Thursday, June 18, 2015
Monday, March 16, 2015
We have planted potatoes and tomatoes in the last week. The weather has been warm and there is little chance more rain or cold will come soon. We would like the rain though. These are the first beds we have planted across the street using the our version of the no-till method. The beds were not dug in with compost as in the past. A layer of the chicken bedding was layered across the bed. This is from the chicken yard and is straw, green waste and manure that has been building over the winter. Instead of raking the bedding out and putting it in the compost pile, we added more hay or straw to the mix and let the chickens scratch and eat and distribute the material evenly. We've built up 4-6 inches of this material. We dig it out in layers and spread it over the beds, not disturbing the planting bed. We then dig a small hole in the beds and plant the potato or tomato disturbing the bed as little as possible. After the planting is finished, straw is spread over the bed as a top dressing. Cages are placed around the tomato plants. Next year or season the same protocol will be followed and eventually the bed will have the manure filled compost worked into the soil by worms and other critters.
This is our first time no-tilling with produce, though we started no-tilling around our fruit trees last year. We did a variation with our corn experiment last summer, but it was just the straw to help retain water and keep down weeds. The soil around the trees and under the wood chip mulch is soft and moist and full of worms.
Another aspect of the no-till is our approach to weeds. We are not worrying about them as much. If you look to nature, all ground eventually is covered with vegetation or duff. Nature strives to grow something. Weeds are the first things to grow many times. We are trying to grow something, crops, and are using duff in the form of straw or wood chips to recreate this version of nature.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
The biggest and saddest news is Joyce the homeowner passed away. It was expected, but still hard. Her daughter has moved in and the family still wants us to garden and we are still trying to get them to take more of the produce. Maureen planted for the winter and we are still working the yard, but things may change as the family settles in to the house.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The last of the corn, though there are a few ears still on the stalks. These all went to the chickens as they are underdeveloped in a variety of ways. Still a success in my mind.
The aphids are getting to the squash with few ladybugs in sight. Last night Maureen released the last of the second batch of the little orange critters. We let them go too late it seems.
We also picked some Bell peppers.
Yard is still producing, though always some weirdness in the crops.
Friday, August 8, 2014
We put a few thousand lady bugs on the squash and they left for some other place. We'll try again soon.
The Anaheim peppers are still producing, even when covered with the squash plants. Maureen has made two batches of Pico do Gallo salsa. This year the Anaheims seem to be a bit hotter than years past. Still good salsa.
The last set of beans are up and growing well, but not ready for picking.
We have three water melon and have picked four cantaloupe. Not being a cantaloupe eater I can't tell you of their quality, but Maureen isn't complaining.
I'll try to get some pictures up soon.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
This is just to the west of the last picture and shows from the bottom watermelon, squash trying to suffocate pepper plants, and beans going to seed. The dry looking plant near the center is an artichoke waiting for next year. The O'Henry peach is in the back propped up to prevent limb breakage.
One of two watermelon growing. The watermelon this year is going to be a race between growth and the aphids. Maybe a midseason/trade deadline deal for some ladybugs will help us.
Friday, July 4, 2014
Sunday, December 2, 2012
I've been thinking of the gardens, probably because I haven't been able to be in them much. Maureen has been doing the Lion's share of the work, tho I did help with the weeding. The bermuda and weeds had gotten out of hand and we had to resort to a herbicide (for the first time and just in the walkways) and a lot of back-breaking work to clean the beds. It is now a much better looking garden. Sorry no pictures at this time, and no 'before' pics because it was just plain depressing there for awhile and we both avoided even going over there....which just compounded the problem. Benign neglect makes for much weeds.
Another project has been the patch of grass that will be a fruit tree bed in the future. We had removed all of our grass in our yard to put in vegetable gardens. This was a dirt area the dogs liked to lay in and play in, so we thought to make it a bit more presentable for us and comfortable for them.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
No wonder he was 40 pounds dressed out.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
This is our turkey just before the processing.
We chose to hang the turkey. It did calm the bird, but after cutting the jugular veins there was one burst of wing flapping, and then a settling down.
The next few pictures are of the process of plucking the bird. We heated two pots of water and added them to some cold water in the red plastic tub. We didn't have a pot big enough, so the tub was used. The water should be warm, not hot. We read 160 degrees, but we didn't check on ours.
After waiting a bit over a minute the turkey was transferred to the wheelbarrow to begin the plucking. We had seen the wheelbarrow idea online and it did help. Being in the wheelbarrow allowed more than one person to pluck at the same time.
After most of the plucking was done, we hung the bird up again. We were tired of bending over to get to the feathers.
The next step was the eviscerating and cleaning of the cavity. We had a bucket with two trash bags to catch the organs, which this year we decided to discard. Care must be taken at both ends. The incision at the bottom end shouldn't be too deep to avoid cutting the intestines. It was fascinating to have most of the organs almost fall out once the hole was big enough.
A piece of plywood was used as a cutting table. Formica would have been better because plenty of water was used to wash the carcass, constantly.
We know what this is. . .
. . .But what are these?
The finished product. The pan weighs 4 pounds, so the final weight was 40 pounds. As a side note, we didn't have a pan big enough to cook the bird, so we cut it in half and froze one part. Also in hindsight we found out we could have cooked the bird at the full 40 pounds with the proper pan. It just would have taken 7+ hours. Has anyone smoked a turkey before?
After thinking about the event and writing this post, some final thoughts came to mind. Overall the process wasn't as daunting as it was imagined to be. With little slaughtering under our belts before, there was some apprehension before starting. Now, afterwards, it doesn't seem too hard, just a bit of work. The chickens look to be much easier now.
Some thoughts about the past and the future came to mind. Seems like slaughtering is natural and normal for meat eaters. I could imagine our grandparents doing this. We could also see having to do this in the future if food becomes scarce or questionable healthwise. Being connected to our food source in a hands-on manner has to be better for us in the long run.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Fusarium wilt and Fusarium crown rot symptoms begin as yellowing of older leaves. With Fusarium crown rot, the leaves often turn brown or black and eventually wilt. With Fusarium wilt, the yellow leaves turn downward and droop.Fusarium oxysporum, the cause of both diseases, is a common tomato fungus that lives in the plant's vascular system, which carries water from the roots to the leaves. To see if either of these diseases is present:
- Check watering practices. Both over- and underwatering can mimic disease symptoms.
- Check the roots. Discolored roots indicate root rot.
- Cut the lower or main stem and look inside at the vascular tissue. Fusarium wilt causes a dark brown discoloration within the vascular tissue. Fusarium crown rot causes a rot or canker at the base of the stem and possibly a root rot. (We found when we cut open the stems of infected plants the entire diameter was brown.)
Most tomato seeds or transplants are labeled with a code such as "VFN," "VFNA," "VFNT," etc. This indicates that the plants are resistant to Verticillium wilt (V), Fusarium wilt (F), southern root-knot nematode (N), early blight (A), or tobacco (tomato) mosaic virus (T). Do not plant tomatoes, potatoes or eggplant in the affected area for two or three years.
And on another site~
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
There is a controversy in Oak Park, Michigan over a vegetable garden in the front yard of a family trying to feed itself and become a bit more sustainable in troubling times. Above is the picture of the garden. Here is a news piece on the story.
This is a defense by a recent law school grad that formerly lived in Oak Park and the daughter of a Oak Park city employee....and the rebuttal by Julie Bass (whose tale can be followed on the blog Oak Park Hates Veggies).
This article is a commentary on lawns.
Seems to me Oak Park may one of the few places in the United States that hasn't had it's citizens affected by the Recession if they can worry about vegies in the front yard.