Sunday, April 23, 2017

Heirloom Corn Trial

Here is the corn I will trying growing this year now that I have a new and bigger bed. It is from Seed Savers Exchange and is called Navajo Bird Egg;

Perfect Time to Make a New Batch of Compost

I use the slow method of composting where you have 3 separate piles of differing ages and just let them decompose over time. If it is really dry I will turn a pile but usually I just wait it out. I have 3 bins made out of free pallets since I am such a cheap-skate. After using up the oldest pile I started a new one with old leaves, green weeds (no seeds yet), goat manure, left over potting soil, some of the left-over old compost (3-4 shovels full) and spilled thistle seed (from our goldfinch feeders) as well as a healthy batch of kitchen scraps I had been stock piling. After about 3 layers I was done for today but can add 3 times that much over the next several weeks. I didn't water it because it is supposed to be rainy the next 6-7 days. Oh, I also placed two metal fence stakes in the center before I started so I can move them around providing oxygen later on. The leaves had already started to decompose and earthworms were plentiful!

Old and New Raised Beds

My old beds made out of 2 X 12 by 16 feet cedar planks are holding up very well. I had to do some deep turning this year due to some root invasion issues; the weed barrier cloth I had stapled on when building them is likely totally disappeared at this late date. The new bed is for an heirloom blue Navajo flour corn I got from a fellow member of Seed Savers Exchange. I will be growing some beans/peas in among the corn to provide nitrogen fixation as well.

Carrots from last growing season!

I dug up the rest of the carrots from last year (about 12 days ago) that I had covered with 8-10" of pine needles. With all the snow we had this winter (up to 26" deep at one point here in Spokane) they have lasted far better than in previous years. Most of them are still firm and good tasting! What a nice surprise!

Broccoli Collars

I tried these last year but I made two mistakes; many were too small in diameter and they were too tall. Since the goal is to provide a barrier to those pesky cutworms I made them shorter so the roots can mature without being restricted. They also have a vertical slice in them so they will be easy to remove once the danger is over and the plants are well established. Remember cutworms travel just below the surface and wont climb over the lip. They totally worked last year to prevent the plants from being chewed through. Try to go organic and natural as often as you can!!