Phil Gardener

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since Jul 17, 2015
Near Philadelphia, PA
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Recent posts by Phil Gardener

Cultivated carrots will cross with wild Queen Anne's Lace - they are both the same species.  Queen Anne's Lace has not been selected for the table; those hybrids will have small and tough roots and flower early in the same season.

Many commercial varieties are intentional hybrids between specific parental varieties created using a male sterile background.  When the offspring bloom, there is no pollen to self and any seeds result from pollen from another source.  If that is Queen Anne's Lace, then none of the offspring will have the cultivated carrot characteristics that most folks desire.  I think that's another part of the reason folks say not to save seed from carrots.

Both male-fertile and male-sterile purple carrots are available commercially, and you can tell the difference by examining the umbels carefully.  All this is to say you can save carrot seeds (I do) but you can also figure out ahead of time what your chances of success will be!
Nice looking set-up!  Thanks for sharing the pictures; I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product!
1 day ago
Check recycling centers and window replacement contractors (they have to pay to discard it) for old window glass.  These days double paned material shows up - some are no longer useful but others can be fine.  You may not find exactly what you are looking for but you also sound quite resourceful :>.  Good luck!
2 days ago
Boric acid soaked wood is a low toxicity solution to many termite issues, but it also sounds like you have a fairly extensive problem. 

Termites also need moisture - is there a way to control that in your situation or does it wick from the ground?
2 days ago
Thanks, James, for those hints!  This is a fun thing to do!  Well, I started with a quart, but am scaling back quickly.  A pint is probably about right.  It is fermenting quickly in this warmer weather, and I can probably use fewer grains because of that too.

I'll try the distilled water "rest" for some - I wanted to keep a back-up culture of the grains and that sounds very simple.  That's a great suggestion I hadn't come across yet.

The kefir bread thread was really interesting too.  I am guessing that I can also substitute for buttermilk in almost any recipe (being another cultured product, it seems very similar to me in consistency and taste).
2 days ago
I hope this works out for you!  Would it help folks to know in what part of the country you (and your goats) are currently located?
I recently was gifted some milk kefir grains and have gone through two cycles of fermenting kefir.  The basic process seems very straightforward - my biggest concern is becoming swamped with product!

Does anyone have helpful hints for keeping these cultures going longer term (may storage as dried grains? frozen?) and/or other aspects of the process?  Experience making kefir cheese by straining and pressing the solids?  Other nifty ideas? 

Thanks in advance for your replies!
3 days ago
Here on the East Coast, the nighthawks form up into large migration groups at dusk in late August.  On a good night, we may see hundreds coursing through the sky eating insects.  And yes, the calls are cool!
3 days ago
Looks really great!  How are you forming your trusses?  Are you using some sort of template/form to get the bend correct?
3 days ago
I've also experienced problems with Asparagus Beetles that resulted in spear curling.   I successfully got them under control by hand removal (of adults, larvae and eggs); I value persistence over pesticides.  Be sure to clean up all of the red fruits at the end of the season - the beetle larvae overwinter in the fruits.  Good luck!