Saturday, October 30, 2010

Photo Association

Did anyone else have the same, unfortunate reaction to the MSN headline photo below?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gardening 102

Here's a sample of goodies taken from the garden this year:

Despite my garden being smaller in size I could still pick a container such as the one on the right every two or three days. Some notes from the photo:

  • At the bottom left are cherry tomatoes, and nestled in with them is a funky green pepper. This pepper was grown from the seeds of one of those small, colored sweet peppers (looks like a hot pepper but isn't) that's been turning up in the stores. Obviously I lack the magic to color mine (I'm sure they use some easy ripening technique).
  • Also in both containers are a variety of funky colored and/or sized tomatoes. We had picked up a pack of hybrid tomato seeds to spice up our tomato growing experience and unfortunately I'll have to rate the experiment as a slight failure. Output from the plants was sketchy and the hybrids were 'hybrided' even more with cross pollination between the breeds leading to giant yellow tomatoes which couldn't be visually judged for ripeness, and little red/purple ones that were a complete mystery. I also noted this year that anything smaller than a roma tomato is too prone to having their skins break. This happens due to the plant getting too much water, but I guess my patch is too wet since even not watering the plants during a drought still resulted in too much water. I've resolved that our tomatoes next year will be exclusively romas since they aren't the worisome, mold prone, small, bursting tomatoes, and not the management headache of the larger ugly ones.
  • In the middle are Japanese/Asian eggplants. Last year we grew regular globe eggplants which proved fairly bullet proof and productive even in a scant amount of dirt. I decided to grow the Asian variety this year since they're a little more flexible (their skins don't have to be removed). However the seedlings and slightly larger plants proved to be quite sensitive and required early babysitting to make sure they didn't suddenly die off. The fruits as well didn't prove as impervious as those of the globe variety and tended to wilt within days if not cooked right away. Lastly I also determined that, alas, no one at my house likes eggplant all that much.
  • In the tray on the right is an eggplant colored pepper. They taste the same as the regular green bell pepper and, interestingly enough, look pretty much the same too if you cook it long enough; but they do look pretty!
  • Not pictured:
    • My two rather unproductive zuke plants. Last year one zuke plant provided more zukes than we could possibly eat and this year an early onset of powdery mildew restricted my zuke take. Better luck next year! (I bought a spray on chemical that proved quite successful with the tomatoes that should help the zukes next year).
    • Watermelons. A little more success this year than last (maybe one OK watermelon last year, and I'll say four #3 soccer ball sized decent ones this year), and next year I plan to grow the vines onto our deck which should help production. In the future I'm staying away from the fancy dark colored ones and sticking with the regular green/white melon. Sometimes there's a reason something is the most popular.
    • Peas. Gardening tip: don't plant peas in full sun.
    • Onions. Gardening tip: rooting plants don't do well in soil that locks in too much moisture. I plan to container grow these next year along with the carrots and parsnips which didn't work out so well this year either.
    • Beans. I've all but given up on ever having a successful bean crop.
    • Non-zuke squashes. I still have leftover squashes from last year. I'll probably give the acorn squashes another shot next year.
    • Cukes. I had an early good run with these before they quickly succumbed to the dreaded squash wilt disease which is carried by my most hated bug of all time (at the moment), the striped cucumber beetle. Ooof! I hate them with the power of a thousand suns! Screw 'organic', I'm going to spray those bastards to death next year for crimping my take of spicy hot pickle fixuns!

On a related note our fine Federal Government is blowing $1,100,000 dollars getting hoodies on the East Side to engage in 'urban gardening'. My own modest gardening plot is maybe, MAYBE, a tenth of an acre; and without forced time off this year and my weekends sponged up by some side jobs that came up, much of my plot had overgrown with weeds and was rather unproductive. However, my fellow Clevelanders on the east side will be given quarter acre plots and my first thought was, "how will they do that with their regular job...oh, wait...nevermind".

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Report From the Old People Front

  • Metamucil = Tang flavored slime. If you like Tang (which I do) this can be good, if not, then that's your own fault.
  • Walmart's Equate Metamucil knock-off = Off-Tang flavored grit. Apparently making something slightly not-foul tasting is harder than it seems.
  • Sugar-free pink lemonade Metamucil = In a word, disgusting. It is somehow every way inferior to every individual piece of it's ingredient list.
  • Sugar-free pink lemonade Metamucil made with sugar free lemonade = In a word, tolerable.
  • Protein powder = Powdered milk aged in a vacuum bag
  • Protein powder + Metamucil = Slightly off tasting orange creamcicle. A winner in my book. Throw it in a blender with some milk, ice, and a banana for a great old person's breakfast.
  • Protein powder + Sugar-free pink lemonade Metamucil made with sugar free lemonade = Old person's lemon sherbet, enjoy!