Now is the time to start composting for your Fall and Winter gardens. I know one of the most made New Year Resolutions is to eat better, and part of eating better is eating more veggies. All of your scraps, cuttings, and spoiled left overs make for great compsotings. I hope to build a worm bed sometime soon, but for those of you who don’t think you have enough room to compost I found a great blog for Urban Composting techniques. Take a look and see if you can’t pick up some good ideas,http://domaphile.com/2012/01/10/urban-composting-how-to-convince-your-building-that-its-cool/
While continuing to spread wood chips through out my pumpkin patches, I stopped by to check on one of my experiments. This is a picture of Green Bean vines growing up an Amaranth Stock. Amaranth is a type of Ancient Grain. It can grow anywhere from 4ft to 8ft tall. The stalks can be pretty hefty, so I thought about interplanting it with beans just like Native Americans use to do with Corn. The Beans put Nitrogen back into the soil which acts like a natural fertilizer for most other plants. I also have some Poke Salad growing in the same row. That was completely by chance, but I didn’t cut it down to use it for something else the beans can grow up. My idea is to use as little other structures to grow my vine crops as possible. Next year I may plant Amaranth a little earlier, and I might try growing peas, beans, and cucumbers up the stalks.
In the beginning of June I started planting pumpkins for our fall markets here in Georgia. Most pumpkins need about 100 days from germination to harvest time. Planting in the first week of June, the middle of June, and the week after the 15th should give us a rolling harvest in the last week of September through the last week of October. I started seeing plants pop up a week after planting. They are quick to germinate, and seem to be quick to grow.
This is a brand new pumpkin on the vine. This vine was one of the seeds we planted first. The row that I planted first grew very rapidly, and formed a large bush with in two weeks. We planted two more rows down from this first planting. By the time the new plants were coming up the first plantings were sending out vines that crossed into the new planting. This hasn’t affected us to bad yet, as I have taken care to move the vines so the new plants get the needed sun light to grow. You will have to start pruning these vines back a little or they can take over everything. I’m trying to make sure I can still get the Gator in between this patch and the Green Beans. The pictures on the left were taken before a trip to Savannah two weeks ago, and everybody thought it looked like a Watermelon. Have no fear if you are doing it for the first time, you did plant Pumpkins and they will change color. I planted Watermelons down the field some, but I just knew I planted Pumpkins here.
The week we got back from our tip to Savannah the picture on the left was taken, and all
the worries about planting the wrong seed quickly died away. The next problem you will see in the picture is the weeds and grass growing all in the pumpkin plants. Pumpkins shade the ground fairly well, so you may not end up with a lot of big weeds in your patch. My main problem here is all the grass. The grass can get really tall, and it can server as a good hiding place for pests. The only one I’m seeing much of right now is the Squash Bug. I spray the pumpkin plant with an organic solution of hot peppers, garlic, and drop of dish soap to make the leaves not so sumptuous for these guys. Then I pick them off the plants and kill them when I spot them on the plants. You will also want to look for their eggs on the leaves as you inspect the plants. There is nothing more frustrating than losing one of these guys in the tall grass as you are trying to squish them, so I’m putting down wood chips around the pumpkins. This will do a couple of things for me. First it will kill off the grass that is competing for food and water with my pumpkins. Two the wood chips hold water and keep the ground cooler. Three me and the birds can find these Squash bug a lot easier, and we can get rid of them with a good squash. Fourth the wood chips mixed with a little compost helps encourage the pumpkin vines to form a secondary root system, this adds to the size of the pumpkins. Finally as the wood chips break down over the next year or so they will release nutrients back into the soil. Below you will see the first patch pretty much mulched. I only have like 6 rows and one huge patch left to go. You will want to call around to some Tree companies around your area to see about getting free wood chips from their clean up jobs. I waited a little long on stocking up on these, but I needed a way to drop another 20 pounds anyway. My suggestion would be to constantly pile up wood chips through winter and spring for when you need them. Look for more updates coming soon from this incredible Pumpkin Patch.
Keep it Green
Parrish Family Farms
Today I put in some Green Bell Pepers, Eggplant, and Summer Squash. I also read a book over the weekend that recommended growing carrots with your tomatoes, so I planted some carrots with one of my rows of tomatoes. I can’t wait to see how it works out. The book, Carrot and Tomatoes, also said that sunflowers were great companions to Pumpkins. Since Pumpkins are going to be my main cash crop, I thought it might be a good idea to grow some with my pumpkin crop.
My English peas are filling out nicely now. I picked a few pods to see if they might be ready yet, but they need a little more time. I was interested to see how they tasted, so I popped a few in my mouth straight out of the garden. They were so sweet and juicy I can’t wait for them to be full grown.
I have to spend the rest of this month getting the ground ready for Pumpkins, so I have a lot of clearing, cutting, and plowing to do. I am debating about weather or not to use the Pumpkins for fundraising efforts for the local youth groups or pre-schools. I would need to sell them at a lower cost than what I could sell them to the public. I would also be transferring the risk of not being able to sell all the pumpkins that I produce to several different groups, which increases the chances that they will all be sold. I want to support the local community, so selling them at a discount doesn’t bother in that sense. I have some things to weigh out, but i told you this site would bring you into the decision made to build a farm. Here we are trying to decide what is the best thing to do with our products, that also satisfies our goals in the community. I’ll first have to see if any groups are interested in using the Pumpkins as fund raiser. I’ll keep you posted.
Keep it Green
I have just added a new order form to the pages. You can find it at the top bar along with the support and mission statement tabs. In the comment box please tell me if you will be able to meet me at church on Wednesday night or leave your address if you want me to deliver them to you. Thanks for your support and I hope enjoy the greens.
keep it Green
We have been hard at work, and my first harvest of greens are ready. I have a good bit of Spinach, Swiss Chard, Romaine, and Red Leaf Lettuice ready. I will be pulling heads next week, and filling orders as they come in. Email me if you want some fresh organic greens for salad this week. The Romaine and Spinach goes great on sandwiches too. I’ll submit some more information and pictures soon.
The new business cards are in. I got 250 free cards from Vista Print. Thanks to Meredith for designing them and finding the deal. Let me know how you like them.
Keep it Green