Tomatoes & Peppers..Summer Can’t Be Far Behind!

As discussed in the last episode, this past week we prepared the soil for the tomato bed and then this weekend we planted the tomatoes and peppers.

homegrownSanMarzano  planting tomatoes 2

 

tomatoes  IMG_0784

Another warm weather crop is the eggplant. We usually plant these at home because the farm plot suffers from small black mites that eat the leaves of the eggplant down to a stud. By planting at home on our composite deck, the plants roots stay toasty warm and there are no mites around here to damage the leaves.  This year we planted a Japanese variety (ichiban) two black Italian types and a purple variety.

Eggplant

We did some research with long time farmers and we found that these nasty little dudes morph into a flying insect of some sort and are usually done by mid June. If you don’t have a convenient deck to grow your eggplant, just wait till the middle of the month when they are gone before you put your plants in the ground.

Time to plant your peppers as well.  We like to plant our larger growing vegetables in plastic containers with the bottoms cut out.  This serves to collect the rain water,  and the water from our hoses, in a concentrated area above the roots making sure the plants get a good soaking drink.

Peppers

While the warm weather plants are going in now, there are some of the earlier cool weather crops reaching their prime time.  The lettuce has been great this year and the snow peas are getting larger everyday.  Peas will be appearing withing 10 days.

Lettuce  LETTUCE

 

MESCLUNGREENS  MesclunGreens:Garlic

Snow Peas

It’s important that you keep your vegetable plants well watered during the warmer months. It is best to soak the plants early in the day or later in the afternoon after the strongest heat has subsided. This gives the water a better chance to soak into the ground rather than evaporate.

This year we planted Dinosaur kale,  an hierloom italian variety that tastes great in smoothies, in soup, salad and in a pan with garlic and oil.  It’s a cool weather crop that keeps rolling along when the summer heat arrives.

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NEW YORK METS REPORT – A June Swoon or a Hot Summer Season…?

NEW YORK METS REPORT – A June Swoon or a Hot Summer Season…?.

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NEW YORK METS REPORT – A June Swoon or a Hot Summer Season…?

Mets logo

I predicted the New York Mets would win 86 games this year. That’s 10 games over the elusive .500 mark. I thought that might be realistic considering the great pitching and the improved lineup. So far I’ve seen an epic winning streak and a few nasty slumps here and there.  Maybe 86 wins was a bit optimistic but maybe not. 86 wind would probably put a smile on Sandy Alderson’s face but I think they team needs to find a more consistent groove if they expect to reach that level.

Alderson

Of course no one can ever accurately account for the injury bug. The 2015 version of the DL mosquito has bitten this team in a major way this year.

Wheeler gone for the year.

Zach Wheeler

Still waiting on Parnell.

Parnell

Black and Edgerin in limbo.

Dillon Gee has missed time.

David Wright

David Wright out indefinitely with an assortment of weird ailments.

Dilson Herrera comes up and promptly hurts himself.

And it hasn’t been all injuries. When the pitching is great they don’t hit.And when they hit the bullpen blows leads and games. And as much as I like Terry Collins, he continues to make more than his share of head scratching moves.

Wilmer Florees

And what’s the deal at shortstop? Sure Mr. Flores whacks the ball pretty darn good but can you catch a ground ball and make a good throw to first? Eeeeeesh. With this pitching staff the Mets need quality middle infielders. Maybe someday that will happen. I guess the ultimate plan was Herrera at second and Flores at short. Who knows if that’s the answer or not. I like Murphy but his glove just ain’t gonna cut it.  I still think they should have brought in a major league shortstop.  And just this week Reuben (what position do I play?) Tejada became the third baseman in David Wright’s absence.  REALLY?  When you think about it what else can they do?  The Eric Campbell experiment has proven to be a flop.

I have a feeling as the season wears on this team will find a way to hang around (which is a whole lot more than they’ve been giving us in recent years)  but I’d be surprised if they make the playoffs, and if they do, I can’t see them getting too deep into serious October baseball what with pitchers held to pitch counts, a questionable defense in the infield and erratic offensive performances..

Of course I’ve been wrong before and I hope I’m wrong again.

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The Veggie Garden 2015-continued

It’s beginning to look like the 2015 growing season is going to be another excellent year! It’s been a little dry in the early going which has resulted in more trips to the plot to water, but overall the plants look really strong and healthy.

So far we’ve picked about 70 asparagus stalks. We’ve let some of the stalks grow to full size to insure that the plants are strong and healthy. Can’t just keep cutting and cutting! Eventually the plants would become week and not produce as well.

Asparagusbushes

This week several of the plants in the plot have really popped. Here we see mesclun field greens on the left and healthy growing garlic on the right.

MesclunGreens:Garlic

Sweet potato vines are starting to show some growth too.  First time we’ve ever done them.  I’m told they’re easy and we love ’em so I guess we’ll see how they turn out.

SweetPotatovines

The weather has now warmed to a point where next week we will put in the tomatoes and peppers. But the ground has to be worked before you can plant. I ran my tiller through the area and then added Tomatoes Alive…an organic fertilizer I get from the company Gardens Alive.

Tomatobed

I also mixed in some horse manure that the town provides, and some leaves collected last fall. Once the ground has been worked we water it down, cover it and let it sit until next week when we plant.

Tomato bed after tilling

We’ll see you when the next batch of plants go it.

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GET THOSE VEGGIES ROLLIN’ ! – PART 2

GET THOSE VEGGIES ROLLIN’ ! – PART 2.

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GET THOSE VEGGIES ROLLIN’ ! – PART 2

Lettuce, beets, kale, mesclun greens, snow peas, cabbage and other cool weather crops should in the ground now. The tomatoes and peppers are still in the hardening stage.  They’ll be ready in about 10 days. Here are some shots of what’s doin’ in our veggie garden.

The town supplies us with wood chips, mulch and horse manure. I brought manure over to our plot.

MANURE

I stacked it and wet it down. You need to be careful. Manure that is too fresh can harm fragile plants. I like to let it sit in the sun and wet it every so often for a few weeks before I use it. And I use it sparingly until the plants are larger and robust. Once the plants are strong manure helps them grow quickly.

MESCLUNGREENS

Here’s a shot of the mesclun lettuce coming up. We did seeds and this mix is so easy to grow ANYBODY can do it and it tastes great!

ONIONGRASS

This is onion grass…a perennial herb that gives delicious mild onion flavored leaves in abundance. You just cut off some handfuls of leaves and toss it in your salad or stir fry. Yummy!

 

 

 

ASPARAGUSGROWING ASPARAGUS

We have an asparagus bed that we created 3 years ago…17 x 5 feet. Asparagus is also a nice perennial. It’s only May and we’ve already harvested over 50 spears. This is going to be a great year for asparagus! The plants send up numerous spears (which if left un-cut) will grow into leafy frilly bushes. It’s best to allow some of the spears to go to seed so the plant stays strong and healthy and you can keep picking spears all summer to eat.

GARLIC

The garlic we planted last September is doing very nicely now and getting taller every day. This was a really tough winter on Long island. We were concerned about the plants but they came through in great shape. We will pick the bulbs around July first. You let them dry out in a cool dark place or hang them in a netted bag. After a few weeks when the greens shrivel up, you cut them off and you’re left with delicious home grown garlic.

LETTUCE IMG_3840

We planted 18 heads of lettuce about 3-4 weeks ago and as you can see we are getting ready to take some this week to eat. Love that red romaine! The little dude is a common toad. We usually have 2 or 3 in our 20 x 40 plot each year. They are organic pest controllers…eating their weight in bugs! In areas where farmers use poisons to control weeds and bugs, you won’t find too many of these critters. They are not immune to poison!

Next installment will deal with planting the tomatoes and peppers.

Don’t forget to water! It’s been pretty warm here in Huntington and you don’t want your baby veggies to dry up and blow away! ;-)

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GET THOSE VEGGIES ROLLING NOW!-Garden 2015

If you are a serious vegetable gardener on Long Island you’ve probably put lettuce, beets, kale, mesclun greens, snow peas, cabbage and other cool weather crops in the ground.

 

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Red and green romaine, butter crunch lettuce, parsley and beets in the ground

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The tomatoes and peppers are still in the greenhouse or indoors as they go through the hardening stage (leave them out in the sun for a couple of hours each day and then bring them inside till they are ready to go in the ground around Mother’s Day)  Usually they will start to get much larger when given some outside time and you will have to transplant them into larger cups.  Use the the kind that melt down and become soil after a few weeks in the ground. You can find them at any garden shop or home store.

 

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And if you haven’t started outside yet BETTER GET MOVING! You’re running out of precious growing season . If you have a tiller (I use a small compact MANTIS…it works great) work the ground into a nice loose consistency.

 

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That brings in plenty of fresh air and allows the rain to soak deeply. It also makes it a lot easier for your plants to root freely. We don’t want highly compacted soil.

 

You can add some organic fertilizer before you put down your seeds or live plants. . I use VEGETABLES ALIVE from the organic catalogue GARDENS ALIVE. It’s easy to find online.

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Once you’ve got the ground ready to go you can plant seeds and or plants already started from the local nursery. We like to do both.

 

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Swiss chard, Rosemary, cabbage, curly kale and beets from the local nursery already started

 

Somethings are better from seed and some of the plants I get started do really well. We like FORT HILL NURSERY on Route 25A in Huntington. Year after year we do really well with their beets, swiss chard, curly kale, and different types of romaine and butter crunch lettuce.

 

This year we planted seeds for Dinosaur Kale…a variety we really like.  It’s actually an Italian heirloom that we got from BURPEE.

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We always try to plant in long rows whenever possible with about 10 inches between the rows so we can get in there with a tool and keep the weeds to a minimum. Once the plants get tall enough we mulch the areas with a good organic compost. This feeds the plants and also keeps weeds away. Make sure your plants are strong and healthy before you lay down a few inches of mulch.  If they are weak or not firmly rooted the mulch can kill them.

In a few weeks we’ll be planting the warm weather crops…tomatoes, peppers, basil and eggplant.  We’ll update you then.

 

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Advertisers Abandoning Limbaugh?

Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Plain and simple. You can call him a bigot…a racist…a pundit…a loudmouth…a screwball…a rightwing blowhard…the defacto spritual leader of the far right Republicans etc etc etc.  As despicable as I find his “act”, Rush Limbaugh also happens to be a genius.

Limbaugh 1

That’s right…a genius! He has built a ratings empire with his hate speak and ultra right wing political rantings and has taken full advantage of our polarized society.  He has translated it into cold hard cash.

Genius.

What better way to create a gigantic audience than by making inflammatory comments?  Limbaugh has spoken at length about many sensitive subjects ranging from birth control to immigration legislation to women’s rights and minority treatment.  Plenty of heated emotions to be found there.

Limbaugh 2

Limbaugh has offended just about everyone at one point or another and that is the whole point. By aiming at the lowest common denominator he manages to grow his legion of followers. He’s done a wonderful job of creating false controversies, and then jumping into this fantasy fray with all of the appropriate solutions.

Many people believe (myself included) that Limbaugh is an outspoken promoter of a list of unsavory attitudes including racism, homophobia, and misogyny. His quotes have been well documented.  He has referred to children on government-assisted lunches as ‘wanton little waifs and surfs,‘ implies gay men are ‘pedophiles,‘ characterizes women as ‘semen receptacles,’ and calls documented immigrants a ‘lazy’, ‘invasive species’ of ‘mollusks’ and ‘spermatozoa’.

 

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Limbaugh’s demographic is fairly obvious.. His audience is 76% male. Between the ages of 35 and 60…79%…White 95%…no children…76%…and one thing the polls don’t measure…they are fairly angry white men. Angry at minorities ruining the country. Angry at women and minorities in the work force stealing their jobs. Angry at liberals who spend their money and want to take their guns away. Are any of these supposed ‘slights” real? Does it even matter? Limbaugh plays into the dissatisfaction many older white men have with their lives and the perceived state of the country. He stands on the sidelines and pokes and prods his listeners into a frenzy and then of course feeds then his own unique brand of “solutions”. And they eat it up!

Limbaugh is a genius.

Rush Limbaugh has made a fortune being a cheerleader, a bully, a crybaby, and an out and out hypocrite. Let us not forget his comments stating that (paraphrased)  drug abusers should be put in a cage and the key thrown away. Why then hasn’t he suffered this fate that he so eloquently advocated for others?   He is an ENTERTAINER to millions of listeners who can’t do without his brand of commentary.

Limbaugh is a genius.

In my opinion, and in the opinion of many of his advertisers, Limbaugh’s comments have crossed the line on several occasions. Apparently his “over the top” comments, particularly the Sandra Fluke fiasco, has led to a steady loss of ad revenue by companies that have decided Limbaugh’s hate radio is not in their best interests.

This loss of ad revenue has been supported by a massive grass roots campaign undertaken on social media to boycott products that are being promoted on Limbaugh’s show. As they say money talks.

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In a story in DAILY KOS, dated Feb. 20, 2015 by Leslie Salzillo, (a noted investigative reporter and liberal author)  The home of ‘hate radio’ including The Rush Limbaugh Show, has had a bad day, bad week, bad quarter, and bad year. Billboard Magazine reports IHeart Media (formerly Clear Channel) just posted a 2014 quarterly loss of over $119 Million” The company has carried a large debt load since its leveraged buyout six years ago, with long-term debt currently topping $20 billion, according to filings with the SEC. Meanwhile, the sponsor boycott against Limbaugh via StopRush, BoycottRush, Flush Rush and the social media coverage by news outlets large and small, is thriving. The sponsor petition hit 100k about 10 days ago and has picked up 17k more signatures since then, some being signees from the far Right Wing. Rush is so hard up for sponsors these days, he’s been caught sponsoring himself. We know Rush Limbaugh is being funded by the Tea Party, which is funded by the Koch brothers. That funding is most likely the reason Limbaugh is still on the air, and one can’t help wonder if Bob Pittman is also being funded. Why else would he continue to air The Rush Limbaugh Show on approximately 600 radio stations nationwide when Limbaugh is dragging the radio industry down? Rush has also been losing radio stations.

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 Will Limbaugh survive the downturn in advertising support? That’s anyone’s guess.  But as long as he continues to stoke his offensive fires, the swirling controversy will continue. A wise mean once said “any publicity is good publicity”.

Limbaugh is a genius.

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Can Awesome Pitching Carry Mets to the Promised Land?

Mets logoAlderson

People have been screaming about Sandy Alderson‘s relative inactivity the last couple of seasons.  It’s been blamed on the Madoff scandal…it’s been blamed on ownership’s reluctance to sign big deals after the Jason Bay fiasco…it’s been blamed on the economy…why then is this man smiling?

P I T C H I N G.  Awesome PITCHING.

Last week Mike Francesa stated on WFAN  (I’m paraphrasing here) the NY METS have an awesome pitching staff top to bottom, and it may be the best in all of baseball.  I think I agree.  I have to admit that I am one of those fans who has been begging Mr. Alderson to sign a professional bat,  or two, to bolster the Mets offensive attack.  But I will also be the first to admit he has done a wonderful job creating a situation with the team’s pitching that is rapidly becoming an embarrassment of riches.  The starting five is solid all the way around. Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom, Niese and Colon.  Wow.  Not to mention Dillion Gee, with Syndergaard and Montero in the minors just waiting to join the bandwagon.  Obviously someone is going to be traded and someone is headed to the pen as the long relief man. maybe a professional shortstop is in the offing?

Matt HarveyZach Wheeler

DeGromJon Niese

Colon

and speaking of relief, the METS are so deep on the back end they could truly be a scary playoff contender.

FamiliaMejia

Familia…Meijia…Black…

Vic Black Parnell

and a healthy Parnell returns to close.  maybe not this year,  but this could be the makings of a perennial contender.  And that makes this guy happy too

Cuddyer

Leftfielder Michael Cuddyer ha expressed his opinion that with a healthy David Wright,  Granderson in right and an improving D’Arnaud behind the plate,  these METS could be the start of something special in New York.

Yes…there just might be a Santa Claus in Flushing.

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Meet the New Boss..Same as the Old Boss?

It’s exquisite suffering being a JETS fan…they being the New York Jets Football Club…a team that represents New York and plays and trains somewhere out the swamps of New Jersey. Back in 1967 I remember watching Joe Namath dismantle their old AFL rivals The Oakland Raiders at a game at Shea Stadium. I was smitten.  About 18 months later Broadway Joe was seen running from the Orange Bowl field, wagging that famous finger signaling that these same underdog Jets were quite incredibly, the champions of the football world.

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Being young and not exactly in tune with the ways of sports, and the ways of the world in general, I assumed more wonderful things were to come and why not? We had a great QB with plenty of swagger. Our defense was quick and athletic and ranked tops in the AFL They had just made the vaunted Colts offense look silly in the Super Bowl. And we had a core of talented players like Boozer and Snell…Don Maynard…John Schmitt, Gerry Philbin, and John Elliot who had helped Namath accomplish his grand task. We even had a coach who not only talked the talk, but walked the Championship walk. They should have named the stadium The Weeb.

Weeb and Namath

 

After The Chiefs barely dethroned the Jets in January of 1970, a revolving door of both players and coaches began spinning a frustrating championship-less web of ineptitude that has lasted for 46 years. Wow.

The early 70’s were a mess what with the likes of Charley Winner and pre-Notre Dame Lou Holtz running the show. Many of the Super Bowl heroes got old, got traded, got tired and retired leaving the franchise with bad players, bad coaching, bad bad bad. But after a heavy rain there usually appears a rainbow. A flash of color and hope. The Jets hired Walt Michaels…

Michaels

a tough guy with a plan and one of my all time fave coaches. His 6 years rebuilding the JETS were some of the best in the post Weeb Eubank era. He was intent on building a defense.

Joe Klecko

Gastineau

Joe Klecko arrived shortly thereafter followed by Marty Lyons and Mark Gastineau. The offense boasted an improving Richard Todd, Freeman McNeil, Wesley Walker, Mickey Shuler and Rich Caster and suddenly the JETS were once again relevant. Unfortunately that dream died in the Miami mud of the Orange Bowl. Amid rumours of paranoia and alcoholism Michaels was dismissed.

O'Brien

When Ken O’Brien arrived, the JETS were a pretty solid contender.  They were in the playoffs  through most of the 80’s but once again they just couldn’t climb the mountain. We heard the chants of JOE MUST GO and then he did ushering in the Coslet era.

Walton

The team achieved respectable mediocrity but not much else. Pete Carroll got his shot and Marino’s fake spike was his coffin nail. You may know the name…he of the Seatlle Seahawks, in the Super Bowl 2 years running. Leon Hess was so desperate for a winner he hired Richy Kotite.

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Mr. Hess was a good man with good intentions but apparently knew little about football. And we all ke know how this hire turned out.  But before his departure Kotite did the team one huge favor. He discovered a fellow by the name of Chrebet. Thanks Richy.

Chrebet

After the disasterous 1-15 season, Mr. Hess finally came up with a smart football move and brought in Bill Parcells.

Parcells and Hess

He turned around the team in a flash and had the JETS in the 1998 AFC Championship game. Vinny from Elmont had an awesome season and played a spectacular game in the winter weather in Denver. Unfortunately the rest of the team didn’t help him and once again the Jets fell.

Testaverde

The following year, the heavily favored Jets Super Bowl train was derailed in the first quarter of the first game of the season with Testaverde’s Achilles injury. As was his modus, Parcells disappeared into the night leaving the reigns to Al Groh who after one non-playoff seson caught the last train to Virginia.  And along came Herm. He played to win the game, and Chad Pennington did his best to oblige but alas, no championship during their time in Green and White.

Herm

Chad Pennington

The JETS have the most playoff wins of any team since the merger that have not appeared in a Super Bowl. An odd stat indeed. A sort of successful losing streak…? Woody Johnson decided he needed a MAN-GENIUS to run the show and if it weren’t for Brett Favre’s bad shoulder late in the 2008 season, a Super appearance looked pretty good.

Favre

Belicheat wouldn’t shake Eric Mangini’s hand.  Too bad.  His quiet intense demeanor was  soon replaced by BULLYBALL…as a loud intense Rex Ryan blew into town with a swagger and an attitude never before seen in JETLAND. He called out Belicheat and even handed him a few nice losses. It was refreshing and I must admit he quickly became one of my favorite JET coaches.

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But after two more losses in successive AFC Championship games, followed by 3 non-descript seasons including a totally bizarre flirtation with Tim Tebow and the John Idzik disaster that destroyed the 2014 season things had to change once again. Idzik’s lack of key player signings, combined with the ineffective play of Geno Smith and Mr. Johnson was moved to act. Idzik was sent packing and Rex shuffled off to Buffalo.

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And this is where Jet fans find themselves in 2015. Will Todd bowl us over or is this just another blip on the grid iron screen? I like Todd Bowles. A tough guy with a winning resume who demands accountability from his players. Parcells gave him a strong recommendation and it’s pretty obvious that he is a man on a mission. But wasn’t Parcells also on a mission? Mangini? Herm? Rex?

MccagnanBowles

Winning a championship in any sport is a difficult and daunting task. Winning the Super Bowl is a nearly impossible mythic event in this day and age. Can the new GM, a superb talent evaluator in Mike Maccagnan,  team up with Todd Bowles and finally bring JET NATION a Super Bowl champion?  Maccagnan needs to bring in a group of talented players to add to a mix that has some young talented players, particularly on the defensive front.  The offense needs an upgrade, cornerback has been a problem, a speedy linbacker wouldn’t hurt and what does he do about Geno Smith?!??!  Good luck Mike.

We are once again reminded it’s a process. Hope you’re not going anywhere fans. This may take a while.

 

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