Mint.com has an interesting infographic showing When is the Best Time to Buy Everything?
I don’t know where this image came from, but it’s a great way to store garbage bags: use a paper towel holder.
This year, I tried an experiment on my zucchini plants. In the past, I have always put a little bit of steer manure mixed with dirt around the roots of my zucchini plants when I put them in the ground, much like I do when planting tomatoes. My plants have always gotten huge and produced a lot of zucchini.
However, they also had ant and aphid problems. I read somewhere that using a nitrogen-rich fertilizer on squash plants attracts ants. I didn’t know if that were true or not, but it got me thinking about this planting method of mine. Would a plant with steer manure have more ants? Would I see a difference in production? What about the size of the plant? What, in short, did the steer manure do to the plant, and should I keep using it?
So, this year, I tried an experiment: one plant with steer manure and one plant without.
The plant on the left is without the steer manure. The plant on the right has a mix of steer manure and dirt around the roots.
Otherwise, the plants had the same light conditions and water. They came from the same nursery and were both healthy and the same size.
Size: The plants grew at the same rate and stayed the same size. As you can tell from this picture, they both got big and robust, neither any bigger than the other.
So the steer manure had no effect on the size of the plant.
Ants: I did get ants, but they didn’t seem to favor one plant over the other. I nipped the ant problem in the bud (so to speak) by using my outdoor ant trap, and keeping them from getting to established on the plants.
So steer manure does not attract ants.
Production: Here is where the steer manure made a huge difference. The plant with steer manure produced 3 zucchinis for everyone 1 zucchini the other plant produced.
Of the 90-some zucchinis I picked, 64 came from the plant with steer manure.
Pretty big difference, huh?
I don’t know why that little burst of extra fertilizer made such a difference, but it did.
So my results are: steer manure seems to drastically increase the amount a zucchini plant produces. Try it, and see.
Check it out! Tetris Modular Shelving. From the site:
The Tetrad Flat Shelving is a modular, lightweight shelving solution consisting of 5 different shaped blocks with wooden sides and colored metal backings. Blocks can be attached to one another, to the wall or left free floating for life-sized, living room game play. And no, the bottom line doesn’t disappear when you make that perfect configuration.
You can even pick the color for the backing (white, brown, blue, green, yellow, and gray). $1315.
And now I am in the middle of harvesting the produce of my garden. Whew. What a lot of preserving to be done. In addition to freezing a lot of produce, so far I’ve made pickles, zucchini pickles, blackberry jam, tomato sauce, zucchini and cucumber chips, zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini cake, blueberry ice cream, various soups, and more.
Here is my garden tally, as of the end-ish of July.
Blackberries: 30 (still going)
Strawberries: 60 (Still going)
Bumper blueberry crop this year. I made blueberry ice cream and gave the rest to Savvy Junior.
The strawberries are doing better since I dealt with the boxelder bugs.
I’m happy to get any currants since it’s a new plant. The raspberries, though… I don’t know what is wrong with them.
Lettuce (oz): 116
Pea Pods: 401
I finally (!!) figured out how to grow lettuce. This was a great achievement for me. In the past, my lettuce has tended to bolt, but this year, I got it to grow big and form heads. Hurrah.
The biggest disappointment was the beets. The variety I planted was oddly flavorless. I’m switching to a different variety this fall.
Crops That Are Still Going:
Cucumbers: 445 (!)
Spicy peppers: 25
I’m not sure I like multi-colored carrots. They look great, but don’t taste as sweet as regular orange carrots.
By using my outdoor ant trap, I kept the squash plants unusually healthy this year. My zucchini plants are slowing down, but still producing. Best of all, they aren’t covered with aphids and ants.
My favorite crop this year has been the dragon’s tongue beans. They produce a ton, taste great, and are so pretty.
The green beans did well too.
As usual, I’m excited about getting tomatoes.
Still To Come: Sweet Peppers, Scarlet Runner Beans, Melons, Winter Squash, Fennel Bulbs, Leeks, Figs, and Hops.
I’m fascinated with this Bottle Sling, which will hold the bottle for you during that brief period where the baby is too weak to hold the bottle himself.
(Obviously, you would not want to leave the baby alone with this device.)
I admit, this would have been handy to have awhile back, although I’m not sure it’s worth it for $40.
What do you think?
If you paint, here’s a simple way to store the paint tubes. According to the artist Nicholas Egon Jainschigg:
Basically, I just got tired of having my paint tubes festering in drawers, getting gummy from leaking oil and impossible to find when I needed them. The “system” such as it is, is just hanging the tubes up on readily-available “handbag clips” (technically “Binder Clips” so you can Google them) so you can see all the tubes at once and tell what’s there.
Get a board, hammer nails into it, then attach the binder clips to the ends of the paint tubes for easy hanging. It lets you organize and easily access your paint at the same time.
I mentioned before that cucumbers are great in drinks. Here are 3 Cucumber Cocktails:
Cucumber-Basil Gimlet Cocktail. Basil leaves, gin, cucumber juice, and lime.
Cucumber Fizz Cocktail. Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, cucumber, lemon, and club soda. This would be good with champagne too.
Watermelon-Cucumber Refresher from DIY Cocktails. Vodka or tequila, triple sec, watermelon, cucumber, mint, and lime.
Hey look, you can crochet pot holders using this pattern. I like them–they would make a great gift. The color possibilities are endless.
This shark-themed swimsuit made me smile. And $100 for a made-to-order swimsuit isn’t a bad price, either.