Wednesday, May 25, 2011

You Know You're Addicted to Gardening When...

Your neighbors recognize you in your pajamas,
rubber clogs and a cup of coffee.

You grab other people's banana peels, coffee grinds,
apple cores, etc. for your compost pile.

You have to wash your hair to get your fingernails clean.

All your neighbors come and ask you questions.

You know the temperature of your compost every day.

You buy a bigger truck so that you can haul more mulch.

You enjoy crushing Japanese beetles because you like the
sound that it makes.

Your boss makes "taking care of the office plants" an
official part of your job description.

Everything you touch turns to "fertilizer".

Your non-gardening spouse becomes conversant in
botanical names.

You find yourself feeling leaves, flowers and trunks
of trees wherever you go, even at funerals.

You dumpster-dive for discarded bulbs after commercial
landscapers remove them to plant annuals.

You plan vacation trips around the locations of botanical
gardens, arboreta, historic gardens, etc.

You sneak home a 7 foot Japanese Maple and wonder if your
spouse will notice.

When considering your budget, plants are more important
than groceries.

You always carry a shovel, bottled water and a plastic bag
in your trunk as emergency tools.

You appreciate your Master Gardener badge more than your jewelry.

You talk "dirt" at baseball practice.

You spend more time chopping your kitchen greens for the
compost pile than for cooking.

You like the smell of horse manure better than Estee Lauder.

You rejoice in rain...even after 10 straight days of it.

You have pride in how bad your hands look.

You have a decorative compost container on your kitchen counter.

You can give away plants easily, but compost is another thing.

Soil test results actually mean something.

You understand what IPM means and are happy about it.

You'd rather go to a nursery to shop than a clothes store.

You know that Sevin is not a number.

You take every single person who enters your house on a
"garden tour".

You look at your child's sandbox and see a raised bed.

You ask for tools for Christmas, Mother/Father's day, your
Birthday and any other occasion you can think of.

You can't bear to thin seedlings and throw them away.

You scold total strangers who don't take care of their
potted plants.

You know how many bags of fertilizer/potting soil,/mulch
your car will hold.

You drive around the neighborhood hoping to score extra bags
of leaves for your compost pile.

Your preferred reading matter is seed catalogs.

And last but not least:

You know that the four seasons are:

  • Planning the Garden
  • Preparing the Garden
  • Gardening
  • Preparing and Planning for the next Garden

-Author Unknown

Monday, May 23, 2011

The benefits of cover crops

This is how the future corn field looked in early Spring.
Instead of bare land that would easily germinate weed seeds, it is best to plant a quick growing cover crop.

This is the same area about a month later covered with field peas. I won't actually harvest any peas though. The point is to allow the field peas to naturally fix nitrogen into the soil that will benefit the future planted corn. The vegetation will be cut and tilled back into the soil to add tilth as well. This is how nature naturally creates soil nutrition that can support future crops. I bought a 25 lb bag online and will do this again in the Fall to overwinter and till into the soil in the Spring for the next Summer planting. You can also plant Summer cover crops such as Buckwheat or clover but I'll be growing corn, beans and squash during that time.

My Garden Bounty ( so far...)

Mia in front of the Pole Peas which are around 4 ft tall
That is not a cut over her eye, BTW. It is her older sisters lipstick :)

A generous sized Cauliflower (which went into a fine chicken stew for dinner)

2 heads this size so far with more coming in.
I need to harvest them before they start to bolt

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Repost of AMAZING POWER OF CUCUMBERS by Larisa Simpson

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5 Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6.. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

Pass this along to everybody you know who is looking for better and safer ways to solve life's everyday challenges.

original post

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The garden is producing...

New Arbor made from hardwood saplings (to block out my neighbor's view into my backyard)


The cool season garden - Top field

With gardening, the soil is everything so here I planted field peas to naturally add nitrogen to the soil before the corn is planted. I also soak the soil with fish emulsion and sea kelp to activate the Biochar that I created early in the Spring. I'll post the results at the end of the growing season at harvest time.

These Sugar Snap Peas are sweet and delicious right off the vine!

This was one days Strawberry harvest. I'll get about the same or a bit more each day for the next couple of weeks. Great on cereal, dipped in sugar, chocolate or whipped cream!