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Raising It

When it’s over…over…over

norwichgarden-end Well, with night-time frosts banging on the door, we harvested everything harvestable in the big garden (the test garden, which, if you’ve been following had four beds with different soil treatments: buckwheat, mustard, black plastic and nothing). And in the interest of completing as ‘scientific’ an analysis, the DH and I hauled out big cardboard boxes which I dutifully labeled and set them at the ends of the appropriate rows. Everything that got taken from the buckwheat row ended up in the buckwheat boxes and so on. When we got everything home, we washed it all carefully, counted items, weighed them and tabulated the results. (more…)

If you have garlic.. like I have garlic…oh…oh…

garlic1Well, it’s that time of the year again. Or actually, it would be that time of the year in several weeks except that with the hot and extremely dry weather we had this summer, the garlic (as you can see from the photo) basically gave up the ghost and went ‘toes up’ (as we say here in the country) about 2-3 weeks early. We were trialing the two ‘winners’ from last year (Susanville and Vietnamese Red) against three ‘new’ varieties, Music (which actually we’ve grown before), Premium Northern White (which around here is the standard garlic grown by market gardeners) and Early Italian Red. Well, the growing season threw us and the garlic bulbs a complete fluke — hot and incredibly dry from the spring through frankly this weekend, when we finally got some concentrated rainfall for two days. (more…)

Olla! Olla!

waterdivitYour Dear Old Aunty is getting mighty tired of reading headlines saying “Hottest (pick your month) Ever!”

Well, of course it IS. This is what climate change is all about. (more…)

Better Late Than Never

wateringAs I discussed last time, we’re late, late, late in getting the experimental garden in. Actually, looking around at what’s happening to the corn fields in our area, we’re not the only ones who got ‘the garden’ in late.

Timing, is everything, but again, as discussed, the weather this spring (thank you El Nino) was horrific. Too cold and wet at all the wrong times. The farmers are feeling it too. I have seen very few corn fields out there where the growth is uniform and uniformly bright green. I’m seeing lots of stress. (more…)

Can out in the field can be put to use in the garden?

mustard1The DH and I went to a conference run by NOFA, the Northeast Organic Farmers Association. Are we Farmers? Not yet – but working on it. If you have the chance to go to a conference like this, I encourage it – it’s the fastest way for you to get immersed in information that might take you years to winkle out. We took workshops on growing grains, beekeeping, mushroom growing (yes!!), growing organic oats, organic orcharding, marketing and I’m sure I’ve forgotten the rest. One class I took which was completely fascinating was using mustard as a biofumigant for soils.
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Seeds, glorious seeds

appleseed2The simple act of pushing a seed into some dirt, watering it and having it come up is still pretty much magic to me. Whether it’s from a plant where the seeds are so small that basically, you water the dirt first and then scatter them on top and hope for the best, or plain old bean seeds, the whole act of burying them in the dirt and then their coming up is really an unceasing source of rather childlike joy to me. (more…)

Why bother growing your own?

onionseedsIn the grand scheme of things (to flog a oft-used phrase, along with ‘at the end of the day’ and so on), why bother to grow your own vegetables. Or, for that matter, flowering plants?

Well, I’m not going to even discuss the issue of ‘cheap food’. I still think we can produce garden vegetables at a lower cost (again, we are not charging our own time) than we can buy them in the grocery store. But that is not the issue here. (more…)

Nuts to you!

chestnut1So, for those readers breathlessly waiting on tenterhooks to find out exactly what these seeds are, the answer is: (more…)

Rescuing an apple tree

appletree7Now, dear reader, you may never, ever be in a situation where you find a wild apple tree.

But then again, you might – or you might buy some property or a house that has an old neglected apple tree on the property and you’d like to rescue it and see if it will come into bearing fruit.

This post, dear friend, is for you. (more…)

Working in the garden at Christmas

BLACKCURRENT1First, hello again and your Aunty hopes that your holidays this month (whichever ones you celebrate, and Aunt Toby believes that in these chilly and dark days, that we need to do our utmost to keep spirits up, flags flying, drums beating and bonfires glowing) have been wonderful, warm, and filled with hugs, warmth, a big of peace and terrific food.

Ours, believe it or not, have been filled with working out on the farm, mostly pruning apple trees (more on that for another time) because it has not been its usual ferocious cold and snowy time here at Chez Siberia. Ordinarily, we’d wait until most of the way through the winter but since a) we have discovered so many apple trees (and again, more on that for later) that need major weeding out that we’d never finish by the time they’d break dormancy in the spring and b)the weather has been basically so warm that we figured we’d get to it early when it’s a lot more pleasant to get it done (rather than standing out there in the wind and 25-degrees F with pole saws). (more…)

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