Thursday, February 5, 2015

Gardening At BHA

So....on with answers to questions.
I am truly having fun with this...
Thank YOU!!

I thought today would be a good day for a gardening post...
especially because we still have lots of snow on the ground,
and the garden is fast asleep beneath a blanket of white.

I am ready for a little about you?

GeorgiaHoneyBee asked:
"Please tell me about what you do to be successful with your pumpkins. AND - do you rotate your crops in your garden beds - and if so, what do you plant after each plant? AND - do you know anything about cross pollination - and if so, what should a beginner know? I have tons and tons of other questions, so if these topics are not good, I'll send more suggestions! Love your blog! (Thank you so very much!)
OH! Your cabbages are always so beautiful! What do you do to keep worms from gobbling them up? I have lots of trouble with attempting to grow broccoli too!"

First of all, let me tell you...
that although I had a beautiful pumpkin patch (at the beginning of summer)...

The landscaping fabric kept the weeds down...

I watered and loved each and every seedling...

I talked to each and every developing pumpkin babe...

I watched and waited...anticipating...

And in the yielded no mature pumpkins.
Zilch.  Zero.  Nada.
You can thank the squash beetles for this.
This coming summer I am declaring war on squash beetles. 
 My organic arsenal will include multiple applications of DE....Diatomaceous Earth.
  1. Diatomaceous Earth is the very fine sandy material that is left over from fossilized algae.
    It is primarily made up of Calcium, Iron, Sodium, Magnesium, and silica (sand, basically).
    If you look at DE under a microscope, it looks like this:

    When those sharp edges come in contact with insects, the DE cuts through the 
    exoskeleton of the insect, dehydrating it and killing it.

    This year I will be dusting my vegetables with DE.
    It is imperative, however, that if you use buy "food grade" DE.
    It can be dusted on (wear a mask, because those molecules will irritate your mucous membranes)
    or sprayed on (mixed 2 cups of DE to 1 gallon of water...shake well before spraying.)
    And wash any remaining residue from vegetables before consuming.

    I have decided to use this on my broccoli, cabbages, and other vegetables that are susceptible
    to cut worms as well.
    I will let you know how all of this works.

    As for pollination, most garden plants require cross pollination, with the exception of peas and sunflowers (which can self pollinate).  

    Most cross pollination is carried out by insects.

    Corn, however is pollinated mostly by the wind.  It is important when planting corn to plant only one species of corn within close proximity to prevent cross-species pollination.  I have read that hand-pollinating your corn can help to increase the yield in a small garden.

    I do rotate crops in my garden boxes.  I also add compost from our compost piles to the tops of the boxes in the fall.  The winter snows and rain drive the nutrients into the soil,
    making them ready for Spring planting.

    Beans are an excellent vegetable to plant for enriching the soil,
    as they put vital nitrogen back into the soil.

    One of the benefits of gardening in raised boxes is the fact that the soil stays so soft...
    it requires very little "working" before you can plant seedlings in the soil.
    Less digging and turning of the soil helps to hold vital nutrients and beneficial
    bacteria and fungi in the soil where it is needed.  This soft soil also becomes
    an excellent home for worms, which in turn help to fertilize the soil.

    One of the things that I do pay attention to when shopping for seeds...
    is finding heirloom species that are less susceptible to disease.

    Pay particular attention to what season plants grow best.  
    Many vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, sugar peas, cabbage, radishes, spinach, some lettuces and brussels sprouts grow best in cooler weather and do not tolerate heat.
    It is important to plant these cold-loving vegetables earlier in the spring when the ground is just soft enough to work  or later towards autumn.

    I cannot emphasize how much easier gardening is in raised beds.
    The only drawback that I can see is the fact that garden boxes need to be watered more 
    frequently than "on-the-ground" gardens.

    You can fill these boxes to their limit...utilizing a lot of the principles of
    "square foot" gardening.

    It is always a learning process...and my garden has taught me so very many lessons...
    and not always about gardening!
    Now, doesn't this make you excited for Spring?
    I think I will place my seed order today!


  1. Wow...that's a lot of valuable information.I hope the DE works for you next year. You seem to have luck with almost everything. Your gardens are beautiful. Nice post. Nice to see some flowers and green!are you ready for more cold?

  2. Good morning. Makes me want to place an order too. We are big believers in DE...great stuff!!

  3. do you have to keep pets away from DE? i think this year i should buy lots of heirloom seeds. when do you start your seeds?

    1. From what I have ready, there are no real risks with DE...other than irritation of mucous membranes if you inhale too much of the stuff....because it is like fine sand with really sharp edges. I am not worried about my cats and dogs at all.....

  4. Thanks so much for this post! :-) It made me sooooo happy this morning! I'm going to start looking for DE now.

  5. Oh nice and cheerful and yummier in garden. You photos.

    My friend sent me her weather pics from N.Brunswick. Have a look if you have time.

    I thought we had snow nope she has more, plenty more.

    I want Spring.

  6. Your post was very interesting and informative. I enjoyed it very much and will have hubby read it tonight, also. Thank you!

  7. Very informative . . . I wonder if I need some of that "spray stuff" for me hostas . . .
    I seem to always learn a bit or two from you . . . THANKS!

  8. Wonderfully informative , yes the photos make me want it to be spring lol . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !


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