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I've replaced two RV fridges over the years, never thought about keeping one as a germinator / incubator! Great idea!

Mike
 

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We moved to a new house at the end of 2020, after having had an excellent 100' x 300' garden at the old place, and struggling to even grow weeds here at the new place in 2021. We're planning to do heavy soil amendment this year to restore the poor soil, and will likely put up some raised beds so we can grow something in the mean time.
 

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Sounds like a good plan. I had nothing but rocks after clearing out a forested area when we moved in here, so I paid to have a dump truck load of loam to create an "instant" garden.

Mike
 
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I've replaced two RV fridges over the years, never thought about keeping one as a germinator / incubator! Great idea!

Mike
The only bad thing about these fridge's is, they're sort of small, and the freezer compartment has to be removed. On the plus side, it's small enough NOT to stick out like a sore thumb.

I have in mind, looking out for like a 17-18 cu. ft. freezer that has bit the dust. Wide open space, and a lot more shelves to set trays on, maybe 2-3 trays to a shelf. What I have will start most of what I have now, as quick as they germinate. Will see how the flowered plants do, at trying to move them. Marigolds are also great for attracting pollinators. I've started a few Yucca plants, using the freezer bag/coffee filter method too. Got the seeds from one here, Mom planted probably back in the 60's. They seem to be a semi-popular yard plant here, that doesn't take much, if any care care.
 

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Hi @sonny ...glad you are posting again and hope you start feeling a lot better...I don't really have much space, but I have some garlic in from around September, and I had some lettuce still until it got really cold earlier this week...all wilted now...Happy Gardening and lush harvests to all
 

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I grew marigolds in between my tomatoes . If anything they break it up a bit and add color . They grew back volunteer this year and stayed in bloom all summer and the bees loved them . I really like ornamental peppers like thi hot and black pearl , and there was another that had small chyanne shaped peppers on them . If a person liked a little heat around they were all you needed . The black pearl would turn different colors . If a person could have them in fruit by the 4 of July they would make good table top decorations .
 

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Going to try to start my own Marigold's from seed I picked from what I grew last year. I've read in the past where those and Nasturtiums will deter Deer away from the garden. I started 40 of each from purchased seed last year in trays, and planted across the one end at the road the. It did seem to steer them away, but they just came in from a different direction, LOL... I'll set some along the one side they are now coming in from.
I had Marigold planted around all of my corn in 2 different beds last year, one plant at the end of every corn row and along the edges also so basically every 2 1/2 feet around both beds. The deer (one doe and brought a friend along for the dinner till the end of the season) did not seem to care at all. It wouldn't be bad if they just kept eating the same ear, but they nibble and move on to the next. Not just the edges either, they trampled through the rows damaging even more. I mixed up garlic powder and cayenne powder and shook it on the silk of every ear, that deterred them until it rained enough to wash it off then I had to reapply. I've also read where deer do not like Lavender so I will have some of those this year along with the Marigold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I never had any luck with plants detering deer or rabbits and I tried it all. Some guys claim it works for them but in this area it dont. Electric fence is the easiest to put up for deer. One year I even put up 3 strands of electric rope for rabbits and it worked on them big time!lol!
Varmints are our worst problem here. We have 4 acres in the main garden with regular woven wire around it to keep coyotes out as they will destroy a garden overnight. We had them take 40 pound watermelons off and destroy them. also sweetcorn is top on their list! Deer has stayed out of the fenced garden but bother the other 2 gardens that are open.
 

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I never had any luck with plants detering deer or rabbits and I tried it all. Some guys claim it works for them but in this area it dont. Electric fence is the easiest to put up for deer. One year I even put up 3 strands of electric rope for rabbits and it worked on them big time!lol!
Varmints are our worst problem here. We have 4 acres in the main garden with regular woven wire around it to keep coyotes out as they will destroy a garden overnight. We had them take 40 pound watermelons off and destroy them. also sweetcorn is top on their list! Deer has stayed out of the fenced garden but bother the other 2 gardens that are open.
I would not have seen coyotes as being a problem. Raccoons yes will strip a sweet corn patch in no time.
 

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I had Marigold planted around all of my corn in 2 different beds last year, one plant at the end of every corn row and along the edges also so basically every 2 1/2 feet around both beds. The deer (one doe and brought a friend along for the dinner till the end of the season) did not seem to care at all. It wouldn't be bad if they just kept eating the same ear, but they nibble and move on to the next. Not just the edges either, they trampled through the rows damaging even more. I mixed up garlic powder and cayenne powder and shook it on the silk of every ear, that deterred them until it rained enough to wash it off then I had to reapply. I've also read where deer do not like Lavender so I will have some of those this year along with the Marigold.
I planted 50, 2' apart, with a Nasturtium planted in between those. I did put up a permanent, 3 strand electric fence, from 8" off the ground, to 5' off the ground up 2 years ago, even at that, one will occasionally jump over the fence, but was around the side, with no flowers. So I'll try this, and see what happens. I've also read where some smear a bit of peanut butter on wires, so they get a good tickle. I may try that, before plants get tall enough to be inviting.

I have 8-9 every evening grazing, then bedding down for the night in my small 4 acre hayfield. Those never seem to come up to the garden, they seem to like the Alfalfa, and Clover better. The other 4-5 come up along the fence by the pasture, past the garden, then up though the neighbors, on their way to a Metro Park a 1/4 mile away. I'm half way between that Metro Park to the North, and a 250 acre apple orchard to the South. Apparently a stop over point to grab a snack, before heading on home.
 

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Love gardening season! I like to start my own tomato plants, so I'm thinking of upgrading my grow lights from fluorescents to LED. Don't really think they'll be that much better though. Small garden, about 100' x 100' but I'm 69, about all I want to care for, wife helps too. I hire it plowed and tilled, then I take care of it with my Poulan Pro rear tine tiller, about 18 yo, but still does a good job.

Put out about five rows of Ambrosia sweet corn, freeze some, eat a lot of it, give away a lot. Love tomatoes! Brandywines are my favorite. Put out around 36 of those and then whatever else I decide to plant, think I'll put out some German Johnsons, had a few of those last year and they were a good tomato. Anyone ever raised a San Marzano tomato? Supposed to be a good tomato for sauces and juice. We've made juice before, but can't get enough of the seeds out to suit me. These San Marzano are supposedly easy to remove the seeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I keep live traps out for whatever I can entice to go in them,---IF its a stray cat I let him out but anything else is disposed of!
Coyotes are a MAJOR problem here since nobody hunts anymore. I am not able to go hunting or trapping and there is no market for furs here, so the varmints overpopulate and destroy everything in sight and nothing will stop or deter them except lead from 12ga!
Wife has our onion and sweet potato plants on order and paid for. 30 bunches of onions and 500 sweet potato plants. Neighbor wants 12 bunches of onion plants so that cuts down on our planting somewhat. Case lots of 30 bunches is the only way to buy and 500 potato plant lots give you the best price.
Getting together with friends and neighbors and combine your orders does save a LOT of money. Also bigger orders get more attention and you get the best quality plants and good packing for your order.
We start most of our plants in this hotbed on the south side of our house and IF the seeds come up, we have tons of plants for our gardens.
Still need to do some work on the 340 hydraulic valve to the rear lift. It blew a pipe and I never got it fixed last year. also started putting my 504 motor back together so maybe I can get it finished for spring tiller use.
We are still going to try planting as much of the big garden as we can so we can have produce for the local food bank. Last year we sent over 10,000 pounds of veggies to them and they made use of all of it. They run 5 semis all over the country where there is a disaster and hand out food so that makes me feel good that we can help others by sharing what we grow.
I had x-rays and mri's the other day and the nuro surgery doc. says it looks like slice-n-dice time again! Neck, lower spine, and left hip are on the list so hope she can fix me again so I can do one more season.

On san marzano tomatoes,--we have grown them for years and they are meaty for sure. Kinda like Roma's which are also good.
For making juice, we cook the tomatoes til really soft in our 20 quart stock pot, then dip them out and run them thru a colander and you wont have 1 seed in your juice. ----- just thick pulp and juice and then add your seasonings to that. We add a splash of vinegar a little salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder IF you have it and that makes some killer juice! We have some that we put up in 2015 that is super good today! -- seams like when it ages it gets better for some reason!
 

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On san marzano tomatoes,--we have grown them for years and they are meaty for sure. Kinda like Roma's which are also good.
For making juice, we cook the tomatoes til really soft in our 20 quart stock pot, then dip them out and run them thru a colander and you wont have 1 seed in your juice. ----- just thick pulp and juice and then add your seasonings to that. We add a splash of vinegar a little salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder IF you have it and that makes some killer juice! We have some that we put up in 2015 that is super good today! -- seams like when it ages it gets better for some reason!
Are you talking about one of the old fashion colanders? Cone shaped with holes and use a pedestal to work up the tomatoes? I helped my mom use one of those many years ago, I was tougher back then.

Varmints are for sure a nuisance. I have to put 3' high chicken wire around my garden to keep out rabbits and an electric fence for deer.
 

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I've tried more than several paste tomatoes, San Marzano included to mix in with my go to tomato, the Celebrity, to thicken the juice. While they all did well, they all have one thing in common, they are sweet. I don't care for a sweet tomato, and prefer a more acidy, or balanced tomato, so no more paste tomatoes for me.

That being said, 2 years ago, I experimented with straining off the watery juice of cooked tomatoes, before squeezing. It made a world of difference in the thickness of the juice. Nearly the consistency of a milkshake, my kind of juice..!!. I put up around 40 pint jars of juice, just for drinking. Pop the lid off, and drink right from the jar. Usually have 4-5 pints in the fridge, nice & cold, ready when I'm in the notion.

If you're looking for something to process juice with no seeds, way faster than a colander, or food mill, I highly suggest a "Squeezo". The original, all metal models are still available, but pretty pricey. Don't know I'd want one of the new, improved one's with lots of plastic. It's early enough in the year, plenty of time to find a good used one. I got mine off of Craigslist, for $40. It has a huge funnel type hopper on top that will hold 2-3 quarts of tomato pulp. It's hand crank, and an auger takes the pulp though a conical sieve. Pulp and juice come out through the sieve, caught in a tray type chute, and drains in to whatever you want to catch it in, while skins, and seeds pass out the end, and caught in a bowl. I run the skins/seeds through a second time, to get all of the goodie out of them. It is literally so thick, you need to take a spatula, and scrape the screen off. I catch it in a 4 cup measuring cup, so as to estimate how much I have. To speed up the process, I now use my cordless drill set on the slow speed, to turn the auger. I have a16qt. stock pot I cooked the tomatoes down in, and can run that much through twice, in less than 10 minutes. They make 3 different sized screens for them, if a person wants to make berry jams, or juices for wine. Mine only came with the one for doing tomatoes. Being I'm a one man operation here, that's all I need. Mom's old colander, and a food mill I picked up years ago just collect dust now.

I've attached a couple pictures of the Squeezo with drill attached, and a picture of a batch of beanless Chili I made. It's just thick juice, the Mrs. Wages Chili base, and fresh, fried sausage. The spoon standing straight up will give you an idea just how thick it is.

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Food Tableware Condiment Ingredient Recipe
 

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Varmints are for sure a nuisance. I have to put 3' high chicken wire around my garden to keep out rabbits and an electric fence for deer.
This sounds like a good idea. We have rabbits and deer here, as well as chipmunks and mice (not sure if those two damage crops).

Mike
 

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@DJ54 Squeezo!!! Now that takes me back to my youth...

We were never able to get our tomato sauce thick enough, even after many hours of boiling. We canned it, but always had to add tomato paste to thicken it up when reheating to eat it.

I was the labor in this equation, BTW.

Mike
 
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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I use the old colander here as its the quickest way to make juice for me. Some use other ways and it comes down to what works best for you. sharing ideas here is what we do so everybody post how you do things!
 

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I didn't mind the seeds. The wife uses the old fashioned method of cooking them down. I just cut them up and throw them in the food processor set on the juice setting. Skin seeds and all goes into the juice. Liquid will rise to the top of you want a paste mixture.
Anyone out there use a juicer?
 

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@DJ54 Squeezo!!! Now that takes me back to my youth...

We were never able to get our tomato sauce thick enough, even after many hours of boiling. We canned it, but always had to add tomato paste to thicken it up when reheating to eat it.

I was the labor in this equation, BTW.

Mike
I hear you on the thick enough. That's why I added paste tomatoes for a few years to help thicken it up. But, as mentioned, the paste I tried were sweet. and don't care for that. Everyone's taste is different.

Last year I planted 2 dozen Beefsteak, as they seemed in pictures to be pretty meaty, with fewer gel, and seeds. Taste suited me, and size wise, great to work up. Easy to wash up, cut in 1/4's, or 6 pieces to cook down before squeezing. They did not disappoint, and will grow more this year. Been eyeing a Buffalo Steak tomato. Look to be pretty meaty, and around 8 oz. in size.

Also hear you on providing labor. I'm a one man operation, so the cordless drill is my hired hand, and she works cheap. Besides juice, I make salsa, chili base, pizza, and pasta sauce. I use the Mrs. Wages mixes for these, just suits my taste. And draining off that watery juice makes the sauces thicker, and actually stick to what ever I prep. In a sense, seems wasteful, on the other hand, I have had in the past plenty of tomatoes to process. Worth it to me, to get the end product I want.

This year plan to expand what I make, as I found a similar recipe to the Rotel tomatoes w/green chili's. Saved a lot of Poblano peppers seeds which is used in the store bought version, and will probably throw in a couple Jalapeno's to give it a little more kick. The Poblano peppers are great stuffed, and baked too.
 

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This sounds like a good idea. We have rabbits and deer here, as well as chipmunks and mice (not sure if those two damage crops).

Mike
The rabbit wire works, go to Lowes and buy a pack of those 4' bamboo sticks to help hold up the wire between your big fence posts. I use zip ties to fasten it to the stakes. Much easier with a helper.
 
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