Cape Mayhem Gardens Update – Tomatoes nearing the End

Agridude - Garden Full ViewSo this is the most recent picture I have of Cape Mayhem Gardens.  My camera was dropped on my birthday and broke so I am using Kelly’s.  I would love for this to be the reason I have been slow to post, but I have just been too busy to make a post…sorry.  As you can tell, the tomatoes are not looking so hot.  I think they will be ‘done’ soon, but I am waiting to see if any more fruit will come.  I am also debating putting in a few tomatoes that I had in pots to try to sneak in some late season tomatoes.  The rest of the garden is still doing pretty well though and I have been taking a gardening class at the Solana Center in San Diego.  I am getting excited to give my first full time effort to grow cool season crops like Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, etc.

Agridude - Cucumbers FlourishingI am going to start by showing off the newer parts of the garden that are doing well.  To the right are my cucumbers.  I have been trying to train them to grow in different directions in order to help airflow and reduce the chance of powdery mildew.  They are doing better than the last group of plants, but I still find myself removing a few leaves every time I’m at the garden that have mildew on them.  We have had some heat here in San Diego the past few weeks and the cucs have been loving it.  Tons of new growth at the ends of the vines and lots of flowers.  The corn below is doing well too.  I can see where the ears will be and I’m hoping that they are not empty.

Agridude - Corn GrowingAgridude - Spicy PeppersTo the left is one of my three hot pepper plants.  These turn red and I like to try to get a variety of colors for my hot peppers.  I have yellow, black and red.  The yellow peppers are just coming along and the blacks are still flowering.  I also grow these because I noticed that uber hot peppers sell for 50 cents a piece in grocery stores.  These plants produce so many peppers that I give quite a few away.

Agridude - Weak Looking TomatoesAnd we’re back to evaluating the tomatoes… This happens every year and I wonder if I can stop it some how?  The plants are bear for the most part.  You can see tons of fruit and healthy growth on the top of the plants, but the bottom 75% are barren.  I harvested quite a bit of fruit on Sat as you will see in the next photo even though the plants look like this.  I think the issue is that I didn’t cage the plants in the beginning.  You can see how many vines are running up from each plant.  I let them get bushy, then trained them to grow tall, and now they can’t supply enough energy/nutrients to keep all the vines healthy.

Agridude - Garden Harvest

You can see the green zebra’s, crnkovic yugoslavian’s, and black carbon’s.  They are all delicious.  I can’t tell you how much better these tomatoes taste than store bought.  We make bruschetta, caprese, or another version of bruschetta with goat cheese pretty much everyday now that we have the tomatoes.  I put two slices of a black carbon on my sandwich for work today and it was amazing.

Well, I will try to do a better job at posting more frequently.  I have one more recipe for tomatoes with goat cheese and some worm updates for you.  I will hopefully get a new camera soon too.

Cape Mayhem Gardens Update – Vermicompost, Beans, Corn and Lady Bugs

Agridude - VermicompostSorry for the uber late post…This was from 2 Sundays ago after I did all that worm work.  It was my birthday last Friday and the celebration started on Thursday which didn’t leave a lot of time to post.  I ended up going to the nursery for a few supplies and ended up buying a 6 pack of pole beans and an edamame plant, a bunch of lady bugs, and 2 giant stakes to tie the tomato plants to.  The picture on the left is the vermicompost that I harvested from my Worm Factory 360.  I bought the lady bugs to eat the catepillars that were eating the tomato leaves and fruit.  After learning that legumes put nitrogen back into the soil, I decided to buy some bean plants to help put some nutrients back in the ground.  I also want to experiment with the Native American method of the 3 sisters garden, except I’ll only be using corn and beans.

Agridude - Holes for VermicompostThe directions from the Worm Factory 360 say to dig holes near your plants and then fill them in with the vermicompost that was harvested.  To the right, you will see a hole next to my green zebra tomato plant.  By placing the vermicompost in the whole, when I water moving forward, the water should pass through the compost and bring the nutrients down to the roots.

Here is a picture of me filling in the whole with my vermicompost:

Agridude - Applying Vermicompost

Agridude - Corn GrowingTo the right is my corn growing.  I think it is doing pretty good for the late planting it received.  The three sisters garden is a Native American technique of growing corn, beans, and squash or pumpkins together.  The corn acts as a pole for the beans to climb, the beans put nitrogen in the soil for the corn to grow, and the squash provides ground cover to retain moisture.  You can’t see the beans in this picture, sorry, I’ll get a better picture next time.

Agridude - Lady Bugs on CornIn the picture on the left, you can see some lady bugs crawling on the leaves.  I noticed some holes in our tomatoes and on leaves on many different plants.  We have had this in the past and we used to look for the caterpillars by hand, but I learned last year that lady bugs will eat them.  I bought a pint size container of them from my nursery and dumped them on plant leaves in the evening.  They will stick around the garden as long as there are bugs for them to eat.  I saw some on Saturday so I was happy that they are still hanging out.

Here are two pictures of my tomatoes.  I am trying to show how bare the bottoms of my plants are.  Do they look normal?  Seems kind of bare to me…but there is tons of fruit so I’m not sure…

Agridude - Spindly Tomato VinesAgridude - More Spindly Tomato VinesIn the above picture, notice the one ripe tomato, it’s a Crnkovic Yugoslavian’s, we used this tomato for a topping on our burgers that night.  Here is a picture of Mike and I near the grill, and the second is of  kelly cutting the tomato into slices for the burgers:

Agridude - Mike and Paul Grilling BurgersAgridude - Kelly Cutting Tomato for BurgersNext post Ill update you guys on the beans, how the new cucumbers are doing, if I still see lady bugs around, and if I see any noticeable difference in the plants after using the vermicompost

Cape Mayhem Garden Update – Tomato Questions

Agridude - Garden OverviewIt’s been 2 weeks since I last updated everyone with how our cape mayhem garden is doing…sorry about that.  I went up to San Fran and Napa for a 5 day vacation, then to Big Bear for Grant’s birthday blowout.  Ill show you what’s going on in the garden, but my main focus is going to be on the tomatoes.  This year I have been removing the yellow leaves/dead branches on the plants.  I’m not sure if I should be.  You can tell in the picture on the left that the bottom third of so of my plants are pretty bare (notice how there are no leaves in the next two pictures).  I think as the tomato begins to fruit, it focuses on giving the water and nutrients to the fruit versus old branches/leaves.  Can anyone confirm this to ease my concerns that I’m doing something wrong?  This year I have also been watering way less than years past, just once or twice a week.  I wonder if that has anything to do with it.  To see if that is the issue, I have begun watering every other day.  I am going to buy some mulch this weekend as well to help with water conservation.  I will let you know what happens.

Agridude - Crnkovic Yugoslavian Tomato ClustersTo the right are my Crnkovic Yugoslavian tomatoes.  I have eaten 3 of these and they are uber good.  I just realized that I should take pictures of the whole plant so that you can see how many tomatoes are on this plant, they are everywhere.  Can’t wait for full on harvest mode so that I can eat caprese or bruschetta pretty much everyday. I brought in a green zebra and one of these in to work for an afternoon snack and everyone enjoyed it.

Agridude - Cherry Tomato Clusters RedHere’s a picture of our cherry tomatoes.  Again, I’ll take a picture so you can see the whole plant.  These are great for salads, I pulled 8 this morning.  One thing I have been noticing is that when I pick these, the skin splits.  Am I picking too early?  Are they just too juicy and bust the skin open?  Am I squeezing them too hard like Chris Farley in Tommy Boy?  After watching that clip, I need to watch this movie again ASAP.

Agridude - Corn GrowingTo the right are my 6 corn plants.  They are doing surprisingly well.  I poured a bunch of blood meal in this part of the garden to help the corn grow.  Blood meal contains tons of nitrogen and that is what makes plants grow.  I have been reading that you need a lot of corn plants in order for them to pollinate each other.  Anyone know if 6 is enough for that to happen?  Leave a comment or I’ll figure it out by the end of the season…

 

 

 

Agridude - Hot PeppersTo the left are my first super hot peppers forming.  I have this one in a pot at the garden and we should get plenty of these devils this year.  I cannot handle spicy food so I give most of these away.  Last year we made the mistake of using them in Mike’s chili and it was fiery hot and we ended up making rice to help contain the heat.

Agridude - Small Strawberry

 

We have 6 strawberries growing in pots and I found a few berries in there.  I honestly can say berries straight from the garden are the best tasting.  So good…wish we could get more out of the plants.  I also don’t know why, but they don’t grow very large for us.  Maybe it’s just my variety.

Agridude - Pete and PaulHere is Pete and I posing for a picture last Sunday after I was in Big Bear.  The hat I’m wearing is his although I should probably pick one up for myself.

This weekend I am going to the nursery, going to add my 3rd tray to the worm bin, try to ‘use’ my finsihed vermicompost in the garden and go to the Muir Street block party on Sat.  Should have lots of material to post on here next week.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Cape Mayhem Gardens Update – July 10th

Agridude - Garden after cleaningSorry it has taken me so long to get another update on the blog.  Happy late 4th of July from Cape Mayhem Gardens as well, hope everyone had a good day.  We barbequed over at the garden and spent the day near the beach.  We watched some good fireworks to end the night and then proceeded to take part in the Ocean Beach marshmallow fight afterward.  Everyone brings bags of mallows to throw at each other after the works, very fun.

Agridude - Paul and JudeTo the right is a picture of Jude and I posing in front of the garden on the 4th for a quick photo opportunity.  Jude helps me take care of the garden and used to be my old roommate.  We had overcast weather for the whole day but that didn’t stop us from having a great time.

Agridude - New Cucumbers

There are a few new things that I did to the garden.  I was unable to get rid of the powdery mildew on my cucumbers with the neem oil.  In fact, I almost think it made it worse.  I showed up to the garden on Sunday afternoon and they were entirely covered in it.  I decided to take them out and put in some new plants that I bought from my local nursery.  It’ll be interesting to see if I can keep the mildew away from these new plants.  I bought a ‘lemon’ cucumber variety as a change up and I am excited to see how it turns out compared to other cucs that we have grown at the garden.

Agridude - Jalapenos and Onions

This picture is showing off the jalapenos and our serrano plant.  The serrano plant is continuing to absolutely kill it.  It comes up to my thigh and the flowers are everywhere.  We have quite a few peppers on there now.  The jalapenos are also doing well.  I pulled about 15 of them and am going to make stuffed jalapenos with bacon.  I will post those pics along with our recipe.  Take a look in the picture and see if you can see an onion sprouting.  It is in the bottom center of the photo and looks like a weed, it has 3 narrow shoots coming out of the ground.  I planted a few onions in some of the open areas and we now have 4 that sprouted.

Agridude - Pete GrillingSo this is Pete, and he lives in Vince’s guest house and built the tiki bar and the garden with me.  He was grilling some zucchini, corn and chicken breasts on Sunday evening and let me eat with him.  His girlfriend Stephanie also helps me a ton with watering the garden.  She used to garden at her old place so it’s nice to be able to bounce some ideas off of.

Agridude - Peter and Paul PunchingHere is another picture of the garden with a nice action shot of Pete and I.  You can see the tomatoes are getting huge.  We are going to have to come up with some type of better staking of the plants.  They are too tall for the cages I put them in and the tops are starting to topple over.  We have been pulling out a lot of ‘dead/yellow’ leaves off the bottoms of the plant. It has really revealed all the fruit that is growing.  Makes me so excited for harvest time!

The other updates for the garden are, I planted some more basil in between our tomatoes, and I planted 6 stalks of corn.  I didn’t really get pictures of these changes, but I will for the next post, although I just noticed you can see the corn to the right of Pete and I in the picture above.

Manly Corn on the Cob Recipe

Yes that golden goodness is ALL BUTTER

Here’s a method for preparing corn on the cob sure to please the manliest of men. You only need ten ingredients – corn, salt, pepper, and the last seven are all butter.

I was at a street fair celebration extravaganza in Hermosa Beach about a month ago. Among the vendors was a corn on the cob stand. They grilled decent cob. It was worth the four bucks they charged me. But they also lathered it with like fifty non-essential seasonings, i.e. mayo, sirracha, salt, red pepper flakes, blah blah blah. It was nothing like what my dad used to make as described below.  All those other stupid ingredients are so unnecessary when you load up on the one topping that actually matters; of course I’m talking BUTTER. 3 pounds of it to be precise.

This is how my dad grills cob, and my dad could kick your dad’s ass. When I was a kid, my family and bunch of other families we were friends with would go up north in Minnesota to Park Rapids for a week and rent cabins at this place called Isle O’ Dreams on Bad Axe Lake. http://www.isleodreams.com/

This place is heaven on earth – fishing, tubing, beach, video games and pool tables in the lodge, an open tab for ice cream, etc. Cannot recommend this joint highly enough if you are looking for somewhere to vacation and don’t have your own cabin.

Anyway, a memory came back to me when I was eating that cob at that stand in Hermosa. I remember my dad would drive into town each year and get one of those huge sacks filled with a 100 ears of corn straight off the farm. Then he’d get this huge grill fired up while the annual shuffleboard tournament was going on, and he’d start doling out the best cob anyone ever tasted. Here’s how it’s done. Without further ado, I give you the Agridude guide to roasting the perfect cob.

Step One

Buy 2x the amount of corn you think you want to eat. You and anyone else sampling your cob will consume at least two ears. The fresher the better. Advantage Midwesterners. The cobs must have the husks on.

Step Two

Soak the corn in water for a bit, maybe fifteen to thirty minutes. This will prevent the corn from burning up when you grill it, and help it steam a bit. No skinny dipping and no shucking yet.

Step Three

Fire up the Grill and drink beer, hopefully while playing shuffleboard, dummy board / cornhole, or ping-pong.

Step Four

Grill the corn with husk on, probably something like fifteen to twenty five minutes depending on how hot the grill is, turning frequently. You’ll know the cobs are done when they start to get blackened on the outside. But don’t let them get too dark.

While the corn is grilling, put 3 lbs of butter in a cast iron pot or something else that can go right on the grill. We used to use a coffee kettle thing that had a removable top. Ideally your butter melting vessel will be capable of fitting an entire ear of corn in it(foreshadowing). The butter should melt almost instantly. Make sure to stir the butter constantly because it will burn fast. Then pour it all into something like in the picture above or leave it if it is suitable for the upcoming described dunking procedure.

UPDATE – After reading this my Dad, a real OA (original agridude), was ashamed. I royally screwed up the buttering aspects of the recipe. He told me the real method is combining 1 lb of butter and water in a boiling vessle. The butter will melt as the water gets hot and then float to the top in a layer. So when you dunk, you dunk the tip down through the butter and into the water, but as you pull the corn back out, you pul it through the melted butter layered on top of the water. This leaves the corn totally buttered as before, but doesn’t waste precious butter that could otherwise be used as a topping for things like veggies, steaks, bread, etc. Also, he suggest using an empty coffee can with label removed and putting it right on the grill.

Step Five

Grab the corn off the grill. Yell in pain as your fingers are scorched. Shuck the corn. Grab corn by unpeeled husk. Then, dunk the WHOLE cob into the melted vat of golden goodness. If you don’t want to die instantly from heart trauma, hold the ear above the vat to let some of the butter drain off a bit.

Step Six

Season with enough salt to raise your blood pressure by at least ten points, then add a pinch of pepper.

Step Seven

Repeat steps five and six until you are ready to explode or you run out of corn.