Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Your Plans for 2010

We've had some really odd weather recently. It won't deter me from planting several hundred varieties of plants but I'm curious what others are doing. Are you modifying your planting scheme to accommodate the changes in your envivornment (assuming you have any) or are you doing what you've always done? If so, what do you plant, when and where?

Because I live in a tropical environment, I plant everything all year long. I've grown tomatoes in the winter and broccoli in the summer which to most people is terribly strange. Lettuce is planted 12 months out of the year as well as zucchini which is typically discarded in an effort to accommodate spacing for other plants.

Presently, in December 2009, I have several tomato, eggplant and squash seedlings growing and will be transplanted in a couple of weeks. They're ready for transplanting now but I'm not ready to dig in the soil.

What's odd is that it's been cold. And let me qualify what I mean by cold...it's been in the 50s where it's normally in the 70s - high 70s this time of the year. So, it's merely delayed the planting out of several seedlings which are raring to go into the ground.

I do have several sweet peas started and of course several which have reseeded from earlier in the year. The seedlings will go into the ground this weekend - clear on the other side of the garden and away from those that have come up as volunteers.

Would enjoy hearing about your plans and what modifications, if any, you have enacted.

Someone kindly sent me a message to remind me I don't actually live in a 'tropical' climate but instead a 'sub-tropical' climate. Indeed, to be technically accurate, I do actually live what is deemed to be more of a sub-tropical climate but just as a point of reference, when I make such references, it's really more as a point of generally reference based on what is happening in the garden at a given point in time rather than an accurate reflection of my geological or climatic zone.  To be perfectly accurate, since my garden exists within many micro-climates, it's probably best for me not to denote any type of climate condition since I exist in one zone and due to the dramatic shifts in weather pattern have endured extremes not entirely reflective of the 'typical' climate in which I live.  But the point is well taken.  Just know that basically where I live, I've been able to basically grow anything in my garden with little concern to climatic conditions.  That's the underlying point to any of my notations about weather in my area.

One last item, the system now requires one to log-in to make a comment as we've continued to receive unwanted and undesirable spammers. We're now forced to waste our time tracking such nonsense so we can report it in an effort to insure we're not receiving such junk in the future. Sorry for the inconvenience for those who are merely interested in engaging in dialogue. We hate that you are forced to enter extra steps in order to merely send a response to a posting but it's unfortunately become necessary so people don't have to look at ridiculous adverts. Frankly, those who are the makers of these products who are constantly spamming sites should know that it merely deters those who might otherwise consider using such products away from said companies. An organization (its affiliates and it's sponsors) would have to know how much credibility they lose by posting such ridiculous nonsense where it's unwarranted.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Native American Corn

A bunch of us are trialing beans and corn in 2010 so I've been reading up on the different types and interesting varieties. Seed catalogs with diverse heirloom and open pollinated varieties often list flint corn along with sweet corn and I've always focused on the sweet corn merely out of convenience. But, I've often pondered the differences and how they coule be used. In reading through 'Heirloom Vegetables' by Sue Stickland she notes some really interesting points:

In the Native American culture, there are six colors of corn which directly correlate to what they consider their six directions: black, red, white, yellow, blue and multi-colored corns relate to north, east, south, west , zenith (sky) and nadir (earth).

Northeastern Indians use white corn for breads.

Southwestern Indians use blue corn which have evolved an association with beneficial soil fungi making the soil 10 times more efficient at utilizing the nutrients in the soil.

There are some fascinating details in this book:

Heirloom Vegetables: A Home Gardener's Guide to Finding and Growing Vegetables from the Past
By Sue Stickland
Publisher: Fireside or Gaia Books Limited, London, 1998
Pages: 191

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Planting a Row for the Hungry?

Think I'll try my hand at planting an extra row to feed someone who might be in need of a little extra nourishment. I'd love any suggestions from those who might already be doing this or have considered doing it.

Regulations are a bit sketchy about providing produce to food banks and the like. I was thinking of asking a local school to recommend one small family who might have an interest in a bag of weekly fresh vegetables.

It's so easy to grow various plants in the smallest of spaces that it would truly be great if everyone simply tossed a few seeds in a pot. But, I also recognize that many people may be overwhelmed. So, that small gesture may be a small benefit.

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2010 Heirloom Club Trials :: Corn & Beans

Now, it's probably a ridiculous concept to trial corn and beans to most since this has been done time and time again. But, there are more bean and corn seeds that were part of the 2009 master garden plan than were actually planted in the garden. There were about 15 varieties of corn and about 20 varieties of beans.


I germinated about 10 of those varieties and only 2 varieties made it into the ground. Oh, it wasn't because there was anything wrong with the plants, I just couldn't find the time to do the gardening I wanted to do. It seems the recession made stable businesses panic as much as those that were on the brink and as a result, we got worked close to the brink of not having a life.

Sadly, there are just as many bean and corn seeds on the new 2010 order list so this means we're going to need a little bit of help. It would be great if we could have our own bean and corn trials where we each take a variety and report back to the club on which was best and why. I'm growing more Country Gentlemen since we never seem to get enough and I'm thinking about a popcorn variety - just for the fun of it.

Let me know if you're interested and if you are, I'll post the list of varieties that are available that I can send to you.

By the way, I had just as many tomato and pepper plants too. They've managed to continue growing amidst the winter chill. And the saddest part? Most of those corn and bean plants grew mini vegetables in the small containers they were started in. Some of them were given away before the plants matured in their small cells but many, unfortunately, produced Barbie sized vegetables. Got to give them credit for being tenacious.

By the way, did anyone plant sweet peas this year? The plants seem to be exceptional this year and I haven't quite figured out why.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hamburg Parsley

Good grief! Just when I think the garden is under control another volunteer pops up making me wonder if I should or shouldn't yank it out of the ground (and normally that conflict means it stays in the ground).

Yesterday I noticed Hamburg Parsley sprouting in the most unusual of places including the windowbox which contains our Music garlic. It will definitely get replanted elsewhere since the windowbox won't be lengthy enough to enable it to grow to any decent size but the real point is - this is not exactly how I'd planned to spend the weekend! It's a great problem to have but it just musses up the very predictable program I've been trying to institute in the garden (and to that my mind says 'yeah, right').

So, anyway, as I perused the garden I noticed another stowaway of Hamburg parsley that has gone to seed...and as many of my garden friends know, we just can't pass up the opportunity to collect more seeds. It is food afterall - or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

I'll have to do a post on stowaways, aka volunteers, as I tend to have loads of them throughout the year. Last summer's cosmos have made their way back just a few months after going to seed...not sure how they'll survive our cold nights...but oh well.

The end result of this discovery is that I'll need to pass these seeds along (and in a hurry) as I have bundles of new batches forthcoming that we'll need to make room for. Send me a self addressed stamped envelope and I'll send you a packet of Hamburg Parsley.

I've also posted this on the exchange forum as well.