Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My First Giveaway

It's getting serious now.  I mailed off for my first garden seeds today - after checking with Ferry Morse to make sure the varieties I want weren't available with them.

I've found several useful resources on the web for the upcoming gardening season. The USDA has published a new "Plant Hardiness" map.  I noted this:  "No posters of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map have been printed. But state, regional, and national images of the map can be downloaded and printed in a variety of sizes and resolutions."    So, feel free to print or post the image of your state.  I just couldn't figure out how to resize the image here for KY.   We are now officially Zone 6b where I live. 

I'm trying to think more in terms of 3-4 seasons of  gardening as I plan.  I still have kale and Brussels sprouts in the garden!   I want to stick (mostly) to veggies that seem to grow well for me, although I have to try one or two new things.  Here is a link to varieties of vegetables that are favorable for Kentucky.  It says "Spring crops [of cauliflower] usually fail," so I will keep in mind if I choose to grow cauliflower, I will save it for Fall.   It lists some varieties of onions that are 'long day,' but I had always read that we needed 'intermediate.' (see previous post)  So I have a few more choices to pick from.  Good thing, since intermediate varieties seem rare.  Onions and leeks can go in during spring along with salad greens (I want to try 'corn salad'/ mache this year) peas, radishes, and the strawberries should come back. 

The summer will have the usual beans, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.  I would like to try a bush variety of cucumber I found, and I'm trying to figure out if winter squash has the same pest problems as summer squash?  If not, I found a bush variety of Acorn squash. Urban Farmers always have to think about limited space. 

I'm not breeding bunnies, and I don't have lambs on the way, so this is how I'm looking forward to Spring.

Which brings me to the giveaway.  Over the years I have compiled a chart of "companion plants" for vegetables and herbs.  (It is a Word document, not a PDF)  I did not see copyright warnings on any of what I used, and it was truly from many websites over several years.   

Companion planting is not the 'magic bullet' for gardening, but I found definite improvements in the health and yields of many of my crops by using the system, and will continue to do so. If anyone would like for me to share - lets say the first 6 people to leave a comment saying they would like a copy - I will either e-mail or snail-mail one to you. 

Have you started planning your garden yet?   


Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Garden Bug is Biting...

I found a blog today I really like.   Preserving Abundance is a new blog by Kathy Harrison, author of  the book Just in Case.  There seems to have been a shift in the 'preppers' world, from doom-and-gloom to living sustainably - something many more can embrace - and this is the focus of the new blog.   Kathy still has her "Just in Case" book blog, but this one is expanded, with photos, videos, recipes and more. 

Still thinking about spring planting, and wondering if Fayette Seed is open yet.   I've been sorting out what to plant and where - in the garden or in pots.  One thing I want seed for this year is onions.  Boy, do I feel like a dufus.  I have been planting sets each year and wondering why I never get any full-sized onions. Maybe everyone else already knew this, but in reading  the seed catalogs more carefully,  I think I have figured out that sets only grow scallions, or bulb out a little bigger, like golf balls.  For full sized onions I need an "intermediate" variety for this area (which I knew) and to grow them from seed!  Duh!  Onion seed can and should be started now, since they take a long while to grow, so I am ready to find some seed.

I have grown carrots in pots before, and want to try them again.  Shorter, stubby varieties are recommended.   I will still grow eggplant - one of my favorites - back in pots this year, and bush beans.  Peppers did so well for me last year, but I don't need any more hot ones, I may try sweet banana, or some other type of long roasting/baking peppers.  I don't think I will do potatoes.  They were fun, but take up a lot of room. Leeks in the big pots the potatoes were in, tomatoes, my usual herbs.......

Just one more chicken story...... Gracie laid her first egg this week.  I thought she had earlier, but it was Dolly's.  I found her, sitting in a corner of the coop, eyes wide open, making little scared noises, like "I don't know what's happening.."  Abigail settled in beside her and began to make comforting 'twirring" noises.  Like a midwife, Abigail coached Gracie through laying her first egg.   How sweet!  But they have all been on strike ever since!  Nothing else for a week!   I can't complain though. It is winter - and a blessing to get any eggs at all during these months.

Truffle is out playing and doing his favorite thing - chasing the cats.  I feel him nuzzle my ankle from time to time while I type.  Fiona, on the other hand, is more obviously trying to crawl into my lap.  Why is it they love me best when I'm on the computer?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Couple of Finds

Something I have looked for for a long time is a nice, leather-bound copy of just The Psalms, to use for personal devotions.  I didn't think it would be hard at all, but it was, surprisingly so.  New Testaments with Psalms are everywhere, and I probably have a couple of those, but I've always had an objection to New Testaments.  It's like carrying around half a Bible (really more like 1/4).  I have known people who never read anything but the New Testament, with the possible exception of the Psalms and Genesis.  Weird.  On the other hand, because of their nature, the Psalms are devotionals, so are suited for that use.

Anyway......I finally found this on ebay.  It has very large print - so in a pinch I could use it without my glasses (!!!), and the added benefit of being an antique - printed in 1911.  I wasn't looking for that, but it's pretty neat.

The other thing I found is this.  

I love jewelry and have done some jewelry making and beading for years. Brooches/pins are one of my favorite types of jewelry and I have many - usually inexpensive costume stuff. One form of jewelry I'm not in love with are necklaces. I've got a lot of pendants, drops, and other bits in my jewelry box though. Then I thought of this. It's a brooch with a hook on the back that ladies used to hang a little watch on, but I could use to hang my pendants.  (the 'watch' in the picture is a piece of printed cardboard so the seller could show how it was used)   There were hundreds on ebay, but I liked this one.

Can anyone besides me see the outline of a sheep's head/face in the design?