Sunday, March 26, 2017

Brinsea Maxi II Advance Hatch

Brinsea Maxi Advance IIMy first incubator was the Brinsea Mini Advance. It is a great incubator and have used it for a few hatches but it only holds 7 eggs. I ended up borrowing a Hovabator last Fall for a hatch because they didn't all fit in the Brinsea. I was not a big fan of the Hovabator and decided I needed a model with more capacity. Brinsea recently came out with some new models and decided to get the Brinsea Maxi II Advance. It has all of the same features and settings as the Mini with a few additional bells and whistles.  It holds 14 eggs, has a small vent that can be opened and closed and a reservoir on the outside to allow you to add water without opening the incubator. It also has a much larger viewing area so hopefully will be able to get a better view of the hatching.

I have a small hygrometer in the incubator to keep track of the humidity. I like to keep the humidity around 35% until lock down then will increase it to around 50%. I know some will go with a higher humidity and some even go lower or do what's called a dry incubation where they don't add any water until lock down. I chose to go somewhere in the middle and it has worked well for me in the past.

RIP ShyloMy brother announced he was planning a visit with his girlfriend and daughter and thought it would be fun to do a hatch timed around their visit. I decided to set the eggs on Friday morning so they should start hatching around the time they arrive next month. I lost Shylo, one of my olive eggers to a predator last week and found an egg under her body and decided to put it in the incubator. If it's fertile, the daddy should be a svart hona so it will be interesting to see the result of that cross.

I also added some hatching eggs I got from a couple of local chicken owning friends: 2 olive eggers, 2 olive egger back cross, 3 isbars, 2 silver laced orpingtons and 3 ice cream bars (isbar x cream legbar) for a total of 13 eggs.
Hatching Eggs




Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tomato and Pepper Varieties 2017

For the past couple of years I have been blogging about the tomato and pepper varieties I'm growing for the year and every year I seem to grow a little more of them.  Last year it was 22 tomato varieties and 12 pepper varieties. This year I'm also doing 22 tomato varieties but will be growing 13 pepper varieties. I will be putting 3 determinates in the greenhouse, 2 determinates in containers and 1 will go into a hanging basket which is a first for me. The rest will fill up one of my raised garden beds. The Sungold and black cherry are the only two I've grown before. The rest are new for me this year and mostly came from seed swaps.

Here are a couple of pics from last year's varieties.
2016 Large Tomato Varieties 2016 Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Cherry/Small
Black Cherry - Indeterminate - 65 days - saved seed
Brad's Atomic Grape - Indeterminate - unk days - Wild Boar Farms *new*
Glacier - Determinate - 55 days - seedswap with gratefulseedsaver
Isis Candy Cherry - Indeterminate - 70 days - seedswap with Lisa Russell
Minibel - Dwarf - 65 days - Baker Creek Seeds
Napa Rose - Indeterminate - unk days - Wild Boar Farms *new*
Purple Calabash Cherry - Indeterminate - unk days - seed swap with LL Mcbee
Wapsipinicon Peach - Indeterminate - 80 days - seed swap with Lisa Russell
Sungold (German dehybridized) - Indeterminate - 70 days - saved seed

Medium
Ace-55 - Determinate - 80 days - @urbanorganicgardener
Fertunia - Semi-determinate - unk days - Italian tomato seed swap with @themoderndaysettler
Goose Creek - Indeterminate - 75 days - saved seen from Heirloom Tomato Festival
Greek Pinks - Semi-det - unk days - Italian tomato seed swap with @themoderndaysettler
San Marzano - Indeterminate - 80 days - seed swap with @thegreenspatula
Striped Red Cavern - Indeterminate - 80 days - seed swap with LL Mcbee

Beefsteak/Large
Aunt Ruby's German Green - Indeterminate - 85 days - seed swap with homegrowngourmet
Azoychka - Indeterminate - 70 days - seed swap with @carmelbellafarm
Black Krim - Indeterminate - 80 days - seed swap with LL Mcbee
Chocolate Stripes - Indeterminate - 80 days - seed swap with LL Mcbee
Gold Medal - Indeterminate - 80 days - seed swap with gratefulseedsaver
Paul Robeson - Indeterminate - 85 days - therustedgarden
Sweet Tangerine - Determinate - 68 days - Hybrid variety seed swap with LL Mcbee

Colors of Peppers
2016 Pepper Harvest


Peppers

Super Hot ( > 600,000 scoville )
Carolina Reaper - 2.2 mill scoville - seedswap with Jay-rseyshoreGardener
Jay's Peach Ghost Scorpion - 750k scoville) - seedswap with Jay-rseyshoreGardener

Hot ( 10,000 - 600,000 scoville )
Aji Lemon (lemon drop) - 50k scoville - seedswap with Sander van Laarhoven
Brazilian Starfish - 20k scoville - seedswap with Backyardeden
Chocolate Habanero - 400k scoville - seedswap with LL Mcbee
El Oro De Ecuador - 40k scoville - seed swap with Christopher Brandsdal
Sugar Rush Peach - 100k scoville - seedswap with Jay-rseyshoreGardener

Mild/Medium ( < 10,000 scoville )
Cajun Bell - 500 scoville - seedswap with Anita Browne-Kauzlarich
Italian Long Hot - 1k scoville - seedswap with Jay-rseyshoreGardener
Orange Jalapeno - 5k scoville - seedswap with Sander van Laarhoven

Bell ( 0 scoville )
Orange Bell - seed swap with Kathy Pinkas
Purple Beauty Bell - Baker Creek Seeds
Yellow Bell - Big Family Homestead

Check out my Youtube videos to see how I started my tomato and pepper seeds.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hellebore Tea at Lake Wilderness Arboretum

A food blogger conference friend that I kept in touch with on social media posted on Facebook that she was looking for a few more people to join her table at Lake Wilderness Arboretum's annual Hellebore Tea in Maple Valley. I thought it sounded like a fun event so I put me and Mark down for the last two tickets. Not having been before, I wasn't sure what to expect. It turned out to be 95% women and 80% of them wearing a hat of some sort.
Host

Sarah, the table host, mentioned that there was a theme for her table and it was woodland. It sounded like a good table theme. It was mentioned that most people dress up. I'm not a dressy uppy kind of person so I settled on some non-jean pants and a copper/brown shirt which turned out to match the table scape pretty well. I also put on some jewelry which I rarely wear. I have a pine cone necklace that I thought went perfectly with the theme. The table was decorated with copper tea mugs, squirrels, acorns and chopped wood for tea and kettle coasters.
Woodland Squirrel

There were a couple of contests at the event, one for the best decorated table and one for the best hat. I didn't realize there would be a hat contest even though it said there would be right on the ticket. Needless to say, I didn't wear a hat but enjoyed all the hats everyone else was wearing. One of the tables next to ours had a chicken theme and everyone at the table had hats with nests, eggs and chicks adorning them. The funniest hat I saw was a lady with tea bags dangling from her hat. She ended up winning one of the prizes as did Shauntá at our table who wore an elegant hat with feathers from her chickens in it.
tea hats

This event was actually a fundraiser to benefit the Lake Wilderness Arboretum. There was a silent auction and a plant sale. Unfortunately we didn't come home with any auction items or plants but we enjoyed the event and all the cookies, crackers, pastries and snacks that accompanied the tea.
. Plant Sale