Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I stopped in at Gramlings to buy some seeds this morning and I realized I was really excited about planting them. It was a big contrast to how I felt going to work. I like my job, but I'm rarely excited about it. I just couldn't wait to get home to plant the seeds.

I bought nasturtiums and marigolds and sunflowers. My daughter and I planted them, along with columbines and some smaller sunflowers. They'll be in the window case for a few weeks until they get sprouted. The marigolds and nasturtiums are good for deterring a lot of bugs. White flies usually go after my persimmon tree, so I'm going to plant the nasturtiums out front. I usually put marigolds in the garden. Last year I let them all die of neglect. This year I'll do better.

The columbines are something the kids chose at the hardware store. They are perennials, so they will be a nice contrast with the annuals and I can use them to illustrate for the kids how they come back without having to be replanted.

I love sunflowers but the birds always seem to eat them before they sprout or they don't get enough sun. I have a spot picked out in the front yard and I'm going to provide some supports so they don't fall over.

Tom Petty was right, the waiting is the hardest part.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shunning the dark side

The evils of Monsanto have been documented thoroughly. I've often wondered about the seed varieties I use and which are spawned by the evil empire. I will use this handy reference in the future:

My local feed store, Gramlings, has many seed varieties of its own.

Spring 2012: A New Beginning

It isn't that I didn't have a garden last year. I just got lazy with the blog. Last year was characterized by low yields and high attrition. The vine borers wiped out all of my squash, cucurbits, and musk melons.

I finally built a cold frame and overwintered bell peppers and sprouted many tomatoes and hot peppers, as well as a few squash. I also had a cauliflower and broccoli that were suppressed all summer by leaf-eaters and delivered surprise yields in winter.

I'm going to try to post regularly and not try to be as comprehensive this year. I think the reason I neglected the blog is because I always tried to post huge, epic descriptions. I'll be more brief. Some things to detail: my experiments with biochar, my expanded composting/leaf molding, sprouts from seed, new strategy for the vine borers and targeted planting. Maybe more.

Here is a start:
Broccoli gone wild. Florets become blossoms if you let them.
This is what broccoli looks like a week after you should have picked it. This plant has a thick, healthy root and multiple heads. If I can keep the leaves from being devoured, I may get a summer crop.