Archive | December 2012

Gardening Bug

My wife really likes some of those medical types shows that are on the different Discovery type TV channels. Her current favorite is by far “Monsters Inside Me.” If you don’t know what this show is, basically it is a show that documents peoples medical infections with foreign organisms (mostly parasites). I don’t care for it too much but she has a strange fascination with it. Watching this show has made me come to the conclusion that I am currently infected by the “Gardening Bug” parasite.

Toxoplasma gardenii (the “Gardening Bug”) is what I have named my condition. It is a parasite that causes multiple compulsions as listed below:

  1. Repeatedly looking through and making notes in gardening catalogs.
  2. Planning and re-planing vegetable garden layouts
  3. Checking and counting how many seeds that will be on the shopping list for this year
  4. Trying to figure out how much your wife will let you spend on seeds this year
  5. Concocting schemes to get your wife to let you spend more than you should on garden seeds

These symptoms are only noticeable during the cold winter months as the compulsions change as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer.  I hope that everyone out there can control their garden bug infections. Good growing everybody.

2012 in review

Doomsday is upon us!!! Ok I guess not. Might as well wish everyone a happy winter solstice. That’s a good nature based, nondenominational holiday type day. Last February, around when this blog got started, I wrote down what I hoped to achieve in 2012. I didn’t have much at the time but I figured I should be able to look back and see what worked out and what didn’t work so well.

My biggest goal was to get a good tomato harvest. Sadly this year was not a tomato year. I got a few good eating tomatoes and a bit of sauce that didn’t last long at all. So while I doubled the space planted with tomatoes, I got over zealous and packed them too close together. Combine that with a drought and you come out with very few harvestable fruits. The beans also didn’t turn out too well either. I’m realizing though that they probably aren’t going to be a major plant for me in the near future anyway.

On a few better notes we got the first sweet corn ever. Just a couple of ears but still very nice. Peas also turned out quite nice this year. Cucumbers turned out all right, but I still need to find a pickle recipes that I like. Onions did alright though starting from sets caused bolting and double bulbs. So most of them didn’t store well. Carrots gave quite the harvest with over 9 lbs of frozen down carrots for soups this winter. The dark horse of the garden was the kale and collards. I froze down 5 lbs of blanched kale and 2 lbs of blanched collards. Both of which I got completely free.

I’ll have to set out my goals and hopes for 2013. Happy holidays and good growing everybody.

P.S. Here’ some pictures of the blizzard blowing through Iowa and the Midwest.


The vegetable garden blanketed in white.
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The blue berry patch covered in snow.

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The thyme plant covered up by the blowing snow.

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Finishing up 2012

I’ve been putting it off for a couple of weeks now, but with the final cleanups done I’m going to have to call it. Garden season 2012 is over. The garden was almost empty anyway. There was just a few spent kale plants that I had been too lazy to pull up until now. But now they are with everything else from this season, in the compost pile.

Now the only plants left in the garden is the nascent garlic that I planted back at the end of October. It’s been mild enough that a few of the garlic started to show some green shoots but those will die back this week when we’re supposed to get our first real snowfall and the nighttime lows are going to be in the single digits.

After pulling the old kale plants, I mulched the garden beds with leftover straw that was sitting out all summer. So with the plants pulled and the garden mulched over I’ve entered the most peaceful time of the year. The garden is clean and quiet.

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Stay warm and good growing everybody.

Seed organization

Calling me messy would be a bit of an understatement. Just ask my wife. She likes to remind me that if she wasn’t around my bedsheets might get changed once a year. I don’t do it on purpose; little things like keeping things tidy just get forgotten. So for the longest time my seed stash has pretty much been a cardboard box with a bunch of seed packets, little tubes of seeds and a sundry of other little things. Today I tasked myself with changing that.

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After finding a few plastic bins and a few scraps of cardboard, I got my seeds in some semblance of order.

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I was also able to go through and get a good inventory of what seeds I have. I had completely forgotten about a few of the seed packs I had bought. Good growing everybody.

Winter on the way??

The weatherman said there may be snow on the way this weekend. Not a lot, but just enough to remind us what time of year it is. The first seed catalog for next season arrived the other day from and I’ve already looked through it twice now. Trying to decide which varieties to try this year is one of the hardest things for me. Mostly tomatoes are the king of the variety war going on in my brain. I’m thinking about going with “Amish Paste” for a paste tomato; I’ll retry “Brandywine” again; and probably grow a few “Mexican Midget” tomato plants for some nice early cherry tomatoes (which my wife really adores). I’m also torn between going with the nice simple “Scarlet Nantes” carrot or try growing the moe exotic “Dragon” variety.

I didn’t realize until now that I never mentioned planting my garlic. I got some “German Red” seed garlic from a local farm and planted a whole bed. Five rows off about a dozen cloves in each row. Hopefully I’ll have enough garlic to last for quite a while after it’s harvested.

May all your gardens grow.

Health problems

!!Just a warning the post has talk of digestive issues and fecal matter.!!

So again I fell of the blogging wagon, but this time I’ve got a excuse. I’ve been having health issues for the past few weeks. These issues include stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and (most disturbingly) blood in my stool. So after a day or two of these symptoms, I went to a doctor for the first time in like a year. So to make a long story short, after three weeks and my first colonoscopy at the age of 27 I’ve been diagnosed the ulcerative colitis.

The condition is defined by an inflammation of the colon. The gastroenterologist has described my condition as moderate. So that’s probably a good thing. A former coworker had full blown Crohn’s disease. Colitis and Crohn’s disease are different diseases but have similar symptoms. Basically Crohn’s effects the beginning of the colon and colitis effects the later section of the colon. So I’ve been reading a fair bit and learning about my new condition. I’ve also been prescribed the medicine Asacol (1.6g three time per day). That is a fair bit of medicine but hopefully once I get my first flare under control I should be able to go to a maintenance dosage. Well at least I now have a reason to stat looking into all the crazy things people do with this condition.

Hopefully I can get back to thinking about the garden soon.

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