As Long As You Have A Garden

Monday, 25 August 2014

Amazing Buckwheat

Up until last week we had three beds full of buckwheat.

As I've watched it grow, and discovered more about it, I've become a big fan. I planted it as a cover crop and green manure for the most dismal of beds in the kitchen garden. 
It adds bulk to the soil, kick starts organisms and aids in the absorption of phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and nitrogen.
It grows quickly-up to four feet in a month in my case. It is a good plant for sustaining interest in the growing process for small children. Turn under any time after flowering. Two or three crops can be grown in a season. While growing they suppress weeds.
The flowers attract bees, hover flies (aphid hunters) and parasitic wasps (caterpillar killers). Our patch has been vibrating with life. I planted beans and peas close to them to take advantage of the pollinators.

I could hardly bring myself to cut it down but I needed a bed for over wintering turnips.

It takes about ten days to break down in the soil. Its fibrous root system improves soil aeration and friability. I turned it all under and a week later already have beautiful soil. When I attack the other two beds I'm going to save myself some hard work, I hope, by covering with compost and sea soil and letting it break down before I dig it in. Some of those stalks didn't want to go under without a fight.

Talking of stalks, I saved some as winter housing for hibernating insects.

The flowers are small, white turning to deep pink then a rust colour. I brought some indoors with some sweet peas. They last a long time, perhaps it is the hollow stems.

I've become so enamoured of buckwheat it will make a regular appearance in the garden from now on. I do so love getting value for money. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A Blueberry Kind Of Day

I had a late breakfast in a pleasantly warm spot overlooking the veggie garden. My cereal was topped with a lavish helping of fresh picked blueberries. The cat snuggled up on my lap. This is the same cat who fixed us with a death ray stare when we first moved here. One year on he enjoys a cuddle as long as we are outside. We tried bringing him in during the winter for a brief warming but he was having none of it. Add to the bliss my favourite gardening magazine. I may have nodded off for a bit.

This is weeding day, yesterday was watering day. I water only every 2nd or 3rd day to encourage my crop to stretch those roots down, down , down.  Watering day has thus become a herculean task. It has to be done by hand until we get a watering system in place. Just like the bunnies it is up there on the list along with a greenhouse, upgrading the fence, moving the composter and rebuilding the woodshed.

Planning to make a steak and kidney pie later. The only way I can get one to meet my exacting standards is to make it myself or buy one from the English lady at the farmers' market. She makes deliciously authentic Cornish pasties too. Only last Saturday she didn't so here I am in baking mode. Once I get everything cut up and simmering the kitchen will resonate with a full-bodied aroma thick enough to taste.

One should never let the work gods see you relaxing. A quick post I thought and then out into the garden. Never sit on a board regardless of your passion for the cause. Three reports displaying the nasty little high priority symbol glowered at me from the inbox.

Maybe after I've posted I'll feel up to reading them or maybe NOT. Some days are meant only for blueberries and sunshine.

Monday, 11 August 2014

I Want Bunnies

Last Sunday was the Edible Garden Tour. I thought it much better organised than last year. The garden owners had gone to a lot of effort with informational signs, photographs, plans and guided tours.  

One gardener had bunnies. I used to say rabbits but I've evolved into my second childhood.

They keep them for their poop, or black gold as it is known in these parts. 

This is what the nice lady told me

Because rabbit manure is dry,odourless and in pellet form it is suitable for direct use in the garden. 
It is considered a cold manure so there is no threat of burning plants and roots. 
It can be applied any time of the year and helps give your plants a boost during the growing season or as a storehouse of nutrients when applied in the late fall and winter.
Use it as a top-dressing, mulch around plants, bury in the ground under transplants or just work into the soil right from the rabbit.
In your compost
The straw, urine, poop mix from their bedding works wonders in the compost as it accelerates heating big time. 
Put some in your worm composter, the worms love it.
Compost Tea
She makes tea with it but I didn't get the instructions

I looked this bit up

Rabbit manure contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and many minerals, lots of micro-nutrients, plus many other beneficial trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, boron, zinc, manganese, sulphur, copper, and cobalt. 
N – P – K VALUES –  N- 2.4 P- 1.4 K- 0.6 
just for comparison horse manure-N- 0.7 P-0.3 K-0.6

Many people around here use bunny poop directly on their gardens and seem not to suffer any ill effects.  I'm just telling you what I'm planning. Do the research and make your own decision.

Yes, bunnies, or garden employees, as the bunny lady likes to say, are on our horizon, 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Not So Bad

Time for an update on Pippi, my Cox's Orange Pippin tree. She is doing better than I expected based on last month's evaluation. She has 20 nicely formed apples hanging from her branches. Not so bad for a young tree.

I love standing under a tree and looking up through the leaves

 There is new growth shooting up from the top most branch. Should I be cutting these back?

The bear has been around for a preliminary check. These visits will increase in frequency as the fruit ripens.
Who will win this year?

from The Ephemerist
“Teddie started picking apples without even wondering whether that was allowed. His basket was almost full, when he heard heavy footsteps approaching. Farmer Acker came, and he was very angry!"

Joining in with Tree Following at Loose and Leafy