Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Let me Explain.

I hit a wrong button and blogger posted my last entry. Short and to the point.
This year is going to be the first in a long time that I get to do my vegetable gardens the way I want to. The way I farm planting is the most labor intensive part of the whole operation.

I try to get the tallest most overgrown starts I can. For each plant a dig a hole 12x16x10 inches deep. All the soil goes into my wheelbarrow and gets mixed with a third again of well rotted manure, one half cup of Lang-Gro organic 10-10-10, one quarter cup of horticultural grade lime,and one quarter cup of Epsom salt.
This all goes back into the hole creating a mound. I pinch off all but the upper leaves and lay the plant sideways in my soil,exposing only the leaves I left. I plant in double rows with a large row of composted organics in between and a fence at least six feet tall to tie to. In the compost I bury a drip water hose.
When the plants take off and they sure will I train them to the fence and do a lot of early trimming to create more of a vine then a bush. They get loosely tied with baler twine and as they grow I mulch with more manure as early weed control is key to any great garden.
In the past doing them this way I have had vines over 12 feet tall, but now I allow the vines to droop over the top of the fence. The fence has to be stout because you get tomatoes in massive amounts and it all gets heavy.
I have 240 tomatoes of several heirloom types planted and they already have their feet in the ground and are starting to take off! The hard work is done and the rest is fun!

I grow Yukon Golds and Red ones, I forgot the fancy name for them. We grow so many that I can not use cages like I would like to, instead I do rows. The trick is keep mounding them as they grow. The mounding material should stay loose and be very organic o get nice big tatars!

Hot Peppers:
This is my favorite thing to grow. I am always looking for different ones to try and I seed save when I find one I really like. The biggest trick to hot peppers is that they love warm soil. In the north east if the soil is not 60 degrees or higher wait to plant. The plants will stunt if you don't.

Bell Peppers:
Only one trick I use here. In the bottom of the planting hole I place a book of matches with the cover tore off for each plant. It gives me meatier peppers, must be the sulfur.

Cabbage crops:

I grow early, savoy, and late for saurkraut. Also grow broccholi, cauliflower, and collards, all part of the family. Never plant them in the same place twice in a row.

Lots and lots of beans. All kinds, we freeze can, dry and eat them fresh. I plant more every two weeks until well after the 4th of July.

Salad fixings:
I also plant them every two weeks for enjoyment all summer long. I plant iceberg even if no one at our house eats much of it, because it does so well here and it sells.

Squash and pumpkins:

I bury tires flush filled with soil. makes for easier weed control. Then I cover the ground where the vines will travel with my empty feed bags. No Weeds! Acorn, butter nut, hubbard, summer, zukes, pie pumpkins, and a few Atlantic Giants for fun!

Cukes: We do pickles and cukes all from mounds. Mulch with paper bags before the vines travel.


Egg plant, mustard greens, strawberries, blue berries, red and black raspberries, goose berries, fruit trees. There is more but I am old I forget!

Being retired is going to allow me to micro manage this year like never before. I am trying to out do my 2005 offering, that was my best ever!

Farming my ass off!

Monday, June 02, 2008

From "Rocks & Squeaks to Greasers& Hippies"

Being born in 1950 I got to experience a lot of living history. Most anyone alive and of the age of remembering can tell you where they were when they got the news that President Kennedy was killed in Dallas. I was in Mr. Hewett's science class and we all got sent home from school early. We all sat in front of the TV and watched the events unfolded. The surrealistic as Jack Rubie came out of the crowd and shot Lee Harvey Oswald. The almost instant reenactments of Oswald's position in the Texas Book Depository and the magic bullet theory. The true horror as we watched Jackie holding her mortally wounded husband in the back of the open car as it raced to the hospital. The strong impact that the funeral train and the casket being pulled by white horses to JFK's final resting place, and Jack the riderless horse with the boots mounted backwards in the stirrups! Will we ever know what really happened that day in Dallas?

This was the start of change in America. It occurred at the back end of the WWII baby boom. It stole our a piece of our soul, jaded a lot of people, and destroyed my faith at the age of 13, and I was not alone.

In my school prior to this event we had Rocks, guys with a duck's ass hairdo, white tee shirt with a pack Luckies rolled up in the sleeve, and the girls that idolized these James Dean wanna bes. Then there were the squeaks, Madras plaid shirts, the start of the long hair thing, they loved the "Beatles." Also through it all we had Jocks, and squares. Me I rode the wave and could mix depending on what girl I was chasing at the time.

The change from all that seemed to happen overnight! The "Rocks became"Greasers" an damn near everyone else became "Hippies!" The youth of the world was on the move, no regard for authority, the music was our guru, and drugs! We all wanted to drive VW's, grow hair past our ass, wear sandals, smoke pot, make love and not war. Summers were spent running naked in the woods or traveling to some Utopia in the next town , next state, or the other coast. North, south, east, or west we were all looking for something. We followed the "Dead", listened to the wisdom of "The Doors", and a thousand other bands! The way we dressed was off the hook!

I get a kick out of my "Dirty Hippie" friends. Instead of looking for an O. Z., they are looking for better returns on their 401K's as we rapidly approach the great big, friggin huge, 60! And I think of the friends that did not get through it all, some died very young. Viet Nam ,overdoses, suicides, accidents, even murders.

1969 became known as the summer of love because we all met at a farm in upstate New York by the hundreds of thousands for three days of peace, love and understanding. It was really the beginning of the end to the great experiment. The war tore holes in the fabric, there are wounds that have never fully healed and may never heal completely. We had Patty Hurst and her army. Charles Manson, Kent State, Black Panthers. We burned our cities, our bras, and our draft cards.

What makes me sad is the fire in the bellies of those that truly believed in protest and also were sure they could make a difference has gone out. Once Again we need some of that blind faith in our abilities to make things better or else they win again!