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.
Over this past weekend, I finally transplanted all the seedlings that I grew. Unfortunately I ran into a bit of an issue, since almost all the seedlings developed a bad case of sunburn on their leaves. Guess I shouldn’t have given the seedlings full sun right off the bat, since I put them out for the full day on Friday the 14th.
Last year my issue was “damping off” (see here & here), and now this year sunburns. Man if it isn’t one thing its another.
After months and months of sitting in the secondary fermentor, I finally transferred the red rye ale to a keg for consumption. This beer was ready to go at least two months ago. And with a FG of 1.020, the extra months in the second really did nothing to drop the FG into the target range of 1.010 to 1.014.
I could only resist about 24 hours, before giving this beer a small taste. And I have to say; this has to be my best beer to date. It actually tasted pretty close to something I might have at a local brewpub, which is pretty amazing to me. Overall, I’m really digging on the hint of rye flavor that you taste in this beer. So the recipe for this beer is definitely a keeper in my book.
For the last couple of weeks I was on the fence (literally) about whether to add some more space to the garden, another 8′ by 16′ to be exact. Well I finally pulled the trigger on the idea, but I ended up executing the idea a little bit differently than the last time that I added onto the garden.
Usually I would take my pick/maddox and grub all the grass off the surface, which is a very time consuming and labor intensive task. So as I was looking at the space an idea popped into my head out of the blue, burn out all the grass out with my propane flame thrower! I was only able to get about 1/2 the plot done, since a rain storm ended up rolling in on Saturday afternoon. And last I checked, propane and lighting don’t mix. But for the half that I did end up getting done before the storm, it only took me about 35 minutes to get it done and that was even with the grass still being slightly wet from the rolling rain storms.
With just a little bit more burning to go this week, I’ll finally be able to plant up all the seeds for the sweet corn and the beans/snow peas in the ground.