Friday, September 26, 2008

September 26, 2008

Well, it's the end of a very very stressful week in the financial markets.  For the sake of not trying to steal DoubleD's words, I'll be brief.  But it's important for folks to know that we are in the midst of the deepest financial crisis in the history of the United States.  Some would say we are nowhere near as bad as the Great Depression, but if we did not have the FDIC, there would be the run on the banks that caused the run on the stock market which collapsed the economy.   Instead, we've had the federal government buying companies (AIG), brokering sales (Bear Sterns, WAMU) and incurring $5+ Trillion of debt with the take-over and guaranty of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  These are historic times, just not in a good way.  It is likely that the turnaround will not occur until mid 2010, possibly later in Seattle due to the loss of 40,000 jobs and vacating of close to 2 million square feet of office space when WAMU is melded into JP Morgan. 

All the more reason to save your money, pinch your pennies, and above all, grow as much of your own food as you can.  That said, tonight I harvested 6 pounds of green beans from my garden.  Likely the last hurrah for the year.

So I methodically clipped and cut these six pounds of beans while I caught up on some TiVo.  An hour later and presto!

Boy is that a ton of green beans.  Some nice frantic work to blanch and ice-bath, dry and spread out on pans for freezing.  Another relaxing tv show later and tada!

Four pounds of green beans ready to be cooked up for dinner.  Of course, I haven't tried the ones I froze before.  I sure hope we like them, cause I've got roughtly 6 pounds of frozen green beans to feed my family this winter and spring.  Boy do I hope we like them.  Because prices of fresh produce are going through the roof.  Did I mention that I de-stressed major tonight.  Bonus!

While I was out there I snapped a few pics of my garden to share.  Not much of it's good news.

The tomato plants are looking very sickly.  I'm not sure if I'm not watering it enough (problem with SWC's is they don't water themselves in the rain), or maybe it's supposed to happen.  Not sure, but I'm hoping the remaining tomatoes ripen.

Similarly, my cucumber plants are dying from the bottom up.  The good news is that I'm still finding cukes growing in this weather.  Boggles the mind doesn't it?

The corn is still growing too.  It wasn't there when I harvested before so I'm hopeful that it's going to turn out ok.  If not, it's only a handful of ears to compost.

I'll end the tour with pest problems.  One is an old nemisis and the other is new.

Yep, that's a formerly healthy spinach leaf infested with leaf miners.  It's in a totally different bed from my old spinach planting and it's 8 months later.  So I'm guessing it's in the dirt.  Grrr.  I guess another thing on my list is to spray Spinosad natural biological warfare.  Parasites for bugs.  How cool is that?

What you can't see is formerly perfectly healthy cauliflower leaves.  About two weeks ago I found a few nibbles.  I didn't think much of it, because Steve Solomon's book said the healthier the seedling the more resistant it is to disease and infestation.  I figured it's my healthiest cauliflower seedling so I'd be fine.  Now I'm not sure it will survive.  Grrr.  Spinosad for these too I guess.

So, tomorrow starts a very busy but mostly enjoyable weekend.  The weather's going to be great, in the mid 60s to low 70s and dry.  It's going to be extra busy because on top of the huge list of things to do, I've been tasked to help my father-in-law to roof his new shed.  I'm hoping it'll only take a few hours if he's all ready when I get there.  As it is I'm going to be fighting light doing all of the work myself in the yard.  The folks won't be able to help this weekend.  Now I'll know a bit how EG feels. At least it will be very non-stressful, or stressful in a different / fun way.

Enjoy your garden, and grow tons!


  1. The bean harvest is super and I am positive you are definitely going to be enjoying them later. My pole beans have slowed down due to the cooler weather - such that we are only getting enough for a meal at a time - with nothing extra to freeze or can. We are supposed to have nice weather for about five days (then awful after that) so I am hoping I get at least one more heavy flush so I can freeze more like you just did. We'll see.

    On the tomatoes... it looks like you have late blight showing up. You are not alone - I have some plants with it too. I paid top dollar for seed this spring for a tomato variety called "Sophya" - a hybrid that is supposed to be disease resistant to virtually everything. Super resistant if you will. The package contained 6 seeds (I kid you not) and cost well northwards of $5. Guess which plants have succombed to late season blight? The rest are fine but these babies went down - down hard this week. Loaded with green fruit too. I am thoroughly disgusted and will NOT be recommending this variety to anyone.

    Now my task is to carefully remove the diseased plants and try not to cross infect the neighboring ones. I am going to make up a bucket of dilute bleach water and rinse off the most mature of green fruit - dry them thoroughly and then wrap them in newspaper and see if I can get at least a few of them to go ahead and ripen up. If they do not - I am just out a little effort.

    This has been a horrible tomato year for us.

    Oh well, if my only real loss this year is the tomato production - and not my money in the bank - then I will chalk it up as quite a success.

  2. Nice first harvest there!! It's exciting to see your pantry and freezer fill up with nutritious foods, especially the ones you grew yourself. My beans are long gone, although I do have a few volunteers coming up in the pea patch. This year I grew half runners, purple snap and wax beans, next year I'm planning on adding some heirloom pole beans.

    A few of my tomatoes are hanging in there, although they'll be pulled up in another week or two. We did *okay* over the course of the summer, but no big harvests, just dribs and drabs over the long weeks. We still should have enough put up to last though.

    My FIL swears by the newspaper method and usually has ripe tomatoes into December or even a little later. I intend to try it this year to see how things go...every little bit helps right?

  3. The markets have certainly made for interesting time lately. I have sold off 1/2 of my portfolio, mainly financial positions taken after the first down turn. Lets hope the bail out goes ahead and is accepted well or we are in for one hell of a ride. Although we are in for one hell of a ride either way.

    I have also been reading that Canada could be going down the same path in terms of a credit crisis. As much as we like to think how financial conservative we are, the statistics speak other wise with the average Canadian caring just as much debt as there American counter part. The only good thing about our handling of subprime is that it is much less risky.

    Your garden is looking very similar to mine, weathered. I was over looking at Granny's garden and it is so nice looking, you could almost mistake it for a spring garden, she truly has a green thumb!

    You have had one nice bean harvest, you should be stocked up for a while.

  4. That's a good harvest of beans dude! I'm planning on growing some in the sfg next year. We love all kinds of beans. The country's economic problems are unbelievable....If people had the same characteristics as you and I, we wouldn't be in this mess. I'm so glad I have this current garden fully planted. Hey, I just thought about something....after this year, we won't be newbies anymore!As far as the outdoor chores done by myself - I wouldn't have it any other way. It's very peaceful. I was outside at least 8 hours today! Man, I got alot done.

  5. When we fell into bed last night exhausted, I wistfully complained about the garden slowing down.
    We still have mid-80 during the day, but 50s at night. So, the tomato blooms will make a few green tomatoes, the cucumber flowers take twice the time make a cucumber , the eggplant may never grow huge.

    The compensation, hubby, pointed out, is that we have time to do other things. He meant non-garden things, I'm sure.

    This is a busy time for me though. My new plan for a backyard bed requires moving bulbs, dividing and planting perennials, collecting seeds and potting up tender perennials for the winter.

    The fall weather is a refreshing break from gardening in the heat.

    Yesterday I found a generous handful of Blue Lake beans on a plant. They became my mid-morning snack - rinsed under the hose and eaten raw out of hand.