca or Mg. If I am using my currently favored fertilizer (I use it on everything), Dyna-Gro's Foliage-Pro in the 9-3-6 formulation, and I don't use gypsum or Epsom salts in the fertilizer solution.

If there is interest, you'll find some of the more recent continuations of the thread at the links below:

Post XIV


Post XII

Post XI

Post X

Post IX


If you feel you were benefited by having read this offering, you might also find this thread about Fertilizing Containerized Plants helpful, as well.

If you do find yourself using soils you feel are too water-retentive, you'll find some Help Dealing with Water-retentive Soils by following this embedded link.

If you happen to be at all curious about How Plant Growth is Limited, just click the embedded link.

As always - best luck. Good growing!! Let me know if you think there is anything I might be able to help you with.



clipped on: 03.21.2013 at 01:45 pm    last updated on: 03.21.2013 at 01:45 pm

Another 5-1-1 recipe to try...

posted by: DaMonkey007 on 07.07.2012 at 12:18 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Hey guys,
Since the topic has grabbed some attention lately, this should fit right in. For those of you who were following the previous 5-1-1 threads, you know that I use a turface modified mix for my containers. Well, my go-to turface dealer was located very close to my old job. I would just pick some up on my lunch break as needed. My new job is on the other side of town and I just found out that this place isn't open on weekends...go figure. I thought that I better start rethinking my approach. This is what I'm going to go with:

I do have 1 50 lb bag of turface, and I have some leftover turface modified mix from last season, but I'm gonna reserve the turface mod for long term plantings only. I've recently found that I have a fond affinity towards agaves, they just make me happy for some reason, so I'll save it for that new and exciting obsession...

For reference, this is the turface mod mix:

4 1/2 parts pine bark (range: 1/8" - 1/2")
1/2 part pine bark (range: 1/16" - 1/8")
1/2 part coarse perlite (range: 1/8" - 1/4")
1/2 part coarse perlite (range: 1/16" - 1/8")
1/2 part turface (range: 1/8" - 1/4")
1/2 part turface (range: 1/16" - 1/8")
1 TBSP Dol Lime per gallon

I started doing some screening this morning and found that I was getting quite a bit of bark in the sub 1/8" range. I ran all that through some insect screen and ended up with this.


Nice stuff. There's some sapwood in there but not enough to be detrimental at the rate I use it. This is the product what I would use for the "1/2 part of bark (1/8" - 1/16")" in the turface modified mix.

Being that I'm low on turface, and my future turface stock can't be gauranteed, I thought that I had better use this stuff up. I personally don't like using peat in my container mix. So this is what I'm going to do for this Fall's container plant out, including the new class of peppers, of course:

5 parts pine bark (range: 1/8" - 1/2")
1 part pine bark (range: 1/16" - 1/8") (as seen in photo)
1/2 part coarse perlite (range: 1/8" - 1/4")
1/2 part coarse perlite (range: 1/16" - 1/8")
1 TBSP Dol Lime per gallon

As I've said before, I try to keep my particluates <1/8" around 20% of my total mix. This ensures adequate water retention while eliminating PWT. This recipe will accomplish that nicely, and will not require any peat - yay! When this mix has lived it's life, I'll recycle it into the raised beds (plus 1 part peat per 6 parts), and recycle the raised bed mix into the in-ground areas of the yard.

The fresh raised bed mix ~does~ use peat, as it bridges the gap in particle size and consistancy between the mix and the native soil, cutting down on the tendancy for water to perch at the transition. The ~fresh~ raised bed mix is as follows, and is actually a 5-1-2:

5 parts pine bark (range: 1/8" - 1/2")
1/2 part coarse perlite (range: 1/8" - 1/4")
1/2 part coarse perlite (range: 1/16" - 1/8")
2 part peat (as is, except of the removal of sticks and such)
1 TBSP Dol Lime per gallon

Just thought I'd share, happy plantings!



clipped on: 03.21.2013 at 01:31 pm    last updated on: 03.21.2013 at 01:32 pm

RE: 5-1-1 mix recipe --- a couple questions (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: DaMonkey007 on 06.07.2012 at 09:20 am in Hot Pepper Forum

Hey guys,
I'll chime in on this, since it's my This IS a 5-1-1, not a It's 5 parts bark, 1 part perlite, and 1 part turface - all screened to specific ranges, while the origial 5-1-1 is 5 parts bark, 1 part perlite, and 1 part peat - basically unscreened. I prefer to split my ingredients into particulate size ranges to ensure that my mix has an absolute minimum of particulates in the range that will support a perched water table, which is about 1/10".

I also like to break it down into ranges so that I ensure my mix is identical every time. This is not any more complicated than the video Josh posted, other than some additional screening is required. In fact, Josh uses turface in some of his mixes as well, and I worked very closely with him to develop this methodology. The truth is once you've initially screened all your materials (I basically do the whole years worth of screening over a weekend and store the particulate ranges in separately labeled 5 gal buckets, or larger totes for the bark) it's even EASIER to make, because you just scoop out what you need by the 1/2 gallon and your on your way.

In addition, unless you have the PERFECT material, not screening your resources down to specific particle sizes, most importantly not screening out the dust (<1/16"), will yield wildly different results every time you mix a batch. Every bag of bark, or perlite, or turface is going to be composed differently. I hate that unknown, it drives me crazy, I go though the extra trouble of screening everything to ensure that I know EXACTLY what's in my mix. For example, if your bark has alot of fine materials in it, all that fine stuff acts just like your peat fraction would, by absorbing and holding moisture....thus you may very well be making a 4-1-2, or a 3-1-3 even, not a 5-1-1....same with fine perlite. Most people are not going to find that pea gravel sized perlite that Josh has in his video, nor will they find that BEAUTIFUL fir bark that he has. Most of you will have to live with what you find. I buy "coarse" perlite in 4 cu ft bags from my has every particle size in it from 1/4" down to dust - it's just not useable straight out of the bag. Same with the bark that I can just has too much dust and fine particles - again, its just not usable right out of the bag. Most of you will find that the resources that you have available to you are not perfect, not even close, this method will mitigate that problem.

As for the turface. Turface is basically baked clay. They use it on baseball infields. It's internally porous, and will replace the peat fraction of your mix. There are also some substitutes, like Napa floor dry. The resulting mix yields a far superior product in terms of durability. An unscreened peat/soil fractioned mix will be a 1 year and done thing, while the screened mix made with turface will last for more like 3 years.

Regarding the bark, many people are under the impression that the bark MUST be partially decomposed "pine bark fines" for it to work here. First, don't get hung up on the name, you may find it labeled as many different products...pine bark fines, pine bark mulch, bark mulch, soil conditioner..blah blah blah. Just make sure that it's not shredded sapwood being passed off as bark, and that it not TOO FINE! What you want is a bark that is mostly under 1/2" or so - you can work with that. And, by the way, totally uncomposted stuff is PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE!! I even like it better, for it's durabilty. I'm not one that will toss my mix away after 1 season, I go though way to much trouble for that. I make my mix to last for years to come.

A 5-1-1 is far more than the sum of it's parts. Every piece of the puzzle brings something to the party. It's a delicate dance between durabilty, water retention, drainage, and aeration. Too many large particles, or too many fine particles, defeat the purpose of the 5-1-1. There are many ways to make a 5-1-1, this is mine. It's super durable, incredibly well draining and aerated, yet will hang on to plently of moisture - even in the south florida summer, and it will last for YEARS...but best of all it's EXACTLY the same every time I make it.

Take from that what you will.

Good Luck!



clipped on: 03.21.2013 at 12:41 pm    last updated on: 03.21.2013 at 12:41 pm

Your favorite recipes here.

posted by: DMForcier on 09.13.2012 at 12:00 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

In lieu of a sticky thread, maybe we can keep this one bouncing up to the top for a while.


Here's one I invented last night, using fatalii. The taste of fatalii is described as "citrusy", but raw I never quite got that. Tastes like habanero to me. (A first taster said that the first note is sweet. Fair enough.) Last night I noticed an avocado and decided to use fatalii in a recipe that wants citric acid: guacamole.

1 Haas avocado
1/2 to 1 fatalii pepper (amount to taste) minced fine
1/2 tsp garlic powder (a clove or two of fresh garlic, crushed is better)
1 Tbsp salsa (optional, but I like it)
1 tsp or so of lemon juice (try it without first)

Smash all together. Salt to taste (probably unnecessary).

Simple, but one of the best batches of guacamole I've ever had. The avocado seems to moderate and spread the heat at the same time, and the "hab" flavor is a perfect complement to the other ingredients. I also got a hint of orange rind - that previously missed citrus note.

Try it on skillet-toasted flour tortillas.


clipped on: 03.21.2013 at 08:27 am    last updated on: 03.21.2013 at 08:27 am

RE: issues with paper towel method? anyone else? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: bmoser on 03.03.2013 at 03:51 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

Try a modified method whereby you don't germinate all of the seeds but as soon as you notice a few sprouting plant them all and be gentle when handling sprouts. a planting method that works well is to use fluid seeding with the sprouts:
Bring a cup of water with a tablespoon of cornstarch or cleargel added to a boil- much like you were making gravy. Let it cool then place into a baggie with your sprouts. Snip of just enough of a corner to allow the sprouts to flow through and dispense into a row of planting media. Cover lightly with more media, water and keep warm until seedlings protrude.

This process eliminates 2 key problems of the paper towel method-1. Sprout damage due to handling and 2. seedling drying out after placing into media. You might just want to skip the paper towel altogether and just soak seeds for 12 hours, then drain and repeat rinse & drain every 6 hours thereafter until you notice sprouts.


clipped on: 03.12.2013 at 02:09 pm    last updated on: 03.12.2013 at 02:09 pm

RE: Cutting costs (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: madroneb on 02.18.2013 at 12:05 pm in Market Gardener Forum

I'm glad others have joined in as I hoped this thread wouldn't just be me ranting....

Boulderbelt, Congrats on keeping your mortgage in check, that's the one thing you can rarely 'get a deal on'.
And thanks everyone for sharing their cost cutting ideas.

Mastergardener, your jalapeño experiment shows why wholesale farming is so difficult to do. If you stuck with selling $240 in peppers for $5 input, that would be a great profit. If you can continue to diversify, and grow 50 crops with that kind of profit, you would make $16,000!

Thats the way I've chose to base my business; lots of diversity, and most of my sales at farmers markets for retail prices.
Cilantro may be a very valuable crop, but I can't sell more than 25 bunches at a market. By planting cilantro, radishes, arugula and tatsoi every 3 weeks in small planting, I have these things for sale every week for most of the season. Some row cover in the spring and fall goes a long way to expand the season. Over time, sales from these little plantings add up and I keep customers coming back week to week.

Competing with larger growers makes sales tricky at times. I'm just a small fish in a big sea. For this reason I stopped trying to sell main season indeterminate tomatoes. Instead I put 50 determinate plants in the hoophouse as early as possible. The varieties are not as exciting as heirlooms, but I get $3/lb for 2 months of sales. This generates thousands of dollars from just 50 plants. I do the same with greenhouse cucs and zucs.
I try to be the booth with early crops, late crops, out of season veggies, strange things, expensive options and cheap ones too. If no one else is growing it, i'll give it a shot. Who knew there were so many Russian folks that would buy Celeriac? I didn't until I sold out the first season growing it. Now I plant a 100 ft bed and sell it at the winter market.

Certain crops I think have a broader than retail market and still can generate a good profit. Every year I plant way more garlic than I can sell locally. A craigslist ad for 'seed garlic' attracts attention from all over the country and I spend a lot of time boxing and shipping much of the crop. It's worth the effort and now I have repeat customers from as far away as NY.

Anyway, I have to get going so need to finish this up. Let me know if you want any more details.
I will say this and hope people see it as sharing info and not me being arrogant. My weekly winter markets have become the backbone of my business. For all the weeks from Oct. thru Jan. my sales rarely dropped below $1000. When you look into it, the diversity of crops that can grow with little or no protection is amazing. In the winter people are much more likely to try something new or different.
Anyway, my website lists all the veggies I grow and has more details on the farm. Later this evening I'll try to get back to this.

Here is a link that might be useful: flying onion farm

This post was edited by madroneb on Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 15:41


clipped on: 03.11.2013 at 01:58 pm    last updated on: 03.11.2013 at 01:58 pm

RE: Squash Vine Borer Rant (Follow-Up #16)

posted by: adc14 on 07.11.2012 at 09:56 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

Here's what I do for the "Queen of Mean."
1. I purchased a pheromone lure for SVB. It only traps the MALES, but it tells you when the little buggers are finally out and about.
2. I cover my squash plants with row cover until they start to flower.
3. When I see borers in the trap, I spray the squash stems with spinosad. I also inject them with spinosad two weeks later and every week thereafter for a month.
4. I use a butterfly net to capture and kill the female borer whenever I can.
Last year--no borer damage. I kept two squash plants productive and healthy all season.


clipped on: 03.08.2013 at 08:45 am    last updated on: 03.08.2013 at 08:45 am

Farmerdill is "First Featured Gardener"

posted by: pam_chesbay on 11.17.2012 at 08:38 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

I know many of you are familiar with Farmerdill - the gentleman from Georgia who generously gives advice about growing vegetables.

A few months ago, I found a resource on the Cornell website called Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners (VVfG). The #1 contributor - with 569 reviews - is Farmerdill. You can read his reviews (beginning with Asparagus) here:

I have read Farmerdill's advice for years, and wanted to thank him for the advice he gives so generously.

Farmer Dill is Dillard Haley, the first featured gardener on Cornell's Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners - and he's even more interesting than I imagined.

"I am a depression baby, grew up on a small subsistence farm in Piedmont Virginia. Four rooms and a path, no electricity or running water ..."

Full article and photo here:


clipped on: 02.07.2013 at 07:24 pm    last updated on: 02.07.2013 at 07:24 pm

RE: best tomatoes for Atlanta area? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: ourhappyhome on 03.11.2007 at 10:39 pm in Georgia Gardener Forum

Of those on your list, I've grown Black Krim and Eva's Purple Ball with tremendous success. Eva's is my favorite for this area. I also grew Kellogg's Breakfast and Ponderosa Red last season. Both produced okay in pots, especially KB and it had wonderful flavor. This year I'm growing these varieties which I understand are good for our climate.

Started from seed:
Lime Green Salad
Brandy Boy
Bloody Butcher
Cherokee Chocolate
New Big Dwarf
Aunt Ginny's Purple (Aunt Ginny's is not necessarily good for Georgia, but I hear it has superb flavor)

I agree with LawyerGardner that Laurel's has a wonderful selection of plants and a great website. She is highly recommended on the Heirloom Tomatoe Forum. There is also a really incredible group of folks over in Alabama off Hwy 20 who raise healthy heirlooms that are good for the southeastern climate. They also come highly recommended on the Tomatoe Forum. I tried them last year and will use them again this year. They had the best prices I could find, fast shipping and excellent packaging. The group The Tasteful Garden. Try the link below. They sell about 20 varieties of tomato plants. I'm buying 3 or 4 plants from them this year:
Mortgage Lifter
Stomp of the World
Aunt Gertie's Gold
Hope this helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Tasteful Garden


clipped on: 02.07.2013 at 07:00 pm    last updated on: 02.07.2013 at 07:00 pm

RE: If you could only plant 3 tomatoes??? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: jmzms on 02.15.2008 at 03:57 pm in Georgia Gardener Forum

I'm not a big tomato expert. I just like fresh tomatoes to toss in salad or use in spaghetti sauce that I know were not exposed to pesticides, etc.

That said, I'm a big fan of better boys. They produce early and abundantly, and I've had tomatoes on the vine up until the first frost (and even past if I covered them).

My big tip of the day...when you plant, throw a handful of lime in the planting hole. It will help you avoid blossom end rot. I was plagued by it the first year I planted, tried the lime thing and have not had a problem in the past three years. I swear by it.

And yeppers...way early for seedlings. But that's a big box store for you. :-)


clipped on: 02.07.2013 at 06:58 pm    last updated on: 02.07.2013 at 06:58 pm

RE: earliest tomatoes? (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: riceke on 01.22.2010 at 09:09 am in Georgia Gardener Forum

I too am trying to find tomatoes that weather our hot summers and blights. I ran across this info that may help in finding that tomato:

Tomatoes for the South
(from Tanagers Song Heirloom Seeds)

ARKANSAS TRAVELER - Indeterminate - 90 days Pink - Regular Leaf. This is a wonderfully flavored six ounce tomato. It is beautiful and blemish free and just glowed on the vine. Southern Heirloom from the Ozark Mountains known for its ability to produce in hot weather.

EVA PURPLE BALL - Indeterminate - 83 days Pink. Uniformly round, medium size, pinkish-purple fruit. Very productive, takes heat and humidity well, very sweet. 6-7 oz.

MEXICAN (not Mexico)- Indeterminate - 85 days Pink Potato Leaf. It set a huge number of 8 oz. pink tomatoes that did very well in our heat and drought. Origin from Mexico (Seed Packet 10 Seeds)

CREOLE - Indeterminate - 78 days - Red. Great for warm, humid climates. Smooth, medium-large, firm, juicy. From Louisiana.

HOMESTEAD 24 - Determinate - 80 days - Red. Highly adaptable especially in hot conditions. Smooth, dark red, meaty, 8 oz.

MANALUCIE - Indeterminate - 82 days - Red. Perfect for the heat of the south because of its ability to do well despite drought, humidity and all the other problems in the south. Large, deep globes, very smooth, firm, meaty, thick walled.

MARION F - Determinate - 71 days, - Red. Smooth, slightly deep, 6 oz. Good especially for the southeast. VERY RED!

MARMANDE - BEEFSTEAK - Determinate - 67 days -Red. Large, firm, round, lobed, high-ribbed shoulders. Bears well even in cool weather. 8 oz, meaty. Did wonderful in the drought and heat. French Heirloom.

MULE TEAM - Indeterminate - 80-90 days - Red - Regular Leaf. Large plant, with excellent set of 8-12 oz red-orange globes, excellent taste, long season. Tolerates heat well. Great disease resistance.

WAYAHEAD - Determinate- 76 days - Red. Flattened shape, 3.5" x 1.75" , above average yield. Wonderful producer despite the heat and the drought here in the south.


clipped on: 02.07.2013 at 06:55 pm    last updated on: 02.07.2013 at 06:56 pm

Do you blog your gardening?

posted by: kiddo_1 on 01.02.2009 at 08:07 am in Cottage Garden Forum

Here's a question. If you are like me, sharing gardening adventures and projects is more fun when you can load up a server somewhere with tons of pics of your efforts. (*grin*) I also know that the flip side of that coin (showing off your own efforts) is looking in and admiring others! So fess up. Do you blog your gardens? (There are so many easy-to-use free blog sites anymore.) Have your own website? Have a 'scrapbook' on an online photo album? I would love to add some bee-friendly garden links to my own sanctuary blog.

I've posted on several other forums here (compost/ harvest/ bee & beekeeping) but of the four this forum has (IMHO) the best pictures - admiring and inspiring!

So if there is more where those came from, I'd sure like to browse through them, especially over the next few cold and dark months of winter here (NE Ohio). :-)



clipped on: 02.04.2013 at 10:29 am    last updated on: 02.04.2013 at 10:32 am

RE: Greasy Beans in the PNW (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: drloyd on 09.17.2011 at 01:09 pm in Beans, Peas & Other Legumes Forum

Annette, North Carolina Speckled Long Greasy Cutshort might be my favorite if it was easier to save seed. I have only two pods that are starting to turn a little yellow.

Big Greasy might be the choice if I could only grow one.

White Simpson Greasy matures earlier but the pods tend to come apart after they are unzipped and cooked. I plan to grow both of these two next year and save my North Carolina Speckled Long Greasy Cutshort seed for an El Nino summer.

They can be eaten at any stage. My DW prefers ordinary green beans so she likes them young. I like them when the seeds are developed and even after the pods turn yellow - shellies in the pod. I do not eat many that way because they need to be saved for seed.



clipped on: 02.04.2013 at 10:15 am    last updated on: 02.04.2013 at 10:15 am

RE: 2013 Bean Patch (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: drloyd on 12.21.2012 at 04:28 pm in Beans, Peas & Other Legumes Forum

SQP, I got Anellino Giallo in a swap from GW member Hemnancy. It was a big surprise. It was good as a young wax bean but even better as the seeds matured. It was tender and string free even when the pods started to dry. It took restraint to let any of them dry out. They hold on the vine for weeks before they dry so I plan to start several in pots to make seed saving easier.

Blue Greasy Grit also sounds like a winner. That one came from Annette and I plan to start some of those in pots too to extend the season.

So many beans, Annette, so little time! - Dick

This post was edited by drloyd on Sat, Dec 22, 12 at 14:04


clipped on: 02.04.2013 at 10:13 am    last updated on: 02.04.2013 at 10:13 am

RE: UPDATE: Secret Santa Swap (thread 6) (Follow-Up #113)

posted by: jas_il on 12.22.2010 at 07:50 pm in Round Robin Exchange Forum

Here is the html code for color change. When you put red, green or whatever color (font color=red) it will give the color and when you change the numbers of size=4 size=5 or any number you can change the size of the font.
Here is the code:
<font color=red size=5>Red</font>

<font color=blue size=7>Blue</font>

<font color=green size=8>Green</font>

It would look like this.



the img code for image would be something like this.
<img src="image url here">


clipped on: 02.01.2013 at 02:29 pm    last updated on: 02.01.2013 at 02:29 pm

RE: Best Zinnia? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: elaineoz on 05.05.2007 at 09:22 am in Butterfly Garden Forum

I planted profusion zinnias last year, and the butterflies that they attracted were the very small ones, the hairstreaks and skippers. The larger butterflies were not interested in them at all, and the monarchs migrating through in the fall flew right past them. They are beautiful though, and mildew-resistant.

I had some tall red ones which were the most poopular of my zinnias. They really seemed to prefer the red over the purple zinnias. But, as typical of zinnias they got powdery mildew at the base of their leaves, even though I tried not to get water on the foliage. By the end of the summer, the butterflies still loved them, but they drove me crazy and I finally cut them back because the foliage looked so bad.

I also planted some Zowie Zinnias. They were sort of a bi-color orange hybrid. They didn't grow as tall, maybe 2 1/2 feet, and mine stayed looking nice all the way till frost. A little bit of mildew, but not too bad. They were not as favored as the red zinnias, but they lasted longer, and the migrating monarchs absolutely loved them. By the time the monarchs got here, I had already cut down the paltry looking reds.

Just my thoughts.....



clipped on: 01.29.2013 at 08:02 am    last updated on: 01.29.2013 at 08:02 am

Milk/Powdery mildew success

posted by: eightzoner on 06.21.2011 at 05:52 pm in Cottage Garden Forum

Hi all,

I've been having some trouble with powdery mildew on my monarda and lupine this spring.

I don't know why I never tried the diluted milk treatment before, but it really works! I diluted whole milk with water (about 6 to 1 ratio) and sprayed twice about three days apart. Stopped the mildew in its tracks.

I was worried I'd have to cut the monarda down before I even saw bloom, so this is good news. I also sprayed my cotinus which was showing a few touches and there's no sign of mildew now.

An added benefit -- the leaves seem to be healthier than ever and are a darker green than they were. Does the milk have some sort of fertilizing effect?

I think I'll have to relocate the monarda for next year as it's getting too much shade now. But I can't seem to grow lupine at all without mildew no matter where I plant, so this is good news to help keep my one plant looking good.

I don't spray any fungicides or anything in the yard so it's nice to have something natural that works.

Just thought I'd pass along this news for anyone else out there who, like me, didn't believe it would work.



clipped on: 01.27.2013 at 12:47 pm    last updated on: 01.27.2013 at 12:47 pm

A. fimbriata - host for the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly

posted by: mary_littlerockar on 08.13.2011 at 11:23 am in Butterfly Garden Forum

There is a great thread by iamabirdnut on this forum and questions came up about the A. fimbriata vine. I thought I'd post this photo and my experience with growing the little vine. Another forum member kindly shared seed with me two years ago and I'm so pleased to grow this little plant.

The photo below will show the size of the leaves in relationship to English Ivy. The largest of my leaves grow maybe 2-3 inches across and the little vines behave more like a ground cover. Each little vine appears to mature at maybe 20 inches or so in length, the leaves are quite tender for the baby cats but they can munch through the little vines quite quickly. The little vines do recover, sprouting new growth from the tuberous root.

This is the first year I've grown this plant in ground and with only early morning dappled sun and then high shade from the A. tomentosas, which is growing on a tall trellis above this planting, and regular watering, they are doing great (much better than when I attempted to grow them in hanging baskets). They are currently planted in rich loamy soil in a raised bed. I've found them easy to germinate from seed and I've read they will reseed themselves, adding to their colony. I discovered three new little plants growing out of the pine mulch in my shade garden this summer. This is the spot where I had the baskets sitting last summer, after I realized they couldn't take our sun here in Arkansas and moved them to my shade garden.

Sherry, I bet they would do well in dappled shade in your garden. They're a pretty plant, too, with the white veins providing some interest among the green of a garden. The little blooms are typical pipevine blooms and when they produce seed pods, the pods look like little watermelons hanging on the tiny vines. Each little seed pod contains quite a few seeds. In my experience, the vines will not twine themselves around a trellis, they seem to prefer to sprawl along the ground and so far, I've seen no rooting along the length of the little vines. A couple of days ago, I placed a rock on top of a section of one little vine, just to see if it would evently root at a leaf node. I've read they can be rooted from cuttings but I've never tried.

The tiny blooms at the bottom of the photo are: Wishbone Flower - Clown Mix (Torenia fournieri), not blooms of the little vine.


A. fimbriata vines (aka White Veined Hardy Dutchman's Pipevine) growing with English Ivy. Zone 7-9


clipped on: 01.27.2013 at 11:59 am    last updated on: 01.27.2013 at 11:59 am

RE: Plants to attract Butterflys and/or Hummingbirds. (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: misssherry on 11.09.2012 at 05:45 pm in Butterfly Garden Forum

Jeremy, where are you in Baton Rouge, I mean, are you out from the city or right in the middle of all that traffic. Some of the biggest traffic jams I've ever been in have been in BR! You might not see many butterflies if you're in too much of an urban situation, although Susan in Oklahoma City gets a good many visitors.

Anyway, if I were you, I'd plant a few nectar plants like the ones you've planted - I don't know if orange butterfly weed means Asclepias curassavica or the real butterfly weed, A. tuberosa, which is a great nectar plant, but doesn't get many monarch eggs. It also may not grow in BR, it won't grow here, just in north MS. You could add some lantana, the easiest to grow and one of the most popular nectar plants out there. There are big lantanas and some that stay smaller, so you can pick which would fit into your landscaping.

After you've seen some butterflies, then you could identify them and look up their host plant. If, for example, you saw a pipevine swallowtail, you could plant some Aristolochia tomentosa/pipevines for them. Pipevine swallowtails can raise themselves and rarely get victimized by wasps, just occasionally by certain predatory stinkbugs. If you see a monarch, you could plant A. curassavica, which is the best for my area and probably yours, and the monarchs just LOVE to lay eggs on it.
If you see, say, a cloudless sulphur, you could plant a Christmas cassia/Cassia/Senna bicapsularis and get caterpillars of cloudless sulphurs, sleepy oranges, and little yellows. Plus you'd have those beautiful yellow flowers blooming for you now.

If you want to go ahead and plant a host plant for some type of butterfly without having seen one, your best bets would be the Christmas cassia, a tall bush, and some good passionvines, like Passiflora incarnata/maypops or P. cerulea, just don't plant P. coccinea or red-flowering ones, except for Lady Margaret, which is actually burgundy. Unfortunately, LM won't come back for me in spring, so the others are better. Passionvines/passiflora are host to gulf fritillaries, those bright orange beauties that we see even in cities. Here's a male gulf frit -

Image hosted by

Get back with us as you make up your mind, have questions, etc.



clipped on: 01.27.2013 at 10:57 am    last updated on: 01.27.2013 at 10:57 am

RE: And We're Off! (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: sunnibel7 on 01.26.2013 at 03:49 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

Thank you! My trick is... Horse manure! A 1/2- 1" layer in the fall, worked in at planting time, plus a thin side dressing when the weather starts to heat up. Actually, I think the genetics of the variety also play a role, because I noticed this year while shopping for new onion seed that different types will say "medium sized" or "large" or even "extra large". Anyhow, the trick is to remember that the bulb is actually a leaf structure, not a root, and fertilize with more N to grow more leaf.

Those are a type called Talon, yellow storage onion. This year I am trying Patterson, also a yellow storage type, which may not get as large, but has thin necks that are supposed to dry down quickly, a useful trait in our humid summers. I am proud of the size of those, but I actually wouldn't mind smaller onions since I forever seem to have half an onion sitting in my fridge. Cheers!


clipped on: 01.26.2013 at 04:44 pm    last updated on: 01.26.2013 at 04:44 pm

RE: Another first! (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: bananasinohio on 09.18.2012 at 08:45 am in Butterfly Garden Forum

Ways to tell one black swallowtail from another.

First, grab a copy of a good butterfly field guide as I cannot draw pictures on this board :). The guide should have an description of the bands on the hindwing. You should be familliar with "marginal","submarginal","postmedian",and "median" (basically end, before the end, after the middle, and middle. Leave it to the scientists to complicate things. Oh wait! I is a scientist! That exlains a lot :))

Okay, here we go!

1) Look at the dorsal hindwing.
a)on the black female tiger, there is a black band that dissects the submarginal band from the post median band. The blue that extends above this tends to be faint to absent (although it can be strong through the median portion of the wing).

In black swallowtails, the blue stops above this line and is replaced with faint yellow spots on the female (I think of the males strong yellow band here).

On spicebush, this black line is faint to absent and the blue extends through to the median band. The color of blue has more green and white in it (depending on where you are).

In pipevines, this line is absent, and the blue extends through the median portion of the hindwing. The pipevine is the only butterfly where the blue is predominantly caused by irridescence only and not pigment as in the others. So, depending on which direction you look at the wing, it can look black or flash with brilliant blue.

b) the top of the thorax has faint lines on either side, and the abdomen is black to striped on the tiger.

On the black sw, the thorax has two dots on either side. The abdomen has a row of spots on either side extending down it.

The spicebush will have four small spots on the top of the thorax with stripes extending down from the bottom two spots. The pipevine has a similar pattern, though the strips might be fainter. Also, the pipevine occasionally has iridescence on the body as well.

c)the lunules in the submarginal band of the tiger and black swallowtail are similar. I think the tigers are more well developed and have more orange. The Hindwing spot of the black is more developed and has a black "bullseye" in it (the only swallowtail in the east to have this).

The lunules of the spicebush are white with a bluish (or greenish) cast to them. They are larger than those of the tiger and black. The hindwing spot looks like a pair of mad eyes (the white extends along the side unlike the tiger and black)

The lunules of the pipevine are the smallest and the blue often extends down over them and into the tails.

Phew, anyone want to add anything or correct any mistakes?



clipped on: 01.22.2013 at 09:56 am    last updated on: 01.22.2013 at 09:56 am

LOOKING for: Progressive Dinner

posted by: growsy on 01.21.2013 at 02:32 pm in Recipe Exchange Forum

Do any of the members who used to do the progressive dinners on this forum still visit here? I think that was a wonderful idea. I'd love to know if any of you are still around, & if you might be interested in starting up again. In the meantime, I'm enjoying your old posts. Hope all are well, where ever they are!


clipped on: 01.21.2013 at 02:33 pm    last updated on: 01.21.2013 at 02:33 pm

RE: Sweet Peas: Anybody have any luck? (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: Dan Boudreaux 8b (Guest) on 07.01.2001 at 04:05 pm in Southeast Coastal Gardening Forum

Here on the Mississippi Coast I must have either stumbled on the perfect micro climate or the perfect variety of sweet peas.

I started with an older variety. Not a hybrid. Most didn't make it. Yet those I planted at the base of a trumpet vine, On the west side, next to the house. The wall it's against encloses an indoor pool, (I'm not sure if that has any thing to do with it, or not.)

Well they've been coming back for 4 or 5 springs now. Seems to reseed themselves. I'll see them coming up about september. Bloom from feb. to the first of may. Die out by the first of july.


clipped on: 01.20.2013 at 05:48 pm    last updated on: 01.20.2013 at 05:48 pm

RE: LOOKING for: Black Diamond Steak Marinade (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: woodie2 on 06.16.2006 at 06:17 pm in Recipe Exchange Forum

I know Pat is pretty active on this forum, but just in case you are looking for this ASAP, here's her recipe - it is a big favorite on the cooking forum.


2 Tblsp. oil
1/4 cup lite soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 Tblsp. brown sugar
2 Tblsp. vinegar
1-1/2 tsp. ginger
Pinch of garlic powder Mix. Score steak on both sides. Marinate in above mixture 8 to 10 hours. Grill 6 to 8 minutes per side.


clipped on: 01.19.2013 at 03:14 pm    last updated on: 01.19.2013 at 03:14 pm

RE: RECIPE: looking for simple meatless recipes (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: shambo on 06.20.2010 at 04:14 pm in Recipe Exchange Forum

I've got a few family recipes. Of course, my family is Greek, so the flavors might be different from what you're used to. But, on the other hand, they might be an interesting change.

(Baked Summer Vegetables)

A variety of summer vegetables, baked in olive oil. A simple, tasty, and nutritious casserole. Use as a main dish or a delicious vegetable side dish. Vary the vegetable depending on what is available.

1 pound summer squash (zucchini, crookneck, patty pan, etc.)
1 pound eggplant
1 pound potatoes
2 onions
1 - 1 pounds tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup water, hot
2 green peppers (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
I cup buttered breadcrumbs (optional)
cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Scrub squash and cut off ends; cut in inch slices or in 1 inch chunks.
Scrub eggplant and cut off ends; cut into inch slices. (Eggplant may be salted and set aside on paper towels to absorb moisture for at least 30 minutes. Rinse well before adding to casserole.)
Wash and peel potatoes; cut in inch slices.
Peel onions; cut in inch slices.
Wash, peel and cut tomatoes into slices (roughly slice or chop canned whole tomatoes).
If using peppers, wash, remove seeds and cut into strips.
Beginning with sliced potatoes, layer all vegetables in a large casserole.
Salt and pepper each layer of vegetables lightly (If eggplant slices have been pre-salted, do not salt eggplant layer.)
Add olive oil and hot water.
Cover and bake at 350 for 60 minutes.
If desired, sprinkle with buttered breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.
Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
Let stand uncovered 10-15 minutes before serving.

For a complete vegetarian meal, serve with hearty bread slices and a fresh salad. May be served hot, warm, room temperature, or even cold.

(Greek Stewed String Beans)

A flavorsome combination of green beans stewed in a tasty tomato sauce. Simple, healthful, and delicious. A wonderful holiday alternative to the usual cream soup based green bean casseroles.

2 pounds string beans, fresh or frozen
2 onions, chopped
2 4 cloves garlic, minced
cup olive oil
1 - 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- cup fresh parsley, chopped
1-2 teaspoons mint
2 potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-2 inch chunks
2 carrots, sliced
1 cup water or broth
2 teaspoons salt
Pepper to taste

In Dutch oven, saut onion lightly in olive oil.
Add tomato sauce, string beans, and remaining ingredients.
Cover and simmer over medium heat for about 60 minutes or until all vegetable are tender.
Check after 30 minutes; add more water or broth if necessary.
Stir occasionally.

Serve hot or room temperature.

(Greek Potato Salad)

Fresh, lively, and bursting with flavor. This salad brightens any meal and is a delicious alternative to the typical mayonnaise-laden versions.

2 2 lbs. wax potatoes (white, Yukon Gold, or red)
cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1- 2 large lemons
1 red onion, finely diced
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Finely chop onion and parsley
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, oregano (if used), parsley, 1 teaspoon salt and onion. Mix well and set aside.
Wash potatoes well.
Add potatoes to a large pot of boiling, lightly salted water. Cook potatoes at low boil for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until potatoes are just tender. Do not overcook.
Drain water and let potatoes cool slightly to touch.
When slightly cooled, peel and cut potatoes into slices or large dice (If desired, leave skin on red potatoes).
Place potatoes in a large bowl; add dressing and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat.
Cover bowl and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Stir every once in a while to redistribute dressing.

Macaronia me Voutyro
(Pasta with Brown Butter Sauce)

Simple yet delicious. Browned butter, tender pasta, and sharp, tangy cheese. A real treat for pasta lovers everywhere.

1 pound. spaghetti or other pasta
pound butter (1 cup/2 sticks)*
cup grated dry Mezithra** or Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

Fill a large deep pot 3/4 full with water.
Add salt and bring to a rolling boil.
Add pasta slowly, without breaking the boil.
Cook until al dente, following package directions; stir frequently.
Drain well in a colander and return to pan in which it was cooked.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter and heat to a deep golden brown.
Watch it carefully; it burns quickly and suddenly.
Pour browned butter over drained pasta in pot.
Add half the grated cheese and toss well to coat.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle each serving with the extra grated cheese.
Serve with additional grated cheese and freshly ground pepper.

*If desired, substitute cup very light olive oil for half of the butter.

**If using Mezithra cheese, substitute cup sweet, unsalted butter to cut down on salt content.

(Roasted Eggplant Salad)

Deliciously different! A perfect appetizer spread with crackers.

1 large eggplant
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced or crushed
cup chopped parsley
cup olive oil
cup wine vinegar or lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place whole, washed eggplant in greased baking pan.
Bake at 350 oven 60 minutes, until soft. Allow skin to turn black so as to give a smoky flavor to the salad.
Allow eggplant to cool off a bit so you can handle it.
Slice the eggplant down the middle and scoop out the pulp.
Put the eggplant pulp on a cutting board and chop it up finely.
Lightly saut chopped onion and garlic in olive oil.
In a bowl, combine the chopped eggplant, onion and garlic mixture with all the olive oil, and vinegar or lemon juice.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Serve with pita bread, flat bread, or whole wheat/sesame crackers (like Ak Mak).

(Spinach and Rice)

A peasant dish thats perfect for vegetarians. Simple and tasty!

cup olive oil
cup parsley, chopped fine
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 - 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-teaspoon mint
1-teaspoon dill weed
2 teaspoons oregano
1 - 2 cups water
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
2 bunches spinach, washed, dried, stems removed, chopped (or 2 packages fresh spinach [stems removed] or 2 packages frozen chopped spinach [thawed and squeezed dry])
1 cup white rice

In a large saucepan place the oil and heat it on medium high until it is hot.
Add the parsley, onions, and garlic.
Saut the ingredients until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the rice and saut for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the water, tomato sauce, salt and pepper; bring to a boil.
Mix the ingredients together thoroughly so that everything is well combined.
Cover and simmer the ingredients until the rice is almost tender, approximately 15 minutes.
Add water as needed.
Uncover and stir in the spinach.
Cover the pan and continue cooking on very low heat, about 5-10 minutes, until the spinach has wilted and all the liquid has been absorbed and the spanakorizo is tender, not mushy.
Adjust seasonings.
Cover and let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serve Spanakorizo with grated Parmesan cheese and/or plain, unflavored yogurt.

Variation: To make Prassorizo (Leek Rice), substitute 1 1/2 pounds sliced leeks (white and green portions) for the spinach and add with the liquid. Leeks need longer cooking time. Omit green onions.

I know you said you eat a lot of beans already, but this is a classic Greek bean soup recipe. It just might be different enough to try:

(Greek Bean Soup)

Comfort foodGreek style! Thick, hearty, and full of vegetables. Peasant food fit for a king!

1 pound dry beans (great northern, lima, garbanzo, black eye pea, lentil)
1 onion, chopped
23 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
2 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef or lamb (optional)
12 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oregano
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 3 quarts water

Dry Bean Preparation:
Great Northern/Lima/Garbanzo:
Rinse beans
Soak beans
oOvernight Soak Method In large pot soak 1 lb. beans overnight in at least 2 quarts water
oQuick Soak Method Combine 1 lb. beans & 2 quarts water in large pot. Heat beans & water to boiling. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, & let stand for at least 1 hour.
Drain soaking water & rinse beans
Add 2 quarts water
Cover & bring to boil
Reduce heat to simmer
Cook for 45 60 (or longer) until beans are just tender (not mushy)

Black Eye Pea/Lentil (no soaking necessary):
Rinse beans
Add 2 quarts water
Cover & bring to boil
Reduce heat to simmer
Cook black eye peas for 45 60 minutes until just tender (not mushy); cook lentils for 30 40 minutes until tender.

Canned Bean Preparation:
Use equivalent to four (4) 15 oz. cans of desired beans
Drain & rinse beans
Add 1 quarts water

Soup Preparation:
Lightly saut chopped onion, celery, carrots, and minced garlic in olive oil. Cover and cook over medium heat until just tender (not mushy). Do not brown.
(Optional: brown ground beef/lamb; drain well).
Add vegetables (with oil) & meat (if used) to prepared beans (approximately 6 8 cups prepared beans).
Add salt, pepper, bayleaves, and oregano (dry beans will require more salt than canned beans).
Add tomato sauce.
Add additional quart water, if desired.
Cover & bring to boil
Reduce heat to simmer
Simmer for 30 45 minutes.
Taste & adjust seasonings

This soup tastes even better reheated the next day; it also freezes well.


clipped on: 01.19.2013 at 10:07 am    last updated on: 01.19.2013 at 10:07 am

RECIPE: rio arriba baked beans

posted by: bela67 on 04.02.2008 at 11:45 am in Recipe Exchange Forum

I found this in the paper years ago and is always a bbq party favorite. I use two cans of pinto beans, two cans of black beans and either one or two of kidney beans to mix it up!

1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup green bell pepper, or pablano chili
1 chopped jalapeo chilli
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. canned pinto beans, or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water, or beer
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced and softened
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt

Saute onion, bell pepper, chili, and garlic in oil in a large skillet until tender, about 8 minutes. Combine onion mixture and remaining ingredients in a 9 x 13 casserole. Bake at temperature 350F, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until liquid is nearly absorbed.


clipped on: 01.19.2013 at 10:05 am    last updated on: 01.19.2013 at 10:05 am

RE: LOOKING for: Favorite Soup Recipes? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: canarybird on 09.28.2006 at 08:09 pm in Recipe Exchange Forum



lentils - 250 grams (slightly over 1 cup)
garlic - one whole head
onion - 1 large - quartered
Kasseler smoked pork chop - 1 large (or 250 grams other smoked pork or bacon)
ham or pork bone as for making stock
4 medium carrots - sliced into coins
2 stalks celery - diced
5 medium potatoes - peeled and cut into 8ths
6 flowerettes of cauliflower
green beans - handful sliced
tomato pur - small 4 oz tin
olive oil - 4 TBS
fresh garden herbs: 1 bay leaf, several sprigs thyme, Italian flatleaf parsley 2 or 3 sprigs
chicken stock 1 liter (4 cups) or water and 3 Knorr chicken stock cubes
salt & fesh ground pepper
water to cook lentils
vinegar - 1 teasp
garlic croutons - optional garnish


1) Turn on oven to 350F. Put lentils in large heavy bottomed stew pot with water to cover plus about 2 inches, bring to boil and simmer 45 minutes. Check water level and add more as needed.

2) Meanwhile put whole head of garlic into shallow baking pan together with quartered onion, Kasseler or smoked pork and ham or pork bone, drizzle with olive oil and roast in oven at medium heat about 45 minutes.

3) Remove baking tray from oven when all is nicely browned and cut meat into small dice and add to lentil pot along with onion. Squeeze garlic from skin into lentil pot, adding ham/pork bone along with oil and juices scraped from roasting pan.

4) Add rest of vegetables to lentils, chicken stock (or water and stock cubes), tomato pur, fresh herbs and bay leaf, parsley - reserving one sprig, fresh ground pepper. Bring to boil and simmer about 1 hour until vegetables are done, adding more water if needed.

5) When vegetables are tender, remove ham/pork bones and any bare thyme stems from pot, check for flavour and add salt as needed. Add vinegar and stir.

6) Serve with a bit of chopped parsley and more fresh ground pepper. Homemade garlic croutons are also nice as a garnish.

Source: Recipe as I learned from a Mallorquin housewife years ago.


Here's one of my favourite Spanish dishes - Stewed Lentils (Lentejas Estofadas). Although I have been making it for years the way a Spanish cook once showed me, this time I followed the preparation seen on a Spanish Cooking TV channel. Their ingredients included a small piece of Tocino or pork fat and a stewing chorizo (chorizo para guisar). If choosing a chorizo for this dish, be sure it is the right type which has the red pimiento colour. Here is a pic of the ingredients. The small piece of tocino can be seen just to the right of the sprig of rosemary.

Stewed Lentils (Lentejas Estofadas)

350 grams (1 1/2 cups) of small dark lentils - put them to soak the night before in water to cover - (unless you have the quick-cooking type of lentils.)
100 grams (3.5 oz) red stewing chorizo sausage - lightly pricked over with tines of a fork
50 grams (1.7 oz) salted tocino pork fat - cut into large diced pieces
1 TBSP flour
2 carrots diced fine
2 medium leeks, using only white stems sliced finely in rounds
1 lg clove garlic (this was optional but I wouldn't leave it out) - pass through garlic press
2 cups beef broth (I used 2 Knorr cubes)
1 bay leaf
fresh rosemary - small sprig
olive oil - about 1/4 cup
2 cups extra water to add after 1st hour

1. Soak lentils the NIGHT BEFORE in water to cover.

2. Next day drain and rinse lentils, put aside.

3. Heat olive oil in heavy cooking pot. When sizzling, add carrots, garlic and leeks. Lightly brown while stirring.

4. Add 1 TBSP flour and keep stirring for about a minute.

5. Add lentils, beef broth, whole chorizo, tocino, laurel and rosemary

6. Put on lid and simmer very gently for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Check after 1st hour and add up to 2 more cups water as needed.

7. Adjust seasoning and serve.


Next day you can make any left over into ...

Lentil Puree

I put the rest of the lentil soup from the day before into my food processor and added the following:

1 1/2 cups of chicken broth (using Knorr cube and water)
2 lg cloves of garlic crushed and browned in 1/4 cup oil in small frypan
2 slices brown bread broken in small pieces and fried in the garlicky oil until brown
Process the above until smooth and then heat it gently.
Dice some more pieces of brown bread and toast them in the frying pan with oil and garlic salt for the croutons.

It's really good!



clipped on: 01.19.2013 at 09:58 am    last updated on: 01.19.2013 at 09:58 am

RE: LOOKING for: soup made w/ mahatma beans and rice (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: bela67 on 01.07.2009 at 08:44 am in Recipe Exchange Forum

found this on their website under recipes and i searched for soups

Pueblo Black Bean Soup
Serves 6
1 pkg Mahatma Black Beans and Rice Mix
1 can 16 oz Cream Style Corn
1 cup salsa
1 cup beef or chicken broth

Prepared rice mix according to package directions. Add remaining ingredients and heat until hot.


clipped on: 01.19.2013 at 09:54 am    last updated on: 01.19.2013 at 09:55 am

RECIPE: Tuscan Baked Beans

posted by: AdrienneLIQ on 06.29.2005 at 06:10 pm in Recipe Exchange Forum

1 lb dried cannellini beans
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 oz. Pancetta, roughly chopped
3 leaves fresh sage (if fresh not available, use 4t chopped fresh parsley).
1 Leek, finely sliced
1x14 oz. can plum tomatoes, chopped with their juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1. Carefully pick over the beans, discarding any stones or other particles. Place the eans in a large bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain.

2. Preheat the oven to 350. In a small saucepan, cook pancetta until crisp. Remove pancetta from pan and set aside. Heat the oil and sautee the garlice cloves and sage leaves for 3-4 minutes until garlic is tender but not brown. Remove from the heat.

3. In a large deep baking dish combine the beans with the leek and tomatoes. Stir in the oil with the garlic and sage. Add pancetta. Add enough fresh water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Mix well. Cover the dish with a lid or foil, and place in the center of the oven. Bake for 1 3/4 hours.

4. Remove the dish from the oven, stir the beans, and season with salt and pepper. Return the beans to the oven, uncovered, and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the beans are tender. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 7-8 minutes before serving. Serve hot or at room temperature.

**For vegetarian version, simply omit the pancetta.


clipped on: 01.19.2013 at 09:50 am    last updated on: 01.19.2013 at 09:50 am

RE: Starting corn indoors? (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: pls8xx on 04.11.2008 at 12:58 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

david, the pots are made from 4 inch light weight pvc and the screws are there so a planting handle can pull the pot up with one hand after soil has been backfilled around the pot. Even with a very loose potting mix there is almost zero disturbance to the roots.

Here is a shot showing the two slots cut in the handle that latch onto the screws.


After the plant is set in the hole the bottom point of the handle is set between the two screws as shown below.


The handle is forced down which spreads the pot open and loosens the pot from the soil inside. The two screws catch in the handle slots and lock the pot to the handle.


More soil is raked in around the pot as the handle is used to pull it out.

In the photo below I've dug a trench to the right depth and I'm planting lettuce. The bottomless pots are moved from the flat surface where they grew with a scoop I made.


The lettuce never knew it had been transplanted.


clipped on: 01.18.2013 at 01:58 pm    last updated on: 01.18.2013 at 01:58 pm

RE: Starting corn indoors? (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: pls8xx on 04.04.2008 at 08:06 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

In the past I have always direct seeded corn. If I had all the room to grow all the things I want I would continue direct seeding. But my space is very limited and corn takes space and also uses that space for a longer period of the season than I like. If fresh corn from the garden wasn't such a treat I would strike it off the grow list.

So this year I'm trying something new. As denninmi pointed out there are a lot of advantages to starting indoors. And I hope to hold the corn in containers longer to minimize the time the corn will take up garden space.

To container grow corn for the first six weeks will require a larger pot. Which would add to the expense if a standard peat based potting mix was used for the growing medium. So I am going to use garden soil with a bit of sand and vermiculite added for drainage. The loose nature of of a mix not based on peat leads to a problem of transplanting the corn without damage to the roots and causing a check in growth because the soil mass falls apart when removed from the pot unless it is rather root bound. Neither of which would be good for the corn.

I hope the answer is in using bottomless pipe pots. With these the plant and pot are set in the ground and dirt pulled back around the pot before the pot is pulled up over the plant. The loose pot soil is then supported by the garden soil and the roots have almost zero disturbance.

My first trial of pipe pots was with lettuce. I transplanted a few days ago and noted no shock or check to plant growth. I seeded some corn indoors on March 28 and moved the pots outside on the the 31th.

Here they are on April 1.



clipped on: 01.18.2013 at 01:57 pm    last updated on: 01.18.2013 at 01:57 pm