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    One other thing, this is from this morning's picking... mostly peppers, but also the last of the squash, both Summer and Winter squash... We have a little more canning to do on peppers I guess... Probably will freeze dry a lot of them too... much easier and when used for cooking, when re-hydrated, they're exactly like fresh peppers!! We are lovin' this freeze dryer!!

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    Last edited by SaltwaterSlick; 07-15-2023, 06:28 PM.

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      looking good ss!

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        This heat's been brutal on everything. I've got about 2/3 of my stuff covered, but even with that and watering a ton, my cukes gave up the ghost. Everything else is still alive, just not kicking out veggies like they will when it cools off some. We got a nice rain shower yesterday afternoon that cooled things off a bit, which was nice.

        Peppers are rocking though, so I've been making a bunch of different sauces. Here's a random picking of ghost, scotch bonnets, sugar rush peach, a baklouti, and a bunch of aji crystals. I fermented the crystals for a couple weeks and made a sauce with them yesterday. They've got a great smoky flavor with a nice kick. I ate half the bottle of sauce I made with them yesterday though. Luckily, those plants are super productive, so I have a ton more on the way.

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        Left to right in this one we have knock off sriracha, mango habanero, green jalapeno, sriracha, and K. Lane's Sweet 'N Hot Habanero Pepper sauce from the Recipe section. That recipe is dynamite if you like the heat. I'm going to make a mild version of it later this summer once my haba-nada's ripen up, for my wife and others that can't take the heat
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        I'll get a couple more pepper ferments going and a few different sauces either later this week or into next weekend.
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        Last edited by MooseontheLoose; 07-26-2023, 04:45 PM.

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          Anybody else have fire ants on okra blooms and veg? I tried neem oil. No good.

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            Dang Moose... no pics came thru!! Try it again! Would love to see them! We just put a load of peppers in the freeze dryer. Third load I think. This one is mostly bell peppers and sweet peppers. Next in line is a load of banana, sweet cherry peppers, Bever Dam peppers along with a couple trays of Colossus Jalapenos. did 3 batches of Jalapeno jelly today... That's 19 jars! (mostly half pints)...
            Peppers is about all I have doing anything and even they are struggling. Next year, I will be set up for sun shades too. I'm pouring the water to 'em too daily with the drip system. Just want to get them thru to Fall so they'll get cranked up again... Bag garden has been greatly reduced. We took out one of the two plots completely to rework the ground and raise it a bit so it will drain better. Went from 245 bags down to 78 and they are all peppers.

            This was the pepper and mater plot... Now down to dirt with the new dirt ready for me to spread out.
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            Here's the pepper plot.


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            This is the peppers we just started in the freeze dryer. Probably take about 40 hours to get them completely processed...

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            This is the last picking of Jalapenos the we turned into salsa with our last tomatoes, jalapeno jelly, pickled sliced and whole jalapenos and freeze dried jalapenos.

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            These are the mixed sweets with a few jalapenos and poblanos. The poblanos were either used for making chili relleno casserole or just roasted skinned and frozen for future use.

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            We do have a second planting of purple hull peas that is almost ready to pick so we'll get some more for the freezer, then will till those into the plot. Field peas is one of the best crops for fixating nitrogen in the soil... Will till the peas in, spread out a bit of mushroom compost and alfalfa pellets, then till all that in and cover until ready to plant...

            Also had 120 yards of top soil delivered last week so I can get more row crops in the ground. Should result in 4 in-ground plots about 40 feet square. Trying to mitigate the water issue when we get all those Spring rains that flood the garden... I've got a small mountain in the back yard now!! Gonna level it out and plant on top of it!!

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            That freeze dryer has been a lifesaver (and freezer space saver!). It has been running for 2 months non-stop... Here's some of what we've processed. All that purple powder in the quart jars is blackberries, On the left is a half batch of freeze dried raw eggs. On the right is one batch (6 quarts) of sliced tomatoes, and one quart of powdered freeze dried tomatoes. The tomatoes are really cool. Those slices are chips you can eat right out of the jar. They're crispy like a potato chip, but taste exactly like a tomato, with the flavor enhanced/concentrated. You can actually use them on a hamburger and they add the taste just like a fresh sliced tomato only they don't get your bun soggy!! The powder was made from pureed tomatoes in a blender then freeze dried and put back into the blender to make a powder. With this powder, you can make tomato paste, tomato sauce, or tomato juice depending solely depending on the amount of water you add to the powder to rehydrate the powder!! The eggs are the same way. 2 tablespoons of powder and 2 tablespoons of water equals one egg. Put both in a bowl/cup and stir, let sit for a minute or two and it is a raw egg again that looks and behaves and tastes just like you cracked a fresh egg and put it in the bowl!! Wife did another full batch of eggs this past weekend while I was at the ranch filling feeders and sweating my arse off!! Those 4 jars are not in the pics.
            The black tubs below 2 are empty still, but 2 are cram full of Mylar bags of some sliced squash, chopped squash, sliced tomatoes and stewed tomatoes, and probably a couple other things I can't remember right now... We made freeze dried ice cream and what a treat that was!! The grandsons thought that was pretty awesome to eat "Astronaut Ice cream"! Done several different loads of candies too for them. The best for me was Bit-O-Honey! It puffed up really big and when eaten, it dissolves to nothing in your mouth but with intense flavor! The grandsons liked the skittles that everyone does...

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            The Bit-O-Honey and skittles... (along with gummy bears and a few other things).

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            Not sure what all we have water bath canned this year, but it's been a bunch!! This is a closet in a guest bedroom where we are storing it until I finish out the freeze drying/caning room where it will ultimately be stored. Plus a few other random shots of specific batches... My favorite for eye appeal I think are the canned whole jalapenos with carrots and onions/garlic.

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            Will put the skin on the greenhouse next week and it will be ready to start the Fall seeds in Late August and all through September... Frame is complete and water and electric/lights are all done and functional. Terrocatta floor turned out really nice... now I'll not want to mess it up with dirt and stuff when doing seed starting!!

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              Originally posted by Texas Grown View Post
              Anybody else have fire ants on okra blooms and veg? I tried neem oil. No good.
              Yep, gotta get rid of them from the ground, or that's how we do it... Spray Bug Buster II (has a pyrethrin) that zaps 'em before they every climb on the plants. We have fire ants bad so have to spray preventive before they get started.

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                Well I am finding that my organic gardening is running into some flaws. I have been on the no till method for almost 3 years now. But am noticing all my plants (especially beans) can't make it above a foot tall before they yellow and wither away. Appears I have no nitrogen in my soil. I was under the impression this was kinda a set it and forget it type of growing method where the microorganisms and worms would provide everything neccessary as long as I left it all alone. Appears I will still need to supplement this gardening style. Going to try to find some organic liquid nitrogen to instantly take care of the situation and prevent further loss. But also going to have to find a way to create it myself going forward either with adding something to my compost or trying that compost tea stuff. Anyhoo...thanks for listening.

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                  Do a little research on cover crops that are nitrogen fixers/boosters and plant that, then mow it before it goes to seed, cover it with a silage tarp and give it time to incorporate into your soil. You can also add alfalfa pellets (horse feed) that is certified safe to use in the garden(no herbicides used while growing/processing). We are doing these things plus I till in the cover crop. Field peas make an excellent cover crop that you can actually eat!

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                    Yup.. Alfalfa seems to be the Home reply from the google machine to fix the nitrogen problem organically. Will be giving that a shot. I have let my garden intentionally go as far as not weeding, That was mainly to hold in moisture through this hottest part of year and not just completely bake my soil and its nutrients. But that has had a downside also. Mice and rats. I shot a rat in the garden yesterday after work that was the size of a beaver.

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                      Not sure why my pics weren't showing up. They worked on my end for the last couple days now they were gone again. Must be server gremlins. Tried to edit the post again and see if that worked.

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                        Originally posted by MooseontheLoose View Post
                        Not sure why my pics weren't showing up. They worked on my end for the last couple days now they were gone again. Must be server gremlins. Tried to edit the post again and see if that worked.
                        They're there now and VERY NICE!! Those pepper sauce bottles are just flat awesome! Been thinking about trying to grow plain old Tabasco peppers like they grow on Avery Island to see if I could make Tabasco sauce! I'm not a real fire 'n heat pepper guy as evidenced in the pepper varieties I grew, but I would like to do something with those Tabasco's. Would like to grow some real Korean chili's, serrano's and such. Grew 2 varieties of Cayenne peppers last year, dried them and chopped 1/2 of them. Left the other half whole and packed in jars... Used some of the chopped up ones to make Korean Kimchi and It was so hot I couldn't eat it. Hottest Cayenne peppers I ever witnessed!!

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                          First picture was March 11. The other pictures are today. Our small garden has tomatoes, onions, beets, cabbage, cucumbers, acorn squash, butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini, pole beans, potatoes, cantaloupes, brussel sprouts, and broccoli. We also have wild black berry, wild black raspberry, and ditch asparagus. This spring we harvested morel mushrooms and golden oyster mushrooms.

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                            Too hot to do anything right now except grow peppers, grow bucks, and wait for teal to come back.
                            Here’s a few recent pics from my end.


                            Taters

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                            Maters & Squishes

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                            Wife has some big loofahs growing

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                            Big Ol' Crystals

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                            Bananas

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                            Serranos

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                            Scotch Bonnets

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                            Reaper

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                            Mangos

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                            Datils

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                            Thai Chilis

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                            Candied Jalapenos

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                            Pepper Harvest 1 – From L to R, Top – Sugar Rush Peach, Datil, Aji Mango, Baklouti. Bottom – Aji Crystal, Banana, Scotch Bonnet, Carolina Reaper.

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                            Pepper Harvest 2 – Datil, Thai Chili, Serrano


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                            Salsa Day – L to R – Sugar Peach Ferment, Aji Crystal Ferment, tomato sauce, Scotch Bonnet Sauce (bottom) Candied Banana Peppers (top), Candied Jalapenos, Datil sauce, and Aji Mango ferment.


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                              Has anyone tried/ been successful with raspberries in the Houston area? I want to say Randy Lemmon said it could be done but was not easy.

                              I’ve tried for a few years and the prima-canes grow well until July and then the heat seems to kill them within about a week.

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                                Im just struggling to keep my okra growin and my pumpkin plants. I have lawn chairs placed over every pumpkin plant just to keep thrm alive (Shade). Hoping they take off when the september cold fronts start rolling in. They havent progressed in 3 weeks....but they aint dead either.

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