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September 11, 2021

Saturday Gardening and Puttering Thread, September 11


Hi, everybody! Miss the Gardening Thread last week? Don't ever let anybody cut your internet cable as you are finishing a post for AoSHQ.

Hope that the weather has allowed you to be outdoors and to do some gardening and/or puttering.

We have some lovely photos of bromeliads to start off with today. And we also have some Edible Gardening photos and information which may have involved some labor. You know, Putting Things By.

And a lovely little video. And some sad storm-related news.

About the photo above and those below:

Gorgeous bromeliad exhibit last week at San Diego Botanic gardens. Yes, I have no idea why they say botanic and not botanical. It used to be called Quail Gardens which I think is so much lovelier.






A hummingbird just showed up in my yard & I got a couple of video fragments. I'm surprised he sat still that long on my vibrurnum before going back to the black & blue salvias for lunch.

I hope this works & you can use the video sometime. I'm not good enough & neither is my digital camera to get a still picture of a hummingbird. Shooting thru my porch screen doesn't help either.


The hummingbird video is lovely. Thanks to CBD for formatting it for us!

Edible Gardening

We are getting more photos than usual in the Edible Gardening category, and we love them! But some of them we are saving. This series is kind of a hint for those in The Horde who may not have gardens of there own, from kshoosh:

Love the details here. A lot of work, but it sounds like fun!

Longtime lurker, had a strange and fun experience last week that I thought the other gardening morons might enjoy reading about it, and you might appreciate the content?

Last week I went to an Amish produce auction in rural Kentucky. Hart County Produce Auction in Munfordville, KY. Quite an experience. Walked away with about 100lbs of tomatoes for $41!

I used to have a local nursery/produce reseller who used to go down to the Amish auctions and was willing to pick up bulk tomatoes for me while they were there, but the nursery shut down in 2019 and I couldn't find anyone else, so I decided to go down myself this year.

They had every kind of vegetable there, brought in by Amish and Mennonite farmers in the area. The auctions are held at noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday from April until... November maybe, or whenever they stopped having produce? It was attended by lots of resellers plus what looked like some random people like me. There were maybe 30 people there to bid, and then quite a few of the farmers watching to see how well they did.


The auctioneer used a headset with a sound system, so that must have been an exception to the Amish technology aversion; he had someone managing the lots that he'd then auction off (in full auctioneering cadence-style), and then someone taking notes of who won what and for how much. There were probably a few thousand pounds of tomatoes there for auction-- the first 3 rows you see in that picture is all tomatoes, all in 10lb or 20lb boxes, in various sized lots- some lots were 50 x 10lb boxes and you had to bid on at least 12+ boxes.

You could walk around ahead of time and check out the different lots, how the produce looked, what the minimum bid quantity was, and plan out your bidding strategy. I had my eye on a smaller lot of canners (20lb boxes, could take 3, 6, or 9 boxes.) And there was one lot of Romas, 2x20lb boxes, which was really what I had come all the way out there for.

They charged $5 (for a year!) to register for the auction and get a number, and they gave you the prices of what things sold for at the previous auction 2 days ago- so you could have a sense of going rates.

I bid against someone for the canners, and ended up with 3 of the 20lb boxes for $7 each. No one else bid on the Romas, so I got those 2 boxes for $10 each. The price sheet had them an average of $15/box, which I would have been fine with, too! It took probably 40 minutes to get through all the tomatoes, then they moved on to melons, potatoes, corn, peppers, cucumbers, just every kind of produce you can imagine. I checked out after the tomatoes were done, loaded up, and headed on home. With a 90 minute drive out there, we figure it was about $65 all in, with gas, auction registration, and then the actual bids.


Why was I bidding on 100 lbs of tomatoes in the first place? I make spaghetti sauce in bulk every fall to last the following year. Growing up, my family grew our own tomatoes and we made sauce every weekend for at least a month. Now, I get tomatoes in bulk and do it all on one fell swoop- I can process the tomatoes with a Squeezo machine in one day, and cook it down and can it the following day- it makes for a long weekend, but then it's done until next year.

Squeezo setup is best outdoors, where the machine and people can be hosed off.


The sauce cooks down for 6-10 hours. Tomatoes, basil, oregano, bay leaves, onion powder, salt. No sugar.


And if you're wondering - Amish tomatoes taste different (better!) than other tomatoes! Even within Amish tomatoes, I get a different vintage each year, it's delightful. This year, 100 lbs made 37 1/2 quarts of sauce.


* Important warning about water-bath-canning tomatoes, because it could kill someone: if you use typical tomatoes from the supermarket, you need to add a tbsp of lemon juice to up the acidity before using a water bath- or use pressure canning instead. The popular varieties of tomatoes have been bred to be sweeter than our grandparents' time, and lower acidity means increased risk of bad things growing in your jars while they're stored, and it's a big risk with water bath canning. My recipe uses Romas (which haven't been genetically messed with nearly as much so aren't as sweet) and adds tomato paste, which adds a hefty dose of acidity also. Years that I can't find romas, I add lemon juice to each jar.

You really can't tell the acidity level of tomatoes by tasting them, either.

Something different

A couple of weeks ago, we had a nice photo of kudzu flowers from f'd.


Did you know that kudzu is edible?

The leaves, vine tips, flowers, and roots are edible; the vines are not. The leaves can be used like spinach and eaten raw, chopped up and baked in quiches, cooked like collards, or deep fried. Young kudzu shoots are tender and taste similar to snow peas.

Kudzu also produces beautiful, purple-colored, grape-smelling blossoms that make delicious jelly, candy, and syrup. Some people have used these to make homemade wine. The large potato-like roots are full of protein, iron, fiber, and other nutrients. They are dried and then ground into a powder which is used to coat foods before frying or to thicken sauces.

There are a bunch of recipes linked.

Tips from chefs, and a photo of kudzu running wild.

Sad Storm News

Duke Lowell believes that it was a tornado that took out one of the big trees at his house. We may have a little video of the storm later. The big tree took out his Teacup Magnolia.

Here's a pic of the magnolia that got squashed today. It was my favorite tree.


A lovely tree. Gone, but not forgotten.

More Bromeliads




What an amazing variety of plants and flowers!

If you would like to send information and/or photos for the Saturday Gardening Thread, the address is:

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