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Thank you for everyone who sent in a pic for our 1st Ever Ugly Tomato Contest. Please view the pictures below and vote for your favorite-most ugly tomato. The winner will receive a $20 Gift Certificate to The Zoey Zoo (great 1 of a kind whimsical illustrations with themes such as animals, insects , vegetables and more!) and 5 packets of heirloom seeds from Baker Creek Seeds.  Runner up will receive a prize as well.

Vote as often as you like. Post on Your Blog of Facebook Page and get voting. Winners will be announced in two weeks on September 23rd. Just click on the poll with the number of the picture you like. You can vote for up to 3 tomatoes at once. Good Luck Finalists!

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When Should I pick edamame or soybeans? Harvest soybeans the moment you see the bottom leaves start to turn yellow but the rest of the plant is green. The entire plant will turn rapidly so don’t waste any time because the beans will be too tough to eat. Pick em fast (see pics below) 1 day and they can turn brown.

How do I store fresh picked edamame or soybeans? Here are some easy steps to save edamame:
1. Bring pot of water to a boil. Boil beans for 5 minutes – This stops the enzymes and maturation process.
2. Remove from water and dry with a paper towel – By drying them they won’t all be stuck together in the freezer.
3. Place beans in freezer bag and store in freezer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great picture taken by Studio SPC


Stop……Pepper time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other stuff growing on the farm this week:

 

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The pumpkin patch is beaming with life! I love to watch the pumpkins grow. One day there’s a little pumpkin the size of a golf ball, 2 days later it’s the size of a softball. I hope your pumpkins are doing great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jack-Be-Little’s are turning orange already. How are your sunflowers?

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Aphids and aphid mummies on the underside of a nasturtium leaf (smoky gray aphids, tan puffy aphid mummies)

For some gardeners, the mere sight of aphids on their beloved plants is a call to action. They grab the closest bottle of poison and squirt the aphids into oblivion. What many gardeners don’t realize is that aphids are the food of choice for an assortment of beneficial insects. These good bugs are likely hard at work among every aphid infestation, munching, laying eggs for the next generation inside their unsuspecting prey, or sucking the aphid carcasses dry. One squirt from the bottle of insecticide will kill some (not all) of the aphids, and most of the beneficial insects.

If only we could easily tell at first glance that beneficial insects are on the scene! They don’t wear white hats or wave flags to alert gardeners to their presence. Instead, beneficial insects creep, crawl and squirm across our plants, often appearing as if they could be the cause of damage, not the cure.

Take hover fly larvae, for example. As adults, these bee-mimics visit flowers, feeding on nectar and pollen. When the female finds an aphid population, she lays her eggs on the infested plant. Like all flies, the hover fly juvenile stage is a maggot, in this case a small maggot that feeds on aphids. The legless, semi-transparent hover fly larva hardly looks the part of a beneficial insect, but each individual can eat dozens of aphids every day.

Lady beetle eggs (yellow) on a purple leaf plum leaf.

Another aphid-killer that feeds in the larval stage is the lacewing. As adults, these delicate insects with netted wings feed mainly on pollen and nectar. Lacewing larvae, sometimes called “aphid-lions”, are efficient predators, stalking down aphids and piercing them with their hooked jaws. After removing the contents from the aphid’s body, the lacewing larva casts aside the empty aphid carcass, and heads off in search of another victim.

Ladybird beetles are also voracious predators of aphids, feeding in both the adult and the larval stage. Like hover flies, ladybird beetles (also known as ladybugs) will lay their yellow, spindle-shaped eggs on plants that have active aphid colonies. The beetle larvae look nothing like the adult ladybug. They are spiny and elongated, sometimes compared to baby alligators.  These active hunters crawl over leaves and across stems to find their next meal.

Parasitic wasps are another group of aphid-eating insects unlikely to be noticed by the uninitiated. The tiny female wasp stings individual aphids, laying an egg inside the aphid’s body. The egg hatches into a wasp larva, which eats the aphid from the inside, killing its victim and causing its body to become papery and swollen. These so-called “aphid mummies” can be seen in aphid colonies; some mummies will have a round hole where the adult wasp emerged to begin the cycle again.

Lady beetle larva

When the gardener rushes for the bottle of insecticide, the predators will likely be killed, but surely not every aphid will die. Since aphids can be born pregnant with their granddaughters, their populations can skyrocket in the absence of beneficial insects.

These aphid predators will in time bring balance to the garden, keeping aphid populations down to a dull roar. If the predators are allowed to complete their lives in the garden – meaning the gardener has provided a habitat with plenty of flowers and a few aphids to feed upon – they are likely to stick around, ready to feed on any future aphid outbreaks.

So the next time you see aphids, grab a magnifying glass and take a closer look. Chances are, the good guys are already on the scene.

Thank You Denise for your Guest Blog!

Fans are invited to join the OSU BeeLab contact list for updates and workshop offerings. Follow my bee blog at www.OSUpollination.com
Denise Ellsworth
honey bee and native pollinator education
OSU Department of Entomology

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You’ve grown them. You’ve saved them to show to friends. Or maybe you were somewhat put off and chucked into the woods to spare ridicule. Now, The Soulsby Farm gives you the “First Ever Ugly Tomato Contest” Submit your photo of the ugliest/mutated/ infected/conjoined/ tumor ridden monster and our panel will pick out favorites and post them for you to vote on. The winner  and runner-up will get some cool prizes and bragging rights.

To Enter:

  1. Contest Open to Followers of the Soulsby Blog (if you haven’t haven’t signed up for the email subscription do it before you enter) and Soulsby Farm Facebook friends (like Us and enter) You don’t have to be both but we like our FB Page too.
  2. You or a friend must have grown the tomato and taken the picture, so don’t be lame and search Google for ‘ugly tomato’ cause we’ll find you.
  3. Email your photo to ugly.tomato@yahoo.com
  4. All pictures must be received by August 31st, 2012
  5. We’ll post the ugliest of the ugliest on September 2nd and voting will go for 2 Weeks Ending September 16th when we announce the winners.
  6. Good Luck Everyone!

To sum it up, email us your ugly tomato photo to: ugly.tomato@yahoo.com and check back to see if you made the Top list to be voted upon.

 

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If the garden thermometer had a setting that read “hot as balls” that’s what it would have read the past 3 days. Scorching heat with the heat index hitting 107 degrees by 9:00am. The heat wave has consumed most of the Midwest but has past on today, you’re welcome New York and Philly.

Thank You to Farm n Wife for doing a quick piece on us. See it here.

Here’s a bunch of pics of how the garden is doing.

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