Archive for April, 2008

Brrrr…It’s cold!

Hi Veggie Lovers!

Isn’t this weather wacky? I’m not sure if we should plant or not! We are moving ahead anyway, and taking our chances. With the row covers, the ground should warm up enough for the seeds to sprout.

Row covers on beds
 
Last year, although our tomatoe plants produced very well, they had issues. I think it was either Fusarium and/or Verticillium Wilt. The fungus enters the plant through young roots and then grows into and up the water conducting vessels of the roots and stem. As the vessels are plugged and collapse, the water supply to the leaves is blocked. Kinda like plant cholesterol, plugging up the arteries. I’ve done some investigation and it seems this fungus can now be in the ground. Great!!! This means we can’t grow tomatoes, or any of that family of plants, in that spot for 4 – 5 years. The tomaotes were going to be rotated anyway, but I’m a little skeptical about planting anything else there now. My research indicates the fungus is only suppose to affect the solanaceous crop plants (tomato, potato, pepper, and eggplant), or as we like to refer to them, “Deadly Nightshades”, (you have to see the animated movie, Nightmare Before Christmas to really hear the way we say it.) So we’ll take our chances and plant some of the summer and winter squash there this year. If you want to know more about these diseases, check out The Ohio State University site at <http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/3000/3122.html>.

This means we need to build more beds for the tomatoes and peppers. But it’s more than building beds, it means getting water to the beds plus fencing the beds from the deer. Essentially, we are creating a third garden. Sort of stresses me out a bit, but it will work out fine. We have a spot picked out, we just have to start.

GARDEN NEWS: I can feel good about having planted sugar snap peas, a first for us; bush beans; pole beans, cilantro; basil and lemon and armenian cucumber. This week we’ll plant three varieties of asparagus yard long beans, gold beets (I found my seeds!), purple carrots and turnips. Arugula and radish will be planted much later, as they only need about 3 – 4 weeks to grow to maturity. Other seeds in the wings: maybe lettuces, a variety of summer and winter squash, melons, peppers, tomatillos and peppers.

Today, I planted seeds (4 varieties of tomatoes, the purple tomatillos and 2 varieties of peppers) in a mini greenhouse, to get them started. I feel like we are late in doing this, but I think once the weather warms up, these seedlings will catch up. We will purchase tomatoes and peppers from the nursery too. We usually go to Front Yard Nursery, because they are closest to us, and we will buy from them again this year. We are also going to take a field trip to another nursery, The Golden Gecko Garden Center, in Garden Valley. I especially liked the “In the Spotlight” section, highlighting plants for our area of the foothills. <http://www.thegoldengecko.com/> And check out the blog too. Owner, Trey Pitsenberger, writes about very interesting subjects, most recently about when to plant tomatoes and about how it does matter where you purchase your garden supplies. <http://thegoldengecko.com/blog/>

The first carrots and beets are up! Yippee!! Never thought I’d get so excited about seedling carrots and beets. But it’s always a thrill to see something you’ve planted, grow from a seed. It still amazes me. (Hey…I’m easily amused!)


Tuesday, April 22 was Earth Day. But lets make every day Earth Day. Take the simple test below to see your carbon footprint.

What does the Ecological Footprint measure?

The Ecological Footprint measures the amount of natural resources an individual, a community, or a country consumes in a given year.

We use official statistics tracking consumption and translate that into the amount of biologically productive land and water area required to produce the resources consumed and assimilate the wastes (predominately carbon emissions) generated.

Because people use resources from all over the world, and affect faraway places with their pollution, the Footprint is the sum of these areas wherever they are on the planet.

Ecological Footprint Quiz: <http://www.earthday.net/footprint/>

I took the test and I scored 12 acres. In comparison, the average ecological footprint in the USA is 24 acres per person. Worldwide, there is 4.5 biologically productive acres per person. If everyone lived like me, we would need 2.7 planets. Take the test for yourself and see how you do.

Stay warm, it’s 49 degrees right now and it’s suppose to snow in Tahoe on Wednesday.

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Diggin In The Dirt

The weather is warming up. That means more time outside to play, garden and enjoy nature. Go out there and soak in the sun, breath in the fresh air and dig in the dirt. Many of you have your own kitchen garden and now is the time to get the soil ready and plant seeds.

COMPOST: Arrived on schedule on Tuesday. See Eric on top of our new mountain.

That’s a lot of compost, about 40 yards or 28 tons. We purchased it from Jepson Prairie Organics, <www.jepsonprairieorganics.com> out of Vacaville. We bought the Four Course®Compost, aged 3 years and is certified organic. It looks really nice and we are excited to have it. Now that it’s here, we will hill the potatoes and cover the asparagus. Many of you have asked us where to get compost. Check your local nursery, where you can purchase smaller amounts. We go to Front Yard Nursery <www.frontyardnursery.com> in Placerville on Mother Lode Drive.

POTATOES: Eric is so excited, as I’ve mentioned before, about the potatoe plants. I thought I should include a pic, so you can get excited too. We have 5 variety of potatoes: Red LaSalle, All Blue, Yukon Gold, Russet and Yellow Fin. Did you know the United Nations declared 2008 the International Year of the Potato? Their aim is to raise global awareness of the potato’s key role in agriculture, the economy and world food security. <www.potato2008.org>

EARWIG BAIT: We actually buy dark beer for the earwigs, although I think this case is going more to human consumption….he, he!! But really, last year we had so much earwig damage, we had to find an answer. Dark beer and dark soy sauce seems to be what they like. We host a pool party for the earwigs by laying out recycled Altoid boxes and fill them with beer. We did have some success last year, so we will try again this year. Right now, we have pools of beer and soy sauce in the carrot and beet rows.

En Primavera Ya

Every season the beds need some repair, so we spent a great deal of time on the carrot and beet beds. Below is a pic of Eric adjusting the water lines on the updated carrot bed. You can just see his new water system at the bottom of the pic. These will be installed at the end of each bed, allowing us to turn the water on and off to each bed, depending on the plants watering needs. It will be buried, but right now, they are kind of hanging out in space. We also put a row cover over this bed, to warm up the air and ground, creating a mini-greenhouse, to encourage the carrots to sprout and deter the birds. This weekend we will set out the “beer” traps for the earwigs. Lucky earwigs! There are three varieties of carrots in this row. The beet row is almost finished and it will have 4 varieties, one being the “Mystery Beet” because I put seeds in a baggy and didn’t label them. I’m hoping they are the Detroit Golden, as I can’t find them. Another new beet I’m excited about is the Forono, a cylindrical, deep purple beet. Yeah, I know, I get excited about veggies. What can I say.

This year, the asparagus is four years old. We bought them when they were one year old crowns. They have been in our beds for 3 years. I guess we were a little premature in expecting a full crop. Although we have been enjoying them, there isn’t enough to share with all of our paid subscribers. As you can see by the attached pics, we need to do some weeding in the beds. Any volunteers?

That’s it for this week! Enjoy this spring weather!

La tierra negra se vuelve verde
Y las montanas y el desierto
Un bello jardin
Primavera – Santana