Talk about hot hot hot, oh boy has it been hot and humid this summer. I’ve started on the weeding of the garden, and the first section that I’ve been working on is the rows between the tomato plants. I figure that if I just work at weeding the garden one small section at a time, eventually I’ll be able to get the whole plat completed.
Toward the end of June, I planted some sweet corn seeds in the back section of the left hand side of the garden. Once again, this is a task that I should have completed months ago, but hey C’est la vie. Right now the stalks are about to my knee, so it will be a while before I have any ears for harvesting.
You’ll also notice that I tossed in a bunch of close up shots of the centennial hops. And by the looks of those cones, I’ll need to plan a brew session in the next couple of weeks to take advantage of these fresh cones. I’m think about maybe brewing a Kölsch style beer, with these hops. But since I’m in the pre-planning stage of the brew session, all ideas are welcome.
Well, I finally bothered to transplant all my seedlings into the garden. And for it being June 12th, this is by far the latest in the season that I’ve done my transplanting. We did end up having a freak hailstorm about a week ago, but it was only very small hail. But luckily for me, I cobbled together a make-shift shelter for all the seedlings to protect them from any damage.
In the pictures, you might notice a bunch of orange flags around the garden. I’ve lost the weeding war at this point in the season so I’ve resorted to tying orange caution tape onto bamboo skewers, and placing this homemade “flag” next to each plant. That way when I finally get around to actually weeding the garden, I’ll it least know where my seedlings are in the garden.
Also, check out the centennial hops, talk about a beast! If it keeps growing like this, I should have a bumper crop of cones.
Finally I’ve added a couple of pics of my neighbor’s “garden”. Since what he ended up doing, was just roto-tiling most of his backyard. There is a little bit of rhyme and reason to the layout, but mostly it has to do with not wanting to mow his backyard, so he got rid of the grass and put in the garden instead.
This group of pics is from 5 days later, compared to May 2011 part 01. Since for some reason, I ended up taking a lot of garden pictures at the end of May.
You can see, I’ve been a bad gardener this year, in that I still haven’t transplanted all my seedlings at this point in time. Call it paranoia on my part, since I’m still a little worried about a freak hailstorm. But the seedlings will be transplanted eventually, though a bit later in the season than expected.
You’ll also notice that the rhubarb and hops are doing very well at this point in the season. I’ve thought about trying to make rhubarb wine this year, so if anyone has a good recipe or tips, please drop a line in the comments.
Since I had to cut the lawn this weekend, it gave me a good excuse to bust out the string trimmer, and get the garden ready for transplanting all my seedlings. It only took me about half an hour to chop all the weeds to the ground, so now the garden is starting to look a little bit more like a garden.
In just under a month after trimming out the seed heads from the main rhubarb plant, it generated two more seed heads. This plant must ready want to go to seed this year, because its generating seed heads like crazy.
The hops are still doing their whole “growing thing” up the A-Frame. I’m kind of curious this year, to see what kind of cone production I get out of the hops. Since last years diagonally hops, didn’t really produce enough cones for a 5-gallon batch of homebrew. So hopefully my fortune will change this year.
These weeds are turning into the bane of my gardening existence, since they seem to be going at an exponential pace. I’ve already gone with a stirrup hoe on the left hand side of the garden, since the soil was a bit loose. But on the right hand side, which has all the onion, that soil is as firm as hell, so using the stirrup hoe was a big waste of time. Maybe next weekend, I’ll bust out the string trimmer, and really go to town on the right hand side of the garden.
But check out the hops! The Centennial is already at the ~10ft mark on the A-Frame, and its only been about two weeks since the last set of pics. Even the Golding is doing better this year compared to last year. Maybe it has something to do with all the heavy shade being provided by the surrounding rhubarb.
Seeing how last year was a complete failure in trying to grow hops diagonally, I’ve reconstructed the old EMT conduit A-Frame, since it was just sitting in a pile of parts in the backyard. And the reconstruction was just in the nick of time, since the Centennial is growing like gangbusters. The Golding is going on the slow side, but so far it’s doing better this year, then it was last year.
You’ll also notice that the rhubarb has already gone to seed, which is earlier than I was expecting. But none the less, all I did was take my pruners and just cut off the seed heads, since I don’t need the seeds, and the seed head also takes away from stalk production. But as the pics can attest, I’m not really in a shortage of rhubarb stalks this early in the season.
For some reason this year, the weeds are growing like crazy in the main garden. So I’ll have to finally bust out the stirrup hoe or string trimmer one of the nights and do some heavy duty weeding to get the garden ready for the May 20th transplant date.
It’s still a bit chilly outside, at this point in the year. But you can already see the hops, rhubarb & green onions starting to grow like crazy. I can just feel that summer is right around the corner.
At this point I’m shooting for a transplant date of May 20th, 2011, for all the seedlings that are growing in the house. And a few days after Mother’s Days, I’ll start the transplants for the corn & cucumbers, since they only need a day to germinate, and about 4 days before they are big enough to be transplanted outside.
Man oh man, look at all those weeds on the right hand side of the garden. It looks like its finally time to do a little bit of weeding in the garden, even though I haven’t been looking forward to the task. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
Overall, everything seems to be coming in nicely. The sweet corn and rhubarb are growing like gangbusters. The tomatoes finally seem to be growing well. Maybe in another week or so I’ll prune off all the suckers on the tomatoes, and string them up to the trellis. Continue reading →
Boy did I leave this beer in the secondary a long time, just shy of a month. But this time around I’m doing something a little different, in that I’m priming the entire 5 gallon batch of homebrew before bottling & kegging. I’ve had this discussion with JRR offline, but the gist of the conversation was about the pro & cons of kegging homebrew. With the major downside of kegging being the inconsistency in carbonation, when the homebrew is force carbonated.
So I’m using this Pumpkin Ale to test out if priming in a keg will produce a better carbonated product compared to force carbonation. Conceptually when you think about it, its like you are basically carbonating one giant bottle of beer, when dealing with a keg. Plus with priming the whole batch, it allows me to bottle part of the batch and keg the rest. I ended up only bottling 13 bottles of the Pumpkin Ale. Since I had 13 open slots in the cardboard case that currently has 11 bottles of the Dry Stout I made a while back. I guess we’ll see in a couple of weeks, the results of this little experiment. Wish me luck.
FG – 1.014
Priming ratio – 3/4 cup Corn Sugar (Dextrose) & 2 cups of water, with both brought to a boil
Brewed on 10/17/09
Racked to Secondary on 10/27/09
Bottled & Kegged on 11/21/09
Last week I ended up racking the Pumpkin beer to a glass secondary, and I took a quick FG reading and it was at 1.014. Which isn’t too shabby. At first I thought about saving the yeast from this batch, but as I kept racking the yeast between jugs. I just couldn’t remove all the spice aroma that the yeast was giving off, so I ended up having to dump it down the sink.
It’s a good thing that I saved some of the Wyeast 1056 yeast right out of the smack pack, so that it could be deposited in my personal “yeast bank” in the back of my kitchen refrigerator.
I’ll give the beer another week or two in the secondary, or basically until I can free up some space in the kegerator, which currently has a 1/2 barrel of BL (which was free) and three corny kegs of homebrew (JRR’s stuff, IPA & dry stout.)