The Shed

The Shed
The Shed

Monday, May 30, 2016

New Vegetables for the 2016 Garden


"Hey Angus", said Farm Girl, "What's the date today?"

The gray bearded old parsnip fancier who most folks referred to as Uncle Mac but who Farm Girl occasionally calls Angus, primarily because it is his name, turned to Farm Girl.

"April 10th", he replied.

"Sunday, April 10th. Why do you ask?"

"Because it is getting a bit late in the season to advise our readers of newly introduced plants which they may wish to try this year. Don't you think we should pretend that we are serious gardeners, at least for awhile?"


"I suppose we must, although I doubt we'll fool anyone. I tell you what. I'll take Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Farm Girl, You okay with Territorial?"


"Mallory? Leatherface? How about Parks and Jungs?"

"Spot on!" and "Yo!" were the respective replies.

"Is Agnes here?", asked Uncle M.


The haystack shivered and what conceivably might have been a bleary eyed clone of Witch Hazel emerged from its depths. She sneezed, glanced around and retrieved a bottle of Jack Black from the hay.

She fumbled with the cap.

"Watcher want?" she mumbled.

"We are giving you Burpees by default."

"Already got 'em, and it's Leather-faces fault. Damned tuna casserole he made was off. Got the runs as well and Ah want to tell you-"

"ENOUGH!", barked Uncle Mac, "That falls into the category of too much information. What we want you to do is investigate the Burpees catalog or website and see what new offerings look interesting."

"Why'n hell didn't you jist say so, then," said the old harridan, and took a pull on the whiskey.

Some time later:

"Allrighty then!", said Uncle Mac, "Gather your beverages of choice and flock around. Let's see what new introductions deserve a spot in the dirt. Farm Girl?"

"Aye aye, Skip, I have Territorial Seed Co. and they have two new arrivals I think we should try, although we better step lively if we're going to plant the dwarf snow peas, or else plant them in fall." 


 "Territorial touts these little peas as incredibly early, with only a thirty day pod-set time from seeding and an extended picking season after that. The 40" vines grow quickly and set thick crops. What could possibly go wrong?"

"A visit from Mrs. Deer", suggested Uncle M, "How much?

"An ounce is $3.05 and purportedly contains at least 100 seeds. Whaddya think?"

"I think we give peas a chance", said Uncle Mac, to a chorus of groans. "What else?"

"Well", said Farm Girl, "I freely admit that I am going purely by name here but we need a large pumpkin, so let's try Territorials "Big Moose".


"It has a 110 day growing season, can top 125 lbs in weight and has a truly deep orange color. This can make a formidable jack-o-lantern or bragging pumpkin, or one hell of a lot of pies. A three gram envelope is $4.75. We can plant them where that damned ankylosaurus crapped 2 years ago, the soil should be perfect."

"I agree", said Uncle Mac, "Let's turn the moose loose."  

Farm Girl scowled.

"Are you going to favor us with a pithy little comment for each and every vegetable?" inquired Farm Girl.

"It's who I am", replied the venerable Uncle, "It's what I do."

"Gonna be a long afternoon." she observed, and reached for a Sam Adams.

Agnes cleared her throat, a decidedly unpleasant sound, much like a greasy drain slowly and reluctantly giving way to excessive water pressure.

"Hey did any wunna you bozo's check thuh date lately?"

She was met by more vacant stares than most abandoned condominium complexes can boast.*

"It's Memorial Day. May 30th. Way past time to advise our readers of thuh new veggie offerings for 2016."

"But...but", butted Uncle Mac, "It clearly references April 10th at the beginning of the post!"

"Which, Ah hasten to remark, merely shows how long this fine bit of less than creative writing has languished as a draft."

"We are bad gardeners." said Uncle Mac, staring gloomily at the assembled shed personnel.

There was silence for a few moments and the Leather Face shuffled uncomfortably and said: "Actually we are really good gardeners. What we suck at is blogging."

There were muffled grumbles of agreement from all concerned.

*OK! I know! Stairs! I couldn't help myself.




Sunday, September 6, 2015

Taters in a Bucket Revisited


Lacey here! Although a long standing member of the Garden Shed Community I am usually not associated with growing, watering and weeding veggies. Generally it is my job to blow things up, burn things down and kill annoying people.

It keeps me busy, the supply of annoying people being nearly infinite.

But now and then I try to get my thumb a bit greener and so it was with my potatoes in a bucket experiment. You may recall that earlier in the year I placed a half a red potato in three different buckets of garden soil and compost mix, at about the halfway point of the buckets depth.

Then I simply watered the plants that popped up and let nature take over.

Now it is labor day weekend. Let us see what time has wrought.


Well alrighty then! The plant is beginning to shut down and appears rather tired, limp and weary, much like Bill Clinton post intern.

Let's just dump it out on the ground, shall we?


Schweet! Not entirely in vain I see. In fact...

"Hey Jack! Put your hand next to the spud for comparisons sake, there's a lad."


Respectable 'taters, but not too many as this shot shows. Still, that's ample portions of mashed or boiled potatoes for two people. Plus, it is clean, easy and fun to grow this way, and kids will enjoy the process immensely while catching the gardening bug in the process.


I'll let the next bucket full go until the plant is completely dry and dessicated, and the third until just before first frost, and see if this makes any difference (perhaps the smaller spuds will develop more completely) and if it does, I'll let you know!

Thank you for visiting uncle Mac's Garden Shed!


Saturday, August 29, 2015

One Big Tomato

The door which leads from the vegetable garden to the shed swung open, although it was really difficult to tell. The man who filled the opening was nearly as big as the door at 6' 6" and about 300 pounds.

But big as Leatherface is the object in his hand still looked freakishly large. It was round and red and to everyone's surprise it was not a severed head.

It was in fact a product of Burpee Seed plant development program and went by the moniker of "Steakhouse Tomato". You may read about it HERE, and their promotional picture looks like this.

Ours is not as large or as "perfect" but as you can see below, it fills the big mans giant paw or a full sized paper plate.



How does it taste?

Just the way you want a beefsteak tomato to taste. Juicy, slightly tart and bursting with tomato flavor, the flavor you forget about after a winter of supermarket tomatoes.

This is a keeper, and about to become a garden favorite year after year.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Another cash prize contest!


Indeed it is, Jack's back and this time he's handing out dollars instead of ripping out guts, a mere 127 years after sweet Mary Jane Kelly endured what was definitely not elective surgery.

Where does the time go?

And what, constant reader, must you do to garner the first prize of $20.00, or the second prize of $10.00 or in the unlikely event that we have three contestants, the embarrassingly niggardly third prize; a whopping $5.00?

Carve some Lady of the Evening a new belly button?

Nothing so gauche. 

First, you must have a PayPal account so that we can send your prize to you, it's the only way we do it.

As for the particulars of the contest, they are very simple. All you need do is knit a prize winning nudibranch, crochet a top of the line Chromodoris or if you are of stout pioneering stock, purl a Phidiana.

Yes, we want you to crochet a sea slug.

"Yuck", says you, "that will make my needles all slimy!"

Ho ho. Our readers, you have to love them.

No, dear soul, use yarn and knit us a replica of a sea slug, perhaps a colorful one like what is probably
Chromodoris willani, shown below.


Or you might wish to run with Chromodoris Magnifa, although you will be running rather slowly, nudibranchs are not known for blinding speed. 


And here is another colorful challenge, Chromodoris kuiteri.


You will need to tell us what species you are basing your work upon so be to check out "" where you can find hundreds of pictures under the "species list", or to "Feeling Sluggish" or to "The Slug Site". This will give you more than enough examples and photos to work from.

Finished pieces should be at least 5" long so as to show up well in the picture you will be emailing to the judges.

Email pictures to: with "Slugs" in message bar.

So we know you are showing us your work and not a pic from the internet include, in the picture along with the knit slug, one of the following.

A 12 oz. can of beer or soft drink.

A local newspaper showing the date

A fresh root crop vegetable, a carrot, beet, rutabaga or parsnip for example.

Your cat.

But wait, you say, no one knits these things! How wrong you are! Here is just one example:


More examples can be found simply by typing "Knit Sea Slugs" into your search engine. 

So hop to it! Entries received after midnight August 30 will not be considered unless a hefty bribe is enclosed.

You may enter up to three pieces but you can only win one prize.

Judging should take but a few days, prizes sent out almost immediately.

If you feel these directions require clarification, use the comments section to communicate your concerns.

Let's hear those needles clacking!
Only a few hours have passed and we have our first slug!

And here it is! Now what have you brought to the table?

C. Magnifa


Saturday, August 1, 2015


Hi, it's Farm Girl and welcome to Farm Girl's Corner. 

It hasn't been too lively around the shed lately, the weather has been peculiar to say the least with a frigid winter, a late and very cold spring and what has thus far been a rather cool summer. Everything has been late to develop with the possible exception of the romance between Millie Quackenbush (The Last Sorceress) and George Mallory (Dead Mountain Climber).

Uncle Mac has been more than a bit jealous, having himself dallied awhile with Millie, the scrofulous old goat. It's a good thing he has me to fall back on, or as is most often the case, forward on.

One thing that we had in spectacular overabundance were Colorado potato bugs. We had, not to put to fine a point on it, potato bugs up the gagootz.

Aunt Agnes reported this very condition, as a matter of fact but no one had the slightest inclination to verify her story, and thus it must remain in the realm of apocrypha.

But I digress. The point is that we gave up on our potatoes. We paid them no attention and neither weeded nor watered them. The beds became choked with weeds and grasses up to six feet tall.

But then I thought I would steal a march on fall clean up and so, rounding up Mallory and Agnes we descended on the beds with implements of grass destruction. 

We found yellowed stalks and attached to those stalks, potatoes. Some of quite respectable proportions as the somewhat poorly focused photo may indicate. The Bud can is merely there as a size comparison artifact.


We dug up the rest of the bed and found quite a pleasant number of similar potatoes, and Yukon Gold and Blue Adirondack as well.

So the point is NOT that one should neglect ones potato crop to ensure a good crop, but rather that you should always check the garden carefully for unknown or well hidden surprises.

There is really nothing like ones own fresh potatoes.

And thank you for visiting Farm Girl's Corner!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Agnes checks her onions


It seems like Agnes has succeeded. She has managed to grow a whopper of an onion plant, the largest in the picture topping thirty nine inches and still growing. (Background on this sordid tale may be uncovered HERE)

What Agnes has failed to realize is that there is little or no onion attached to that truly magnificent stalk. These, you see, are replanted onions which have overwintered as one onion. Agnes divided the onion into the three plants that it was developing into earlier this spring and planted them individually.

However, second year onions are devoting their energy to producing seeds, primarily, and the pods that look quite a bit like Greek orthodox church domes are where the seeds will develop. She will have quite a few Walla Walla seeds from just these plants, if she wishes to save them.

If the Agster also wants bulky onions she needs to water lavishly, fertilize with 10-10-10 fertilizer along with an additive of calcium, boron and magnesium and hope for the best. Otherwise she will merely get something that looks like a leek on the bottom of that over-large stem.

It would be a really good idea if she weeded a bit, too.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Agnes shares some onion lore



"Agnes here and ah am fixin' to share with you a few tricks about onion growin' that ah learnt back when ah was a lil' gal in Texas."

"And the Mexicans still owned the state." muttered someone, probably Leatherface. 

"Whut?" said Agnes, eyeing the big man with suspicion, if not outright enmity. "Well never mind that fer now."

"Anyway we all get a little sloppy late in the gardenin' season and might not pick every single vegetable that we might orta be pickin'. Why jist this mornin' ah found a big overwintered onion right there where the termaters are scheduled to be planted!"


 "Whut do yew suppose ah did?"

"Had a shot of Jack Black?" ventured Farm Girl

"Well o' course ah did. It were a might frosty this mornin' if you recall.* But then ah dug that bad boy right up, savin' as many roots as ah could."

"Then I peeled away the yeller outer skin and the inner onion parts which was squishy and wound up with three small onions with their respective root systems. there's a peek at them below."


"Then ah split the plant into the three plants it were a' growin' into anyways..."

"Then ah planted them and jist look at them 3 big plants. What a jump on the season!"


There was silence for a moment and then Uncle Mac cleared his throat, a distinctly unpleasant sound.

"Agnes, did you actually do this with your overwintered onions when you lived in Texas?"

"Well no, generally we jist chopped 'em up and used them in stews and soups and omelets and sech."

"What is it you expect to get from these three plants?"

"Why, onions as big as pumpkins whatcher think?"

"Because what you are going to get is big green stalks, onions that look like leeks and a lot of onion seeds. You are misleading our readers..."

"Read-ER!" corrected Millie Quackenbush from the wings

"Read-er", Uncle Mac acknowledged, "and thereby contributing to the decline of this once much respected gardening blog. Now, had you been instructing our audience as to how to collect and save onion seeds this effort might have had some merit."

"Well ah'll just change it around a bit, and ah reckon it will do

right enough."

"Atta girl!" said Uncle Mac and reached for the brandy.

*In fact it was 72 f at dawn.