Tomatoes and Blossom End Rot

June 27th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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Are you growing Tomatoes this year? Do some or all of your tomatoes look great until they ripen and then look like the above picture?

I have a few tomato plants that are producing tomatoes like the picture. They look great except for the top where the blossom used to be attached. There might  be a dark circular indentation around the top of the tomato or you might find a very dark rotten spot, with the rest of the tomato looking as healthy as can be.

If you are finding this in your tomato garden, chances are that it’s Blossom End Rot, which is most likely caused by a calcium deficiency.

I just learned that to fix this problem all you need is a bag of Epsom salts (Magnesium Sulfate) and a water hose.

Apply 1 teaspoon of Epsom Salts per foot of plant. Apply the Epsom Salts in a circular fashion around the drip line of the plant and water well. Be sure your tomatoes are getting at least 1 inch of water per week, but don’t soak them. Tomatoes don’t like wet “feet” but rather prefer to take in their drink of water and then be dry.

I just applied the Epsom Salts to my plants and will be checking frequently to see if this eradicates the problem. I will post an update on my results in a couple of weeks.

Onion Harvest

June 7th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

onions in bed

 

Well, May was a busy month around here harvesting things that have been in the ground for several months. This is the great payoff for all the hard work in the cold days of December and January.

In the past I never had much success with onions. I would put them in the ground and leave them alone and they would wither and die before they ever became anything bigger than a pencil eraser. I thought I was no good at growing onions. I thought maybe our soil wasn’t good enough or our climate just wasn’t right for them. But after taking the Fort Bend County Master Gardening Program, I learned to grow onions among many other things, successfully.

We planted 70 10/15 Onions on December 5th, 2012 in about 50 square feet of space. Three weeks later I began the process of fertilizing these beautiful pearls in my yard. I learned that onions are very big Nitrogen feeders and what they want is FOOD in the form of Ammonium Sulphate.

Ammonium Sulphate is all Nitrogen (21-0-0). I would go out there every three weeks on the dot, even if it was cold, even if it was sprinkling with rain, and give those onions their Teaspoon of Nitrogen each. 70 onions got 1 teaspoon of Nitrogen every three weeks! Now that’s someone that wants to have some success with her onions!

onions getting bigger

But the payoff was SO very worth it. Each week I would watch each onion grow just a little bit more. The 70 onions that I planted probably weighed about a pound altogether. We harvested on May 7. (Drumroll Please…..)

 

onion in ground

 

We harvested over 25 pounds of onions. 25 pounds! I, along with my family, were so excited! Of course, we made onion rings right away.

onions harvested

 

But what are you going to do with 25 pounds of onions, you might ask? There’s only so many onion rings you can eat!

 

Onion Rings 2 Beer Battered Onion Rings

Well, you dry them out before you store them. If you do this, they will store for many months in a closet, under the bed in boxes or in your pantry.

First you must pull all of the onions out of your garden of course. I’ve heard that a lot of people pull them up and leave them in the dirt to dry out. But we have two dogs who would most likely think they were fetching balls, so we didn’t choose this option.

What we did do though is to lay them out in a single layer on our outdoor table. You need to let them dry in the sun for at least a couple of days. We then moved them to the garage to dry out further, away from the direct sun. It’s important that the onions be laid out in single layers so that they won’t begin to mildew.

When the green stalks have dried completely and the outside of the onion has developed a papery skin, they are safe to store. We found several Coke boxes that cases of Coke come in, and laid them in single layers in the boxes and stored them in a cool, dark pantry. I’ve heard that some people put them in boxes and place them under their beds. The most important thing is that they be stored where it is dark, cool and dry.

We are so excited about our onions! Do any of you have some tips on how to grow onions? I would love to hear your tips or suggestions on growing onions. Or, if you have any questions about growing onions, feel free to ask away in the comments section!

Minecraft Designs How-To – A Book Review

June 3rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Instant Minecraft Design How to

 

Have you or your kids ever been on a Minecraft multiplayer server that sported very LARGE cities, monuments, sophisticated road systems and amazing architectural structures? Have you ever wondered how in the world they ever built all of that?

If your answer was yes, you may enjoy reading and implementing the suggestions in the book titled Minecraft Designs How To, by Mephisto Waltz. This 76 page book will walk you through a few basic steps that will have you building huge cities and structures in no time.

The author of this book is an avid gamer. His bio describes him as follows:

“Mephisto Waltz is a passionate gamer who has been involved in high-level gaming in almost every genre. He’s been playing Minecraft since it was released as a public beta. When not playing in creative mode on his own server, he can often be found on a multiplayer survival server. It’s here that he has been known to make impressively large structures only days before the server map is reset. He has a great love of all things design related, including architecture, and this is reflected in his Minecraft buildings.

Mephisto runs his own web and graphic design firm and has over 10 years of experience in the field. He is based in Queensland, Australia, but works with clients world-wide.”

In his book,Walz describes two different Minecraft mods that are fairly easy to install. He expertly walks the reader through finding these mods, installing them and implementing them on a server. After that, the book moves on with tutorials on how to build some pretty awesome and creative architecture.

Waltz explains in easy to read text how to build four different structures, using the mods that he suggests. Starting with a beginner level Tudor style house, he describes in detail how to build something that your friends won’t believe is beginner level at all.

He moves on to teach you how to create a couple of intermediate structures and then ends with a complex Futuristic City. With Waltz’s help, your Minecrafter will gain the skills to be building beautiful architecture on his/her own in no time.

My kids have spent so much time on YouTube watching tutorials and instructions on how to get mods and build structures. Some of them work…and some just don’t. This book will give you precise instructions on how to download the mods THE FIRST TIME and get them installed right. The structures that he walks you through building will give your Minecrafter the confidence to take the game to a new level.

Minecraft Designs How To is published by PACT Publishing. You can find their website featuring more books on web development, open source, programming and more here. Order the ebook there or on Amazon.

 

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