image from badpests.com
I am improving every day. So this is good. Maybe next week, a little out in the greenhouse. There is so much to do before that first frost. I will get some help for sure. How is your gardening? Still summer like weather today and tomorrow. Then cold front going thru. With 2 new knees, 2 hips I shouldn’t feel the cold front as much I would think. Before this last surgery I could tell when the weather was changing. Stay safe as the farmers are in the fields.
INSECTS INVADING YOUR HOME? BUGS GETTING INTO THE HOUSE
It’s that time of year again! As temperatures cool, various flies, bugs, and beetles slip into your walls, and sometimes into your home’s interior, trying to find somewhere to stay warm for the winter.
They appear suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, massing (sometimes by the thousands) on the west wall and windows of your kitchen, or perhaps as swarms of lazy flies buzzing annoyingly and aimlessly around the room.
If you live in a part of the nation where temperatures can dip below freezing from late fall into early spring, the cold-weather insect invasion can be a real nuisance.
Depending on the structure and exterior finish of your home, as well as environmental factors such as the surrounding vegetation around and near it, some years you may see a lot of these critters, other years, few or none.
THE GOOD NEWS
None of these cold-weather invaders will eat your food, bite, sting, spread diseases to people or pets, infest stored foods, eat fabrics or paper, destroy wood, or cause any kind of structural damage. (Note: The one exception is the Asian lady beetle, which is capable of biting.) What’s more, they won’t mate, lay eggs, and reproduce within your walls or inside your home. They live off their stored bodyfat until spring.
However, when swatted or squashed, stinkbugs, as the name suggests, emit a foul odor emitted by the scent glands when the insect is disturbed. When stressed or dying, a mass of Asian lady beetles may also smell bad and release a yellow fluid that can stain fabrics. Also, the feces of any large mass of insects may help trigger allergies in some people.
HOW DO THEY GET IN?
These insects crawl in through loose siding, cracks, crevices, vents, holes in screens, etc. They may fly in through open doors and windows.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT THEM?
Prevention, as always, is the best way to deal with these unwelcome visitors. You know the drill: Seal cracks in doors, windows, and openings where air conditioners, plumbing, phone and TV wires enter the home with weather stripping, caulking, polyurethane foam or other appropriate materials.
Make sure your doors and windows shut tightly and keep them closed. Also window screens need to be in proper shape without any holes; keep screens shut tightly, too.
Once the insects have come inside, you can brush the crawlers into a bowl of soapy water (add a bit of detergent). This method gets rid of their odor, too. You can also sweep/vacuum* the bugs up. If you vacuum, empty the bag or canister immediately to prevent the insects from escaping or they will simply reappear back inside the home. Swat the flies.
Please don’t spray insecticides! Most insecticides have some degree of toxicity to people, and spritzing these products around inside a home or car will increase exposure to humans and pets. Besides, you aren’t likely to kill the ones hibernating inside your walls. If you did kill some of them the scent of the dead ones might attract other insects to scavenge their remains.
The insects that do survive in your walls or attic will leave with the return of warm spring days, and it’s not likely you’ll see them in or around your home again until fall.
*Because I have a little solar greenhouse attached to my kitchen, I welcome lady beetles seeking shelter in my home. I just sweep or scoop them up and relocate them into the greenhouse to feast on the aphids that invariably show up to feast on my cooking and salad greens.
Some gardeners overwinter ladybeetle invaders in glass jars in the refrigerator and release them outdoors in spring. If you try this, spritz occasionally and lightly with water, or place a small piece of moist (not wet) paper inside the jar to prevent the insects from drying out.
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/insects-invading-your-home
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa email@example.com 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
image from photos-public-domain.com
I am feeling good this morning. No pain, I can be at the computer. It is getting better after 2 weeks but being laid up and down it seems longer than that. It is hot out, as I went outside to sit yesterday. You know, I had a good visit with my kitties. They came up to see how I was. Miss feeding them and talking to them, but soon I hope I can do that. What are you doing in the garden? Almost October, so what can you do with those green tomatoes? If you want the recipes go to the link at the bottom of the page at Farmers’ almanac for them. ENJOY, stay safe as the farming here is in full production.
WHAT TO DO WITH GREEN TOMATOES—INCLUDING RECIPES!
HOW TO RIPEN OR USE IN GREEN TOMATO RECIPES!
Got green tomatoes? You can either enjoy them in tasty recipes or ripen them off the vine. See how to do both and try some of our new green tomato recipes—including fried green tomatoes, salsa, pickles, chutney, green tomato pie, relish, Grandma’s Piccalilli, and more!
There are a number of reasons why you might have green tomatoes. Perhaps they got a late start and it’s now fall, nearing towards frost. Perhaps they got blight and it’s a matter of days before they die. Or, perhaps you intended to keep some tomatoes for green tomato recipes!
HARVESTING GREEN TOMATOES
Let’s start by harvesting the tomatoes. There’s no point leaving them on the plant if frost is pending or they’re no longer ripening on the vine. If you’re completely done for the year, cut down the entire vine but be gentle in handling the fruits.
The next step is to check through our haul of fruits. Any fruits showing signs of blight damage should be removed and discarded. They won’t keep and won’t make good eating either. Any fruits that are simply damaged should be set aside for immediate use.
Tomatoes that have are showing any hint of color, usually at the blossom end of the fruit, have a good chance of ripening indoors, off the vine. Full-sized, darker green fruits may also ripen but will take a little longer – up to several weeks.
Our second pile of tomatoes are paler green. There’s next to no chance of these ripening to maturity, so we’ll be using them up in some green tomato recipes later on.
RIPEN GREEN TOMATOES
So how do you ripen tomatoes without them being attached to the plant? One of the simplest ways to do this is to place them in a paper bag or lidded cardboard box along with a ripe banana. Most ripe fruits give off ethylene gas, which speeds the ripening of nearby fruits, and bananas are especially good at emitting ethylene. It’s a common misconception that tomatoes need sunlight to ripen – it’s actually warmth that does the trick!
Fruits already showing some color will ripen just fine simply left on the countertop at room temperature, out of direct sunshine. But again, adding that banana will help to speed things along.
If you have lots of green tomatoes, you can stagger ripening by keeping the bulk of your underripe tomatoes in a cool, dark and – crucially – dry place to reduce the risk of them going mouldy. Aim for a temperature of around 50 to 55 Fahrenheit, or 10-13 Celsius and then, when you need them, bring them up to room temperature to ripen up.
That’s our ripening hopefuls sorted. Now onto using up our other green tomatoes, starting with a Southern soul food classic: fried-green tomatoes. These firm, underripe tomatoes are perfect for this as they’ll hold their shape when fried.
Let’s get cooking! Start with three bowls: one filled with a quarter cup or around 30 grams of plain or all-purpose flour, one with two beaten eggs, and the third with another quarter cup of flour mixed with a half cup or 65 grams of cornmeal. If you can’t find cornmeal, polenta will do, and I like to add a good pinch of cayenne pepper to this mix for a spicy kick.
Prepare the tomatoes – this recipe uses three or four standard-sized fruits. Slice them into quarter inch or half centimetre-thick slices then season both sides with salt and pepper.
Now the fun part! Dust each slice in the flour, shake off the excess, then dip it into the egg. Allow any excess to drip off, then coat in the cornmeal mix. Repeat for each slice, keeping one hand for the dry coatings, and the other for the wet.
Pour a quarter inch or half-centimetre layer of oil into a frying pan or heavy-bottomed skillet. Heat the oil up so it’s nice and hot, then lay the tomato slices into the oil. Fry till the undersides are golden brown then flip them over to fry off the topside. Each side should take a couple of minutes. Fry in a single layer, in batches and remove the fried slices onto a paper towel-lined plate to soak up the excess oil. Enjoy your crunchy fried green tomatoes with a hot sauce, salsa, or as an accompaniment to other fried meats or shrimp. Just yum!
GREEN TOMATO CHUTNEY
How about something besides frying? Green tomato chutney is an old English classic. Pop it onto crackers, serve with cheeses, dollop onto curries or give it away as the perfect home-grown gift! It’s simple to make, because all the ingredients are simply boiled up in a single, heavy-bottomed saucepan or stockpot.
And here are the ingredients: four cups or approximately one liter of chopped green tomatoes, a diced green pepper, two chopped-up apples or pears, an optional hot chili pepper, chopped, one medium diced onion, three cloves of minced garlic, two tablespoons of fresh ginger, minced, the rind and juice of one large lemon, half a cup or 120ml of white or rice wine vinegar, half a cup or 120ml of sugar, a half teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of coriander seeds, two teaspoons of mustard seeds, and – almost there! – a quarter teaspoon each of cinnamon, allspice and turmeric.
Warm it all up on a medium to high heat, stirring continuously until it comes to the boil. Once it does, turn down the heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the chutney’s reduced to a pleasingly thick consistency. Don’t forget to stir from time to time so it doesn’t stick, especially as it thickens. Spoon the chutney into hot, sterilised jars and leave to cool. Keep the chutney in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or, to extend the lifespan of your chutney to up to two years, process in a water bath. See our guide on water bath canning if you’ve never done it before.
GREEN TOMATO SALSA
A similar recipe is for green tomato salsa. Here’s a recipe that is simple and fresh tasting! It’s so delicious with chips, added to BLT or quesadilla, served with catfish or meat, served over a roasted sweet potato, with buttered cornbread, or atop cream cheese and crackers.
GREEN TOMATO RELISH
Use green tomatoes being used in chowchow or piccalilly, basically relishes consisting of cabbage, green tomatoes, and a whole variety of fresh vegetables. Excellent on burgers and with baked beans. These were great depression receipes where everything was used for something and meals could be far between.
GREEN TOMATO PIE
At the end of the tomato season, when frost nips the garden, make Green Tomato Pie! This old family favorite has a unique flavor that’s similar to a tart apple pie.
GREEN TOMATO PICKLES
Finally, don’t forget green tomatoes are fantastic as pickled veggies! This recipe is especially good when are left with lots of small (1-inch) green tomatoes on the vine.
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/video/what-do-green-tomatoes-including-recipes
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
image from thoreaufarm.org
I am back. On Sept 14, I had complete hip surgery. I had a pin in my femur that had to be removed first. So, another procedure along with the replacement. It has been a hard 2 weeks, but finally I am coming around. I had burning pain in my hip and knee, but that has gone away. When I laid flat it would burn but that is better. So now sitting in the chair and working in the computer is going fine. NOW I need your help especially for the ones that live here in North Iowa. I am not outside much so haven’t seen any Wooly Bear caterpillars. What are you seeing on them? This might give us an idea about our winter. LET me know. According to legend:
The wider the rusty brown sections (or the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. The more black there is, the more severe the winter. Thanks, Becky
WOOLLY BEAR CATERPILLARS AND WEATHER PREDICTION
DO WOOLLY WORMS REALLY PREDICT WINTER WEATHER? By Catherine Boeckmann
Based on the measurements of the distinctive woolly bear caterpillar, you can figure out your weather forecast!
Woolly bear caterpillars—also called woolly worms—have a reputation for being able to forecast the coming winter weather. If their rusty band is wide, then it will be a mild winter. The more black there is, the more severe the winter. Just how true is this weather lore? Learn more about this legendary caterpillar and how to “read” the worm!
THE WOOLLY WORM LEGEND
First of all, the “woolly worm” is not a worm at all! It’s a caterpillar; specifically, the larva of the Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella). Nonetheless, the name “worm” has stuck, at least in some parts of the United States. In others, such as New England and the Midwest, people tend to call them “woolly bears.” (Worm or not, at least we can all agree that they’re not bears!)
In terms of appearance, the caterpillar has 13 distinct segments of either rusty brown or black. Often, it is black on both ends with rust-colored segments in the middle, although it may sometimes be mostly black or mostly rust. (Note: All-black, all-white, or yellow woolly caterpillars are not woolly bears! They are simply different species and are not part of the woolly worm lore. So, if you spot an entirely black caterpillar, it isn’t forecasting an apocalyptic winter!)
According to legend:
The wider the rusty brown sections (or the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. The more black there is, the more severe the winter.
HOW THE WOOLLY BEAR CATERPILLAR BECAME “FAMOUS”
In the fall of 1948, Dr. C. H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, took his wife 40 miles north of the city to Bear Mountain State Park to look at woolly bear caterpillars.
Dr. Curran collected as many caterpillars as he could in a day, determined the average number of reddish-brown segments, and forecast the coming winter weather through a reporter friend at The New York Herald Tribune.
Dr. Curran’s experiment, which he continued over the next eight years, attempted to prove scientifically a weather rule of thumb that was as old as the hills around Bear Mountain. The resulting publicity made the woolly worm one of the most recognizable caterpillars in North America (alongside the monarch caterpillar and tomato hornworm).
WHAT IS A WOOLLY BEAR CATERPILLAR?
The caterpillar that Dr. Curran studied, the banded woolly bear, is the larval form of Pyrrharctia isabella, the Isabella tiger moth.
The Isabella is a beautiful winged creative with yellowish-orange and cream-colored wings spotted with black. It’s common from northern Mexico throughout the United States and across the southern third of Canada.
The tiger moth’s immature larva, called the black-ended bear or the woolly bear (and, particularly in the South, woolly worm), is one of the few caterpillars most people can identify.
Woolly bears do not actually feel much like wool—they are covered with short, stiff bristles of hair.
In field guides, they’re found among the “bristled” species, which include the all-yellow salt marsh caterpillar and several species in the tiger moth family. Not all woolly caterpillars are true ‘woolly bears’ though!
If you find an all-black woolly caterpillar, don’t worry—this doesn’t mean that we’re in for a severe, endless winter! It’s just a caterpillar of a different species, and is not used for forecasting. The same is true for all-white woolly caterpillars.
Woolly bears, like other caterpillars, hatch during warm weather from eggs laid by a female moth.
Mature woolly bears search for overwintering sites under bark or inside cavities of rocks or logs. (That’s why you see so many of them crossing roads and sidewalks in the fall.)
When spring arrives, woolly bears spin fuzzy cocoons and transform inside them into full-grown moths.
Typically, the bands at the ends of the caterpillar are black, and the one in the middle is brown or orange, giving the woolly bear its distinctive striped appearance.
DO WOOLLY BEAR CATERPILLARS REALLY FORECAST WINTER WEATHER?
Between 1948 and 1956, Dr. Curran’s average brown-segment counts ranged from 5.3 to 5.6 out of the 13-segment total, meaning that the brown band took up more than a good third of the woolly bear’s body.
The corresponding winters were milder than average, and Dr. Curran concluded that the folklore has some merit and might be true.
But Curran was under no scientific illusion: He knew that his data samples were small. Although the experiments legitimized folklore to some, they were simply an excuse for having fun. Curran, his wife, and their group of friends escaped the city to see the foliage each fall, calling themselves The Original Society of the Friends of the Woolly Bear.
Thirty years after the last meeting of Curran’s society, the woolly bear brown-segment counts and winter forecasts were resurrected by the nature museum at Bear Mountain State Park. The annual counts have continued, more or less tongue in cheek, since then.
For over forty years, Banner Elk, North Carolina, has held an annual Woolly Worm Festival in October, highlighted by a caterpillar race. Retired mayor Charles Von Canon inspects the champion woolly bear and announces his winter forecast. Similarly, there is a Woollybear Festival that takes place in Vermilion, Ohio, each October.
Most scientists discount the folklore of woolly bear predictions as just that, folklore. Says Ferguson from his office in Washington, “I’ve never taken the notion very seriously. You’d have to look at an awful lot of caterpillars in one place over a great many years in order to say there’s something to it.”
Mike Peters, an entomologist at the University of Massachusetts, doesn’t disagree, but he says there could, in fact, be a link between winter severity and the brown band of a woolly bear caterpillar. “There’s evidence,” he says, “that the number of brown hairs has to do with the age of the caterpillar—in other words, how late it got going in the spring. The [band] does say something about a heavy winter or an early spring. The only thing is … it’s telling you about the previous year.”
HOW TO “READ” THE WOOLLY WORM
Weather is local so you need to read your own woolly worm.
Look for these fuzzy wuzzies in the fall. According to woolly worm watchers, there are two generations of worms each year. The first appear in June and July, and the second in September. The second generation worms are the “weather prophets.”
To find a woolly bear, start looking under leaves and logs! Some are just crossing the road. Once you spot a woolly worm inching its way along the ground or a road, you’ll see them everywhere! The caterpillars are most active during the day (not at night). After filling up on food—including violets, lambs quarter, and clover—their goal is to find a place to hide for the winter. Interestingly, the woolly worm overwinters as larva. Their entire body will enter a “frozen” state until May when it will emerge as the Isabella moth.
Every year, the wooly worms do indeed look different—and it depends on their region. So, if you come across a local woolly worm, observe the colors of the bands and what they foretell about your winter weather. Remember:
If the rusty band is wide, then it will be a mild winter. The more black there is, the more severe the winter.
That’s it! Note that white, yellow, or other colors of fuzzy caterpillars are NOT the same type of woolly worm and are not used for weather forecasting. We’ll leave the weather-prognosticating “skills” to your own observation!
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/woolly-bear-caterpillars-and-weather-prediction
Till next time, this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa email@example.com 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
image from freeimages
Lovely morning cool, breezy, clear blue sky. These are days it is awesome to be able to be outside. I know some of you are working inside but enjoy while you can. It looks like our weekend will be setting high temperatures so the feel of summer will still be here. ENJOY and Stay safe.
HOW TO PREDICT A FROST
LEARN HOW TO KNOW WHEN FROST IS AROUND THE CORNER By Catherine Boeckmann
Frost is one of a gardener’s worst foes! Learn how to predict frost, understand the difference between a frost advisory and a freeze warning, and protect your garden from frost!
WHAT IS A FROST?
“Frost” refers to the layer of ice crystals that form when water vapor on plant matter condenses and freezes without first becoming dew.
A light frost occurs when the nighttime temperature drops to at or just below 32°F (0°C).
A hard freeze is a period of at least four consecutive hours of air temperatures that are below 28°F (–2°C).
Many plants can survive a brief frost, but very few can survive a hard freeze.
FROST ADVISORY VS. FREEZE WARNING
As with other significant weather events, meteorologists will often issue a “warning” or an “advisory,” depending on the likelihood of the event happening and its severity. According to the National Weather Service, the warning terms for frosts and freezes are defined as follows:
Frost Advisory: Issued when minimum temperatures are expected to be between 33° and 36°F (0.5° and 2°C). Skies are generally clear and winds light.
Freeze Watch: Issued when minimum temperatures are expected to be 32°F (0°C) or less within the next 24 to 36 hours.
Freeze Warning: Issued when minimum temperatures are imminently expected to be 32°F (0°C) or less.
Hard Freeze Warning: Issued when minimum temperatures are expected to be 28°F (–2°C) or less.
Of course, the easiest way to predict frost is to let the weatherman do it for you! However, if you want to be able to predict it yourself, read on.
KNOW YOUR FROST DATES
The first step in predicting frost involves getting to know the average frost dates for your area. At the bottom of this reading I have posted what the almanac says about Dougherty Iowa and frost date.
Note: These dates are averages, so they can only tell us what is typical. However, every year will be diffferent.
Also, the frost dates are based on a 30% probability, meaning that there is a 30% chance of a frost occurring after the given spring frost date or before the fall frost date. (In other words, these dates are NOT absolutes and should only be used as rough guidelines!)
Keep in mind that the occurrence of frost can vary greatly by microclimate, too. In fact, while you may have frost in your garden, your neighbor across the street may see no sign of it!
A microclimate is exactly what it sounds like: a climate on a small scale. For example, if your garden is located at the bottom of a hill where cold air settles, it’s likely to be impacted by frost earlier than a garden at the top of the hill. Or, if your plants are abutting a rock wall in full sun, they’ll be kept warmer to some extent by the heat given off by the rocks.
5 TIPS FOR PREDICTING FROST
Consider these factors when the radio and TV reports say “frost tonight”:
Temperature: How warm was it during the day? It may sound simple, but one of the best ways of determining if a frost is due overnight is to gauge the temperature. If the temperature reached 75ºF (in the East or North) or 80ºF (in the desert Southwest), the chance of the mercury falling below 32ºF at night is slim. See our 7-day forecasts to check your weather forecast.
Is it windy? A windy night is also likely to reduce the likelihood of a frost. A still night allows cold air to pool near the ground; a light breeze stirs things up; a heavy, cold wind sweeps away warm air near the ground.
Is it cloudy? Observe the sky. If the Sun sets through a layer of thickening clouds, the clouds will slow radiational cooling and help stave off a frost. With clouds, the risk of frost is reduced.
Slope: How is your garden landscaped? Gardens on slopes or high ground often survive. However, cold air sinks and will puddle down into the valleys and hollows. If your home and garden are at the bottom of a slope or in a valley, and there is no wind, then there is higher risk of frost. A landscape with trees can assist in preventing frost. Trees transpire a lot of moisture through their leaves.
What is the dew point? As a rule of thumb, don’t worry about a frost if the dew point (the temperature at which the air is no longer able to ‘hold’ all the moisture within it) is above 45°F on the evening weather report. The more moisture in the air, the less likely a frost. A light watering of the garden a day or two before a frost is predicted can help stop it settling.
WHAT TEMPERATURES CAUSE FROST DAMAGE?
Frost causes damage and even failure to many vegetable crops. But also there are other vegetables which actually benefit from a frost. The flavor of broccoli, for instance, actually improves if the plant has experienced a frost, and carrots get sweeter as the temperature drops.
HOW TO PROTECT PLANTS FROM FROST
Frost can hit in spring or fall in most areas. Generally, covering plants to create a temporary pocket of warmer air is the best way to protect them.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast. If it looks like temperatures are going to drop, get ready to protect tender plants.
Make use of season extenders like row covers, cold frames, or cloches to protect tender plants, such as seedlings or warm-weather veggies. Row covers or garden fleece can be used to help create a warmer environment beneath them. You’ll need to use posts, bamboo, or flexible PVC piping to create space for the plants to grow, then drape landscape fabric or plastic over the frame; weigh down the edges with rocks or bricks or pegs so the covers do not blow away. To protect young plants from frost, use 2-liter soda bottles cut in half as cloches.
It’s best to have all covers in place well before sunset. Drape loosely to allow for air circulation. Before you cover the plants in late afternoon or early evening, water your plants lightly.
Remove any covers by mid-morning so that plants can get full exposure to the warming sunlight.,
FROST DATES FOR DOUGHERTY, IA
Nearest Climate Station Altitude Last Spring Frost First Fall Frost Growing Season
HAMPTON, IA 1230' Oct 1
Last and first frost dates are 30% probability. Calculated using 1981-2010 Climate Normals.
WHAT ARE FROST DATES?
A frost date is the average date of the last light freeze in spring or the first light freeze in fall.
The classification of freeze temperatures is based on their effect on plants:
Light freeze: 29° to 32°F (1.7° to 0°C)—tender plants are killed.
Moderate freeze: 25° to 28°F (3.9° to -2.2°C)—widely destructive to most vegetation.
Severe freeze: 24°F (-4.4°C) and colder—heavy damage to most garden plants.
Note that frost dates are only an estimate based on historical climate data and are not set in stone. The probability of a frost occurring after the spring frost date or before the fall frost date is 30%, which means that there is still a chance of frost occurring before or after the given dates!
Frost is predicted when air temperatures reach 32°F (0°C), but because it is colder closer to the ground, a frost may occur even when air temperatures are just above freezing. Always keep an eye on your local weather forecast and plan to protect tender plants accordingly. Weather, topography, and microclimates may also cause considerable variations in the occurrence of frost in your garden. Learn how to protect plants from frost.
Frost dates are calculated based on data from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/how-predict-frost
Till next time, this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
I know I haven’t posted for a few days. My hip has been acting up and I didn’t feel too good. Soon I will have hip replacement and I am so ready for that. Get rid of my pain….Lovely day outside today. Temperature is mild at 74 degrees with low humidity. Breeze from the NW at 16 MPH. LOVELY Summer day…I should be outside but working inside today. HOW are your gardens? I heard from one gardener that her color is fading, but still it is green and growing. Another one wants to make a fall arrangement in her containers. Fall is in the air in the morning and evening that is for sure. Day light is getting shorter. I first wrote daytime is getting shorter but we will still have the same amount in the day just the sunlight will be different. My kids I work with in science I hoped they would have caught that. I did…
Stay safe, enjoy and get ready for fal.
Ripen tomatoes indoors
Don't put your tomatoes on the window sill to ripen. I ripen tomatoes in a cool and dark space instead. That way, I get enough tomatoes for months since they ripen gradually over time.
Look at all those tomatoes! They won't ripen outside now in fall and some of them actually didn't in summer either. It has been a good year for tomatoes in Sweden, all in all. We still have more than enough of them. But some of them are still green.
Harvesting green tomatoes
Fall is here and it's time to harvest my green tomatoes and bring them inside. I just need find somewhere to put them all! I'll take a few crates at a time so I'll be able to take care of all my tomatoes.
As you might have noticed by now, I grow a lot of tomatoes. We can't possibly keep up and eat them all at once, so I plan to store most of them and use them later when they are ripe. I always put some of them in the freezer too. It's really convenient to just grab a few when I cook. You could of course always pickle green tomatoes or make a green tomato marmalade, but tomatoes are just best eaten fresh and ripe in my opinion.
Dark and cool
Most people ripen tomatoes in room temperature, often in the window sill. That's not how I do it though. The tomatoes will get ripe very quickly in a warm spot. We just wouldn't have time to eat or eat that many tomatoes at the same time.
Instead, I put my tomatoes in a dark and cool space. Just not in the fridge. Right now, there's actually one batch under the staircase where I store my firewood. I'll put another batch in an unused bedroom upstairs a bit later. It actually works! I check on my tomatoes a few times every week and take the ones that look ripe enough.
One thing that you might want to think about is to always put your tomatoes on trays. That way, you won't have to clean up tomato juice from the floor if a tomato where to go bad.
Look out for blight
This year, I decided to grow tomatoes of the Crimson Crush F1 variety. The variety is actually blight-resistant. I keep these tomatoes away from the others.
Tomatoes are quite sensitive to these infestations. It might not show on the tomatoes at first, but they can turn brown quickly when you take them inside. And it can spread to all of your tomatoes in a matter of days. So when I see a single rotten tomato in my harvest, I always make sure to take care of the green tomatoes inside straight away. You could always freeze the green tomatoes and cook them later.
Don't use apples to ripen tomatoes
A lot of people put apples with their tomatoes to make them ripen faster. But speed is actually not on my mind when I want to ripen tomatoes. It will take as long as it takes and they will do perfectly fine without the apples. The not quite fully grown tomatoes will still ripen with some time, but the really underdeveloped ones might not.
Letting your tomatoes ripen slowly indoors means that you will have a ready supply of tomatoes for a long time. We sometimes have tomatoes even in February, the regular varieties. So I definitely recommend this method. Good luck!
Taken from https://www.sarabackmo.com/ripen-tomatoes-indoors
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa email@example.com 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
Gardening isn't done yet, really just started with Labor Day and all the harvest we have to do, perennials to divide, fall garden to plant. ENJOY it all.
image from wshg.net
Here we are Sept 3rd. I just can’t believe it. Soon I will be saying I need to get plants put away for the winter…but not yet. This has been a lovely week for weather. A little bit of fall in the air this morning but soon it came around with the humidity, so summer is still here. That is good. Hope all of you have a safe and fun Labor Day weekend.
LABOR DAY GARDENING: WHAT TO DO IN THE GARDEN THIS WEEKEND
HARVESTING, PRESERVING, PLANTING, AND MORE By The Editors
Though some folks say Labor Day is the “end of summer,” that’s certainly not true in temperate North American gardens! We’re harvesting, storing the bounty, saving seeds, dividing plants, fertilizing the lawn and—yes—planting for a “second summer.” Come join us in the garden—and also see 10 fall vegetables to plant now!
Heads up, North Americans! The season will be with us for a few weeks until the autumnal equinox on September 22, and then come the cooler temperatures. Gardening in the fall is so much more relaxing. And planting after Labor Day leads to a bountiful harvest for many regions!
HARVEST THE BOUNTY
Seeing the plants ripen and finally bear fruit is most exciting. At this time of year, make a daily trip around you garden.
Depending on where you live, you may be picking beans, potatatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons, winter squash, and more!
One Labor Day weekend, I spent the entire day digging up ‘Russian Banana’ fingerling potatoes, ‘All Blue’ and ‘Red Rose’ potatoes.
Plus, we picked Asian pears, apples, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. It took three times as long to clean and store everything as it did to pick the huge harvest.
PRESERVE THE HARVEST
One of the greatest joys of edible gardening is being able to store, freeze, dry and even can excess crops for winter enjoyment. Call me old-fashioned, but I feel a deep kinship to my ancestors who came to this country, raised large families, and fed them from either the home gardens of my Hungarian side of the family or the farm my Irish-Cherokee grandfather worked.
I feel I shouldn’t waste anything grown in my organic garden. So, after I share with neighbors and family and give large amounts to an organization called “Plant a Row for the Hungry”, I preserve the remaining vegetables and fruits. See 4 easy way to preserve your fruit and vegetables at home.
I picked over two bushels of Asian pears—far more than we could eat, give away, and share with the hungry. The crisp, juicy fruits only keep about six weeks in the refrigerator and they must be stored in sealed bags to prevent dehydration. I hate to lose this exquisite fruit treat, so I borrowed a dehydrator from a friend to dry wedges of the pears into fruit crisps.
When it came to my Brussels sprouts, I blanched the sprouts to prepare for freezing, I had grown five Brussels sprouts stalks, and it took hours to cut, trim and blanch them all, but I have enough of the tasty vegetables for the entire winter in my freezer.
In addition, I scrubbed carrots and potatoes for storage, and I dipped all my fruit in a bath of water with a tablespoon of bleach to kill any lingering bacteria or fungi before refrigerating.
Next, I picked all the ripe tomatoes in the garden, roasted them and made spaghetti sauce, which I froze in pint containers.
BUILD A ROOT CELLAR: TRY, TRY AGAIN!
Years ago, I read about how to make an instant outdoor root cellar and wanted to try it, given that my basement has cement floors and is partially heated, like most modern homes. With my husband’s help, we constructed a simple root cellar one Labor Day weekend.
He dug a deep hole in which we set a new 32-gallon plastic trash can. In it, I layered damp sand and root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and beets, finishing with a thick layer of damp sand. The top was attached and covered with two feet of shredded leaves and straw. It didn’t work. Moisture leaked into the can and iced the vegetables. Everything rotted when thawed.
The following year, I set up an area in the basement, in the coldest and darkest area, with plastic bins lined with a layer of damp sand. Here, I’m storing the potatoes and carrots. Onions, winter squash, and a couple of pumpkins will be stored adjacent in a dry area when they are harvested. Apples go upstairs in an extra refrigerator, because they exude ethylene gas that makes other vegetables and fruits ripen rapidly and rot.
Learn how to build a root cellar here.
Labor Day weekend is a very good time to divide summer-blooming perennnials.
A hole or dead area in the center of the planting area is a sign that a perennial needs to be divided. Other cues are poor flowering or pale foliage.
You want to divide once flowers have stopped their flowering well before winter. This allows the divisions to become well established and spent the winter on root growth before the springtime.
Usually, it’s a good idea to divide most perennials every few years, although some never need to be divided and others such as mums could benefit from dividing every year. This year, I needed to divide my bearded irises.
For early-blooming perennials, you can also collect the seed pods and store them to sow next year! Store seeds from lupines, columbines, and others in the refrigerator.
If there is one time to fertilize a cool-season lawn, it’s around Labor Day.
Also, seed or reseed any bare batches now; this is a better time than spring. Weather conditions going into autumn favor growth of grass, especially growth of their roots. See lawn care tips.
PLANT SHRUBS AND TREES
As temperatures cool, you can plant shrubs, trees, perennials, and even some annual vegetables.
For shrubs and trees, prepare your soil with organic matter such as compost. Ensure the enriched soil is wide enough for the growing area, not just for the planting hole.
Water the soil a few hours before planting and then after planting, too.
PLANT COOL-SEASON VEGETABLES
Gardening on or after Labor Day leads to a bountiful harvest! In the North, there are many cool-season plants to enjoy, including lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbage, turnips, Brussels sprouts. In the South, gardeners can grow almost anything they like, aside from most heat-loving veggies!
Below are 10 crops that grow quickly, in time to mature before the frost kicks in; they are extra hardy, verdant, and longer-lasting. Note that many are leafy greens that can even withstanding the frost through part of winter.
Remember to consider a seed packet’s listed “days to maturity” and back out from your frost date in order to find your planting dates
1. Arugula Days to Maturity: 20-40 days
2. Broccoli Days to Maturity: 35-65 days
3. Kale Days to Maturity: 35-65 days
4. Leaf Lettuce Days to Maturity: 40-60 days
5. Mesclun Lettuce Days to Maturity: 30-45 days
6. Mustard Greens Days to Maturity: 25-40 days
7. Pak Choi Days to Maturity: 30-40 daysRecommended Variety: Toy Choi
8. Radishes Days to Maturity: 30-40 days
9. Swiss Chard Days to Maturity: 30-50 days
10. Turnips Days to Maturity: 50-60 days
Other vegetables to consider (depending on your climate) are: beets, beans, kohlrabi, peas, and green onions.
Keep an eye out for frosts or freezes. See how to use row covers, cold frames, and other ways to protect your garden from frosts.
Plant a winter cover crop in areas of the garden as they become vacant through mid-October. Cover crops are an excellent way to keep your soil protected, avoid erosion, and give nutrients back to the land for a better growing season in the spring. Winter rye is a common winter cover crop and you can find the seeds at garden and farm stores.
What are you doing in the garden this time of year? How do you preserve the harvest?
ABOUT THIS BLOG
A lifelong gardener shares the endless lessons she’s learned from her garden over the years, in hopes of making your own gardening just that much easier!
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/labor-day-gardening-tips
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
I haven’t written for a few days. I have been enjoying the cooler weather, less humidity and working outside, plus I have been doing some canning. BUT I also have lots of bookwork with the greenhouse business and Larry’s Garage business. I am never without anything to do that is for sure. As I was canning tomatoes, and working on bookwork I noticed the cost of the tomato seeds, so I thought how about trying to save the tomato seeds. Not as easy as some seeds but it can be done. First of what I learned is not all tomato seeds can’t be saved, so know your tomato types for this reason. “from open-pollinated (OP) tomatoes. That includes all the heirlooms. Seeds from hybrid tomatoes, while they may sprout and grow, often produce tomato plants that revert to one of the genetic parent plants, which can produce much different fruit than you're expecting.”
Hope all of you are safe, be able to work in the garden, process or can your produce or just eat all fresh. I can’t believe it is Sept all ready. Where did this gardening season go? Next for me is getting things ready for the winter and the greenhouse ready to start all over again.
GARDENING PLANTS & FLOWERS VEGETABLES
How to Save Tomato Seeds to Grow Next Year By MARIE IANNOTTI
Anyone who has composted leftover tomatoes has probably had the experience of seeds from those tomatoes "volunteering" in the garden if the compost that has overwintered is then used as a soil amendment or mulch the following spring. Or perhaps you've seen tiny tomato volunteers spring up in the garden where tomatoes have fallen off the plant the previous year. Tomato fruits are laden with tiny seeds that will readily sprout if they reach the soil. But rather than waiting for accidental volunteers, it's quite easy to save seeds from tomato fruits so you can plant them exactly when and where you want.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
Cheesecloth or paper towel
When to Save Tomato Seeds
Tomato seeds can be collected from fruits that are fully ripe, from mid-summer to fall. Tomatoes are a rather slow-growing plant, so most gardeners will want to start these seeds indoors quite early in the spring. It can take tomato seeds six to eight weeks to become viable seedlings, then once planted outdoors, the seedlings may require as much as two months to produce ripe fruit. This varies somewhat depending on the variety and size of the tomatoes—small cherry or pear tomatoes will begin bearing fruit much faster than large beefsteak tomatoes, for example. But overall, tomatoes are one of the slower-growing vegetable plants
Working With Tomato Seeds
Seeds from many plants can be saved simply by waiting for seed pods or fruit to dry, then opening them up to collect the seeds. Tomatoes take a bit more work because their seeds are enclosed in a gel-like sack that contains growth inhibitors to prevent the seeds from sprouting inside the tomato. The best way to remove this gel covering is to allow the fruits to rot and ferment. In nature, this happens when the fruit falls off the plant. For seed savers, we're going to speed up the process.
The first step is to choose your best-looking tomatoes. You want to save seed from the finest fruit, so that next year's plant will have good genes. Remember you should only save seeds from open-pollinated (OP) tomatoes. That includes all the heirlooms. Seeds from hybrid tomatoes, while they may sprout and grow, often produce tomato plants that revert to one of the genetic parent plants, which can produce much different fruit than you're expecting.
Harvest the Seeds
To start the process, slice the fruit in half so that the stem end is on one side and the blossom end on the other. This will expose the seed cavities better than if you sliced through the stem end.
In some pasta and smaller tomatoes, the seeds are so concentrated in the cavity that you can scoop them out and still be able to use the flesh of the tomato for cooking. Many slicing tomatoes will require scooping out all of the flesh with the seeds. Whichever the case, scoop the seeds into a clean bowl or jar.
If there is not enough liquid from the tomato pulp for the seeds to float in, add up to a cup of water to help separate the seeds from the pulp. Then set the bowl or jar of tomato seeds and pulp in a warm, out-of-the-way spot. You will need to allow 2–4 days for the fermentation to take place. As it does so, the mixture is going to begin to smell awful, so store the bowl where you won't pass by it frequently.
If you have glass canning jars available, they make a good container for fermenting tomato seeds. The extra space at the top of the jar controls some of the odor and the clear sides let you keep tabs on what is happening. Covering the top of the jar with cheesecloth or paper towel will keep fruit flies out and also diminish the spread of the unpleasant odor.
Check on the Fermentation
Every day or so, check on the process of the fermentation. What you eventually want to see is a layer of mold on top of the seeds and pulp. The process is done when bubbles start rising from the mixture or when the entire layer of tomato pulp is covered with mold. Don't leave the seeds fermenting past this stage or they may begin to germinate.
Fermented Tomato Seeds
It is harder to see the layer of mold through the glass jar, but you can generally tell the fermentation is complete when the seeds settle to the bottom of the jar in a watery liquid and the thicker pulp and mold sit on top of them.
Separate the Seeds
Finally, you can remove and dispose of the mold covering. Lifting it before rinsing the seeds will make rinsing easier, but it's not necessary. You can add some water to the jar or bowl and stir or shake vigorously. The good seeds will settle to the bottom, allowing you to drain off the excess first.
Clean the Seeds
Strain the seed mixture into a colander and rinse the seeds well under running water. Try to remove any remaining pulp bits and mold, so that only clean seeds remain.
Dry the Seeds
Spread the seeds onto either a paper plate or glass dish to dry. Don't use paper or paper towels or the seeds will stick to them and be difficult to remove. Set them in a warm, dry spot and allow the seeds to dry completely. Shake them on the plate daily to make sure they don't clump and that they dry evenly. Don't try to speed the process by using heat or you might destroy the seed.
Drying Tomato Seeds
Store the Seeds
Once the seeds are thoroughly dry, you can store them in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place. The envelope shown here will be placed in a canning jar. Remember to label and date your seeds.
While many tomatoes lend themselves to seed saving, it is especially beneficial to focus on heirloom tomato varieties for this activity. A great many of these vintage types of tomatoes are at risk of being lost. In addition to being rare, heirloom tomatoes often are especially flavorful and my have unusual colors and shapes.
Taken from https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-save-tomato-seeds-1403292
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa email@example.com
image from trueleafmarket.com
Hi! My name is Becky and I am a Master Gardener. I own Becky's Greenhouse in Dougherty, Iowa.