Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Banana Squash That Ate Los Cerrittos

I've grown banana squash for many, many years. I have never had one grow to the length or mass of these two. I have never had one produce like this either. What started as two small plants from Green Acres nursery on Galleria have transformed into 2 giant monsters that have covered 22' foot section of 6' high fence front and back. They also covered a 3' X 16" section of picket fence. Not content to reside in my yard only they covered the east neighbor's side of the 6' fence, snuck through the corner opening and have grown north 12' into one neighbors yard while producing a huge pink squash and also headed northeast into another neighbors yard 12-15'. I have already harvested 10 15 pound plus squash and have 10 more on the vine almost ready to pick. This beast continues to flower and set fruit continuously. It covered and strangled two Goliath Sunflower plants as well as trying to strangle my bell pepper plants. If left oncontrolled it would of taken over my whole garden section back there. I'm going to be eating alot of delicious pink banana squash this winter and giving just as much away. This has got to be far and away my biggest success for the garden this season.

View of 6'X 22' section

Picket fence section

Neighbor to the east.

Northern Neighbor

A Few Fruits


My new frugal wood planters next to the garbage cans I used to experiment with growing potatoes in them.
new planters

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Quick 2 Weeks

Wow the last 2 weeks have flown by. I spent the weekend a week ago chasing Bambi with a stick and string while trying to forget my wages were getting cut 5%. After that was some yard clean up and getting an opportunity to meet my new neighbor. The foreclosure next to me finally sold. Woo hoo only one yard to mow and water now. That should give me lots more time to dedicate to my garden. I spent this friday building my frugal raised bed planters to put my fall potates in. I begrudginly stained them with redwood stain to make them last longer. I prefer the weathered look of natural redwood. It also killed me not to overbuild them since I had a business making planters, outdoor furniture, decks and fences for 10 years. I forced myself to stick to my frugal budget. Two 3'X 6' planters stained and ready to go cost less than $60. I have enough stain and screws left for 2 more also. This winter I'll build 4 more along the fence. Saturday was low angle rescue training for the fire department so no garden things. Today was spent planting carrot, radish, kale and lettuce seeds in the root vegetable garden. I left a spot for successive plantings of radishes plus some onions along the edge.
The potatoes are sprouting eyes and will go in the ground this week. My cauliflower and broccolli seedlings are looking quite spindly since I started them in the house and they are searching for sunlight. I decided to start back on wheatgrass so I've got a few trays started.

The root bed planted and ready to grow.
root veg bed

Potatoes getting eyes.

I've been eyeing this old rusty wheelbarrow for years at my neighbors. I thought it would make a good flower planter for my wife. They gave it to me when they lost their place. I decided to use it for lettuce for now. I filled it with #382 organic planting mix from Sierra Nursery on Douglas. Note to self: Prewet dry planting mix prior to planting seed as water does not readily mix into bone dry mix.
portable lettuce bed

What a wierd year. This is the latest I've ever got Early Girl tomatoes.
early girl

Summer squash still going strong.

Next time: The Banana Squash plant that ate Central Roseville (or atleast 3 of my neighbors yards) and some nonblurry pics of my new planters.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Finnally Another Garden Post

I spent most of the weekend working on clearing a spot for the fall garden, doing some maintenance and repairs on the trailer and also some dreaded yard work. The trailer required some Snowroof as I have never fully coated the roof only treated the leaks. I also tried to be frugal and bought a toilet valve off Ebay to hopefully fix the problem with it. It did fix the problem however another one popped up and it will be easier, yet more expensive, to just replace the old toilet with a new one. I.m down to just a couple of more trailer "fixes" and she'll be a gem.
The garden work consisted of harvesting quite a few eggplant first. After that I dumped the soil out of my garbage can potato growers and planned to level it out and get ready to plant. However I have decided to build some frugal Bill Bird style raised planters. I will eventually put 32' worth along my fence. For now I am going to put in 16' worth for a fall lettuce bed and maybe sugar snap peas. In my old garden area I added 6" of sand and 6" of compost. I will add 2-3 bags of steer manure and till it all together to improve my root vegetable bed. I also took out all the dead sunflowers and weeded to make way for broccolli, cabbage, and cauliflower. I need to get my seeds started tomorrow night and till in the root vegetable bed and get it planted.

The root vegetable bed ready for steer manure and tilling.
root vegetable bed

The compost awaiting the Bill Bird style raised beds.
raised beds

Room made for fall brocolli, cauliflower and cabbage.


The last living sunflower.
last sunflower

I have been trying to get pictures of the finches that come to eat seeds but only have got one of this humming bird.


The ham.

Filthy legs but a garden work cleansed soul.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A last Time Rockfishing this Spot at the Farallons

I put off finishing the repairs on the trailer and getting the old garden plants out and getting ready for a fall garden to enjoy some rockfish fishing. With thursdays DFG Commission vote being spurred on by a possible forced resignation and last minute appointment by Arnold"The Horrible" Governor, 30 areas will be closed to any human interaction (fishing, hunting, or diving) except driving over them in a boat. All the above mentioned activities are so regulated that their impact is negligible. These individuals thinking they can return California to a state of 100 years ago will ruin this state and the state economy. Enough of the soapbox.

We headed out from Roseville at 3:30 am bound for Emeryville and the New Salmon Queen charter boat. I took a motion sickness strip the night before and another in the morning. I have never tried this brand before. We payed, boarded the boat, got bait loaded, and headed out for the 3 hour ride to the Farallon Islands. Once out there the fishing was great. There were limits for all of olives, blues, coppers, browns, reds and even a couple of lings for one lucky angler. We were done out at the Farallons in 2 hours so we headed back to the bay to try a little halibut fishing even though the tides were not perfect. I slept all the way back with only a couple of wakeups. Only 2 halibut were caught and the only legal sized, 24" long, went to the afore mentioned lucky angler. I always love coming into the Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge and passed Alcatraz. After the trip I could barely stay awake on the way home. I dozed off several times. Thank god I did not have to drive. I never left the couch after getting home and went to bed by 10 and slept until 8 a.m. Needless to say I'll never use that brand of motion sickness medicine again. I am looking forward to any meals of rockfish fillets to include tacos and a fish stew. Now back to work on fixing the trailer, pulling garden plants that are done, weeding, and getting my broccolli, etc. seedlings started.

Friend and son's reds
phil and ben

Coming up to the Golden Gate
golden gate

Peninsula in the Bay. I would guess these homes are not priced for the frugal.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Few More Pics of Fort Bragg

Sign at entrance of Green Acres

Another entrance sign

Trailer from kids tent

Camp from tent

Picking black berries

Monday, August 3, 2009

As The Garden Turns

After returning from a much needed vacation it is time to return my attention to morphing the garden from summer to fall. The sunflowers are done growing, the dill has went to seed and the bell peppers are not continuing to flower with this cooler weather. The tomatoes continue to produce even though it is cool. It's time to start seedlings for broccolli, cauliflower and cabbage. I want to try some fall potatoes that need to go in now so they will be ready for a november harvest. I need to have a clear spot to plant sugar snap peas come november. First things first is to pull the sunflowers and thoroughly weed the areas so they'll be ready when the seedlings are. I'm going to add sand and steer manure to my carrot and radish area and I'm going to build a few planters to grow lettuce so it will no longer take up room in the main garden.

My son did a great job of keeping everything watered. He probably did a little too well of a job of giving away the tomatoes as evidenced by the small amount I was able to harvest today.
8/3 harvest

The tomatoes continue to grow and produce.


The squash continues to grow and produce as well.

Time to pull these sunflowers and prepare for cauliflower and broccolli.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Coast, Too Much Frugality, A 30 Year Old Trailer, and Rest

Started the much needed summer vacation tuesday morning in a caravan with 2 friends in RVs also. Just about Dunnigan I found out I'd been a little too wishful and frugal thinking I could make it one more trip on my tires. I had one tire shred to pieces. I put on the spare and decided to not chance it but to head back to Woodland to purchase 4 new tires. By the time I made Les Scwabs I had another flat. Big props to Les Scwabs for getting me back on the road within an hour and a half. $570 poorer I headed for Fort Bragg. The rest of the ride there went smoothly. After setting up at Green Acres campground I noticed water was soaking my carpet. The mountain bike packs shoved in a bottom compartment had broken a 30 year old water hose "T". A trip to the Fort Bragg RV store and $30 later I was set to install my new set up. While installing the 2 "T"s I had fabricated I accidentally broke a 3rd one. Another trip to the RV store and $7 and I finished the install. During this whole "project" I discovered my toilet valve was allowing water into the tank continuously. Since the RV guy said the replacement valve was no longer available (30 year old toilet) the decision was made to turn the shutoff valve on the toilet and use the campground bathrooms exclusively, even when awaking at 3a.m. still full of ales, Long Island Ice Teas, and shots of Cabo Wabo Anejo. After the initial mishaps the time at Fort Bragg was wonderful with beach walks, mountain biking, walking the shops, visiting, wildlife watching, and playing Ladder Toss. We had great camp made meals including veggies brought from home as well as a trip to Jenny Giant Burger and the Lost Coast Brewery Brew Room Restaurant. The funniest event of the trip was when the beverage girl at Lost Coast dropped a Diet Coke in my wife lap. It was also good for alot of free food for my wife. This morning came too soon and we packed to return to Roseville. On the way back the fender skirt on the trailer came loose and I had to stop and repair that. We arrived home and I discovered a couple of things inside that had come loose. Now I have alot of trailer repairs to do in addition to getting my fall seedlings started. I think in 4 years when my youngest is done with college I might have to move up to a 20 year old trailer. Here's a few pictures from the trip. I'll write up an entry on the garden later.

California Quail

Small Forked Horn Coastal Blacktail



fog westport

My second and third generation cousins fishing for grunion

An old piano put out to pasture