grow squash

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Spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce, and Mother Nature’s wrath

Firstly, I want to say that I’m devastated by the hurricanes, floods, destruction, and despair that our precious country has endured over the past several weeks. It’s like Mother Nature wants to be sure we understand that global warming is real. I get it, but enough already. The good side of this, if you want to squeak out anything positive, is that people of all walks of life have pitched in to help. Florida’s mess is so deep and so wide it will take years to recover. I didn’t feel I could post about food or fun without first paying homage to the turmoil. Take care of each other my friends.

But in addition to everything else going on, the garden is getting away from us. It’s been a less than stellar year here for tomatoes, but the freezer is stocked with bags and bags of Frenched green beans, and the basil plant looks like a hedge. Weird squash are growing from volunteer seeds, and our lemon cucumbers are plentiful.

I have two wonderful friends who think of me when they run across stellar recipes. I’m posting this one today, and the next in the queue (maybe this weekend) is for a creamy, one-dish meal that cooks together in twenty minutes

This fabulous tomato concoction sat on our counter yesterday working its magic, and every time I walked by I couldn’t help but breath in the aroma. Garden fresh tomatoes were chopped and then swam in a bath of their own juices for six hours, along with garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh basil, and some salt and pepper. After an afternoon of marinating, all of this tomato goodness was combined with hot pasta – linguine is recommended, but I used spaghetti and any pasta would do. We loved this fresh combination and I ate some of the leftovers today for lunch. Delicious! It was a perfect summer meal, and a great way to use up your garden tomatoes.

I don’t know the source other than it came from my friend Nancy, so thank you Nancy for the share! If I find out the source at some point I will include it.

Linguine with fresh tomato sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped (I used lots of cherry tomatoes)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped basil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound linguine or spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy, small skillet over medium low heat. Add garlic and stir. Do not brown. Transfer to a large, non-aluminum bowl. Mix in tomatoes and their liquid, remaining 3 tablespoon oil, basil, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand six hours.

Just before serving, cook linguine or other pasta in a large amount of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain well. Transfer to large, preheated bowl. Add olive oil and toss well. Add sauce and toss again. Top with Parmesan cheese.

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I HAVE NEVER CONNECTED WITH A CHARACTER MORE IN MY WHOLE LIFE. I LOVE GROWING SQUASH SO MUCH MY FRIENDS LITERALLY CALL ME SQUASHY BOI THIS IS A GREAT DAY SQUASH IS MY FAVORITE CHARACTER OF ALL TIME THANK YOU CREWNIVERSE BRB GOING TO BUY SOME OVERALLS 

@onlyyoudear asked: Hi! I was just hoping to get your advice on some raised bed gardening. In the past I’ve done just traditional gardens, but this year am building four 4'x8’ raised beds to hopefully have a more plentiful harvest. I’ve seen everywhere that people say you can plant things closer together in raised beds, but no one says HOW much closer together you can plant things. Do you have any recommendations on this? For instance how close do you think you could plant two indeterminate tomato plants? Thanks so much! Hope your planting adventures get to begin soon!! 

Okay, so this is probably going to wind up being rather lengthy, and I apologize for that.  But I have several different suggestions for planting, and you’ll have to test them out to see what works best for you.  

If you’re looking to follow “the rules” of garden spacing, I highly recommend looking into square foot gardening.  I’ve found that SF Gardeners follow the playbook pretty closely and swear by it. They have everything covered from plant spacing to soil mixes for the ultimate growing experience.  In other words, someone did their homework.  I’d done some reading into it myself after several gardeners convinced me that it was “The Way”.  And in some aspects, it was.  If you’re working with smaller spaces and want to really cram as much as you can in there, by all means, give it a go.  In my experience, SFG showed me just how closely you can place certain plants (for example, I’d always given peppers more room than they needed and wound up with a lot of wasted space), but for others I felt like it was just too cramped.  Also, if you like clean lines, neat rows, and order in your garden, this might be the plan for you.  I planted a garden two years ago that did not stray from the rules and didn’t care for it overall, so now I use the spacing rules loosely, and focus more on crop rotation and companion planting as my methods of choice.

You’d asked about indeterminate tomatoes.  SFG will have you allow 2 square feet per plant, which sounds completely asinine, and frankly, it is.  Unless you’re going to prune your plants back to force them to stay within this space, it’s just not enough room.  I wound up with a huge mess, more fruit loss than I care to admit, and so much unnecessary work when it came time to take the garden down in the fall.  That’s not to say that SFG failed me, but rather, my pruning theories didn’t match what is required for this type of gardening.  With tomatoes, I feel like you can never give them enough space, but I guess that all depends on how you prune.  Do you remove suckers?  Do you allow the plants to just take over all willy nilly like? 

I start off with good intentions and prune in the beginning, but once those plants start taking off and producing fruit, I tend to leave them alone, adding support as the plants get bigger. I fertilize with egg shells, ground dried banana peel, Epsom salts, and a large fish head in the planting hole. This sends the plant into overdrive, making for massive, towering monsters like I’d never seen before, and more fruit than I knew what to do with.  Last year, I had two indeterminate plants in a 4 x 8 bed (okay per SFG rules), and not only did they start growing into one another, but they heaved soil out of the raised bed and began crawling across my mulch path.  This year I’ll plant one tomato plant in that 4 x 8 bed, and maybe pop some basil in there, hoping for the best.  

So I guess what I’m getting at is that you can follow the rules that someone else set up, but there are so many variables in each gardener’s space and style that will determine the success or failure of those methods.  I’d mentioned companion planting earlier on, and I really think this is more important than anything else.  You’re looking to plant certain things together, or keep certain plants apart based on their ability to attract or repel insects, prevent disease, etc.  I find that I can ignore the SFG spacing rules on, say, basil planting, and kind of cram them into a space that is shared with tomatoes.  I’ve never had a problem with overcrowding, and aside from the random hornworm invading the space, the basil keeps a lot of other bugs and critters away.  I am guilty of breaking SFG rules and popping lots of flowers into the provided growing space of my veggie garden in the hopes that they will attract pollinators, and have never had a problem with that either.  You could also take into consideration the Native American “Three Sisters” method of pairing, say, beans, corn, and squash planted closely together.  The corn acts as the trellis, allowing the beans to climb up its stalk, and the squash grows beneath them, shading the ground and keeping weeds in check.  This is a traditional method that is proven to be effective.   It’s all trial and error, and you have to figure out what works best for you in your space.

So my short answer is this:  give tomatoes and brassicas as much space as you can afford (or be strict with pruning to keep their size in check), never crowd root veggies, but allow yourself to take liberties with plants like peppers, herbs and climbers (like cukes, beans, peas).  I am guilty of cramming a lot of these things into my growing space, and aside from the few extra minutes I have to give up to ensure that everyone gets watered and weeded sufficiently, the only downside I’ve encountered is difficulty when harvesting.  Densely planted plants hide fruit!  Also remember that you can maximize spacing by growing up via vertical trellising or plant in a triangular pattern instead of squares, which allows you to put at least one more plant in any given space.I really hope this helps!  If any other gardeners want to chime in, I’d love to hear your input!

Rural Surrealism:

-It is hunting season. There are skinned animals hanging from trees. Camo clad people wait in line a the supermarket. You are not afraid. This is just how it is.

-Summer has begun. You spy a squash growing in someones garden. By the next week, summer squash are everywhere. Everybody has them. There’s so many. What can you possibly do with three boxes of summer squash? 

-This repeats near the end of summer with peppers.

-There is a disproportionate amount of churches. At least three for every square block.You see them in passing. Some are small, for a congregation of no more than thirty. Some seem built as compounds, sprawling over an entire city block. Behind them is one of the poorest parts of town.

-You go home. The dirt road leading to your house is washed out, even though this morning it was fine. You wonder if you will make it home if the bridge has flooded. This is a very real concern.

-You were driving. You are not now. There is a herd of cows on the highway. Some people do not realize that a cow is literally over a ton. It is half the size of your car. You stare ahead, and wonder which pasture they came from. One of them moos.

-It is late. In the distance, you hear barking; high pitched yelping. It echoes until you can no longer count individuals. You wonder if it is coyotes or wild dogs, or perhaps a hybrid group of both. The pack must be huge.

-There is a road not too far away. There is one in every town. During summer, if one walks along it, there are snakes. Many, many snakes. How can there possibly be this many of them?

-You are going down the river. You look down into the green water, and the silhouette of something giant swims beneath you. You watch it, knowing it has been around longer than your species can comprehend.

-You bring a woman a fruit. She opens it with wonder in her eyes. She is eighty years old, and has never seen a blood orange. The next week, you bring a mango. Ten years later, you still remember her face.

-There is a wrecked car in the middle of the woods, headlights cracked and half swallowed by the earth. There are no roads for miles around. 

Ten Tips For Raised Garden Beds

Try these organic tips and tricks to get the most out of your planting space

Raised beds are great: the soil in them warms and dries out earlier in the spring than regular garden beds, so you can get planting sooner. They allow us to garden without fighting stones and roots, and the soil in them stays perfectly fluffy since it doesn’t get walked on.

Of course, there are a few drawbacks: in hot dry weather, raised beds tend to dry out quickly. Roots from nearby trees will eventually find their way into your nice, nutrient-dense soil.

Here are ten even high-yield strategies that will make the most of a raised garden bed space.

Ten Tips for Raised Garden Beds

# 1: Never Walk On The Soil

The biggest advantage of raised bed gardening is the light, fluffy, absolutely perfect soil you’re able to work with as a result. When you build your raised beds, build them so that you’re able to reach every part of the bed without having to stand in it. Raised garden bed soil doesn’t need to be tilled as it is not compacted, but this can happen if you walk on the soil in the bed 

# 2: Mulch after planting.

Mulch with newspaper, straw, grass clippings, leaves, or wood chips after planting your garden. This will reduce the amount of weeding you’ll have to do and keep the soil moist.

# 3: Plan your irrigation system.

Two of the best ways to irrigate a raised bed are by soaker hose and drip irrigation. If you plan it ahead of time and install your irrigation system before planting, you can save yourself a lot of work and time spent standing around with a hose later on.

# 4: Install a barrier to roots and weeds.

If you have large trees in the area, or just want to ensure that you won’t have to deal with weeds growing up through your perfect soil, consider installing a barrier at the bottom of the bed. This could be a commercial weed barrier, a piece of old carpet, or a thick piece of corrugated cardboard. If you have an existing raised bed and find that you’re battling tree roots every year, you may have to excavate the soil, install the barrier, and refill with the soil. It’s a bit of work, but it will save you tons of work later on.

# 5: Add nutrient enhanced compost annually.

Gardening in a raised bed is, essentially, like gardening in a really, really large container. As with any container garden, the soil will settle and get depleted as time goes on. You can mitigate this by adding a one to two-inch layer of compost or composted manure each spring before you start planting.

# 6: Fluff the soil with a garden fork as needed.

To lighten compacted soil in your raised bed, simply stick a garden fork as deeply into the soil as possible, and wiggle it back and forth. Do that at eight to twelve-inch intervals all over the bed, and your soil will be nicely loosened without a lot of backbreaking work.

# 7: Cover up your soil at the end of the gardening season

Add a layer of organic mulch or plant a cover crop at the end of your growing season. Soil that is exposed to harsh winter weather breaks down and compacts much faster than protected soil. This technique also keeps the soil nutrient enhanced 

# 8:  Space Smartly

To get the maximum yields from each bed, pay attention to how you arrange your plants. Avoid planting in square patterns or rows. Instead, stagger the plants by planting in triangles. By doing so, you can fit 10 to 14 percent more plants in each bed.

Just be careful not to space your plants too tightly. Some plants won’t reach their full size—or yield—when crowded. For instance, when one researcher increased the spacing between romaine lettuces from 8 to 10 inches, the harvest weight per plant doubled. (Remember that weight yield per square foot is more important than the number of plants per square foot.)

Overly tight spacing can also stress plants, making them more susceptible to diseases and insect attack.

# 9:  Grow Up

No matter how small your garden, you can grow more by going vertical. Grow space-hungry vining crops—such as tomatoes, pole beans, peas, squash, melons, cukes, and so on—straight up, supported by trellises, fences, cages, or stakes.

Growing vegetables vertically also saves time. Harvest and maintenance go faster because you can see exactly where the fruits are. And upward-bound plants are less likely to be hit by fungal diseases thanks to the improved air circulation around the foliage.

Try growing vining crops on trellises along one side of raised beds, using sturdy end posts with nylon mesh netting or string in between to provide a climbing surface. Tie the growing vines to the trellis. But don’t worry about securing heavy fruits—even squash and melons will develop thicker stems for support.

# 10:  Mix It Up

Companion planting saves space, too. Consider the classic Native American combination, the “three sisters”—corn, beans, and squash. Sturdy cornstalks support the pole beans, while squash grows freely on the ground below, shading out competing weeds. This combination works because the crops are compatible. Other compatible combinations include tomatoes, basil, and onions; leaf lettuce and peas or brassicas; carrots, onions, and radishes; and beets and celery. 

There are many basics to having a successful garden in a raised bed, Remember to be flexible and open to new ideas that can help your garden

anonymous asked:

So aside from snoot kisses/boops and poke puffs and all that jazz, what does the snek do?

“I garden mostly. All the bushes, flowers, trees and such in my yard where my er… am I allowed to say ‘handy work’ when I mostly used my tail? Anyhow. I’m currently growing some squash and oran berries as well as strawberries. Vivi came over and requested I start growing oh what was it tamato berries? Apprently Miss Aello is doing a study on eevee’s, specifically umbreon and espeon and needs them, so I’ll be planting those when Cadmium gets me the started crops.”

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It has been two different stories when it comes to the seed growing, the cucumbers and squash (which we saved from our own squash from last year) are doing brilliantly, but the tomatoes and peppers nada! So have planted more tomatoes and peppers (not sure what type , ones we saved ourselves but that is part of the fun) in bigger pots. Hopefully they will work this time. We are also going to try basil for the forth time, if it doesn’t work this time we are giving up on it! The allotment is still producing which is great, spinach, kale and romaine lettuce today. Yum!

P.s just to confirm we only saved the butternut squash seeds and the peppers ourselves.

anonymous asked:

Whenever the robins get a new girlfriend/boyfriend the Gotham villians interrogate them

Billy fished his apartment key out of his hoodie pocket and fumbled with the lock. All he really wanted was to walk straight to his bed and flop down. He’d had gym last period follow straight after by track practice so Billy was ready to fall over. However a full day’s worth of homework was waiting. Days like today he just wanted to say the magic word, use the Wisdom of Solomon and do his homework in 15 minutes. The key turned and Billy slumped through the door.

“Heya Billy Bones!” Billy jumped a foot “Harley! why are you in apartment!” Harley Quinn was sitting at the small table in the kitchen where Billy ate most of his meals. She was cutting up the flyers and junk mail he got. She smiled at him “come sit down Shazy!” she waved at the chair across from her and Billy sat down slowly. 

“So been hanging out with Catwoman a lot lately” Harley said

“oh no” Billy already knew where this was going

“yeah, so she knows who all the Bats are behind the masks and what not”

“oh fu-”

“Language!” Harley looked at him sharply “sorry, just I’m not in the mood for-” Billy tried to protest, Harley cut him off “any ways CatLady ain’t tell no body no names, but she did say the little bird was seeing someone, some civilian kid she said. Imagine how shocked I was when I found out it was my old pal, you!” She smiled at him and Billy groaned. He put his head down on the table, he’d been so careful, they’d thought since no one would think Captain Marvel was dating Robin, and no one knew Robin was Damian, he’d be safe.

“Now scouts honor I won’t try to figure out who the baby bird is, I don’t care, but it’s tradition Billy” He sighed and sat up “Okay Harley, hit me”

“what are your intentions with Robin?” Billy blushed trying not to think about any of things he’d done or worse the things he wanted to do with his boyfriend. “Um totally honorable” he managed 

“good answer, you do know if you break his heart, we the roughs of Gotham City will hunt you down and kill you, right” 

he gulped, “um yeah I kinda figured” 

“great!” Harley smiled, “now comes the fun part” she reached down to a bag at her feet and pulled out the largest banana he’d ever seen, fully twice the size of a normal one and looking more like a skinny summer squash. “Ivy grows ‘em” Harley explained leaning down to fish something else out of her bag. A box of condoms. Billy wasn’t sure if he wanted to laugh, cry, scream or just pass out.