Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is it spring yet?

It's that scary-licious time of year when we have to put down the seed catalogs and place our orders. Time to commit to a list of plants, and hope to get a year's worth of produce from them. Most of 2009's veggies are return visitors, but we're adding a few we've never tried before.
The picture above is Detroit Dark Red Short Top from Fedco Seeds, who say:
"Introduced 1892 and still the standard late variety for home gardeners and canners. Globular smooth uniform beets with tender oxblood-red flesh. This short top strain had the best roots in our evaluations."
Beets seem pretty happy here, especially with all the compost we add to the garden soil. We've grown Early Wonder Tall Top, which was good for fresh eating & pickling, but the greens were a bit iffy. Bulls Blood was a red-leafed variety we tried too. The "greens" were wonderful, with a deep purple-crimson color. The roots themselves were good, but stayed small. Since we get lots of wonderful greens from chard & spinach, we're going to concentrate on beets for pickling this year.

Most gardeners in the PNW were challenged by the cold spring of 2008. Plants just didn't want to grow! We ended up replanting more than one kind of veggie because the seeds rotted in the ground. Everything eventually got into gear, but by then there just wasn't much time to set and ripen fruit. We would have had a bumper pepper crop judging by how many green ones we managed to pickle. But I really wanted to try those candy apple red Jimmy Nardello's or have some Cayennes mature enough to gring into red pepper flakes.

This year we decided to hedge our bets and look for short season peppers. After hearing good things about the Czech Black hot pepper from Fedco and a few friends, we're giving this black beauty (see picture above) a try. Fedco says:

"Black when immature, the 21/2" long conical fruits ripen to a lustrous garnet... Mild juicy flesh runs with a cherry red juice when cut. The heat, a tad less than a jalapeƱo’s, is in the ribs and seeds... 2-1/2–3' bushes bear very early, setting about 20 pointed thick-walled peppers per plant."

Now that the only plants left in the garden are these topless mangel beets, the hens can get to work tilling in all the compost piled on the garden rows. They really look forward to it and it's a big help working in all that raw material.

Warning! Gratuitous critter pics below.

Crichton assembled a hoard of catnip toys and proceeded to beat the crap out of them. As you can tell by the rest of the pictures, no one was impressed....


Anonymous said...

rocking chairs and cats together in the same picture make me nervous.

Dani said...

No need to worry.

If kitty is under the chair then we don't sit there.

If he gets under while we are sitting, then we don't rock.

Never had any incidents, ever.

Anonymous said...

My girl kitty had a close call with the hinge-end of a door. Caught her tail laterally and left a two inch linear hickey-welt on the side of it. Nasty skin pinch, and you have to figure proportionally on a body that small an injury that large is like something down the side of a human's whole calf or something.

I felt awful. No breaks, thank goodness.

I could tell, after the initial shock and pain wore down, that she understood that I was responsible but also that it was an accident. Put a ziplock of ice-water on it, that seemed to help. She glared at me for the first 20 minutes or so but then started licking my hand.

Important safety tip. Small end of the door is also dangerous.