6 Apr 2018

ursulas_alcove: 19th century engraving of a woman using a drop spindle (Default)
A whole lot of planting is going on. Every sunny surface is covered with trays. Fungus gnats have been trying to spoil the party. Vermiculite got put on the top of every pot. Also running a fan which they hate. The moving air strengthens the plant stems and dries out over moist pots. Celery seems especially prone to gnats. I have Neems but am not using it yet. No plants have succumbed so far. More clip-on fans would be nice. I have another one somewhere. It's hiding.

Seedlings getting used to their new pots

I picked up a book called Mini Farming at the library. https://www.amazon.com/Mini-Farming-Self-Sufficiency-Brett-Markham/dp/154145720X
It is a really good book. The economics that I have been struggling with are all explained. Square feet needed, optimum spacing, vertical gardening, yields, experimenting for better bigger harvests, all of it. If I could only ever own one garden book, this would be it. And it covers carbs because you need carbs. Just greens nets you very little, monetarily speaking. Looking at the work you do in the garden and what the equivalent value is based on the amount you are bring in. Now he does assume a 3500 sq ft area to grow in. We have 1400 sq ft. According to Brett Markham, 1400 sq. ft. could feed two adults. Not shabby. So now looking at optimizing my situation without tools or a budget. That's tougher. He also assumes you are in our position. So a big win! Looking forward to reading more.

I also picked up Straw Bale Gardening by Karsten. I'm not as impressed. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. First, pumping a straw bale with chemical fertilizer is no different from modern agricultural farming. It advocates buying a lot of stuff, bales, posts, fertilizer, soil, 2 x 4 s and wire. Then it goes into how far apart to place the bales, 4 feet, which is a lot of growing space. I can try one in the driveway without chemicals, but I can't stake it. Seems like it will use a lot of water too. They advocate an additional parts list of timers, soaker hoses, etc. Classifying it as a novelty but not terribly useful.

We cleared the kitchen table! What that really means is we went through all the tree seeds we collected from parks over the last year. Lots of little jars with pits and nuts. I chopped up some plastic soda bottles, stabbed the bottom with a knife for drainage, and put some dirt inside. Worm castings too because that is nature's Miracle Gro.

I keep trees in my refrigerator, don’t you?

Starting Italian plums, hazelnuts and medlar with a process called stratification. Basically, we check them once a month to see if they are rooting yet. All are planted in clear plastic cups or plastic soda bottle bottoms so we can see if there are roots. And because things tip over in the fridge, some have been nested in other containers for stability.

Sweet potato slips

Also checked up on the pussy willows to get rid of any dead canes. They are in a vase, trying to sprout. The sweet potato slips are on another window ledge, growing quite well. And a patron sent me a boat load of currant bush cuttings. These are the ones that look like they'll make it.

Rooting currant bushes

So there's a whole lot of growing going on despite this year's colder than normal temps. Keeping the snow shovel handy. Mother nature likes to see how long I'll leave it by the door. It's kind of like the last person to take down their Christmas lights in the neighborhood. Happy growing!

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