Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Not Just Fun and Games

I know that I have been having fun with you, telling tales of cats and chickens, and the plight of a farmer trying to make sense of it all.  Or is that a farmer trying to find some sense?  Or maybe farmers just need to sing more 'Old McDonald', then their chickens would know that it would be a "chick, chick here, and a chick, chick there."  I am not sure, but either way we have got to get some sense around here, and get some wits about us so that we will be ready to face the tasks at hand.  I didn't want you to think that I haven't been working, because I have.  There have been a lot of not so fun chores to do, and a lot of re-planning to do.  I can't help myself, I always start off with all of these really grand ideas, and then have to get realistic about my abilities as we go. 

You may have read my post on "We Need a Plan"?  Well, we had one, and then we had to throw most of it out the window due to "Hermine."  I spent a morning sitting in a coffee shop near the College Campus in the big city revisiting my plan.  I studied seeds, planting dates, and people.  Some of the things that I had originally wanted to try, I had to scrap because it was obviously too late to give it a go before the first frost date hits.  Some of the other things that I wanted to try, but I really probably shouldn't, I will go ahead and give it a shot anyway.  I mean, what fun is life if you don't take any risks, right?  As far as the people go, well, they actually had very little to do with what I was actually trying to accomplish, but they are always interesting and entertaining.  I am not sure if people watching is an acceptable hobby, but I do love to do it.  The more interesting thing I learned about people watching though was that at least twice, I overheard nearby conversations of people that started discussing vegetables or produce or farming or some other related topic to what I was sitting there doing.  I guess that as a people watcher, I should expect and anticipate that I could be on the other side of the coin occasionally.  Why would I not consider that it very well could be me that was being watched.  Next time I will be sure to do my hair, or at a minimum, more than the usual workday ponytail, and for goodness sake at least have a supply of business cards on hand.  I am not sure what is happening to me in my old age.  I seem to be slipping a little.

Back to the work that I have been doing.

I have managed to group my small piece of land for fall use into 5 areas.  Each area or group will grow specific types of vegetables that are similar to each other in needs and characteristics.  The groups are as follows:

1.  Leaves & Flowers:  This group would include things that you would expect with this name.  For instance all of your green leafy vegetables like lettuces and cabbage.  Flowers would include things like broccoli and cauliflower. 

2.  Fruits:  This group would include peppers, tomatoes, squash, etc.

3.  Roots:  This group is easy enough with things like carrots, onions, and garlic.

4.  Legumes:  While these plants allow you to harvest a product that can be eaten, they also pull double duty and can be turned back into the soil.  Tilling or turning under the actual plants will help to replace what has been taken out and used by other groups of plants.  This group will include things like beans, peas or peanuts.

5.  Green Manures:  This could fall into the group 4 category, but I am adding another round for good measure.  For me, these will be crops that don't benefit me with a harvest, but their sole purpose is to feed the soil.  These types of crops could include things like hairy vetch, chick peas, and buckwheat.  The list goes on and on, and one of my favorite places to shop for these things is a company called Peaceful Valley Farm Supply.  They are out in California, and they have great information on these types of cover crops, with charts that will help you decide what to get based on what your soil needs.  They also have great blends that I will be planting in several different areas.


Disclaimer:  Other than a customer number, Peaceful Valley Farm Supply does not know who I am.  I receive nothing, notta, zilch for endorsing their products.  They have just been in business longer than I have been interested in natural farming methods, and they have always been helpful and efficient with what I have needed.  They were big back before "Organic" was even a blip on the radar screen.

This concludes the paper side of what I have been doing.  There are more hands-on projects that I have been working on and even more that I have to get started.  I guess it is time to go outside, hum a little Old McDonald and get to it.  I will keep you posted. 

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