November 27, 2012 - The 2012 Garden Review

Crops grown in 2012.....................

Beans, bush
The main varieties grown were Gourmet Green French, Velour Filet and either Contender or Provider (using old seed, I just grabbed a packet and didn't make note of what they were).

As much as I've liked the Gourmet Green French from Ed Hume Seeds, I fell in love with the Velour Filet beans that Ed sent for me to try.  Similar to the Gourmet Green French in both the size of the plants (compact) and the size of the beans (small and slender), Velour's dark purple color made them easy to see and pick, and the yields were double those I got from the Gourmet Green.  I will order Velour Filet from Johnny's Selected Seeds for the 2013 garden.  Since bean seeds are viable for several years, I will order 1000 seeds for $6 rather than a pkt. of 175 seeds for $3.45.  I still have some older packets of several varieties of bush beans, so I'll be trying to use some of those up in the 2013 garden as well.

Beans, pole
As usual, I will be planting Fortex.  I saved seeds from this year to use in 2013.  I wasn't happy with the pole beans growing up over the back fence.  It was hard to find the beans, and a lot of the vines went over the top and down onto the neighbor's side of the fence.  I much prefer planting them on both sides of the chain link kennel.  I can see them from either side, so I don't miss as many beans when I pick them.  Unfortunately, we moved the kennel out of the garden area this fall, so I have no chain link on which to let them climb.  I will either have to build a trellis, or plant them next to the patio where they can climb and cling to the lattice panels.  I did have beans there one year, and they did quite well.  However, if I use that spot for pole beans, I'll lose the planting space for three tomato plants.

Varieties grown were Chioggia and Red Ace Hybrid.  I think the Chioggia were sweeter, but not pretty when pickled.  Red Ace has always been a good yielder for me, and this year was no exception.  I think I have quite a few beet seeds left from the 2012 garden.  If not, I'll probably purchase Red Ace again.  A must do is to cover the beets with tulle to keep the leaf miners off of them.  It worked very well this year.

I planted Hybrid Super Blend from Lily Miller, and had fantastic broccoli that was still giving me side shoots when I got sick of it and pulled it out.  In fact, the one plant that is still in the flower bed, that I let blossom and go to seed, still has a few edible side shoots at the end of November.  Another, in the main garden, had such a huge stem I couldn't get it out of the ground, so I cut it off and it's now growing new stems and leaves.  I have no idea what varieties were included in the packet, but there are a lot of seeds left so some will be planted in the 2013 garden.

Brussels Sprouts (fail)
Seeds started indoors in March and set out in the spring got huge (over 4' tall) but never did get many edible sized sprouts.  We had one meal of them, tossed with olive oil and roasted, and neither of us really liked them.  I had my son cut off the stalks and take them home to harvest the remaining small sprouts, so I didn't even put a weight total in my records.  No more Brussels sprouts will be grown in my garden.

Varieties grown were Pixie and Gonzales.  Both are small varieties, perfect for small families and/or small gardens.  Gonzales was the smaller of the two, I think Pixie was sweeter and Gonzales tended to be a bit spicy.  Either variety would be welcomed in the 2013 garden, but I'll more likely buy something, probably Golden Acre, from the seed racks rather than pay shipping and handling for a catalog order.  If, on the other hand, I split a Johnny's order with Ed, I'll go for the Gonzales.

Varieties grown were Burpee A#1 Hybrid and Imperator.  Early carrots were not very good, due to problems with root knot nematodes.  Later carrots were mostly fine, and grew faster and larger than the early planted ones.  In 2013 I will grow all carrots where corn grew in 2012, which is supposed to be better if nematodes are present in the garden.  I will purchase Ingot Hybrid carrot seed from Ed Hume Seeds.  That variety has been a favorite in past years.

Celery (fail)
Variety grown was Tall Utah #527OR, Improved from Ferry-Morse.  I started the plants inside in February, and set them out in April.  They never got large stalks, and went to seed as soon as the weather turned hot.  I started another few plants to plant in mid summer.  They didn't go to seed, but never got anything worth eating.  I'll not fool with celery in the future.

Honey Select Triplesweet™ Hybrid from Ed Hume Seeds was early and delicious!  The kernels are rather small, but very tender and sweet.  The ears were not bothered by corn ear worms or insects until the final few were maturing, then they got small worms that didn't do much damage.  Silver Queen corn, a later variety, was plagued with ear worms and sap beetles as well as corn smut.  Silver Queen stalks also blew down several times during wind storms, but the Honey Select stood tall.  I'll definitely have to plant an early corn to avoid the pests, so I'm considering Bodacious Hybrid from Ed Hume Seeds.  I'm thinking the ears may be larger than Honey Select, and it's a few days earlier maturing.

I didn't plant pickling cucumbers this year, as I really don't need pickles yet.  I did plant Spacemaster slicers from Ed Hume Seeds, in a container.  It always performs well for me and provides just enough cucumbers to keep the family happy.  They will be planted in 2013.  I had a few seeds of Diva, but lost the seedlings (I blamed it on bad, cheap potting mix).

Garlic (fail)
The garlic, a grocery store variety, didn't do well in 2012.  It got off to a great start, but had to be moved in early spring and never did recover.  A small bed (same variety) was planted in October for the 2013 crop.

Two parsley plants were more than enough for fresh eating and drying.  Several basil plants were grown, but I found we like only Sweet or Italian, and the others were pretty much ignored.

I had so many varieties this year!  However, it wasn't a great year for lettuce, so my yield was down.  In 2013 the lettuce bed will be moved back to its old location behind the shed.  The plants seem happiest there.  I have a lot of leftover seeds, so my only purchase for 2013 will be Red Sails.  I would really like to try Anuenue again, but I'm not paying a big price plus shipping charges for it.  I grew it a few years ago, and I remember it being one of our favorites.

Varieties grown were saved seeds from a grocery store variety and a packet (I think Burpee seeds) from a seed rack, and I didn't make note of the variety.  The saved seeds grew huge, beautiful melons with very little flavor.  The purchased seeds grew way too many small melons that ripened all at once and tasted great.  I ended up giving so many away, we just couldn't eat them before they rotted.  Our local farm stand sells them quite cheap, so I don't think I'll take up so much space in next year's garden.  I'll just buy one at a time as we want them.

Walla Walla Sweet were perfect this year, and the yield was excellent.  I grow them each year, and 2013 will be no exception.  I also grew two packets of Southport White Globe storage onions from Mike the Gardener seed.  Only a few germinated and grew, and they were quite small, but they were good and stored well (the sweet onions only last a couple of months at best).  I will probably try starting a flat of storage onions in 2013.

Parsnips (total fail)
Variety grown, Harris Model from Ferry Morse.  Total fail, zero germination in three trials (seed flat, damp paper towels, damp coffee filter).

I get so few peas for so much work, every year I swear I'm not going to plant them again.  This year I grew Green Arrow, which did fine on an inverted tomato cage "tepee".  It was a lot of work for only 2 pounds of shelled peas.  However, Ed convinced me to try a new variety in 2013, and I've already purchased the seeds, so I'll give it another go.  I also planted a double row of peas in the late summer, and they should have been ready to pick in October.  It's now the end of November, and they are blossoming like mad, but I've only found one pod with peas large enough to eat and now they are freezing, even under a row cover.  Fail on fall peas.

Peas, snap
The yield was rather small from Cascadia snap peas, and they weren't the sweetest I've eaten.  In 2013 I will go back to growing Sugar Lace from Ed Hume Seeds, which has been a favorite in past years.

Peppers, hot (fail)
The Early Jalapenos were planted in pots and gave me about 5 peppers all summer.  One plant finally filled up with peppers just in time for our first freeze.  It's iffy whether I'll even grow them next year when I can buy them at the local Mexican market for 59-cents a pound.

Peppers, sweet
It wasn't a very good year for the sweet peppers, either.  Even though the weather was hot, they just wouldn't color.  Past years have always given me lovely crops of bright red, huge peppers.  I'll chalk it up to a bad year and try again in 2013.  Varieties I'll definitely grow in 2013 are: Dave's Happy Yummy, Quadrato Rosso D'Asti and Red Marconi.  Varieties I might also grow are: Horizon Orange and Quadrato Giallo D'Asti.

Fantastic potato harvest in 2012!  Varieties grown were Dark Red Norland, Russet Norkotah and Yukon Gold.  Dark Red Norland were by far the best in quantity and quality.  Yukon Gold produced slightly fewer pounds, but the yield was still very good and the flavor is wonderful.  The Russet Norkotah were disappointing.  The yield wasn't as good, they tended to be scabby, and they dissolved into mush when boiled.  They were, however, delicious when baked.  In 2013 I think I'll stick with the Norland and Yukon Gold.  If I can find Kennebec seed potatoes, I'll also plant that variety.  It has done very well in past years, but this spring it  wasn't available where I buy my seed.

Cherry Belle and Champion did well, all others (anything with white) were eaten by insects.

The yield on my Canby summer bearing plants was low this year, but it was my fault for being too ruthless with the pruning.  Better luck next year...I hope.

This was the first full year for the plant I put in in 2011.  I got about three good harvests from it, then the leaves began looking splotchy and yellow.  Eventually the entire plant died back, and it looks like it may not survive.

Variety grown, Space (Burpee).  Not a great year for spinach, but none of the greens did especially well.  What was harvested was good, but I think I'll go back to growing Tyee in 2013.  Spinach is another crop that has to be covered with tulle to keep the leaf miners away, so it is always planted in the same bed as the beets.

Squash, summer
Variety grown, Early Golden Crookneck (leftover seeds) and Burpee's Fordhook Zucchini.  Oh, my, I had more crookneck than I could keep up with on two hills (4 plants), and certainly enough zucchini with one hill of 2 plants.  I'll plant one hill of each next year.

Squash, winter
I grew 56 beautiful Waltham Butternuts on four hills planted.  They were worth every inch of space they took up, and much more productive than the bush variety I grew last year.  A staple in my garden from now on.  I also grew one hill of Honey Bear acorn squash.  The "bush" took up more room than I though it would, and was quite prolific.  It had a very good flavor, but I still prefer butternut squash for its versatility.

Variety grown, Tristar.  I moved the strawberry bed in the spring, and planted all new starts that had developed last year.  The yield was down.  I'll give them one more season, but 2014 might have me trying a different variety.

Not a great year for tomatoes, but it was my fault for crowding them so closely together.  I'll definitely have fewer plants in 2013, and give them space to grow.  Seeds were saved for Black Cherry and Una Heartsock, which will be my only cherry tomatoes in 2013, unless someone gifts me with a few Sungold seeds (hint, hint).  I also saved seeds for Victor.  It's not the best tasting tomato, and it has a lot of gel and large seeds in a very small tomato, but it's the first to bear and still going strong into November's hard frost.  It's not a huge plant, well worth growing one for a long tomato harvest.  I can't really say much about any of the others, as the harvests were so sparse.  I do know I didn't care for Marglobe Supreme.  Isis Candy tasted good early on but seemed to lose flavor as time went on and the plant grew huge and invasive (as did Black Cherry, but the flavor of those is worth the space it takes).  I think I'll only start Black Cherry, Una Heartsock and Victor next year and buy the others at the nursery.  I can pick up a 4-pack for $1.29 and they have a really good variety.

Turnips (total fail)
Variety grown; Shogoin.  Source; Mike the Gardener.  Total fail, beautiful tops, no roots.  We don't like turnip greens, so everything went into the compost bin.  I'll not bother growing them again, as they are not a favorite in our household.

November 26, 2012 - The Final Harvest

Today was the final harvest from the garden.  I decided to go ahead and pull the remaining carrots, as I've never had much luck in over wintering them.  The quality always diminishes once the ground freezes.  The only other crops remaining were a few tiny cabbages that had no chance of increasing in size, and a small cutting of celery that was only large enough to chop and freeze for use in soups.

 I pulled 5 pounds of carrots.  Four pounds were nice ones that I'll use for cooking, one pound were small or oddly shaped and will be grated in salads or fed to the dogs as snacks.

 The last four cabbages only weighed 1-1/2 pounds total.  The two tiniest ones were second generation heads that formed on the old stalk after the main head was cut.

Six ounces of celery will be chopped up and frozen for soups.  I'll not be growing celery again, the space it took didn't yield enough to be worthwhile.

Final  Crop Totals (in pounds) for 2012

Only crops grown in 2012 were used for comparison, so the crop totals for years 2009, 2010 and 2011 aren't the actual totals for those years.  Those totals can be found in my side bar.  The entries in red are my record yields for those particular crops.  Herbs grown this year were seldom weighed, as I only accounted for the few I actually preserved by drying and not those used in day to day food preparation.

Visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others have harvested this week.

November 24, 2012 - Leaf Dilemma Solved!

After I blogged about all the leaves my neighbor had left for my garden (November 8, 2012 - Ask and Ye Shall Receive), and how I was trying to get them chopped up with the mower and dug into the garden (November 17, 2012 - John Digs Autumn Leaves), Spiderjohn left the following comment:

"Granny, you should get a leaf blower/vacuum/mulcher. I think mine was about $40 from Lowe's. I've had it about 5 years and wouldn't be without it. So much better than a lawnmower with a mulching blade. And, much quicker. Turns 10 bags of leaves into maybe 1 bag. I use the leaves in my compost tumbler and in my beds. They decompose so much faster when they are really mulched up fine!"

To which I replied:

Spiderjohn, I hate to tell you I have one, but Mr. Granny said it was a pain to put the leaf catcher on and now he doesn't know what he did with the attachments. I bought it (from Sears) on sale at a time when we didn't need it for leaves, so by the time I did need it he'd already lost the part(s?)and the directions!

Well, Spiderjohn, I'm happy to say Mr. Granny and I went out to the garage and dug around until we found all the parts and the directions.   Mr. Granny scratched his head a bit, and finally said he'd try to get it figured out........."But not today".

I told son John about it at dinner on Thursday, so he promised he'd come over after work on Friday and get it put together.  After he got here, it probably took him all of ten minutes to get it done.

We tried it out on the leaves that had blown in on the patio.  It sucked them up really fast, mulched them fine, and threw them all over the patio.  Then we closed the zipper on the bag and started over.  LOL!

It rained Friday night, so I was hesitant to try it out on the leaves in the yard.  I decided to give it a try anyway, and with Mr. Granny standing by to help, I sucked up enough leaves to fill a large garbage can twice.  

Leaves had blown up against the gate, nearly three feet deep.  I sucked up all of those, then went down the hedge and along the house for as far as the extension cord would reach.

The leaves were thick along the back of the house.  Eventually I'll go back with the leaf blower and corral the remaining leaves into a smaller area.

If I'd raked and bagged all of those leaves, that would easily have been 8-10 bags.  Instead, I ended up with.................

 The old black compost barrel, barely half filled with beautifully shredded leaves.  
Thanks for that kick in the rear, Spiderjohn!

Black Friday

I did it.  I went shopping on Black Friday.  Normally I wouldn't even attempt it, and I certainly wouldn't camp out or even wander out at midnight, but Costco didn't even open until 9:00 AM, and I really wanted one of these.....................

Daughter Amy came for coffee at 8, then we headed for Costco at 8:30.  Quantities being limited to stock on hand, I didn't want to take a chance and miss out on a good buy.  I really didn't think there would be that many people there, as their "Black Friday" specials were actually on sale for three days, but the line ran all the way from the front entrance out to the street!  It was cold and windy, and we really didn't want to stand in line, so we decided to sit in the car and wait for the line to move.  Once the doors opened, the people began moving in really fast, so we walked over and got a cart, and within a couple of minutes we were in the store.  We headed straight for the small appliances, grabbed the processor, went to the checkout where only one person was in front of us, and we were back out in the car and heading home in about ten minutes total!

 And here it is!  Well, part of it.  

 Here's the rest of it.  I've been putting it to good use!

 Right after I brought it home, I made a loaf of bread for hot turkey sandwiches for dinner.  Then we had toast for breakfast this morning, and the loaf is already more than half gone.  I love using the processor for bread dough, the loaves seem to rise much nicer and the crumb is finer than when I use the dough setting on the bread machine.

This morning I whipped up a batch of pizza dough.  This is a recipe that calls for refrigerating the dough for 3-5 days, so I'll have to let you know how it turns out.

By going to Costco rather than ordering on line, I saved $10.99 shipping charges, and I got a nice Costco cookbook to boot!

A free 240 page cookbook!

November 23, 2012 - A Reason to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving Day was a very special day for me, thanks to my friend at Little Acres Cottage.  Jacqui actually wrote and told me about it yesterday, but she has shared the wonderful surprise with her readers today.  Run, don't walk, over to read It's a Miracle!!!

I'm so happy for you and Charlea and Jacqui!  I can't hardly wait for the excitement to use a phrase from the TV show, Extreme Makeover..........MOVE THAT BUS! 

November 21, 2012 - Today's Harvest

There are still a few things left to harvest from the 2012 garden.  The carrots are lovely, and I'll be watching the forecast for freezing temperatures so I can toss some bags of leaves over the rows for insulation from the cold.  The cabbages are small and suffering from insect damage, but at least one was nearly a pound in weight after the outer leaves were removed.  It doesn't look as though the earlier freeze bothered them at all, so I really need to get them all harvested soon.  

Today's harvest of  a 15.6 ounce cabbage and 14.7 ounces of carrots puts my total for the year at 1033 pounds.

May you all have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.  We're going to the youngest daughter's for Thanksgiving dinner, so I'll have a restful day (I get to do Christmas).  All I have to take are a butternut squash casserole, two pumpkin pies and whipped cream.  Everything except the squash is all ready to go.

November 17, 2012 - John Digs Autumn Leaves

Son John came by today to chop up a few of the leaves I got from the neighbor last week.  

 He dumped eight bags of leaves onto the lawn and ran over them with the lawnmower, then spread them out on the north garden.

 He tilled them in once, then made another pass.  He even got back into the corner where the kennel used to be.  

 The entire north garden got a good layer of leaves dug in for the winter.

I'll leave it rough all winter, then rake it into wide beds in early spring.  Once the beds are formed, I'll top them off with more leaves that have been composting over the winter, and a good layer of composted manure.  That will be turned into the top few inches of each bed and allowed to settle before planting.

Hopefully the weather will be nice enough to chop a few more bags of leaves and till them into the east garden tomorrow.

November 11, 2012 - Honoring Our Veterans

My Dad 1920-2003

 Dad was an officer and bomber pilot in the Air Force during WWII, discharged as a major.  In February of 1944, he lead the 392nd. Bomb Group in the first bomb drop on Berlin.  For this, he received the Presidential Citation, which was presented to him by General James Doolittle.  The mission had begun a week before, but the crew had to turn back when the temperature in the plane dropped to -70F, freezing the airplane instruments.  The crew suffered from the cold, but also from burns received from heating coils that had been put in their clothing. Dad was also the recipient of the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.

Dad flew many missions during WWII, but the one he remembered most was Mission #62.

Mission #62
9 April 1944
Field Order 225
Target: Tutow

Again, for the second mission running, the Group was to sustain heavy casualties in aircrew members and aircraft. Briefings for (33) aircrews were held between 0310-0430 hours with (31) taking off beginning at 0720 hours. Up front, the 579th Squadron was leading with Major Keilman in the lead ship as Command Pilot. Weather in the Group assembly area was extremely poor and difficulty was experienced in forming the mission aircraft. Major Keilman managed to assemble approximately two Sections consisting of (19) aircraft and proceeded on course but formation flying was impossible to maintain with any integrity because of enroute weather conditions. Approximately (60) miles north of the Fresian Islands at position 5416N-0449E, Major Keilman in the lead was left no choice but to give the recall word because of weather problems encountered. His two Sections returned to Wendling, landing around 1130 hours. 

In the meanwhile, Captain Barnes of the 576th with Lieutenant Jackson as lead Bombardier had been briefed to lead the third Section of (12) Group ships flying high right squadron off of the 44th Bomb Group out of Shipdham. Captain Barnes managed to form up with some ships of the 44th, but unable to locate the main formation, he proceeded on course having not received the recall order. As a result of the extreme difficulties all units were having in formation assembly due to weather, Captain Barnes’ formation finally numbered (26) aircraft by stragglers from other Groups joining his group of 392nd ships. Just south of Lualand Island, this formation was attacked by (30) FW-190 and ME-109 aircraft with the attacks being concentrated on the straggling aircraft just joining the formation. An estimated (10) ships were lost from these with the remaining (16) under Captain Barnes pressing on to the target, bombing it with incendiaries with fair results. A good fire pattern was observed over the aiming point. The aircraft lost on this raid numbered (3) one of which crash landed on return with no aircrew injuries. 

In the 578th, (my Dad's) crew in #485 suffered a mid-air collision with a 389th Bomb Group ship over Dereham. Eight (8) crew members were killed in this collision with Dad (the pilot) and his copilot surviving the crash, though the copilot had broken legs.   

578th pilot 2/Lt  (my Dad) was flying plane #41-29485, which suffered a midair collision over England during formation with a B-24 assigned to the 389th Bomb Group at Hethel, B-24J #42-99982. According to the Report of Aircraft Accident, "The collision between [the two planes] occurred during the process of Division Assembly prior to an operational mission. Aircraft #982 was hit by aircraft #485 at approximately mid-fuselage from an angle of about 90 degrees on the co-pilot side. Aircraft #982 was flying in the #2 position of the high right element of a 12 ship squadron at an approximate altitude of 7,000 feet. Both waist gunners of aircraft #982 were able to execute successful parachute jumps, but they did not, however, see the other aircraft involved in the collision and therefore cannot help in a statement of the cause. The nine other crew members [in #982] were killed in the ensuing crash. The assembly was done under instrument conditions through a thick overcast. Weather conditions at the time of the accident were reported as follows: Visibility 2500 yards; surface wind South 6 mph; 7/10 low cloud at 5000 feet, 2/10 middle cloud at 12000 feet. It is believed that neither pilot nor any member of crew was able to see the other aircraft because of weather conditions until it was too late to avoid the collision."

All crew members were lost, with the exception of the copilot and my Dad (back row, second from right).

I remember meeting that copilot when I was about 5 years old, and both of his legs had been amputated.  Dad seldom talked about the incident, it was such a painful memory.  He did say the approaching aircraft was trying to enter the formation when it hit the back of Dad's B-24.  There was no way to save his crew.  All of those behind the cockpit had been killed, with the exception of one.  Dad had the horrible memory of seeing him at the door of the cockpit, covered in burned and burning flesh, screaming.  Knowing they were unable to save their crew member, Dad and his copilot bailed out.  The copilot's legs were nearly severed by a propeller, while Dad only suffered miner shrapnel wounds.  Less than a week later, Dad was assigned another crew and another bomber.  There was no time off for mourning the loss of his crew during this terrible time of war.

* Wendling is a former World War II airfield in Norfolk, England. The airfield is located approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) west-northwest of East Dereham.  Opened in 1942, it was used by both the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Force. During the war it was used primarily as a bomber airfield, being the home of the United States Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force 392nd Bombardment Group. Source:

Mr. Granny about 1955 (served in the US army 1954-1956)

Grandson, presently a Paratrooper in the U.S Army

A cold day for the Veterans Day parade!

 Alicyn has a good vantage point from her Mom's shoulders.

Then finds a warm spot on Granny's lap.

Alicyn tips her fire hat to the brave men and women who serve our country.

November 8, 2012 - Ask and Ye Shall Receive

And receive, and receive and receive!  Case in point:  My neighbor was mowing up her leaves, so I asked her if she'd toss a few bags of them over the fence for me to use in the garden.  I even supplied her with a roll of leaf bags.  Yesterday I was gone from home most of the day, and when I returned.................

Some of the leaves had been mowed with grass, so had the greens and the browns already mixed, just as I wanted.  But there were several bags of dry, unchopped leaves.  I emptied six bags into this 4'x4' enclosure, layering three bags of each.  

 I stacked eleven bags of chopped leaves/grass clippings on one side of the bin.

 And six bags of chopped leaves/grass clippings on the other side of the bin.  As the ones in the bin compact down, I can begin adding these.

Five more bags, some chopped and some not, are waiting to find a place to live for the winter.

As well as another stack of what looks to be 10-11 bags of mostly unchopped leaves.

All told, she had brought over about 38-40 big bags of leaves.  I was wanting maybe 8-10 bags.  While I was moving and stacking them today, she hollered over and asked if I wanted more.  NO! NO! NO! Thank you, but NO!

I wanted to spread the remaining leaves on the garden then till them in, but Mr. Granny refuses to help me get the tiller out and started.  I guess I'll hope for a warm winter day when I can try to get it started myself.  We're expecting cold days and possible snow this week.

November 5, 2012 - Harvest Monday

Not much to show here this week, but here we go.....

 I pulled a few test carrots, just to see how well they were sizing up.  I'm happy with them.  I picked a lot of Black Cherry tomatoes, but more than half of them got tossed as they are splitting badly.  A few grape tomatoes had fallen to the ground when I removed the plant earlier, and they ripened right there where they dropped.  The pepper was from one plant that survived the early freeze.  It was in a pot behind the shed, so it must stay warmer back there, protected by the shed and the fence.

Nearly a week of rain caused a lot of strawberries to rot on the plants, but I still got just over a pound in this picking.  The fresh strawberry shortcakes sure do taste especially good in November.  As do the vine ripened tomatoes.  Color me surprised to be seeing so much red this late in the year!

Carrots - 8.8 ounces
Peppers (sweet) - 1.7 ounces
Strawberries - 16.1 ounces
Tomatoes - 32.2 ounces  (2 pounds)

Total for the week:   3.7 pounds
Total year to date:   1030 pounds

Please visit our host for Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions

November 4, 2012 - Baby Steps

The saga of "The Doggie Outhouse" continues.

When we last saw the relocated kennel, from the garden to the patio, it looked like this:

There was an opening in the railing that allowed the dogs to enter into a nice, dry area to do their "business", as they are little sissies about going out in the rain or snow.  Of course, they were afraid of the new enclosure, even though I left all four sides open so they could see out, and there is a human sized opening at the other end for quick escapes from monsters or zombies if needed.

 Mmmmm, a tray of sirloin steak trimmings might tempt them!

 They're curious.

 Will Annie be brave enough to go get it?  Will Otto follow her in?  Come on, you know you want it!

Nope, even that yummy steak can't get them to go into the kennel.  One of them did, however, go in later and eat the meat when I wasn't looking.  I have no idea which one.

That was five days ago.  No amount of coaxing would get them back into that kennel.  Today we decided to make some modifications.  We turned the kennel around so the human sized opening was against the patio, and we removed an entire section of deck railing.  

I put a chair in the corner, and sat there with some fried chicken in my hand.  Annie came about half way in, then turned around and ran back out.  Bummer!  I went back inside and got a nice big handful of lean, raw ground beef.  That is their absolute favorite thing in the whole wide world.  I gave them each a sniff, then retreated back to the chair in the corner.  It was too tempting to resist. Both dogs came right in for their share of the beef!  Once the meat was gone they didn't linger, but at least they spent a couple of minutes inside.  Baby steps!

We might remove all the chain link fencing from the patio side of the kennel.  We can just fold it back and secure it to the other side.  Eventually I'll get to Lowe's to buy more of the 2" PVC and replace the smaller ones, as they have a tendency to bend under the weight of the tarp.  I'll also wrap the bottom of the kennel with clear plastic once the dogs get used to being in there, which will keep out any snow that might otherwise blow in.

Snow?  Did I say snow?  I picked vine ripened Victor tomatoes today! it is November, and Victor is blossoming and setting fruit!  We've had highs in the 50s and low 60s, with night time temperatures in the 30s and 40s.   I guess I'd better cover him and see just how long it will continue fruiting.