Monday, May 29, 2006

Back to Blogging

I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted. I was usually posting in the evenings. Suddenly the sun is setting so late that there's not much time between the time it gets dark and when it's time to sleep. There were times I had my photo ready. There were times that I even started a post when either the phone rang or something else interrupted me. When I started blogging last November I intended to write about growing. Not much was growing, but I had time during the winter so I wrote. Now there's lots growing and I'm not writing. Hopefully I will be able to garden and blog in addition to all the other summer activities that I enjoy, and of course squeeze in a little time for the day job which fortunately is actually only 1/2 of a job.

My last post was about the flea beetles on my broccoli. I got lots of suggestions. I tried sprinkling with garlic powder and that seemed to help, but I think I would need to do that each day. This broccoli is in my community garden and I don't visit it daily. I once had luck with garlic powder to rid beans of insects, but those were in my own yard and I could apply it daily. Unfortunately after that it rained for 10 days. Because of it, I didn't go to my garden for a while and when I returned the beetles were much fewer. However, the broccoli looks terrible, has lots of holes and is stunted. I may try diatomaceous earth next . The broccoli is really a candidate for ripping out, but I figure I have two rows of it and it may be fun and educational to try diatomaceous earth on one row just to see if it works, so I know what to do next year. The garden is organic so it's not an option to just poison the little critters.
I'm not totally without broccoli however. The new little 8ft. by 42inch bed that I set up in my yard at home is doing OK. It only gets barely 6 hours of sun, so things aren't perfect, but I've eaten lots of lettuce from it and here's a photo of the first broccoli. It's such a contrast to the broccoli in my community garden. There's not even one hole in any of these leaves. I think one good thing about a new bed is that the pests haven't found it yet or maybe the chickens arfe helping with insect control. We'll see if the broccoli here looks this good next year.

So far I'm pleased with this new little bed. What's in it (starting from closest to the camera) is a row of broccoli, two rows of romaine lettuce and a few red lettuces, another row of broccoli, then an empty space where the spinach was a failure, then a double row of raab, then a row of parsley. I was happy that I made it 42 inches wide and not the 48 inches that I was tempted to do. I'm only 5'3'' but have no trouble reaching the middle. What also worked well was the 2 foot chicken wire. At first I wasn't sure it was tall enough to deter chickens and dogs. Two feet has been enough to give the dogs a visual cue not to run through the bed and the chickens do not go over it. I believe that it's the floppiness of it that deters the chickens from jumping up on it. Two feet is nice because I don't need to open it up to weed or harvest. I just reach over. There is one problem though. The chickens have eaten some things through the wire. One broccoli plant disappeared. It was probably pulled through when it was young. I really should move the wire out a few inches to help prevent more chicken damage.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Uninvited Dinner Guests

Yesterday I discovered my first pest in my community garden plot this year. I think they are flea beetles, but please correct me if I am wrong. The were really enjoying the broccoli. I've never been bothered by them before, so I don't have much experience getting rid of them. The first remedy that I tried was to spray them with some water. That only worked for about 30 seconds. They were soon back. Today I will head back to the garden to try what I usually try next for any insect problem. I'll wet the plants and then sprinkle the plants with garlic powder. If that doesn't work, I'll start searching for other organic solutions.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Child Supporting Agriculture

Recently my daughter told me she was considering buying a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share. That’s an arrangement between a farm and customer where the customer pays the farmer a fee for the season and gets a share of the harvest each week. It’s a great idea and I highly recommend it. However, I’m an avid gardener who always grows more than I can eat myself. I think my daughter may have been asking in a round about way if I would have enough from my garden for her this summer. Well I took the bait and told her CSAs are a good idea, but I can never eat all I grow and will send them veggies each week. Either Christine or her fiancé Barry comes by at least once a week. I told them I’d send them home with home grown things each time they came. Yesterday they left the dog here so I had to make good on my word. It’s a little early in the season so I had to scrounge a bit but what I came up with was 1 dozen eggs, red and green lettuce that I triple washed and bagged, a carnival squash left over from last years garden, and some parsley, sage, rosemary and (sorry no thyme yet). I also cooked a chicken I raised last summer, slathered in homemade barbeque sauce and sent ½ of it along also. The chicken didn’t make it into the picture because it was in the oven for the photo shoot.

It will be interesting to see how long after I post this my other daughter calls so she can get her share also. I don’t know if other bloggers have noticed that kids that ignore most of what you say will actually spend time to reading anything you blog about.