I’m continuing my one-hour-a-day gardening. The idea is to quantify my time spent growing a majority of our food. I was pulled away last week for a family issue in New Mexico. What a beautiful environment and the complete opposite of here: dry and hot. It made me think about how I would adapt my gardening for that area, but that’s for a later post.
These Last Weeks
After three weeks in the basement, our grafted apple scions were ready to come out. A few weeks ago we had a workshop on grafting and pruning apple trees here at the institute. We also went to a UW–Madison workshop on cider apple tree grafting and came away with rootstocks with grafted scions. These have been waiting in the dark while the two stocks knitted together and just this last week they were ready to go outside. I can already see that about half of the grafts have taken, as the buds are swelling.
The potatoes also went in the ground. Last year I did the “trench and hill” method, which is traditional for growing spuds. This year, I’m trying out the on-the-surface growing method with cardboard sheet mulch. The potatoes are put on the surface of the soil (1 ft between plants, 3 ft between rows) and covered with a scoop of compost (top right picture). Then cardboard is laid down between the rows to smother the weeds. Wood chips are put on the cardboard and straw covers the potatoes. More straw will be added as the season progresses.
Otherwise, we’ve gotten two more young chickens (called pullets). These are Swedish flower hens and should grow up to be pretty ladies, but right now, they’re awkward teenagers with feathers sticking out every which way. They’re in an enclosure within the coop to get used to the flock. Work also continues on the walipini greenhouse, slowly but surely the walls are rising up to meet the roof. Unfortunately, it gets so hot in there, that I can only work till noon. We’re also trying out different ways to kill weeds, such as solarizing them with a pool cover (the sun heats up the weeds until they bake). Fiddlehead ferns have made their appearance and, when properly cooked, they taste like a mild asparagus. And finally, the dreaded garlic mustard invasive weed has reared its head again and I’ll continue to spend hours pulling it out.
I averaged just under an hour a day in the last two weeks.