Friday, May 30, 2008

At the farm

We spent the week at the farm. DH miscalculated slightly and plowed and tilled a few more acres than we needed for the sweet corn that we had. He planted Cloud Nine, Illinois X-tra Sweet, Early Xtra-Sweet, Northern, Xtra-Sweet, Xtra-Tender, and an experimental variety we were sent by Vermont Bean Seed. We also had a little package of Indian corn so he planted it too.

Since we had available tilled field, I had him plant all my bush bean seed here, then went and bought extra bush bean seed. I also got 20-cent packages of cactus zinnias and perennials and planted a bunch of them, also a row of sugar/pie pumpkins.

He ran out of fertilizer slightly before finishing the beans, so the flowers and the pumpkins will have to be fertilized as needed later during the year.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Garden in....

Memorial Day weekend! Past the last frost date, finally. I pulled the black fabric over the garden and pinned it down, then transplanted tomatoes, lettuce and zucchini. If I remember correctly, by this time last year my lettuce was much bigger, but then I planted it out earlier into the garden. The tomato plants were also smallish, only 1 or 2 sets of true leaves, but I'm going on the theory that they will catch up with the heat in June, and will suffer less transplant shock than a larger plant would.

I planted three each of about 8 varieties, which means I have lots of tomato plants left. I am going to find places around the house to tuck them into corners, so I'll have an edible landscape.

I'm a little concerned about the warmer temperatures, with outside temps over 85, it's possible the temperature in the greenhouse will be over 100 again.

Spent some time with the Crawford County Master Gardeners on Saturday planting a plot in front of the veteran's memorial near the courthouse. We planted red, white and blue petunias (well, really to be honest, they were purple, yellow and red) and talked about some other options for the back side of the monument stone. The conditions are half shade, half sun and very dry, well-drained, sandy soil with a high pH. Some of the options discussed were Zinnia and vinca minor. After I got home I remembered my bachelor's buttons, which should do well in the same conditions and are also red, white and blue!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Too wet to till?

We went ahead anyway. It has been raining off and on for the last two weeks! Today the sun was out and the top layer of the garden was dried out -- but underneath it was still wet. I tilled anyway - first tried the Mantis - DH laughs at me when I try it - then he hauls out the Troy-bilt Junior and tills a few rows and turns it over to me. He thinks my rows look like a drunken sailor tilled them so he went cross-ways over it. It's really too wet, but there were lots of hairy galinsoga seedlings so we just can't let them live. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow, so no way can we till tomorrow, and probably not Sunday either. Doesn't the weatherman know that some of us have to go to work Monday through Friday, and have to save the big garden activities for weekends? (We've had so much rain we'll probably have a drought all summer to make up for it...)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Baby salad greens

I fixed salad for dinner last night and topped it off with baby salad greens from my seedlings - they've really grown, but we've had so much rain in the last week I can't get into the garden. It's nice today, I can't go out tonight because of Master Gardener class - and tomorrow it's supposed to rain again.

I have been starting another tray of lettuce every 10 - 14 days, so hopefully I will have some for the farmer's market days.

I found volunteer arugula plants in the garden last week, and potted them up while DH did the final tilling. I will be setting them out ASAP.

Last frost?

We had frost this morning - I hope it was the last frost of the season. The weather this afternoon is beautiful, almost 70 and the sky is clear.

Master Gardenener class tonight- we're being tested on insects!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Apple-rhubarb pandowdy

I'm making apple-rhubarb pandowdy - I found that the huge leaves of my rhubarbs were overshadowing my little beet leaves so I clipped the rhubarb back.

DH loved the apple pandowdy but he picked around all the rhubarb.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

They're UP!

Finally, after 4 weeks, my Yellow Magic tomatoes have burst out of their seed jackets and are waving their two little leaves at me.

I wish I knew what made them finally decide to wake up! The temperature today was about 65 degrees outside - we've had both colder weather and hotter weather. I think the average temp in my little greenhouse during the day was probably in the 80's but these last two days have been cooler and rainy, so temperatures didn't climb so high.

The Healthy green peppers finally sprouted today too, and a lot more of the parsley has sprouted.

Touchy little things!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Which manure?

OK, I've made a decision to buy local, and to practice organic gardening. Not always easy choices!

I know there is free horse manure at many places locally, including riding stables, racetracks, and boarding stables.

But I don't have any way to haul it! I've considered getting a hitch put on my little Aztec and buying a used trailer, suitable for hauling manure. Cost will probably be at least $1000 to do this.

This morning I went to Meijers and bought 20 bags of composted cow manure. Noticed it was from Indiana. Long way to haul manure, plus the bags aren't readily recyclable. Total cost was $30. But the cost of shipping them here was probably distributed over 50 tons of manure.

Which is the better choice for the planet? Am I over-analyzing this?

Later I decided to take old garbage cans to get some of the free horse manure. Couldn't lift the cans after I filled them, had to call my daughter and her fiance to come and rescue me! Lucky it was close to their house so it wasn't a lot of extra gas for them. LOL... I was at least able to get them out of the car on my own.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Freaky weather

We were expecting snow (and got it) a few days ago, but my rhubarb is bolting. I am told it does that when the temperatures are high. We've had 65-degree days highs in the last few days.

I am thinking of investing in a couple of weather stations so that I can capture degree-day information to my computer. Will post the results of my research here when complete. In my master gardener courses, the instructor made reference to the degree-days for determing when to treat for certain pests. We haven't gotten deeply into integrated pest management yet, but I think it is the key to using a minimum of pesticides (even organic ones) and still maximizing yield.

One of the things that has been emphasized is not planting in a frost pocket. We are in the Clear Fork River valley, and I believe the temperature is lower here due to the elevation - although that MIGHT be somewhat mitigated by the reservoir across the street. Our whole two acres might be a frost pocket. What to do if your property is in a frost pocket? Sell and buy somewhere else?

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