Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Quest for Easy Green

About two years ago, I was really into a show called, "It's Not Easy Being Green". It was about the experiences of the Strawbridge family, located in Cornwall, in England. (I know, I sound very American.) Anyway, it was on the Green channel, when the Green channel actually played shows about green living. I moved, canceled the Green channel and stopped following the show. Recently, I was surfing the internet and decided to look the Strawbridge family up to see what they've been doing. While it appears James and Dick have gone on to make additional seasons of the show for the BBC, the two ladies of the household have decided to pursue other endeavors. I found the show to be charming, and frankly, their quest to live a greener life on a farm was an influencing factor in my decision to move to a farm. It just looked so fun and interesting.

I don't regret the decision to move to a farm, but, I will admit I haven't had time to pursue some of the cool projects they have tackled in their time on their farm, which they call Newhouse Farm. I suppose I'm writing this to add a reminder to my written documentation that I do need to renew my efforts to look at things like solar power, wind energy, greenhouse gardening, etc. So there you have it. Abrupt huh?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cucumbers On a Trellis and Other Updates From the Garden

I seem to be in the habit of choosing direct titles for my posts as of late. As the name implies, "cucumbers on a trellis" is something I want to talk about in this post. While I had a overgrown bed of weeds in the garden this year, one of my grand successes was deciding to grow my cucumbers on a trellis. Here is a quick video on the basics. What I really appreciated about the trellis, was the cucumbers were easier to find, and they didn't get discolored by laying in the dirt. I had plenty of cucumbers (and thus refrigerator pickles) this year. I highly recommend cucumbers on a trellis.

What else was good? I started picking raspberries this year. Very tasty. If you look back in my posts, I planted these roots in 2009. For as much stressing as I did about whether I planted too early or not, I can say, "Why did I worry?" Raspberries are obviously resilient. Even though most of the vines died off, one plant managed to make it through the season. It came up this past spring ready to perform. It tripled in size and, I have to say, as advertised, these rapberries were as good as any you would buy in the store. One vine, does make a crop because they multiply so quickly. I should have plenty of raspberries this next year if the wildlife of the countryside don't get wind of them.

I planted sweet corn, summer squash, zucchini, acorn and spaghetti squash, and the previously mentioned cucumbers, in a new garden bed I tilled up this season. For the most part, it remained weed free for the bulk of the year. Because the soil was relatively virgin, everything performed very well. I got a nice crop of corn, though I'll choose a different variety next year... not very sweet. I planted 7 rows. I hear having a good number of plants is key in performance of sweet corn. It needs to pollinate. The squashes all did well, though I probably won't plant these as close to one another next year. The cucumbers were great, as previously mentioned.

So, once again, for as much as I dealt with weeds, I did have some success. This past year helped me realize that plants, if I want to be dramatic I say, life, wants to survive. Even though I could have helped my gardens thrive more this year, I had the lesson driven into my head, and underscored by the fact that even the most neglected garden will give you something... just because it can.