I just received a link to some wonderful varieties of daffodils, tulips & other bulbs that can be planted in the winter. They are lovely…
It is possible to plant some vegetables at home. I have started some tomatoes in my garage this year for next season, and it is possible to start broccoli & carrots now if you haven’t planted them yet – especially if you are growing on a small scale indoors or in front of your house.
Yesterday, I brought my large pots inside (one has blooms and very late watermelon). I also started some winter veggies such as peas (I am planning to add those to the large pot with my yucca plant). I also seeded some carrots alongside my tiny fall tomato sprouts. My plan is to overwinter these starts and repot them outside in spring 2021 when the temperature increases again. Last time, the leaves of the tomatoes turned purple but the plants did not die. Tomatoes are actually perennials, although the majority of people plant them as annuals. Bring any tomato plants that you want to overwinter indoors (i.e. garage, shed, greenhouse) before there is frost. A light frost will kill your tomato plant.
I have been drying and saving some heirloom seeds as well. This was possible because I was already growing heirloom plants before the pandemic began and I have heirloom seeds from previous years – they can be difficult to find in stores. My local garden center introduces seeds for the next year in December; this is when I would recommend buying them and storing them in your refrigerator. A good site that multiple successful gardeners have recommended is Johnny Seeds.
Today, while I was walking, realized I can make my own row cover by sewing together used dryer sheets. This is very simple. They are a similar thickness. I tried covering 2 squash sprouts this past spring; both plants produced vegetables later on along with a few fruit plants at home (cantaloupe, watermelon and zucchini). I have gotten no zucchini this year, but I do have one watermelon. Next year, I may try seeding earlier because this could help.
In order to make your own row cover, sew dryer sheets together in rows and then sew the rows together. I tried sewing a large square all at once so that I could create a double layer of dryer sheets to try to protect against frost; but this took a lot of time and may not be necessary. If you want a double layer, you may have enough dryer sheets from your laundry that you can sew two sheets, or wrap one sheet around a cage twice.
I’ve been told it looks like ghost… if nothing else, it is appropriate fall decor.
In some parts of the USA recently, it has been hot. Depending on your personal preference, this may mean you have perfect days to work outside, or you want to know what you should do to avoid the heat!
It is possible to avoid the heat by doing as much work as possible as early as possible in the day. This may mean getting up a bit earlier to garden or start outdoor chores (such as feeding horses, pulling weeds, planting vegetable starts, etc.). If you’re like me & you are OK with the heat, just make sure you have plenty to drink!
I am getting ready to make purchases again to send to Operation Gratitude. Please use the link below…
|The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines|
By Cate Lineberry / Back Bay Books
In November 1943, an Army Air Force flight with 26 nurses and medics on board crash-landed in Nazi-controlled Albania. For months they prayed desperately to be rescued while hiding with villagers. This harrowing, real-life tale tells of their group’s division, exhausting journey through mountains and to the British at the coast, and their recovery. 304 pages, indexed, softcover.
The last title I listed just became available recently. I find it particularly relevant right now; as all medical personnel, both inside and outside of the military, are taking a lot risks right now to save lives.
One way to provide food for your family for the foreseeable future is to save seeds when you grow at home. Some plants, such as lettuce, will self-seed; it is easy to harvest these seeds. You need to place a bag over the blooms to harvest seeds. This is really only suggested though, for plants that self-pollinate and do not produce male and female blooms. It is also recommended that two varieties are not grown too close together so that your heirloom seeds will not be contaminated with pollen from other kinds of vegetables (i.e. no cross-pollination between Best Boy Tomatoes and Beefsteak Tomatoes or between grape and pear tomatoes). Cross-pollination like this can encourage plant disease like blossom drop.
Plan early and place Ziploc bags over your blooms if you would like to harvest your seeds. You can easily remove the bag for a while each day or each time you visit your garden to give the bees some time to visit. Personally, I’ve found that row covers help with this also, but it isn’t as reliable as Ziploc bags over each bloom.
If you’ve never thought about saving your seeds before, now is as good a time as any to start. Time in the garden producing food can be especially important as our nation faces coronavirus; a battle with no real end in site. Even with a vaccine, we will not know how effective it really is for a while. In the meantime, producing food at home can be both productive and very positive.
It is something possible for everyone, including people with disabilities, the elderly and parents with kids. You can track how quickly plants grow, or conduct science experiments by comparing how well starts grow in different soils – i.e. a plant in the shade vs. a plant in the bright sun. This can vary depending on the plant. Some plants (i.e. spider plants & aloe vera) can prefer shade/indoor climates.
Fall is an important time to think about your soil. If you have poor quality soil, this is an excellent time to add amendments (such as peat moss) or shredded newspaper (which will decompose over the winter and make wonderful soil come spring. If you have a cover crop like (winter rye, a clover, etc.), let it die from a frost and turn it under in the spring before planting (when you can add compost).
Although this is a very difficult time, gardening is actually very practical. You can produce a portion of the food you eat at home, some amendments (such as fertilizer) can be replaced by items like baking soda, the carrot greens you would otherwise toss (unless you feed them to livestock), and or if you have composting worms, they can easily produce homemade compost for with your yard clippings, weeds, etc. unless you treat your lawn with chemicals. It is possible to use vinegar instead of Weed-B-Gone to kill pesky dandelions and I have had success using clove oil to kill thistle in the past. Some plants like lamb’s ear are generally sold as decorative plants, but the leaves are edible. I’ve added mine to a salad.
I’m interested in seeking books about founding a faith-based nonprofit. Does anyone have recommendations? I’m particularly interested in books about forming a board. Thanks.
This is a common weed… Adding corn gluten can help your lawn.