More planting tonight. Cutleaf arugula/cherry tomatoes/sugar snap peas.
Cherry tomatoes went six feet apart and arugula went inbetween. Late to plant arugula but I don’t care- that was zee best part of my garden last year. There’s no sugarcoating it- my garden looks like shit today. But wait a week or so, and you will see something very different. Rome wasn’t....
Speaking of arugula, do you have any idea how they get such perfection in a seed packet? It’s all seeds, no sand/dirt/sticklets/or debris. Pure seed, two dozen perfect tiny orbs per pinchful that someone had to put there. How??? Who collected it? It’s a totally flawless product. Our industry gets little respect. Nobody really realizes how much skill and talent goes into this work except us. It’s probably like that in every industry, especially most school teachers.
Fertilizer prills look like giants in comparison to arugula seed. Horticulture is understatedly cool.
Manless clothing found after a day of toil on a sweltering gardening night somewhere above the Mason Dixon line recently.
Earbuds, reggae, bud light lime= ease of toil tonight. This song kept me company for a while.
I’ll admit it. This year I just got disinterested in my garden. I’ve walked past it and avoided eye contact, my relationship with that plot of land fractured by laziness. It all started last fall when I started ignoring it and let it go to weeds- just couldn’t help it! It’s a lot of work!
This spring with the never ending shitty weather that saw one last wood burning stove event in my home on June 3rd, I just preferred to go inside. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to plant a garden ever, at all, this year.
Yet Im surrounded at work with these plants, and the thought of not planting a garden this year would be like a high crime and misdemeanor punishable by some sort of impeachment in my own mind (no impeachment of anyone unfortunately at the moment), so yesterday I reluctantly grabbed my stuff and started working.
I vowed to keep the plant selection fun. I’m planting fun stuff to eat, not like zucchini and eggplants that I usually give away and never really know how to cook or store anyway.
Yesterday, we planted corn, radishes, heirloom tomatoes, romaine lettuce, onions, and just after we finished, it rained pretty hard which I interpreted as a sign from Mother Nature that reaffirmed her approval of the entire endeavor- that I wasn’t alone in this work.
To those of you who scoff at my interpretations, I can only say this:
Holding a shovel for long periods of time then crawling around in the dirt sweating and constantly pulling one’s pants up as the dirt, sweat, and effort conspire against a soul, a certain amount of insanity ensues, with the mind wandering off into unchartered territory.
Im not responsible!
First step- spray roundup on the entire garden area. Let the weeds dry before getting in there to work. Once it’s dry it’s ok. Sure, I use roundup A LOT. Almost daily. The negative news you have heard about the jury awards is hyped up and scoffed at by professionals. Nobody can convince people in my business that a jury of twelve non-medical professionals/non-chemists can determine when and where an 80 year old man got his cancer. Nobody can determine that. Your car exhaust emits dozens of cancer causing chemicals. Don’t worry about using roundup. Just follow the directions!
Step two- plant tomato plants six feet apart (lesson learned from last year when they were way way way too close).
Step three plant a row of radish and onions.
Corn at the end and romaine lettuce inbetween the tomato plants. They are a short crop and can coexist between the tall tomatoes. In a month all the lettuce will be eaten and something else will be in its place.
The entire sweaty time we were planting, there was a cat bird gossiping on the top of a mt. Laurel bush at the top of it’s voice for all to hear. It’s song was voiciferous and lengthy and non-stop. Whatever had happened in this lonely bird’s life must have been upsetting because of the loud and varied inflections in it’s song was striking.
I have noticed that this week the bird songs are at peak intensity and volume, starting at 4-4:15 am and going on until after sundown which is late this time of year.
Its all related I think; gardening and nature. Yeah, you gotta trudge up to the garden to toil for your own betterment, but whilst toiling one is surrounded not by news/current events/technology/man made distractions, but by Mother Nature in all her glory. Birds, sun rays intensifying the inherent beauty of plants, the soft feel of warm soil in one’s fingers not to mention the smells of life in the summertime air are hard not to notice.
Roses have more flowers coming also. They’ll flower all summer for kitchen table fragrance whilst I chomp on food from the garden.
This is my blueberry field. 250 blueberry plants that will provide blueberries from June to September. Fresh/frozen/cooked/jams/pies. Deer proof, relatively insect and disease free. Not bird proof, so the entire place needs to be netted, a very time consuming job and not ever 100% effective.
My awesome dog chased smart birds (caught some but didn’t kill em) that got inside. ‘Sallright because there’s enough to go around, I don’t mind sharing.
Blueberry plants are hot shit, sorry for the vulgarity, but not sorry- they are worth the exclamation.
Fragrant spring flowers that feed multitudes of insects (insects are GOOD), berries you eat or birds eat, brilliant fall red foliage, and interesting winter appearance. A true multi- season plant that delight all sorts of life.
Tough as nails rhubarb plants that survived the winter unplanted flowering like crazy. These live forever, come back every year.
Cheap trailer trash birds nest hastily constructed yet brutally effective at getting the first brood matured FAST and on to breeding on their own, a race against time. I don’t blame them for such a strategy because I think it works really well. Build cheap nest, mate, lay eggs, feed ‘em then kick ‘em out as soon as they can fly. Get six broods in during the course of one summer then go back to Brazil.
Common yellowthroat caught inside this morning. Successful capture/release. I’ve never seen nor heard of this bird before. It’s simply amazing how little we know about who shares this place and time with us!
Despite the kkkkkold, I’m starting my garden. Today. Focus this year is on growing only what I can eat and store. No sense having a large garden if I just give the stuff away. People see me coming towards them with armloads of zucchini and they run. Onions fit right in to this scheme. I use them at almost every meal, and they store for over half a year! Ain’t giving them away!
Organic as can be, I am!
Pots made out of molded cow poop. NO PLASTIC!
Made right here in Connecticut!
Teeny tiny seeds. Much cheaper and more variety than already-grown plants.
Fluffy wholesome seed starting soil. Most of the other plants I’m gonna use are going to be seeded directly into trenches in my garden.
Tiny weeds about to ruin my garden. One tank of glyphosate is all I need to kill ‘em off. Yup. Roundup. Go ahead and use it in your garden with absolutely no fear. Just don’t be stupid and spray it on your skin. Don’t inhale the spray. Don’t drink it! Don’t spray it on food crops like the criminal farmers do. Read more about roundup below.
My frost date is 5/15/19. Don’t plant before that no matter how tempted you are. Some wait till Memorial Day..
Peetee, the incredible nursery dog warming in the sun this morning on a soft bed of mulch.
Great gardens start with great seeds. Not the same-ol, same-ol stuff (we have that too)
You gotta start some seeds inside in seed starting soil that contains no “dirt.” This company is the marijuana grower’s favorite potting soil. I figure if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.
These are great little seed starter thingys also. Plop the tiny seeds into the tiny well then place in a tray of good old H2O then watch em grow. Plant the entire thingy after the frost date.
Coconut fiber cells for starting seeds- an efficient way to start seeds for a space saving way to grow exactly what you want in the quantity needed. Plant the entire cell coconut fiber pot, plant and all!
Then refill the plastic tray (use it over and over) with the coconut pot refills. Efficient space savers!
All this talk of starting up the garden either bores my dog Peetee or tired her out. She never tells me which.
...pretty soon you will not need to buy this chemical-laden stuff, it’ll be coming out of your garden!!!
We just ordered a bunch of veggie seeds from a very unique grower! Lots of really interesting varieties of flowers and veggies I didn’t know existed
I was never a fan of seeds till last year when I sprinkled them into trenches for the first time. Radishes, carrots, arugula. Best arugula over ever had. I would sometimes just sit in front of the row to pick/eat/pick/eat/pick/eat. I’m pretty sure that no arugula ever actually made it into the kitchen. That experience sold me on the seeding method.... not to mention how cheap in comparison seeds are. The best thing though, is the varieties we can get now from seeds- stuff I’ve never seen before! Check out the white-tipped radishes we have- so cool.
My kid found a recipe he wanted to cook that included scallions and shallots. “What the HELL is a shallot” I thought???
Many recipes have ingredients where you need a teaspoon but you gotta buy a quart. I only needed one shallot but had to buy a bag.
At least my kid was interested in something besides technology so I entertained him, bought the damn shallots.
I peeled the oniony paper skin off and started slicing (you know where this is going, don’t you?).
As soon as the steel hit the flesh, my nostrils were filled with the most delightful fragrance. I reluctantly tossed the slices into the pan and thought how cool that plant is. I immediately went to Wikipedia to find out about this discovery. Where have shallots been my whole life???
Last night I went to stop and shop and saw shallots in bulk next to all the onions- musta been there all this time but my eyes passed over them as if they were invisible.
Im going to save these for planting- they might grow like onions do, but now onions need to move over, there’s a new boy in town.
So last night I sliced up a large shallot and put it into the spinach/lettuce/vine-ripened tomato/pesto/ Caesar salad dressing salad, and we ate every scrap. Imagine a 14 yo boy shoving a parent out of the way to get to the salad?
I have shallots to thank, and my kid for making me buy them!
Post script in order here. I’m a blabber mouth, and have been gospelling the word of shallots to anyone who would listen. A friend of mine soaked shallot cloves in vodka this week and made a pitcher of shallot martinis for everyone last night! BEST MARTINI I EVER HAD!
Holy crap, is there anything a shallot can’t do???
We NEVER hear about this- almost never. More reason to grow your own food! Do these residual chemicals cause disease and cancer?
1. ROUNDUP- best weedkiller/timesaver ever invented. I’ve used it for 45 years.
Here is is what I know about it (FACTS):
It is a plant hormone that prevents storage of ATP by photosynthesizing plants, resulting in sprayed plants eating reserves instead- starvation results in sprayed plants.
It is only absorbed by leaves- never roots
It is “eaten” by microbes in the soil, breaking it down into inert ingredients
It does NOT leach into groundwater- sticking to organic soil particles instead, nor does it runoff into streams.
It is NOT supposed to be applied to plants that you are going to eat- why the hell would you do that?!
It is NOT supposed to be bathed in, eaten, inhaled, applied to skin in any way- STUPID!
There is NO RESIDUAL in the soil after the microbes eat it.
During droughts, roundup is excruciatingly slow to work as the target plants have gone dormant.
Ok, so if you aren’t breathing it/bathing in it/spraying it on plants you are going to eat, then WHERE EXACTLY IS THE PROBLEM? East of the Mississippi River, homeowners can use this product all they want without problems that you hear about in the news- as George Carlin once said “ITS ALL BULLSHIT FOLKS!”
The problem is when large farmers aerial spray crops to kill them for efficient harvests, the chemical is STILL INSIDE THE PLANT when it’s harvested/processed into beer and bread. Who ever came up with the idea to spray roundup on wheat? Sounds criminal to me. I do not want to eat roundup (brings up an entirely different conversation about chemical residuals in ALL of our food- what other bad chemicals are we unknowingly eating?).
How about that worker awarded $60 million bucks for cancer he claims he got from roundup...? Bullshit verdict from an emotional jury- hope it gets overturned on appeal. Did he have an applicators license? Was he ever trained in the mixing and spraying of pesticides? What else did he ever spray? What other factors in his life could have caused his cancer? Did the guy use sunscreen everyday he worked for that school? Did he ever smoke? Did he ever breathe two cycle exhaust when working? Who can say the guy got his cancer from roundup? ANSWER- nobody can.
Course, you have a choice- bend over and weed by hand (I do a lot of that when the weeds are close to my veggies), or spray roundup. If it’s sprayed with common sense and logic according to the directions on the label, you have a great tool for your yard. Wanna weed by hand? Go ahead! Have fun! Im not doing that because the anti-roundup stuff in the news is sensationalized and hyped up WAY PAST any amount of scientific analysis, and every single assault on roundup is met with scoffing and humor by people in my industry- well-educated professionals who really know the reality of this issue.
Just thought I would add some facts to a subject that’s been in the news A LOT.
2. Chemical VS. organic fertilizers:
I never use organic fertilizers! Why you ask?
I can’t help looking closely at things in my business- totally logical for someone like me to use my education like this-
On a MOLECULAR level, the macro nutrients are identical. Nitrogen is either ammonical/watersoluble/water insoluble/urea in both organic and chemical fertilizers.
Phosphorous- P2O5- same with both fertilizers
Potassium- K2O- same
So if, on a molecular level, the molecules are the same, then what’s the advantage of organic over chemical fertilizers? There is none.
Again, as a matter of fact, organic fertilizers need to be applied more frequently, don’t last as long, cost more, and are less concentrated (you need more).
Some of my customers actually don’t feed their garden at all- they don’t water either! That’s totally up to them.
I figure people can look at the pics I put up here to show them how I do this garden thing. I don’t get drunk and go out into the night naked and spray roundup all over Nature and toss chemical fertilizers into the wild...
I am a logical intelligent well-educated user of the tools at my disposal that I scrutinize carefully and use if they pass my sniff test. Put fertilizer into the hole when planting? You reduce the amount by 50% because the food is in the root zone readily and easily available. Weed control in my garden? Mainly grass clippings- go back into last year’s archives to see how I let the lawn grow long then harvest it.
That entire organic fertilizer thing thing is understandable but totally illogical when looked at carefully by people with some chemical education.
Its my opinion that a combination of good old fashioned methods in the garden mixed with modern technology yields the best results. If you start at the very beginning of this veggie blog, I started with basic info for perspective gardeners- hope it helps!
Any questions??? Feel free to call me!
THIS JUST IN (3/19/19)
Yesterdays paper. But it doesn’t change anything. When used according to the label instructions, you aren’t supposed to bathe in it, breathe it, drink or eat it, not get it on your skin, or spray it on plants that you are going to eat. Did this user follow those directions? Did he ever get motor oil on his hands, breathe gasoline vapors, eat food from the grocery store that had chemical residuals? Fish with mercury? Live in the northeast where we breathe in polluted air coming our way from other parts of the country?
I just do not see how anyone other than neutral scientists can draw connections between health issues and roundup. So far none have.
Link to article:
David Benjamin- horticulture degree North Carolina State University graduated 1983, has worked at the nursery since 1976. Somewhat tired of eating grocery store food.