My first seedlings for this season were planted two weeks ago!
The previous weekend, CJ went through all my beds and gave it a finishing touch, pulling out a few weeds (Daniel helped too).
During August we added in horse manure, left over ground coffee beans, river sand, peanut shells, some bone-meal and the ash from our fireplace.
Two of my 7 beds’ ground looked beautiful, with thousands of earthworms. The other 5 beds’ compost still need a little more maturing, but for now they will have to do.
Daniel was very intrigued by all the worms.
Every now and then he came to show me a new one!
Isn’t he soooo sweet! I just love that little face!
And another one...!
I planted my pumpkin plants around plastic nursery pots. I got the idea from Jane’s Delicious Garden.
This way I will try to correct the mistakes I made with my butternuts and squash during the previous season.
Pumpkins are very ‘hungry’ plants and need lots of fertilizer. As the pumpkin plants grow, their roots spread down around the bottom of the pot. When you fill the pot with water, it slowly drains out of the holes at the bottom of the pot, directly and gently watering the roots.
I can feed the plants with my Bokashi liquid fertilizer through the pots, delivering the food directly to the roots without any wastage.
My butternuts and squash also got mildew in the previous season. Watering directly into the pots avoids wetting the leaves and lessens the chance of disease.
Lastly, but certainly the biggest mistake was sowing seeds we saved from the organic butternuts and squash we received from Ethical Co-op resulting in NO harvest from the butternuts and squash we planted. You can imagine the frustration of working for months, nurturing these little plants, to result in NO harvest!
After investigating, I realized they were F1-hybrids.
What is the problem with F1 hybrids? The advantages of hybrids are various. They are usually more vigorous and productive than the non-F1 parent. They are more resistant to disease, they establish themselves quickly and evenly! Wow, what more can you ask for?
There is one BIG catch with F1 hybrids: you can’t save seeds from them!
F1 hybrids are a once-of deal only! If you sow seeds saved from an F1 hybrid, they will NOT yield a harvest! If you want to grow a particular F1 hybrid again, you have no choice but to BUY F1 seeds from the seed producer. This way the seed producers will over time manipulate the seed market and farmers and gardeners will increasingly become more and more dependent of them, having to PAY for seeds.
What is wrong with that?
It wasn’t God’s intention in the beginning. We read in Gen. 1:11 “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
God intend man to plant seeds and harvest food as well as seed to plant again. But as always MONEY is the motivation. Obviously GM seed producers will decline it and motivate it with producing enough food for the “over-populated” world!
Seed producers (like Monsanto) even sue farmers who sow open-pollinated seeds, since they interfere with their ‘patented laboratory produced seeds”.
I only buy and plant Heirloom seeds. Why Heirloom seeds?
The following is taken from Sean Freeman's blog, Livingseeds:
“Heirloom plants can be simply defined as any plant that has been handed down from generation to generation..., that is firstly open pollinated, secondly has a history of private exchange and thirdly has not been subject to a plant breeders rights, claim to be worthy of heirloom status. Heirlooms are our genetic guarantee of future food supply.
No matter what nature cares to throw at us, if you have a handful of heirloom seeds you can be assured that firstly you can plant the seed, secondly you are able to save the seed for the following year and thirdly, if environmental conditions change the plant will have the internal genetic diversity available to adapt via natural selection. Something that cannot be said for any hybrid or GM seed.”
Read more at Livingseeds by Sean Freeman.
Little Michael in the Ergo, while I'm busy sowing and planting
This brings me to another point: ‘Organic’ seldom means a heirloom seed, it only means no pesticides were used during the growing process. I planted the seed of an organic butternut. When I first bought organic vegetables, I thought ‘organic’ also meant no genetic modification of the seeds. Out of my ‘experiment’ (and research) it is clear, this ‘organic’ butternut was genetically modified.
Genetic modification of seeds is even more hazardous than the pesticides sprayed during the growing of vegetables, according to Dr. Marcola, (Read more about the effect of Genetic Modified Seeds on the fertility of our next generation).
The implication of this is that I can never again take the chance of saving seeds from any vegetable I haven’t grown myself. The vegetable we buy in the supermarket will most probably be genetically modified and sadly enough the organic vegetables too.
For my butternuts, I sow Waltham Butternut seeds but I also discovered BeingPlants. I ordered a variety of seeds from them (you can even select your currency). Their service was excellent and 5 days after I placed my order, I received my seeds. I also received seeds from Living Seeds.
A week ago I sowed the different varieties of corn, tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkin, watermelon and melon, which I received from BeingPlants and Living Seeds.
I thought the night temperatures had increased enough that I didn’t need the hot boxes for germination. Most of the time, there is germination within 3 days after sowing. With the seed trays outside the hot box, there wasn’t one seed that germinated, so on the fourth night we moved it into the hot box en within three days the seeds started to germinate!
In the meantime the beautiful strong pea-plants I planted 3 weeks ago
were eaten by snails overnight!
were eaten by snails overnight!
I had a few peas from the second batch of seeds I sowed and planted them in the open spaces were the snails had their feast.
The snails also had a feast on my pumpkin plants.
We immediately threw dried egg shells, but will have to keep an eye on the little plants the next day or two. I may need some chemical free snail pellets.
We also replanted our Rainbow Corn plants.
These seeds are the seeds we saved from our first harvest of rainbow corn during the previous season. This is a first for me. To save my own heirloom seeds, sow them and have them germinate. Every single one of the seeds germinated. It just felt so good!!