Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Onions started from seed doing well

They aren't quite as big as the ones started from sets, but they are respectable.  Just give them plenty of good  compost and they grow strong.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


These are the best looking peppers I have growing, potted or not, inside or out.  I don't know if I have showed them more love or what, but they are beautiful!

They are about 24" tall right now in 12" pots.  A few fruits are just starting to develop.

Tomatoes and peppers June 18

The pepper fruits keep rotting and turning brown on the bottom.  I know there is a way to control this but I haven't researched it yet.  This is the second year that the California Wonder has done this.  But the plants are growing strong.  I'll see if the problem irons itself out.

Tomatoes are definitely not growing as thick and lush as the outside plants, but there are several fruits and I have gotten a few red ones already, in pots and in the mushroom beds.  My goal was to eat tomatoes in June so that is a success.

Tatume squash watermelon and cantaloupe

These guys seem to love the heat.  I always suspected the melons needed it hot, and this is proving to be true.  The squash does wilt a bit in the heat of day, but is growing strong.

I have already picked a squash.  Even at baseball size, they already have large seeds inside.  If you like that texture, great, but I will be hollowing them out before I cook them next time.

Oh another note on the squash:  I have needed to pollinate them with a paint brush.  The bees are not finding their way into the greenhouse despite having 2 vents open 24/7.  The flowers are closed by 9 am so I need to rush out there and pollinate.  I have lost a lot of fruit in figuring this out!

Here are the melons.   The watermelons (left vine) are still catching up and have a few flowers, but the cantaloupes (right 2 vines) have developed 2 fruits:

Malabar Spinach

Growing fast now, a few inches per day.  Great flavor to the leaves, although not really spinach, but very tender.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My first red tomato on June 12th!

I will be making a salsa later this afternoon...

This is a Brandywine tomato, germinated in February and grown in an 18" pot of compost.  I will have another red one in the mushroom beds tomorrow.  Actually, the first red came from the mushroom bin, but it was so deformed and damaged that I threw it away and didn't count it.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Update on Dogfish Clone

Here we are after the primary fermentation of 7 days. I siphoned both batches into new buckets, which stirred things up a bit and caused the haziness you see in the two on the left.

Left: My brew with English ale yeast.
Center: My brew with American ale yeast
Right: Actual DFH 60 min (hence the bubbles--it's carbonated)

You can see that mine on the left and the real one on the right are more similar in color.  The center ale has more of an amber color to it.  I won't be able to taste compare until after bottle conditioning.

After primary fermentation, the English Ale is showing gravity of 1.013 (6.3% abv) and the American Ale is 1.009 (6.8%)

I am extremely happy with my first truly all-grain brew.  I used zero adjuncts and kept true to the purity law (well, until I bottle) which is another plus!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My attempt at copying DFH 60 minute IPA

 I hate the term clone.  That word should only be used for sheep and Star Wars storm troopers.

This is a 10 gallon all-grain batch:

25 lb two-row malt
1.5 lb Thomas Faucett amber malt
.5 lb Victory malt (optional, but I have to add it. I love it so much!)
1 oz warrior hops
.5 oz simcoe whole-leaf hops
1.5oz amarillo hops
4 oz cascade hops
     All hops mixed together, separated into 13 equal parts (about 3 T. each) and continuously added every 5 minutes during boil.
Safale-04 in one fermenter
Safale-05 in the other fermenter (I will see which gets me closer to the dfh)

Dry hop:
.5oz amarillo
.5oz simcoe whole leaf
3oz cascade
    All hops mixed together and split between 2 fermenter buckets.

Brewing went off without a hitch.

Mashed with 6.75 gallons water at 154.  At the end of the mash the temp had dropped to 148.
Sparged with 12 gal. at 170.  The grain absorbed nearly 4 gallons!

Total boil volume ended up about 14 gal. and 1.5 gal was lost during boil, then another 2 gal lost in the bottom of the keggle as hop sludge, for a total of 11.25 into primary fermenters.

The keggle and Bayou Classic burner performed flawlessly and used up maybe a 1/2 tank of propane.  It boiled quickly and I was able to keep a nice rolling boil for the hour.

I hooked my wort chiller coil up to the garden hose.  It took longer than I had read, but in the end cooled the wort down to 75 in about 45 minutes. The spent water was used to irrigate my gardens, and the spent grains went into the compost pile for next year!

As my brother said, there was a lot of re-purposing going on with this project, exactly the way I like it!

Original gravity was 1.058, dead on to give me the ABV I'm looking for.

12 hours after the yeast pitch, the buckets are bubbling nicely!