Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Plant That Seed

Well, that last post got such an overwhelming response I thought I'd immediately post another dry-as-cracker juice essay on gardening!  Haha!  Oh, I'm just joking and being my normal pain in the butt self.  Don't worry, I'm not going to turn into one of those dreary, redneck doomers living in woodsy seclusion that hordes 50 cases of Spam and saves my underarm hair to stuff pillows with.
No, I just thought I'd try to do a few more cohesive posts about my planting methods, what we grow etc.  I've read several posts lately where the people were talking about how horrible gardening was and Oh!! the misery and disappointment when everything just failed miserably.  Year after year even!  Well, gardening can be frustrating sometimes, especially if you're trying to really make a dent in the amount of food you buy, but it's not that bad.  Most of my crops are fairly successful and I live in humidity/ fungus heaven.
Now, Jack did get a little frustrated at the first of the summer because every time he would plant the okra we would get a BIG rain and it would wash it away.  Or seem to anyway.  I think he planted like 3 times.  Well, we finally got a batch to sprout and then it was easy-peasy.  Nothing much bothers okra.  I had tried different methods of drying the okra seeds and nothing seemed to work very well though.  I had tried cutting off large pods and air drying and then cutting off large pods and heat drying.  Every time the seeds wold be shrively and puny.  Not good.  This year I told Jack to pick a number of pods and let them grow as big as they would but leave them ON the plant.  Just leave them until they dry themselves right there in the field.

Worked great!  These seeds are all very robust and healthy.  No shrively, black things!  Yea!!  Now we just wrench open the pods and store the seeds in plastic pouches.  You can put them in the freezer but I just store mine all in a box in a cool, dark place.

The garden is doing well and I finally got it all mulched.  I made a great discovery on what to use for the walking paths in the garden.  I had one roll of silt fence left over from when we built the driveway, so I took that and pulled all the wooden stakes off of it and then split the roll in half longways.  This took a while as the rolls are about 100 feet long.  Silt fence is just that black plastic looking stuff you see there.  It's pretty sturdy but allows water to flow through it easily.  They sell a similar material at gardening shops for A LOT.  It's basically silt fence.  I got Steve to bring me some more off a job so mine was free but I don't think it costs too much if you buy it from a construction supply.  Plus, you get some wooden stakes you can pull off to use elsewhere!
Anyway, my strips were about 18" wide, so they fit right between rows and I mulch over the edges.  I did make some little pins out of some scrap wire to kinda peg it in place. 

We mulch the plants with wheat straw that comes out of the chicken coop, so it's got poop and all built right in!  Now, I usually let it set for a week or so to kinda mellow a little, then just distribute around the plants.  The rain washes the poopy into the soil and then later it all gets tilled in and the soil gets richer.  I hand dug my garlic area the other day to get it ready for planting and man!!  there was some big ol' wormies jumping everywhere!  I think that was the most earthworms I've ever dug up in this garden.  That makes me so happy because that's a sure fire way to tell the soil is improving.  Jack also mowed a lot of leaves for me the other day so they will get put over the areas of the garden that are not being planted this winter and tilled in in the spring.  It has been raining, thankfully, the past couple of days so that project is on hold but that's great!  We really needed the rain.
Well, off to bed because I've got to get a good start on pottery making tomorrow.  Got to throw it into mega production mode!


ErinFromIowa said...

You are making some mighty fine soil there! I was spoiled as a child about garden soil. Northwest corner of Iowa near the Minnesota border. Black, black soil with perfect arability. chock full of worms. So easy to work with. Everything grew like gangbusters. I thought ALL soil in the whole world was that way. Boy, did I ever have some rude awakenings!

Pablo said...

I can't help thinking that there is something metaphorical about this post . . .

pamit said...

Your fall garden looks great. So that's wheat straw mulch? Do you ever use pine straw or is it too acidic? I remember as a kid back in GA, pine straw was piled up around azaleas after they bloomed.

HermitJim said...

Totally agree about the okra seeds! Been doing it for a while now!

The garden is looking pretty good, I'd say!

Worms are always a good find, not only for the garden but for fishing!

Thanks for the post!

Myamuhnative said...

The garden looks great.
I'm more than a tad jealous because we are limited to potted garden plants this year.
We have a huge problem with all the neighborhood squirrels putting their little hands in every single pot to see what they can find.

BTW I'm curious to know about wheat straw too.

edifice rex said...

Hey Erin! haha! yeah, that black soil is probably a very rare thing indeed!

Hey Pablo! ha! it's just the title. ;)

Hey Pam! I have used pine straw but yes, it's pretty acidic so I have switched to the wheat straw since we regularly have it. I do mulch my strawberries and blueberries with pine straw because they enjoy the extra acidity as do the azaleas.

Hey Jim! Yeah, I told Jack we need to go fishing before it gets too cold!

Hey Mya! thanks! Sprinkle some ground cayenne pepper in those pots and see if that don't discourage those squirrels. I suspect it will!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Your winter garden is much larger than ours, Annie. But, this year Grenville hopes to have success with the broccoli and we have already enjoyed some lettuce. The cauliflower leaves are being eaten up, but whatever is bothering them doesn't seem to like broccoli, thankfully.