My Piece of Dirt

Zone 8 Gardening

Cherry Pickle Juice

cherry pick juice

cherry pick juice

I always like to keep my Pre-Made Pickle Juice on hand. Here’s a fun recipe that make the pickle come out slightly tinged with color and does not affect the taste very much.

First I start by boiling my pickling spices in one cup of vinegar and letting it steep. Then I drain the spices before adding the juice to the jar–mostly, because the spices can affect the color over time.

Then: Using a 1.5 Liter glass jar add:

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Pickleworm Moth has Arrived

just a pretty pick

Just a pretty pic. This is not a pickleworm moth

It’s always a race to get my fair share of cucumbers before the pickleworm moth arrives and spurts out her wiggly offspring. And a real tear-jerker to take down an otherwise beautiful plant, but I got no use for wormy cukes.

There is probably a poison that I could spray on my cukes, but what’s the point? If I am going to spray insecticide all over them, I might as well buy them at the store.

Might try again in Septemberish or early Octoberish.

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Be Like a Bee and Pollinate your Cucurbits

Laidback Gardener

20150701A The female flower has an ovary at its base.

You’ve probably noticed have noticed that squash (zucchinis, pumpkins, gourds, etc.), cucumbers, melons and other cucurbits have both female flowers and male flowers. Female flowers are few in number, but easy to see as they already bear an ovary at the base which looks like a miniature version the fruit that will form. So on a pumpkin, it will be rounded, on a cucumber, long and thin, on a pattypan squash, scallop-shaped, etc. In the center of the female flower, there’ll be a crown-shaped stigma.

20150701B No ovary on the male flower.

Male flowers have no ovary at their base. They are numerous and far outnumber the females. If you look inside, you’ll see they have a “ball” of yellow pollen on a central stamen, absent, of course, in the female. To produce a fruit, the male pollen must somehow be transferred to the stigma of a female flower.

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I smell Onions–aaah

Spring Onion Bloom Pretty

Spring Onion Bloom

The biggest reason to save seeds: After several go-arounds you get a seed that is perfect for your garden.

Onion Bloom last spring. The weather helped. Warm, hot, cold. It makes the onion think that it has gone through several seasons, and whop — it blooms. Although, at this point, the onion is from which the bloom sprouts is not good for eating.  Leave the bloom on the stalk until the seeds turn black.

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Everbearing Raspberry’s July Clip

Pruning Everbearing Raspberries

Raspberries before pruning

Raspberries before pruning






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Mild Green Pepper Sauce

So, I tried a new type of tomato plant this year, and now I am asking myself: Why did I do that? The plant looks good. The tomatoes are pretty. But they are just blah, tasteless bumps of nothing. Honestly, they go right to the compost bin.

Sometimes bad bugs (aphids, stink bugs, hornworms, etc.) can zap all the goody out of a plant. But none of that is true here. I have learned to plant tomatoes in a spot where I can get a 360 view and check them every day.

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Cabbage White Butterflies

So, I finally found out what those white butterflies are: Cabbage Whites. They are the first butterflies that I see in the spring and they persist all through the growing season. Cabbage White Info.

cabbage white

cabbage white

At the same time I found out what they are, I also found out why I do not consider them a problem in my garden. It’s because I do not kill wasps—unless a wasp has the nerve to build a nest in my door jam or under my patio rocker—and wasps eat Cabbage White larvae.

Also, I’ve noticed that birds like to eat the butterflies. So, if you do have a problem with Cabbage White, I suggest putting out some birdseed. Just enough to keep the birds interested in your yard. Usually, I only put the birdseed out in the winter…but I could extend that.


Raspberry Pruning in June

After the spring harvest, get on your hands and knees, and  prune out all of the brown stems, all the way down to the ground.  Dispose of these limps far away from the raspberry plot.

While pruning, remember that the roots of any fruit are very close to the surface.  Do not disturb the crown(s) or cover them up.  Use sharp, sterile clipper and cut at a slant.  Do not ‘flat-top’ anything, ever.

This is also a good time to replace and refresh the mulch.  Be sure to remove any fruit that has fallen.

Youtube How to prune raspberry bushes

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Beet stuff

Youtube: Save beet seeds 3.5 minutes video   (I love the lady in this video. She’s so casual. Yet confident. Now, that’s the kind of person that I will listen to.)

How to make beet syrup   article

How to make sugar from beets  article

How to make lipstick from beets  article – might make a unique gift for relatives or lady friends. wink-wink

Never gave it much thought before, but the people in these articles are using white beets for sugar production, and red for lipstick, of course.

And a bunch of folks are up in arms over the GMO beets…..I can’t argue with them.




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Late, late

Wow, 2015 was the winter that did not want to go away. Even down here in the Deep South. My garden is about one month behind schedule. Nothing much to brag about yet, except raspberries, strawberries and turnips.

Might get some potatoes this year. Although I can’t let them stay in the ground much longer. At least that makes me feel better. Haven’t had any success with white potatoes before….Oooo, planted some sweet potatoes slips the other day. Looks like they are going to take.

How many potatoes can you get from a slip?

Tomatoes, peppers and cukes just peeking. Beans just beginning to flower. I am afraid the garden is so late this year that stuff is going to come in around the same time that the bad bugs get here: JUNE. It’s going to be a real battle.

Speaking of bugs: There is a surprising lack of insects this year–good and bad–with the exception of hover flies and a few aphids. Always aphids. I guess the hover flies are here to eat the aphids.. Hardly ever see a bee.  IT’S SPOOKY. As I write this, I hope I’ll wake up tomorrow and they will be here.

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