Thursday, January 15, 2009

Look out! Keith's blogging!

I wouldn't want to fall in the water today!

The cold weather is a necessary part of our cycle, so keep your pipes warm.

I hope everybody is anticipating Spring as much as I am. Before then however, a few warm days in February make the crappie hungry and quick hitting. We can stock our freezers full of clean healthy fish. People with asparagus gardens will also see dividends before most others. Here at the farm we put year-old roots in last year. We also started half the modest bed in seedlings. This year we should get a few spears for the house, but I plan to put in enough roots this year to offer several bunches next year. Asparagus is a permanent crop that can last for generations, really, and will prosper in the mid-south. Keep it clean and composted, first, then watered. You can actually put it around the perimeter of your garden or in hard to water places. As with any cultivated plant the best results are achieved with dilligence.

I like to encourage everyone to grow something. Start small with a potted herb plant. Remember, vegetables can achieve great size so if at all possible plant something outside on the sunny-side of the house, south facing not in a container. Some people may not be able to grow anything to its full potential depending on tree shade. Plants need sunshine. For people living off the ground you half to be creative, and that really is the fun part after all.

We are starting early-spring, frost-hardy plants now - greens and brassicas. Brassicas are cool-weather crops- most notably brocolli. I try them every year and in my area they are hit or miss. We may get several spikes in temps either way. It needs stable cool weather. It often works better in the fall.

I also encourage everyone to save some seed year to year. This is your ultimate insurance - and it is free. There are books on the proper methods for hundreds of vegetable and flower varieties. Now is the time to gain that knowledge so when you have a cracked tomatoe or one with a worm on it, not fit to eat, you can turn it into next years plant. I like to concentrate on tomatoes because they are my favorite. In order to do this you have to give up hybrids and go with the old-fashioned, self-pollinating varieties which are called heirlooms. The blooms of these plants contain both sex parts meaning an insect does not have to touch it for it to produce a tomato. Heirlooms are easy to get, but not at Wal-Mart. Try the farmers markets in the spring. We will have several varieties, some we know will do well, and a bunch of new ones we will be trialing and offering to the public. The proper time to plant tomatoes is beginning a week after Easter - mid-April thru the end of June. We plant them every few weeks. Do Not get in a hurry to plant your sensitive plants, but also don't waste time. Even is it doesn't frost after Easter it can still get to cold at night as to be favorable for a tomatoe.

I gotta go. kef

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