I will finish answering these soon. Please ask more questions! I’ll post a link on the sidebar.
1. What camera do I use?
I have a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. A fantastic camera that I highly recommend. Its relatively light and small for a digital SLR, a good size for my hands. I used to take it everywhere with me. But now, I end up taking most of my photos with my cell phone. They have surprisingly good resolution.
I keep saying I’ll use my Canon more. It does take a nice photo. I have two lenses. A general purpose Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens (reviewed here). Also a wonderful Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens. This lens gives wonderful background blur.
2. How do I organize my photos?
I take 20-100 shots a day. I delete at least half right away. Then I select a couple I like, edit if needed, and upload to Flickr. A subset of these go onto my blog. The folder of all the saved photos gets archived onto an external hard drive, organized by date. If I want to find a photo, I generally just search Flickr or my blog. The important thing on both Flickr and the blog is to title or tag the photo with a useful name that I and likely to find again my searching. I can download the original resolution image from Flickr. Based on the photo date, I could go back to my archived folder and find more photos on that topic, though I have rarely actually done this.
3. What software do I use to edit my photos?
I use Microsoft Office Picture Manager as a quick tool to view and crop. I use PhotoShop CS3 to do lots of other things. I especially like “auto levels” and “shadow/highlight”. I use PowerPoint to make collages. To export, I use DocPrint PDF Driver and then convert the PDF to a jpg using PhotoShop.
4. How do I get high resolution photos into my blog?
I use Flickr. It allows you to use higher resolution than Blogger.
5. How do I make collages?
With PowerPoint. To export, I use DocPrint PDF Driver and then convert the PDF to a jpg using PhotoShop.
6. How do I take “aerial” photos of my garden?
From the 2nd floor window – right above the garden.
I’m trying to find a way to get an aerial shot of my new garden that has no house nearby. I’ve considered a tall ladder, climbing a nearby tree, a weather balloon, a drone. I’m still thinking. I like the drone idea though if the prices some down a bit.
7. How do I format my blog?
I have done it all with HTML code in the template box. I directly edit the code there. I started with the template “565” (below) and from there edited lots of things. Not knowing HTML, I have edited using the trial and error method. I haven’t updated to the current blogger, so I can’t use their widgits and have to write my own or find code on the web.
Blogger Template Style
Designer: Douglas Bowman
Date: 28 Feb 2004
8. What kind of dog is Skippy?
He was a Portuguese water dog. Skippy died suddenly on August 27, 2016 of a burst spleen tumor. He was 11. He was a wonderful dog. My first dog and I was very close to him.
I now have Suzie, born June 1013. And Charley, born the same day Skippy died. All are Portuguese water dogs. We chose this breed because my husband is allergic to most dogs. He is fine with this breed. All on my dogs were breed by Heather Shilo at C-Lion Portuguese Water Dogs. She’s located in Bedford MA.
9. I did a good job with succession planting, but no matter when they get planted, the lettuce, spinach, and radishes are finished by the first or second week in July. They all want to bloom, and then get bitter. When I plant for a fall crop in August, some years it grows, and others they don’t. Do you have a way to extend the season?
Boy, what a great question! But I think every crop is different.
Lettuce: Grow heat resistant lettuces in the summer. They’re called Summer Crisps. Start planting them in June. Plant more every few weeks. I am usually able to grow lettuce all year. My problem is remembering to do the succession planting.
Radish: I think of radish as seasonal crop. Maybe you can look for a bolt resistant variety and extend the season a little.
Spinach: Again, a seasonal crop. I get one crop in early spring, sometimes one in the fall, and good winter crops. For a fall crop, you can try growing seedling in pots on a table in the shade, or try using shade cloth. I’ve grown fall spinach in pots in my 60 degree garage under lights and brought them out when the weather cools off. But, since our NE weather goes so fast from very hot to cold, its hard to do this. It works some years and not others. My best crops of spinach are in a winter tunnel. If you plan it so the plants are pretty big by early November, then you will have spinach all winter (if you plant enough of them). They get big and delicious in March and April.
10. How big is your garden?
1992 – 2013, I had a garden next to my house. Over time, trees grew and it got very shady. This garden had 5 raised beds, about 9 x 3.5 each and one big bed about 10 x 10. So, about 250 sq ft.
In 2008 – current, I got a local community garden plot, a mile from my house and full sun. The plot is about 30 x 30. So, 900 square feet.
2013 – current, I have a big backyard and a large vegetable garden. It has 7 raised beds and a perennial border along the front. The fenced area is about 20 x 60. So that’s 1200 sq feet. I also have a blueberry patch, space for fruit trees and a 10 x 5 ft herb garden next to the house.
11. What are the dimensions of the posts and wire of your community garden fence? Where did you buy the metal posts and wire? And more importantly, how has it worked out for you?
The fence is 5 ft tall. The poles are driven in a ft or so, so I guess they are 6+ ft. They are the ones sold to go with the 5 ft fencing at Home Depot. My garden is about 25 ft square, so we have 25X4 total ft of fencing.
The 5 ft fencing material is hung to start at the ground. We then dug a 1 ft trench and lined the garden with 2 ft chicken wire, half underground and half above. This keeps the burrowers out, plus the small rabbits that can squeeze through the larger fencing holes. In areas we couldn’t dig down the chicken wire angles outward underground. The chicken wire is secured to the 5 ft fence with small tie wraps.
After two seasons, I can report that this fence has worked great. The chipmunks come over, but that’s all.
12. Is there anything I can plant this late in the season? (August-September)
You can try out my on-line fall planting calendar. Here’s the link. Enter your first frost date and it gives dates for planting. Also my new apps at a link a the top of my sidebar.
July and August are the months for fall planting. I plant peas, kale, spinach, escarole, mustard greens, lettuce, bok choi, baby carrots, beets for greens, and radish. The peas never work though – just my challenge. People in NE used to grow fall peas but now the weather goes from hot to cold too fast.
Even in September or October, you can plant seeds to come up early in the spring. Plant cilantro and dill in the garden for early crops. In a cold frame, plants seeds for spinach, mustard greens, kale, escarole, radicchio. They’ll sprout and the baby plants will take off and grow fast once the sunlight gets stronger, March and April.
13. What do you do with all your vegetables?
I store many by canning, pickling, freezing and drying them. Most, we eat fresh. A big salad every evening with dinner. We don’t buy vegetables in the summer or fall. I bring my vegetable dishes to outings, serve them to guests at my house. And I look forward to having too much. I give them to my mom, siblings, and neighbors. Or I take them to the local Food Pantry. I always feel good doing that. One spring I brought 16 beautiful heads of bok choi an a big basket to the Pantry.
14. What won’t you put in a martini?
Well, tomatoes, beans, greens, pumpkins, eggplants, kohlrabi, turnips, or rutabagas. But I think just about anything else is fair game. And seasonal, fresh homegrown tastes best.
Favorites from my garden: cucumbers, celery, radish, onions, carrots, watermelon, apples, fresh and dried pears, strawberries, raspberries. And once in a while I like a store bought olives. Especially the big green Castelvetranos.
BTW, here’s my martini recipe (serves 2): Chill shaker, gin and glasses in freezer. (We store them there.) Add to shaker: about 1 cup crushed ice, 4 shots gin (or vodka) and a splash of dry vermouth (~5 drops). Shake well. Pour into two glasses. We like to add the ice too. Add vegetables and/or fruits to taste.
15. Where did you get your paella grill?
www.buyspain.com (We have a 42 cm pan.)
16. What can I do with kohlrabi?
Compost it! (If you feel bad about that, put it in the bottom drawer of your fridge til its brown and then compost it.) Sorry, I’ve never brought my self to eat it, though I do hear it’s very good.