The Shed

The Shed
The Shed

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.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Aunt Agnes parts with a double sawbuck


"Howdy! Agnes Dalrymple here and Ah'm fixin' to announce a new Uncle Mac's Garden Shed CASH contest!"

"Yup that's right! They is few and far between but this here is one of them. Here is how it works."

"Ah'm goin' out in the garden right now and start up a bed of some sort of vegetables. Ah am not gonna tell you whut kind nor give yew a clue but ever Wednesday and Sunday, if it t'ain't rainin' Ah will take another picture and post it for y'all."

"Sooner 'er later somebody will recognize the veggie and put the correct answer under comments along with the address to use fer the Paypal payment."

"That there payment will be one double sawbuck, Andy Jackson or $20.00 US."

"Only one guess per person for each picture posted, mind ye!"

"That ought'n to be clear enough."

"Here Ah go."

And there Agnes went, leaving a bemused crew of gardeners in her wake.

Some time later...

"Ah'm back! An' here's a picture of the bed. Don't tell ye much, does it? Yew'll just have to check ever Wednesday and Sunday until somebody figgers it out."

"Good luck!"


 "Now that's mighty strange", said Uncle Mac, "Agnes parting with money voluntarily."

"Sure is.", said Farm Girl, "But you know what is stranger, and I never got around to asking? Remember about this time back in 2012 I took a trip to Minnesota for a few weeks?"

(Those who don't remember can find the sordid tale right here.)

"Well, when I got back, here was this Agnes person who I had never met, and not only had she made herself at home; she had actually written a 'Farm Girls Corner'!"

"What I'd like to know is who's Aunt is she, and how the hell did she wind up being part of our Merry Band?"

You might have heard a pin drop. Nobody dropped one but the silence was so profound that the potential for hearing dropped pins was definitely there.

Finally Uncle Mac spoke.

"Is Agnes still on a liquor store run?", he inquired.

There were nods and and mumbled sounds of assent.

"Then lock the doors, boys and girls, it's time for a chat."


Sunday, April 12, 2015

On replantery of garlic


"Where has Vida G been all day?", queried Uncle Mac, "haven't seen hide nor hair since breakfast."
"Oh she's working in the garden. Said she found some garlic and was going to replant it." said Farm Girl.

"Yikes! Don't tell me she's digging up the fall garlic crop? That will pretty much put 'paid' to 2015 as far as that allium goes!"
"Well that's allium you can expect from a neophyte." Farm Girl said, "But no. As a matter of fact she is digging up the left over 2014 crop that we did not harvest, splitting the cloves and replanting them."
"Did no one tell her that the yield is apt to be less than spectacular?" said Uncle M.
"Yes but you know Vida. And anyway why curb her enthusiasm? There's plenty of room and we can use the little cloves early on. Never enough garlic on hand, you know."

"How many did she plant? Couple of dozen?"

"No, hundreds." said Farm Girl, she kind of got in a fugue state."
"Hundreds?", said a startled Uncle Mac, "Wow!"


Turning in the direction of the open garden side door Uncle Mac bellowed, "It's Miller time, Vida, give the garlic a rest!"
"Whew!", said Vida G, as she burst through the door, "It was time to knock off anyway. I really worked up a sweat out there, and I think I'm learning my gardening ropes."
"Nice." said Farm Girl, in a dangerous tone.

"Urk!" said Uncle Mac


We will, of course, let you know how Vidas experiment progresses.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New Vegetable Varieties for 2015


Hi, Farm Girl here! You know me, I help Uncle Mac around the garden and shed, planting and weeding and researching sound gardening practices. Today we researched fertilization techniques. The basket trick in particular was kinda fun, if a bit challenging from an athletic standpoint.

Anyway, I'm going to tell you about some of the new vegetable varieties that became available for this, the 2015 season and which we will be trying here in the Shed garden.


I have high hopes for this one, I'm sure that it is no different than most zucchini or summer squash from a flavor standpoint, but eye appeal is important as well and this vegetable certainly has that. Not only does it look good, but it is ready to pick just 50 days from sowing. This is commendably quick.

Further, This zucchinoid is touted as being a 'long saver' for a summer squash. I'm not really certain what that translates to, but rest assured, we will be reporting what we learn about this colorful cultivar.

Want to try it out? Here is a link to help you out.


Bulky and long at 9" Jungs new Beaver Dam pepper provides gentle warmth for those who like a little chemical heat with their peppers, but who do not want to handle their foodstuffs with oven mitts, even while picking them.

The plants are compact, just 18 inches tall on average but produce a surprising volume of uniform fruit which ripen from mild green to glossy, dark red. Maturity requires a full 85 days.

You can find out more, or place an order here: Beaver Dam Pepper


This interesting little 4" to 5" summer squash purports to have a certain sweet but savory flavor which lends itself to stuffing, as well as more conventional uses.

Just 52 days from sowing to serving these compact plants could be a pleasant mid summer surprise. We intend to let them climb the north side of the garden fence, with a 6' maximum height this can work out well.

You can find out much more about this intriguing little squash right here: Burpees Summer Cupcake Squash

As always, I'll keep you up to speed on how these new items are faring in our test beds.

Thanks for visiting Farm Girls Corner!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Farm Girl's Corner: Walla-Walla Onions


Hi! I'm Farm Girl and welcome to Farm Girls Corner. I help Uncle Mac around the garden and shed and hayloft and so forth. I help weed his corn and water his tomatoes; I'll often yank his carrot when the need is urgent.

But today I'm going to discuss a favorite onion which we like to grow here. It is called the Walla-Walla onion, or sometimes the Walla-Walla sweet onion. This large, flattened and generally perfectly rounded alium is perfectly designed by nature for sandwich and burger slicing.

Its mild and generally sweet flavor make it ideal for those who love onion taste but not too much heat. Walla-Wallas make wonderful onion rings and delightful soup. It is a sizeable onion and delivers quite a bit of crop for a smallish garden space.

Walla Walla onions are nothing new. The story is that the were brought to Washington State's Walla Walla Valley by a French soldier who acquired the seeds of a small but sweet onion while on the island of Corsica. Arriving in the valley around 1900 selective breeding by the soldier, one Piere Pieri. He along with his family and neighbors brought this fine onion to it's full potential via selective breeding.

It is, at the time of this writing the state vegetable of Washington State. The entire Alium genus is no doubt exceedingly proud of this honor.

Large examples of these onions may reach 6” in diameter or though most will be between 4” and 6”. These are “long day” onions which can also thrive in the intermediate growing zone. This means that anywhere from the middle USA to southern Canada are reasonable locations for your Walla-Walla beds.

The plants take about 90 days to mature and are available from many, many gardener's supply houses. Dixondale farms is one such reliable source:

There are many others.

We prefer starting our beds from transferred plants rather than from sets or by direct seeding but all three methods can be successful. Walla-Walla plants are generally hardy, trouble free growers.


Deep soil laced with lots of compost, full sunlight, abundant water and weeding are the recipe for success with this simple root crop.

If there is one problem with this onion it is that its maximum storage life is about 30 days, not long compared to true long-keepers, so they must be used quickly or perhaps made into soups or other dishes which can be frozen.

In any event if you have never tried this onion we suggest you give it a sunny corner in your garden and prepare for a sweet surprise.

Thank you for visiting Farm Girl's Corner.

Stop back soon!