Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weather and aspirin...

Colorful radar this morning:

It says we are in snow, but it must be melting before it comes down low enough to see.

I decided to abandon researching this Planting by the Moon stuff.  For one thing, it seems too rigid, who has time for rigidity when it comes to spring gardening? And i suspect it is 95% superstition, and we all know how ridiculously limiting superstitions can be.  The 5% that i think is not superstitious mainly has to do with coastal tides and the weather effects of this.  This far inland, any effect is limited... and i'm not going to fret over a missed planting date and then wait around for the next 'window of opportunity'...  so there is that.

But i did recall something about Aspirin being useful to plants. Aspirin is a derivative of willow and i remember my grandfather doing the trick of soaking willow twigs in a bucket, then using that willow tea to root woody cuttings.  Apparently it makes a good foliar spray (1 or 1/2 tablet per gallon of water)  and acts as something of a tonic and helps the plant fare better all around, fighting off insects and diseases. Something of an echinacea for plants.  I figure it is worth a try, since the dollar stores sell aspirin for  $1 a bottle of more than 100.  So, we are going to try that this year.

I still have my gallon  bottle of beer fertilizer concentrate waiting for the lawn to wake up.  I wonder if i should pop an aspirin in there too.

Oh and slugs, added to the research list (they reach plague proportions here)....and a few articles:

Since it is raining, there won't be any yard work happening today... not just  because of the rain, but because when the snow melts in the spring my parents' yard gets so soggy my dad won't be able to get the big tractor out for a while.  So that will halt things quite a bit unless we get some really dry weather for a bit.
 We have not gotten nearly as much rain and snow as the rest of the state and those blizzards that hit last month, they barely grazed us.  Although we did get one storm a couple weeks ago that brought us a huge amount of rain.  This current system is not doing much to us right now.  Very light precip,  but i guess it has drenched everyone south of us.

Still thinking about hoop houses. I want them for the whole garden...  well, most of it anyway. Not for the corn...   But i'm thinking pest control, season extension, frost protection....  i don't want to use or buy a bunch of bug sprays and such.  I will have to for the apple trees, but i simply don't want to spend money like that.  It is expensive and i always feel like i need to take a shower after dousing my plants with the stuff. I'm not a stickler for Organics, but i like to avoid unnecessary steps and expenses.  If i can eliminate most pest and disease issues with reusable Agribon, Diatomaceous Earth, Aspirin, companion planting and beer traps, i am willing to try it.

I am also thinking that it might be interesting to combine the hoop houses with beneficial insects.  I have wanted to try ladybugs,  i understand they will eat spidermites. We have a lot of spidermites. They even attack the weeds- i have never seen so many, its quite amazing.  What has kept me from trying ladybugs is that i have such a small yard, i bet they'd just all fly away.  So i wonder if i were to release a few in my sealed up hoop houses, they would sort of have to hang around and eat what they find. They would get air and moisture and light, and it would be lots of room, not like putting them in a glass jar where its so small they know it is something they should try to escape.  I'd stick my houseplants in there to be 'cleaned'...  my houseplants get infested so bad that Safer's soap hardly helps.  But i think i might dig out my bar of Fel's Naptha soap and see if that might help.  I only bought it to make my own laundry cleaner, but it is said to have many other fine uses (like everything over 50 years old does).

I found some marigold seeds among my stash, they were from 2006, which is within decent germination expectancy  range. And i have a ton of K-cups saved up for planting in. I'm hoping to get the Asparagus seeds started today.