Friday, January 29, 2010

A new method for growing Cucumbers...

This is from the book, 'Best Ideas for Organic Vegetable Growing" by the editors of Rodale Press.
A lady in Texas has bountiful cucumber harvests that I hope to achieve this year.
The articles states that she buys reinforcing wire, the kind that strengthens concrete, and forms a cylinder, wiring it together. She digs a hole in her garden and sinks a gallon can into it to which she had punched out a hole in the bottom. She fills the can with dried manure from a nursery and adds water. The cylinder is placed around the can and sunk into the ground to keep it secure. The can provides a steady supply of food and water for the cukes as they grow. Cuke seeds are planted one every 3 inches around the cylinder about 2 inches away from the base. When the cukes are about 6" tall, she removes every other plant so she has ony one plant every 6 inches. She claims she gets the largest harvests she's ever had. As you can see from the photo she supplied, it surely looks promising.
There's been some thought also that electrical currents in the air promote plant growth so maybe that helps as well.
Anyway, I'm going to try it this year. I'm in Maine, but I'm sure it can work here as well.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yippee! Our Community Garden is a fact...

This spring our town will have its first Community Garden. The organizer sent the newsletter yesterday to those of us who showed an interest a few months ago and she's already got a grant to buy seeds and supplies and till the field. The empty field beside the local library is owned by the town , who is one of our sponsors, and the CG are leasing it for a reasonable fee. I'm sooooo thrilled. I know that with the Master Gardener that will be on hand to help us get this going, I'll learn a lot about growing vegetables organically. The MG owns the adjoining property and has a greenhouse where we will be allowed to start our seed indoors, like peppers, tomatoes, etc. He will also teach us how to do it. Isn't that fabulous! I have a grow light and a heat mat here at home but I was only able to get about 9 plants started last spring. Most of my efforts never made it to the seedling stage.
I hope to get at least 3 eleven-foot long rows for my veggies. I want to grow a variety of things, even if its only a plant or two, so I can learn how to grow each of them properly in my raised beds at home. The community garden will be my learning and testing ground. The C Garden will also have several rows specifically for growing food for the local Food Pantry. I've also volunteered to help with that aspect. I think its a wonderful idea. Our local Food Pantry has had in influx of families needing help with so many layoffs and loss of jobs.
I made the list of what varieties I'd prefer, as instructed. I have the same seed catalog, Johnny's Selected Seeds, from whom the CG will order their seeds, so I knew enough to name names. I'll be buying more of my own home seeds from Johnny's as well.
I just wanted to share my happiness. It doesn't take much to make me happy. A rose bud opening, a pepper plant producing a sweet pepper, a vine of sugar snap peas ready to eat right off the vine, my corgi waiting with bright eyes to go on our walk. I'm a happy camper right now and the winter doesn't seem so tedious.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

No ground for gardening in the north country...

Over a 4-day period last weekend, we got a total of 16" in our town as you can see my by birdbath being buried with the white stuff. Such weather is not conducive to gardening, but it sure puts one in the mood to thumb thru the seed catalogs that are coming to one's mail box these days.
I've made lists from each one, but to be realistic, I will be cutting back on the dream lists drastically. I have saved seed in glass jars in the crisper of my fridge, from last year, because some seed can keep up to 4 years. I want a couple of new varietes to try and I need to get more radishes and lettuce seeds, which I used up, and parsnip seed which doesn't keep more than a few months. Unfortunately last summer I lost the whole crop of parsnips due to the over abundance of rainfall we had. Some things survived, but a few things couldn't cope with too much rain last July. I can only hope for a better summer this year. That's never happened that I can remember.
In the meantime I've started my new garden journal and made my garden plans.....over and over again. I'm sure I'll change them again before I start planting, but it's fun making plans. It gives one hope that spring is right around the least in some areas of the country.
Wishing all the gardeners out there a great spring.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My gardens are still under snow, except for houseplants...

Here's my only African violet which surprised me by being a double in one pot. Now I have two blooming violet plants. Very pretty and nice to see during this cold, white season. I'll have to re-pot them but will wait til they go into dormancy. If I do it now, I'm sure I'll lose the blooms and I'm enjoying them too much right not.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Will this snow never end this weekend....

I cleared a path to the birdfeeders, brushed off the towers of snow and refilled them. The chickadees were very grateful and waiting for me.

Here's the rose garden outside my living room windows. The snow is not yet cleared off the birdbath but I've since done so and filled it with warm water for my feathered friends.
I don't think I'll be sitting on my garden bench doing any reading today. We got about 10 inches so far and it stops in between bouts of snow. We're expecting another 6" today and maybe 2" tomorrow. We'll see if they are right. Its still too much for me but I'll be staying home, the grandkids are still on vacation so no school for them anyway, and my larder is full. In fact, I'm off to heat some chicken soup to warm up this old body after its tour outside in the wind. Have a good weekend everyone and stay warm.