Saturday, April 25, 2009

The New Season is Off and Running

Wow! I can't believe how fast the days are flying! I am trying to complete at least one task a day. Today, Ed helped me plant up the garden boxes. In Bed Three we planted Bloomsdale Spinach, Nichols Mesclun Mix, French Breakfast Radishes, Alaska Peas (a free packet from Baker Creek) and Navet Des Vertus Marteau Turnips, a very old French heirloom. In Bed Two we planted Stuttgaart onion sets for scallions, Golden Beets, Paris Island Cos, and St. Valery Carrots. The sorrel and Egyptian Walking onions I planted in the box last Fall are starting to come up, too. In Bed One I lightly stirred the top of the bed and was excited to see all the garlics starting to grow. The shallots and potato onions are in that bed, as well. After we planted the boxes, we covered Beds Two and Three with Agribon 19 row cover. I think that will be enough protection. With how crazy the weather is I am expecting us to go straight from Winter to Summer, and the NOAA forecast for our area is drought again. This will be our sixth straight droughty season. Planting early with crop protection may be the best bet to capitalize on ground moisture. My soil is sandy enough that I don't worry about it being too cold for the seeds.

After we finished with the garden beds, Ed and I took a ride out to the field and removed the cages and trunk guards from the fruit trees. A couple of the trees had been blown over, but I think they will straighten out all right. Those two "iffy" Wealthy trees that I expected to replace with the Westfield-Seek-No-Further trees I planted last Fall did finally bite the dust. I sure hope the grafts take on the apple scions George sent me because if they do, I'll put two of them where those Wealthy were. I have the grafted trees currently in pots in the front yard where I can keep an eye on them. The rest of the trees look great, including the grafted plums I planted last Fall. I noticed that the zipper on one of the high tunnel ends pulled apart the wrong way so I will have to take a ladder out to the field and fix that. Guess I better call the utility company and have them come out and mark where the electric line runs so I can get the fence fixed before I bring the roosters out to the pasture. I put the wood screws for their skid in the high tunnel for now.

Two days this week I spent potting up seedlings in the basement. Boy, is that a job! My back was killing me. I still have a few flats to do. When I am finished I'll take them out to the high tunnel to harden off. This was the first year I had trouble with damping off disease, but fortunately there is enough time to replant the seedlings that perished. I never cease to be amazed at how hardy those hot peppers are. The rare African hot peppers and the ones from Peru and Bolivia that George sent me, and the Thai and Laos peppers from Bill and Linda are all growing well. I LOVE hot peppers! The different eggplants are doing well, too. Those Turkish Orange grow to about tennis ball size and are supposed to be good for stuffing.

The beginning of May I will bring out the seed potatoes and chit them. I want to grow LOTS of potatoes, carrots, onions, corn, and winter squash this year. I have 100 pounds of oats and when I go to pick up the next load of chicken feed from Bernie I'll see if he can get me 100 pounds of hard red spring wheat. If I can save the grain I harvest that will help cut down on my feed costs this winter for the hens. And, if I can grow enough corn, maybe next year I can finally get those two pigs I've been wanting. . . .

My picture was in the paper (The Phillips Bee) for the Farm to Fork Event. My sister, Mary, brought me a copy of the article. At least I didn't look too fat! Speaking of which, my latest annual check-up was a bust. I gained back all the weight I had lost over the winter and have to start over again. What a bummer! The doctor says farm work alone won't help me lose the weight. She wants me to do some kind of concentrated exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. I'll have to find the time somewhere because I want to lose the weight.

We are getting closer to forming a Special Olympics Chapter in Park Falls. The local Lions Club has agreed to be a sponsor for us and the local H & R Block will help take care of legal details. How wonderful! We will find out more next month.

I have not forgotten about the Local Food Atlas; I just can't work on it right now. Miriam Grunes didn't get back to me so I will have to reconnect with her.

Our farmers market group is meeting again on Monday night to hash out whether or not to move the market to the location across from Copp's grocery store. The voting was a tie!

And I think I will accept the invitation to speak about seed saving at the Sustainable Ag Fair in Rusk County the end of July. I'm certainly no expert, but I think people have a moral responsibility to share their knowledge with others. especially when asked.

Tom painted the living room a dark gold and boy does the room look nice. It feels SO much warmer, and the gold really highlights all the wood in the room. I hung my Lil' Achoo picture on the opposite side of the room over the piano, and that is a much better location for it. When you enter the living room now the picture immediately draws your eye across the room. That is the artistic bagua area, too, a perfect place for Lil' Achoo!

On May 7th NCAT will offer a free Webinar called "Hoop Houses for Extending Your Growing Season". The Webinar is from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM MOUNTAIN time. Go to NCAT's Web site to register

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