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About MattituckMike

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    1,000 Post Club!


  • About Me:
    Travel around the northeast (Job related)
    Travel to SE Asia every winter
  • Interests (Hobbies, favorite activities, etc.):
    Organic/Biodynamic gardening, All Food-Thai in particular,Fishing, Shellfishing,Chili Peppers
  • What I do for a living:
    Organic Certification Inspector/Consultant, Organic Garden Consultant/Installer

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  • Location
    Beautiful North Fork of Long Island

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  1. Those three lined potato beetles really do prefer tomatillos. They can defoliate a plant in only a few days if the infestation is severe. Those larvae coat themselves with their own excrement to protect themselves from predators. Spinosad based products might be a better control product rather than neem. Hand picking is the usual control for home gardens - that should work for your situation. There will be another generation that will hatch later in the summer so keep your eye out for that hatch. Good luck!
  2. The latest that Brussels sprout seed should be started is 4 months before your expected first frost in the fall. Getting close to or past that cutoff date for some people here. We just seeded our last round of Brussels sprout seed in cell flats this past Saturday - expected to harvest around Thanksgiving and up until Christmas.
  3. Exactly! And then you can enjoy all that delicious flavor that the charcoal imparts!
  4. He must have ..... The Weber website states that Weber Genesis gas grills are designed to max out at 500-550F. And the air temperature being measured in the grill is not the same as the cooking grate temperatures which is not achieved without a proper 15 minute preheat.
  5. Tomatoes are able to form adventitious roots quite readily. We take advantage of this ability when we plant our tomato starts. We remove lower leaves on the transplant and plant it deeply with the stripped section of the stem underground. This allows the root system of the plant to develop extensively with additional roots forming along the buried stem section. This might make the transplant look smaller at transplant time due to the buried section but when those roots develop the plant has a excellent anchoring system and an extensive system for the absorption of water and nutrients. The plants usually take off in growth and sugar formation in the fruits with this additional root system.
  6. Another way to air layer which we have found that works well would be to wrap the area where you want the rooting to occur with damp sphagnum moss and then wrap it with plastic wrap. We use long twist ties to secure both ends of the plastic wrap to keep it wrapped around the damp moss. Depending upon the plant that we are are layering, we then sometimes wrap the plastic wrap with aluminum foil to keep the light out to improve rooting, but with tomatoes or tomatillos that is not necessary. We air layer many different plants and trees. Soon you will see the new roots that formed when you look at the moss through the plastic wrap. Then cut it and plant. This method may be a bit easier than the cup method you tried. Tomatoes and tomatillos root so readily that just sticking the cutting in soil and keeping it moist would most likely work as well.
  7. We always use something to funnel or guide them into the trap. Bales of straw or hay work but now we use about 10-20 feet of 2 foot high chicken wire to create the funnel which guides them directly into the trap. Try it.... it works great for us!
  8. Yup.... not quite as deep a color but the color remains! The blue or purple color is caused by an antioxidant (anthocyanin) which makes these potatoes more healthy for you!
  9. I have used fertigation with drip systems. I would not use one for a garden which has an assortment of crops as the needs for each crop are different. For a monocrop or container garden, it could have some benefits. Most organic liquid fertilizers (most fish based fertilizers which I prefer) are too thick and can clog your emitters and/or settle to the bottom of your feed tank which can throw off the dilution rates. I have seen this also happen with chemical fertilizers and resulted in fertilizer-burned foliage. Organic soils are able to store nutrients and the daily feeding could throw off the nutrient balance in the soil. If you don’t have pressure compensating emitters in your drip system then the emitters closer to the source could be feeding those plants much more than the plants at the end of the line. We enjoy watching each crop grow and recognizing their individual needs. We like to test our knowledge and skills by addressing the plants’ needs with a bit of compost, fish, seaweed, bone and/or blood meal. We also like to incorporate foliar feeds if the plants look to be in need of a quick boost or if we know they will respond favorably. Sometimes new technology geared towards the large producers just doesn’t fit well in a home garden application, IMO.
  10. There is something satisfying when learning a skill that could come in handy someday. It is also satisfying knowing where the wood comes from and what type of wood we are using. We certainly don’t do it for the money savings. The time we spend making the charcoal is a good time with many hours to just hangout and catch a buzzzzz.... Just like doing a long smoke or roasting a whole pig. Just a little bit of tending to the fire and in the end we are rewarded with a product that can be used for many great meals! To me it is worth the time and effort.
  11. Depending on the variety of garlic that we get the scapes from and how strong they are, we will often add basil or dill along with the scapes to mellow out the garlic flavor if it is too strong in the pesto. When we are making it just for ourselves, we love the strong garlic flavor and we always spice it up with some dried Thai chili flakes then spread on some crusty bread and/or mixed with pasta.
  12. Yep..... One of my favorite uses for the scapes. It also freezes well (without the Parmesan cheese added) so we can enjoy them for a much longer season.
  13. LOL.... Not quite industrial scale, but occasionally we are able to gather enough wood to make a big batch and then we are closer to "industrial"! We start by digging out a hole and adding vent pipes. We then CAREFULLY stack the wood into an igloo shape, trying to avoid as many air spaces as we can. We then cover the stack of wood with a layer of straw... And finally cover the straw with wet mud (adobe style) to keep it air tight.... When this pile was finished, we could have filled a lot of those $9 bags!!!!
  14. No.... If we did leave the top open it would act just like a huge charcoal chimney and burn all that wood up in a flash. You can see the tight fitting lid on the barrel in the first picture that I posted above. The logs are on top to keep the lid on very tight since we want it to be as air tight as we can get it. The wood needs to just smolder and not burn. Here is what this batch looked like when done...
  15. Have made hardwood lump charcoal many times. Charcoal made from different hardwoods impart different flavors and burn at different temperatures. This is our barrel setup for when we do small batches - we have a different setup for large batches. We pack in the wood as tightly as we can... less air in the barrel gives us a more consistent charcoal which burns more evenly. The hole in the clay base under the barrel is where we start the fire and the charcoal making process. It takes at least 24 hours to finish. We can use different woods for different charcoals which we then choose from depending on what we are grilling/smoking.