Author Archives: blcookadmin

Single Digit Temps Did Severe Damage to My Aloes

Aloes produce many pups during a good growing season.  Last summer I re-potted dozens of pups into larger clay pots.  I like to put pea gravel on top of the sandy potting soil. I had about two dozen good sized baby aloes that I planted in clay pots ranging from 6" to 10".  I put them in the greenhouse before the first frost, back in October.  We had a second polar blast a week ago.  The first blast gave us 20 degree nights.  My aloes made it thru the nights with just a coal oil lamp burning Read more [...]

Re-Growing Celery from its Base

Ok, for funsies I decided to try to re-sprout/re-grow celery cores, just to see what would happen. Here in east Texas, celery will not grow properly.  We just don't have a long enough time of cold weather.  It can be below or at freezing for a few days, but before the week is out it can be back into the 60s.  This fluctuation just wont do for trying to grow celery from seed. I left more of the baby stalks at the center core than others do.  The one on the left is a half week older than Read more [...]

Sweet Potatoes Didn’t Do That Well This Year

Last year I planted a few sweet potato slips for funsies. Some store bought sweet potatoes had sprouted and I decided to root and grow the sprouts. The result was impressive, to me. I found that each slip grew 3 large (about a pound each) potatoes. They were good and actually tasted better than the store bought ones.  This picture shows a small part of the harvest.  These potatoes are nice, rounded and large.  The meat was rich orange. With a big, easy harvest in mind, this year I planned Read more [...]

Turmeric Is Interesting To Grow – Try Some

I am always looking for something new and interesting to grow, so I got some from the grocery store.  I bought several plump chunks and started several plants. This is my first season to grow grocery store turmeric.  This is my best plant - I'm pretty impressed with the results.  I made a mistake though, this pot is about 12" high and almost 12" across.  I think it might be too small.  Next spring I am going to use larger pots and plant more.  A pot should be at least 12" deep and 12 Read more [...]

Army-worms Devastated My Winter Garden

Army worms have been brutal this fall.  I never saw it coming.  The summer garden came and went and I then planted my fall garden.  The first planting grew nice and the seedlings grew to an inch or two, then overnight - yes, overnight, the seedlings were gone.  It took a few days of research and observation to realize it is army worms eating and destroying my garden. When I realized it was army worms, I knew to watch for them early in the morning and later in the evening because they usually Read more [...]

Blanching & Freezing Overgrown Zucchini

Somehow I carelessly missed about a half dozen overgrown zucchini. Since it is early in the season and the weather is still wet, I hoped that they would not be seedy and that I could freeze them. Yes, that is how it worked out. I had put black several gallon nursery buckets sideways under the enormous zucchini plants that are spreading over the sides of my raised beds.  These zucchini were hard to tell apart from the black pots in the shadows under the leaves.  By the time I realized they were Read more [...]

Powdery Mildew Strikes Again

We have had a very cooler and wet spring and the powdery mildew is back with a vengeance. A day before our last good rain, I sprayed all of my crops with a mixture of Garrett Juice (2 tbsp per gallon), neem oil (almost 2 tbsp per gallon), and a tablespoon per gallon of ocean minerals.  After wards, the leaves had a nice rich green shine to them and the powdery mildew could not be seen.  I suspect that it was just hidden under the glossy finish.  After a few more days of very light sprinkles, Read more [...]

My Cotton Is Trying To Produce A 2nd Harvest

I bought some green heirloom cotton seeds from Southern Exposure seeds.  I have been growing a half dozen or so plants for a few years, just collecting the cotton for the time being. I planted the plants - this year from last year's seeds - in the spring and the cotton was ready to harvest by late summer.  I decided to just leave the plants in the ground after harvest.  I then noticed that the plants put on new leaves and then new buds.  I let them grow.  By late fall and cold weather, the Read more [...]

Io Moth Caterpillar – ouch

I walked and drove past this Mulberry tree for a week or so, while going up and down my driveway, and noticed massive leaf loss.  I didn't immediately do anything about it because I figured that it was the usual fall grasshopper destruction.  On my way down to the mailbox by the road, I decided to walk over to the 7 foot, second year Mulberry tree and check it out.  I was very surprised to see about 14 giant, green, prickly caterpillars. These things were about 4" long. They were covered with Read more [...] Continues To Fail The Customer

As noted in several previous posts, I made a $100+ purchase from, Burgess's website. The plants all arrived very late in the season and thus were in bad shape and almost all died. I contacted Burgess and told them of the problem. They sent me replacement plants, but as noted in previous plants, these plants were the left overs in the fall greenhouse. I specifically told them to wait until next spring to send my replacement plants and no substitutions of plants. What did they do, they Read more [...]