Potatoe Scare!!!

Sorry, I’m about a week late. I originally wrote this post last week for our email newsletter.

Saturday, we are going to take a class, Hyper-Tufa Pots, at the Golden Gecko Garden Center in Garden Valley. It’s about molded concrete pots. Eric has been interested in concrete for some time and thought this class would be a good intro. Eventually, he wants to create a concrete sink in the garden. We saw one at the Placerville Home Show last year and it was pretty cool.

GARDEN NEWS: With the cold weather this week, and having to do errands before I went to my paying job (hehe), I didn’t do much in the garden. Eric finished the 2 beds in the rain forest garden and started to map out where the new beds will be made.

We did have a bit of excitement, if you want to call it that….I call it a Potatoe Scare! I was getting compost in the bog garden with the tractor for one of the beds in the rain forest and noticed something didn’t look right with the potatoe plants. At first I ignored it, thinking it was just some weeds growing above the plants, but when I looked closer, I could see it was actually the plants themselves. Some were black and wilted, basically dead on top. Not all of them, but a good number and throughout the rows. I was afraid it was fusarium wilt, because the infected ground is nearby. But the more I looked, I realized it wasn’t, which is a good thing. But I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I was not in panic mode, but this needed to get taken care of now. But how do we do that when we don’t know what it is? We yanked a plant, put it in a plastic bag and Eric headed to The Front Yard Nursery. I stayed home, researching on the internet. Eric returned in short order and had a sense of calm about him, so I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Verdict: they got frozen and they will be OK, whew!! (pic is pre-freeze)

The vineyards took a harder hit. They suffered anywhere from a 15 to 100% loss. The estimated damage could be $80 million. Many of our local nursery’s suffered too. When Eric was at The Front Yard, they told him they had to throw away many flats of plants that didn’t make it. Patronize your locally owned nursery, and help them recover some of their losses.

The seeds I planted in the mini greenhouse are sprouting. I think the first ones up are tomatoes! Yeah!! They look like blades of grass right now. I know I’m late in doing this, but I think the plants will catch up once we get some warmer weather.

I haven’t peeked under the covers this week, to see if the other seeds have sprouted yet. I’ll do that soon and report next time.

BLUEBIRD BASHING: Does anyone know anything about bluebirds? For the last 3 or so years, a bluebird flies into our windows. Today, a pair, I’m guess a male and female, were surveying our window and the eaves above. The female would fly to the window and then up towards the eaves and back to the male, who sat on the handrail. She would do this over and over, as if to be convincing him that this would be a good place to start a home. This is the first year I’ve noticed a pair, all the other years it was one bashing themselves into the window. At first I thought it was the reflection, so I put the curtains down and then the bird would go to another window, on the opposite side of the house, and bash into those windows. Anyone know what this weird behavior is?

BEING GREEN: Do you sometimes use paper plates and plastic utensils? Go ahead, you can admit it. We have too. Now you can feel good about using throw away plates and forks, by composting them. Go to World Centric to purchase biocompostables. World Centric is a non-profit organization working to reduce economic injustice and environmental degradation through education, community networks & sustainable enterprises. Composting is required for biodegradation and these compostable plates will biodegrade within 30 days in a commercial composting facility, and within 90 days in a home composting system.

WEBSITES: I have spent WAY to much time surfing lately. Part of it is to gather research for the class I am teaching, and although I’m learning a ton, I know I’ve exceeded the self-imposed time I allow myself on the computer. It’s amazing how I many hours I spent tonight, surfing from one site to the next. All farming, gardening, sustainability type sites. I’ll share a few each week. Up this week:

Kitchen Gardeners International is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in Maine, USA with friends from around the world. Our mission is to empower individuals, families, and communities to achieve greater levels of food self-reliance through the promotion of kitchen gardening, home-cooking, and sustainable local food systems. In doing so, KGI seeks to connect, serve, and expand the global community of people who grow some of their own food.

Path to Freedom and Urban Homestead – Path to Freedom strives to inspire individuals to “think globally, act locally” by motivating them to live a simpler and more fulfilling life on the path to eco-stewardiship.

Gardenpunks – Chris and Katie, neighbors in Folsom – GardenPunks is the story of a Northern California family doing as much as it can to live organically, thoughtfully, and with regard to the environmental impact of its activities. Expect stories about gardening, food, energy use, consumption, and other things green (and sometimes tasty).

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