Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sometimes Words Fail Me...Well Not This Time

This is absolutely ridiculous.

I have been an urban planner (AICP, the whole nine yards). I am a gardener. I am appalled by the Oak Park position. I am even more appalled to see a member of what is supposed to be a forward looking ("planning", duh) profession act in this fashion. I understand that he could be under duress, but if not, he needs to have his credentials renewed.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

How Its Going So Far in 2011

The garden is looking pretty well. I was able to get some more cages so I actually have 54 inch cages for all sixteen tomatoes, and the continuing attempt to go vertical will include some added trellises

The garden has had a few rough days on the last few with some strong storms coming through but we managed to avoid the hail.

I will add more picture of the other beds and hopefully the trellises tomorrow night.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wow...Where Did A Month Go?

Sorry for the lack of posts. With Spring upon us yard/garden work ruled the time I had available. That combined with a passing the family really absorbed every shred of time I had. More posts soon.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Taking A Break On A Busy Day

Having a busy day. My wife is away caring for her ailing mother (any prayers or positive vibes appreciated) and we dearly miss her, but she is where she needs to be.

In her absence and considering the weather (which is verging on perfect) I am doing all the yard prep I can.

Finished my compost area:

I have been weeding around the edges, getting ready to put some mulch down, got the front yard aerated and power raked, fertilized the flower beds, trimmed blackberries, etc, etc, etc, and its not even 1 pm.

More to go. Plus, I have a great helper:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unhappy With My Mycorrhiza

So I am going through one of my favorite nurseries and I spot something I have wanted to try for a couple of years at a price that, while not comfortable, is in my range, so I purchase it.

I have wanted to try Mycorrhiza for quit some time. Its a fungus that occurs in undisturbed soils that has a synergistic relationship with plants. I have seen it used on some garden shows to revive difficult or over worked soil. Another property it is supposed to add to the soil is greater moisture capture.

So, there it is on the shelf. I look it over for a second and it also has some material to support the fungus, it has some 3-3-3 fertilizer combined in and touts its moisture retention ability. The fertilizer is not organic, which I would normally avoid, but my excitement at having the mycorrhiza overwhelms me and I decide to go for it. I look on top and it has an expiration date, which encourages me that there is in fact, something living inside. I read almost every detail on the container. But I missed one key sentence in the fine print.

I get home and sprinkle some on my main beds. I mix it in. I am excited to think about this fungus starting to grow in my beds. Then I don't go out for a few days because of rain.

Then one of my daughters asked why one of my beds looked white. This is what I find:

That one portion of sentence I somehow missed?...", and water-storing polymer crystals that help reduce plant waterings."

I was, and am, so mad about this I cannot even accurately express this. Of course, really, I am mad at myself for missing that one little piece of information in a bit of fine print.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Organizing The Seeds

This winter I made some seed orders. As soon as I got done ordering seeds a gracious family member and a friend dropped off a bunch of seeds. Seriously, I could plant half of Iowa. What was interesting were the variety of seeds and the variety of providers. Seeds Savers, Ferry Morse, Burpee, Park, Henry Fields, Pinetree Garden, Select, Freedom, Lake Valley, Totally Tomatoes, Thompson Morgan, etc, etc, etc. And of course, saved seed of my own, and some from friends digital and other wise. Had to set down and organize them in some fashion. I had a better system, but the big influx of seed sent me back to square one. So I broke them down into the following categories:

1) Empty Packs - Packs that I kept that are empty but had useful information.

2) Started - Seeds that I have done all the starts for this year.

3) Not Planting - Packs of items I don't have room for in the garden, I don't want to plant this year, or otherwise are not using now.

4) Ready for direct sow - Put all the seeds I will direct sow in one bunch ready to go outside.

I need to return to a more complete system though.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Turning Beds, Finding Worms

Went out and turned the beds to keep the composting going. I turned some grass and leaves into the beds last fall and have turned them every chance I got, even through the winter. When I turned them this time I found what I wanted to find:

So many worms, I actually even turned over a ball of worms about the size of a baseball. Exactly what I was looking for!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Seedlings Going Strong

The seedlings are doing well with a few exceptions, but nothing too harsh.

I think I have to many tomatoes. Actually, is that possible?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Volunteer Madness

We have VOLUNTEER MADNESS going on. Carrots, onions, and sunflowers. And its the second week in April.

Can I bring my self to till these in? They are in the totally wrong place, but, geez, what does a plant have to do to get some respect around here?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pepper List for 2011

I am a huge fan of peppers. I use six types in my chili. I use them every chance I can. I love the heat. I love the sweet. But mostly the heat!

Giant Jalapeno
Tennessee Cheese

No Thai peppers this year. I should grow them, they just didn't taste good last year. And I am soooo tired of seeing "Ancho" peppers, and "Chipotle" peppers on seed packets I could scream. Those are semi-prepared versions of Poblano and Jalapeno peppers.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tomato List for 2011

I got my seedlings started this last weekend. I will have to throw up pics of the setup I am using this year. Here are the tomatoes I have started (or ordered from, marked with a *) so far:

Brandywine (Sudduth)*
Roma (Martino)
Aunt Rubys' German Green
Black from Tula
Cherokee Purple*
Dr Wyche's Yellow
Super Sweet 100
Brown Cherry
Costoluto Genovese
Beam's Yellow Pear
Gold Medal*
Green Zebra


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Soil Erosion

This makes me want to scream and cry, to wail and gnash teeth.

It does not (should not) matter your persuasion. You should care about productive farmland. Soil. Dirt. The origin of renewable wealth. The origin of your dinner. And NOBODY in power seems to care. You can't just order more soil from China, or Bangladesh, or Indonesia. There is only X amount and only X amount can be created yearly.

Shocking Cost Increases!

Went to the local mega store yesterday because I saw the garden section start to fill in. I was APPALLED at the prices on edible seedlings. $2 to $3 for A cabbage seedling? $3 to $5 for A tomato seedling? Seedlings were averaging around $4 a plant. That would be hundreds of dollars for a garden the size of mine. That is pretty unbelievable.

Also, the potting soil prices. Wow. I have to find somewhere else to get this stuff. Almost $7 a bag for anything decent. Again, appalling. Maybe I need to go further out to the rural areas and get out of the suburbs. At least I have the compost going.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Late, As Always, It Would Seem

I still have to start some of my seedlings. I may ending up buying plants again. It just crushes my sense of thrift. It limits what I can get. It means some favorites will have to wait until next year again. Urgh.

But looking at food prices, the sooner the better. I am shocked at some of the increases lately, and I don't see it turning around soon.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Back to LIFE!

The Blog will be coming back to life with regular postings in the next week. HAPPY HAPPY!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hmmm....What Do I Want To Do In the Garden In 2011?

Setting here absorbing the Epic Joys of seed catalogs.

The first to arrive is my nostalgic favorite, Burpee. This is a difficult thing. When I was growing up (occasionally) helping my dad in the garden, developing a secret love for the hobby (is it really just a "hobby"?) I remember Burpee seeds. I remember them with a disproportionate clarity. They are not totally dedicated to the same ethos I am steadily becoming part of. No GMO. Heritage. With that said, they do offer organic and heirloom varieties. I am willing to bet that Burpee may have one of the deepest collections of seed anywhere in the private sector. I hope they dig into them and let us at them!

So, naturally, who shows up next?

Baker Creek. Its lovely. Its interesting. Its informative. Its an amazing variety. Its dedicated to No GMO. Its dedicated to Heritage. But... It lacks Zone info or guidance. For a gardener of greater prowess or knowledge this is probably not a problem. For me, its a little intimidating. But the variety, the history, its almost intoxicating. It makes you want to garden NOW.

Then comes my favorite. Seed Savers. I love everything about them. If you haven't heard of them, you need to visit the website. Read about them. Research them. They are the real deal. There has been some controversy regarding their leadership, but I disagree with the (almost singular) naysayers. They deserve our support.

Anyways, as I work through the wishlist I will add posts.

Definitely want some fruit trees this year, and I will have to figure out pots for some of them.