Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
One of the things on my seemingly unending list of projects to do around the 'burbstead is to fix the fence on the south side of our house. My dad built it about 5 years ago when my parents were living in here. It replaced a tall privacy fence and a neglected raised flower bed that had been there since my Mom bought the house several years prior. Dad built the new fence with a double gate that was big enough to drive his truck through, and a 10 foot high entry way that made it look like entrance to a ranch. All that was missing was a couple of wagon wheels and a cow skull mounted on top. It was a good fence, and it made a handy support for Snap Pea trellis, but unfortunately the posts weren't made of pressure treated wood. Within the past year, the two tallest posts started to rot through pretty bad, and the fence began leaning.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
I took my father-in-law's truck to a nearby horse ranch to help myself to some of their manure pile. I've been getting manure from there for the past 3 years, but I've never really seen anyone around when I loaded up (aside from the first time when I went to ask permission). Today, however, there were some guys having their truck loaded by an old man with a tractor and bucket. I talked with them for a bit, and they mentioned that they were getting the manure for their garden plot that they were just starting up this year. I congratulated them on getting into growing food, and they left. The gentleman on the tractor was kind enough to scoop me two bucket loads, thus saving me a half hour of work. I noticed that the manure pile was quite a bit smaller than it had been in the past. There could be a couple of reasons for this. The ranch might not be stabling as many horses as they used to. In these economic times, a weekend horse is a luxury that more and more people are having to give up. Fewer horses = less poop. Also, there's never been somebody using a tractor scoop to load up the manure. I know I wouldn't have taken as much as I did if I'd have had to shovel it all.
Monday, March 1, 2010
It’s the time of year when a lot of people who plan on growing a garden start thumbing through seed catalogs or eyeing the displays in home improvement stores. While organic gardening is gaining in popularity every year, the seeds that most people buy from Burpee, Fields, Home Depot, etc are still hybrids. Hybrid plants are the result of cross-pollinating two different parent strains. The seeds from these hybrids won’t grow new hybrid plants, rather they will revert to one of the two parents types, or something different. Growing heirloom and open pollinated varieties of fruits and vegetables gives gardeners a measure of control over their harvest by allowing them to save seed from year to year. It also gives gardeners access to a vast array of plant varieties. Heirloom plants come in different colors, sizes, and flavors that make hybrid varieties seem plain by comparison.
There are numerous places where you can buy heirloom and open-pollinated seeds. I’ve gotten most of mine from Baker Creek, Seed Savers Exchange, and Heirloom Acres. I’m also using an increasing amount of my own seed that I’ve saved from previous years. This year, I’ve started to package up some of the seed that I’ve saved to sell and swap with other people. It’s part art project, part tiny business venture, part evangelizing effort on behalf of sustainable, small-scale agriculture. All of the packages are handmade, and the seeds were all grown at my 'burbstead organically (organic with a small "o"). Anyone interested in buying or swapping seed can email me.