Clippings by jamesandfely

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RE: Is it too late for swiss chard (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: zeedman on 06.14.2013 at 09:39 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

Yes, I blanch the chard before freezing. I roll up the leaf, and cut it crossways into thin strips (1/2" - 3/4"), then either chop up some of the stem or slice it thinly, and add it to the leaves. The amount of stem to add is up to your taste. Personally, I like the amount of body that the stem adds to the cooked greens... especially if I use the chard in soup.

The best way to freeze chard (or any other vegetable in quantity) is to use a stainless steel kettles with a large strainer basket. It makes quick transfer simpler, and avoids over cooking. If you have two identical kettles (which I highly recommend) one can be cooking while the other is cooling. I just use cold running water (into another kettle shorter & wider than the basket) to cool the veggies after blanching, for a period equal to the blanching time. Then pour them out into a strainer, drain, and pack into containers.

I've seen recommendations for blanching greens for only a minute or two, but in my experience, 3 minutes is the minimum. I base this upon a pound of chard at a time... and while this is a fairly large amount of chard, it will shrink down quickly once stirred into the boiling water (though not as much as spinach). After the initial weighing, I use a bowl filled to the same volume for subsequent batches.

If you mix slices of stalk with the leaves, or if the leaves are larger & heavily veined, it may be necessary to use a longer blanching time, perhaps 4-5 minutes.

Blanching is not a precise science, since it varies with the volume of the kettle, the heat setting, altitude, and the weight of the vegetables being blanched. The first time I blanch something, I use the recommendations of the Ball canning book as a starting point, then look for signs & make adjustments. Insufficiently blanched veggies may float after cooling, while fully blanched veggies generally sink. Blanching also causes color change, and if the color change is incomplete, then a longer time may be required.

The best way to freeze chard (or any other green) is to pack the blanched chard tightly into a freezer box, freeze until solid, then vacuum seal the frozen "brick" (this avoids the bad seal you can get from vacuum sealing wet veggies). Protected this way, the chard will not get freezer burn. Alternatively, freeze the chard packed in just enough water to cover it. The ice will give some protection from freezer burn, although not for as long as vacuum sealing.

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clipped on: 06.14.2013 at 12:41 pm    last updated on: 06.14.2013 at 12:41 pm

RE: Chinese Long Beans (Follow-Up #18)

posted by: zeedman on 05.16.2012 at 05:53 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

I grow & collect long beans (I call them "yardlongs"). They are frequently discussed on the Bean Forum (my favorite haunt) and Asian Vegetable Forum.

There are a lot more varieties available now than there were 20 years ago; Baker Creek, Kitazawa, and Evergreen Y.H. all carry quite a few. When I was a kid (and that's quite a few years ago) there was just the black seeded 'asparagus bean' that many seed catalogs carried as a curiosity.

Most long beans are climbers, although some varieties need a little help getting started. Once they get going, though, the vines will go as high as you let them. In my experience, they are very reluctant to climb plastic; I've had the best results using organic twine, such as sisal baling twine.

Baseball, I garden near Lake Winnebago, so you should have no trouble growing yardlongs in Madison. Because of our cool soil, though, you will have the best results if you start the seeds as transplants. This overcomes the poor and/or slow germination we can get if direct seeded, and guarantees an earlier & heavier yield. I use Jiffy strips (peat pots) nestled in a tray about 1/3 full of play sand. The seeds will germinate very quickly indoors, in as little as 3-5 days. You can find more details if you look for my postings on the Bean Forum.

Personally, I have had little trouble freezing long beans. I blanch one pound of beans in boiling water for one minute, then dunk them in cool water immediately for 3 minutes. I first freeze them in plastic boxes to form blocks, then vacuum seal the frozen blocks into bags. They have kept well for up to 2 years. Not all varieties freeze well; the black-seeded "asparagus bean" froze poorly, while "Chinese Red Noodle" froze well. My best results have been with red-seeded (or red & white) varieties, which tend to have a firmer texture.

"Oh, you might like to know that they evidently are very attractive to wasps. This has been discussed on the bean forum. I believe they said the wasps tend to be very docile so it's not a problem with harvesting. If I am wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me on that."

That has been my experience. The extra-floral nectaries (bumps located on the stem just below the flowers) are very attractive to several insects, including wasps, ants, and ladybugs. Since the ladybugs will stay in the garden once the vines begin blooming, that alone makes yardlongs a good part of an organic aphid control strategy.

"I heard the flowers attract hummingbirds!"

That may be. The flowers are very large & attractive. However, they are only open for a few hours in the mornings; sometimes a little longer on cloudy days. Scarlet runner beans are much better to attract hummingbirds.

There was a great Master Gardener trial of long beans, with a lot of good info on DTM, yield, and flavor for many varieties. See the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Santa Clara County long bean trial

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clipped on: 06.01.2013 at 05:42 pm    last updated on: 06.01.2013 at 05:42 pm

RE: 'Hansel' Eggplant- what's your opinion of it? (Follow-Up #16)

posted by: lgteacher on 02.08.2013 at 11:34 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

I grew Hansel last year. I bought it at a plant sale put on by the college horticulture department, so I feel I was supporting the college. The peel is a bit more chewy than larger eggplant, but it did produce well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mini-eggplant

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clipped on: 02.09.2013 at 01:42 pm    last updated on: 02.09.2013 at 01:42 pm

RE: Extending the Growing Season Techniques (Early Planting) (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: jrslick on 01.07.2013 at 04:31 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

Every year is different. Last year I direct seeded green beans on March 28th and melons, cucumbers and zucchini on April 1st in black plastic outside. The soil temps were in the low 60's to low 70's with black plastic. We never had another freeze or frost until mid October. That was just strange.

However the only true way to extend the season repeatedly is with a high tunnel or a greenhouse.

Here am some or our tomatoes from last year towards the end of April. They were planted out on March 15th. I probably could have backed up that date 2 weeks, if the plants would have been ready.

Photobucket

Here are the cherry tomatoes.

Photobucket

We started picking cherry tomatoes at the end of May and big tomatoes in early June. Our largest harvest week ws actually the last week of June. Our frost free date is May 15th.

Jay

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clipped on: 02.05.2013 at 07:39 pm    last updated on: 02.05.2013 at 07:39 pm

RE: Why is my Luffa split (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: chaman on 08.30.2012 at 09:29 am in Asian Vegetables Forum

Churn one cupful of yogurt in a gallon of water ( to make a buttermilk like solution) to feed the plant.This has worked for my plants.

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clipped on: 09.11.2012 at 07:28 pm    last updated on: 09.11.2012 at 07:28 pm

RE: No Cucumbers For Two Years (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: sconticut on 08.26.2012 at 09:33 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

I keep giving this same advice to fellow gardeners. Get the plants under floating row covers as soon as they germinate. Remove the cover when flowers appear. Plant a cuke with a good disease resistance package. I use Alibi and Eureka. There are others. I once had lots of problems growing cukes until I started using row covers six or seven years ago. Here in late August,zone 7, my production is winding down but the plants still look pretty good. All of my neighbors' cuke plants folded weeks ago victims of various ailments. It is cheap, easy and productive.

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clipped on: 08.27.2012 at 05:12 am    last updated on: 08.27.2012 at 05:12 am

RE: Top Soil (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: digdirt on 08.20.2012 at 10:13 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

Will this be beneficial? Was using just top soil a mistake?

Beneficial? Well it can't hurt but it won't make much difference. Better to spend the money on lots and lots of quality compost and composted manure.

A mistake? Yes, unfortunately it was. No more than 50% of the bed should be top soil is the standard recommendation so now you have to correct the mistake and spend more money to do that. Pull up all the discussions here about how to build/fill raised beds - there are many of them - for all the details.

Dave

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clipped on: 08.22.2012 at 01:44 pm    last updated on: 08.22.2012 at 01:45 pm

RE: Cucumber beetles - this means war (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: jrslick on 05.10.2012 at 11:27 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

I use Bug-B-Gon Max from Ortho. I have given up on not spraying cucumbers and squash. I can not spray or do organic options, but after two years of losing everything, I gave up last year and started to spray for them. This stuff really works. It even works good on squash bugs. Spray around the base of the plant. Start early, and spray weekly (if needed). I already had to spray last week. If you get them early, you can stop spraying. That is what happened to me in July, no more squash bugs or cucumber beetles. Last year I had a 1/2 acre of winter squash that I used this on and I didn't have any problems.

Bifenthrin is the active ingredient. I used this for several weeks then did a application of Sevin liquid spray. As always, spray late in the evening to protect pollinators.

Jay

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clipped on: 05.10.2012 at 02:59 pm    last updated on: 05.10.2012 at 03:01 pm

RE: early blight on tomatoes (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: ncrealestateguy on 02.20.2012 at 08:26 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

I was given a "recipe" for blight by someone two years ago. I have not used it, but will use it this year. It is 2 tablespoons baking soda, 1 light tablespoon chlorox, and 1 tablespoon of Murphy's oil soap. This is for one gallon of water.
I also mulch heavily to keep soil borne splatter to a minimum, I pinch off any leaves w/in a foot of the ground, I irrigate by a soaker hose system, and I remove infected leaves ASAP.

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clipped on: 02.23.2012 at 05:20 am    last updated on: 04.23.2012 at 05:37 pm

RE: Advantage to starting beans, melons, cukes indoors. (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: jrslick on 04.10.2012 at 10:22 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

SaraSchones, if I had to guess, too much water. There is a thin line between too much water and not enough.

I transplant cucumbers, squash, and zucchini. The trick is to keep them small and transplant out 2 to 3 weeks after they come out. Longer than this and you will have trouble, IMO.

Jay

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clipped on: 04.10.2012 at 01:15 pm    last updated on: 04.10.2012 at 01:16 pm

RE: Millions of Aphids on my lettuce (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: taz6122 on 03.08.2011 at 07:06 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

Use Neem oil. You'd think I'm affiliated with the product as much as I suggest it but it works is the reason for the suggestion. Spray in the evening after the sun is down. It kills aphids almost immediately but neem just like other oils can damage plants with direct sun exposure. Spraying in the evening will allow it to do it's job and get washed off by the morning dew so minimal if any damage will happen by the sun.

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clipped on: 03.06.2012 at 05:34 am    last updated on: 03.06.2012 at 05:34 am

RE: Millions of Aphids on my lettuce (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: dshell on 08.07.2011 at 11:53 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

I had this problem with our Kale. We got rid of the infected leaves and then sprayed the plants with dish soap veggie spray. (1 tsp dish soap, 1/2 tsp baking soda, in one large spray bottle.) I think it actually is for a gallon of water. No more aphids and the spray easily washes off.

anyone use floating row covers for brussel sprouts or cabbage?

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clipped on: 03.06.2012 at 05:33 am    last updated on: 03.06.2012 at 05:33 am

RE: Millions of Aphids on my lettuce (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: digdirt on 06.11.2010 at 06:39 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

Why not just spray the lettuce? You can blast them off with water easily or you can use soapy water spray (1T dish soap in 1 gallon of water) not to mention that insecticides are available if you use them.

As to whether the row cover just made it worse or not, that will all depend on the weight of row cover material you used. The lightweight insect barrier poses no problems but heavier fabric could by blocking air circulation. Also aphids are quickly drawn to excess nitrogen so go easy on the fertilizers.

Dave

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clipped on: 03.06.2012 at 05:32 am    last updated on: 03.06.2012 at 05:32 am

RE: Your 'Must Grow' Tomato (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: digdirt on 02.07.2012 at 02:51 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

If I could have only one? Rutgers.

Dave

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clipped on: 02.08.2012 at 07:40 pm    last updated on: 02.14.2012 at 05:16 am

RE: sour or acidic tomato (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: digdirt on 01.28.2012 at 11:46 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

I assume you have read the many posts about this over on the Growing Tomatoes forum here? If so then you've read all the info on how growing conditions affect flavor more than variety and that the actual pH of most all tomatoes fall within a few hundredths of a point of each other?

That said all I can give you is what varieties, when grown in my gardens with the growing conditions I provide, give me that "acidic" (aka sour, sharp, bit) flavor.

Reds: Box Car Willie, Mortgage Lifter, Rutgers, and Earl's Faux

Yellows: Limmony and Russian Persimmon

Dave

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clipped on: 01.28.2012 at 09:02 pm    last updated on: 01.28.2012 at 09:02 pm

RE: Increasing productivity (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: readheads on 01.14.2012 at 05:47 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

I'd suggest moving up you harvest by 30+ days. Here is what I do:

1. Plant my seed indoors now (early Jan)

2. Pot up 3 times to half gallon pots and the plants will be 3+ feet tall by April 15th with small pea tomatoes and plenty of flowers

3. Put outside in ground on April 15-ish, under a cloche (plastic hoop structure)

4. Take off cloche on Mothers Days

5. Pick your first red tomato on the 4th of July (on a lucky year it can be Memorial Day)

I raise about 35 3-foot plants and put 20 in the ground. My yields vary from 20-50 tomatoes per plant depending on the weather that year. I am in NJ, if you want to keep in touch I can get you some plants. I also know of a place in Clifton NJ who raises plants very early and has "beautiful" 3+ foot plants at the end of April and sells them for 3 for $10. Really hard to find that size specially for that price.

Of course, everything depends on the weather (early 90+ deg F days will mess up polination)

Tom

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clipped on: 01.16.2012 at 03:51 am    last updated on: 01.16.2012 at 03:51 am

RE: Size of salad mix bed? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: catherine_nm on 01.16.2012 at 12:36 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

It's more complicated than just bed size. You eat salad 4-5 days per week, but how much is that? The point is, if you plant all of your salad mix at one time, it will all be ripening at the same time. If you just intend to do cut-and-come-again, that may work for you fine. If you want larger leaves, lettuce approaching head-size, you probably want to stagger your plantings.

You have probably read that you can seed some crops, like greens and peas, as soon as the soil can be worked. That means what it says. If you have a February thaw that that leaves your garden soil clear of snow (or no snow at all), go out and scratch some shallow furrows in your beds and plant. You have raised beds, so they should drain if you get further snow and rain, and you will get an early start on your garden.

Okay, start with 4-ft rows across your beds. I would seed 4 rows initially. If you are growing for baby greens make the rows 3 inches apart. Try to drop a seed every 3 inches. If you are growing for larger plants make your rows 4 inches apart and drop a seed every 4 inches. Barely cover with fine compost or used potting soil that you are recycling from last year's potted plants (okay, new potting soil if you have to). Figure the earliest planting will take longer to mature than later plantings, as the weather as the plants grow will be cooler. If you want a faster start, you can lay some row cover right over your planting. It will also retain moisture if you live in a dry climate, as I do.

As soon as you see green growth from your first planting, make 4 more furrows and plant them the same way. And you'll see green long before you think it is gardening season! When you see green in those 4 rows, plant another 4.

Next complication. Most greens hate hot weather and start to get tough, bitter, and not ideal just about when you are thinking salads are the only thing you want to eat. Here on my mountain side that is about the second week of June. And then many spring plants want to bolt to seed around mid summer (June 21 or so) anyway. You are Zone 6, so your hot weather probably comes before or around Memorial Day, I am guessing. If your salad mix has a maturity of 60 days, your last planting would be 60 days before hot weather sets in, or the last week of March if Memorial Day is your end date. Again, with cut-and-come-again culture, you will still be eating salads until they bolt.

Last planting in late March. That's probably long before you even considered planting your salad garden, right? Greens LIKE cool weather, really.

It works in the fall, too. Don't think about when your first frost is (that's the frost that turns the squash and tomato plants black and usually ends conventional gardens for the year), remember that greens LIKE cool weather. Salad greens will keep growing until a hard freeze, and that is surprisingly late under even a light row cover. In my climate the first frost can be around Sept 15, and the first hard freeze around Oct 15, but I can still be harvesting lettuce under row covers at Thanksgiving. Adjust your expectations to your own frost and freeze times.

In the fall, just as in the very early spring, the time to harvest/maturity is longer as the days get cooler. Also, some seeds are not going to germinate well until nights are cooler, say in the 60s or even 50s. I'm on a cool mountain side, so I start planting my fall crops in July, but I remember living on the flat-lands and the hot, hot nights. Be patient. If your first frost is Oct 15, count back 60 days and try planting in mid August (yeah, I know, still hot). If August is dry, water as needed to keep the soil damp until things start growing. In 2 weeks, plant some more, and some more in another 2 weeks. If your first hard freeze is Nov 15, cover your fall greens with a row cover and keep picking for a couple more weeks.

Check out Eliot Coleman's "Four-Season Harvest." We Americans have a very limited idea of early spring and late summer plantings to extend the harvest season. Coleman spent time in Europe at latitudes similar to much of the United States, where there are long traditions of planting cool-weather crops late for fall and winter harvest, or very early for spring harvest. We Americans have never cultivated the extended gardening habits (pun intended) of Europe, and instead tend to import warm-weather crops from Mexico and South America rather than enjoying cool-weather crops when the weather is cool. It's actually an interesting challenge, and surprisingly satisfying, to push the limits.

Good luck with your salad garden this spring. (Grow heat-loving beans and squash during the dead of summer, though.)

Catherine

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clipped on: 01.16.2012 at 03:36 am    last updated on: 01.16.2012 at 03:36 am

Timing of seed starting

posted by: karin_mt on 12.29.2010 at 01:06 pm in Greenhouses & Garden Structures Forum

It's that time of year - every day brings a new, glossy catalog to your doorstep. Each page is bursting with mouth-watering photos of the sweetest, the freshest, the healthiest plants ever. So many possibilities!

With a greenhouse, the proposition of when to start which seeds is a bit tricky. I'm curious at what other people do. Obviously everyone's circumstances are a bit different, such as where you live and if your greenhouse is heated and what you are growing. But this forum offers a great way to learn from others.

So here's my list - please add yours!

My greenhouse is in Montana, unheated but pretty well insulated.

mid Feb: Start lettuce, spinach, mesclun, broccoli, green onions, parsley, pansies, alpine strawberries. Broccoli and green onions will be grown inside the greenhouse in ground beds.

mid March: Start tomatoes, peppers. Start basil that will grow in the GH. Plant carrot seeds in the GH ground beds. Transplant lettuces into windowboxes. Harvest first salad!

early April: transplant herbs into windowboxes or larger pots. Harvest lots of lettuce and greens.

mid April: Direct sew cucumbers that will be growing inside the greenhouse. Planted a few seed potatoes in the ground beds as an experiment. (which worked and gave us potatoes in early July). Start flowering sweet peas in 4" pots. Pot up tomatoes and peppers into 4" pots. Plant up various containers of annuals (purchased at nurseries) to get nice big pots before bringing them outside in May. Start more greens.

mid/late April: Major planting of seeds for plants that will be grown outdoors. Start lettuce, broccoli, spinach, green onions, basil, plus cutting flowers zinnias, snaps, rudbeckia.

early May: Harvest first basil for pesto! Plant tomato and pepper starts into ground beds in greenhouse. Pot up remaining tomatoes into gallon pots. Harvest carrots that were planted in GH last fall. (Harvesting the carrots frees up room to plant tomatoes and peppers.)

mid May through late May: Transplant everything outside as needed. Hardy veggies go out in early May with row covers. Tender veggies go out in late May or early June. This year will add row covers for those too. Plant root crops outside.

mid-June: Second round of greenhouse-grown lettuces are done. Switch to outdoor greens. Start heat-tolerant lettuce for outdoor growing.

early July: Harvest GH broccoli; GH tomatoes and peppers growing strong. Outdoor lettuces are at peak, time to start more. (I am terrible at getting lettuce started on time)

mid-July: Harvest first tomatoes from greenhouse! Harvest greenhouse-grown potatoes. Outdoor lettuces/spinach are bolting.

mid-Aug or early Sept: Start new seeds of lettuces, spinach, pansies and greenhouse-grown carrots for fall growing.

Sept - Oct: Spend every free moment harvesting, canning, freezing. Start one last round of lettuces, some of which will overwinter.

Nov: Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, cukes from inside the greenhouse, until first deep freeze puts an end to that.

Dec: Plant a few bulbs in the greenhouse ground beds. Harvest lettuces.

Jan - early Feb: Harvest greens occasionally. They grow slowly so we get about one salad every other week.

mid-Feb: Go back to the start of this list and repeat! :)

Phew! I am interested in what timing works for the rest of you. I still find myself lacking in heat-tolerant lettuces to harvest in late July-August. I'm also always seeking the earliest, best-tasting tomato to grow inside the greenhouse.

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clipped on: 01.10.2012 at 08:00 pm    last updated on: 01.10.2012 at 08:00 pm

Time to really plan out the early spring garden....

posted by: t-bird on 12.31.2011 at 12:01 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

What are your plans for the early garden? When/what will you:

direct seed
start seed indoors
transplant out
any protection?

MY plan:
mid-late jan will start seed for:
cauliflower
brocolli
cabbage
napa cabbage

First 2 weeks of february will direct seed under plastic type tunnel:
Spinach
arugula
rapini
radish
mustard green
tat soi
pak choi
kale

First few weeks of march

set out January planted seedlings under FRC frost protection-agribond 19, adding in with them direct seeding of:
carrots
rutabagas
turnips
beets
cilantro
dill
kohlrabi
pak choi

Welp - this is the plan, may need to alter depending on weather constraints....

What is your plan?

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clipped on: 01.09.2012 at 07:00 pm    last updated on: 01.09.2012 at 07:07 pm

Freezing Beans the Zeedman way

posted by: rdback on 08.06.2009 at 03:18 pm in Beans, Peas & Other Legumes Forum

I was going through my Clippings file and found this post by Zeedman, which I saved last year. This was kinda hidden in another thread and not easily found with Search, so I extracted it. The original thread is linked below.

Anyway, since most folks are picking beans now, I thought some of you might find it helpful.

Thanks for sharing your expertise Mr. Z.

Rick

------------------------

Posted by zeedman 5_Great Lakes (My Page) on Sun, Aug 31, 08 at 15:44

I just answered this question elsewhere, darned if I can find it though...

To freeze beans, I cut them (or snap them) then blanch them in boiling water for about 3 minutes. The time can vary, depending upon the weight of the beans, the amount of water in the kettle, and the heat setting - one pound takes about 3 minutes. This is best done in a kettle with a basket, so the beans can be transfered immediately at the end of that time.

After 3 minutes, they go immediately into the sink, into a kettle already full of cold water. Some use ice for this, but cold running water has always worked well for me. Cool them for the same length of time used to blanch them, stirring several times. If blanched properly, they should sink as they cool. Then drain them, pack them into a suitable freezer container, and freeze them promptly.

I have also had rubbery beans over the years, and found a few tips to reduce the chances. As I mentioned above, beans (as with most vegetables) must be cooled immediately following their blanching period. If there is any delay, they will continue to cook, and the quality will be reduced.

They should also be frozen as quickly as possible following cooling. Vacuum-sealed bags will preserve them with little deterioration; but I found that it is best to freeze them in boxes first, then vacuum seal the block. If vacuum sealed while wet, water & debris can be sucked into the seal, causing the seal to fail.

Proper freezing will preserve the quality of the beans, but there are a few tricks to cooking the frozen beans as well. I don't thaw them until just before cooking, to preserve their crispness. For larger amounts, I throw the still-frozen beans straight into a kettle of boiling water. Generally, as soon as the water begins to boil again, the beans are just about done - I'll check one every minute or so. Vigilance at this stage is probably more important than any other step in the process; the difference between done & over-cooked can be just a minute or two.

Once done, remove them from the water immediately. Just as with blanching, you need to halt the cooking process to preserve quality. For larger amounts, you might want to spray them with cold water briefly, until they are just warm. I always butter mine, so I kill two birds with one stone, and stir the cold butter into the hot beans.

When it comes to freezing, all varieties are not equal. Many that are great cooked fresh are terrible frozen; flat-podded & wax varieties have given me the most problems. Round-podded varieties (such as KY Wonder, Rattlesnake, Emerite, and Fortex, among others) seem to be best for freezing. Emerite had the best frozen quality of any bean I have tried, staying very firm after freezing. Wider Romano types (including Garafal Oro) can be OK also, but it becomes doubly important to perform steps promptly, since they will over-cook easily.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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clipped on: 12.28.2011 at 05:52 pm    last updated on: 12.28.2011 at 05:52 pm

RE: space maximizing secrets? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: donnabaskets on 10.28.2011 at 10:24 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

I grow in raised beds, too, on a far smaller scale than Jon. (Jon, you are the best advertising for gardening there is! What a happy heart you have!)

I would say that in addition to using the french intensive or square foot methods, it is important to keep your soil producing all the time. In other words, when a crop is finished, pull it up, fertilize, and plant something else. Naturally, the length of your season will determine just how much of this you can do, but it seems from these forums, that even those who live in the far north can have two or even three crops a year from at least part of their garden space. Here in the south, we can get three, even four.

For instance, in late winter or earliest spring, I can plant sugar snap peas or lettuce, or greens. They will be finished by late May, so I can pull them up and plant cucumbers or squash. These will be done by late July or early august, when I can plant pole beans or cowpeas for the fall garden. And when THOSE are done in late fall, I can plant garlic and onions for the winter.

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clipped on: 11.02.2011 at 06:26 pm    last updated on: 11.02.2011 at 06:26 pm

RE: Oil + Btk on corn? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: nygardener on 10.08.2011 at 01:28 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

I just harvested the earlier of my two corn varieties, and this seems to have worked out pretty well. 0% worms, compared to 100% last year! The downside is that the upper ends of the ears didn't pollinate well. This could possibly be corrected by adding the oil a few days later and/or using less, but I'm happy with the trade-off.

My recipe: 1 tablespoon DiPel Btk powder to 1/2 cup oil. Mix the powder with enough water to form a smooth, not-too-thick paste. Stir into the oil (which contains an emulsifier) and mix well. Bring out to the garden and apply about 5 drops (1/2 eyedropper full) to corn silks where they enter the ear, keeping the mixture well-stirred. Best time to apply is when the silks have reached their full length and some strands have browned slightly. Only one application is needed; wind or rain won't dislodge the solution. Mix on the day of application and discard leftover solution.

Useful info sheets: application rates, timing and tips.

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clipped on: 10.09.2011 at 07:11 am    last updated on: 10.10.2011 at 03:52 am

RE: my first fig tree, winter question (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: tonysiny on 10.02.2011 at 10:17 pm in Fig Forum

RE: need winterizing help a.s.a.p. (Follow-Up #31)
posted by: tonysiny on 11.22.2007 at 12:16 am in Fig Forum

Here'e My Metehod:
I HAVE 8 FIG TREES GROWING IN MY BACK YARD.
I always wait until late October or early November to wrap my fig trees. If the leaves and/or figs are still contained to the branches, I remove them and use for mulch. Also, the wrapping procedure is always done on dry days. Do not let moister/water enter the enclosed fig trees......

1- Cut back each fig tree to 5 feet high.
2- Mulch the base rooting system with one foot of mulch to prevent freezing of the roots. I make my mulch by composting dry tree leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps throughout the summer months.
3- Tie up and tighten each of the branches to form a closed umbrella.
4- Wrap roofing tar paper around each fig tree leaving an openning on top.
5- Wrap and tie roping around each fig tree and secure to a inground peg, i.e; a 2 foot stick banged into the ground next to each fig tree.
6- Completely fill to the top, through the top openning - in each fig tree, with dry tree leaves.
7- Top off each fig tree with used heavy weight paper to finalized the insulation.
8- Covering the remaining top openning with tar paper and secure with roping.

I have been doing this for the last 5 years with great success.

Your fellow fig lover ----- Tony From Staten Island, NY


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TONY'S FIG TREE TYPES (8 TREES)
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BROWN TURKEY FIG TREE
MISSION FIG TREE

ITALIAN WHITE FIG TREE

PETER'S HONEY FIG TREE

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clipped on: 10.06.2011 at 07:42 pm    last updated on: 10.06.2011 at 07:42 pm

Earls Hole Method of Growing Tomatoes

posted by: earl on 01.15.2007 at 03:02 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Earls Hole Method of Growing Tomatoes

Items from Walmart type garden center, 40 lb. bags of Composted Peat Humus, 40 lb. bags of Composted Cow Manure, Epson Salt and Bonemeal and Espoma Tomato-tone 4-7-10 fertilizer or equivalent .

In raised beds, after tilling, I dig good sized holes about 2 feet across, scattering the soil around the hole. Then to each hole I add bag of the peat humus, 1/4 bag of the manure, then I scatter about the hole a handful each of Epson salts, Bonemeal and Espoma. Then I use a spade fork to mix the formula VERY well some inches beyond the depth and width of the original hole. If plants are indeterminate they should be planted at least 4 feet apart.

I then, using my hands, I make a hole in the center of this mixture and plant the seedlings. If seedlings are tall I strip off the leaves except for the top few inches, and lay it at an angle or on its side in the hole and cover up to the leaves. Then I form a 4 inch deep water holding basin [a crater] about 1 1/2 feet across and around the plant, then mulch the plants and bed with straw or grass clippings, then water. Last I spread a handful of granular fertilizer such as Espoma Tomato-tone 4-7-10 on top of the mulch around the plants so it will leach into soil over time and feed the outer roots for they grow wide and deep. I use concrete wire cages 18-20 inches across and anchor them with rebar driven deep next to the cage. When I have to water, if I dont get rain in 7-10 days, I stick an open ended hose at the base of the plants and give them a couple gallons.

Never over water. The plants leaves will tell you theyre thirsty by drooping a bit. As the plants grow, to help prevent leaf disease, trim any branches that droop and touch the mulch.

During late summer if I think they need it I'll give each plant a couple gallons of fish emulsion or what ever liquid type I have. And if you have leaf problems, get started early using Daconil as soon as you plant, even saturate the mulch around the base as well as top and bottom of leaves.

I can't say this is the best way to do it, but it works for me.

Earl

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clipped on: 07.09.2011 at 07:07 am    last updated on: 07.09.2011 at 07:07 am