Monday, May 15, 2006

What's Growin' On: 5/15/06

Realization Of The Day:
I definitely need a Critter Cam. That way I would be able to find out just who is digging up my potato plants. And leaving foot/paw/hoof prints across my newly planted beds. And breaking the tops off my tomato and pepper plants (presumably while running through those beds). And of course, I would be able to identify exactly which turtle thieves are nabbing my precious strawberries.

From Garden To Table:
--Dug up one lovely volunteer potato today while weeding out a bed. Obviously it is not enough to make a meal, or even a side dish. The only thing to do? Slice it paper thin, heat up the big cast iron skillet, and pan-fry the slices in homemade lard of course!
--Lettuce, lettuce, lettuce! It's always a race each year to see whether I can eat it all before it becomes bitter from the heat and begins to bolt. I usually end up picking the entire rest of the crop just before a predicted heat wave hits and storing it in coolers in the pantry. I'll do anything for a garden lettuce salad.

--I have one raised bed that has a row of purple kohlrabi that I direct seeded back in March growing down one side of it (and it still needs to be thinned). The rest of the bed filled up with some annoying and extremely healthy weeds that were about a foot high. Today while I was pulling them out, I wondered why on earth I hadn't planted anything in that bed except the kohlrabi. Then I yanked out a spinach leaf with a fistful of weeds. Oh right. I did. I planted mache (corn salad) which did a complete No Show, plus two different kinds of spinach, despite the fact that I have terrible luck growing spinach. I think I ended up with maybe 10 plants. Which I need to pick tonight or for breakfast because they will no doubt go into shock as soon as the sun hits them now that I have unburied them. Hmmmm. A spinach, scallion, and sharp cheddar cheese omelet would probably be delicious.

--Pepper and tomato seedlings that were lucky enough to be put in the ground sure aren't growing very fast. I gave some of the same plants to a friend in St. Louis and they are about twice the size of mine. How embarrassing. And his soil pretty much sucks (except for the sacks of llama pellets and compost I gave him that he mixed into it.) I'm wondering if it's because of the fluctuating temperatures. I'm absolutely loving these unseasonably cool days in the low 60s, but it's been getting pretty cold at night, and a few weeks ago we were up in the 90s. Also I'm telling myself the plants are just busy creating extremely big and healthy root systems. Hey, whatever rationalization works. Oh my gosh. I just checked my earlier records, and they've been in the ground a month already. This is ridiculous. And even more embarrassing. I should practically be harvesting tomatoes by now.

Minding The Moonsigns:
Wednesday and Thursday May 17th and 18th are both fertile days in the 3rd quarter. These are excellent days for transplanting--seedlings into the ground, sprouted seeds into individual plugs, potted plants into larger living quarters. One of these days I promise I really will go into more detail about this whole moonsign business. I even plucked a book off my shelf today that is entirely devoted to gardening astrologically. And now I know why I never read it. Geez. I thought I was paranoid to do things on the wrong days with the limited knowledge I posess about this stuff. Wait till you read about this book. If you dare.


  1. have you ever seen/used the stella natura calendar? it is based on planting with the moon AND stars/planets...just to throw in more confusion!

    a friend of mine had problems with deer eating her tomatoes so she hung bars of irish spring soap in socks on stakes to deter them...they hate the smell (i do too, i can completely understand).

    i'm 20 minutes east of st. louis and we've been having crazy weather plants have grown very slowly. your st. louis friend needs to share his secret!

  2. The weather has been iffy here as well, all the seedlings are parked in my ghetto cold frame, but they're happy. I think a critter cam would be fun. I'm a bit of an insomniac and its interesting how many critters are in the yard after dark.

  3. Hi Stella,
    Yeah, 'cause I really needed more confusion thrown in, LOL. I think this book about astrological gardening I'm going to get around to sort of reviewing here hopefully soon (along with everything else, LOL) includes some of that because it mentions "harvesting by the stars" on the cover. If there's even more than this book describes, I don't think I'd better know about it!

    Re: Irish Spring. Thanks for the reminder! Last week while getting a haircut, my hairdresser (a dedicated urbanite) asked about coyotes, and I mentioned losing the three lambs recently. He then said that I should take my hair clippings back home and put them up little bags or whatever around the perimeter of the barnyard, as the human scent will help scare off predators. I'd heard about doing this several years ago from a vineyard/winery owner--he did it to deter deer. But I'd completely forgotten about it. That same guy told me about using Irish Spring soap. So I remembered about that when my hairdresser mentioned the hair.

    Then I got home and promptly forgot about both of them. He also said (and I'm writing all this because these things should obviously work against garden predators, too) that after you've been working outside/at the gym/whatever and are all sweaty, you can take a rag and wipe yourself off with it. Then cut it into strips and use these as deterrents. He also said that I should take one of those rags and put it in a bag with the hair clippings before I put the hair clippings out because he'd just washed my hair so it wasn't heavily 'human scented.'

    Quite an informative haircut. And usually he just tells me dirty jokes! : )

    Hi Steven,
    Well if you're up all night watching outside anyway, you obviously don't need the critter cam. Unless of course you're busy vacuuming. ; )

  4. If Steven has a problem being up all nite, maybe you need to keep him on the farm for a week and have him watch to see what's been causing all your problems!

  5. I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your "minding the moonsigns" tips. For the most part I have followed them (especially with the transplants) and I'll be interested to see if there's a difference!


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