My take on compost

 

Three words. Let it rot! Over the years I have tried the following:

The compost pile – two ways to do this.  Follow the formula and add so much brown to so much green. Dutifully turn it and moisten it. Lots of hard work. It does make compost quicker. Then you have to shovel it up and spread it.  Or you can,  make a pile any old way and ignore it. It will turn into compost all by itself oe day. You can turn your chickens into the area and they will turn it for you and fertilize  it to boot! You will still have to shovel it up and spread it. There are easier ways.

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Walk about Jan 5th

 

Seems the few warm days brought  out some cabbage worms. I could turn the chickens into this area. But, they like cabbage too!

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We are expecting some 15 degree weather in a couple days. That may take care of the worms. If not, I will get the Diatomaceous Earth out and sprinkle it around and on the cabbage and Brocolli.  Love that stuff! It scratches up thier little soft bodies and they DIE.

Teen weather here in the South requires preparation. All the outside water is already turned off and faucets drained. Vulerable plants are in the green house. Need to lay a fire in the fireplace. Ice storms happen and trees go down and power outages follow.

Need to turn the greenhouse heaters on. I noticed a draft in the green house. One of the sliding glass doors is not fitting well. I used some row cover to stuff in the crack. Put my succulants on the shelf againt the rock wall. It will retain more heat. Set other plants down below the window area.

Need a extra chicken water container. I will have to break the ice, or just put out new water. Guess I will rig up some protection for my cabbage and broccolli plants. Would hate to lose them to 3 days of bad weather. We don’t have enough teen weather for me to know  if they will make it or not. Just to be safe, I will cover them.  It is not going to rain – I hope- that would mean ICE. I have some larger cardboard boxes that might protect them.

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Ordering Seed

January is seed catalog month.  This is serious business!

First, I do a inventory of the seeds I have. Then I go through each of my favorite catalogs and mark new seeds, favorite seeds and things I want to try.  The lists get long!

Then, I compare prices.  And mark off  any duplicates.  And make my final lists. Notice – I said LISTS, not list!

This year I am ordering a bunch of perennial vegtables and self seeding greens. These will go in beds under the fruit trees in the upper garden. Part of my Permaculture/food forest plan.

Some of my favorite seed catalogs are:

Pinetree  – www.superseeds.com  They have small packages. I am not a market garden and do not need 300 seeds of  Brandywine tomato! And the price is usually $1.25 – $1.50. If they have it, I usually order it here. They also have tobacco seeds. Thought that was interesting. Lots of tools and supplies too.

 

Bountiful Gardens – www.bountifulgardens.org – a non-profit educational group that educates people all over the World about gardening and sustainability.  They have a safe seed pledge and are part of Ecology Action. They have interesting things like Ancient Wheat and  grains, animal food seeds, some permaculture plant seeds and compost crops.

Natural Gardening – www.naturalgardening.com – they have some things I cannot find anywhere else. Zapotec tomato, Nickel filet bean. I usually take something off the Pinetree list and put it on this list to beef up the order a bit

Southern Exposure – www.souternexposure.com – I am in the Southeast. They are in VA and recommend varities for the South.  And have some different varieties. They have lots of growing info in thier catalog. Thier motto is “saving the past for the future ”

Sow True Seed – www. sowtrueseed.com – I ordered some perinnal edible weeds. Chickweed ( for me and chicken treats) dandelion, lamb’s quarters  and this is one of the few places to get Austrian Winter Pea. A Nitrogen fixing cover crop. The tips are a yummy addition to salads. Taste like fresh sweet peas.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – www.rareseeds.com –DANGER – this is a pandora’s box of rare, interesting and unusual seeds. The Photography is a work out of art! I am still reading it and underlining and marking things. Scary.

You might notice – I am into heirloom, open pollinated, non hybrid, organic and NON GMO seeds.  It is for the wonderful taste, keeping the diversity going and if WTSHTF – I can save the seed.

January 1 – Garden Walk About

Chilly this morning. Had to go let the chickens out. Saw this pretty young cabbage covered  sprinkled with frost. Looks like glitter.

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The lower picture is of the Hairy Vetch that is growing all over the garden. Don’t think you can see the frost sparkling on it.

This is my original upper garden. It has been 27 years and the trees on the East are huge. It only gets 3-4 hours of sun a day in the summer. BUT, it gets enough sun in the Winter. So it is now the Winter garden! Cabbages, broccoli, lettuce and beets are happy. Found a surprise in the side garden – a little broccoli heading up. Can’t wait! Nothing like broccoli from the garden!

 

Why do I Garden?

Certainly not to save money! It is the primal call of Spring.  Life renewed.  Dig in the dirt, grow food. Out in the fresh air, birds signing,  sun shine, breeze blowing, Life is good! Lovely little  surprise gifts, the first Peony, broccoli budding up, etc. This years crop will be better!

New Years day and Turnip Green soup

A damp, chilly grey day. And it is New Years Day.  Need turnip greens for money and blackeyed peas for health.  The Perfect meal is:

 

Turnip Green Soup

1 lb of smoked sausage (I use  Eckridge)

3 cups of onions – chopped

1 1/2 cup of sliced carrots

1   32 oz can turnip greens ( Old Glory)

2   15 oz cans of blackeyed eyes

48 oz of chicken broth

1   14 oz can of canned tomatoes

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes – careful here

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

Cut the sausage into 1/2 inch slices , put in a heavy pot and lghtly brown with the 3 cups of chopped onion and carrots. Add the turnip greens, chicken broth, black eyed peas, tomatoes and seasoning.

Simmer for 35 minutes

Make some cornbread

This is yummy, rib sticking, comfort food