Saturday, April 27, 2013

Update on greenhouse plants

Everything is growing nicely.  I just had a big salad of romaine, arugula, mustard and spinach.  Delicious.

Turnips and cantaloupes:

Tomatoes and lettuce:

Bell peppers:

Zucchini squash: 

Carolina Reaper chile: 

Tomatoes and peppers are outside

It is a few weeks too early, but I planned ahead and germinated twice as many plants as I need.  There are no freezing temperatures in the 10-day forecast, but if it should freeze, I can replant.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Running strings for tomatoes and melons

Not having researched how professionals trellis their vines, I developed a plan that used items I had in the garage.

Stakes, 1/4" nylon rope, some 2x3s ripped in two, and some hooks:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Garlic and Onions are looking great!

Here are the garlics I planted last fall.  Coming up nicely.  I just dressed with an inch of compost and will cover with some mulch.

Behind you can see some onions I started from seed in the fall.  

Here are 100 onion sets I planted last week.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Many seeds germinating in mushroom soil

The mushroom experiment is going well! I'm impressed with the variety of plants that are now sprouting in 100% mushroom compost.  I am especially excited to see how the heat-loving plants will do in the warmth of the mushroom.  Cantaloupes have germinated and I just transplanted the watermelons in. Soon will be the sweet potatoes and peanuts. I also put Malabar spinach seeds in this afternoon.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Carolina Reapers are looking good!

Here they are at 5 weeks after germination.  Only 2 of the 5 seeds I received have successfully germinated, so I have to be really careful not to mess these up! You can see the typical habanero-style leaves with a purple tint to them, possibly a result of the T8 lights.  Most of the plants turn purplish under the fluorescents.

You must grow female hops vines if you want beer hops!

How do you tell the difference?  The female plant has flowers!  I have wasted several years growing male plants because I thought they might need a few seasons to get established and start producing.  Luckily I gave a plant to my dad, and his vines have done fine flower-wise.  I even made beer the past two years with his harvested hops.  A few weeks ago I took a chunk of his rhizomes and plan to replace my dud plants with his.  Here they are rooting in the window:

Tanczo's is the place for beer in the Lehigh Valley

Growing my own hops, I am always looking for a good outlet for homebrew supplies.  It has been a while since I went to Tanczo's on Jacksonville Rd, only because it is inconvenient to my commute, but I'm glad I stopped today.  They now carry a good line of homebrew kits and ingredients, and the emplyees have gotten  very interested and knowledgeable about their new hobby section.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Peppers are happy in 100% mushroom

California Wonder: these are growing faster than the same stock in regular compost.  Unaffected by cool nights into the 20's.

Difference between compost and mushroom soil in lettuce growth

I didn't set out to experiment the effectiveness of using mushroom soil, but the results are already coming in.  There is a huge difference with the Romaine.  The following are all from the same stock, started about a month ago under lights in Jiffy trays.

First, romaine in a 6 in. pot filled with sifted garden compost.  Pretty normal. Plant is about 10" high and growing strong.

The second is in half compost and half mushroom.  You can see that is is much darker and isn't growing up the way it should. About half the size of the one above. Outer leaves are 5" long.

Now we have pure mushroom in the raised beds.  Very dark and stunted.  These plants are only about 4" high and leaves are deformed.

First harvest of this spring

French Breakfast Radish:
Man these things grow fast.  I started plucking them out this morning.  I ate them right over the sink, as always, fresh-picked, washed and sprinkled with salt.  This variety is oblong in shape rather than round and very mild.

A visit to Mount Manure

This is one big pile of poo.  One thing we have plenty of in Berks County is mushroom soil. This is at one of the local Mennonite farms.  They were loading up their field spreaders as I pulled up.  $10/yard is a fantastic bargain for such a rich soil additive.  Another great thing is that it is sterile and there are no seeds in it.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Peppers, tomatoes, onions growing strong

The peppers appear to be very happy in 100% mushroom soil beds.  The tomatoes are growing a little slower than the ones in regular compost.  Transplanted red onions are doing fine, and turnips, spinach and carrots have germinated in the mushroom soil.

The only questionable crop is the romaine lettuce.   Usually it grows tall and compact, but the lettuces growing in 100% mushroom are very dark green and the leaves are spreading out on the ground instead of growing up.  Will update.

Carolina Reaper is growing...

Out of the 5 seeds I was given, two have germinated.  They are short and small, but well-established and strong with several leaf sets.  My mouth is watering just thinking about them!

I just found a great new resource

The National Sustainable Agriculture Information website has lots of great information to get people started on a variety of topics.  Check it out!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Show me your domes!

It just dawned on me that there must be others out there who have dome projects of their own.  I would love to see them and post them on my blog.  Please send them to me!