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Author Topic: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go  (Read 7482 times)

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Offline Scrasamax

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Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« on: April 05, 2015, 01:45:25 AM »
I've started gardening.

We (my wife and I) started a modest garden last year, all in the comical pursuit of anaheim peppers. A festive upgrade from a bell pepper, anaheims tend to be hit or miss at the stores here and we had the notion of growing a couple plants so we would have plenty through the Tex-Mex food friendly summer. We ended up starting late in the season, didn't know half of what we were doing, and scraped by with discount plants and good luck. We found it was a very relaxing and soothing thing to do, despite the fact that it was basically back-breaking manual labor.

This is all being done by hand, there is no tractor, no tiller, no internal combustion engines, nothing electric. It's shovels and wheelbarrows, and breaking up soil with our bare hands. There has been a strong connection with the earth (not the hippy Gaia earth, but the dirt and clay) and we've done some reading and found that basically playing in the dirt is biochemically good for your immune system and emotional well being. There are microorganisms and trace elements we absorb in tiny amounts when mucking about in the dirt, and basically iy makes you happy. I've had the insight that we commonly see children playing in the mud and dirt, and older people commonly take up gardening and landscaping, and they are pretty happy doing it. Everyone between those two points, generally speaking, don't play in the dirt and tend to have quality of life and more issues of dissatisfaction, etc.

Our new garden this year is three times as large as last year's venture, plus we are adding above ground boxes to grow some root crops, potatoes and carrots. Our soil is rich, but it is heavy in clay, and that's hard for said plants to thrive in. So above ground boxes with mixed topsoil and gardening soil will be more forgiving to our five color assortment of carrots and blue and purple potatoes. There is going to be an outside the garden expansion of mounds (aka Mound Town) where we are going to plant pumpkins, watermelon, and some other gourds and squashes that are intended to be mounded and not planted in rows.

My wife has gone all in, and we have a stack of seed and plant catalogs a foot and a half tall, and we've ordered some interesting stuff. We are going to be growing rare and heirloom plants, stuff that went out of vogue at the advent of industrialized agriculture. That's where rainbow corn, white and purple carrots, a ton of crazy tomato varieties, lots of peppers and other unusual veggies are being brought out. We had a few last year, like cherokee purple tomatoes. (my hipster is showing, because cherokee purple is much more common this year in that we've found it in several stores as live plants, so it's spreading in popularity. I grew it before it was cool) and have more this year.

The common vegetables we commercially grow today have been selected for short growing periods, heavy production, and a durable biomass that can survive the handling of machines, and a long shelf life. Sound's tasty, our produce has been chosen by which can be best mass produced and picked by machines.

What am I going to do with this surplus of produce?

I'm planning on making my own hot sauce and BBQ sauce, for one. Canning and pickling for another. Some is decoration, I'm growing pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns in October, not buying them. Some is just for s**ts and giggles. I don't even know WTF kholrabi is, but I'm growing it.

That being said, it's taking up a good deal of my free time, and it is physically demanding.

That's reduced my writing in general, and now that things are getting warmer weather wise, I'm probably not going to be as active here. I'll still be around, but I'm not going to be running any forum games, or doing much on the submission front.

I'll be back, more productive here, when the weather turns.


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Offline Aramax

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2015, 09:21:29 AM »
DONT BE TAKEN IN BY A SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE HOBBY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2015, 10:34:27 AM »
DONT BE TAKEN IN BY A SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE HOBBY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LMFAO!!!
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Offline Dozus

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2015, 11:59:25 PM »
Kudos on your gardening efforts, may you reap a bountiful harvest!

We had a garden two years in a row. First year we did some rookie mistakes, namely overcrowding and over watering. We ended up with a metric assload of zucchini, some decent tomatoes, worm-eaten broccoli, and not much else. Cantaloupe vines produced a total of one (1) melon, which was about the size of a golf ball and was all rind. Second summer we planted better, but it was a drought year and though we managed some more peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes, the whole thing was shot by August. The land has lain fallow ever since.

I did do a container garden a couple years ago. Just tomatoes and serrano peppers, all of which did quite well. The only annoying thing was trying to gather all the containers to safety during frequent summer storms, then trying to right them when they fell. Oh, and I also discovered tomato/tobacco hornworms, the enormous vile pests that will reduce your leaves to nothingness in a matter of hours. I also discovered they click and hiss when you touch them, which is extremely alarming when you're not expecting it.
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2015, 09:56:31 AM »
Kudos on your gardening efforts, may you reap a bountiful harvest!

We had a garden two years in a row. First year we did some rookie mistakes, namely overcrowding and over watering. We ended up with a metric assload of zucchini, some decent tomatoes, worm-eaten broccoli, and not much else. Cantaloupe vines produced a total of one (1) melon, which was about the size of a golf ball and was all rind. Second summer we planted better, but it was a drought year and though we managed some more peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes, the whole thing was shot by August. The land has lain fallow ever since.

I did do a container garden a couple years ago. Just tomatoes and serrano peppers, all of which did quite well. The only annoying thing was trying to gather all the containers to safety during frequent summer storms, then trying to right them when they fell. Oh, and I also discovered tomato/tobacco hornworms, the enormous vile pests that will reduce your leaves to nothingness in a matter of hours. I also discovered they click and hiss when you touch them, which is extremely alarming when you're not expecting it.

We ended up with a crap ton of cucumbers last year, but we learned from our rookie mistakes. We had too much water, birds pecking our tomatoes, and something turned out eggplant leaves into swiss cheese. But we've learned, and we did get enough from our little garden that I am still using up the peppers and such we grew and either diced and froze, or dried.

As for pests, the wife has prepared chemical weapons for them. the pests will die.
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Offline Strolen

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2015, 08:51:43 PM »
I have always wanted to do that. Ever since we had tomatoes growing behind our garage when I was a kid.

We are mad with deer here. All our trees are eaten from 4' down. I kinda wonder if we could survive a garden with them invading us all year. Might be worth a try in the next couple years. For now, I will live my gardening through your updates.

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Offline valadaar

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2015, 09:58:01 PM »
Deer are rife here. Rife.  I plan to put in real deer fencing this year, if at least to keep the deer crap off my backyard.  We saw an 11 member herd today in our cul-de-sac.

Have I mentioned we have a deer problem? :)
   
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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2015, 03:22:57 AM »
Deer. The new rat. Amirite?


But back to farming. I applaud your oneness with the Earth, sir! And by that I mean, mmmmm. Fresh and natural. Pure flavor.
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2015, 09:11:44 AM »
Deer. The new rat. Amirite?


But back to farming. I applaud your oneness with the Earth, sir! And by that I mean, mmmmm. Fresh and natural. Pure flavor.

We have a cure for deer problems down here, it's called hunting season.

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2015, 10:32:02 AM »
Urban deer. Tight gun control. Live next door to police chief. He hasn't shot any yet himself...

They are talking about allowing a limited bow hunt however.  I swear I could get one with a crowbar.
   
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2015, 11:21:01 AM »
Urban deer. Tight gun control. Live next door to police chief. He hasn't shot any yet himself...

They are talking about allowing a limited bow hunt however.  I swear I could get one with a crowbar.

Following in the steps of socially acceptable hobbies, I am planning on having a go at hunting this fall. I have a rifle, I have a hunting state, there are deer, and I know plenty of hunters who would probably take me along.

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2015, 06:59:46 AM »
Scrasamax has become a grown up! RUN!

And a criminal too:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/vegetable-garden-brings-criminal-charges-oak-park-michigan/story?id=14047214

:p

Here on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, we are planning to build a winter garden into our house, where we will grow plants and also have a nice little table where we can drink tea amidst our plants. I think your gardening effort sounds perfect, and I long for the day when I can do the same.
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2015, 09:52:30 AM »
Yeah, people are *******s like that. At least she isn't being sued by a HOA, or some other retardedness like that. I'm sure that my garden, were it in the front yard, would be considered a nuisance or eyesore. That's why I keep it in my backyard. I does help that my yard ratio is 5% front, 5% parking, and the other 90% is backyard.

In gardening news:

Artichokes arrived and have been planted
Last year's asparagus has returned with a vengeance, stalks are as thick as my finger, and 4 foot tall
Bhut Jolokia and carolina reaper peppers are germinating in the kitchen
Built a filled a potato box, and planted 11 blue and purple potatoes.

Found a flower box stashed under the back stairs, thought it was a shelf, but it wasn't. Filled it, and planted a single Rex Begonia, a dozen Coelus, and a half dozen polka dot plants (Hypoestes). They are all pretty small right now, but when they fill out, they will fill the box and run out of it.

Picked up a Japanese Red Maple Saturday, apparently there is a Black Friday for lawn and garden and it was said Saturday. The little thing was $20 instead of $45. I also picked up a cheap little Lantana plant, but it's for nostalgia. My grandmother had a flowerbed that had long overgrown with hollyhocks and lantana. I don't care much about hollyhocks, but the smell of Lantana is summer at Grandmas.
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2015, 11:00:59 AM »
It's been a while since I updated this, and man had the garden grown.

The corn is as tall as I am, and it's already started putting out tassels. Fresh corn is not far off. The tomatoes have grown together and created two tomato thickets, and the various squashes and gourds are putting out fruit. It's nice, real nice. In sadder news, the alaskan and snow peas have had their run and it's gotten hot enough that the plants are starting to die. Rather than leave them to linger on for a few more weeks, the wive harvested everything off of them, and pulled them. There are other things that need the room in the garden.

What you might ask, several beautiful eggplants from our local Amish community, and some green chili peppers.

The potatoes have flowered, and fruited, and just need a little bit longer before being pulled.

Picked up some discount plants at a recent sale, including a Japanese Banana. The thing has gone from just over a foot tall to three foot tall with leaves as long as my arm. The fruit of the banana isn't edible, but the leaves are well suited to use in cooking. I have some friends who are super into Tiki and the polynesian culture, so I have a plan to make a luau pig in the crock pot. I'm going to season and marinate a chunk of pig with soy, ginger, and brown sugar, wrap it in banana leaves and slow cook it maybe even overnight in the slow cooker. I think it will be close to the magic of cooking a pig in the ground.

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2015, 02:47:23 PM »
Mmmm, Kalua Pig. Wrapped in banana leaves for an authentic flavor. Mmmmm...

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2015, 12:29:32 AM »
Mmmm, Kalua Pig. Wrapped in banana leaves for an authentic flavor. Mmmmm...

I've done a good bit of reading, both recipes and culture of Polynesia and I've learned a few common threads that are constant from island to island. Most of Polynesia is freaking poor. Poor soil, poor mineral resources, limited livestock, etc. Paradise is broke. But that being said, limits what I have to try to procure for my cooking supplies.

Pork, chicken, and seafood. I live in a landlocked state, so we'll just pass on the seafood. Spices and seasonings are likewise limited to ginger, salt, soy sauce, and brown sugar. When in doubt, default to Japanese settings.

The rest is patience, heat, and drinking heavily.

and lots of fruit
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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2016, 06:31:11 AM »
Broke ground on the garden yesterday, planning on finishing that today. The first seeds have been put in the starter trays
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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2016, 11:17:13 AM »
Planting time again! Got any exotic or interesting crops planned for this year?

We're going to try a small garden this year, either container or raised bed, and teach young Suzodette self-sufficiency. I'm thinking mostly tomatoes, peppers, cukes, a squash and/or zucchini. Maybe a melon of some kind? Various herbs.

How do you keep the birds from your tomatoes? I remember mine always ending up with holes in them. That and bugs are my only real pests, since we have a fenced yard.
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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2016, 12:51:06 PM »
I've got deer, rabits and woodchucks here in DEEP suburbia, no garden for me!
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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #19 on: February 29, 2016, 02:18:18 PM »
Planning on putting up deer fencing this year, at the very least to keep the buggers from fertilizing my lawn.
   
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #20 on: February 29, 2016, 03:05:22 PM »
Planting time again! Got any exotic or interesting crops planned for this year?

We're going to try a small garden this year, either container or raised bed, and teach young Suzodette self-sufficiency. I'm thinking mostly tomatoes, peppers, cukes, a squash and/or zucchini. Maybe a melon of some kind? Various herbs.

How do you keep the birds from your tomatoes? I remember mine always ending up with holes in them. That and bugs are my only real pests, since we have a fenced yard.

Exotics: black beauty tomatoes, red and purple carrots, green chinese radishes, carolina reaper peppers (red habanero/Bhut Jolokia hybrid)

Don't plant cantaloupe and cucumbers, they are cross fertile, and neither plant will fruit properly. You'll get stubby orange cucumbers and the cantaloupes will die on the vine.

Metallic pinwheels. They move, they make sound, and if you get the metallic ones they flash. Birds hate them. We had twelve or so and it kept all the birds out
 
Pyrethrin dust for the bugs
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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2016, 03:07:04 PM »
Don't plant cantaloupe and cucumbers, they are cross fertile, and neither plant will fruit properly. You'll get stubby orange cucumbers and the cantaloupes will die on the vine.
This is vital information, and may explain my previous failure to grow cantaloupes! Your sage wisdom gladdens my heart.
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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2016, 04:22:38 PM »
The ground is all broken, and there are things planted.

it's leafy greens and cool weather crops right now, since we aren't quite out of the cold yet. We've gambled on the last frost being behind us now.

Whats planted:
brussels sprouts (2 varieties)
kale (4 varieties)
celery
herb box (thyme, oregano, parsley, and french lavender)
potatoes (blue and terra rosa)
collard greens

Boxes still need to be built, pallets are here, but so is the rain.

Boxes will have beets, carrots, and radishes

peppers, tomatoes, eggplants and other sundry veggies are being started from seed as we speak
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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2016, 12:58:49 PM »
French lavender!! On a roasted rack of lamb...delicious.
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Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2016, 03:01:44 PM »
French lavender!! On a roasted rack of lamb...delicious.

Rather despise normal lavender, but stumbled across this gorgeous little herb, and it smelled nice and familiar, without being nasty (like normal lavender). Haven't found it anywhere else, and we looked.

" If the muse comes to your bedside, don’t tell her you’ll f?$! her later."- Allen Ginsberg