Saturday, September 29, 2012

Things to do, in the Garden, in the fall?

      Well it is getting to be that time of the year where the leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter and for some harvest time! Some of us are starting to plant Fall Crops  and others are closing the garden down for the fall. Which ever your plans for your garden you have, start with a plan. Last week I gave you "10 vegetables to grow in fall" , this week I am compiling a list of other things to do in the fall for you to get started with.
  1)Finish the harvest:You can pick green tomatoes before a frost and they will continue to ripen inside. Pick those that are full size and starting to turn yellow. Wrap each tomato in a piece of newspaper or paper towel. Take a few out at a time and place on a sunny window sill to ripen. Harvest tender crops like peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers before the first frost. Harvest all other above ground crops before a hard freeze. Dig potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, onions, and other root vegetables before the ground freezes. Pumpkins won’t continue to ripen after picking but you must pick them before a hard freeze and protect them from freezing. 
Photo By" The Redeemed Gardener
  2)Clean up the vegetable garden: This is the dirt, not so fun part but it needs to be done. Must everything can go in those "Dirt Cheap Compost Bin's", and the rest you can burn on the garden if you would want to!  Cover exposed soil with a layer of compost, straw, leaves or other material, especially in areas that don’t get much snow or plant a "cover crop". Also put away your cages and stakes for next year as well.
  3)Soil test and amend your soil: Fall is a great time to have your soil tested and make adjustments to soil pH or amend nutrient imbalances. Get the soil tested as early as possible, you’ll generally get results back from the lab faster than in the spring but leave time before the soil freezes to add amendments. 
  4)Make garden plans for next year: Perennial plants are mature, so make decisions on whether the garden is too crowded or whether it needs more plants or some changes made. It’s a good time to make some notes about annuals and vegetables that grew well or didn’t do well so you won’t repeat mistakes in the spring. Find those plant tags you stuck in beside plants and write down variety names you want to remember. You’ll be surprised what you forget over the winter or at least I forget a lot, lol! Take some pictures of the mature garden to remind you what it looks like as you drool over plant catalogs in the winter. 
  5)Divide those perennials: "Dividing Plants are free" and a fun gift for family and friends! So get the shovel out and divide some of your perennials!
  6)Fix the lawn:Fall is the perfect time to fertilize the lawn and to repair or replace the grass. Fall fertilization allows for good root growth, and gets the grass off to a good start in the spring. Chopping the leaves that fall on your lawn with a mower and letting them remain on the lawn is another way of returning valuable nutrients back to the soil.
Photo by: The Redeemed
 7)Plant:  Fall is the best time to plant your new additions like trees, shrubs, fruit trees, bulbs, garlic and even your perennials that you have divided!
 8)Start laying out a winter Bible devotional plan!
 9)Tools:   If you decide to fall garden, so to continue to have fresh veggies later on then happy gardening to you! But if you are do for the season like must people are, don't forget this last and most forgotten task that must people do forget. I have been guilty myself!
  Clean those shovels, sharpen those blades and chains, fix those handles, hose down your mower and other equipment and don't forget the underneath side of everything, store everything in its proper place and easy to find for next year, and something to help keep away some of the headache for next year is "PUT STABILIZER IN YOUR GAS" or drain it, lol! I have fussed at myself many time for not doing so, as I yank my shoulder off trying to get something started. You have been there or you wouldn't be laughing right know!
  Well here is a few Ideas, leave your other ideas at the bottom and if you have a blog and a great fall helpful idea, Please feel free to leave a link back for use!

Linked To:
Rural Thursday 
Thursday Favorite things 
Home and Garden Thursday 
FG Friday 78 
Fertilizer Friday 
Frugal Tuesdays! 
Harvest Monday 
Barn Hop 82 
Blog Carnival #28 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

10 Vegetables to Grow in the Fall

   Some people have asked, "What can I grow in the fall to winter months in my garden?"  Well here are 10 very easy to grow veggies that you can enjoy in the cool season and sometimes into the first snow! As you plant and grow please let me know how your crops are doing! I trust everyone has had a great growing season so fare?

By: The Redeemed Gardener
Broccoli - Broccoli seedlings should be planted 10 weeks before the first frost date in your area. This means planting them during the last hot summer days so it's important to mulch around them to help keep the ground cool and moist. Feed the plants 3 weeks after transplanting into the garden. Use a low nitrogen fertilizer. 70 days to maturity.

Brussels Sprouts – Brussels sprouts are ideal for fall gardens because they really taste best when allowed to mature in cool weather. In my mid-South garden, summer comes too quickly to grow them in the spring garden. Set the plants out in mid-summer. It will take about 3 months before the sprouts appear. They are ready for harvest when they are firm and green. 90 days to maturity.

Cabbage – Plant seedlings 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost. If the heat of summer is still intense when it's time to plant in your area, give the young plants protection from sun. Cabbages are heavy feeders that require fertile soil rich in organic matter and consistent moisture. 70 days to maturity.

Cauliflower - Plant seedlings 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost. Cauliflower can be tricky to grow. Rich soil and consistent watering are the keys. Fluctuations in temperature, moisture and nutrients can cause the plant to "button" or produce small, undersized heads. Blanch the heads by tying the outer leaves together over the heads when they are about 2 to 3 inches across. This keeps them from turning green and becoming bitter. 60 days to maturity.

Kohlrabi - Kohlrabi is a member of cabbage family, but it looks and tastes similar to a turnip. The bulbous edible portion grows just above the soil line. Shade young plants from summer sun. 40 to 60 days to maturity depending on variety.

Lettuce – Sow seeds in late summer. Provide the seedlings with consistent moisture and shade from the afternoon sun. 45 to 60 days to harvest depending on type and variety.

Mustard Greens – Sow seeds 6 weeks before the first frost. Seeds will germinate in soil that is 45 to 85 degrees F. Keep the soil consistently moist to encourage rapid growth and tender greens. 45 days to maturity.

Radish – Sow seeds for radishes 4 weeks before the first frost. Winter varieties such as China Rose, mature slower, grow larger and store longer. They should be sown about 6 weeks before the first frost. Sow the seeds evenly so you don't have to thin them. No feeding necessary, but soil should be fertile and well drained. They are quick to mature so check them regularly. They are ready to harvest as soon as they are of edible size. 25 to 50 days to maturity depending on variety.

Rutabaga – Sow seeds 12 weeks before the first frost. In regions where summer is long and hot, wait to sow seeds until night time temperatures are consistently around 50 to 60 degrees F. Rutabagas are a cross between cabbage and turnip. Although they are suitable for early spring gardens, they seem to have the best flavor when grown in fall. Keep the soil consistently moist to prevent roots from forking. 90 days to maturity. 

Spinach – Sow seeds 5 weeks before first frost date. The short days and cool, moist weather of fall is even better for spinach than spring. An established spinach crop will last well into winter and can survive temperatures down into the 20s. Spinach prefers very fertile soil to encourage rapid growth and tender leaves. 45 days to maturity.

 "Don’t say, “How could God forgive me for that!” (whatever that is). Don’t think that God’s forgiveness is a begrudging forgiveness and with that thought deny some of God’s glorious love. And don’t think that God’s promises are only for other people. If this is how you are thinking, you must realize that your own sins, no matter how big, are not bigger than God’s pleasure in forgiveness." 
Edward T. Welch

Linked with:
Blog Carnival
Country Garden Showcase
Barn Hop 80 

Friday, September 21, 2012

"The Journey" by Robert Brunell

  My wife found this story years ago, and before I published it I wanted to explain a couple of things. When I first read the story, it really made me madder than a wet hen. Because I saw a lot of myself, at that, time in this story. I saw a lot of the people that I was around the same way and well I got mad, okay, lol! So I post this with caution in hope that you will read the whole thing and just take it all as a teaching of where we can slip as the body of Christ if we are not cautious and do as God tells us in 1 John 4:1-6 and "test everything". It is a lengthy read and must of you probably wont read it but for you that do, I promise you will be blessed! Or maybe mad like I was but God taught me a lot from this! This isn't an "Escape from our Savior Jesus Christ". God Bless you all!
Numbers 22:24 "Then the Angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side."

"Escape from Christendom"

"The Journey"  by Robert Burnell, 1980
In my dream I see the lone figure of a man following a road.
As the sun sets beneath the hills, a city comes into view. Nearing it, the traveler sees what appears to be a large group of churches. Spires and crosses pierce the skyline. His pace quickens. Is this his destination? He passes an imposing structure, a neon sign flashing “Cathedral of the Future.” Farther on a floodlit stadium supports a billboard boasting that fifty thousand people crowd into evangelistic meetings there three nights a week. Beyond this, modest “New Testament” chapels and Hebrew Christian synagogues cluster together on the street front.
“Is this the City of God?” I hear the traveler ask a woman at the information booth in the central square.
“No this is Christian City, “she replies.
“But I thought this road led to the City of God!” He exclaims with great disappointment.
“That’s what we all thought when we arrived,” she answers, her tone sympathetic.
“This road continues up the mountain, doesn’t it?” He asks.
“I wouldn’t know, really,” she answers blankly.
I watched the man turn away from her and trudge on up the mountain in the gathering darkness. Reaching the top, he starts out into the blackness; it looks as though there is nothing, absolutely nothing, beyond. With a shudder he retraces his steps into Christian City an takes a room at a hotel.
Strangely unrefreshed, at dawn he arises and follows the road up the mountain again; in the brightening light of the sun he discovers that what seemed like a void the night before is actually a desert–dry, hot, rolling sand as far as the eye can see. The road narrows to a path which rises over a dune and disappears. “Can this trail lead to the City of God?” He wonders aloud. It appears to be quite deserted and rarely traveled.
Indecision slowing his steps, he again returns to Christian City and has lunch in a Christian restaurant. Over the music of a gospel record, I hear him ask a man at the next table, “That path up the mountain, where the desert begins, does it lead to the City of God?”
“Don’t be a fool!” his neighbor replies quickly. “Everyone who has ever taken that path has been lost… Swallowed up by the desert! If you want God, there are plenty of good churches in this town. You should pick one and settle down.”

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saving Tomato Seeds, for next year?

  Well its that time of the year when we will start canning, cleaning the garden up, planting fall crops and one of my favorite thing to do is, "Seed Saving", something Grammie taught us how to do! One of the plants I want to carry over this year is my San Marzanos Tomatoes! Why you may ask, because you can get that wonderful tomato that really love, year after year and it will start to adapt to your environment (read more in link below on "Heirloom".) So how do we do this task that for generations people have done?
 Well prabaly the most important part is, choosing the right tomatoes for "Seed Saving".
 There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which tomatoes to use for seed saving:
* They should be from "Heirloom" varieties. "Hybrid" tomatoes won't come true from seed, so if you save seed from a hybrid and plant it, you will get tomato plants, but there's no way of telling whether the tomatoes will be any good or if you will even get the same tomato?
*They should be fully ripe, but not over-ripe.
* They should be the best-looking tomatoes on your plant. When you save seeds, you want to save from those fruits that have the very best quality.
Photo by "The Redeemed Gardener"

Good tomatoes = good seeds = really good tomatoes next year!

So here is a step by step on this  really simple process.
1. Choose a ripe and the most perfect tomato you have on the healthiest plant you had all season.Choose it off the plant that produced the biggest yield and with the least amount of problems.Remember, you will be getting the same plant as the fruit comes from next year.
2. Cut it open, right through the middle!
3. Squeeze the seeds, "gunky" stuff, out into a small cup or jar.
4. Cover the seed gunk with two to three inches of water.
5. Label your cup so you know which variety of tomato you saved seeds from.
6. After about three days, white mold will start to form on the surface of the water. This means that the gel or "gunky" stuff, lol, on the seeds has dissolved.
Photo by "The Redeemed Gardener"

7. Once you see the white mold, pour off the mold, the water, and any seeds that are floating (Remember the post "Sink or Swim" floating seeds are bad - they probably won't germinate next year) You want all of those seeds sitting at the bottom of the cup, they will have a better chance to grow strong, healthy plants next year.
8. After you've poured the mold and bad seeds off, drain your seeds in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under running water. It's not a bad idea to stir the seeds around with your fingers to help remove any extra gel that may be clinging to them.
9. Dump your rinsed seeds onto a paper plate that has been labeled with the variety name. The paper plate will wick away the water and help keep seeds from getting moldy, we don't want that!
10. Make sure your seeds are in a single layer on the plate, and set it aside a few days so the seeds can completely dry.
11. Once they're dry, put them in a labeled envelope, baggie, or other container and store in a cool, dry spot.
*A link to help with more in depth question's you may have: Master Gardener's and Organic Gardening (for more related photo's)!

“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”  1 John 4:16

Friday, September 7, 2012

"San Marzano's" Grown in West Virginia!

  I tried a new variety of tomato this year. Well, new for me, lol! It is the "San Marzano" tomato from Italy. San Marzano Tomatoes are a plum tomato variety. They are a household name when it comes to making tomato sauce in Italy. They’re also particularly suitable for preparing peeled tomatoes, canned tomatoes, or dried tomatoes. In fact, skin comes off so easily from San Marzanos that they’re sometimes called, “The King of Peeled.”
  They're named for their origin, certified San Marzano tomatoes are grown in Campania, a region of southern Italy just above the toe of the boot, called Sarnese Agro-Nocerino (Valle del Sarno or valley of the Sarno). Those grown and processed in the valley of Sarno in compliance with Italian law are stamped with “D.O.P.” emblem on the can label, which means "Denominazione di Origine Protetta." Don't ask me, thats a little bit more than I really needed to know. I just though maybe some of you smart fellers out there would want to know, lol!  The taste of “genuine” San Marzanos is said to be, because they are grown in volcanic, rich soil and the Mediterranean climate. 
  Mostly here in the U.S. we have grown "Roma's"for the same Reasons and uses. Grammie always had a row or two of Roma's in her garden to can. In looking up some differant facts on "San Marano's". I found a great web site that tells you everything from facts and History to Recipes for your tasting ! And of coarse I recieved my seeds from Botanical Interests
  I personally love them. I am gonna try to hold seeds back and get them used to the good ol' West "By Golly" Virginia soil and environment. While we don't have the volcanic soil and Mediterranean climate, we do have all kinds of coal rich soil and a power plant down the river that could make the water warmer....Okay, I guess I am stretching it a little but maybe after a few years they will adapt better, lol! So if you are looking to try a different heirloom next year try San Marzano's, good luck!

Daniel 4:12 Its leaves were lovely, Its fruit abundant, And in it was food for all.