Wednesday, June 27, 2007

beware the cayennes

...for they are spicy and even though you wash your hands 4 times after cutting them, you will never get all the capsaicin off and will inevitably rub your eye. Then you will be in pain.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

When Do Seeds Expire?

Taken, in part, from HGTV:

Q: Do seeds have an expiration date?

A: How long seeds last is really a function of type of seed and quality of storage (cool and dry is better than hot and wet).

Vegetable seed viability
beans - 3 years
beets - 2 years
carrots - 3 years
corn - 2 years
cucumbers - 5 years
lettuce - 3 years
peas - 3 years
peppers - 2 years
pumpkins - 4 years
radishes - 5 years
spinach - 5 years
tomato - 4 years
watermelon - 4 years

Q: Most seed packs contain more seeds than I would ever plant in a growing season. Can I save some seeds for next year? Also, can I simply save some seeds directly from the inside of the pepper, for instance?

A: Yes, you should be able to save most seeds to be planted in future years - in general, it is best to store unused seed in airtight containers in the fridge. You can save seed from an open pollinated plant, but be aware that if it's a hybrid, the seed may not come 'true to form' (that is, the seed is much more likely to revert to one of the parent plants and not the plant you planted). If you want to save seeds from your garden, allow the fruit (or flower if you're going for flower seeds) to fully ripen, almost to the rotten stage, then scrape out the seeds and let them dry in an airy place. Once the seeds are completely dry, put them in airtight containers and store in the fridge.

Monday, June 25, 2007


As of 6-25-07:

2 cayenne peppers with one more almost ready (and damn those things are hot)
1 almost ripe tomato (but it looks like it's got blossom end rot)
and a few lima bean pods seem ready, but I haven't picked them yet.

Also, on Friday 6-22, I got 4 lantana plants (2 red, 2 white), a Renee's Garden packet of heirloom mix tomato plants, a Renee's Garden packet of Thai chili peppers, and a tin of "Grow your own Cat Grass!" from the Natural Gardener.

The heirloom mix is Brandywine Tomatoes, Marvel Stripe Tomatoes, and Green Zebra Tomatoes. The biggest problem with these is that two of them produce pound sized fruit, and the plants grow up to 6'. 6'! Yeah, shoulda read the back of the packet before buying.

The Thai chili pepper mix is Red Demon and Orange Fogo. These peppers are hotter than the cayennes--they have double to triple the amount of capsaicin of the Cayennes. Well, at least Shawn should like them...especially as I think these were the peppers he wanted in the first place, we just couldn't find any plants of them at the stores.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


1) I had to use twisties to tie one of the damn tomato plants to the cage because the branch broke, but it's not really broken, just broken enough to not support the weight of the branch now it's twistied...for how long I don't know.

2) Noticed the beginnings of "Blossom End Rot" which...looks exactly like it sounds--the blossom end of the tomato starts rotting. I've read that it's best to remove these as you find them because these tomatoes taste like crap and look like crap thus there is no reason to have the plant continue to produce them. Also, it's caused by a calcium deficiency in the soil...which may be partially because of too much watering (something about when the soil is too wet, the tomato plants will suck up a ton of the water and then evapotranspirate (aka sweat) the water through the leaves...thus pulling all the nutrients into the leaves and not into the fruit).

3) Possible Tomato Horn Worm found. Damn. I knew something had been eating the tomatoes, and horn worms are about it...because the tomato and tobacco plants are actually mildly poisonous, they generally don't have a lot of pest problems. Well, except for the aforementioned horn worms.

Monday, June 4, 2007

2" of rain in 24 hours

Wow. If this keeps up, I may never HAVE to water my garden.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Tomatoes today

So, I noticed today that there are some actual tomatoes on our plants. And lots of flowers.

Lima beans are flowering, and I noticed a few pods.

Cayenne peppers have small peppers (approximately 1"-3" long).

Corn is being eaten by caterpillars or slugs or something, bah!

Watermelon is too shaded by the large-ass tomato plants. Note to self: do not plant tomato plants IN FRONT of everything else.

Also, large rain storm over labor day weekend--probably 3" over 3 days. Poor soaking backyard garden...

A few Basil plants have survived in the back yard, and a few cantaloupes. The back yard garden is obviously much less protected than the front yard garden, so the 3" of rain pretty much washed away all the mulch. I brought home my basil plant from work because it was looking like it wasn't getting enough sun and Ross gave me some pumpkin seedlings that he dug up from his garden. Most of those didn't survive the weekend because of the shock of being dug up.