Thursday, June 3, 2010


It rained off and on most of Tuesday, yesterday it was cloudy much of the day with heavy fog overnight. It seemed to be raining at times, but it was so humid that the trees were catching the fog and they were dripping. But it wasn't really rain.
This morning we still have that heavy fog. It is pleasantly warm, not so warm that it is uncomfortably muggy and not a chilly type of cool.
Its not the most cheering of weather, but i'm fine with it because we really need to have the moisture.
I was getting tired of dragging out the hose.

The fennel was up as of yesterday- this is the bulbing type.  I need to get out there and do some real weeding so i can start interplanting some herb seeds. If i don't weed well, i may accidentally weed out my herb seedlings once they sprout.

Where i visited the library yesterday i came back with a few books. So i have plenty to read. I got some books on food preservation like "Food Drying" by Phyllis Hobson.  I would like to dehydrate some of my leavy green produce to powder and use as a sprinkle over fresh salads and meats.  I like the idea that dried foods don't need electricity to be stored.  I have a vacuum sealer setup and i save glass jars (much to hubby's dismay) so i am pretty much ready to go when my garden is.

Here comes some rain now.  I think the dog would like to come in. We have her under a shade tree, but no actual house for her yet.

Back to books.

I also got "Carrots Love Tomatoes"  by Louise Riotte
I did a lot of interplanting research, but when it came to planting time i was too overwhelmed and i simply used GrowVeg to make sure i had room and plunked in whatever i thought was ready and safe to go in.
I know i have a few things next to each other that may compete according to the interplanting principles.  I don't know if the issues will be dramatic- failure to thrive, or if i am simply missing out on some optimum productivity, i guess i will find out. But if i read the book, i might bet a better understanding of the reasons for the method, more than i got from a quick scan of suggestion charts that i found scattered about online.

I also took out "The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest" by Carol W. Costenbader
It said on the cover that it has pickling recipes. I'd also like to see more preservation techniques. I almost bought this book used at Amazon but i wasn't sure i'd need it, so i am glad my library has it.

I wonder if i am going to have to preserve anything from my garden this year...  Tomatoes i am sure (i planted out about 10 plants when 4 usually cover us), but i wonder about other things.  I think if i actually follow up on succession plantings, i will.  We (I) use so many onions i think i should plant an entire row next year. I only put in 20 of each, red and white, this year to trial them.

Part of the reason i am not sure is from the charts i read in "Root Cellaring" .  One of the parts of the book (its all good) that i found to be the most informative for my immediate needs was the chapter on how much food to to cellar for a family of 4.
I don't know if my little garden can produce that much, lol!

Here is the chart:

Beets: 1-2 bushels (i had room to plant about 20)
Carrots: 2-3 bushels (i planted a 4x4 bed)
Cabbage: about 30 heads (i have room to plant 6 at a time)
Brussels Sprouts: yield from  10-20 plants in the garden (i planted 6)
Chinese Cabbage: 20-30 heads
Celery: 10-20bunches
Turnips or Rutabagas: 10-20 plants (i have that)
Sweet Potatoes- 2 bushels (this is not a sweet potato growing area anyway)
Irish Potatoes 6-14 bushels
Squash and Pumpkins 30-40 fruits (this i could do that)
Onions: 1-2 bushels
Parsnips- 1-2 bushels
Salsify: 1/2-1 bushel
Garlic: as desired (they suggest a 25' row with width enough for 4 sets across) about 8# yield

Its a great guideline, but for some things i have room for less than half.  I'm not freaking out or anything, but i am beginning to fully appreciate the need for full productivity in a garden. Right now we don't need to rely on ours in earnest, but i would like to get it to the level that takes it beyond a hobby garden. My hubby works hard and i'd like some physical proof of my work too since i am home. I'd also like it to be a safety net of sorts if it becomes necessary.  I have a way to go there. lol

Oh, i did also love their suggested storage plants list and was happy to see that they listed Pinetree Garden Seeds as a resource for some of them. I went ahead and researched how many of the recommended plants Pinetree has the seeds for and i set up an example order to go from next year so i don't have to do it again:

Along those lines i also got "How to Live on Almost Nothing and Have Plenty" by Janet Chadwick
I'm not sure how useful it will be since it assumes i live where town zoning at least allows chickens.
You know, i am only about 3 blocks away from where zoning allows chickens. Any idea how annoyed i am about that?   Anyway, the book should at least be informative and interesting.

If i do anything outside today, i might just spread around some slug bait.

I did manage to remember to buy a second hose-end sprayer. I needed a second one because i an using the first one for Bonide (fruit tree spray) and the other one i need for using my home made beer-based fertilizer and for using worm tea as a foliar spray.  I got the Miracle Gro brand sprayer with the 3 different spray options. It came with a full tank of that blue fertilizer granules. So i guess i will use that up first then  go in with my home made ferts.

I found that Burpee carries the Edelweiss grapes and a 20 year weed barrier fabric.  I think i should get both of them soon.  I will have to decide how i plan to put the grapes up. Probably the post and wire method.
As a friend suggested, i think i will smother the weeds with cardboard first and then set up the posts and wires, apply the weed barrier then plant.

I think that covers it for the day.