Ready for March?

Are you ready to get going for this year? I am! This has been a benefit of the pandemic – more time to plant, care for a garden and have homegrown food and herbs.

I have already put out my first crops (plant seeds every two weeks so they mature sequentially & don’t die all at once). It extends the time you can eat from your garden. I started with peas, broccoli, beets and carrots. The problem is, I’m pretty sure my beets and carrots were eaten by local wildlife – so I have started some in a pot at home with hopes of getting something. The carrots are small right now but I’m still waiting on the beets. I also split my peppermint into multiple starts. The main stem in each has died, but there are little sprouts showing up at the base in each starter pot…

The earthworms I purchased last year have been doing their job. I have plenty of compost at home! It’s fantastic…

What are you planting? Have a delightful day!

Prepare to Fight the Frost!

As the election approaches… we will also be fighting frost in our gardens. It will kill some plants and others (like broccoli) will continue to survive for awhile. Adding a row cover helps prolong the season, even for tomatoes, as long as you either have one for each plant, or a big enough sheet to cover them all.

I found this article at Garden.org to be very informative…

Food for the Foreseeable Future

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.

Now is the time to think about amending your soil…

https://garden.org/learn/articles/view/2701/?utm_source=nl&utm_medium=mail&utm_campaign=nl_2020-08-29


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).

What Should I Do During the Pandemic?

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.

Lamb’s Ear will fill any pot you place it in… It’s winter hardy; but if you have it in a pot, consider keeping it indoors if you have deep cold days as we do in Indiana.

Harvesting Compost

I recently saw “The Biggest Little Farm“. It is about a young couple who spent eight years transforming a depleted farm with livestock manure. I greatly enjoyed it; some of their ideas are helpful ones. For example, they started with livestock manure to create new soil since the farm they acquired was in very poor condition when they purchased it. It looks very dry in the movie. Manure can provide a plethora of nutrients for a garden & I feel that it has really helped mine. Actually, I harvested some yesterday, only from my a separate bucket I have for food scraps & garden waste. I didn’t go through the whole bucket yesterday because I need to figure out more space to store it before I use it.

On another note, I recently became an affiliate for Christianbook.com.

Search: Title Author/Artist ISBN CBD Stock # Keywords Publisher Christianbook.com
Please use this link to make purchases!

I have purchased here & had the items shipped directly to Operation Gratitude.

Nutritional Deficiencies in Soil

https://www.proflowers.com/blog/homemade-plant-food

The link talks about plant food, but I really like the image within the page that outlines how to identify a few nutrient deficiencies.

Then, the page continues to discuss nutrient deficiencies: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium & calcium. This is interesting & helpful. It can be made with items most of us already have in our pantries.

February – March Reading

I’ve not only been planning a garden, but reading to help me with my plans as well.

This month I hope to finish in the next couple months:

  • “Getting Grants: The Complete Manual of Proposal Development and Administration” by Alexis Carter-Black in the Self-Counsel Press Business Series
  • “Starting & Building a Nonprofit: A Practical Guide” by Peri H. Pakroo, J.D. with nolo.com
  • “El Norte: The Epic & Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America” by Carrie Gibson
  • “Story’s Guide to Raising Horses” by Heather Smith Thomas
  • “Don’t Throw in the Trowl: Vegetable Gardening Month by Month” by Melinda R. Cordell (I plan to use this throughout the year)
  • “Millionaire Women Next Door: The Many Journeys of Successful American Businesswomen” by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D (I’ve finished this, but am re-reading some sections)
  • “Loving Your Community: Proven Practices for Community-Based Outreach Ministry” by Stephen Viars

Very practical. I like to read on a wide variety of topics.