Hops Harvest

I have now completed the harvest of my fresh hops. I always have a question in my mind as to when they are ready. After Labor Day, they seem very numerous and ready to go. I have held off to the last minute when some of the varieties turn a little bit golden. I read that if they get very dry and golden, the flavor molecules start to fall apart and the flavor will be less. I have not had that problem yet, they are very sticky on the fingers and full of aroma.

In search of the perfect IPA beer, I have used a LOT of hops in my brews. So far the only thing I have not tried is dry hopping after the fermentation. This last batch I just tried doing that so we will have to wait and see if it is any better. Dry hopping is the procedure of throwing hops in after the fermentation has slowed down and letting them soak in there for a week or two. I never did this because it seemed like it would contaminate the beer, but I just tried it and nothing seems bad in there yet.

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Fresh Hops Cones

Fresh Cones

Ready to pick now.

Trough of Tulips

Tulip Trough

The other little project I did today is to plant 60 tulip bulbs in this old trough I found over at my Father-in-law’s house. I broke up the old soil in it and added a peaty soilless mix that contains time release fertilizer pellets. Then the bulbs were scattered and pressed in pointing up. (If you have never done this before, the tip goes up and the tiny flat root plate goes down. Sometimes it is a little hard to tell.) Then over the top went more soilless media. They will be protected from animals in this container. It should get chilled in the garage all winter but not frozen really hard.
I saw this done this past May when I went to Keukenhopf in the Netherlands. They used so many bulbs that it made a stunningly thick display. I purchased these bulbs at a home store for ten dollars per bag. I used two bags for this trough. The flowers are going to be a mixed pastel collection. One bag is mid season and one bag is late. I expect them to be quite tall too. We will see if I get a long season of bloom out of them. Now to water them and wait for SPRING!

Paperwhites

This post is about an easy project to do that you can do right now or next spring. What am I talking about? It is forcing bulbs to bloom in containers. This bowl contains 6 bulbs of the Daffodil (Narcissus) type called Paperwhites. They are a bulb that can be easily grown in a little container like this.

Paperwhites in potting media

Six paperwhite bulbs will be held in the refrigerator ready for early spring display.

You really do not have to chill them since Narcissus papyraceus ‘Paperwhite’ is a Mediterranean Daffodil that does not need chilling to bloom. If you want to have them timed for a certain holiday, some trial and error is in order. They say on the package that they will bloom in 4-5 weeks at room temperature. It is all dependent on the temperature that you keep them at. They like it quite cool on a windowsill. If you grow them at house temperature, they will get all leggy and fall over while they are blooming which is not nice. I plan to keep them in the refrigerator and hold them back until January 1 and then put them into the coldeest spot I can find. This will keep the stems short and they will bloom and smell nice without staking. I will try to post a photo if I pull this off.

Parrot Tulip

This flower form is the Parrot Tulip. They come in various blended colors. Spectacular!

Pretty Pictures

Queen’s Day shenanigans in Amsterdam this past May, 2012. Revelers wear orange as a national color.

Ok, all you blo…

Ok, all you blog readers should dial in because Infamous is going throw some serious horticulture at you soon. ┬áSo stay tuned… maybe there will be tulips.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Black Eyed Susan Vine

Black Eyed Susan Vine

We have been growing a good garden plant for a few years now. It is commonly called the Black Eyed Susan Vine. Many gardeners grow the plant known as Black eyed Susan which is like a daisy with orange petals around a brown center. That plant is a Rudbeckia species and is completely different, botanically from the vine by the same common name.

The vine is called

    Thunbergia alata

and it falls in the plant family Acanthaceae. All the members of this family have petals that are united more or less at the base into a roll or tube. The BES vine has the petal bases joined and a simultaneous color change to a purple-brown. The petals at the mouth of the flower are lobed so that they appear to be five separate petals. The color tones vary depending on the variety from yellow to deep orange.

The care of the BES vine is very easy. In our part of the country, they are put in after danger of spring frosts and grown as a summer bedding plant. If you are lucky enough to be in an area that has no frosts, it can live for a long time as it is a frost-tender perennial. When I planted them in the spring they were about 6 inches tall. By this week, when they were pulled out, one of them had climbed up to my second story deck and run along the railing spindles for about 6 feet. They do not get too weedy or anything, they are nice cheerful plants. They flower very well if they get enough sun. They can take full sun as long as they do not dry out too much.

As far as decorative value, they do well on a fence or trellis. They would stand out well when grown with a complementary color in the blue tones. A suggested combo would be ‘Heavenly Blue’ morning glory and the orange Black Eyed Susan vine. Happy gardening!

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